Obit

Seen by those who write them not as a way to soften the experience but rather the means to seduce the reader into acknowledging a life, the obituary writer shows up to work each day, asking, “who died?” For everything I’ve personally written, it was an obituary that caused me the most despair, and at the same time the most rewarding sense of achievement. Focusing on the staff at The New York Times, this documentary delves into the modern day practice of breaking the established Victorian rules that said obits are suppose to be demure and respectful, and brings into the mix the uglier aspects that make for a more vivid impact to enchant its readers. From the inventor of the TV remote control to celebrities as far reaching as David Bowie and Lana Peters (Stalin’s daughter), everybody dies but the challenge is to provide confirmation and a cause of death for lives played out against attempts of suicide by jaguar or being a hard scrambled stag film actress. The connecting obit used to explore the inner workings of journalism files in the bowels of The Times is for William P. Wilson, the first media consultant who was Kennedy’s advisor during the 1960 debate with Richard Nixon.

[NR]