June 2007: Facing Death
FACING DEATH: Or, "You Know What We Did Last Summer!"
Student Final Projects:
- Documentary about the fear of death in Oneonta, by Natalie Schnick and Erin Johnston. Interviewees include College President Dick Miller, Diane Paige, Jeremy Wisnewski, all members of the death class, other Hartwick students, etc…This will eventually be put on a website. The movie is wonderful.
- Photo journal by Dominique Thomas, containing images of death. Wisnewski is looking for some wall space to display this moving portrait of death in the modern world.
- Short story about death by Chelsea Young
- Essay entitled "Michael Scott is Going to Die," written by Meg Lonergan, detailing the denial of death as it is portrayed in the television show The Office. A revised version of this paper, co-authored with Wisnewski, is published in Philosophy and the Office, edited by J. Jeremy Wisnewski, Blackwell Publishing, 2008.
- Essay on the denial of death in comedic music, written by Nico Meyering
- Painting the Wall with the words "You Can't Escape Death." It was promptly painted over by some death-denying individuals in the area. It was re-painted, and survived another day or so.
- One class spent hiking while philosophizing at Pine Lake
- Another very enjoyable class spent out in boats on Pine Lake, while doing even more philosophizing.
- The Death Class Barbeque (mostly meat-free!)
- Movie day/pizza party while doing final presentations
- Bookhout Funeral Home. We got to see the embalming room, do a little casket shopping, and have all of our questions answered. An entertaining and worthwhile trip.
- Dr. Ko, the pathologist at Fox Hospital. We saw the autopsy room and tools, as well as the cooler where bodies are stored, we looked at some tissue samples, and got to ask questions of Dr. Ko and his team.
- Hospice: We learned more about what Hospice is and what they do for people in the area, and got to ask questions of a Hospice provider
- Washington, DC
- Arlington Cemetery, including JFK's gravesite. The weather and the cemetery were both beautiful.
- The Vietnam Memorial, which was moving and thought provoking.
- The Holocaust Museum was heartbreaking but tactful and respectful.
- We also decided to stop at the new World War Two Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial!
The Facing Death course visited many places. The class is pictured at Bookhout Funeral Home with directors Krista S. Wells and Danielle M.Odell. The honesty, compassion, and helpfulness of these wonderful folks made this field trip one of the most elucidating of the summer.
|Arlington cemetery reminds one of the ubiquity of death. As Dante's pilgrim remarks, "I had not thought death had undone so many."|
|"When we speak of 59,000 dead, that is a crushing figure even in its abstraction. But allow their names to occupy space, and suddenly the 'so many' undone by the war find an immoderate measure for their excess" --Robert Pogue Harrison, Dominion of the Dead|
"In the case of the memorial wall, the excess of names is uncontainable, not because the wall cannot accomodate them--it does--but because in its mute commemoration of the Vietnam war it proclaims, or seems to, that each one of its inscriptions is one too many"
--Robert Pogue Harrison Harrison, Dominion of the Dead
|Ernest Becker remarks, in The Denial of Death, that "all culture, all man's creative life-ways, are in some basic part of them a fabricated protest against natural reality, a denial of the truth of the human condition, and an attempt to forget the pathetic creature that man is." |
Country Pride is no exception.
|Res Ipsa Loquitur|