Mortician

Death is certainly one of those issues which each of us tries not to spend that much time thinking about, until, sadly, someone we know is dying. Yet, Caitlin Doughty, who hosts the increasingly popular web-series “Ask a Mortician” wants to change that. The hostess is a licensed mortician who lives in Los Angeles, and she is on a mission of turning death into a part of daily culture in American society. Her blog entries and YouTube channel are tools to convey her ideas to a broad audience.As Doughty explains in her blog, she chose her current occupation in part following a traumatic experience when she was younger and saw a girl dying on her eyes. So she set a goal to make the idea of death more prominent in our culture. From her perspective, when it comes to death, we have been doing it wrong.In her web-series, Doughty has provided a platform for people to pose questions about anything related to the concept of death. Once a month she answers questions from her fans about death and embalming. As Doughty explains in her blog, she is willing to discuss anything related to death: “Everything from really, really basic things – what is embalming, how do you cremate a body — to really interesting, weird, you know – if the zombie apocalypse happens tomorrow, what is the rate of decomposing bodies, or can you tattoo a corpse. The more ridiculous, the better.”I think that the last sentence quoted above can partially explain why Doughty’s show draws so many views. It is her willingness and ability to answer all kinds of questions which people do not tend to typically ask. She seems to take delight in cheerfully explaining the macabre details of her job, answering questions like: “Do caskets really sometimes explode because of the gasses produced by the process of decomposition?”; “Do crematory employees have to get rid of the leg tendons of corpses to prevent them from sitting upright as they burn?”; and “What kind of smell do decomposing bodies have?”.So one of the reasons why the show is increasing the number of its followers lies in the manner with which Doughty answers questions from viewers. She is really good at providing what I consider down-to-earth and matter-of-fact answers. Yet, what amplifies their effect is her quirky humor and silly demonstrations. Furthermore, Caitlin Doughty does not fit a common image of morticians. She is a bubbly, self-deprecating 28-year-old woman, who is not afraid of using her wit and frank language to address the issues which her audience finds unclear or puzzling about death.Additionally, I find the web-series engaging because the hostess uses somewhat cheesy music and video effects. At the same time, these elements are crucial because the help to make the show more digestible to diverse audiences, without interfering with Caitlin’s ability to convey her point in a very authoritative way. For example, in one of the episodes she addressed all her teenage viewers who contacted her to …
Posted by: Linn Oatis

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