The conservative reaction to Thursday’s memorial service betrays both their myopia and desperation. From the opening prayer — some “Indian tribal thing” according to Powerline‘s Paul Mirengoff — to the ubiquitous complaints about the audience’s reaction to a speech that even The Corner awarded the highest possible mark, the implication is that there is but a single proper way to celebrate a life and that any deviation from said way diminishes those being memorialized. The problem with that argument is that it’s false on its face. Were I to die an Irish cop my life might be celebrated with drink and song. If I were Ronnie James Dio, my life might be punctuated by heavy metal. If I were Jim Henson, I would go to my grave to the sound of singing puppets. Plainly put, if you criticize the way someone runs a memorial service because it differs from how you would, you reveal more about yourself than you might think.
For example, you reveal that you have likely never been close enough to someone of a different religion, race or class to attend a service for or with them. I can only imagine what critics of the memorial might do if they attended a Jewish one: “Why are these people screaming and ripping off their clothes? Why is everyone pinning shreds of ripped cloth to their suits? Who organized all these pins?” If you actually have been close enough to someone of a different religion, race or class to attend a service for or with them and are still criticizing this execution of this one, you reveal the emptiness of your criticisms and the baseness of your convictions. By attempting to whip into a frenzy those who have never attended a service outside their ilk, you demonstrate that you care more for the success of your political compatriots than you do those being mourned.
But if a large part of your constituency consists of people who attend mega-churches and you complain about this:
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