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Memorable Obituary

"Hugh Massingberd, a former editor of the obituaries page of the Daily Telegraph, recalled the unwieldy challenges posed by a refusal to capitulate to the seductions of the posthumous parallax [a bending of life histories toward all that is light and wholesome, away from anything that might reflect unfavorably on the dead].

"'One day, an injunction arrived from on high that we were to make a point of including the cause of death,' he reminisced in The Spectator [in 2001]. 'As it happened, a candidate for the morgue of the morrow, a priapic jazzer, had handed in his dinner pail after a penile implant had unfortunately exploded. We duly complied with the editorial diktat.'"

[The Daily Telegraph's obituaries have become so popular that (in 1995) the paper began publishing obituary anthologies, many of which have become bestsellers.]

[For Catholic reasons, suicide is rarely mentioned as a cause of death in Swiss newspapers.]

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