Business is dead for Website

Sometimes when I need a laugh I go to PRNewswire for Journalists. The old saying that “bad publicity is better than no publicity” comes to mind when reading some of the million press releases which come from the public relations source. This headline immediately yanked me in:

“What Do Anna Nicole Smith and Jerry Falwell Have in Common . . . at Year-end?”

Of course, nothing immediately came to mind other than the fact that they were all dead. And dab nab it if I wasn’t right.

The release goes on to say Anna Nicole and Falwell as well as murdered Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor, former first lady Lady Bird Johnson had received so many remembrances online at that they were part of the “2007’s Top 25 Most-Eulogized People Online.” Congrats. You’re dead.

“One of the most striking aspects of the lists is that they blend the slightly gossipy appeal of guest books for celebrities with the very personal, almost religious and familial aspect of remembering more ordinary people,” said Professor Toby Miller, chair of media and cultural studies at the University of California, Riverside, who reviewed the lists at the request of

The Web site hosts obituaries for an astonishing 60 percent of the dead in the U.S. and receives an incredible 10 million unique visitors each month, according to the news release. It would take my humble blog about 20 million years to generate that many different people clicking the old mouse-a-roo.

Having worked in two professions in which its members revel in macabre humor — emergency services and journalism — I can appreciate such a catchy news release hed to draw in an editor although such an approach may or may not offend some sensibilities of the general public.

If some TV ads which have played in my area are any indication though, perhaps the public may be loosening up with respect to humor and the dearly departed. Claybar Funeral Home in Beaumont and Orange, Texas, ran a commercial featuring two owners of the local chain who say something to the effect of “There are only two things in life that are certain. And we don’t do taxes.” More recently they did subsequent ads in which that line was delivered on a screen and the Claybars explain how they didn’t mean to be flippant, but … I thought the original was pretty funny though.

Well so much for my sick laugh for the day. Time to settle into the weekend and what is, hopefully, a good book or two.

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