A Holiday Tradition that Just Won’t Die


One sign of success is leaving your mark on society, making an impact; being famous brings you out of the anonymous masses and bestows celebrity, a status that affords you to an afterlife that most will never achieve; individual biographies of lives lived are more compelling than questions of postmortem judgment or the possibility of reincarnation—these lists of the dead convey profound lessons about what counts in life to the living in twenty-first century America. And nothing teaches a profound moral lesson like a corpse.

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