Dance With The Dead

Baby, you really rattle my bones!
People honor their dead in many different ways. They hold memorials on the date someone special passed away. Those memorials often become more a balm for the living than anything else, but there is nothing wrong with that. In Mexico they celebrate Dia de los Muertos also known as Day of the Dead. Simply put it is a celebration of anyone you knew who died. A small shrine is set up with cakes and candies and food and, in the case of people who would hang out with me, tequila. In this ritual the dead aren’t just remembered, they’re invited to dinner. In China the shi ceremony takes that a bit further and has a person become inhabited by the spirit of a dead relative and then proceed to eat and drink on their behalf. There are countless others and we could spend weeks just discussing the innumerable ways humans venerate thier ancestors. But let’s cut right to the chase and select the one ritual that has been growing in popularity since the 1980s. The kind of tradition that could put thousands of honest Americans to work this weekend if we took to it. The kind of tradition that will elicit a face palm when I tell you about it. It’s so obvious and yet so missed.

Obviously, I’m talking about strippers for funerals.

No, really, that’s what I’m talking about.

The Huffington Post reports that more and more Taiwanese families are opting not for flowers, but for the deflowered.

If you will.

In many Eastern countries, paying respects to the dead with earthly gifts — like food and money — is not an uncommon practice. But in Taiwan, some have taken ancestor worship to sexier heights, as strippers pole dance and peel off their clothes for the benefit of the deceased.

According to an AFP report released Tuesday, pole dances and stripteases are commonly performed at religious festivals in some areas in Taiwan in order to “appease the wandering spirits.”

In some cases, women dressed in tiny miniskirts and revealing brassieres shimmy and shake on stage in front an audience of men, women and children.

However, though this may seem bizarre to some, it is neither a new nor terribly unorthodox practice — at least as far as Taiwan goes.

In 2011, anthropologist Marc L. Moskowitz featured this practice in a documentary entitled “Dancing for the Dead: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan.”

A synopsis of the film states:

Funeral strippers work on Electric Flower Cars (EFC) which are trucks that have been converted to moving stages so that women can perform as the vehicles follow along with funerals or religious processions. EFC came to Taiwan’s public attention in 1980 when newspapers began covering the phenomenon of stripping at funerals.


There is a great deal of debate about whether this should be allowed to continue. In Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, one often hears middle and upper class men complain about the harmful effects of this rural practice on public morality. In contrast, people in the industry see themselves as talented performers and fans of the practice say that it makes events more exciting.

“It’s not at all common for urbanites, but in rural settings, most people have seen these performances,” Moskowitz told io9.com last year.

Moskowitz added that “actual full stripping has gone underground because there were laws enacted against full nudity” in the 1980s. Nonetheless, the documentarian noted that “almost everyone” he had spoken to for his film had said they had seen “full stripping.”

The AFP writes that though some local critics have dismissed the practice, others say that it is a “traditional folk culture lacking in the sharp separation of sex and religion often seen in other parts of the world.”

“The groups attract crowds to our events and they perform for the gods and the spirits to seek blessings,” Chen Chung-hsien, an official at Wu Fu Temple, a Taoist landmark in north Taiwan’s Taoyuan county, told AFP. “They have become part of our religion and folk culture.”
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Moskowitz told io9.com that though an “American’s first reaction” may be “laughter or outrage,” he too has come to appreciate the practice.

“As I watched these performances I came to appreciate the idea of celebrating someone’s life to help assuage the feelings of grief,” he said, according to the website.

See? It’s to help us assuage our feelings of grief, not to ogle jiggly boobs. Here at the World News Center we’ve been to four funerals this year. Everyone of them would have been better served by having a few strippers.

And, fortunately, this would seem to pose no logistical problems for mortuaries. Just read this next story and tell me if you find any reason for funeral directors to object to strippers.

A German court has ordered a dominatrix to pay 200 euros ($260) to a local charity as a penance after a client accused her of hurting and robbing him.

Cologne district court spokesman Dirk Esser said the plaintiff had accused the woman he hired for sex last month of holding a kitchen knife to his throat before demanding his debit card and PIN number.

The plaintiff, a 49-year-old undertaker, also said the woman had detained him against his will for five hours.

The court decided that it was impossible to know for sure what really happened because both parties had consumed too much cocaine during their encounter.

It dropped the charges but ordered the prostitute to pay the “penance money” to a charity that supports crime victims.

The 35-year-old mother of four has been in pre-trial custody for the past five weeks, but declined to be compensated for time spent in jail, Esser said.

The dominatrix denied keeping the man against his will, adding that he had also asked if a transsexual colleague could join them.

**sniff** The memories this brings back.

Blow, booze, broads and a funeral home. The tranny’s just a perk.

How many nights have you spent in just the same way?

I know, I know, the same here, far too many to count.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.

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