I noticed that Newsweek calls its Obituary section “Transition.” Isn’t this a tad euphemistic? This sounds like business jargon to me, the softening of the edges of what can only be considered bad news, viz., death. Death is so awfully grim and dreary, let’s call it something else! It’s bad, but maybe in another sense it’s something good…a transition. To be fair, I think Newsweek also prints birth and marriage notices here, but the point still stands – should we mix and match when it comes to death? I mean, really, “transition” to what? Death? “Congratulations,” I imagine a voice intoning from the Great Beyond, “you have successfully transitioned from life to death!” Or: “I’m going through a period of transition. I’m between lives.” Is there a metaphysics implied here – the assertion of an afterlife, something, in other words, to which one may transition? I’m just asking.
(From an email I recently sent to Richard M. Smith, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek. I’ll update 3QD if any response is forthcoming.)