March 17th, 2014

“Like” My Death and Chicken Scratchin’

hamlet_death_facebook

Another friend dead.

Another Facebook page still active.

I understand the deceased’s family has to involve the Attorney General to get FB to remove a dead person’s profile. Why?

But then — hell — still living, I tried to delete my Vine account last week and it was impossible to do it. I needed to contact the president of the company or equivalent and get his permission.

Vines. How entwined, how enmeshed are we into these cross-connects of social networks? And why do the corps that run them need me so desperately to stay? Alive…or dead?

Five friends have died since I joined Facebook about 7 years ago. And it’s weird and now doubly voyeuristic to visit their pages when curiosity overcomes me. And it does. I click in and trawl around. It’s kind of awful.

Friends and family continue to scrawl comments — especially around holidays and anniversaries — as if the dead person can ‘read’ them. Nothing says disconnected from reality like: “Love you babe, I know you’re reading this somewhere. Here’s a picture of Tammy’s new baby.” Shit like that.

But then how ‘real’ is any of the interacting that occurs here, now, with the ‘living’.

I could have dropped dead after typing this post and a handful of you would be commenting, liking, and I might be writhing on the ground alongside my desk, savoring my last breath and getting the strangest download:

I’m imagining Hamlet at the grave and he’s turning the skull ’round and there’s a Facebook ‘LIKE’ logo etched into the dome-top. And for a soundtrack there’s that line from Joni Mitchell‘s Hejira:

‘Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tributes to finality, to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality’

I guess that’s part of the big unconscious draw to leaving trails on FB — be ye alive or dead — ‘chicken scratching’ for our immortality. And of those that have already flown the coop? They’re liking this in heaven.
 
Painting by Eugène Ferdinand Victor Delacroix, 1939, Louvre Museum



3 Responses to '“Like” My Death and Chicken Scratchin’'
Filed Under: Kulture
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  • third house

    I am sorry for your loss.

    I have neither Facebook page nor many
    people who would know or care if I still walk the earth. I do keep in
    touch with the dearly departed or I should say, they keep in touch with
    me. They can’t read a Facebook page but it might help others remember
    them. They are not gone but it is we who are out of touch with them. If
    you remember them with joy and love for all that they are, then in the
    quiet meditations of the night, if you seek them in their realm, they
    might commune. To have such encounters would change how people regard
    those who have passed. Never with sorrow or negative emotion for this is
    not attractive. Remember that they just overcame death. How wonderful
    that must be. And they do not like to be thought of as “dead”.

    Sincerely.

  • Sabina Dobo

    My condolences proffered.

    Perhaps the simple expedient of an envelope addressed to one’s executor, family, or a trusted friend, containing passwords to one’s FB, Twitter, email, and suchlike could allow the painless and anonymous closing of such accounts.

    The practices you refer to of those such as ‘Vine’ put me in mind of mortmain – the dead hand – only in these cases, it seems they want to control our souls post mortem: it is enough to make the angels weep.

    I often wonder why this post-modern obsession with documenting our every moment on earth. Likewise, the – to me, horrifying – accelerating scientific quest to conquer aging and defy death. The phenom of zombie worship likewise. What is this all about and whence its origins? Does no one read ‘Dracula’ in the original anymore? Since when did immortality signify corporeal perpetuity?

    Personally, I resonate to the words of Frido Kahlo, who said, ‘I hope the exit is joyful and i hope never to return.’

  • http://www.ElementalCosmos.com Caleb Kent Grayson

    i just told my partner that if i passed before her to hire one of those reputation clean-up companies to remove anything embarrassing — kind of like the ancient Pharaohs and such leaving a history of only their good deeds. i mean, isn’t this what the Aquarian Age is all about? we all get to be kings. little kings, but kings nonetheless with our home court jesters and harems via TV and bluetooth kitchen appliances, auto chauffeured cars, and those vacuum robots.

    Facebook immortality is just like everyone getting their own pyramid to be buried in.