Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Little Rituals
There are certain little rituals in society that we indulge without thinking, without even noticing them. Then comes the day when we do notice, and we wonder why we indulge them in the first place.

Take the phenomenon of spontaneous tributes--those kitschy and predictable efflorations of candles, cards, and teddy bears that appear when a celebrity dies, or when a child dies in some horrid way. Why do we do it? A study in Australia says that it's all about us--we do it to show what nice people we are. The same study says that such displays of "recreational grieving" are on the rise, and losing whatever meaning they had in the first place.

And then there are those public marriage proposals, in which a guy takes his sweetie to a game and proposes to her on TV. We've all seen this a million damn times, to the point at which you wonder why one more TV station or sports arena would even consider indulging one more proposal. Well, maybe it's because there's always a chance the woman will say no.

Recommended reading: From the Agonist, things Bush is not planning to do to protect marriage from the threat of same-sex couples engaging in it.

Tonight on Best of the Blogs: Information Awareness.

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