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It's time to talk about death and activism and death activism, and oh yeah, Marianne Williamson and stuff. There is no one better to discuss all this with that my good friend Caitlin Doughty. Caitlin is the host of the wildly popular youtube series, Ask A Mortician  and her work has served as a foundation of the death positive movement, which is seeking to change our relationship to death in our culture.

She's also the author of the death memoir, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory; as well as her book about death rites, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death; and the forthcoming book about death for kids, Will The Cat Eat My Eyeballs: Big Questions fromTiny Mortals about Death

When Caitlin and I spoke way back on AEWCH 8, we mostly discussed death in a theoretical way. This time, I bring to her the recent death of my friend, to work through some of the feelings and intensities I went through in mourning and gratitude.

We also spend a lot of time discussing being advocates and activists, and what challenges that brings. It's a very personal episode and very different conversation than Caitlin's used to having on a podcast!

On this ep:

  • what we'd like to do more of before we die
  • how to pre-mourn our own deaths by confronting our anxieties
  • HIV "bug chasing"
  • externalizing death drives vs turning them on yourself, and how that's gendered
  • why we should destroy heterosexuality
  • the Dalia Lama and cultural conflict
  • the problems have a healthy relationship with death can bring
  • how a breakup gets a ton of conversations with friends, but a death tends to only get one
  • Pompei volcano sex deaths
  • why we need to acknowledge what sex positivity and feminism have brought to us
  • mediating social media exhaustion
  • the relief of others taking up the same causes you have
  • why I want to have more underground people on the show
  • the problem with only having one face for a given cause
  • what doing activism is for


For more on Caitlin, here's her Patreon, which I support, and you should, too! And here's her website. Caitlin and I have collaborated multiple times now, including  on an episode of Ask the Mortician, where we discussed death & sex goals for 2017. Also on my blog when I was recording conversations to get myself ready to do AEWCH. 

• If for some reason you need to get Klay Thompson's newspaper print shoes, here's what they look like.

• Here's Caitlin on our mutual friend, Duncan Trussell's, podcast, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, since we never got to the corpse train conspiracy.

• The Order Of The Good Death has a great podcast, Death In The Afternoon.

• After his death, I wrote a little elegy to my lifelong friend Jake (pictured below). He was a wonderful person.

Ernest Becker is a death-focused philosopher who's been hugely influential for members the death positive movement, including Caitlin.

• I just started reading a book a day again - I'll be making a short episode about it soon!

• Here's a long, slightly problematic (but thorough!) article on bugchasers.

• If you'd like to learn more about the sexual dynamics of yes and no, and their gendered origins, check out the excellent book, The Origins of Sex, by Faramerz Dabhoiwala.

• I don't think it's really worth it to look into the Dalai Lama's comments, but okay, if you need to get into it.

• Danny Pintauro is alive! Even if he doesn't update his twitter often.

• If you're interested in learning more about the death rites I do and how I keep connected with my loved ones after they die, here you go.

• Oh and here's that fella from Pompeii:

• Here's a video of everything Marianne Williamson said in the first Democratic Debate.

Brendan Behan is my dad. Okay, not really, but he's a great Irish writer. The quote in the episode is, "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves.”

• Follow Ty Mitchell. He's amazing. 

Until next time!


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