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Dr. Jennifer Mercieca @jenmercieca
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I'll say again, eulogies and remembrances not only honor a person's life (thus affirming human dignity), but are COMMUNAL. They are about communal values. When we highlight (incomplete, of course) aspects of a person's life, we are reaffirming those values for the community.
The person dies, but the community and the values of that community live on. No person perfectly lives up to communal values and communal values change over the course of a lifetime. So, remembering a person's life is political and strategic. We make choices when we remember.
Sometimes we make choices to forget in order to highlight the things that we'd prefer that the community value. That's political too. There is struggle in community, there is struggle in values, and there is struggle in remembrance. That is as it ought to be. Carry on.
In other words, don't freak out if people are remembering #Bush41 in ways that you don't like. It's ok. It's the community's job to invoke and argue over values. Y'all are doing it right.

At least you are if you remember to affirm human dignity, IMHO.
I became interested in rhetoric during the Nixon funeral. I was fascinated by what people said/didn't say about him there. I wrote my first undergrad rhetoric paper on "apologetic eulogies," which became a forensics speech (took to nationals) & my first conference paper.
In my book Founding Fictions I wrote about the simultaneous deaths of Adams and Jefferson on July 4, 1826 (America's Jubilee) as proof for the nation of American exceptionalism.
Americans freaked out at the deaths of the "twin stars of liberty." Some whispered that it was a curse, other chose to believe (and tell others to believe) that it was a sign of the nation's divina origine (divine origins).
Were the deaths a curse or a blessing? The eulogies told the story. You can read them here:…
And, to link back to remembering Bush: there ought to be a struggle over how to remember our political leaders. All of them.
And, if you want to read my re-telling of the story of how the public made sense of and remembered Adams and Jefferson, then you can find the pdf here (you have to scroll a bit, the pages are wonky):…
"What does it tell you that the feel-good events in Washington these days are funerals?" asked @sbg1. I think it means that we long for community and, if you've bought the argument above, that we long for a debate about what our community should value.
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