Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Globe's obituary headlines are disingenuous and pointless

Call me an old curmudgeon, but I find the Globe and Mail's obituary headlines disingenuous to say the least.
To head up an obituary "Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Artist" (an example ftom today) is presumably an attempt to show that the person in question had a full and reasonably normal life, and was not defined by their occupation or sole claim to fame. But the reason they have an obituary in Canada's national paper is not because they were someone's mother or grandmother (like so many millions of others), but because they had some public success as an artist or a business person or a philanthropist or whatever. I'm sure that the "wife", "mother", etc, part is very important to the person's immediate family, but frankly it is not really important to anyone else.
Now, I don't actually know how the Globe picks their obituary candidates from all those who died in that particular week. But to give the impression that to a person's major achievement was motherhood or being married to someone is, frankly, borderline insulting.
It is also another example of a practice that, once begun, takes on a life of its own and becomes self-perpetuating, like referring to someone "passing" instead of "dying" or, to use a totally unrelated example, having an army of young children accompany soccer players into World Cup games. It's not actually excessive political correctness, but an adopted custom that has no compelling raison d'ĂȘtre.

No comments: