This week’s Long Reads examines ownership of the dead, a world without work and a Brit who squandered his inheritance on Hitler and Nazi paraphernalia.
We have a strange relationship with death. We care for people as they die but when they pass we hand them off to a stranger to manage, to clean and prepare for burial or cremation. Why? Why have we accepted the hardest bit, the suffering – and not the final hurdle of disposal, for lack of a better word. Is it better to let a stranger dispose of the body rather than a loved one in the deceased’s home? This article asks questions of death, and how we prepare the dead for disposal, and how groups in America are starting to take a more personal approach to death.
The rise of the machine – dum dum duuuummmm! There has been a fear for at least the last 100 years I would guess that our/your work will be made redundant. George Orwell wrote about it; just think the increasing redundancy of cashiers as automated checkouts come into popularity. The writer of this article believes that the time of redundancy may finally be upon us, and he investigates what the work force of the future will look like. Where will many of us find purpose if work is replaced by machines?
Kevin Wheatcroft has used his inherited fortune, his perseverance and a vast network of connections to amass the largest body of Hitler and Nazi artefacts the world over. He has tanks, cars, rugs with swastikas embroidered on them and the biggest collection of Hitler busts in the world. But werider than that, he has personal items from the Nazi leaders; he has Hitler’s art work and clothes; letters between Hitler and Eva Braun; Goering’s favourite bed.
Beyond which point does it become upsetting? When does it become a shrine? How do you invite someone over for dinner? How do you have a plumber over and there is just a bust of Hitler on the landing?