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Farewell, the American way - Blog of Stuff [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen

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Farewell, the American way [Jul. 7th, 2009|09:44 pm]
V. E. "Veltzeh" Lehkonen
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...No, not really. I couldn't make such a long post about it.

My dad has been complaining about the way farewells and goodbyes are portrayed in American movies. I have to say I agree. Americans fuss over it, obsess over it and generally just make it a much bigger thing than it really should be.

Farewell scenes last for ages, and they mostly induce feelings of inconvenience in me. And the drama if someone dies... if it's during an action scene, there's always time to make a big deal about the death, defying all logic of self-preservation. Even the enemies secretly stop coming for a while.

A funeral is usually onerously long and people hold long, uncomfortable speeches.

What is the point in making those scenes so long and/or unrealistic? There are better ways to convey the significance of the death/leaving. Still, I don't think it's bad to make farewell scenes the American way, but I'm getting a bit tired of it and dislike it.

I really liked how a death was handled in a Swedish film Ronja Rövardotter. A character noticed that the dying character was dead and then started screaming about it, but the dying character turned out to be faking. The dying character then waited until all the others had gathered around him, said something along "so long" and died. A bit later the other characters were shown to be a little depressed. And that was it.

So, a question for the Americans or otherwise culturally gifted: Where are the roots of Americans' obsession with farewells? Why does it take so long?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: hellmutt
2009-07-08 12:14 pm (UTC)
Americans are scared of death. Another symptom is their obsession with Rapture fiction that (stupidly, IMO!) promises them that they can be beamed straight to heaven without having to do that messy dying and decomposing in between.
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[User Picture]From: veltzeh
2009-07-08 04:01 pm (UTC)
Hmm, makes sense. In a nonsensical way, I guess. X) Can't say anything about the rapture thing, but religion has a way of justifying everything, so.

Many are scared of death, though, so that probably isn't the only reason. And if one is scared of death, I think it would be a reason to not have so much guns around...

Any ideas why it extends so much to leaving and parting as well, and not just death?

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[User Picture]From: hellmutt
2009-07-08 04:06 pm (UTC)
if one is scared of death, I think it would be a reason to not have so much guns around...

Hilarious and true! But I suppose people aren't necessarily logical all the time (or ever). *shrugs*

Any ideas why it extends so much to leaving and parting as well, and not just death?

Nope, no idea, beyond the general stereotype of Americans being generally more emotional than us stiff-upper-lipped tea-drinkers / surly reindeer-herders. ;)

Although I think UK media is becoming more like American, and we import a fair amount from them too, of course.
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[User Picture]From: violetice
2009-07-08 11:12 pm (UTC)
I never really noticed or thought about this much. Most of the movies I watch don't have overly long or dramatic farewell scenes.

It's been a while since I've been to a funeral, and all of the ones I've been to have been Catholic funerals. Which is more like a church service and funeral combined, so they last for probably 1/2 hour or 45 minutes. I've never been to a non-religious funeral, come to think of it.

How long do Finnish funerals usually last?
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[User Picture]From: veltzeh
2009-07-09 07:23 am (UTC)
I've only been to one funeral, and I don't watch Finnish TV shows, so I don't actually know how they go. O_o
The funeral I was in was a church service. I assume that's the way for most Finns, though I have no clue what they do if they want a strictly un-religious funeral. I was 4 at the time and don't remember getting especially bored, so the funeral couldn't have lasted longer than 15–30 minutes. I'm really surprised that I actually behaved relatively well in it. (I didn't run around in the church, at least during the signing. I might have gone for it once we got outside, though.)
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[User Picture]From: insouciant_alm
2009-07-09 03:34 pm (UTC)
well, as an American... The only thing I can say really, is that most of us hate to let go of anything. Money, food, books, that silly paper-mache ball we made in second grade. If it's ours we're not going to let go of it easily. Same with death of a loved one, or even a not-so-loved one.

Mostly, though, we just don't like to lose. That's why good-byes take so darn long.

Personally, I agree with you. Short, sweet, to the point. That would be nice.
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[User Picture]From: veltzeh
2009-07-10 07:02 am (UTC)
Aha, that makes sense! And the continuation question is: where does this obsession with possession come from? X)
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