18 Comments

  1. A person is widowed if they have a deceased spouse. It is only convention that implies that those conditions must be met in a particular order.

  2. One of the tenets of the ceremony is that both partners must assent to the wedding of their own free will (coercion is a ground for annullment). A dead person cannot assent, and therefore cannot be married. The hint is patently false.

  3. (I’ve heard that we’re “not supposed” to check out the comments at publication or syndication sites. Well, fair warning, that’s where this idea comes from.)

    I ran across the suggestion that in some places, in time of war, the fiancee or girlfriend of a soldier who was killed on duty could sometimes get a posthumus marriage decree, especially if pregnant — so the idea would be to give the child legitimacy (as they thought of it then).

  4. Thanks, Kilby. The link has been repaired. It just goes to the IMDB main reference page for that film. (Sometimes my gravatar appears as someone related to that movie.)

  5. Ooops. Thanks to WW for finding the relevant article. I did search before I posted @2, but unfortunately I didn’t use the (blindingly obvious) correct search terms. However, the fairly strict conditions imposed by the French law do add up to proving that the deceased party had already in some way assented to the marriage.

  6. Danny, no, there isn’t a “rule” like that. The only seriously-enforced rules are to maintain civility, and to avoid topics likely to derail civility.

    There may not be a full articulation of some less-stringently-observed suggested principles (in part discussed in the CIDU FAQ), but I take a sense from the occasions when people raise an objection that a main point there is not to damper our discussion by an appeal to authority — such as an author/cartoonist’s statements, though those can be of interest if not taken to be definitive — and not to squelch our discussions in favor of other discussions.

    So there’s nothing problematic about you introducing an idea from another discussion. Especially as part of that was already given within the cartoon itself. And looking up facts, as Winter Wallaby has done, is just what is needed sometimes!

  7. Interpretation of the comic: I see it as a riddle. “I became a widow on my wedding day.” [How could that be?] Ans: The groom was already dead.
    (Never mind that it is perfectly possible, even if unusual and tragic, for a groom to die on his wedding day.)

  8. Just a sidelight: not only did Woolrich write THE BRIDE WORE BLACK (which fits this trope — husband killed moments after the ceremony) but also I MARRIED A DEAD MAN (which doesn’t actually do so — woman pretends to a dead man’s family that she had been his wife, tragedy ensues — it’s Woolrich, so that almost goes without saying — but wow, what a great title!)

  9. Ha! I’d never looked that closely at your gravatar. All this time I had assumed it was Tom Baker (aka the fourth Dr. Who.)

  10. I wouldn’t think there’d be much problem with strip comments (other than how dumb they often are) because those people don’t know any more than we do. Usually less.

  11. There was also a film based on the book, by François Truffaut in 1968.

    (I know this because the film inspired a song by Kate Bush, though she used a different title.)

  12. My dad used to enjoy asking the question “Under Massachusetts law, is it legal for a man to marry his widow’s sister?”

  13. MiB: A plane crashes right on the border of Country A and Country B, carrying citizens of both and of Country C. Where must the survivors be buried?

    This can be tarted up with additional pointless facts, like it is a disputed border, or one of the countries is not internationally recognized, or where it took off. Or add to the faux legalism by asking under which country’s laws should it be decided where the survivors are to be buried.

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