Day of the Dead and People We Won’t Miss

November 2, 2007

Day of the Dead, MexicoMexico’s “Day of the Dead” (Día de Los Muertos) holiday, celebrated on November 1 and November 2, is an interesting, if little known (to most WASPs), fall holiday. When Spanish Conquistadors landed in Mexico in the 16th century, they were offended by an at least 3,000-year-old ritual in which indigenous peoples seemed to be mocking death. While Mexicans were honoring their dead and affirming a cultural belief that death is another step in the continuation of life, the Spaniards viewed the “Day of the Dead” as a pagan holiday, and thought the artwork was morbid and gruesome. Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations also kept skulls as trophies and displayed them during the holiday.


Being good Catholics, the Spanish explorers couldn’t leave well enough alone. While the holiday previously lasted for the entire ninth month of the Aztec Solar Calendar (August), the Spaniards handily moved it to coincide with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 1st and 2nd), the dates on which it’s celebrated now, as a sort of mutant combination of ancient Mexican traditions and Catholic All Saints’ Day practices. Now, people wear calacas (wooden skull masks) and dance to honor the dead. Skulls are placed on altars to honor the dead. Friends and family eat sugar skulls, which have the name of the deceased printed on the forehead, to symbolize death and rebirth. The holiday is widely celebrated in Mexico and in parts of the American Southwest.

Having emerged from the womb in this life sarcastic from the get-go, Pajamadeen began to think of recent deaths, people who might as well be dead, and people who probably wish they were dead right about now. Our nominees are:

Really Dead People We Won’t Miss

  • Colonel Paul Tibbets Waves to Spectators as He Takes Off in the Enola Gay to Bomb HiroshimaBrigadier General Paul W. Tibbets Jr., 92, who died yesterday at his Columbus, Ohio home on the first day of “Day of the Dead” celebrations. You may remember him as the pilot of the B-29 Enola Gay, ghoulishly named after his mother, which dropped a 5-ton nuclear bomb named “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan on 6 August 1945, instantly killing at least 75,000 people and leaving at least that many to die in agony, slowly, from radiation poisoning. Tibbets wisely chose to pass on a funeral and a headstone, although he seems never to have viewed his actions as amoral, saying many times in interviews that he didn’t regret his behavior because the attack saved American lives by precluding a land attack on Japan (in contrast to Enola Gay crew member Captain Robert Lewis, who said as they flew away after the bombing: “My God, what have we done?”)

Might-as-Well-Be-Dead People We Won’t Miss

  • Washington State Representative Richard Curtis, R-La Center, Trying to Explain His PredicamentWashington State Representative Richard Curtis (R-La Center), 48, married and the father of two, who always voted down gay rights legislation. Rep. Curtis, it turns out, has a fetish for women’s lingerie and enjoys gay sex, which led to his outing and resignation from the state legislature last week. Ironically, the incident, which began at the “Hollywood Erotic Boutique” (Don’t you just love the sleazy name?) and ended in Curtis’ room at the most expensive hotel in Spokane, Washington, the Davenport Tower Hotel, came to light when Curtis inadvertently outed himself. A two-term legislator and retired firefighter, he was in town for a retreat with other Republican legislators, fooling around preparing for the 2008 Legislature. We can only assume that Washington State taxpayers footed the tab for the tryst. Curtis contacted a friend at the Washington State Patrol, Sgt. Roy Rhine, because he wanted his wallet back from male prostitute Cody Castagna, 26, and he thought Spokane police would leak the story. Rhine referred the incident back/ . . .to Spokane police.

People Who Probably Wish They Were Dead Whom We Won’t Miss

  • Dog the Bounty Hunter, Duane ChapmanDuane “The Dog” Chapman, 54, television personality and bounty hunter, seen here tricked out in his faux Native American garb, who committed public relations hari-kari with his profuse use of the “F” word and the “N” word while in a heated argument with his son, Tucker Chapman, about Tucker’s black girlfriend, Monique Shinnery. Tucker promptly sold the tape to the National Enquirer for $15,000.


    The A&E cable network promptly suspended production of Chapman’s hit reality show, “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and has announced it won’t be re-airing old episodes until the matter is resolved. Black civil rights activists are screaming bloody murder. Chapman apologized on Wednesday; the problem is, people may forgive but they won’t forget, especially when one has presented himself as a role model for children.

    And, according to a late-breaking Honolulu Star-Bulletin story on Friday, A&E today canceled the show, saying: “In evaluating the circumstances of the last few days, A&E has decided to take ‘Dog The Bounty Hunter’ off the network’s schedule for the foreseeable future…We hope that Mr. Chapman continues the healing process that he has begun.” Shortly before the A&E announcement, the The Wall St. Journal reported that Yum! Brands, which advertised Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC restaurants on the show and was a major sponsor, pulled its ads, effective immediately. “It’s despicable,” a Yum! spokeswoman said about Chapman’s behavior. “We are no longer advertising on the show.”

Photo credits: AP and

Read about another Dodo award. winner.

Copyright ©2007

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