General Etiquette > Etiquette of the Rich and Famous

Funeral Standards: Did the rules change and I missed the memo?

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LadyStormwing:
Sadly, South African president and longtime humanitarian Nelson Mandela passed away a few days ago. The living US presidents, with the exceptions of George Bush Sr, attended the funeral. Since then, two pictures have surfaced from the ceremony. The first is one of United States President Barack Obama taking a cell phone "selfie" with the Prime Minister of Denmark. The second picture, which seems to be taken only moments later, shows First Lady Michelle Obama switching seats with her husband. In both photos, she has a very annoyed/disgusted look on her face.

I know different countries and cultures have different ways of memorializing the dead, but at the same time, I feel as though President Obama did a very lousy job representing America that day. To me, it was a rude, crass, and self-centered gesture. If I was sitting behind someone at a funeral and witnessed that sort of behavior, I admit I would have been tempted to say something- cell phones just don't seem to be an appropriate venue for funerals or other sol om occasions.

Your thoughts?

katycoo:
It wasn't a funeral.  It was a celebratory memorial service.  It was an overal very large event that took place over several hours and while serious in its memorial aspect, it was by no means a solemn occasion.
I've no idea why Michelle obama might have looked annoyed.

Hillia:
A photographer who was there defended the selfies, saying that the atmosphere was very much happy and celebratory rather than solemn; many people were talking and laughing, and the first lady was not disgusted or anything else but rather caught in an awkward moment.

Lynnv:

--- Quote from: Hillia on December 12, 2013, 11:18:45 PM ---A photographer who was there defended the selfies, saying that the atmosphere was very much happy and celebratory rather than solemn; many people were talking and laughing, and the first lady was not disgusted or anything else but rather caught in an awkward moment.

--- End quote ---

POD. 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/photographer-behind-obama-selfie-speak-article-1.1544281

Having a lighter moment at a memorial (or even at a funeral) is hardly an offense of any sort.  At the last funeral (not a celebratory memorial) I attended, I laughed quite a bit, cried some, and even took a picture with a friend I hadn't seen in a really long time.  As long as they weren't making it impossible for others to hear whoever was speaking at the time or being disruptive, I don't see what the problem is.  And I certainly don't think it is rude, crass or self-centered to have a less than somber moment even at a somber event.

violinp:
I laughed at my own grandmother's funeral, and that was supposed to be a somber event. I don't think a selfie was wise, given the fact that they knew that they themselves would be photographed and eviscerated by the media for not showing proper respect.

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