TO DIE FOR
Death is having a pop culture moment
Humans have pondered the topic of death since the beginning of time, but new and modern formats in which to do so break down taboos around bereavement and encourage participants to cultivate mindfulness for life amidst their fear and anxiety of the eternal unknown.
Death-based app WeCroak sends users five randomly-timed push notifications a day, all to gently remind the recipient of their impending death with the phrase “Don’t forget, you’re going to die,” along with an invitation to ponder this inescapable notion with a quote from philosophers and intellectuals who took more time to muse over death than the average modern consumer. WeCroak isn’t trying to frighten or dismay; the app’s purpose is to help users cultivate a mindfulness around mortality to foster happiness for being alive in the present moment—a move that ultimately spurs users to be more productive.
The resurgence of the salon has been elevating the art of conversation for youth who seek community-based IRL experiences amidst their digital-first lives, but the latest iteration of this in-person gathering has a rather interesting focus: mortality. Death Café, the name of the organization as well as the moniker for the events, is a not-for-profit social franchise where strangers congregate—with plenty of coffee and cake, emphasizing the sweetness of life—in order to discuss death in an open-format and non-hierarchical setting. Anyone who is interested can either attend or host a death café, as the format is flexible so long as participants on both sides of the event adhere to the organization’s rather amenable guidelines for a productive discourse on death.
Podcasts across all topics are booming in popularity, with 57% of global youth saying that podcasts are important to their life and more than one in 10 listening to podcasts from other countries. One such hit is Cariad Lloyd’s Griefcast, which won three prizes at this year’s British Podcast Awards, including Podcast of the Year. Each episode of Griefcast follows a templatized format where Lloyd holds a conversation with a fellow comedian about the death of a loved one and results in a poignant, funny, and taboo-breaking reflection on bereavement.