Perhaps what we need just now is a bout of reactionaryism and a reappraisal of where funerals seem to be going in the light of where they have come from.
We don’t have an intellectual hard-hitter over here like undertaker-poet Thomas Lynch, but what he says about American “monogrammed, one-off, highly personalised funerals” is broadly relevant to funerary trends over here, especially the rise of direct cremation.
“The dead aren’t incidental to a funeral; the dead are the reason we have funerals.”
“One of the things we seem to have missed is the essential qualities, and we’ve gotten overfocussed on the accessories.”
“The corpse … is the problem we are trying to deal with and should be central to whatever goes on.”.
“The cultural impulse to treat cremation not as an alternative to burial, but as an alternative to bother.”
Lynch seems to have relaxed his strictures on cremation. I think he said, once, “We burn the trash and we bury the treasure.” For all that, the book he has written with Thomas Long is a good and an essential read. It helps you make up your mind about things.
If anything is going to kill funerals (apart from third-rate celebrants and undertakers who don’t understand the value of a funeral) it is going to be the evasion of bother.
Here is the great man interviewed by the great Gail Rubin.