braindead baby jokes fall under the 'unfunny' category April 21, 2009 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Can we have a cleanup on this unfortunate baby thread?

Perhaps as a relatively new father I'm a little oversensitive, but a fair portion of the comments are in poor taste.
posted by leotrotsky to Etiquette/Policy at 5:01 PM (484 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Aisle 6!
posted by gman at 5:02 PM on April 21, 2009


...as are the equally prevalent LOLXTIANS.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:03 PM on April 21, 2009


'Poor taste'?

The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly.

Because even though she's grieving, I think it's fucking pathetic that the dumb fundie asshole ignores all fact and pathetically attempts to make her non-conscious baby into some ideal child.
posted by kldickson at 5:04 PM on April 21, 2009


No, I'm with you leotrotsky. The whole post seems pointless to me, really. It's just a single link to her blog and a Wiki on anencephaly. If this FPP isn't intended to be a "marvel at the crazy lady" sort of thing, if the intention was to bring to light how new parents deal with children born with birth defects, then it's been lost on me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:05 PM on April 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


Well, LOLXTIANS is always a little weak and is a dead horse around these parts that needs no more beating.

But what are we supposed to say about this woman? She may not deserve mockery, but she's several kinds of wrong.
posted by GuyZero at 5:06 PM on April 21, 2009


Just delete the fucking thing, it's outrage bait and little else. It's attracting the element of Metafilter that should be JEALOUS of Faith for her massive intellect and love from mother.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:06 PM on April 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


Who the fuck pissed in kldickson's Cheerios? Maybe Jesus?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:07 PM on April 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly.

You're kind of a dick.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:07 PM on April 21, 2009 [30 favorites]


Between that thread, the sixcolors thread, and the ColdChief thread, I think the mods will be grinding their teeth and sighing into the wee hours.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on April 21, 2009


The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly. ... I think it's fucking pathetic that the dumb fundie asshole ignores all fact and pathetically attempts to make her non-conscious baby into some ideal child.

Why? Why does it offend you so? No one's holding a gun to your head forcing you to read her blog.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:07 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Your use of the lulzy "deadbaby" tag seems at odds with your stated position.
posted by dersins at 5:07 PM on April 21, 2009


Kdickson: I'm sure you felt the same way about the christian fiancee gunshot victim thread a few weeks back; but it doesn't belong here. We're better than this.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:08 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


*facepalm*
posted by kldickson at 5:08 PM on April 21, 2009


Comments out of order? The whole system is out of order!
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:08 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's just a single link to her blog and a Wiki on anencephaly.

The MetaFilter tour bus stops at more than just the stars' mansions in Beverley Hills.
posted by GuyZero at 5:09 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


dersins: noted, corrected, unintentionally lulzy.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:09 PM on April 21, 2009


It's the sort of 'you idiot, you made a bad situation worse' sort of thing that, yeah, really kind of deserves mocking.

Someone just delete the metafilter thread. Please. It doesn't really belong on the blue.
posted by kldickson at 5:10 PM on April 21, 2009


I think the mods will be grinding their teeth and sighing into the wee hours.

It's the kind of pain that can only be assuaged by a gigantic doughnut.
posted by GuyZero at 5:10 PM on April 21, 2009


The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly.

No. No one does. If you feel otherwise, that's your right but it's not how we feel on the site at a mod level and it's not behavior we encourage or condone.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:10 PM on April 21, 2009 [61 favorites]


Every once in a while, I'll see something on the Blue that will make me think, "Why in the world would anybody want to create this site .... and why would somebody post it here?!"

Best of the web it is not.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:13 PM on April 21, 2009


Joe has an unfortunate tendency to make occasional lazy and/or obnoxious posts in and around his good ones. It'd be great if the steaming dumps got deleted - might help to keep him on the thoughtful side.
posted by mediareport at 5:14 PM on April 21, 2009


No. No one does.

Bullshit.
posted by bardic at 5:14 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


kldickson is getting some kind of neurobiology degree. With that attitude, I hope that whatever work he undertakes is something that keeps him miles away from actual patients.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:15 PM on April 21, 2009 [17 favorites]


It's an interesting web phenomenon and a difficult-but-worthy topic. I dislike a lot of Joe Beese's posting choices but I don't think this post is terrible itself; we're cleaning it up a bit and I'm inclined to keep it around if it can manage not to veer off into shitty territory, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:15 PM on April 21, 2009


Someone just delete the metafilter thread. Please.

Anyone in particular?
posted by gman at 5:17 PM on April 21, 2009


Oh my word, I just looked at the pictures. Oh my word. What a tragedy. Something like that would make anybody crazy.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:17 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bullshit.

Make your case, then.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:19 PM on April 21, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm inclined to keep it around if it can manage not to veer off into shitty territory, basically.

Well, I'll do my damned best, boss, but I think you've got a lot of shitty potential comensurate with shitty updates to look forward to, as Faith's life progresses. Do we, here at Metafilter, want to invite Myah and Faith to the party? There's just so. much. fertile ground for crass humor and hate.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:20 PM on April 21, 2009


You know, mocking people on the internet is already obnoxious enough. Trying to coat it with a veneer of righteousness because "some people deserve it" just blows it way past "obnoxious" out to "advanced prickery with a minor in get the fuck away from me" territory.
posted by supercrayon at 5:23 PM on April 21, 2009 [24 favorites]


The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly.

Because even though she's grieving, I think it's fucking pathetic that the dumb fundie asshole ignores all fact and pathetically attempts to make her non-conscious baby into some ideal child.


You know it's weird, I can extend enough empathy to understand the world from this woman's position, but I'm finding it hard to understand the world from yours.
posted by Sova at 5:23 PM on April 21, 2009 [57 favorites]


I think with obviously contentious threads like that, it might be useful for we many thousands of MeFites to be told in advance what position we ought to be taking so that sensibilities are not harmed and we all continue to get along because we're all best buddies and it's important for us to all think alike because moral subjectivism exists only in the real world and not online. That might be a useful pony.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:27 PM on April 21, 2009 [7 favorites]


I just like to say the word smock. Smock. Smock. Smock. Smock. Smock. Smock.
posted by ooga_booga at 5:29 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Despite my blacker comments there, I don't really feel like the woman needs mocking. The post? The concerned folks who just wanna think about how noble and pure this mom is? This is Lifetime Movie bullshit, posted in a lazy way.
posted by klangklangston at 5:31 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's a good post. Everything about the situation seems to be shitty, but it's something genuine and on the internet and that's a big part of what MeFi is. It's hard to describe, but I think people got too pissed at the poster for whole thing and others got too pissed at the mother for the whole thing and both camps were adding a lot of hate to a thread that otherwise, wasn't great, but was interesting and presented not only a blog, but a mentality that I might never encounter in my daily life.
posted by Science! at 5:31 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes turgid dahlia, that's exactly it. So, as a necessary result, EVERYTHING is permissible and the application of any standards is de facto erroneous. As such, I encourage you to join your friends at Something Awful and 4chan, where the ground rules will be more to your liking.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:31 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Woah, woah, if you keep reducing that ad absurdum there it's going to burn!
posted by GuyZero at 5:32 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly.

No. No one does.


C'mon. I think it's horrible and callous to mock this woman, but there are certainly some cases where mockery is richly deserved. For instance, Candide is a richly deserved mockery of Leibniz's theodicy.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:36 PM on April 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


"Yes turgid dahlia, that's exactly it. So, as a necessary result, EVERYTHING is permissible and the application of any standards is de facto erroneous. As such, I encourage you to join your friends at Something Awful and 4chan, where the ground rules will be more to your liking."

Because we have some standards they must conform to my standards!

(I'm kidding. I tell people to go to Fark or 4Chan all the time.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:37 PM on April 21, 2009


The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly.

Wow, what a fucking tosser.

The thread should be deleted. Let the woman air her feelings for her own reasons, but lets not invite 10,000 people to gather round and watch.
posted by fire&wings at 5:38 PM on April 21, 2009


It's maybe not the best constructed post, but the phenomenon of someone blogging her experience with a catastrophic birth defect raises a bunch of interesting ethical, medical, and philosophical issues that are worth discussing. Not that anyone will, but still.

I swear, though, if Myah starts Twittering #BabyFaithWatch, I'll raise a pitchfork and raise it high.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:39 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thought provoking blog, that was posted without editorialization. Some dumbass comments were made which generally were called out for being dumbass. How is this not typical of Metafilter?

Despite my blacker comments there, I don't really feel like the woman needs mocking. The post? The concerned folks who just wanna think about how noble and pure this mom is? This is Lifetime Movie bullshit, posted in a lazy way.

I just went back through the thread, looking for someone who defended the nobility and purity and saw no such comment. Some of us appreciated that there was more going on here than OMG XIAN LADY HAS BABY WITH NO BRAIN!!!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:39 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


boy, am i glad i didn't comment in that thread.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:42 PM on April 21, 2009


kldickson, what makes you want to scourge away the small hope and love a grieving woman feels? The fact that, perhaps through her naivete, perhaps through a misplaced belief in humanity, she allowed the public to view her grieving shouldn't make her a target for your crass mockery.

We might have a good idea of how and when this story will end, but pointing and laughing is a terrible reaction.
posted by boo_radley at 5:44 PM on April 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh great, you're back. Look, I have nothing for you.
posted by gman at 5:45 PM on April 21, 2009


boy, am i glad i didn't comment in that thread.

You could leave well enough alone with just making a shitty comment that gets deleted and letting it sit, you know.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:45 PM on April 21, 2009


"I just went back through the thread, looking for someone who defended the nobility and purity and saw no such comment. Some of us appreciated that there was more going on here than OMG XIAN LADY HAS BABY WITH NO BRAIN!!!"

Anastiav presents her blog as a tool of information and hope. That's closer to "nobility and purity" than anyone was to "OMG XIAN LADY HAS BABY WITH NO BRAIN!!!"
posted by klangklangston at 5:50 PM on April 21, 2009


Chicago Hope was a great show up until Mandy Patinkin left. Dr. Jeffry Geiger would have known what to do!
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:50 PM on April 21, 2009


I think the thread is better off dead. People are posting vile shit in it. It makes this a worse community, not a better one. We've apparently some real sick fucks on MeFi.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:52 PM on April 21, 2009


Perhaps as a relatively new father I'm a little oversensitive, but a fair portion of the comments are in poor taste.

Yes. Yes, they are.

I still think they should stand. "Because it makes them look like heartless fuckwits" isn't a good enough reason to mass-censor a thread, in my book.
posted by zarq at 5:54 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


And I'm holding back!
posted by klangklangston at 5:54 PM on April 21, 2009


i have no idea what you're talking about.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:55 PM on April 21, 2009


what makes you want to scourge away the small hope and love a grieving woman feels? The fact that, perhaps through her naivete, perhaps through a misplaced belief in humanity, she allowed the public to view her grieving shouldn't make her a target for your crass mockery.

More than this, are the voices of judgment on what this woman should be doing, how she needs to face reality and deal with it or whatever. Christ almighty, what arrogance. Everyone faces horror in their own way, gets through it in their own way. Writing a blog about it certainly isn't the worst thing you could do, nor is making the most of the time you have with the child. If it's not the sort of thing you would read, hey, that's great, because no one's making you. Getting all Henry Rollins about how other people should be facing reality hardly seems helpful.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:57 PM on April 21, 2009 [20 favorites]


Anastiav presents her blog as a tool of information and hope. That's closer to "nobility and purity" than anyone was to "OMG XIAN LADY HAS BABY WITH NO BRAIN!!!"

Change "presents" to "interprets" (and spell my name right!) and I won't disagree with you.

Look, since my son was born I've read a ton of mommy blogs. Some of them are written by mothers who have had a child die or who are dealing with their child's terminal illness. This blog conforms to the pattern of those ... mostly normal stuff, punctuated by the kind of horror stories most parents never have to face. The strength these parents show (and I'm talking in broad generalizations now, not just talking about this one mother) often helps and inspires other parents who are just entering the horror show -- they don't know if they can bear it, don't know how anyone could bear it, but here are examples of other parents who are doing it, living through it. Is that "noble and pure"? I don't know -- but if the other choice is wondering if anyone ever comes out the other side, then I don't see a problem.
posted by anastasiav at 6:03 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Getting all Henry Rollins about how other people should be facing reality hardly seems helpful.

Agreed. She needs that like she needs a hole in the head.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:05 PM on April 21, 2009


i have no idea what you're talking about.

Is this that vaunted UbuRoivas "irony" we yanks don't understand, or are you just lying? You actually came as close as anyone to "OMG LADY WITH NO BRAIN HAS BABY WITH NO BRAIN!!!"
posted by dersins at 6:06 PM on April 21, 2009


Since I discovered flagging and moving on I feel better about myself.
posted by ob at 6:06 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


i have no idea what you're talking about.

Could be the same way I used it the other day.
posted by gman at 6:10 PM on April 21, 2009


ob writes "Since I discovered flagging and moving on I feel better about myself."

Flagged.
posted by mullingitover at 6:11 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


oh, i forgot about that. my bad.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:12 PM on April 21, 2009


Sometimes, I ask myself, "is this the best we can do?" And I'm speaking to all of us, to the kindness in our hearts. And we all fucking fail.

Yeah, this is one of those times.
posted by malocchio at 6:17 PM on April 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


As an antidote, I highly recommend the baseball science being dropped by Lacking Subtlety and mark242 in the no-hitters thread. Interesting stuff.
posted by mediareport at 6:18 PM on April 21, 2009


"and spell my name right!"

For that, I really do apologize. I had another tab open to check your name, then thought I already did.
posted by klangklangston at 6:30 PM on April 21, 2009


>Bullshit.

>>Make your case, then.


I don't care for the way bardic presented his argument with the single word 'bullshit', but I do think that some people -- politicians, oligarchs, the powerful and the privileged -- very much do deserve mockery, and that in some ways it's our responsibility to do so.

That said, people who are grieving, people who are at the ends of their ropes, the downtrodden, the mentally ill, folks who could use our help or at least our forbearance, no, not so much.

I'm as inclined as anyone else to be tempted to join in with some LOLBATSHITINSANE japery, but it's not something I'm proud of, or something I think is worth encouraging.

I don't know if it's the internet that is killing empathy, or it's just a series of tubes that move the pre-existing vitriol around.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:31 PM on April 21, 2009 [44 favorites]


"Japery" is such a great word that I hope you're not teaching it to the Koreans. I want it all for myself.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:33 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Very well said Stavros.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:35 PM on April 21, 2009


Thought provoking blog, that was posted without editorialization.

Without editorialization? Direct quotation is not free of editorial bias. Look at the quote that was chosen: "So little is known about the human brain and the only one who really knows what's going on is God. [...] I can't prove it but I feel like I just know." That quotation did not need to be the one on the front page, it is obviously incendiary in this community, and I'm quite sure JB knew that and picked it for that reason. This post had LOLXIAN written on it from the get-go.
posted by painquale at 6:38 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm really having trouble seeing what makes this a good post in any way, shape, or form. It has two links, one to someone's personal blog, the other to Wikipedia. On that basis alone it's lacking in substance...

... and the substance that is there is horrifying and tragic and just by clicking on the links I feel like I've just watched a train-wreck. "Images may be disturbing" doesn't cut it for a warning. "Images may haunt you for the rest of your life" would be more accurate.

The Wikipedia article is slightly informative, at least. Linking to the blog... well, it's inviting exactly the kind of response that it got: defensive people on the side of "it's the mom's choice" and really fighty people on the side of "THIS MAKES NO SENSE." Both sides are right. Which, in terms means that no one's right.

Which, brings me back to my original point of "WHY, G-D, WHY?!"

If ever a post should be deleted for being inflammatory and upsetting, this would be the one.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:39 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I found this on Reddit - where I recall it being posted as something like "MOM KEEPS ZOMBIE BABY ALIVE FOR JESUS". Those words.

The pictures were upsetting. I had the very uncharacteristic experience of not knowing immediately how I felt about it - even with the LOLXIAN angle. I expected that people here would make passionate arguments from several different sides. [And though that passion does lead to some of the worst comments on Metafilter, it also leads to most of the best.]

I thought "This will be a 200 comment thread." Make of that what you like.

I just checked the last few comments, having read the thread from beginning to end just before I came to see what trouble I was in over here. I think it's by far the most interesting - in both its pleasant and unpleasant aspects - thread to appear on MetaFilter today. I make no apology for sparking it.

Everyone's personality is shining through very brightly on this one - which I attribute to the power of this woman's document. If the glare is giving our mods a headache, I will understand if they close the thread.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:40 PM on April 21, 2009 [10 favorites]


I personally find the range of responses fascinating. That people would react as harshly as they have is something that, while I'm not necessarily glad I know it, might be useful to know someday.

As for the woman's blog: it might be helpful to someone going through a similar situation someday. That she is able to feel so much connection to her baby even under the circumstances, and that she is able to get through the day and do what she believes has to be done, and that she doesn't just sit around feeling sorry for herself, is also of interest.
posted by amtho at 6:44 PM on April 21, 2009


And I think "Metafilter post as personality test" isn't that hot an idea either, Joe.
posted by boo_radley at 6:45 PM on April 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Why would someone post pictures of cats in scanners? Why do people blog about anything? Oversharing is practically the hallmark of blogging. I'm unlikely to read her blog, but it's not alone in being a deeply personal journal of her life.
posted by theora55 at 6:46 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


painquale: "This post had LOLXIAN written on it from the get-go."

The woman's faith is directly relevant to what she's blogging about. A mention of it belonged in the FPP.

If you're dismayed at the reactions any expression of Christian belief gets on MetaFilter, I am very sorry. But until the mods made it an officially forbidden subject, I will indulge my occasional interest in it.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:50 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I don't care for the way bardic presented his argument with the single word 'bullshit'"

My Ethereal Bligh manual of style is coming in the mail. Sorry.
posted by bardic at 6:53 PM on April 21, 2009


posted by Joe Beese Everyone's personality is shining through very brightly on this one

Especially yours.
posted by mattdidthat at 6:56 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


You have great insight, anastasiav. Thanks for sharing.
posted by jamjam at 6:57 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I thought 'This will be a 200 comment thread.'"

I think I see the problem.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 7:14 PM on April 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


I made a joke in that thread, not at the woman's expense, but just as a way to break the tension I felt within myself, to remind myself that life goes on, and life is good, despite the horror of losing a child in such a cruel way. We have to laugh at life's little horrors sometimes, it seems to keep us sane.
posted by Mister_A at 7:16 PM on April 21, 2009


I don't know if it's the internet that is killing empathy.

Interesting thought. I've been noticing that the traditional newsmedia websites are becoming increasingly farkish with every passing day - partially caused by the ready availability of newsfeeds & the decline of traditional inhouse journalism, and probably also in part because regular news about politics or the economy or local issues doesn't have that HFCS punch that can be delivered by wacko believe-it-or-not stories from around the world (via digg).

So, yesterday a semi-trailer full of toilet paper fell down a 90m cliff; today a baby was born without a brain and is worshipped as a goddess in India; tomorrow a Brazilian priest will be blown out to sea trying to set a balloon-flight altitude record in support of transexual pygmies.

And while I'd like to think that we retain our visceral empathy towards people we know in real life, and can extend that in an abstract sense towards total strangers that we will never have anything to do with, the increasing saturation of these stories from the freakish sideshow of human existence seem to me to fall into a kind of uncanny valley of reportage, whereby the 'exotic' or 'uncanny' elements serve to counterbalance & desensitise us towards the more familiar elements of human misery contained within the stories.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:18 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


posted by Joe Beese Everyone's personality is shining through very brightly on this one

Especially yours.
posted by mattdidthat


What exactly are you referring to?
posted by gman at 7:21 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are more kinds of defects in this world than anecephaly.


Some of them are on display in this thread.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:26 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


And while I'd like to think that we retain our visceral empathy towards people we know in real life, and can extend that in an abstract sense towards total strangers that we will never have anything to do with, the increasing saturation of these stories from the freakish sideshow of human existence seem to me to fall into a kind of uncanny valley of reportage, whereby the 'exotic' or 'uncanny' elements serve to counterbalance & desensitise us towards the more familiar elements of human misery contained within the stories.

Uh, apparently not ALL of us, which is why someone made a MetaTalk thread about how there were people in the FPP's discussion thread behaving like complete fucking choads.

What bothers me is that some of those choads are people whose thoughts I often enjoy. I prefer to think they're trying to come off as more h@rdk0r3 than thou because they know, quite consciously, that if faced with the existential horror of their own child = a mindless zombie that nevertheless draws breath, they would not know whether to shit or go fucking blind. It seems pretty clear to me that if I were that woman I'd be ready to dive through a window screaming "IA! IA! CTHULHU R'LYEH!" like a goddamned Lovecraftian narrator.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:28 PM on April 21, 2009 [15 favorites]


I don't know if it's the internet that is killing empathy.

I'll be honest, I'm not sure I can have as much empathy for her as others, when: 1) the continued grief she is sharing publicly is mostly self-imposed as the denial of the specific reality -- however painful -- of the medical state of her brain-dead child; 2) she is taking her grief, angry denial, and angry Christian views out on others through the public medium of a blog. This crosses several lines of behavior most would consider unacceptable, when divorced from the shock of the subject matter.

It seems unreasonable to that we cannot evaluate the right and wrong of her actions without censure, when she has gone out of her way to not only publicize her decision to keep the child alive at all costs, but use the site as a means to openly question and condemn the value judgments of others who do not share her religious idolatry.

She's welcome to be anti-choice or pro-life, whatever wording people care to use, but I get the sense she is motivated to troll others out of what is obviously a sad event in her life. This public aspect to her web site is as relevant to the decision that all Metafilter users make when they share what they discover as a front-page post.

I hope we can be allowed to discuss and decide for ourselves if what she has done with a web publication is or is not acceptable behavior, and Metafilter is one unique forum on which that kind of discussion can take place, even if some unpalatable commentary may take place.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:36 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I never thought I'd say it but, everyone really does need a hug.
posted by nola at 7:36 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't know if it's the internet that is killing empathy.

There's only so much empathy a person can have. Dealing with an endless stream of shit (the internet) is bound to cause people to put up defenses.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:40 PM on April 21, 2009


I thought "This will be a 200 comment thread." Make of that what you like.

How about we not play guessing games and you tell us what you mean? Because while one of the purposes of creating an FPP is to provoke a lively discussion on the subject at hand, I can't see how blog link/ultra-fundie quote/Wiki link could have been fuel for anything but what was bound to be one ugly thread, despite the self-proclaimed title of Most Interesting Thread today.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:41 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it's the internet that is killing empathy.


It's not like you look at all that garbage because you're forced to at gun point.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:42 PM on April 21, 2009


*shrug*

My other theory is just that most people just aren't very pleasant or kind or thoughtful, and the internet just helps to make the fact all the more apparent. But that dovetails so nicely with my regrettable life-long tendency towards misanthropy, though, I that I try not fall back on it by default.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:48 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Blazecock, you're absolutely right that anyone who publishes private information about her/his life on the Internet is, on some level, fair game for critique and reaction. However, you should at least get the facts straight:

-- as anastasiav pointed out, the infant is not brain-dead. She requires no extraordinary life support but has enough brainstem function (for now) to sustain life.

-- the mother isn't, at least based on info in the blog, committed to keeping the child alive "at all costs." In fact, if you go way back to her early posts, she discusses her choice to provide palliative care and nutrition only.

-- as far as I can make out the chronology, someone posted her blog on Reddit, which led to a mass of fucking idiots running over to write this woman a huge pile of unsolicited hate mail -- which then led to her replying to the "haters" and "atheists" and going to Reddit to complain. "Trolling" doesn't seem to be a fair characterization of her actions, even if they were unwise.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:49 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I nearly put the first comment in that thread. Years of watching and hearing about parents making horrifically bad decision for their children, particularly in regards to vaccines, because "they're the parents and they just know better than doctors" has instilled a knee-jerk reaction. But then I realized that, even if there was no hope for this baby, the woman isn't actually hurting anybody. Yes, I guess the baby's organs could be harvested for those who need, but she's under no obligation to do so, just as none of us are. We're not in a position to demand that she turn the child over to doctors to be pulled apart, even if we think it's the right thing to do. So I started typing "I guess she is free to believe whatever she wants," and then realized that this comment means nothing, and needn't be typed.

People are going to have strong reactions to this. Some will rankle at the woman decided she knows better than science, as I did. Some will be motivated primarily by compassion for her. Not everybody is going to express that very well. But it doesn't seem to me that there were many opinions in that thread or this one that were unthinkable or unexpressible. It's such an awesome tragedy, and a horrific one, that every reaction feels sort of inappropriate, especially the ones that aren't obviously motivated by compassion. But because we don't really know how to react to this doesn't mean others are doing it wrong.

Dead baby jokes are beyond the pale. But an honest discussion of the woman's faith, which she has put on display, and what it means that she has sided with the unprovable in definace of science, is a perfectly valid discussion, especially, as Blazecock says, when she herself has been so public about it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:54 PM on April 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Is this the wrong place to mention that kldickson has been claiming to be 20 years old for the last year and a half? I think some people use the internet to recreate themselves and spout things that they think make them look smart, but actually just make them look like assholes. Does a person feel less pathetic if one points figures and calls other people pathetic? I thought we learned in the playground that that doesn't really work. I guess some people never learn.

I'm SHOCKED to see some of those comments, both here and in the original thread. I presume anyone who can say some of those things that has never actually had to cope with real tragedy in their lives.

And the argument that this child shouldn't be called "daughter", and is not a "child"? My god. Try that one on someone whose had a few miscarriages if you want to get socked in the mouth. Who exactly are you to determine what makes a "child"? All we have is ideas about each other; father, mother, sister, child, friend, husband: those are ideas more than they are anything else. This woman thinking of her baby as her baby, her daughter, her child doesn't harm any of us in the slightest.

I don't see why she can't celebrate the life of her child as long as it lasts. More power to her.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:57 PM on April 21, 2009 [12 favorites]


Uh, apparently not ALL of us, which is why someone made a MetaTalk thread

probably depends somewhat on the subject matter. people who have kids (especially) and people who like them or want them could be expected to be more likely to project themselves into the mother's position & take a more personal approach to the subject matter. in fact, the OP of this thread hinted as much: "Perhaps as a relatively new father I'm a little oversensitive"

it's not so close to the bone for those who actively don't want babies, eg because - amongst numerous other reasons - they don't want to be faced with even the possibility of the existential horror of their own child = a mindless zombie that nevertheless draws breath.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:07 PM on April 21, 2009


You know, I think I've decided to leave that thread alone.

On the one hand, some of the comments people are making are strikingly callous. On the other hand, the "shame on you, you should feel sad and guilty" comments are pretty obnoxious as well.

The OP has admitted to knowing ahead of time that it would "inspire a 200+ comment thread" where people would make "passionate arguments." Which is somehow different from plain old ordinary trolling.

Definitely not the best of the web. Do not want.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:07 PM on April 21, 2009


as anastasiav pointed out, the infant is not brain-dead. She requires no extraordinary life support but has enough brainstem function (for now) to sustain life.

Fair enough, but as an ethical matter, I don't believe that having lower brainstem function provides for a dignified life, in that the infant has no consciousness whatsoever. (Others can and do disagree. See Schiavo, etc.) So while the term "brain-dead" may not be 100% medically accurate, it is accurate enough that the child has no potential for its own human experience and that motivates my decision to use the term, right or wrong, in the sense of trying to recognize the dignity of living beings.

"Trolling" doesn't seem to be a fair characterization of her actions, even if they were unwise.

It is dead in every meaningful sense -- the only significant reasons the child is kept alive are to salve the (not insignificant) grief the mother is experiencing and, at least partially, to fulfill a very public, religiously-motivated, anti-choice political agenda. The child itself is granted no dignity or peace by being used in this very public way. That is my own value judgment, but it seems no way to exist, and I would and do criticize her actions on that basis alone. If "trolling" is not the right word, "baiting" is.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:10 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "How about we not play guessing games and you tell us what you mean?"

That I looked forward to provoking a lively discussion on the subject. Which I have.

As for where the line gets drawn between "interesting", "interesting but controversial enough that a few people will need to be told to chill out", and "so interesting that MetaFilter can't be trusted to even attempt a discussion", I respect the mod's judgment.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:13 PM on April 21, 2009


it's not so close to the bone for those who actively don't want babies, eg because - amongst numerous other reasons - they don't want to be faced with even the possibility of the existential horror of their own child = a mindless zombie that nevertheless draws breath.

Well, you know, empathy is kind of about relating to people, not exclusively to people who are exactly like yourself. That's...well, I don't know what it is, but I guess narcissism. That's kind of the opposite of empathy. I don't have kids, don't especially want kids, but it's easy enough for me to imagine being in the position of someone who did and had this one. I can't actually imagine that's terribly difficult for most people, if they're at all open to it. I can understand why they wouldn't want to imagine it, sure.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:14 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I don't know -- but if the other choice is wondering if anyone ever comes out the other side, then I don't see a problem."

Well, see, there are two problems with that: The first is assuming that how she's dealing with all this is healthy and to be imitated, the second is assuming that there are no other ways to approach what she's written. It's fine and good to look at it from the perspective of a mommy reading mommy blogs, but that doesn't meant that other criticisms are bad.

What I will say is that in rereading the thread, I can understand how it can feel like the folks being crass were ganging up on the relatively fewer voices-of-reason, but I also feel like once folks decided to be huffy, every comment read toward that feeling.

I'm not going to defend the Baby Mozart crack as of equal quality to Hemingway, but the targets of the joke (Hemingway, Baby Einstein, Faith) are fairly insulated from the effects. I understand that it's possible to be offended on someone else's behalf, but you being offended on behalf of the mother being offended for the baby with no brain? I believe the debt owed to Faith is a lack of pain.

And because that's all pretty grim to talk about, I'm going to joke about it.
posted by klangklangston at 8:23 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Afroblanco: "The OP has admitted to knowing ahead of time that it would "inspire a 200+ comment thread" where people would make "passionate arguments." Which is somehow different from plain old ordinary trolling."

If I go to Daily Kos and defend Dick Cheney's policy on torture, that's trolling. I know in advance that I'm directly challenging a conviction universally held in that community.

If I go to MetaFilter and post about a powerful subject that touches (however artlessly, in your opinion) upon the deepest issues of our humanity, in the expectation that MetaFilter is composed mostly of adults, I think that's something else.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:25 PM on April 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


I don't know why anyone would make fun of a woman who is watching her child die.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:25 PM on April 21, 2009 [19 favorites]


"Everyone's personality is shining through very brightly on this one - which I attribute to the power of this woman's document. If the glare is giving our mods a headache, I will understand if they close the thread."

Dude, I said, "Cynicism litmus test"!
posted by klangklangston at 8:26 PM on April 21, 2009


So how would you guys kill this sack of human DNA? Pull the feeding tube and let it slowly die? Wrap your loving hands around its neck and choke it to death? Make it someone else's problem — take it away doctor, dispose of this living thing!

Oh, heroes of MeFi, tell us how you'd kill your child!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:29 PM on April 21, 2009 [9 favorites]


kittens - not exactly what i was saying. more that parents & wannabe parents are more likely to have a strong & emotional 'kneejerk' (for want of a better term) kind of empathy, because the parenting instinct is strong in them.

it's not that others can't empathise, just that it won't be nearly as automatic, and this can lead to a wider range of responses, like the one you mention.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:31 PM on April 21, 2009


probably depends somewhat on the subject matter. people who have kids (especially) and people who like them or want them could be expected to be more likely to project themselves into the mother's position & take a more personal approach to the subject matter.

I don't know, Ubu. I can't bear to be in a room with children for more than twenty seconds at a stretch and I thought that thread was fairly horrifying. I didn't look at the links, because I have seen babies with gross physical deformities before and it makes me sad.

I feel very sorry for that woman. I think it's possible to have a serious, respectful conversation about the ethical implications of her choice, but I don't think that the place for that kind of conversation is online.
posted by winna at 8:31 PM on April 21, 2009


I don't know why the making fun, otherworldly, and the situation is indeed tragic, but some would argue there wasn't ever a child TO die...for all practical purposes, she's being put through a kind of prolonged zombie miscarriage, which is absolutely horrifying. I honestly think almost anyone in this situation would be having a mental crisis in one way or another.
posted by agregoli at 8:31 PM on April 21, 2009


If I go to MetaFilter and post about a powerful subject that touches (however artlessly, in your opinion) upon the deepest issues of our humanity, in the expectation that MetaFilter is composed mostly of adults, I think that's something else.

Sure, I mean, it's one thing if you're posting on a topic that just happens to "touch upon the deepest issues of our humanity" and blah de blah de blah. But it's quite another thing if you're posting something because you like to see sparks fly -- even if you think the sparks are beautiful.

Anyway, I doubt that the mods will close or delete the thread, because by now it's become a thing, and once something becomes a thing, I've noticed that the mods are loathe to delete it. But I don't think your post has made Metafilter a better place, and I don't agree with your reasoning behind posting it.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:33 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


"So how would you guys kill this sack of human DNA? Pull the feeding tube and let it slowly die? Wrap your loving hands around its neck and choke it to death? Make it someone else's problem — take it away doctor, dispose of this living thing!

Oh, heroes of MeFi, tell us how you'd kill your child!
"

I've watched my uncle drown barn kittens so they wouldn't starve in winter. I'd repeat to myself that it couldn't feel pain, that it wasn't conscious or aware, and that it wasn't as cute as kittens.

It wouldn't be easy, but I'd do it a day before I took to blogging about it.
posted by klangklangston at 8:35 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, heroes of MeFi, tell us how you'd kill your child!

probably according to the best medical advice as to what would cause the least suffering. it's not as if terminating the brain-dead is a rare medical procedure.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:35 PM on April 21, 2009


The post is bait. It should be taken down.
posted by MarshallPoe at 8:36 PM on April 21, 2009


"it's not as if terminating the brain-dead is a rare medical procedure."

Here we just make 'em be president.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 PM on April 21, 2009


Here we just make 'em be president.

The one unfortunate side effect of electing Obama is that Bush jokes just don't work anymore. Sad, I know, but relatively speaking it's a small price to pay.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:40 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


As for where the line gets drawn between "interesting", "interesting but controversial enough that a few people will need to be told to chill out", and "so interesting that MetaFilter can't be trusted to even attempt a discussion", I respect the mod's judgment.

Part of the mods' judgment at this point is that you have kind of a shitty track record for not stirring things up around here, and while you tend to be fairly gracious and self-effacing in the immediate aftermath, that becomes less impressive when it happens on a regular basis as a cycle of Stir Things Up, Get Called On It, Apologize, Stir Things Up...

We're letting the post stand to some extent in spite of the fact that you posted it and we're having a hard time trusting you on some of these judgment calls based on that history so far. It'd be nice if you could find some way to waaaaay deprioritize your personal "this would prompt an interesting discussion" feelings when you choose to interact with the site, because you seem to make more of a mess than most people when you run with that instinct and signs point to your filter being kinda broken on that front.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:41 PM on April 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's the sort of 'you idiot, you made a bad situation worse' sort of thing that, yeah, really kind of deserves mocking.

That's shows very weak charachter. What that woman deserves is compassion and a decent education.

Though for full disclosure I did not read the links and only skimmed the vile comments in the post. It was just the usual suspects doing their usual knee-jerk heartless horseshit. Not really worth the electrons, really.
posted by tkchrist at 8:41 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


she is taking her grief, angry denial, and angry Christian views out on others through the public medium of a blog.

....How is she "taking her views out on others" just by posting them on a blog, though?

Are you referring to the blog's mere existance? If so, well, you are aware that you don't have to read it, right?

Are you referring to her "h8ters burn in hellfire" comments? If so, well, some angry views were taken out on her first, and so that strikes me as more tit-for-tat -- not mature, but understandable, anyway. And again, not something you personally are being forced to read.

so HOW, again is she "taking her views out on others" just by having a blog?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:45 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If someone drops a comment about circumcision in all this, we might create a new black hole.

Nobel prize, here we come!
posted by dr_dank at 8:48 PM on April 21, 2009


some would argue there wasn't ever a child TO die...for all practical purposes, she's being put through a kind of prolonged zombie miscarriage, which is absolutely horrifying.
Yes, and I know that is in fact what some are arguing but this woman believes that it's her child and even if I found that weird, I can't possibly find anything funny about that. And plenty of women grieve for their miscarriages as well.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:50 PM on April 21, 2009


I've watched my uncle drown barn kittens so they wouldn't starve in winter.

Animal cruelty-and depending on your age when he let you watch-child cruelty as well.

A man around here got arrested for burying newborn pups. It's not legal.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:50 PM on April 21, 2009


I never said otherwise, otherworldlyglow.
posted by agregoli at 8:52 PM on April 21, 2009


A man around here got arrested for burying newborn pups. It's not legal.

It is, however, common in rural areas though many people don't talk about it much. Not entirely dissimilar from this post's topic. Many women with tragic pregnancies of all sorts have grieved in private forever. The fact that someone is choosing the (odd to me, but understandable) path to write about it online seems like such a strange thing to evoke such angry responses.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:54 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fact that someone is choosing the (odd to me, but understandable) path to write about it online seems like such a strange thing to evoke such angry responses.

Hmmm...... you know, that's interesting. I think you hit the nail on the head.

It's this whole notion of public grieving. Sure, it's been around forever - funerals, memorial services, that sort of thing. But the idea of giving constant detailed updates to the entire world about your awful, harrowing situation -- it's kind of a new thing. There's really no real-world equivalent to what she's doing. It's weird. And disconcerting. I think we're still processing it.

Anyway, it seems that people are pretty polarized on this issue, but I think I fall somewhere in between. I don't think she deserves mockery or anything like that. But all the same - god, why would she want to do this to herself? And why would ANYONE want to read it?

My guess? Her blog was originally only intended to be read by like-minded religious people. And then somehow it got out.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:03 PM on April 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


I recall several experiences I had on psilocybe cubensis that enabled some kind of neurological attunement to the lives and feelings of those around me to the point where I could basically experience the world as they did. It was a wholly incredible and humbling experience, and to this day has shaped how I interact with others. When I sometimes forget, and go into a purely judgmental mode or can't fathom why someone is behaving a certain way, I feel this sort of quick painful jolt in my chest and then I'm back in that empathetic state. It's really a shame more people don't have a conscience anymore, and are instead going on whatever creaky rules and mores they picked up along the way. Here's wishing there's a cow pasture near you.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:09 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


My guess? Her blog was originally only intended to be read by like-minded religious people. And then somehow it got out.

I think her whole experience with internet up until this point has probably been on mommy blogs and religious forums, if that. This may explain why she had unmoderated comments sections. Or maybe she just naively assumed that surely no one would send her freakin' hate mail for blogging about her child. I guess she graduated from Internet 101 now.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:12 PM on April 21, 2009


This is one of the few times that I've been on this side of MeFi. If things get out of hand here, is there a meta-metatalk?
posted by dr_dank at 9:14 PM on April 21, 2009


I'm really disappointed that Joe made the choice to bring this to Metafilter. And I'm disappointed that it wasn't deleted early on.

Witnessing the Internet at large verbally flay a grieving mother with mockery and snark because she made a choice they wouldn't have, and ... there just aren't words that adequately convey the degree of shittiness.
posted by WCityMike at 9:21 PM on April 21, 2009


"The one unfortunate side effect of electing Obama is that Bush jokes just don't work anymore. Sad, I know, but relatively speaking it's a small price to pay."

I'm rocking an early '00s haircut.
posted by klangklangston at 9:22 PM on April 21, 2009


It is, however, common in rural areas though many people don't talk about it much.

my grandfather did the same thing to his excess barn kittens - drowned them in the horsetrough - however, it was the 30s, it was the great depression, they didn't have a humane society out there and it was too expensive to call the vet for anything less than a calf birth, they didn't spay cats, and when you're poor and running a farm, every mouth on that farm has to earn its keep

it may be rural tradition, but times are different and i don't think there's much excuse for it now

---

But all the same - god, why would she want to do this to herself?

my guess is that she had no conception over how cruel people could be about things like this

And why would ANYONE want to read it?

"i am human and nothing human is alien to me"

-- terence
posted by pyramid termite at 9:24 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Animal cruelty-and depending on your age when he let you watch-child cruelty as well.

A man around here got arrested for burying newborn pups. It's not legal.
"

No, he was a farmer that knew what Wisconsin winters meant for barn cats. He didn't enjoy it.

He was always pretty blunt about the realities of farm life though. At least I never had to go through lambing season, something my cousin doesn't like to talk about.
posted by klangklangston at 9:33 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is she sacred because she is a grieving mother, or is she sacred because she just happens to be a human being and therefore we can, in some way, relate to her emotive state? Why is it only ever the human experience that causes dismay and brings out the ethics police to wag their fingers at us because we're not melting with empathy? Can we expect comparable decibel levels of outrage to the issue of child/mother interaction in the next thread about non-human animals? LOLBACON, right?
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:37 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fundamentalists treat atheists badly, and atheists treat fundamentalists badly. It's moments like these that help fuel the fire of cruelty to each other for years to come, and it's moments like these writ large and in great number that make our culture the land of no-holds-barred, barroom-nasty uncompassionate character attacks which it is today. People seem to fail to realize that the woman's not text on a screen, nor an anecdote, nor a element of an intellectual argument, nor fodder for dark wit, but a physical person to whom they'd never say these things were they in front of her as she held what she perceives to be her child in her arms. I've been online since the days of a Hayes modem pushing data at 2400 bps onto my CGA monitor, and this is one of the more dispiriting things I've ever seen.
posted by WCityMike at 9:39 PM on April 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


Why is it only ever the human experience that causes dismay and brings out the ethics police to wag their fingers at us because we're not melting with empathy?

Speaking for myself, I don't expect anyone to "melt with empathy". Not being an utter prick is just fine.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:41 PM on April 21, 2009 [12 favorites]


....How is she "taking her views out on others" just by posting them on a blog, though

Her hateful vitriol has already resonated with other religious bloggers who agree with her political agenda (as well as with those who are her targets). These things amplify. They are designed to, when delivered by good trolls.

If so, well, some angry views were taken out on her first

So she says. Based on her disproportionate response, condemning atheists to hell, etc. I'll admit skepticism and suspect someone questioned her judgment, which likely flipped her switch.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:43 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Blazecock (may I call you Blaze?), but I don't buy it. People kept journals, now they have blogs. Writing about tragedy is cathartic. The fact that hers is public is insufficient evidence that she's a troll. Even if she is, why would you treat her differently from any other troll? Ignore her.
posted by boo_radley at 9:46 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Her hateful vitriol has already resonated with other religious bloggers who agree with her political agenda (as well as with those who are her targets). These things amplify.

....Would you also have people who share views not talk to each other offline either? Because I'm not sure how what you're complaining about is unique to blogging as such.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 PM on April 21, 2009


probably according to the best medical advice as to what would cause the least suffering. it's not as if terminating the brain-dead is a rare medical procedure.

It's not that common... Remember Terry Schiavo? As others have noted, letting the baby die naturally is the most common method for an ancephaletic baby born alive in the US. The Dutch have moved ahead to euthanasia, but that isn't standard for Americans.
posted by mdn at 9:56 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe: I respect the mod's judgment.

cortex: signs point to your filter being kinda broken on that front.

And, true to pattern, Joe will disappear from this thread now that a mod has offered constructive criticism, and we'll get about a week or two of decency before he decides to fuck with the site again. Anyone who doesn't believe Joe's main reason for posting that was "Ha! This'll cause a ruckus!" is fooling themselves.
posted by mediareport at 9:59 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Writing about tragedy is cathartic.

As it relates to this instance, perhaps only in the way that burning heretics at the stake during the Inquisition was cathartic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:01 PM on April 21, 2009


The hateful vitriol is a teeny bit of her site, after getting her first Internet PileOn©. Her bit "you're IN FOR IT" is much more honest than "I'll pray for you", which for a lot of superficial faithful is the same thing.

I'm just saddened by the whole tableau. I'm reminded of a poster I saw in the Biology building when in college. It had a picture of animal rights protesters doing there thing. The text was: "Thanks to animal research, they'll be able to protest an average of 20 years longer."

All those "so-called" professionals, with their "so-called" learning and "textbooks" made it possible for her to know ahead of time that she was going to be in for a lot of suffering, so she was able to prepare beforehand.

Something to give thanks for, I think.
posted by lysdexic at 10:02 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I doubt that the mods will close or delete the thread, because by now it's become a thing, and once something becomes a thing, I've noticed that the mods are loathe to delete it. But I don't think your post has made Metafilter a better place, and I don't agree with your reasoning behind posting it.

Oh, I dunno. I think I learned some valuable things from that thread. It's good to know what kind of company one is keeping.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:03 PM on April 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


She needs that like she needs a hole in the head.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:05 PM on April 21 [+] [!]


Now this is the kind of mocking we can always do with more of. And make no mistake, I mean it.

Some thoughtful mod accurately deleted a comment of mine in the thread. The topic - brain death mistook for not-death in throes of grief - touches a personal nerve. I felt my sister squeeze my hand apparently in response to my speaking to her while she lay abed in the hospital on her way to the end of things, having had her noggin fatally conked by a car windshield whilst riding her bike just about twenty years ago. Was that squeeze volitional? I think so, the docs said no, and in the end it didn't matter.

I still have no patience for the hope and the confusion. I understand it, but it, understandably I hope, enrages me, and will until I too pass away from my time of biochemical activity.

In the thread, I posted a link to the Mikethe Headless Chicken website. I often chuckle to myself how similar to that bird I am. When my sister's brain functions stopped, so did a subset of mine. YMMV, but personally, I doubt it.
posted by mwhybark at 10:05 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blazecock, I don't think that comparison is warranted or accurate.
posted by boo_radley at 10:05 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly.

Because even though she's grieving, I think it's fucking pathetic that the dumb fundie asshole ignores all fact and pathetically attempts to make her non-conscious baby into some ideal child.

You know it's weird, I can extend enough empathy to understand the world from this woman's position, but I'm finding it hard to understand the world from yours.


It takes exactly the same 'type' of empathy to understand both of them. When it comes to hot button topics, there's often a loss of rationality. It's kind of ironic that kldickson is reacting irrationally to an irrational situation on the rationalized basis of rationality. For whatever reason (maybe it was Jesus urine in the Cheerios) kldickson apparently had a gut reaction to Faith (possibly for both meanings of that phrase) and it made kldickson irrational, which is kind of hypocritical, but also understandable. It is highly unlikely that kldickson would, upon meeting Myah, tell her "You're an asshole". If Faith were stillborn, it's nigh unimaginable that kldickson would say that, even if that's the opinion held of her by reason of her "dumb fundie"-ness. So it's likely because of the gut reaction to the situation that kldickson lost this rational response (to not say that), which lack of rationality is akin to Myah's (however understandable her response to grief - possibly aided by what appears to be magical thinking on her part -it would be hard to characterize it as rational). (Pony request to the overlords of English - a gender neutral third person pronoun please)


Everyone's personality is shining through very brightly on this one - which I attribute to the power of this woman's document.


If I go to MetaFilter and post about a powerful subject that touches (however artlessly, in your opinion) upon the deepest issues of our humanity, in the expectation that MetaFilter is composed mostly of adults, I think that's something else.

This post could have been a contender - there's no doubt that some of the issues that arise from it, and which have been clarified both there and here, are important ones, maybe even "powerful". But the topic being important says nothing about the 'power of this woman's document'. As Cortex wrote, the post is remaining in spite of your presentation (though I'm not sure why). The "artless" aspect of the post doesn't really appear to be in dispute - you are hardly arguing the converse.

And the argument that this child shouldn't be called "daughter", and is not a "child"? My god. Try that one on someone whose had a few miscarriages if you want to get socked in the mouth. Who exactly are you to determine what makes a "child"? All we have is ideas about each other; father, mother, sister, child, friend, husband: those are ideas more than they are anything else. This woman thinking of her baby as her baby, her daughter, her child doesn't harm any of us in the slightest.

Just because an argument shouldn't be made to someone to whom it would be rude simply by reason of their personal circumstances doesn't mean that it isn't a valid argument. As medical technology advances, and artificial organ technology advances, and even artificial intelligence technology advances, there definitely needs to be an increased awareness of the issues that arise - one of which being "personhood". If, from some perverse experiment, the woman had given birth to a calf, would we say that there was no harm in her calling it her child - imbuing that calf with rights perhaps?

The fact that the situation approaches a thought experiment doesn't make it less difficult when there are real people involved: indeed one of the very aspects of this situation is determining whether there is a real person involved. Giving the body a name doesn't make it a person. You could name the calf. (And I chose calf intentionally - there was a comment in the thread about the body essentially being meat - that might very well be the closest analogy).

This is the kind of subject that is rife with emotional minefields, linked to abortion and religion, so it is not surprising that it brought out some fuckwaddery. And it is also the kind of topic that doesn't mix well with humour, notwithstanding that I agree with klangklangston that nothing is beyond jokes, because when emotional baggage mixes with fuckwaddery in the presence of humour, it makes for stuff that few want to read...

We're letting the post stand to some extent in spite of the fact that you posted it and we're having a hard time trusting you on some of these judgment calls based on that history so far. It'd be nice if you could find some way to waaaaay deprioritize your personal "this would prompt an interesting discussion" feelings when you choose to interact with the site, because you seem to make more of a mess than most people when you run with that instinct and signs point to your filter being kinda broken on that front.

I respect this site - a lot. I deeply respect the job that the moderators do here, it is a deft, light touch. Can I respectfully suggest that the post shouldn't stand? Not only as specific deterrence to Joe Beese, but as general deterrence to those who think that simply creating a post that will likely engender discussion can have the retention-worthiness of that post judged after the fact by the quality of those who show up and participate. Isn't that the essence of GYOB? If the links aren't worthwhile, the post is remaining because the discussion IS. Bad precedent, no? (Sorry for all the legal terminology - it's how I argue) This MeTa thread will still exist (which is the whole point of this MeTa thread) not only pointing out how the FPP was poor, but how there are plenty of topics in the detritus for worthy FPPs to be crafted.
posted by birdsquared at 10:10 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


...the only significant reasons the child is kept alive are to salve the (not insignificant) grief the mother is experiencing and, at least partially, to fulfill a very public, religiously-motivated, anti-choice political agenda.

Could it be that your own political agenda is perhaps a reason behind your own (inaccurate) reading of her situation and blog?
posted by Snyder at 10:21 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Blazecock, I don't think that comparison is warranted or accurate.

Maybe, but don't think for a second that there isn't a culture war going on in the United States. These days, when I see and hear shrill and violent screeds in the United States against atheists (and anyone who doesn't agree with the fundamentalist Christian agenda), my bullshit alarm starts ringing and I wonder what the story is really about. The question of what makes a human being seems entirely secondary to the motivation for starting and maintaining a site like this, and her actions make me more reluctant to feel empathy with her. We are witnessing a gradual increase in religiously motivated right-wing extremism, and web sites like hers just add more fuel to the fire.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:22 PM on April 21, 2009


Could it be that your own political agenda is perhaps a reason behind your own (inaccurate) reading of her situation and blog?

It could be. But, then, I don't run a blog on which I condemn Christians to eternal hellfire. I wouldn't even say that on Metafilter. If I had an agenda, I'd have to be keeping it pretty close to the vest, relatively speaking.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:24 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


So I've read this whole thread before moving onto the thread in question. And I don't know what thread you're all reading; there were a couple of shitty jokes early on, and a couple of negative responses to the blog author's negative responses vis-a-vis hate mail and atheists, but I'm almost forty comments in and mostly the comments have been respectful and understanding. A fair number have called the thread a bad idea, and it is, but I haven't yet seen these horrible everyone is denigrating. There has been at least one comment calling out others for mocking, but I just don't see the mocking (other than the couple of shitty jokes), and someone said as much in the thread. I assume they show up eventually? In fact, this is a really great comment, as is this.

And this is about as great a tension breaking, non-mocking joke as you could possibly expect from a thread on this subject.
posted by Caduceus at 10:30 PM on April 21, 2009


it's not so close to the bone for those who actively don't want babies, eg because - amongst numerous other reasons - they don't want to be faced with even the possibility of the existential horror of their own child = a mindless zombie that nevertheless draws breath.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:07 PM on April 21 [+] [!]


I quite beg to differ. My sister's death is the root of my resistance to reproduction. And it is close to the fucking bone.
posted by mwhybark at 10:33 PM on April 21, 2009


It could be. But, then, I don't run a blog on which I condemn Christians to eternal hellfire. I wouldn't even say that on Metafilter.

Ok, but could you imagine yourself making inopportune statements towards hostile and antagonistic individuals in a time of intense stress and grief?

I mean, some people use their personal lives as political fodder, but I'm inclined to believe that the vast majority of them don't.
posted by Snyder at 10:35 PM on April 21, 2009


It now occurs to me that probably a lot of the worst comments have been deleted. So nevermind that last comment, I guess, though I still think the ones I linked are deserving of props.
posted by Caduceus at 10:36 PM on April 21, 2009


Ok, but could you imagine yourself making inopportune statements towards hostile and antagonistic individuals in a time of intense stress and grief?

Maybe I would turn the other cheek. Maybe not.

But you're still presupposing the veracity of her claims, which I am reluctant to do until more evidence comes about. My guess is that she understands her situation on some rational level, yet someone called her on her judgment who did not agree with her political and religious ideologies and she flipped out. (Sometimes when you invite the public into your private life, you may have to suffer the indignity of public opinion.) Probably not a good mental state in which to operate a public blog, unless her point in running the blog was to offend and incite a response.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:46 PM on April 21, 2009


I've watched my uncle drown barn kittens so they wouldn't starve in winter. I'd repeat to myself that it couldn't feel pain, that it wasn't conscious or aware, and that it wasn't as cute as kittens.

Killing your own offspring must be just like killing kittens. Any ol' farmer could do it. Why, Grandad's due to be set adrift on an ice floe next weekend!

If there's an appropriate emotion to feel for this woman, it's pity. It's got to be a real mean mindfuck to give birth to a brainless baby. I hope the blogging thing is helping her, I suspect she'd have been better off disabling comments, and I hope she pulls through this mindfuck all okay.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


These days, when I see and hear shrill and violent screeds in the United States against atheists

Wait. Aren't you a Canadian citizen? Couldn't you, like, move back to civilization?

Probably not a good mental state in which to operate a public blog

Well, losing a kid (even if it's only a potential one) is tough. Going public, today, is easy. One would think you'd get that.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:52 PM on April 21, 2009


Both these threads are utterly depressing.
posted by Phire at 10:52 PM on April 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


Okay, I've reached the awful comments.
posted by Caduceus at 10:52 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for keeping us updated, Caduceus. I was starting to feel quite anxious regarding your progress. What a relief to now know!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:59 PM on April 21, 2009


"Her hateful vitriol has already resonated with other religious bloggers who agree with her political agenda (as well as with those who are her targets). These things amplify. They are designed to, when delivered by good trolls."

C'mon, now, think about it: you went to her blog to read it. She was pissed off, and said so. I'm fine with making fun of her blog, but that means that I'm fine with her thinking I'm going to hell ("But it still moves"). Getting pissed off about her "hateful vitriol" seems a bit like picking fights to me, and it doesn't seem particularly fair. If she ever contacts you personally, you tell her how you feel about her language. But for me, reading Metafilter? Meh.
posted by klangklangston at 11:06 PM on April 21, 2009


One voice to agree that it should be left up. Feels sorta like there's some thought of taking it down because it will attract shitheads. Challenging as it may be in an operational sense, I'd go with dealing with the shitheads rather than something tending toward letting the shitheads win.
posted by ambient2 at 11:09 PM on April 21, 2009


"Killing your own offspring must be just like killing kittens. Any ol' farmer could do it. Why, Grandad's due to be set adrift on an ice floe next weekend!"

You asked, sport. My gramma asked me how she could die because she didn't want to keep living. My grandfather was wrongly, in my opinion, denied the right to end his life the way he wanted.

And you know what they were? Actual people, with minds and feelings.

If there's an appropriate emotion to feel for this woman, it's pity. It's got to be a real mean mindfuck to give birth to a brainless baby."

Really? How'd your mom live with it?

(Or: Fuck you for willfully misinterpreting what I was saying because you're in some high moral fever.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:11 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


posted by Blazecock Pileon Maybe, but don't think for a second that there isn't a culture war going on in the United States. These days, when I see and hear shrill and violent screeds in the United States against atheists (and anyone who doesn't agree with the fundamentalist Christian agenda), my bullshit alarm starts ringing and I wonder what the story is really about. The question of what makes a human being seems entirely secondary to the motivation for starting and maintaining a site like this, and her actions make me more reluctant to feel empathy with her. We are witnessing a gradual increase in religiously motivated right-wing extremism, and web sites like hers just add more fuel to the fire.

She's Canadian.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:20 PM on April 21, 2009 [6 favorites]


The woman deserves a good mocking. Honestly. ... I think it's fucking pathetic that the dumb fundie asshole ignores all fact and pathetically attempts to make her non-conscious baby into some ideal child.

Why? Why does it offend you so? No one's holding a gun to your head forcing you to read her blog.


Marissa, you of all people believe that mocking is EXACTLY the right thing to do when someone disagrees with you or you disagree with them.

Has tragic babies simply upped the stakes and made it not funny anymore?
posted by 5imian at 11:23 PM on April 21, 2009


I quite beg to differ. My sister's death is the root of my resistance to reproduction. And it is close to the fucking bone.

I'm sorry about your sister's death. First I'd heard of it, by the way.

However, if I tried to qualify a plausible general model (that clucky people are more likely to identify with the mother than people who are indifferent or antagonistic towards reproduction) with every possible human experience outside of this model, then we'd be here all night, and then some.

(not that this would be terribly unusual, mind you)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:24 PM on April 21, 2009


I don't know if it's the internet that is killing empathy.

I don't think it's that as much as it's making people feel like they have to have an opinion, that it doesn't have to be nuanced, and whatever it is, they do have to post it, because everyone else is posting theirs.

It's a culture where people feel free to Take a Position, and it's attention-getting to take a dismissive or defensive comment. And when people feel they have to have an opinion, fast, I think you get a lot of answers that are really just tossed off and not thoroughly thought through. And then add to that a culture which rewards wit and snark as easily, and sometimes more clearly, than nuance and insight....well, that's how we get a thread about a dying baby and her sad mother who is trying to do this unimaginably hard thing, that's how we get such cold responses, in some cases.

Also, last thing: what happened to that woman and her baby is horrible. Sometimes people say hurtful things because they're whistling in the dark--feeling emphathy is painful, and they don't want to entertain such a thing ever happening in their lives.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:24 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


What has suprised me is how many of the posters think organ donation is a simple easy process. Just let the infant die and take th organs. Those organs are dying along with the infant too. By the time she was legally dead, most of those organs would be turning to mush.

Then there are the posters that think there are other infants who are more deserving of Faith's organs than Faith is herself. Maybe an additional link to the repulsive (imo)movie "Seven Pounds" would had made the topic more 'worthy".

I think the original poster was manipulative in posting and has an agenda. Most of people do.

As a nurse I find the infants development interesting in a clinical way. Just where does the brain end ? There's a lot about the upper spinal chord we don't understand. Fascinating to see reflexes that look so "normal".

The issues surrounding organ donation are also important. As the choices that parents of infants with devastating birth defects are faced with.

All of those could have been added to round out the topic.

But you know...most of the time the public at large just doesn't want to deal with this stuff. And you know what the the usual reaction is when some one exposes their misery in public?

It sure isn't sympathy.
posted by moonlily at 11:26 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


She's Canadian.

Fair enough.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 PM on April 21, 2009


Marissa, you of all people believe that mocking is EXACTLY the right thing to do when someone disagrees with you or you disagree with them.

Has tragic babies simply upped the stakes and made it not funny anymore?


That is a pretty disingenuous bullshit comparison to make, 5imian, even for you. There is a whooooole world of difference between mocking fringe protestors displaying hateful, racist signs on a city street, and a woman blogging about her love for her deformed child. For fuck sake. Really.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:35 PM on April 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've watched my uncle drown barn kittens so they wouldn't starve in winter.

Cheapass couldn't invest in a couple of .22 rounds?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:38 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the best news is that, unless someone has notified this poor woman about the MeFi discussion, it is highly unlikely that she will ever read any of, or even know about, the discussion we have had here. Or the meta discussion.

I didn't read the article, skimmed the thread, didn't view the mind-killing photos... She's a woman in pain who is making illogical choices. We all do that from time to time.
posted by hippybear at 11:40 PM on April 21, 2009 [2 favorites]



That is a pretty disingenuous bullshit comparison to make, 5imian, even for you. There is a whooooole world of difference between mocking fringe protestors displaying hateful, racist signs on a city street, and a woman blogging about her love for her deformed child. For fuck sake. Really.


No. I'm sorry but it isn't. You can't mock in one breath and say mocking is wrong in the next. This isn't all that different. Some people disagree with the mother and her religious views and they are mockign her...jsut liek you mocked those peopel for their politicla views. The only differnce i see is you DISAGREE with the protestors and nto the mother.

That is a pretty disingenuous bullshit comparison to make, 5imian, even for you.


Even for me? What the hell does that mean?

I'm sorry but i called you out, and quoted you. Hypocrite.
posted by 5imian at 11:41 PM on April 21, 2009


Cheapass couldn't invest in a couple of .22 rounds

I gather you have not tried to kill kittens.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:45 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately I have. If you put them in the hole first (And they are already 3/4 dead from starvation), it isn't very difficult.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:52 PM on April 21, 2009


No. I'm sorry but it isn't. You can't mock in one breath and say mocking is wrong in the next. You can't mock in one breath and say mocking is wrong in the next. This isn't all that different. Some people disagree with the mother and her religious views and they are mockign her...jsut liek you mocked those peopel for their politicla views. The only differnce i see is you DISAGREE with the protestors and nto the mother.

Are you drunk? Seriously, read this tomorrow and tell me you still agree that mocking racists marching in the street is the same thing as mocking a woman blogging about her love for her derformed child. What your missing here with your sweeping "you can't mock in one breath and say mocking is wrong in the next" is that there is a time and a place for every action. So yes, actually, you can say it's OK to mock here but not there, just as it's OK to laugh here but not there, to shout here but not there, or pee here but not there. Sober up already.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:54 PM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, you could just masturbate, and let God do the killing.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:55 PM on April 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


You can't mock in one breath and say mocking is wrong in the next.

Actually you didn't just mock, you made an elaborate case for mocking involving a parable about some guy in Germany you knew... so it wasn't like you just did it..you gave a detailed explanation WHY it is okay to mock people you disagree with. I shoudl be more specific. You're even MORE hypocritical than my first assertion.


As many in this thread have pointed out..she doing more than raising a baby. Shes promoting a religious/ idealogical viewpoint that specifically condemns people who decide not to raise their (and i don't mean this offensively) vegetable. There is a blog. She has a message. She willfulyl made this public, either for sympathy or for a "look at me, despite the odds I am doing this". Its a powerful message, regardless if you agree with it.

Its powerful like trying to organize a nationwide protest, powerful- if only from a single individual. And she has a very distinct message. She's telling guys like this "You're wrong. Look at me".

I personally would not mock this person... thats too heavy handed in my opinion.

"Ignoring these idiots won't make them go away, and engaging them in any serious manner - violent or non-violent - only legitimizes their message."

Thats from your last post. lets keep in mind this right wing person isn't all that far off from those protesters ideologically. But suddenly human life is involved, right? I would do just that. Engage her nonviolently. But really... you are straight up condemning people in this thread for practicing what you preach. Or at least have preached before.

That is, afterall what you do. You mock people. You're mocking people for mocking people in this very thread. And quite frankly i don't give a crap, but do NOT sit there on an ivory pedestal and tell everyone who does that they are basically immoral or assholes. Unless you are conceding that you too are an asshole. Seriously. og through your posts. its snarky mock after snarky mock

Am i DRUNK?!?!

I don't drink. What, are you mocking me?
posted by 5imian at 11:59 PM on April 21, 2009


Alvy: I guess we are talking about different situations. 100% alive cats are very hard to shoot.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:00 AM on April 22, 2009


you gave a detailed explanation WHY it is okay to mock people you disagree with.

Er, no. I gave a detailed explanation why it was better to mock racists rather than clash with them violently or legitimize their message by engaging with them seriously. And your comparisons between the freakin' Teabaggers and this woman stretch really, really thin. You seem to think they're the same thing; I don't. I'd think the reasons why the anti-Obama protestors and a woman writing about how much she loves her child should be obvious, but they seem to be the same to you. Oh well. Must be nice to live in your world of a few solid colors.

That is, afterall what you do. You mock people. You're mocking people for mocking people in this very thread. And quite frankly i don't give a crap, but do NOT sit there on an ivory pedestal and tell everyone who does that they are basically immoral or assholes. Unless you are conceding that you too are an asshole. Seriously. og through your posts. its snarky mock after snarky mock

Congratulations, you've officially made me sick of the word "mock".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:07 AM on April 22, 2009


"I'd think the reasons why the anti-Obama protestors and a woman writing about how much she loves her child are hugely, vastly dissimilar should be obvious", that is.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:11 AM on April 22, 2009


He just likes saying "snarky mock. "

Snarky Mock. Snarky Mock. Snarky Mock.
posted by dersins at 12:13 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]



Er, no. I gave a detailed explanation why it was better to mock racists rather than clash with them violently or legitimize their message by engaging with them seriously. And your comparisons between the freakin' Teabaggers and this woman stretch really, really thin. You seem to think they're the same thing; I don't. I'd think the reasons why the anti-Obama protestors and a woman writing about how much she loves her child should be obvious, but they seem to be the same to you. Oh well. Must be nice to live in your world of a few solid colors.

Lets make this clear. They weren't necessarily all racists. That's spin. Lets also make this clear. This is more than a blog about a woman and her child. As i stated, its loaded with religion and ideology. Its way way way more than a simple "i love my baby blog". Are you SERIOUSLY arguing that?

I am not saying the two situations are the SAME. I am saying they have a similar element. They are a fringe case of something posted on metafilter- essentially fed to the hounds of the internet. YOu have made it very clear both through argument and action, when you disagree with something you make fun of it. Disagree with me? You call me drunk. Disagree with protesters? Well theyr'e stupid racists!!!...

quite frankly i don't care. I do it too. Christians can blow me for believing in demons, angels and pink unicorns. I . Care. Less.

Heres the thing, marissa. Some people *gasp* disagree with this blog. My point of contention with you is that your basically like "oh how dare you mooock her!" Well guess what. that's what YOU do all the time, and you think its awesome... UNTIL someone mocks something you disagree with.

I'm just letting you know. You'r a big fat hypocrite. Cause you are.

And if you're sick of the word mock, maybe you shoudl stop using it, and establishing that as the word for to describe the mode of communication we are discussing.
posted by 5imian at 12:15 AM on April 22, 2009


dear god i hate typing in this little window, i make more mispellings on metafilter. gah!
posted by 5imian at 12:17 AM on April 22, 2009


So, 5imian, be honest. This is you holding a grudge against MStPT over that retarded "Snacks and Shit" thread, isn't it? Because that's frankly the only reason I can think of for you apparently stalk him across multiple threads and then suddenly go 4peshit like this over some supposed inconsistency you've managed to totally bust him for-- an inconsistency, I might add, that appears to exist mostly, if not entirely, in your own mind.
posted by dersins at 12:22 AM on April 22, 2009


5imian, Marissa, take it to MeTa... oh wait.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:43 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry to make such an example of Marissa, but a lot of people in this thread are like Oh you fucking immorale asshole bastards! This is a baby rah! rah! you insensitive fuckwits! Delete the posts, surgically. Delete the thread! Its useless!! im sooo offended!

I just think the whole mocking/ insensitivity meter is pretty ideologically selective.

And quite frankly, so is censorship on metafilter.

I saw marissa being one of the more vocal dissenters and i remembered him posting the exact opposite ideological stance just a couple of days ago.

As far as this baby blog, the whole event is tragic.. but this post is important precisely because it makes us question what life really is. When metafilter posters are pretty dogmatically sure of themselves, they usually answer with sarcasm, mockery etc.

And some did this time, just like they always do. An like always.. its pretty snarky and in poor taste. Sure... as i said a baby (or whatever you want to call the thing) raises the moral stakes... but its just more metafilter goons doing what they do best. making cheesy one liner snarky comments about random bullshit on the internet.

Whats funny is that the very issue at stake here determines the sensitivity level. Is it a vegetable? Then the snarky comments are about as bad as insulting a pancreas. Is it a baby? Then they are baby hating assholes.

The mothers religiosity pretty much answers the question for her. But what if you are a hardcore pragmatic atheist. Doesn't the blog seem a little retarded? It might as well be a blog for a severed foot, sculpted into the shape of a baby. If you don't think its a person, there is no moral high ground... but it LOOKS like a baby.

Isn't such an unclear issue a bad time to take the moral highground and accuse the people making stupid comments of being jerks? Especialyl if you, yourself are just as guilty in another thread that someone else might take seriously? Doesn't that make you a hypocrite?

I just think this whole metatalk post is over the top. OMG delete the thread! Don't mock! Blah blah!

Could it be that we have finally uncovered something on the internet worthy of discussion and metafilter is doing what ti does best? overeating and making asinine comments? (not all of you. but yeah, the usual suspects)


the only reason I can think of for you apparently stalk him across multiple threads


That is a crock of shit. Hes in damned near every thread. Doesn't that make you all stalkers? And snack and shit was like months ago. Doesn't that mean you're stalking me, if anything?

SO to be honest, no. Its not about that thread from months ago. But honestly, i was picking on marissa perhaps a little too surgically. But i do think this metatalk about the post is a totally overracting.
posted by 5imian at 12:45 AM on April 22, 2009


But honestly, i was picking on marissa perhaps a little too surgically.

So sorry marissa. I was admittedly going to hard on you. Right now, its not about you. Its about metafilter.


But you're still a hypocrite.
posted by 5imian at 12:50 AM on April 22, 2009


Woo-hoo! I'm in the craaaazy end of the pool! Wheeeee!
posted by From Bklyn at 12:55 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Woo-hoo! I'm in the craaaazy end of the pool! Wheeeee!

Case in point.

Snarky. check. one-liner. check.

Wow. like as if on command.
posted by 5imian at 12:58 AM on April 22, 2009


This is a derail of course, but I'm always reminded at points like this how a bad FPP is like a good house party. First off you have some fun, all the good stuff gets said, then a bunch of people show up and it gets interesting, then most of the interesting people leave and go to another party, and then the dregs show up, who sniff around for the last of the beer and wallow in the debris.

Of course, this is a bad FPP we're talking about, not a good house party.
posted by seagull.apollo at 1:10 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


While this may have been an emotional FPP that has brought out the worse in some people, posts like that are a part of what makes Metafilter so great. You get to see and talk to people that you would probably never talk to, and you see a side of people (and these are real people, with lives and addresses) that is uncommon, if not impossible to find in everyday life. While that may not be a side you like to see, it's part of the whole package. And hey, it's not craigslist R&R. While there have been some posts that didn't have to be typed, there have also been some very thought provoking and interesting views, brought on by a dilemna that, without this FPP, people would have never had a chance to think about.
posted by seagull.apollo at 1:19 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


So sorry marissa. I was admittedly going to hard on you. Right now, its not about you. Its about metafilter.

Yeah, I wouldn't give yourself too much credit and get worried about my feelings here. I've been having a hard time taking any of this seriously since the repeated use of the word "mock" brought to mind this SNL sketch with John Malcovich.

Anyways:

I am not saying the two situations are the SAME. I am saying they have a similar element.

And I'm saying you're stretching those similarities beyond the breaking point. The common ground between the Teabaggers and this woman, as far as I've seen from your arguments anyway, is that they both express points of view on something, both of which are unusual. And since I said it was OK to mock the one, then I must be a hypocrite for saying it's not OK to mock the other. By this reasoning, anyone expressing an unpopular opinion must be deserving a mockery across the board. And I just don't think that's so.

The thing is, you're drawing up way too big a tent to house these people under. In the comment of mine you quoted, I was very specifically talking about dealing with racists and fringe radicals who are actively trying to have a direct influence on how our country is run and clamor for media attention at every turn. Here, we're talking about a woman who is writing about her experience with her drastically deformed child, and there is a religious element to it. On a blog that you can very easily avoid, and one that is not trying to change anything about your life in anyway.

Again, you can conflate these two under one giant banner in order to continue to support your point that I'm a hypocrite, but I don't see what you stand to gain from it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:28 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Note to self: Peview is your friend. 5imian you weren't my intended target, particularly - I see now that it looks that way, the lag between typing and posting was big enough that it's come out that way - I just think this whole topic, the FPP and now the MeTa thread have spiraled out in ways that are, uh, crazy and not constructive, necessarily. The topic, this woman and her baby, is a thorny one at best and as seagull.apollo just mentioned it's bringing out lots of different reactions. Personally, I think some of those reactions are extreme or, in the vernacular I am most familiar with, "crazy".

I am curious how/if this will resolve itself for the community at large. Metafilter seems to be doing this kind of remarkable thing, in my experience, where lots of the members of the community are not just hiding behind anonymity and squawking out whatever hateful shit they want, but are behaving more and more like people interact in the 'physical' world: with a good dose of civility and common sense. I think that's remarkable, worthwhile, and these two threads have been a momentary collapse of that. Not you particularly.

posted by From Bklyn at 1:51 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, 5imian, I call bullshit on your entire rant.

Metafilter can be ideologically slanted. Sure. The population that visits the website might have a subset of common beliefs that would get them classified under one major political "banner". That's what people are, right. They're subjective, and they have opinions, and when a lot of them have similar opinions, it might seem like the entire establishment is out to disenfranchise you and yours. I don't think that's true of MeFi itself, or of the moderation around here. I furthermore think that if you honestly believe that MeFi is just another internet site with people making stupid one-liner comments at stupid shit they see on the internet, you may not be reading the same site that I am.

I don't buy that a moral high ground doesn't exist just because it's an ideologically sensitive issue. If you don't think it's a person, you may think the mother is stupid and naive and blah blah lolxtian. That doesn't mean you get to personally attack someone you've never met, that you barely know, and who is clearly going through grief. I think that's a pretty simple distinction to make.

Furthermore, to your claim that there is a hidden religious and political movement to this, which you substantiated with a link to a parent who had personal trouble seeking out an abortion clinic, a few things -

I think it's pretty disingenuous to take her blog about a very personal issue and read that level of manipulation into it. I only read a few entries, so I don't know if buried in a link two weeks ago is some shill for the anti-choice movement or whatever, and I apologize if I missed any such political agenda. But just because a bunch of politically motived twits might use her story doesn't mean she gets to be attacked.

The whole point of the pro-choice movement is that you get to choose. Whether you base your choice on pragmatism, faith, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, that choice is yours. Had she been an atheist who chose to carry her child to term and keep it on palliative care for two months, how much of a difference would that have made, on balance? This goes back to my first point - unless she is actively harming other people with her choice, like campaigning at Planned Parenthood clinics with her child and whatnot, she is free to that choice.


You know why the mom is different from the protesters who are comparing Obama to Hitler and accusing him of slavery and such? Her purpose, in posting the blog, was not to harm. She needed hope, and she found that in chronicling her story and sharing it. Shes 23, she grew up with the technology, and posting on the internet to receive catharsis is probably very natural for her.

The protesters were trying to smear the reputation of a national leader by comparing him to Hitler because they didn't like his tax policies. The Klan protesters that Marisa referenced (one s, not two) had a clear political agenda to strip away the rights of a fairly big population in the country.

So yes, I really am saying that it is a "I love my child" blog. Do you honestly believe that a twenty-three year old girl - essentially a recently graduated college student - who just had a child that could die at any moment, whose dressing she has to change every day because her child doesn't have a back of the head, has the werewithal to stage this extremely powerful and subtle political messaging broadcast across the entire blogosphere? That this would be her first priority? She didn't even know what kind of danger unmodded commenting would bring her. Hell, she probably wouldn't have reached much of an audience had Reddit not picked it up out of utter malicious glee.

Cut people some slack. It makes life more pleasant.
posted by Phire at 1:57 AM on April 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wouldn't give yourself too much credit and get worried about my feelings here

Oh, i definitely am not doing that. I'm pretty sure you have nerves of steel, and the immutable mind of a steel vault.

The common ground between the Teabaggers and this woman, as far as I've seen from your arguments anyway, is that they both express points of view on something, both of which are unusual.


I said a lot more than that. AND that they project a certain ideological viewpoint. AND that they are very emotional topics.

The thing is, you're drawing up way too big a tent to house these people under.


Nay. You are unable to see any significant similarity between the two issues, thereby absolving you morally of any action you take. There's a lot of differences, but a liberal looking at the protesters is not unlike an athiest looking at this woman. A libertarian looking at the protesters is not unlike a sympathetic religious mother looking at the blog. On both sides of the fence there are people who stand to take offence on issues they consider very real, and very important. You dismiss one as "stupid racism", and not the other. In both cases, there's going to be snarky comments from the dissenters. That's normal. That's metafilter. That's many of you all do (admittedly me too). Every. time. Especially you.


On a blog that you can very easily avoid, and one that is not trying to change anything about your life in anyway.


This is the most ridiculous part of your rebuttal. First of all, I avoid Fox News. Like the plague. As for the blog? Dude, she put it on the net. How is that not an open invitation to read? Hows that not like any other media outlet? How is that not like metafilter itself, or this very post? And whether or not shes trying to change anything about my life is debatable, if not outright false. You can't prove that either way. I personally think publishing blog like this, and putting it OUT THERE, means making a statement. Regardless if you mean it or not. Because people make blogs, for noone to read, right?

I mean, if someone puts "god hates fags" on a bumper sticker, noones forcing you to read it right? What if that "bumpersticker" was actually a website accessible to millions and millions of people, thereby receiving more eyeballs than any bumpersticker could ever DREAM of? Hillsborough recently prosted at my old highschool. Nearly the entire small town of Moore, Oklahoma came out to watch. This blog is in the internet. What got more views? I mean, really.

What if that bumper sticker was actually a fully realized publication expressing, in a rather obvious way that Jesus expects you to raise your brainless child, and you're going to hell if you don't?

And since I said it was OK to mock the one, then I must be a hypocrite for saying it's not OK to mock the other.

Not just you. But yeah. I am coming from this angle: mocking is going to happen. I'm sure some not- so -radical protesters were irritated that you trivialized their stance, much like say many Christians get angry every time the Hillborough folk go out and make an ass of the entire christian community. I am not arguing that mocking isn't ok, I am just saying that maaayyybbeeeee the way you pick and chose is highly driven by your personal ideological stance.

I'm saying be a man and stand up and say "well i mocked THOSE assholes, i guess it comes as no surprise when someone mocks something I think is okay". I'm not saying you have to agree. I am saying that if you engaged the "racists" with a level- headed tone of seriousness, then i wouldn't be surprised when you got mad at people for being insensitive in this thread. But you clearly believe that is some fringe lunatic believes differently than you, then basically the argumentatively equivalent of namecalling and ad hominem is the way to go!

Seriously, how hard is it not to see that someone might see this as a sad, overly religious and ultimately futile display of "every life is precious" when clearly that's a grey issue.

I don't see what you stand to gain from it.

Nothing really. That's why you don't see anything I stand to gain.


I don't buy that a moral high ground doesn't exist just because it's an ideologically sensitive issue. If you don't think it's a person, you may think the mother is stupid and naive and blah blah lolxtian. That doesn't mean you get to personally attack someone you've never met, that you barely know, and who is clearly going through grief. I think that's a pretty simple distinction to make.

Really? How about making fun of a protester you've "never met". Because i seriously doubt you're defending marisa who quite clearly believes in OHTER instances thats ok. and a lot of you do. Seriously. Some of you DO think its ok. in your actions.

Cut people some slack. It makes life more pleasant.

Jesus. Thats the point. Either you ARE doing this or you ARENT. I assure you some of the protestors went into the entire ordeal expecting a different outcome. They were moderates who got mixed up with radicals. I really don't mind that some of you made fun of them, but are we cutting them any slack? Again, i don't care they got made fun of- it was MY thread... I jsut think some of you are a littel oversensitive when the mighty hammer of sarcasm swings the OTHER way... especially on sensitive issues.

claim that there is a hidden religious and political movement to this, which you substantiated with a link to a parent who had personal trouble seeking out an abortion clinic, a few things -

Really? This woman stands for something. Women like her made that mans wife cry. Of course, he states that in a sober straight forward tone. He just told his story. What if he DID mock? I don't see how thats any different than mocking anyone you disagree with. Again. I am not arguing that you SHOULD or SHOULD NOT agree with this woman and her blog. I am arguing that some of the SNARKIEST of you are getting on to people for disagreeing with her actions, and many have damned good reasons for believing that.

I furthermore think that if you honestly believe that MeFi is just another internet site with people making stupid one-liner comments at stupid shit they see on the internet, you may not be reading the same site that I am.

I may have exaggerated a little (sure it snot ALL that but it happens a lot), but oftentimes is IS that. Funny, after i posted that very sentence someone responded with a lame-ass one liner about the crazy pool. I mean, WE ARE reading the same site i'm sure..but you're skipping some of the posts or something.

Anyways, i think some of us will just have to agree to disagree on this one. In any case i'm done with this thread, and i've stated my case, and it kinda exploded out of control. I've been accused of being a drunk, and seeing the world in only primary colors and an internet stalker (seriously, wtf. An internet stalker?) . Ad hominem bullshit. You disagree with me. Fine. i expect that- i dish it out i can take it. In regards to the angle i'm commenting on this, about the mockery, I don't think I'm drawing any thin conclusions- I think they're accurate and hit a little too close to home for a few of you.
posted by 5imian at 2:27 AM on April 22, 2009


- The common ground between the Teabaggers and this woman, as far as I've seen from your arguments anyway, is that they both express points of view on something, both of which are unusual.

- I said a lot more than that. AND that they project a certain ideological viewpoint. AND that they are very emotional topics.


That's actually not a lot more at all. You might as well say Teabaggers and this woman all share the human genome, too.

Dude, she put it on the net. How is that not an open invitation to read? Hows that not like any other media outlet?

It's certainly an invitiation to read, but it's also certainly very different than any other media outlet. Not to mention that whole "actively campaigning, marching in the streets, clamoring for media attention and attempting to bend the government's domestic policy" thing, as opposed to, you know, blogging about your kid.

I think they're accurate and hit a little too close to home for a few of you.

Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back there, 5im.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:43 AM on April 22, 2009


On a blog that you can very easily avoid, and one that is not trying to change anything about your life in anyway.


This is the most ridiculous part of your rebuttal. First of all, I avoid Fox News. Like the plague. As for the blog? Dude, she put it on the net. How is that not an open invitation to read?


Dude, this doesn't work and you know it. Not to say that your point is totally irrelevant, but you're not helping yourself.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:19 AM on April 22, 2009


Neither the post nor the thread comments is Best of the Web.
posted by RussHy at 4:32 AM on April 22, 2009


very thought provoking and interesting views, brought on by a dilemna that, without this FPP, people would have never had a chance to think about.

With all due respect, that post brought on a lot of things for me that I didn't *want* to think about on a Tuesday night. And I'm not just talking about the post content. I don't equate staring into the darkest abyss of the human experience with "Good MetaFilter Post."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:56 AM on April 22, 2009


Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back there, 5im.

More like, don't break your account.
posted by gman at 5:18 AM on April 22, 2009


grapefruitmoon: "With all due respect, that post brought on a lot of things for me that I didn't *want* to think about on a Tuesday night. And I'm not just talking about the post content. I don't equate staring into the darkest abyss of the human experience with "Good MetaFilter Post.""

This segues into what I was thinking about during the long wait to fall asleep last night...

The thoughtful comments that were made in that thread - and there are now several dozen of them - are exactly what I hoped for when posting that thread. If those were the only comments that had been made, I would consider the thread MetaFilter at its very best.

Of course, those were not the only comments that were made. And I have no doubt that the other ones were the makers' own sub-ideal attempt to deal with the upsetting nature of the subject. [Which, if I do say so myself, seemed pretty clearly signposted in advance.] But I would not give up the good comments to have avoided giving people an opportunity to make the bad ones. YMMV.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:44 AM on April 22, 2009


more that parents & wannabe parents are more likely to have a strong & emotional 'kneejerk' (for want of a better term) kind of empathy, because the parenting instinct is strong in them.

it's not that others can't empathise, just that it won't be nearly as automatic, and this can lead to a wider range of responses, like the one you mention.


Most people in that thread were just advocating not being insufferable, arrogant pricks. But then again you just act that way for the attention, so the advice doesn't really sink in.
posted by milarepa at 5:54 AM on April 22, 2009


With all due respect, that post brought on a lot of things for me that I didn't *want* to think about on a Tuesday night. And I'm not just talking about the post content. I don't equate staring into the darkest abyss of the human experience with "Good MetaFilter Post."

This is irresistibly reminiscent of "I don't WANT to be exposed to anus." If you don't want to stare into the darkest abyss of the human experience, skip the post; it was quite clear what it was about. While Joe Beese's presentation wasn't great, I think it was a perfectly reasonable thing to post; it's too bad there are so many asshats who can't resist making shitty comments, but if we didn't post anything that could possibly result in shitty comments, this would be a pretty dull site.

And while I'd like to think that we retain our visceral empathy towards people we know in real life, and can extend that in an abstract sense towards total strangers that we will never have anything to do with, the increasing saturation of these stories from the freakish sideshow of human existence seem to me to fall into a kind of uncanny valley of reportage, whereby the 'exotic' or 'uncanny' elements serve to counterbalance & desensitise us towards the more familiar elements of human misery contained within the stories.

Is that your elaborate excuse for posting shitty comments?
posted by languagehat at 6:10 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese was asshat baiting. That we don't need.
posted by applemeat at 6:22 AM on April 22, 2009


Is that your elaborate excuse for posting shitty comments?

a comment can be seen as shitty if one proceeds from an assumption that nothing other than reverent solemnity will do, and yet the combination from the onslaught of these kinds of infotainment stories of compassion overload combined with the baudrillardean spectacle of the freakshow (a la the Darwin Awards) turns that assumption into more of a slippery slope, in my opinion, than your apparent moral absolutism would allow.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:34 AM on April 22, 2009


Most people in that thread were just advocating not being insufferable, arrogant pricks. But then again you just act that way for the attention, so the advice doesn't really sink in.

a single hyperbolic variation on an earlier comment about certain kinds of people wishing others to suffer in hell whilst spouting rhetoric of jebus' love, soon disclaimed by myself as tasteless, makes me an insufferable, arrogant prick? jebus, i'd hate to see your reaction when somebody does something actually malicious.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:47 AM on April 22, 2009


off to bed now, so cannot respond. just saw a brilliant production of Tom Stoppard's *Travesties* at the Opera House *yay*
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:49 AM on April 22, 2009


I mean, if someone puts "god hates fags" on a bumper sticker, noones forcing you to read it right?

you just compared a heartbroken mother blogging and caring for a terminally ill baby, to fred phelps?

really?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:49 AM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


soon disclaimed by myself as tasteless

See that's the problem right there. Think before you post. It will make things better for all of us.
posted by milarepa at 6:59 AM on April 22, 2009


Really? This woman stands for something. Women like her made that mans wife cry.

Yeah, um, the thing about this is, this is a very different situation we are approaching her in here. It doesn't matter what her beliefs are, or if she has done horrible mean things in the past. That doesn't really give us the right to mock her for caring about her baby.

It strikes me as basically a mental illness, her unwillingness to give up a child she produced that will never be truly alive. It's in poor taste to mock the mentally ill. I hope she recovers from this traumatic event.
posted by graventy at 7:06 AM on April 22, 2009


Well, I though the post and the resulting conversation was really interesting because I am interested in things like babies without brains and Christians' reaction to babies who are born disabled.
posted by fuq at 7:14 AM on April 22, 2009


hey, even milarepa used his powers to bring down hailstorms at times, and yet he was also able to achieve the enlightenment required to compose these kinds of lines:

Comprehending beyond good and evil
opens the way to perfect skill.
Experiencing the dissolution of duality,
you embrace the highest view.


ok, really off to bed now.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:18 AM on April 22, 2009


Wow, you can use google. Congratulations. But, I'm not really milarepa (newsflash, I know), so I'm free to think you're a twat.
posted by milarepa at 7:25 AM on April 22, 2009


Joe Beese was asshat baiting. That we don't need.

The thing about asshats is that they don't really require a whole lot of baiting. So, if we post everything with the overtly-sanitized intent of 'not baiting the asshats', we end up with a pretty dull site, as languagehat said.
posted by kingbenny at 7:31 AM on April 22, 2009


wrong call there, twat. i've owned & read a lovely harcover copy of the Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa for, er, a decade or more now, plus the Life of Milarepa, Life of Marpa, etc etc.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:33 AM on April 22, 2009


third time lucky
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:33 AM on April 22, 2009


Tw@UbuRoivas
posted by gman at 7:45 AM on April 22, 2009


Oh, haha, you said twat too. What no hyperreality references? The more you talk, the more you remind me of the main character of Nabokov's Despair.
posted by milarepa at 7:56 AM on April 22, 2009


applemeat: "Joe Beese was asshat baiting. That we don't need."

Joe Beese, although prolific, hasn't struck me as trollish. Give the guy a break.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:00 AM on April 22, 2009


It's a pretty interesting blog from a pretty unique POV. The discussion was interesting too, until it got into the "you're-mean-yeah-well-you're-overly-sensitive" slapfight stuff.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:10 AM on April 22, 2009


This thread is so awesome, beginning with a Baby Bathos Poo Fight and ending with a pissing match over who's more down with the nettle-eating Yogi.
posted by everichon at 8:12 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


And through it all I think the fact remains clear and we can all agree that Fairies Wear Boots.
posted by Sailormom at 8:15 AM on April 22, 2009


Fairies Wear Boots

YOU TAKE THAT BACK
posted by everichon at 8:23 AM on April 22, 2009


My copies of You're a Good Yogi, Milarepa and Good Grief, More Milarepa: A Milarepa Treasury are autographed.

Take that, you pretentious gasbags.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:29 AM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


* smashes duality and wrong apprehension with MeFi branded dorje *
posted by everichon at 8:49 AM on April 22, 2009


Fairies Wear Boots.

Son, son you've gone too far.
posted by TedW at 9:46 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think, no matter who was originally asshat-baiting, we got a motherload of asshats in these two threads. Boy howdy.
posted by kalessin at 10:06 AM on April 22, 2009


Well, Joe Beese now has s 200+ comment metafilter thread, and a 200+ comment metatalk thread to go along with it.

How wonderfully constructive and though-provoking all of this has been. It certainly has improved the quality and tone of the site, no?
posted by leotrotsky at 10:17 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


More like, don't break your account.

Well I'll be damned.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2009


Well, if it hasn't improved tone, it's certainly been revealing.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2009


The MeFi thread certainly has improved since last night, and there have been some interesting and informative comments posted there.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:53 AM on April 22, 2009


What the heck is going on in here?
posted by ericb at 10:54 AM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


turgid dahlia Is she sacred because she is a grieving mother?

Yes.

She may be wrong. Go on, tell her she's wrong to her face. We'd all enjoy that and I'm sure it's what she needs about now.

Thank you nola
posted by fistynuts at 11:10 AM on April 22, 2009


OK, so I looked up the reddit thread. It was in the atheism subreddit, which means it was fucked from the start.

Many in that thread were vile, and they took it to her blog.

Here's one:

"Hmm. I don't believe for a minute that Redditers would just throw out a perfectly good female without a brain. She won't walk or talk, nor will she know what's happening to her. How much better does that get?
Look, there are guys out there that'll pay thousands for a 'Real DOLL' made of silicone. This is the real thing (when it grows up of course). Trust me, this girl is an investment waiting to happen. There are some very wealthy people that would be happy to part with a chunk of change for this device."

Few of the comments were as bad as this, but if even a tenth of them made it to her blog...

She comes into the reddit thread too, pretty much begging them to stop being such incredible assholes.

Oh yeah. Worked like a charm, that did.

So her eventual rage and hellfire-and-damnation blog posts are entirely justified.

Just needed to say that.

If anyone else has linked to the reddit thread, please feel free to delete this.
posted by merelyglib at 11:37 AM on April 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Joe Beese unfortunate baby
posted by found missing at 11:45 AM on April 22, 2009


Is she sacred because she is a grieving mother?

I think one of the primary reasons that there is so much raging jerkitude on the Internet is that it allows people with absolutely no personal experience with a particular emotional topic to publicly announce their uninformed and callous opinions to everyone without the usual censure that a similar airing would bring in an actual social environment.

There is a reason that grieving mothers are not acceptable topics of ridicule. If you've ever known one or been one, then it's easy to understand. Otherwise, I would hope that common decency and a modicum of compassion would be enough to keep the vitriol to a relative minimum.

Talk is cheap, and some types of talk cheapen everything. Some of the comments made here and in the original post would merit a beat-down of massive proportions if stated in person to family or friends of the mother in question, and no one would wonder why.

Some folks here need to step the fuck away from the keyboard and go talk to people face to face for a while and remember what it means to be a human.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:51 AM on April 22, 2009 [29 favorites]


the reddit thread

Jesus fuck that's revolting. Anytime I start to think that Metafilter is too reflexively snarky and / or outright mean, I just need to step outside into the wider world of the internet to remember why this place is an absolute fucking bastion of reasonableness in comparison to most other community sites.
posted by dersins at 11:53 AM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Waaababababbbaaaba!!!
posted by Damn That Television at 11:54 AM on April 22, 2009


She comes into the reddit thread too, pretty much begging them to stop being such incredible assholes.

Oh yeah. Worked like a charm, that did.


I think this is the saddest thing I've read today.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:00 PM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


How wonderfully constructive and though-provoking all of this has been. It certainly has improved the quality and tone of the site, no?

yes, it certainly has. the deep outpouring of humanity from many in thread, and specifically the personal perspectives of saucysault, dancinglamb, and werkzeuger, certainly enhance the sense of 'community' in 'community weblog' for me. it may be a weak FPP, and the mods may be correct in calling out joe beese, but it is humanly engaging mefi. i have always been, and to some extent remain, skeptical of the power of the 'net to foster real human engagement. but that thread made my heart swell for so many mefites that i cannot call my feelings for them anything but 'love.' and i am proud to be a member of this community. i bear no ill will to the snarkers and the clear-eyed rationalists who posted comments that made my soft self cringe (i am certainly not above snark or poor taste), but those who commented directly from their hearts got a deep bow and sincere nameste from me.
posted by barrett caulk at 12:09 PM on April 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Where is everyone getting their "christian-fundie shit" cricitism from? I saw the post about the hate mail, telling the haters to go to hell but I am not seeing anything else overly fundie, not even the prayer shower. She mentions termination and says it isn't for her but she understands it would be a difficult decision for most people. That is hardly a condemnation of abortion. I'm sorry, I just don't see why there is a LOLXTIANS tangent here at all. She doesn't even sound very Christian, no mention of Church or ministers and confused about Easter; she may even be Catholic - pretty common in the Maritimes.

In Canada abortion is free, legal and easily accessible (except in rural areas and PEI) and there isn't a big move on the part of Christians to criminalise it again. Politicians don't want to touch it and every court challenge gets thrown out. We don't have abortion clinics with protestors to the same extent as the United States (most abortions are done in hospitals with of course no waiting periods or gestational limits). She isn't holding up Faith as an example for all women pregnant with anencephalic fetuses that they are going to hell if they abort. Are y'all projecting on her or am I missing something obvious?
posted by saucysault at 12:09 PM on April 22, 2009 [10 favorites]


Are y'all projecting on her or am I missing something obvious?

No, I think you've got it right. Anyone using words like "God" and "faith" on a blog is generally assumed to be a fundamentalist, period. It's a lot easier to judge that way.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:17 PM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is she sacred because she is a grieving mother?

Personally, I don't consider her "sacred," but in the means I think you mean, then yes.

And it's not because she is a grieving mother. It's because she is a grieving HUMAN.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:35 PM on April 22, 2009


Sweet Jesus, 5imian, just fucking drop it already.
posted by jokeefe at 1:09 PM on April 22, 2009


Oh wait, he already flounced out of here.

I'm sorry I looked at that Reddit thread. That poor girl.
posted by jokeefe at 1:16 PM on April 22, 2009


is there really any tougher job in the world than being the mother of a severely disabled child?

i can think of very few, if any. it's an intense, unbelievably cruel, and sometimes beautiful road that very few of us will ever take in our lives.

i refuse to click on the original link because i'm pretty squeamish, but my best wishes to that lady and her family. i could care less what her religion is, or how she's expressing her beliefs. if that's what gets her through the day, more power to her.

there are many blogs out there written by the parents of children with rare disabilities. i feel better informed because they're out there, and through them, the parents are able to reassure one another they are not alone, and communicate advice, empathy and support.

yes there might be negative effects of having a blog like hers out there (sensationalism), but imho the positive outweighs the negative by a huge degree
posted by The ____ of Justice at 1:22 PM on April 22, 2009


5imian, I've been in ideological debates (years ago) where I found myself posting screeds like yours.

Pro tip: Don't do it. It just makes you look like a choad, no matter how good your argument is, no matter how well constructed, no matter how logical.
posted by kalessin at 1:45 PM on April 22, 2009


5imian's account is disabled, btw.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 2:07 PM on April 22, 2009


Grlnxtdr: "5imian's account is disabled, btw."

Forget it, Jake. It's MetaTalk.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:19 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Half-price accounts purchased on Boxing Day simply expired this morning.
posted by gman at 2:23 PM on April 22, 2009


The more you talk, the more you remind me of the main character of Nabokov's Despair.

how curious - this filthy, green-skinned yogin sounds exactly like me!
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:24 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good morning, sunshine!
posted by gman at 2:26 PM on April 22, 2009


Where is everyone getting their "christian-fundie shit" cricitism from?

"Satan really hates it when God shows up and shows off, doesn't he? And I guess, so do atheists. But I'm told that demons scream their loudest when they're on the way out. {...} In a nutshell, Jesus is your only hope. Or you're in for a good long (and well-deserved) burning. That being said, God Bless you all! Even you incredibly evil, demonized people :) P.S. See an exorcist ASAP"

Hellfire and damnation, Jesus as sole source of redemption, and belief in demonic possession - I don't detect any irony in her post beyond the level of that smilie - are fundamentalist hallmarks, though not unique to any denomination. One could argue that she was provoked into this by the Reddit crowd, but there isn't much turn-the-other-cheek Christianity on display there or in the rest of the blog. That said, the OP chose to present the blogger's religiosity in a straightforward, representative quote that could be taken at face value.

The LOLXTIANity, tasteless comments, and general controversy that followed were pretty predictable. But the best posts often came out of personal experiences that are so far different from my own that I've come to value this thread. It's a shame it required so much attention from the mods (and I regret posting in it in an under-caffeinated state), but I can't imagine any discussion on the topic elsewhere on the 'net coming close.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:33 PM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


*comes out of downward dog*

oh, gman, it's you! you shouldn't sneak up behind me like that.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:39 PM on April 22, 2009


the upsetting nature of the subject. [Which, if I do say so myself, seemed pretty clearly signposted in advance.]

Well, yes, and no. "IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING" was a good warning. On the other hand.... I've seen disturbing images. Disturbing images do not, in general, disturb me to the point of physical discomfort.

Something about this specific condition really, really triggered a "OMG" reaction in me. I didn't skip the post as this wasn't a reaction I could have anticipated, having never been bothered to this level by that kind of thing in the past. I'm not saying that I should be used as some sort of "Is this upsetting?" barometer, just that my own personal bar is set pretty damn high for "stuff that's gonna bug me" when it comes to medicine/disease/the human body. So yeah, maybe languagehat has a point that the thread was easy to skip, but I guess what the post *actually* contained was far more upsetting than what I was prepared for the post to contain.

Maybe I'm just a wuss, but to see that blog and then read those comments made my skin crawl. To identify which emotions I felt about what would take all night, suffice it to say that none of it was what I had in mind when I decided to read through it. I've read plenty of good posts about upsetting stuff on MeFi - I would not put this post in that category.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:43 PM on April 22, 2009


Speaking for myself, I don't expect anyone to "melt with empathy". Not being an utter prick is just fine.

But - and I mean this perfectly seriously - why? Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks. Tell me why we should care about what this woman is feeling more than we care about any other animal. Can you do that? Or can you only flap your jaw?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:48 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


But - and I mean this perfectly seriously - why? Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks. Tell me why we should care about what this woman is feeling more than we care about any other animal. Can you do that? Or can you only flap your jaw?

I think you're intelligent enough to suss out why people shouldn't be pricks. The question itself is answered in the word "prick" itself. You know, because being a prick means being inordinately and unfairly cruel. Generally not a way to be.

But hey, go on ahead. If you honestly believe it's the right thing to do to be a prick to this woman, no one's going to stop you. Hit her with some of that in-your-face tough love. I'm sure it'll do wonders.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:58 PM on April 22, 2009


turgid dahlia is right - all creatures have been our precious mothers, and are entitled to compassion.

when i kill a cockroach, for example, i say a brief sutra, in the hope that my precious mother will be helped on her way towards a favourable human rebirth.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:01 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks.

Oh turgid dahlia, you're so adorable when you play the nihilist troll. Now run along. The grownups are trying to have a conversation.
posted by dersins at 3:02 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks. Tell me why we should care about what this woman is feeling more than we care about any other animal.

Usually I enjoy your comments - but quite frankly right now you're being a raging asshole.

Do you really want to start a bullshit philosophical argument about the validity of compassion? Are you that thick, or are you just trying to start another fight?

So, I'll bite:

Why shouldn't people be utter pricks?

Because it sucks. Pricks provide nothing to anyone - except for a certain satisfaction in seeing their noses bloodied. Love, compassion and kindness are those tiny little flames that save humanity from unrelenting darkness. Pricks spend much of their time trying to blow them out. Pricks care only about themselves. Pricks tear down what others build. Pricks are the worst aspect of us.


Tell me why we should care about what this woman is feeling more than we care about any other animal.


Um. What does this mean exactly? You don't care how animals feel? I wouldn't want to be your dog.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:03 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's one classy strawman you got there, Ubu.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:03 PM on April 22, 2009


turgid dahlia: " Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks."

Self-interest.

Because a society that doesn't at least pay lip service to the idea that gratuitous cruelty is fucked up will be a colder, more hostile place for you to spend the rest of your existentially meaningless life in.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:05 PM on April 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Speaking for myself, I don't expect anyone to "melt with empathy". Not being an utter prick is just fine.
[...]
Tell me why we should care about what this woman is feeling more than we care about any other animal.


This statement would apply to all scenarios, which would render the argument that we should care *more* about this woman than anyone else totally moot because hey, we shouldn't be utter pricks.

I think in a world where this isn't pretty clear is a world in which your head might just be making its way through your transverse colon. As in, you're being totally, totally obtuse for no reason. Pull your head out.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:05 PM on April 22, 2009


Wait a minute ... I think I misread Ubu there. Sorry for jumping the gun.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:07 PM on April 22, 2009


I think turgid dahlia is a vegetarian and is probably wording his statements poorly, rather than advocating prickitude.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:15 PM on April 22, 2009


I think turgid dahlia is a vegetarian and is probably wording his statements poorly, rather than advocating prickitude.

Justifying cruelty and derision toward this woman in order to make a point about vegetarianism is pretty prickish, actually.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:23 PM on April 22, 2009


> Justifying cruelty and derision toward this woman in order to make a point about vegetarianism is pretty prickish, actually.

Indeed, and it's a strange line to toe, but I gave it a slightly more charitable read than its face value.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:27 PM on April 22, 2009


posted by turgid dahlia Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks. Tell me why we should care about what this woman is feeling more than we care about any other animal.

Do not do unto others that which is hateful to yourself.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:27 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rule of Bill: Be excellent to each other.
posted by found missing at 3:30 PM on April 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Probably the most profound thing Keanu Reeves has ever given us.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:32 PM on April 22, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "Probably the most profound thing Keanu Reeves has ever given us."

Now that you mention it, he does seem to like playing messiahs.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:34 PM on April 22, 2009


Probably the most profound thing Keanu Reeves has ever given us.

Johnny Utah?
posted by gman at 3:37 PM on April 22, 2009


The atheism board on reddit is a shining example of why I won't ever fall under the label of atheist.
posted by graventy at 3:37 PM on April 22, 2009


Johnny Utah?

Wait, Keanu was also in My Own Private Idaho, too, wasn't he?

Hm. Yeah, I'm still gonna have to go with "Be excellent to each other" as his deepest moment.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:41 PM on April 22, 2009


So many real life ones to choose from.
posted by gman at 3:48 PM on April 22, 2009


"I don't read the blogs much. I don't like the tone-the rather in-your-face road-rage quality of a lot of exchange on the Internet. I don't like the threads that come out of any given piece of journalism. It seems that when people know they can't be held accountable, when they don't have eye contact, it seems to bring out a rather nasty, truculent, aggressive edge...."
~Ian McEwan
posted by dawson at 3:56 PM on April 22, 2009


Tell me why we should care about what this woman is feeling more than we care about any other animal.

You tell me why we should care less about her than we care about any other animal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:01 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Probably the most profound thing Keanu Reeves has ever given us.

a unit of measure?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:07 PM on April 22, 2009


The atheism board on reddit is a shining example of why I won't ever fall under the label of atheist.

I'm an atheist.

Those are just kids. Being turds. They're scared of everything. They're scared of girls, the possibility of girls, the possibility of God, but mostly they're terrified of death and being ignored.

This also explains their fascination with Ron Paul. They feel marginalized, they're waiting for the irrelevance of the Old Guard. They want to be new, and heard, but they're just kids, driving shitty cars and drinking shitty beer, waiting for whatever magic it is that happens one day when you speak in a meeting and realize you're being listened to.

They're just young.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:23 PM on April 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks.

Well, I'm not going to do your humanity homework for you, but you can start here.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:26 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


"People shouldn't be", utter pricks.
posted by everichon at 5:23 PM on April 22, 2009


otter prick.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:29 PM on April 22, 2009


Fair enough point about cooperation in evolution, Bookhouse, but this is more like the kind of playfighting that the young of most higher species do.

You don't accuse bear cubs of being utter pricks just because they roll around and swipe & gnaw each other with their cute little cubby paws & maws. It's all just a kind of training for the main game - snatching jumping salmon out of a bubbling stream, or shaping up to win the favours of a hot she-bear.

Or, in our case, perhaps flexing rhetorical muscles so as to be able to speak in a meeting and realise we're being listened to.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:36 PM on April 22, 2009


I kinda regret shitting in this thread, I mean as far as internet regrets go. I really try to avoid threads where I have nothing positive to add. I shat in the original thread and I shat in this one too. I guess mocking a poor upset girl who's struggling with a brain dead baby really set me off. Metafilter often looks down its collective nose at fark, but at least fark is honest with itself. They probably would have made worse jokes, but it can actually be a lot more mean spirited and elitist here.

I should just stick to askme.
posted by milarepa at 6:18 PM on April 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hm. Yeah, I'm still gonna have to go with "Be excellent to each other" as his deepest moment.

I'm going to go with:

You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a (parent).


That wasn't commentary on the woman in question either, because I'm not sure what avenue to take to process that whole thing.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:21 PM on April 22, 2009


Yeah, Bookhouse just doesn't understand how much respect and sex being a jerk on the internet gets you.
posted by klangklangston at 6:21 PM on April 22, 2009


Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks.

Because then they would be like you.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:03 PM on April 22, 2009


the trick is never to let meatspace people know where you hang out, or what your usernames are.

that way, you can recycle others' great wisdom and jokes, and relegate your own failed attempts to the "do not deploy" folder.

i've even picked up a few times by plagiarising you, klango.

this is not actually true, but a bit of flattery never goes astray
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:03 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, not our greatest moment. I'm surprised there has only been one flameout...
posted by schyler523 at 7:06 PM on April 22, 2009


Milarepa:


Metafilter often looks down its collective nose at fark, but at least fark is honest with itself. They probably would have made worse jokes, but it can actually be a lot more mean spirited and elitist here.


This, this, this.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:22 PM on April 22, 2009


Okay, I had to work all day and totally missed the fun, but

the equally prevalent LOLXTIANS.

is at least taking a little heat off the LOLTEXIANS that I've been feeling this last week.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled whatever the hell it is that's going on in here.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:33 PM on April 22, 2009


. But the idea of giving constant detailed updates to the entire world about your awful, harrowing situation -- it's kind of a new thing. There's really no real-world equivalent to what she's doing. It's weird. And disconcerting. I think we're still processing it.

Sometimes the very existence of the internet is so exciting and frightening to me, I become overwhelmed. The array of human experiences and the revelation of raw thought processes accompanying these experiences are unlimited and (for the most part) uncensored. What books and movies began-- exposing us to the lives and thoughts and ideas of others-- the internet brings to intimate fruition.

Each of us reading this thread has had to grapple with the idea of what it means to be human-- something that only a tiny percentage of human beings that ever lived has had to do. We also had to decide how we felt about the way the mother was handling her experience and then we had to decide how we felt about the way others were feeling. We had to take a philosophical position, defend that philosophical position, and then decide if we were open to change. This is all tremendously advanced thinking-- and we do it every day. A hundred years ago our experiences would have been confined to our own lives and the lives of those we were acquainted with. Chances are we would have never been confronted with an anencephalic baby. Or sex with Dolphins. Or a Klingon Wedding. The internet gives us a chance to stretch, to grow, to adapt.

I'm glad that I am alive to experience this moment in human history.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:36 PM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Someone just delete the metafilter thread. Please. It doesn't really belong on the blue.

the thread? or your comment on the grey?
posted by liketitanic at 7:37 PM on April 22, 2009


Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks.

Pricks tend to be, unless they have other incredibly redeeming qualities, people who turn other people away from them. So, there is no intrinsic version someone shouldn't be a prick unless they want to be around other people and/or care about what other people think. This is not just "oh so you should have friends!" but it's so that you can keep a job, not get crappy service from people, not get discriminated against for perfectly legal reasons and generally speaking maintain a position in society that is somewhere above "everyone hates you." Being a person that everyone hates is actually somewhat difficult.

Put another way, besides the basic necessities like food, shelter, air, water & sex, many people would argue that to be an actual human one needs companions (to keep one company, pass time with, &c) and witnesses (to see your life, to make it real outside of your own experience) and while it's possible to have a life with either "virtual" versions of these -- who may not know the depths of your prickishness -- many if not most people find that life goes better with other humans. The people who do not believe this are, generally speaking, sociopaths. koeselitz had a really great comment about sociopaths in Meta recently but I've been unable to dig it up.

If you're speaking specifically about MeFi, it's because being an utter prick here will eventually mean you don't get to hang out here any more. I'm personally pretty tired of your antics and I assume I can't be the only one. So, you can wander off someplace else and someplace else and someplace else. I think as we say it here is: "fuck right off" Your choice. You seem to realize there are options. Not taking them is up to you.

I'm not saying that you need to be nice to people, sympathize with them or empathize with them but that being an utter prick about things generally brings nothing to the table for anyone else -- except pile-ons and flame outs and other things that we generally think are a net nagative for this site -- and could actually make other people feel bad which, again generally speaking is on the "to avoid" list for most people who have the luxury of being able to make those choices. If you believe in social capital and its power to change things, being an utter prick is a negative, it reduces and removes that sort of thing.

But, you know me, I'm painfully literal and thought you wanted a real answer instead of just poking and getting a reaction which is probably what you're really after.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:41 PM on April 22, 2009 [41 favorites]


Put another way, besides the basic necessities like food, shelter, air, water & sex

Or, rather, sex, food, shelter, sex, water, air, and sex. Must keep one's priorities straight.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:31 PM on April 22, 2009


is at least taking a little heat off the LOLTEXIANS that I've been feeling this last week.

WHAT?! They be dissin' people who use the great work of Knuth?

This means war.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:01 PM on April 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


"If you're speaking specifically about MeFi, it's because being an utter prick here will eventually mean you don't get to hang out here any more."

Actually, it's how you win friends and influence people around here. And that's fine with me, because I never mistake Mefi, or especially Meta, for real life.

That said, I had jajangmyeon for lunch. Oh jajangmyeon, is there nothing you cannot fix?
posted by bardic at 9:07 PM on April 22, 2009


Doktor Zed: I really, really doubt the mother is any kind of fundamentalist; as saucysault pointed out, she didn't know on what day Jesus came back from the dead. She very much reminds me of many of my less-bookish friends who, although they didn't attend church outside of wedding & funerals, believed in God. The kind of crisis this woman is going through would likely make them actualize their faith more (she's listening to the Bible on audiotape).

The reddit thread is really hellish. If people said that kind of stuff about me, I'd be insulting their mothers; she wishes they'll burn in hell.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:18 PM on April 22, 2009


Oh flourescent lime green sheets and pillowcases, is there nothing you cannot unhinge?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:26 PM on April 22, 2009


jessamyn: I don't if we say "fuck right off" enough to contextually say it is "what we say" or that it is distinct enough. After reading your distinctively styled, thorough and polite essay (446 words!) I propose "jessam-owned" enter the MeFi vocabulary.
posted by boo_radley at 9:54 PM on April 22, 2009


That said, I had jajangmyeon for lunch. Oh jajangmyeon, is there nothing you cannot fix?

Anencephaly?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:59 PM on April 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


These threads are always very enlightening.

Say there's a user that you have some vague feeling of goodwill towards, perhaps for making some kind and insightful comments about animals. That user then goes on to be a complete ass, seeming to suggest that we wouldn't have the same reaction about an animal, so why not be a prick to this woman?

Looking back over the comments, I found one that I overlooked. It explains everything.

Fuck I hate people.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:53 PM on March 22

posted by HopperFan at 10:00 PM on April 22, 2009


But - and I mean this perfectly seriously - why? Tell me why people shouldn't be utter pricks. Tell me why we should care about what this woman is feeling more than we care about any other animal. Can you do that?

Life is not easy for many people. Being actively kind - or even just abstaining from tossing more shit into their lives - makes people's respective burdens easier to bear and makes the world a better place in which to live. While some may not desire or even deserve a kind gesture, kindness does not diminish the person who offers it.

In this case, I care about this woman because she is trying to make her way through a situation so painful that I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like. I care about her more than you, for example, because she doesn't seem to be a puerile and vicious waste of meat, while you seem to revel in that sort of nauseatingly pathetic behavior.

Tune in next week, when I spell out the importance of sharing to another attention whore shithead with a 3 year old's level of comprehension!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:37 PM on April 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


After thinking about this for a bit, I probably feel even more sorry for Myah than I did before. Not just because she has a baby that was born without a brain, but because she's frighteningly uneducated, and has a perspective that is just inflexible and archaic enough to prevent her from gaining any sort of perspective on her situation. Without realizing it, she's done a bang-up job of illustrating exactly what scares the shit out of us about pro-lifers. I can't imagine that was her intention.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:50 PM on April 22, 2009


I don't think that's a fair assessment. We have pretty much no idea about her educational level, her blog seems to be written well enough. We don't even know for sure she's pro-life, do we? Just in her situation, she chose to give birth.

Most of the anti-science statements she makes on her blog is the reaction of a mother thinking what she wants to think. They aren't rational statements, but she isn't in a very rational position now.
posted by graventy at 11:13 PM on April 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


"That said, I had jajangmyeon for lunch. Oh jajangmyeon, is there nothing you cannot fix?

Anencephaly?
"

See? Braindead baby jokes can fall under the "funny" category.
posted by klangklangston at 11:15 PM on April 22, 2009


Thank jebus that somebody's finally talking some sense here.

Because I was thinking that anencephalic babies would make great diet snacks for zombies.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:33 PM on April 22, 2009


...has a perspective that is just inflexible and archaic enough to prevent her from gaining any sort of perspective on her situation.

Right now. Right now she has an inflexible and archaic perspecrtive yadda yadda yadda, but get back to her in a year, five years, and see where she stands.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:30 AM on April 23, 2009


Reading this thread right through in one sitting makes me think that eyeballkid has it right. God, some of you people can be fucking arseholes sometimes.
posted by dg at 2:26 AM on April 23, 2009


Can someone compile a list of the worst five comments or something? What the hell are you even talking about?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:33 AM on April 23, 2009


1. "God, some of you people can be fucking arseholes sometimes."
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:48 AM on April 23, 2009


sorry, ignore that. i misread that as a something homophobic.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:07 AM on April 23, 2009


WHAT?! They be dissin' people who use the great work of Knuth?

These days it's all LOLLaTeX AMIRTE??

Haters.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:35 AM on April 23, 2009


Pricks.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:02 AM on April 23, 2009


I think you're intelligent enough to suss out why people shouldn't be pricks.

That's not a matter of intelligence but of capacity for empathy, which a certain percentage of people lack, on MeFi as well as in the population at large.
posted by languagehat at 6:33 AM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Optimus Chyme: "Can someone compile a list of the worst five comments or something? What the hell are you even talking about?"

- I dislike a lot of Joe Beese's posting choices

- And I think "Metafilter post as personality test" isn't that hot an idea either, Joe.

- I'm really disappointed that Joe made the choice to bring this to Metafilter.

- Joe Beese was asshat baiting. That we don't need.

- Joe Beese unfortunate baby


Those would be my picks.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:52 AM on April 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yeah, Bookhouse just doesn't understand how much respect and sex being a jerk on the internet gets you.

IM DOIN IT WRONG
posted by Bookhouse at 8:40 AM on April 23, 2009


I think it has to be rated as one of the great threads MetaFilter has produced, Joe.
posted by jamjam at 9:13 AM on April 23, 2009


I usually think holding grudges is silly and petty, but sometimes, a thread like this comes along that makes me wish there was some sort of built-in functionality for tagging userpages.

incredibly kind human being... irrefutable logic... lovely anecdote... unbearable jackass.
posted by Phire at 10:03 AM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Those would be my picks.

Because Joe Beese would never want it to be about him.

you can add that to your list
posted by found missing at 10:48 AM on April 23, 2009


I usually think holding grudges is silly and petty, but sometimes, a thread like this comes along that makes me wish there was some sort of built-in functionality for tagging userpages.

Oh, but there is! Well, if you count a greasemonkey script as 'built-in'.

jacalata is my forever hero for creating it.
posted by winna at 11:08 AM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've seen that before, winna, but I prefer my MeFi as minimalist as I can get it. I have the deleted scripts installed, and the MeFi quote script installed, but that's it. I've played around with the userpic script, the usernotes script, and the navigator script, but they all seem to slow down loading more that I'm willing to allow for.

Plus the usernotes script isn't very good at realizing that username/name and user/number are the same people.
posted by Phire at 11:12 AM on April 23, 2009


For jessamyn: "Gallows humor: –noun, humor that treats serious, frightening, or painful subject matter in a light or satirical way." I didn't see anything in that definition that implies offensiveness to some but you may have a different dictionary. While certainly some people can find offense in treating serious matters lightly, I'd argue that some people can find offense in almost anything, and--furthermore--that's not my problem. I showed sympathy for the mother, but defended both science and gallows humor (with explanations/examples of both). For that, I'm an asshole? Whatever, obviously YMV. ;o)
posted by whatgorilla at 1:19 PM on April 23, 2009


You called her baby a slime mold in a thread that was already

1. in MetaTalk
2. 250 comments long

and then acted all "who me?" when people called you on it, acting as if you had no idea that might be offensive. It's totally within your rights here to be as offensive as you please (thought possiblt deleted), but getting into a "why everyone is uptight and my approach is normal and my jokes are, in fact, funny" conversation is something probably better handled here rather than there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:47 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Gallows humor: –noun, humor that treats serious, frightening, or painful subject matter in a light or satirical way."

Gallows humor is generally only acceptable when it is you who is facing the gallows. When it's aimed at someone you don't know, who's pain does not affect you, then it's assholery.

A good rule of thumb: if you have to defend your joke, then it's not funny.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:00 PM on April 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


Dude, did you seriously just provide the dictionary definition of gallows humor to a professional librarian?

I'm sorry, I was wrong earlier. You're not an asshole, you're a dense asshole.
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:04 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


In more of my meta-defense, I didn't know this meta-talk was what it was...or rather, what it was for. I've only seen metafilter and askmefi and assumed like "jobs" and "projects" it was irrelevant to metafliter discussions. I figured it was a way of talking about how to improve the threads/posts, etc., not a place to extend the conversation about the conversation for another 300 posts (for those who know it exists). Point taken. I'd still argue my comments--in defense of others comments (and science itself)--were more about freedom of humor regarding someone else posting their pain which does not affect me online so that it does affect me. I'd argue I'm snarky at best...assholery just seems like name calling to me (I'd reserve that for name-callers, but then, we'd need a meta-meta talk for me to rightfully post that).
posted by whatgorilla at 2:08 PM on April 23, 2009


So, it really is a kind of gallows humor since you've taken enough rope to hang yourself?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:13 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Light Fantastic: Lenny Bruce had to defend his jokes in court...but they were funny. But then again, we do have freedom of sense of humor, so I'll let you slide on this one.

Shiu mai baby (assuming the "baby" is not anencephalitic): I'd argue a professional librarian, while knowing where various dictionaries should be placed in his/her workplace is trumped by a professional teacher of the English language, which is me. Call me asshole, call me dense, but if all you're going to do is call people names, maybe you should let the librarian and professor adults talk.
posted by whatgorilla at 2:13 PM on April 23, 2009


Oh, by all means, keep up the condescension there, professor. Between that, the utterly tone-deaf attempts at humor, and the willful dehumanization of a horribly deformed infant, I can tell you're going to be one of Metafilter's most highly-prized contributors. I can't wait to see what enlightenment you bestow upon us next.
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:25 PM on April 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


MetaTalk: I now return you to your regularly scheduled whatever the hell it is that's going on in here.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:28 PM on April 23, 2009


"Between that, the utterly tone-deaf attempts at humor"

Hey now, my cousin is tone-deaf.
posted by klangklangston at 2:30 PM on April 23, 2009


In more of my meta-defense, I didn't know this meta-talk was what it was...or rather, what it was for.

So you didn't read the very first sentence of the OP? Your just like to drop "edgy" comments about other peoples' children in random places, and just got lucky this time? Pardon me while I smirk.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:32 PM on April 23, 2009


I'd argue a professional librarian, while knowing where various dictionaries should be placed in his/her workplace is trumped by a professional teacher of the English language, which is me.

That's an interesting assertion and quite possibly correct. All I really wanted to do was move this sort of talk to this thread so you'd get out of the other thread. I don't want to fight about it particularly, but maybe other people do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:40 PM on April 23, 2009


jessamyn, you continue to be my hero.
posted by kalessin at 2:42 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


HEY KID I'M A PROFESSOR

STOP ALL THE DENSE-CALLIN'
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:44 PM on April 23, 2009


I'd still like to see a librarian-professor fight, if that's okay.
posted by found missing at 2:44 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ha, yeah. That sort of e-penis talk makes me wax nostalgic for Alamak chat.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:45 PM on April 23, 2009


A librarian? Feh. You mortals couldn't possibly hope to enter my intellectual realm. As a professor of English at Pudslicker-Swampmore Community College, I enjoy a five-figure salary as well the respect and fear of 18 year-olds who couldn't get into any other school; furthermore
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:54 PM on April 23, 2009


Oh yeah? I cleared Imperishable Night in Normal Mode using Magic Team. Eat it, professor.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:56 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what a gorilla.
posted by gman at 3:01 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are 28 more days for this thread to bring out the craven douchebag in people who haven't stopped by yet. What a weird internet.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:04 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd argue a professional librarian, while knowing where various dictionaries should be placed in his/her workplace is trumped by a professional teacher of the English language, which is me.

Are we really going to go here? Because I'd sure as shit argue that a professional teacher of the English language, while knowing some very nice things about words, is trumped by a professional website moderator regarding requests to modify his behavior on the website in question, and that trying to pull some vocabularistic dick-measuring thing while admittedly not even having understood either the guidance or the nature of the site in question probably isn't something that professorial credentials are going to somehow paint in a good light.

To go at it from a different and hopefully more productive direction: I sympathize that you were confused by the reaction you got, I'm glad you know more about Metatalk than you did a day ago, and I hope in the future you'll be a little bit quicker to realize that if jessamyn or I jump into a conversation with a suggestion to curtail some behavior or redirect it to Metatalk, it's because that's literally our job. And that being a jerk about it to us is basically a lose-lose situation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:10 PM on April 23, 2009 [18 favorites]


a lose-lose situation

And since you're a professor of English rather than math, I'll take this opportunity to explain that that's not a "lose TIMES lose," situation, which would of course result in a net win for you. Far from it. In point of fact it's a a "lose MINUS lose" situation, which results in even greater loss. By you.

Just, y'know, fyi.
posted by dersins at 3:13 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


In point of fact it's a a "lose MINUS lose" situation, which results in even greater loss. By you.

I want to make a joke about it actually leading to mathematical negation and hence a "zero sum" and suggesting that we would therefore really be looking for a game theorist, but I tried a couple times already and it just seemed kind of tedious, so I won't.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:17 PM on April 23, 2009


That's not a matter of intelligence but of capacity for empathy, which a certain percentage of people lack, on MeFi as well as in the population at large.

I'm capable of empathy, and would prefer to reserve it for people who genuinely deserve it. Maybe this woman deserves empathy on its own terms, even if her behavior is horrifying. I'm not sure I agree, yet, but I acknowledge the argument.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:22 PM on April 23, 2009


> I'm capable of empathy, and would prefer to reserve it for people who genuinely deserve it.

Everyone deserves empathy. In fact, by it's nature you don't control empathy but rather note it and the insight it affords you. You may be confusing empathy with it's active counterpart "sympathy". In which case I'd agree with you.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:25 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


its, dammit, its.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:25 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


its, dammit, its.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:25 PM on April 23


jesus christ burhanistan now you look like a damned fool in front of the professor
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2009 [21 favorites]


but the librarian, she is sympathetic.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:44 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


but the librarian, she is sympathetic

Sympathetic? Or empathetic?
posted by anastasiav at 3:55 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone deserves empathy.

Maybe I react so strongly because I value grief as more of a private act. Empathy is a deeper feeling, not necessarily an unconditional one, and I'm not sure I want to share that with someone who damns me in such uncompromising terms, for reasons that are completely irrational. I don't think I can or want to connect to someone like that. I feel sympathy for her plight, because we all have our demons when the world/god/whatever throws shit our way, but she is less the victim of her public shaming than its direct and primary cause. Whatever reasons people give for defending her, I hope they understand that, on some level.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:58 PM on April 23, 2009


All post-comment posters: I expressed sympathy for Faith's mom, though I'm not sure I could begin to empathize--the horror is probably beyond my appreciation.

I'm fine with people attacking me, even in the albeit weak form of name-calling, though I'd prefer arguments with merit. I'm also fine with moderators doing their job, but again, I think they should judge things fairly and not name-call and accuse people of being jerks or engaging in dick-measuring; in actuality, I've been quite polite about the whole terrible mess (if not funny).

If you want to refute my assertions and tell me I'm not funny or that it is a miracle and that Science can't explain it, go ahead. Otherwise continue with your mathematical explanations of phrases and name-calling. Hopefully a moderator will erase all of that (even if it comes from another moderator trying to assert his/her opinion via his/her authority and act like I'm the one who measures dicks).

Marissa-stole-the-precious thing (and-missed-the-context): When I said I was unaware of metaTalk, I was saying that someone (jessamyn the librarian) from the MeFi thread directed me here--that I'd previously never been...not that I just skipped the OP and decided to write random, tangential things.
posted by whatgorilla at 4:25 PM on April 23, 2009


I think they should judge things fairly and not name-call and accuse people of being jerks or engaging in dick-measuring

With all due respect, you're being a totally decent guy here, but I think saying "hey you're being a jerk" is a lot more description and a lot less name-calling than you seem to make it out to be.

I understand that coming from your worldview, making jokes about someone's baby-without-a-brain (unless you want to really say that you intended "slime mold" as pure description in which case I guess we're back to the name calling because I will not believe you) while at the same time expressing some level of sympathy for the mom may seem like a bit of a zero sum. However, the belaboring the point that was happening in the MeFi thread, a thread that has been touch and go for days now seemed like it needed a minor correction. You've got a low enough usernumber that I guess I'm surprised that you didn't sort of already know that this is how things go, but I'm happy enough that it's clear now.

And yeah, I don't particularly think you're funny but that's not really here nor there and I'm known as the humorless mod anyhow, so this shouldn't be too surprising or a cause for any alarm.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:41 PM on April 23, 2009


It's true that she is the humorless one, but she is the best with a sword, and she is the only one to have killed a man with snow shovel.
posted by found missing at 4:49 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


It it is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open one's yap and prove it. Words to ponder, dude.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:51 PM on April 23, 2009


whatgorilla, the only thing poorer than your knowledge of library science is your knowledge of phylogenetics.
posted by boo_radley at 5:06 PM on April 23, 2009


Shiu mai baby (assuming the "baby" is not anencephalitic)

Marissa-stole-the-precious thing (and-missed-the-context)


These sorts of smarmy tangential username jokes are more than a trifle obnoxious, whatgorilla. Especially when you're taking an argumentative stance.

You may think they're cute and funny, but they go over about as well as mocking a student's name in your margin notes while grading papers.
posted by CKmtl at 6:13 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, someone around here doesn't know the first thing about librarians. Bit scary, coming from someone who teaches the english language. Keep in mind that 60% of people with PhDs get them to try to ease their daddy issues and prove that they really are smrt, rilly rilly! But that's okay, it's Jessamyn who keynotes conferences, not mr. college english instructor.

Yours is totally bigger, Jessamyn. No question.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:32 PM on April 23, 2009


Oh, wait....the gorilla guy doesn't even HAVE a phd! Wow. Dude, I'm a librarian and I have more degrees than you do.

Where do you get off snarking at a librarian like that when you've got an MA in english? Is yours very (very very) tiny?
posted by Hildegarde at 7:40 PM on April 23, 2009


she is less the victim of her public shaming than its direct and primary cause

I don't know if a mother publicly expressing grief deserves shaming. Which of her actions do you see as shameful? That given the choice between pregnancy or a free abortion she chose pregnancy? Isn't that the right women have been fighting for, the right to make that choice? Is it shameful that after giving birth she cared for her daughter and fed her? There are no extraordinary measures being taken to preserve Faith's life, she is not on a ventilator and is cared for by her mother, not a medical professional and if her breathing fails Myra has a DNR order already in place. That alone indicates to me that Myra accepts that Faith is dying and will not have a long life. Faith is alive because her body still wants to live, as most organism do instinctively. You find the public display of her grief distasteful because you think it should be private. But when Myra pours out her heart on her blog she is probably alone at home and not fully aware that her writing can be read by anyone (well, she certainly knows this now). Most people think of real-life interactions as public. But even if she stood on a street corner and cried because her daughter was dying would you still think she should be shamed? Which comes back to her public grief. Part of the shame associated with grief is that it forces people to confront strong emotions in themselves and others, something western society mostly can't deal with. Anger seems to make people less uncomfortable than grief though. The only thing people find harder to deal with than death is the process of dying.
posted by saucysault at 7:41 PM on April 23, 2009 [29 favorites]


Which of her actions do you see as shameful? That given the choice between pregnancy or a free abortion she chose pregnancy? Isn't that the right women have been fighting for, the right to make that choice?

Thank you Saucysault. Best comment yet.
posted by pearlybob at 7:46 PM on April 23, 2009


About whatgorilla, the "professional teacher of English." This is possibly quite mean, but the guy is careful to call himself an "instructor" and "professional teacher." Professors have PhDs, at least that's how the word is used as far as I know in college settings.

I don't think this guy has a PhD, based on his careful choice of words here and in his profile.

Again, I apologize for making this post, but his tone about this subject is incredibly off-putting. The continued reference to him as a professor gives him more credit than he's due.
posted by vincele at 8:16 PM on April 23, 2009


So this is what the MetaTalk is all about? Has anything come from this kind of talk besides self-congratulations and/or righteousness, or is this just a place to keep the in-jokes going behind their backs or what? I mean, I have actually enjoyed and learned a lot from metafilter posts (and laughed my ass off at the comments) over the last 9 years (bshort turned me onto the site in 2000); I enjoy AskMefi as well...and though I don't see the point of MetaTalk, I'm sure it has one--I can certainly see how certain MetaPersonalities might want a place to talk about the talk above the din of the crowd. I don't know how you do it--I barely have time to read Mefi, much less AskMefi.

Jessamyn:
(a) it wasn't a joke so much as a passing reference that many others had already no doubt made about the parallel between the Faith post and the "intelligent" Slime-mold post. After reading a bit about you on wikipedia, not only am I sure yours is bigger, but I think our worldviews are fairly in sync (with the exception of humor--not that I found Lenny Bruce funny actually).
(b) I've been here since 12/00, and though i drift away for weeks or months at a time, i always come back. i'd like to think i know how things work, but i didn't realized i'd crossed any lines other than the line that says you shouldn't engage kids who want to argue on the internet.

And Hildegarde:
I'm not just a teacher with daddy issues--I also co-own and run a record store slash anarchist bookstore slash vegan cafe, and I think I probably have mommy issues and death issues too. I'm astigmatic and agoraphobic as well. Metafilter, I'm putting my straight shoulder to the wheel.
posted by whatgorilla at 8:20 PM on April 23, 2009


Booooooring.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:28 PM on April 23, 2009


whatgorilla, I find you unpleasant because you earnestly compared a baby to a slime mold. Having said that, metatalk is, in part, to keep personalities and discussions about metafilter posts out of the green.

Has anything come of this? Well, I don't think there was really anything actionable in the initial request beyond the mods deleting some comments. What were you expecting? What would you like? Concentrate on your suggestion.
posted by boo_radley at 8:43 PM on April 23, 2009


I'm known as the humorless mod anyhow

Wait, was there a competition? Some sort of stand-up comedy mod-off?
posted by graventy at 8:47 PM on April 23, 2009


graventy: yes. Jessamyn's final round:
"I say, I say, I say! A man comes into the library and asks ``What's a metaphor?`` and I tells him, ``meta is a prefix derived from Greek, used in English in order to indicate a concept which is an abstraction from another concept, used to complete or add to the latter. [cit] `` "
posted by boo_radley at 8:52 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


but i didn't realized i'd crossed any lines

And, you know, that happens. You sort of blundered across three or four things in short order and haven't made a particularly graceful go of figuring that out and recovering from it, and so you've got a lot of people feeling annoyed and being variously jerkish about it in return. If you'd backpedaled sooner and harder on some of the stuff that's tweaking people, there'd have been less of it coming back at you, but we're rarely any of us angels and so it's been kind of a mess. Welcome to the grey—it's its own place.

For what it's worth, while I'm likely to call out dick-measuring when I see it (and I don't exclude "I work here and you are confused about how this place works" from the trumpcard game, to be clear, so don't mistake me crawling into the muck for some deluded high-horse take on it), I was hoping more to get you to stop and check yourself than I was to start up a chorus of tiny-dick riffs, and would really like it if Hildegarde wouldn't have gone down that particular tedious road.

Metatalk is a bumpy place. There's a lot of value and a lot of fascinating worth here, if you get to know the place and manage not to too seriously piss off the regulars and the staff (this is where a lot of the more visible part of our workday happens), and if you find you do have the time to hang around and can lose the condescending pose, you may find you like it. No biggie if that's not practical, but you may want to find pursue some sort of friction-mitigating self-moderation as far as your interactions over here if you're not going to make the effort to get up to speed on the local culture.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:59 PM on April 23, 2009


Confessionfilter: Vincele from 2007 is right, though Hildegarden from 2000 beat him/her to it. While I have multiple degrees from multiple schools, I don't have a PhD...and I won't get one until academia changes (thanks in part to reading Michael Berube's "Employment of English" before going to get my PhD at Florida--a good Lit Theory school at the time).

Compensatory rhetoric (and penis size) aside, as it is, I couldn't deal with the ego stuff (whether it's "don't tell me where you went to school, just how much it costs" or the idea that it might be "mean" to say "I don't think this guy has a PhD"), the publish or perish crap or the exploitation of TAs and contingent labor (aka "adjuncts"). I think academia lost its way--or maybe it was knocked off course--and stopped, y'know, teaching a long time ago. This is the only way I can explain 8 years of Bush, the support of Palin, the vote for Prop 2 (or 8 in FL), etc. But that doesn't mean I don't have all the issues; hell, the whole Psych degree was all about solving my own problems, which turned out to be too deep and numerous. Plus, I mean, I stayed in school 10 years just so I could avoid reality--so at least grant me that I have all the issues of "60% of PhDs" even though i'm not one.

Plus, I just like my free time. I had wanted to teach 4th grade, early enough where you can really do some damage, but I got stuck teaching 8th grade, which according to Dante is only two levels above birthing a brainless baby. Now I teach 2 days a week for 5 hours and get paid $45K a year with tons of vacation (including 7 weeks over Summer A)--plus, "I get older but the girls stay the same age" and I get to "volunteer" at my shop, run free schools, teach chess lessons and enjoy my life in praise of idleness. NOT that I don't enjoy theory, I do, I just think getting kids to care about learning and improving their thinking is more important than publishing articles for my peers in peer reviewed journals.

*NOTE: I have nothing but respect for librarians--I tend to attract them as well as animals and insane people; I've worked in two libraries and know librarians from UF to Brown. One of my best friends, Josh, is a librarian (and insane--and a kick a$$ drummer in Environmental Youth Crunch!!). Oh, wait, Vincele/Hildegarden: Josh doesn't yet have a Masters, so technically, I'm sure there's a proper hierarchical term for his place at the library, but if you saw him do a reading for kids or give a tour, you'd see most PhD librarians aren't even half the librarian he is, and I'd stand on Dewey's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say the same thing. (note: i don't really have cowboy boots...or any leather, well, except for an old holster.)
posted by whatgorilla at 9:01 PM on April 23, 2009


Gosh.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 PM on April 23, 2009


you'll fit in just fine.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:10 PM on April 23, 2009


"I get older but the girls stay the same age"

Awkward.
posted by aquafortis at 9:12 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks cortex. Sorry about coming off as condescending to you (note: I really don't mind coming off that way to the kiddies who piled on without making lucid arguments). While I won't backpedal on my assertions that science can explain this so-called miracle, that gallows humor can be funny (though it is subjective) and that calling it a "baby" is misleading--not that I blame the mother for using her own mythology and terminology to help her get through it--I can certainly concede some of your points as well as those of a few others who've actually made, y'know, points.
posted by whatgorilla at 9:12 PM on April 23, 2009


Aquafortis: it's a quote from a movie--thus the quotation marks. Either you're too young or it's just, again, er, not funny. ::sigh:: Tough crowd.
posted by whatgorilla at 9:14 PM on April 23, 2009


Dude, I was responding to the below comment of yours, that's all. I'd never measure a dick if it wasn't placed on the table in front of me.

whatgorilla:

I'd argue a professional librarian, while knowing where various dictionaries should be placed in his/her workplace is trumped by a professional teacher of the English language, which is me. Call me asshole, call me dense, but if all you're going to do is call people names, maybe you should let the librarian and professor adults talk.

posted by vincele at 9:15 PM on April 23, 2009


I'd argue a professional librarian, while knowing where various dictionaries should be placed in his/her workplace is trumped by a professional teacher of the English language, which is me.

Dude. I've seen many things over the years on this site that have angered or annoyed me-- comments that display wanton ignorance, or people letting their personal issues get the better of them, or simple rudeness, even the occasional Bush supporter-- but I have never, ever, seen anybody address Jessamyn with such arrogance. This is Jessamyn you're talking about. Do you have any idea who she is? The kind of work she's done? The sort of respect she has earned in her field? The amount of patience and good humour with which she moderates this place? That she has a Master's degree, just like you?

You're giving professional English teachers-- pretty much all of whom (except, mysteriously, you) know the value of librarians-- a bad name.
posted by jokeefe at 9:18 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't have a PhD but I know the difference between a slime mold and a baby.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:18 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I had wanted to teach 4th grade, early enough where you can really do some damage, but I got stuck teaching 8th grade, which according to Dante is only two levels above birthing a brainless baby.

Wonderful. I'm glad that you are such a special snowflake, with your vegan cafe and your friends who drum in really cool bands and stuff, and that you are having a great big attention wallow in this thread, which is suddenly all about you. Which is kind of insufferable, you know?
posted by jokeefe at 9:24 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thanks cortex. Sorry about coming off as condescending to you

It's not cortex who should be getting an apology from you regarding your condescension.

Having flagged your 'slime mold' comment on the blue, you are really not giving me any reason to believe that you are other than full of yourself and cravenly immature.
posted by jokeefe at 9:27 PM on April 23, 2009


"I get older but the girls stay the same age"

Dude, get it right.

"I get older, they stay the same age".
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:29 PM on April 23, 2009


You find the public display of her grief distasteful because you think it should be private.

Maybe. I certainly find the public display of grief as a means for making a political gesture distasteful. The way she went about using the shock value of her child's physical condition to let everyone know about her belief that abortion should be illegal and that any non-Christians or anyone not saved should suffer torture is definitely distasteful. Her behavior was manipulative, crass and, frankly, disgusting. That doesn't discount her private grief, but I don't think much about how she shared it with us.

But even if she stood on a street corner and cried because her daughter was dying would you still think she should be shamed?

She so clearly crossed many lines beyond this "example" of yours that I can't even bother to respond to this part of your comment, other than to say it is an awfully manipulative and unhelpful non sequitur on your part.

If you folks want to get on your high horse and point fingers at the people who responded to her baiting, please go right ahead, by all means.

But as for the rest of us who think she doesn't automatically get a free pass, don't call all of us unempathetic or sociopaths. Some of reserve the right to feel what we feel for genuinely good people who suffer, grieve, and truly deserve unconditional empathy, love and respect.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:40 PM on April 23, 2009


Fascinating.
posted by chinston at 9:46 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


(note: I really don't mind coming off that way to the kiddies who piled on without making lucid arguments)

Part of the not-really-getting-it thing that's going on is this: you're trying to sort, in real-time, the people worth talking to and the people worth dismissing as "kiddies" who should "let the adults talk" based on the most nominal of unfriendly interactions premised on your own blundering unfamiliarity with the neighborhood you've just wandered into.

There's a lot of tired, threadbare internet rhetoric out there, and as obnoxious and catty as people on this site can be sometimes I like it in part because most of the people around here manage not to trot it out with the same dismaying regularity as other sites do. The bullshit "I'm an adult, you're not, be seen and not heard" thing is very much in that territory. So if you actually want to drop the condescension, drop it period instead of making a show of your ability to drop it only for those folks you've divined are worthy of your attention, and save those of us making some effort to cut you some slack the embarrassment of cutting that slack for no good reason. If other people are going to be jerks, let them be jerks and step above it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:01 PM on April 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Can you please cite where she made the statement that abortion should be illegal? I can't find reference to abortion or termination on her blog (use the search bar if you don't want to read the whole thing) except in two places, neither of which condemn abortion or put in religious terms. She refers to her fetus at 20 weeks as a baby, but since babies survive at 23 weeks and it is pretty normal for pregnant woman to call their fetuses babies (I did too) I don't see that as a big political statement. There are no ads or links to pro-choice blogs, so where again is her public display of grief as a political gesture? I am so sorry you feel she is not "good people" who has suffered and deserves empathy just because she happens to find comfort in a god as she grieves her child.
posted by saucysault at 10:03 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Empathy should always be unconditional. That's the hard part.
posted by tkchrist at 10:09 PM on April 23, 2009


I am so sorry you feel she is not "good people" ... just because she happens to find comfort in a god as she grieves her child.

Can you please cite where I make this conclusion?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:15 PM on April 23, 2009


Empathy should always be unconditional. That's the hard part.

It's not hard at all. The problem, if anything, is really that people are too easily manipulated into the unconditional.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 PM on April 23, 2009


Can you please cite where I make this conclusion?

The way you attribute reprehensible attitudes and actions to this woman, despite the fact that what she has written do not support your hypotheses: you seem to have classified her in some category, without actually taking to time to read her blog. It does not seem said category is a good category to be in.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:21 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is anyone else besides me queasy? I mean, physically nauseated?

Seriously, this thread makes me want to brick myself up in a hermit's cave and never, ever come out. If anyone knows of any good anchorite programs for atheists, sign me the hell up.
posted by aquafortis at 10:26 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


The way you attribute reprehensible attitudes and actions to this woman, despite the fact that what she has written do not support your hypotheses

That's not a cite, that's your personal interpretation. Which is wrong, by the way: She condemns people to torture on her blog. "[Y]ou can't deny that this life is precious and worth protecting" is on her blog, as is other coded anti-abortion phrasing. Her site is linked to by pro-life and religious bloggers. On these matters, at least, no one is ascribing much to her that she hasn't already written or that others haven't linked to.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:33 PM on April 23, 2009


Empathy should always be unconditional. That's the hard part.

It's not hard at all. The problem, if anything, is really that people are too easily manipulated into the unconditional.


With respect BP, I think there is some confusion about the real nature of empathy. This is really quite a deep subject and probably worthy of discussion in real life and not in the context of brainless baby jokes (although the depths of hell are as good a place as any to have an honest reckoning). Having empathy doesn't mean that you agree with that person. Think of empathy as a pair of binoculars. If you're looking through them and you see something that you don't like, you can simply note that and keep looking and take note of the extra details that the binoculars offer. Or, you can become tense and squint and immediately the picture becomes distorted.

This really is a huge problem in the world today. People think that if they see something they don't like then they immediately need to try to change their impression or block it or deflect it in some manner. It really takes a bit of courage and energy to stand up inside one's self and let things in. One can have all the judgments one cares to, but that really is only proper on the tail end of the impression, not on the front end. I honestly don't know how to really convey this much better, but it really takes a basic opening to reality that many people are just simply terrified of coming to--and with all the postmodern nihilistic sentiment that is so cheaply available nowadays it is very easy to dismiss reality as just a TV show in someone else's brain.

But anyway, there's something to be said for just simply noting one's reaction and moving on rather than inflating into some kind of action item, and therein lies the confusion between empathy and sympathy.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:39 PM on April 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Having empathy doesn't mean that you agree with that person.

With respect, I don't understand — or empathize with — the mindset of someone who uses her child's physical condition to manipulate others' emotions — some of the end results of which are on plain display in this and the other thread — and condemn others on the basis of some clearly irrational and hateful views. I don't think I can choose to empathize with someone who is acting insane — even if due to grief. I feel sympathy for her and hopes she gets through it, because she's clearly been through a lot, but I reserve the right to empathize with people who recognize my own humanity, and I find the almost unrelenting shaming and manipulation to do otherwise almost as offensive as the brainless baby jokes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:50 PM on April 23, 2009


"[Y]ou can't deny that this life is precious and worth protecting"

I really believe this only refers to her daughter, and not to potential-human-life in general. Maybe she's dog whisling; I highly doubt it: she didn't know Christ rose on Sunday, for Pete's sake.

Torture? Are you referring to her "go to Hell" post? I think it's much simpler to ascribe that post to the fact that she was hurt by asshole redditors, and wished them to hell. Not nice, but nicer in ways than "go choke on a bucket of cocks".

As for people linking to her, it just means they're trying to co-opt her, not that they've succeeded.

Really, I have a hard time seeing something other than a mother (understandably) consumed with grief and confusion.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:05 PM on April 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I reserve the right to empathize with people who recognize my own humanity

Wait, I'm confused. You're anencephalic?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:13 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, I'm confused. You're anencephalic?

I hope you get the outrage that you deserve for that snippy comment of yours. As much as you're handing out, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:21 PM on April 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm still curious: what leads you to think some girl from New Brunswick doesn't recognize your humanity?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:26 PM on April 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm still curious why you're still commenting when the same people yapping about how horrible people are who make braindead baby jokes aren't calling you a sociopath.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:31 PM on April 23, 2009


the willful dehumanization of a horribly deformed infant

Two comments:
a) whatgorilla was not the first person to bring slime molds into the discussion. beelzbubba did here, well before whatgorilla's entrance into the thread.

b) In order to "dehumanize" something, it must be human to begin with. This is a debatable point, as the positions both pro and contra in both the FPP and this thread show.

whatgorilla deserved much of the castigation directed his way, but I don't think his slime mold comment was beyond the pale. *I* certainly flashed to thoughts of Myah's birth product when I saw the slime mold story. I've already expressed my support for boundless humour topicality, and so, while I didn't find whatgorilla's comments to be funny, it was execution and not subject matter that I fault for the lack of laughs.
posted by birdsquared at 11:35 PM on April 23, 2009


I'm still curious why you're still commenting when the same people yapping about how horrible people are who make braindead baby jokes aren't calling you a sociopath.

They're probably asleep or not following the thread anymore.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:42 PM on April 23, 2009


They're probably asleep or not following the thread anymore.

Well, if the same folks favoriting the rest of your comments get around in the morning to doing the same with your own braindead baby joke, I'll be shocked.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:51 PM on April 23, 2009


Hey, of anybody, I have the right to make dead-baby jokes and Monday, stony Monday made me laugh.
posted by saucysault at 11:56 PM on April 23, 2009


Well, well. For people who tell the rest of us how we should think and feel, you certainly take the high road when it suits you. Fascinating.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:01 AM on April 24, 2009


BL, my "good people" quote was from your last line waaaaaaay up there: Some of [us] reserve the right to feel what we feel for genuinely good people who suffer, grieve, and truly deserve unconditional empathy, love and respect. The "good people" and "truly deserve" part casts you as judging her unworthy because of what you assume are her anti-choice views. You seem to think she is anti-choice for everyone (and attempting to work on a global scale in the political forumto deny choice to all women) just because she mentions god a few times. So there is your cite. Now, can you please cite her anti-abortion views? 'Cause clearly I didn't get the same anti-choice codebook you are reading from. Have you read the blog we are talking about?
posted by saucysault at 12:07 AM on April 24, 2009


I think the context of MsM's reference was fairly clear, so he doesn't get poked with my Coup Stick of Impotent Indignation and Blustering Outrage*. Lucky bugger!

BP: While in some ways I can see where you're coming from on this and to a degree share your qualms about public expressions, you seem to be projecting a lot of LOLXTIAN stereotypes onto the authoer and using the situation to rail against a fundie boogieman by ascribing motivations to her that I don't believe are as clear as you think they are.

*It's actually just a broken twig from a pussy willow. The catkins are so soft!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:09 AM on April 24, 2009


Yes, I am fascinating, aren't I? Kisses!!
posted by saucysault at 12:09 AM on April 24, 2009


A funny thing about people is that they want mercy for themselves and justice for others.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:13 AM on April 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


I have the right to make dead-baby jokes and Monday, stony Monday made me laugh

I find hypocrisy among the ugliest of human traits and have no desire to fuel yours by saying anything further to you. Good luck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:14 AM on April 24, 2009


Jesus fuck, BP. Calm the fuck down.
posted by dersins at 12:23 AM on April 24, 2009


Up-thread there was a comment about gallows humour you might want to re-read. Humour is a pretty powerful weapon that can disguise a lot of anger. Gallows humour however can help people cope with overwhelming emotions (which obviously this thread and the other has stirred up in me). I am glad you have successfully managed to hold back on any hypocrasy in your own life by say, not being someone that demands cites but refuses to provide their own (non-existent) ones.

Thanks for the good luck handshake but I was hoping for at least a goodnight kiss. I don't have cooties you know.
posted by saucysault at 12:25 AM on April 24, 2009


How embarrassing that I can't spell hypocrisy. Librarian! Get me that dictionary you have shelved!
posted by saucysault at 12:28 AM on April 24, 2009


Wait. So even the "gray matter" joke wasn't funny? If not for the slime mold comment, what castigation did I deserve from my metafilter posts?

I understand I got all condescending in here and, so far, metaTalk seems to be mainly about castigation. But hell I deserved the sentiment if not the language--I treated people, including a beloved moderator, like the pedantic teenagers I assumed they were since I felt we weren't debating the debate so much as debating what degree of asshole I was (with me defending myself poorly because, again, I thought I was dealing with the metaflamers forum as opposed to the metafamous, not that I'm metanything).
posted by whatgorilla at 1:53 AM on April 24, 2009


Marissa-stole-the-precious thing (and-missed-the-context): When I said I was unaware of metaTalk, I was saying that someone (jessamyn the librarian) from the MeFi thread directed me here--that I'd previously never been...not that I just skipped the OP and decided to write random, tangential things.

Since you took the time to respond, thanks for the clarification. I'd removed that thread from my Recenty Activity, so I admittedly haven't been following some of what I hear are some genuinely fantastic comments, as well as more of the ugliness that prompted me to step away from that thread in the first place.

Speaking for myself, what I tend to do when I'm called out for making a tasteless remark that other people didn't find funny is shrug, say sorry and move on. This tends to work a lot better than talking about Freedom of Humor. Because, first of all, you can never explain a joke into being funny, and second, it's an argument that tends to just make you look defensive rather than misunderstood. For what it's worth.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:11 AM on April 24, 2009


Ok, what'd I miss?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on April 24, 2009


what Brandon Blatcher (if that is his real name) said.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:52 AM on April 24, 2009


Librarian! Get me that dictionary you have shelved!

no, that's not it at all.

"librarian, sort thyself!" is what you were after.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:55 AM on April 24, 2009


Brandon - well, I was just getting the big dictionary from the nice librarian to show BP the definition of hypocrisy. He seems to have confused me for someone else. It would be hypocritical of me to laugh at a anacephaly joke if at any point I had said people shouldn't mock the brainless. But I didn't. I DID say people should be more compassionate to a grieving mother, not mock her or her dying child, and not project political motivations or fundie propaganda on her without any evidence. But those statements have nothing to do with Monday, stony, Monday poking fun at BP's brain or lack thereof. So how about it BP? Where is my hypocrisy again?
posted by saucysault at 6:03 AM on April 24, 2009


I really find the balance, poise and overall tolerance that our moderators display to be quite impressive. I mean, the crap and personal insults they shrug off is absolutely amazing.

I'm not blind to the fact that the position of authority is just too tempting a target for some folks to pass up, and I'm not blind to the necessity of that tolerance-which-justifies-the-power the mods have, but sweet goddamn would I be tempted to smack some folks into next Tuesday for their trouble.
posted by kalessin at 6:13 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Call me asshole, call me dense

Well, you were being a dense asshole, there.

Sorry for coming in late -- little league, sleep, etc.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:30 AM on April 24, 2009


kalessin: "I really find the balance, poise and overall tolerance that our moderators display to be quite impressive. I mean, the crap and personal insults they shrug off is absolutely amazing."

True dat. The supernatural calm with which jessamyn can deliver an ear-boxing has made me think of her like Saraswati or something. So it was jarring to listen to the podcast for the first time and hear a very ordinary female voice.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:42 AM on April 24, 2009


cortex, your most recent comment is particularly apt.

It's that intentional narrative whatgorilla seems to be writing here about who is and is not worth speaking to or responding to that I find particularly irksome.

Beyond that I think whatgorilla is probably quite well-suited for carrying out dialogue here. Seems like he'll fit in nicely once he stops stomping that particularly elitist button (that seems to irritate a lot of other folks pretty consistently too).
posted by kalessin at 6:46 AM on April 24, 2009


this is like the worst first date ever

Confessionfilter: Vincele from 2007 is right, though Hildegarden from 2000 beat him/her to it. While I have multiple degrees from multiple schools, I don't have a PhD...and I won't get one until academia changes (thanks in part to reading Michael Berube's "Employment of English" before going to get my PhD at Florida--a good Lit Theory school at the time).

no one cares that you don't have a degree except for the fact that you tried to whip it out as proof of your worth on a site chock-fucking-full of brilliant people of all stripes

Compensatory rhetoric (and penis size) aside, as it is, I couldn't deal with the ego stuff (whether it's "don't tell me where you went to school, just how much it costs" or the idea that it might be "mean" to say "I don't think this guy has a PhD"), the publish or perish crap or the exploitation of TAs and contingent labor (aka "adjuncts").

thanks

I think academia lost its way--or maybe it was knocked off course--and stopped, y'know, teaching a long time ago. This is the only way I can explain 8 years of Bush, the support of Palin, the vote for Prop 2 (or 8 in FL), etc. But that doesn't mean I don't have all the issues; hell, the whole Psych degree was all about solving my own problems, which turned out to be too deep and numerous.

oh my god

Plus, I mean, I stayed in school 10 years just so I could avoid reality--so at least grant me that I have all the issues of "60% of PhDs" even though i'm not one.

fake self-deprication, check

Plus, I just like my free time. I had wanted to teach 4th grade, early enough where you can really do some damage, but I got stuck teaching 8th grade, which according to Dante is only two levels above birthing a brainless baby.

if i were in high school a dante reference might impress me

Now I teach 2 days a week for 5 hours and get paid $45K a year with tons of vacation (including 7 weeks over Summer A)

i don't care

--plus, "I get older but the girls stay the same age"

what

and I get to "volunteer" at my shop, run free schools, teach chess lessons and enjoy my life in praise of idleness. NOT that I don't enjoy theory, I do, I just think getting kids to care about learning and improving their thinking is more important than publishing articles for my peers in peer reviewed journals.

"methinks thou dost protest too much" - lindsay lohan, mean girls movie

*NOTE: I have nothing but respect for librarians--I tend to attract them as well as animals and insane people;

i wear a fedora and have heard my picture elicits girlish coos

I've worked in two libraries and know librarians from UF to Brown. One of my best friends, Josh, is a librarian (and insane--and a kick a$$ drummer in Environmental Youth Crunch!!). Oh, wait, Vincele/Hildegarden: Josh doesn't yet have a Masters, so technically, I'm sure there's a proper hierarchical term for his place at the library, but if you saw him do a reading for kids or give a tour, you'd see most PhD librarians aren't even half the librarian he is,

i think you're missing the point

and I'd stand on Dewey's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say the same thing. (note: i don't really have cowboy boots...or any leather, well, except for an old holster.)
posted by whatgorilla at 9:01 PM on April 23


*best girlfriend calls asking how the date is; i turn to whatgorilla and tell him that a ufo just landed on my house and i have to go fill out the insurance forms*
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:58 AM on April 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'd argue a professional librarian, while knowing where various dictionaries should be placed in his/her workplace is trumped by a professional teacher of the English language, which is me. Call me asshole, call me dense, but if all you're going to do is call people names, maybe you should let the librarian and professor adults talk.

I myself have been "a professional teacher of the English language," and I'm pretty sure I'm a couple decades older than you are, so I hope you're not going to tell me to "let the adults talk." I'm not going to call you a dense asshole (though I won't say the temptation isn't there), but I'm going to add to the chorus of those suggesting that you give your attitude a more thorough dry-cleaning than you have so far been willing to do. This is one of the best places on the internet to hang out (which is why I've spent far too much time hanging out here for almost eight years), but a major prerequisite (sort of like English 101) is the ability to roll with the punches and not wind up like the belligerent drunk glaring defiance at a mocking crowd and hollering "C'mon! I can take the lot of ya!"—which all too often leads to fiery (and, I confess, entertaining) flameouts and (if you're particularly good at it) occasional mention for years to come as an in-joke: "Yeah, this guy's a clueless jerk, but not in the same league as old Belligerent Drunk, remember him?" You don't want to end up like that, right?

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us/ To see oursels as ithers see us!/ It wad frae monie a blunder free us,/ An foolish notion": well, the Power has granted you this giftie, right here in battleship-gray MetaTalk. Use it wisely.
posted by languagehat at 7:01 AM on April 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


So do MAs come with fedoras now or what?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:09 AM on April 24, 2009


So do MAs come with fedoras now or what?

And a tassle!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:13 AM on April 24, 2009


I'd argue a professional librarian, while knowing where various dictionaries should be placed in his/her workplace is trumped by a professional teacher of the English language, which is me. Call me asshole, call me dense, but if all you're going to do is call people names, maybe you should let the librarian and professor adults talk

Why is it that so many of the vegan-anarchists I meet are the most condescending control freaks in the room? I've concluded that a large number of them have no problem with authority or authoritarianism (based on physical power or social power) at all....they're just frantic that THEIR superiority over the unwashed masses will go unrecognized and THEY won't be the ones in charge....so SMASH THE SYSTEM.
posted by availablelight at 7:14 AM on April 24, 2009


Why is it that so many of the vegan-anarchists I meet are the most condescending control freaks in the room?

are you kidding? do you have any idea what kind of anal-retentive freaking canute you have to be to stick to a vegan diet?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:25 AM on April 24, 2009


Blazecock Pileon....

Uh, I think you have it backwards and maybe upside down. Here, lemme fix:

She condemns people to torture on her blog. "[Y]ou can't deny that this life is precious and worth protecting" is on her blog...

That's not a cite, that's your personal interpretation. Which is wrong, by the way. Hey! we agree!

Her condemnation is pretty mild and standard boilerplate. Someone upthread pointed out that she's not linking to pro-life sites. You yourself point out:

Her site is linked to by pro-life and religious bloggers. On these matters, at least, no one is ascribing much to her that she hasn't already written or that others haven't linked to.

It ain't her, it's you. Quite unsurprising that she's being picked up as a symbol of $MY_WAY_IS_THE_RIGHT_WAY. She's almost on her way to being the Cindy Sheehan of the anti-choice movement*. I hope she doesn't get seduced by anyone, personally. She's got enough troubles.

One more:
...as is other coded anti-abortion phrasing.
I think you need to adjust the rubber band holding that tinfoil hat on.

=========================

*we really have no idea how she feels about other peoples' choices, unless she's updated her blog. I haven't been back since reading it from last to first.
posted by lysdexic at 7:27 AM on April 24, 2009


Uh, I think you have it backwards and maybe upside down.
posted by lysdexic at 2:27 AM on April 25 [+] [!]


epnosytreilac!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:34 AM on April 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


and (if you're particularly good at it) occasional mention for years to come as an in-joke

Hence the references to fedoras and girlish coos. Good times. Sort of.
posted by jokeefe at 7:42 AM on April 24, 2009


epnosytreilac

Oh, you are not getting any Scrabble© points for that! I cheked!
posted by lysdexic at 7:53 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


**facepalm** I just got it. Off to get more coffee.
posted by lysdexic at 7:54 AM on April 24, 2009


Oh, you are not getting any Scrabble© points for that! I cheked!

Nor are you.
posted by gman at 7:58 AM on April 24, 2009


> epnosytreilac

I'm pretty sure that's a laxative.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:11 AM on April 24, 2009


The "fedora" reference made my month!!!

Perfection!

Thank you OC!
posted by pearlybob at 8:27 AM on April 24, 2009


I understand I got all condescending in here and, so far, metaTalk seems to be mainly about castigation. But hell I deserved the sentiment if not the language--I treated people, including a beloved moderator, like the pedantic teenagers I assumed they were since I felt we weren't debating the debate so much as debating what degree of asshole I was (with me defending myself poorly because, again, I thought I was dealing with the metaflamers forum as opposed to the metafamous, not that I'm metanything).

Pshaw, you're metaboring! Don't sell yourself short!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:39 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The thought of fedoras also came unbidden to my mind.
posted by chinston at 10:16 AM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pshaw, you're metaboring! Don't sell yourself short!

I don't know, I found the ham-fisted backhand in that non-apology pretty chuckle inducing. "I realize I came across as a jerk when speaking to some of these mongos. And for that I apologize. In the future, I'll be sure not to upset the chimp cage, oh and did I mention I've done many important things?"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:38 AM on April 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Them goofy bastards are just about the best thing I got goin' in this crazy world.
posted by gman at 10:52 AM on April 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


having so recently thrown my lot in with this beautiful gang of madcaps here at metafilter, i hesitate to do anything that would bring the (not insubstantial) wrath. so it is with trepidation that i ask the following: could any old hands here direct me (memail, y'know, if you think posting that sort of thing in bad taste) to shitstorms (blue or gray) of similar magnitude? it's like reading a great fucking play in the middle of a bar brawl and a top notch means of learning the lay of the land out here in meta-country. thanking any takers in advance.




(and whatgorilla, do i need that first comma?)
posted by barrett caulk at 11:31 AM on April 24, 2009


(barrett caulk, I am not nearly so lettered as whatgorilla, but I have a feeling that your generic snooty English instructor type would perhaps remind you that there is only one E.E Cummings, and you are most probably not he. Because I have already privately confessed to whatgorilla that my ability to properly render commas in any consistent style is woefully inadequate, I will not debase either of us by rendering an opinion.)
posted by kalessin at 11:58 AM on April 24, 2009


I was reminded less of fedoras than Dr. Science, but six of one, half dozen of another. Is there any way we can fix whatgorilla up with SheWhoMustNotBeNamed? The supercollision of their superconducting egos might finally help us find the Higgs boson.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:03 PM on April 24, 2009


*stands in corner blinking*

Okay, this morning when I looked in here, we were still talking about the thread on the blue, but somehow we got from there to a grammarian's conference in only a few hours.

How the hell did that happen?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:43 PM on April 24, 2009


> How the hell did that happen?

Tessellating fractals of wank, that's how.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:52 PM on April 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


NOW do you see what happens when you go outside.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:52 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


barrett caulk: you might like to take a look at the portobello mushroom thread.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:24 PM on April 24, 2009


How the hell did that happen?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:43 PM on April 24


Professor Fedora von Veganmarket tried to fuck with jessamyn
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:31 PM on April 24, 2009 [8 favorites]


Gallows humor is generally only acceptable when it is you who is facing the gallows.

why the hell do people keep trotting out this complete piece of nonsense?

it's nothing but a silly pat aphorism from the uptight & humourless, hoping to rob the world of the sublime majesties of dark comedy.

now, if you'll excuse me, i'm off to watch Blackadder Goes Forth.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:59 PM on April 24, 2009


hm, blackadder's gone missing. and it was such a good choice for ANZAC Day.

(i think we're the only nation on earth that celebrates a disastrous military victory as one of its founding myths...)

no matter. i'm seeing Dylan Moran twice in the upcoming weeks, which should more than make up for it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:12 PM on April 24, 2009


Well be sure to have your fedora dry cleaned. And do something about that smirk.
posted by Sailormom at 3:20 PM on April 24, 2009


why the hell do people keep trotting out this complete piece of nonsense?

Because if you're not the one facing the gallows, making jokes at the expense of those who are makes you a smug, arrogant, unfunny prick who doesn't understand what dark comedy is.

Blackadder Goes Forth was effective dark comedy precisely because it was made by (and for) the literal and metaphorical heirs of the young Englishmen who walked into battle at the Somme whistling and kicking footballs ahead of them-- some 20,000 of whom were cut down in about 20 minutes on 1st July 1916.

If the series had been made, for example, by and for German television, it wouldn't have been dark comedy, it would have been LOLDeadBrits, which is not the same thing at all. I am sorry that you can't see the difference, but there really is one.
posted by dersins at 3:24 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


no, i'm sorry, it's nothing more than a clever rhetorical twist, and if people didn't insist on calling black comedy "gallows humour" then it's a point they couldn't even make.

many of the pinnacles of world literature, for example, are thoroughly infused with black humour. to give a few examples:

Maldoror, by the Comte de Lautreamont. without it, surrealism could not have happened, completely changing the intellectual & artistic history of the 20th Century.

one of the undisputed masterpieces of 19th Century literature - Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol. black as pitch. and followed up by another Russian great: The Master & Margarita, widely held to be one of the very best of the 20th Century.

Brazil's greatest author, Machado de Assis, is also dark as fuck. take a peek at Epitaph of a Small Winner, for example.

and what is Don Quixote, other than an extended black joke at the expense of mental illness? do you contend that Cervantes is not entitled to make that kind of fun unless he himself is delusional?

skipping back to the 20th Century again, I offer two more undisputed geniuses of black comedy: Franz Kafka & Samuel Beckett.

make all the judgemental decisions you like about who is & isn't entitled to see humour in the darker aspects of life, but I'm certainly not going to be emptying out my bookshelves to make way for whatever kind of happy-go-lucky literature you think is politically acceptable.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:35 PM on April 24, 2009


Wow.

I did a marathon reading of this thread top to bottom, and I'd like to share with you all what I learned. (I learned a lot!)

-Don't bait people into outraged
-Be excellent to each other
-Klangklangston has been a passive participant in kitten drowning!
-5imian flamed out
-whatgorrilla is either a very well executed sockpuppet, years in the making, or the single worst human being that ever lived.

seriously. Reading whatgorilla's posts made me embarrassed for him.
posted by orville sash at 3:37 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


make all the judgemental decisions you like about who is & isn't entitled to see humour in the darker aspects of life, but I'm certainly not going to be emptying out my bookshelves to make way for whatever kind of happy-go-lucky literature you think is politically acceptable.

There's a difference between literature and everyday life, which is why literature can utilize dark humor in such a satisfying manner. However, using works of fiction to justify the absolutely unfunny mockery of this poor mother is a pretty weak argument. Fiction works because it's FICTION. Making fun of a grieving woman's dying baby is pretty fucking unfunny, for example.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:35 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ubu, you're starting to sound like Fedora Professor. ("Look at all the great books I can cite at the drop of a hat!") You're willfully missing or ignoring dersins' point, which is an excellent one (and, I would have thought, hardly disputable). I'm guessing this is more of your Aussie Performance Art ("Watch me shock the seppos!"), but you're impressing only yourself.
posted by languagehat at 4:37 PM on April 24, 2009


the way The Light Fantastic put it above, i can agree with; but meh to the ad hominems.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:44 PM on April 24, 2009


Waiting for Godot would be nothing without the dead baby jokes.
posted by minifigs at 4:58 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


if i had the time, i'm sure i could find some jokes at the expense of miscarriages, abortions, and dead babies in Watt, Molloy or Malone Dies.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:04 PM on April 24, 2009


(and The Unnameable could potentially be read as the interior monologue of a comatose or even apparently anencephalic being...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:07 PM on April 24, 2009


So, uh, what did you guys think of the BSG finale?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:31 PM on April 24, 2009


too much loldeadcylons for my liking.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:36 PM on April 24, 2009


I hesitate to bring this up, given my teeth-gritted seriousness some ways up the thread, but can we start with the dead baby jokes here yet? It's been a decent interval, yes?
posted by mwhybark at 8:45 PM on April 24, 2009


Let's let player A's action space be A = {1: Being a Jerk, 2: Not being a Jerk} and player B's action space be B = {1: Calling him on it, and 2: not calling him on it}. Now let's assume a payoff function that maps A x B into R^2 such that any pair of actions, but especially (2, 2), leads to a payoff of c for each player, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum. Now repeat the game an infinite number of times, subtracting 1 m/s from each payoff each iteration, and sum the results for each player.
posted by ~ at 8:50 PM on April 24, 2009


can we start with the dead baby jokes here yet?

if i understand the ethical conclusion correctly, it's a-ok to make dead baby jokes, as long as they are completely fictional, and not making fun of the real-life woman or baby who were the subjects of the original thread, or at the expense of any real-life people, regardless of whether or not they are ever likely to read or understand the jokes. it might also be inadvisable to make dead baby jokes in a situation in which somebody who had a dead baby might come across them, so the best way to approach this might be to have a disclaimer first that any resemblance to anybody living or dead is purely coincidental, plus a warning about the potentially shocking comments.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:07 PM on April 24, 2009


That's not funny; my brother died from ignoring capitalization.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:13 PM on April 24, 2009


How awful! Was the sign at the intersection reading 'stop' not emphatic enough?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:24 PM on April 24, 2009


That's not funny; my brother died from ignoring capitalization.

I have my semi-colons examined every other year by a trained English professor. It pays to catch these mistakes before they go from lower- to uppercase.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:41 PM on April 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


that's the kind of expertise you just can't get by reading up for yourself in a library.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:45 PM on April 24, 2009


(although when it comes to having my colon examined, i prefer a mathematics professor - they're much better with their digits)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:51 PM on April 24, 2009


"Look at all the great books I can cite at the drop of a hat!"

Wikipedia sure is handy sometimes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:17 PM on April 24, 2009


so is having the ability & inclination to actually read. apart from de Assis, everything else i mentioned was slap-bang out of the dead centre of the western canon - hardly obscure at all, and the kinds of works that i assume that any intelligent person has read, so it's no different in my mind to quoting the Simpsons.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:18 PM on April 24, 2009


There's no objective proof that this thread isn't a feeding trough for Iblis.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 PM on April 24, 2009


is that what you call trolls? how delightful!
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:38 PM on April 24, 2009


so is having the ability & inclination to actually read...

It's breathtaking how quickly you can go from sneering at the uptight and humourless to being, well, uptight and humourless when some insolent dares to offend your intellectual vanity*. Careful you don't get whiplash - though if you do, I will happily take those Moran tickets off your hands.

*Yesyes, I know, just like how I can go from pontificating about kindness to being a snide prick. I contain multitudes an' shit†.

Walter Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892)

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:40 PM on April 24, 2009


oh, no no no...that was written with a big cheeky grin on my face, which obviously didn't come across.

i am offended, though, that you felt you needed to attribute the whitman quote. sheesh!
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:44 PM on April 24, 2009


can i make you jealous? the first dylan moran show is just his regular thing that he's taking on a world tour, or something. the second - coming in at around US$10 - is a film night, where they rope in the director or cinematographer or one of the actors for a Q&A session with the audience afterwards. normally, it's a chance to have a chuckle at hipsters asking earnest & unintentionally hilarious questions about their special snowflake Short Movie Project, but this time it will be dylan moran fielding the questions, so it'll be a thousand million times better.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:03 AM on April 25, 2009


Some day, I'll see a MeTa thread like this and a MeFi thread like that matched up with the warning about the images, and I will say to myself, "you know, I am not gonna click that." I have a pony request. I want an animated gif of a flashing red light to automatically pop up next to train wrecks.
posted by crataegus at 1:16 AM on April 25, 2009


Yesyes, I know, just like how I can go from pontificating about kindness to being a snide prick. I contain multitudes an' shit†.


Truly, today, we are all fedora wearers. Ich bin ein Fedora.
posted by minifigs at 2:51 AM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ich bin ein Fedora.

= [language] [hat]
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:56 AM on April 25, 2009


= [Sprach] [Hut]
posted by languagehat at 6:13 AM on April 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mein hut, er hat drei ecken.
posted by dersins at 11:43 AM on April 27, 2009


Mein Hut, es ist ein fedora.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:49 AM on April 27, 2009


er ist
posted by found missing at 11:51 AM on April 27, 2009


Google-Übersetzung ist ein wenig unzuverlässig
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:17 PM on April 27, 2009


I was going to say something here, but then I remembered I don't have a degree of any kind, so am clearly not qualified.
posted by dg at 1:44 PM on April 27, 2009


well, you have a degree of un-edumucatedness, no?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:58 PM on April 27, 2009


Yeah, I have a doctorate in dumb.
posted by dg at 2:48 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


= [Sprach] [Hut]

Jabba the Hat, amirite?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:52 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mein hut, er hat drei ecken.

Whoah, thanks for the flashback to Spanking the Monkey. Gonna go shower now ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:39 AM on April 28, 2009


more like Jabba the FAT! LOL!!1!
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:03 AM on April 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


or jabr the f(t)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:42 AM on April 28, 2009


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