Friday, July 22, 2011

Three Odd Things about

Three Odd Things about Lucian Freud’s Obit
1. The mention of the mooning incident: In 1938, he was expelled from Bryanston, in Dorset, after dropping his trousers on a dare on a street in Bournemouth.
2. The mention of the arson incident along with its refutation: While it is true that the school burned to the ground while he was there, the often repeated story that Mr. Freud accidentally started the fire with a discarded cigarette seems unlikely.
3. The non-naming of his children. He is survived by many children from his first marriage and from a series of romantic relationships.

1.This writer certainly has no objection to mooning; in fact, regards it as a noble tradition. But rarely does it get mentioned in obits. Chances are very good that in their early years several presidents and Supreme Court justices – especially those who benefited from private education – mooned a figure of authority. Yet I defy you to find this delightful fact mentioned in any of their obituaries.
2.I don’t want to quibble, but this seems disingenuous to me. Should we all now fear that our (hitherto-hoped-and-assumed-to-be-reverential) obituaries will contain the following slur: While it is true that Michael Jackson died under mysterious circumstances, the oft-repeated rumor that [your name here] was responsible for his death by means of a voodoo doll seems highly unlikely.
3. Maybe I am imputing the offense I would take were my name omitted from a parental obituary; and maybe it is less offensive since none are singled out for omission. But still. Isn’t it fairly standard for the children to be listed (the survivors, the bereaved, the heirs, the progeny) in an obit? And what is the excuse here? That there are “many”? Are they to be penalized for the paternal proclivity for procreation? (According to Wiki: “Freud is rumored to have fathered as many as 40 children, although this number is generally accepted as an exaggeration.” Then the article goes on to list 13, and they all have names.

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