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Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.
– lines attributed to William Ewart Gladstone, and quoted on the website of the Graham Putnam and Mahoney funeral parlour
On 15 April 2013, a day of striving and celebration turned tragic in an instant, when two improvised pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 250 people. Amid a manhunt, one of the two brothers responsible for the attack, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, murdered a security guard before he was killed by police. The other brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was later apprehended alive.
Originally produced to accompany the podcast series Everything Is Stories, this short film from the US filmmaker Daniel Navetta tracks a controversy that emerged in the wake of the tragedy. With many in the Boston area reeling with outrage, the undertaker Peter Stefan – owner of Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Parlors in Worcester, Massachusetts – made what he believed to be the ethical choice of preparing Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body for a Muslim burial: a job refused by other nearby funeral homes. Detailing Stefan’s view of the controversy, Everything Is Stories: Reviled and Maligned explores how, amid public anger and protests, he resolved to perform what he believed to be his solemn moral and professional duty.
Producers: Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani, Daniel Berger
Website: Bryght Young Things
History of ideas
How did ‘personal responsibility’ evolve into its opposite, ‘everyone for themselves’?
An artist grapples with the loss of his brother, and the problem of canine abduction
Sports and games
After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher
Sports and games
You’ve likely never heard of the only woman drafted into the NBA – and that’s fine by her
Consciousness and altered states
‘Meditation without meditating’ might be possible. Can it also be made ethical?
Information and communication
The modern world is littered with statistical noise. Here’s how to find the signal
Teaching and learning
The charity that teaches underprivileged kids to humanely hunt their next meal
Dance and theatre
Close-up on kabuki – the colourful ‘pure entertainment’ of Japan’s Edo period