Half a century ago death was a homogenizing force more ruthless than any communist regime. Virtually everyone who died in America got an overpriced casket, an awful post-mortem makeover, and a bland grave marker immortalizing them in the same conventionally abstract fashion as everyone else who had died that century.
But now, writes Greg Beato, we've got caskets that look like beer cans, headstones shaped like teddy bears, companies that will provision your loved ones with white doves to release graveside. Major League Baseball teams, many colleges, and the rock band KISS, among others, license their logos for use on caskets. And as the number of afterlife options expands, Beato observes, prices are dropping.