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A brief period of mourning June 25, 2009 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Every obit thread on MeFi since the start of time* has been a flood of periods/full stops. Why did the Michael Jackson thread become a mess of bad taste jokes with barely an orphaned punctuation mark in sight. What memo did I miss?

* May or may not be true - it certainly seems like it...
posted by twine42 to Etiquette/Policy at 3:40 PM (147 comments total)

Why did the Michael Jackson thread become a mess of bad taste jokes with barely an orphaned punctuation mark in sight.

In short, because he supposedly liked to diddle with little boys. If you were expecting class here, you've come to the wrong place.
posted by chillmost at 3:43 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because there was too much freak in Jackson's life for snarkers to resist. And the multiple (not deleted) obit posts prior to ericb's didn't help.
posted by rtha at 3:43 PM on June 25, 2009


It was the 4th or 5th post on the subject and the starting comments were riffs on that. For that reason and because it was still unconfirmed no one was taking it seriously.
posted by ODiV at 3:44 PM on June 25, 2009


The first two comments here sum it up entirely and perfectly.
posted by Science! at 3:44 PM on June 25, 2009


First use of '.' in an obit thread, according to this.
posted by 7segment at 3:45 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Everyone thought it would get deleted, like the 3 previous threads, and decided to get their asshole on.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 3:45 PM on June 25, 2009


Will his nose be donated to the Smithsonian?
posted by chillmost at 3:47 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Between MJ's latter day infamousness as a media curiosity/freak-show touchstone and contentious figure, and the preceding three threads (and the straggler) acting as sort of metafilter meta-meme thing, I think the thread was pretty much bound to start out loud and bumpy.

Not thrilled with that or with the thread itself, but I've already kind of talked about that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:48 PM on June 25, 2009


I don't know how you guys have the patience to deal with all these deleted thread free for alls. I'd be handing out time-outs like crazy.
posted by ODiV at 3:53 PM on June 25, 2009


.
posted by joelf at 3:53 PM on June 25, 2009


man, i almost posted a metatalk post when i first heard he was dead asking for the moderators to put together a decent obit post instead of a bunch of mefis rushing to be first.
posted by lester at 3:54 PM on June 25, 2009


Few other obituary posts have been for somebody with such an over-the-top bizarre life. It's hard for many (myself included) to put aside the media cartoon he became for at least half of his life and think of the man with a family and friends. Sadly, Michael as a legendary music innovator or family man comes after Michael the punchline for many of us.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 3:54 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The thread is going to straighten out in the end. The thread is a good example of why the "real-time web" makes no sense when you look back at it five minutes later.
posted by GuyZero at 3:55 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I like to demonstrate some charity towards my fellow MeFites. I assume that everyone expressed their grief and showed their respect by breaking into an impromptu rendition of I Want You Back, playing all five roles. I'm sure it was amazing. A period couldn't possibly sum it up. So instead they made tasteless jokes.

I unbuttoned my shirt and sang You Are Not Alone. It was just as creepy as the original video.

.
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:55 PM on June 25, 2009


man, i almost posted a metatalk post when i first heard he was dead asking for the moderators to put together a decent obit post instead of a bunch of mefis rushing to be first.

I almost managed to unlock the MeFi "Posted in all MJ Obit Threads" achievement. THat is one awesome badge.
posted by GuyZero at 3:56 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Others whistle past graveyards. MetaFilter prefers to spit in coffins.
posted by felix betachat at 3:57 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


First use of '.' in an obit thread, according to this.

Holy crap, it was a Kaycee Nicole thread that started the obituary punctuation thing? So the whole tradition is...like...a lie?!
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:58 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think it's great that you get rid of crappy first-through-the-door obits posts, but because they disappear, it always leads to more of them for really famous people. Have you considered just closing the thread like you do in MetaTalk, with a notice at the top that says "This post is crap, please try again?" That would make it clear that the news has been posted, but something better is needed.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 3:59 PM on June 25, 2009


Any chance this one can get saved instead of the, um, trainwreck/clusterfuck/omgwtfbbq that is over 280 posts? Dude was weird but we can do better than a thread that gets shit on that hard.
posted by graymouser at 3:59 PM on June 25, 2009


Because there were too many people trying to be first, because no credible sources were confirming it, and because it's been years since he's been culturally relevant for a good reason.

I don't know if there's been such a rush to post to thefront page before, but MJ's death really puts a spotlight on how to not write an obit.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 3:59 PM on June 25, 2009


GuyZero: Do you enjoy posting useless noise? It doesn't bother you that when you post crap in threads you expect to be deleted, some of them stick around and are noisier for the garbage that ends up in them?
posted by ODiV at 4:00 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dude, I'm listening to Off The Wall on vinyl. Allow me to fuck with some pop irreverence instead of genuflecting at the Church of the Holy Dot.
posted by klangklangston at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


thanks marisa thief. a better post.
posted by lester at 4:02 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The handwringing about the quality of the post is something I just don't get. Michael Jackson is one of the most famous people in the world and everyone knows everything about every stage of his life. Contrast - the Farrah Fawcett post... I knew two things about Farrah - she was on Charlie's Angels, and she's the girl in that sexy poster. The post links to those two universally known things and a copy of her obituary, and everybody's cool with it so why is it so awful that we don't have a bunch of (unnecessary) documentation in the MJ post?
posted by moxiedoll at 4:03 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


THE WORLD IS WATCHING, METAFILTER.
posted by The Straightener at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm unsure how someone would distinguish my crap comments from the rest of my comments.
posted by GuyZero at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2009


because they disappear, it always leads to more of them for really famous people.

Maybe prevent FPPs that contain specific strings for a limited amount of time? "Michael Jackson", "TMZ", the URL, "King of Pop".

A technical solution isn't always best, but it might make things more manageable in "breaking news!" cases like these.
posted by ODiV at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2009


"why is it so awful that we don't have a bunch of (unnecessary) documentation in the MJ post?"

OMG HE WAS THE KING OF POP FOR CHRISSAKES SHOW SOME FUCKING RESPECT
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2009


The post links to those two universally known things and a copy of her obituary, and everybody's cool with it so why is it so awful that we don't have a bunch of (unnecessary) documentation in the MJ post?

Um, the big Jackson post has a ton of threadshitting and "is he or isn't he" and "in before delete" in it. It needs a reboot. MSTPT put together a post that can be that reboot.
posted by graymouser at 4:05 PM on June 25, 2009


why is it so awful that we don't have a bunch of (unnecessary) documentation in the MJ post?

In that case, why have a post at all? MetaFilter isn't a news site.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hear they are freezing his head, right next to Ted Williams.
posted by fixedgear at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2009


Yeah, we're keeping that newest one. Good job.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:07 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, we're keeping that newest one. Good job."

Boo. Hiss.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Jackson broke James Brown's record for dieing the most times on Metafilter.
posted by marxchivist at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


*lights crash's hair on fire*
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:10 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you were expecting class here, you've come to the wrong place.

.
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:11 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The amount of respect shown to a person is a combination of the measure of the person, and of the person judging them.
posted by davejay at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of the superstar obit posts are pretty bad because too many people are racing to be first first with a news story (and maybe a Wikipedia entry if they have a few seconds to spare). Usually the best obit posts here are for lesser known (or more known to one subgroup) people where the rush to post isn't as great. I'm hoping that the Sky Saxon do-over is thought out and full of things I want to read, watch, and listen to.

And yes, the second Michael post is infinitely better. And maybe the comments will have a respectful flow now that the initial feeding frenzy is over.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:12 PM on June 25, 2009


I knew two things about Farrah - she was on Charlie's Angels, and she's the girl in that sexy poster. The post links to those two universally known things and a copy of her obituary, and everybody's cool with it begrudgingly tolerates it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:14 PM on June 25, 2009


Poor cortex, dealing with this today.
posted by subbes at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2009


Threadshitting aside, all the previous posts were put up at a point where there was legitimate speculation that Jackson's death was hyperbole. Given that TMZ was the sole source at the time the comments are pretty predictable. Crappy post, crappy comments.
posted by GuyZero at 4:15 PM on June 25, 2009


I wonder how Paul McCartney is taking it.
posted by chillmost at 4:16 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, now all of Thriller's writing credits say McCartney/Jackson.
posted by klangklangston at 4:25 PM on June 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


I have been making a concerted effort to not threadshit, especially out of the gate. For the most part I have done really well. (I failed on a recent keyboard cat thread).

This is why I refrained from commenting in every MJ thread so far. I don't think I could have resisted the snark (even now it calls me). About the best thing I can say for MJ is that he got to work with Vincent Price. I can't even give the man a dot.

I don't like the man (too freak show), I don't like his music (too pop show), and I have a dislike for the idea of celebrity in general. I think the world is a better place without him.

The one and only time I made a comment was in response to a claim that Jeff Goldblum is dead also, saying I hope it's not true, and I need a better cite than the one provided (yes, I should have read further, thanks cortex). I hope this one isn't true, but when it does happen, I hope he gets a decent obit thread. And that people that can't stand him stay out. Like I am doing for MJ.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:33 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone that joined in 2002 doesn't know what "." means? WTF?
posted by 6:1 at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2009


Thanks for deleting the shitty posts on this.
posted by serazin at 4:34 PM on June 25, 2009


Who are you talking about, 6:1?
posted by ODiV at 4:35 PM on June 25, 2009


Poster of this question.
posted by 6:1 at 4:38 PM on June 25, 2009


Think yer missin the .
posted by ageispolis at 4:39 PM on June 25, 2009


There were a lot of dots dropped in the previous five threads. Thanks to Marisa for making a good post and to cortex for keeping it.

And, maybe it's only me, there seems to be a MetaTalk thread similar to this one after most obit threads. When the person who has died is controversial there is going to be a controversial obit thread (or six). I don't understand being surprised by that.
posted by deborah at 4:41 PM on June 25, 2009


OH MY GOD I DIDN'T KNOW MICHAEL JACKSON DIED! this is why i joined metafilter. wait ... THIS is why i joined metafilter? seriously, i heard it first right here on meTa, folks.
posted by msconduct at 4:42 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


So many obit threads. Never enough posts about people who aren't dead yet. I'm going to get a post together about how Huey Lewis is still alive...
posted by Jimbob at 4:50 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm glad that one post went, since loquacious freaked me out with the Goldblum rumor.
posted by misha at 4:53 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I'm finding really weird are the Jeff Goldblum/Harrison Ford death hoaxes that have been showing up everywhere, as though they were inspired by MJ's demise. Twitter is exploding with them. What can the impulse behind that be? Does the hive mind crave some catastophic celebrity die-off or something?
posted by maryh at 4:59 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


maryh: The theory that "these things come in threes" - Fawcett, Jackson, then who?
posted by Jimbob at 5:00 PM on June 25, 2009


The theory that "these things come in threes" - Fawcett, Jackson, then who?

Our dignity.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:05 PM on June 25, 2009 [10 favorites]


I almost managed to unlock the MeFi "Posted in all MJ Obit Threads" achievement. THat is one awesome badge.

Did you know that Slashdot actually does have achievements? It was an April Fools joke, but it's awesome. I wish we had that.
posted by smackfu at 5:08 PM on June 25, 2009


6:1: "Someone that joined in 2002 doesn't know what "." means? WTF?"

Maybe you should read the entire post, not just the first sentence and assume you know what the rest of the post says.

No?

Okay, I'll summarize for you. He isn't asking what the periods mean, he's asking why the most popular musician of the past century (and given the fracturing of pop culture, maybe forever) rates more snark and bile than moments of silence. He went Howard Hughes, yeah, but for some thirty years he was a remarkably influential human being.

(Aside: Thinking about it, given the near-universal knowledge of his music -- even in non-western cultures -- I wonder if more people have heard his voice than any other person's. Can anyone think of someone who might give him a run for his money? Pope John Paul II might be a contender..)
posted by Plutor at 5:08 PM on June 25, 2009


Some are calling Ed McMahon the "third." Or in this case, the first.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:09 PM on June 25, 2009


Yeah, I was one of them, cjorngensen. Those were three celebrities that I vividly remember from my younger days, so it seemed fitting, but I'm not ghoulishly wishing for anyone's obituary or anything.
posted by misha at 5:19 PM on June 25, 2009


I would like to point out that Abe Vigoda is still alive.

Can someone that is good at these sort of obit write ups be designated now as the official Vigoda obit writer? Then cortex's deletion reason can be, "Marisa Stole the Precious Thing is the designated Abe Vigoda obit writer. Go Fish!" for every crappy obit post.

And this is coming from someone that had a crappy obit post that survived.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:21 PM on June 25, 2009


I'm preparing a comprehensive Generalissimo Francisco Franco post just in case he turns up still dead.
posted by DU at 5:32 PM on June 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Did you know that Slashdot actually does have achievements? It was an April Fools joke, but it's awesome. I wish we had that.

oh. my. god. so. wrong.
posted by GuyZero at 5:38 PM on June 25, 2009


Will his nose be donated to the Smithsonian?

What nose?
posted by zinfandel at 5:47 PM on June 25, 2009


I was going to bring up Franco, but DU beat me to it.

Still, we need Chevy Chase here to announce that James Brown is still dead.
Or Abe Vigoda to announce that Chevy Chase's career is still dead.

I hope cortex has a speedy recovery and posts a Michael-Jackson-style version of "Hallelujah" to MeFi Music soon.
posted by wendell at 6:04 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can someone that is good at these sort of obit write ups be designated now as the official Vigoda obit writer? Then cortex's deletion reason can be, "Marisa Stole the Precious Thing is the designated Abe Vigoda obit writer. Go Fish!" for every crappy obit post.

I don't want to even consider the idea of Abe Vigoda dying, so I'll leave the designated obit writing of his passing to someone else.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:04 PM on June 25, 2009


Too soon?
posted by lalochezia at 6:06 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


To quote my own post in the threads as to why MJ threads aren't full of sycophantic period-dropping, here's MY reason for not doing it:

"We're acting like the music died. The music didn't die. The music is fantastic, was a great addition to the soundscape, and is just as fantastic, groundbreaking, and worthy of respect as it always was.

The MAN is what died. And the man is not the music. And if the man was, as he almost surely was, guilty of just 1% of the many many rumors of child molestation that came up over the years, than he sure as hell wasn't worthy of respect, and he sure as hell isn't getting my "."

You want to talk about the great music he gave the world? Do so. But let's not pretend that wonderful music + kid touching still equals good person."
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:14 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Show some respect.
posted by vrakatar at 6:25 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Every obit thread on MeFi since the start of time* not involving a conservative Christian has been a flood of periods/full stops.

FTFY
posted by brundlefly at 6:30 PM on June 25, 2009


Since we're bound to have multiple posts every time a major media figure dies, I think that in future, only the best, not the first, should survive. The comments tend to turn out better and it gives the mods less heartburn.

OBITFILTER SMACKDOWN
MANY WILL ENTER
ONLY ONE WILL SURVIVE

posted by armage at 6:30 PM on June 25, 2009


Sorry about taking part in the Goldblum rumor. I usually wait for more reliable information. Even though my first real not-taped-off-the-radio cassette was Thriller* I'm really kind of not really caring all that much that he's dead. Too busy trying to stay alive, and he'll get plenty of attention and/or love. I'd be more upset about Goldblum, anyway. He plays a great nerd/scientist/chaos mathematician/creepy bug thing/New Jersey.

It's spreading all over the web because... well, it's the web. Between Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson it would just make sense, so it's too easy to help spread the rumor.


*Granted I only got that for free because my stepdad got it for free from his Columbia Records subscriptions. I kept it because I could try break dancing to it, and, well, it was 1983. I think my grandma had a copy by that point. The first real tape I ever actually bought was Catching Up With Depeche Mode which I mainly bought because it had mostly synthesizers in it and it annoyed my mom. Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Pop Will Eat Itself were next. Probably mainly because they hadn't really invented techno yet, and "Love Missle F1-11" is about as close as you could get to breakcore in 1986.
posted by loquacious at 6:33 PM on June 25, 2009


I'm sad about MJ, but I would have been more sad about Goldblum...

It's spreading all over the web because... well, it's the web. Between Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson it would just make sense

*scratches head*
posted by brundlefly at 6:39 PM on June 25, 2009


It's spreading all over the web because... well, it's the web. Between Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson it would just make sense

Err, not sense. I'm not making sense. It's just easier to buy into because of the ongoing news frenzy? I was hoodwinked.

I swear I went away from my computer for 10 minutes and I come back and every single freakin' site, feed and message is "MJ dead!" when it wasn't just a few minutes ago, and it's kind of surreal.
posted by loquacious at 6:46 PM on June 25, 2009


Perhaps it is time to explicitly add to the guidelines that when a very famous person passes away, the best post stays, or perhaps the one that looks most like an actual obituary post, not the first one.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:55 PM on June 25, 2009


I just came in here to say that Marisa's thread is pretty much spot on. Well-researched, good linkage, well-written. As a former obit writer, I salute you, Marisa Stole the Precious Thing.
posted by brina at 6:56 PM on June 25, 2009


Thanks to Marisa for making a good post and to cortex for keeping it.

Sadly, I don't agree on either point. Because it lends weight to the "Add some supporting links to make a good post!" crowd with whom I so vehemently disagree.

My days of Michael Jackson fanboyism are looong gone, but if there's anyone who doesn't need supporting links, it was him.
posted by Cyrano at 6:57 PM on June 25, 2009


This is silly.

I'm at home. Poured myself a little whisky. Unsleeved my vinyl copy of Off the Wall. To me, it's one of the greatest records of all time. I don't particularly give a shit about Michael Jackson the tragic human being. But man if Off the Wall isn't fucking stupendous.

Who gives a shit if everybody dropped their dot like a good little respectful mourner? Really. You and me and metafilter, and Michael Jackson's kids and Prince Harry and, more importantly Off the Wall will be just fine if people snark his passing. Sad old man brought a lot of it on himself.
posted by kosem at 6:57 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


kosem: "You and me and metafilter.. will be just fine if people snark his passing."

MetaFilter will be even finer if the snarkers find somewhere other than the collective grieving room to do their thing.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:13 PM on June 25, 2009


The MAN is what died. And the man is not the music. And if the man was, as he almost surely was, guilty of just 1% of the many many rumors of child molestation that came up over the years, than he sure as hell wasn't worthy of respect, and he sure as hell isn't getting my "."

Exactly. If it was a Michael Jackson music retrospective posted apart from his death, people would have nothing bad to say. Instead, the Michael Jackson people knew and loved faded away and was replaced with an almost different person who ruined his reputation and distracted from the greatness.
posted by explosion at 7:14 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's probably right. Dancing on graves is lame. Even on the internet.

I just find the decorum demands puzzling.
posted by kosem at 7:15 PM on June 25, 2009


Ah! Now I see the problem—Metafilter is not the collective grieving room! Glad I could correct that misconception for you.
posted by klangklangston at 7:15 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, despite putting out the best-selling album ever, Jackson's much better as a singles artist and both Off The Wall and Thriller (which I've now got on) have some serious filler bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 7:17 PM on June 25, 2009


Dancing on graves is lame.

Unless you happen to be a moonwalking zombie. For one day only, that would be fine.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:19 PM on June 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


klangklangston: "Metafilter is not the collective grieving room!"

Hmm. The surviving thread sure reads like one to me.

But feel free to drop in with your best HURF DURF PEDOPHILE material and we'll see how it goes over.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:19 PM on June 25, 2009


That's probably right. Dancing on graves is lame. Even on the internet.
I'd agree and with Joe Beese's point about the grieving room. But since we have this thread here too, I will say my first reaction is it's for the best he's dead. He was a child molester who could get away with it due to his wealth and fame, and didn't seem to be getting much joy out of life himself, tortured and ill.
posted by Abiezer at 7:20 PM on June 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's probably right. Dancing on graves is lame.

Um... wait? Isn't that the main content of the Thriller video?
posted by hippybear at 7:27 PM on June 25, 2009


oh wait. what PeterMcDermott said.
posted by hippybear at 7:28 PM on June 25, 2009


Good job as usual Marisa. You are a classy dame.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:31 PM on June 25, 2009


I wonder if the post with 319 comments was the most-commented post that was nuked for being lame.

It seems sort of precedential. Will big newsy events be allowed a placeholder post in the blue until a better post is crafted?
posted by exogenous at 7:39 PM on June 25, 2009


What I'm finding really weird are the Jeff Goldblum/Harrison Ford death hoaxes that have been showing up everywhere, as though they were inspired by MJ's demise. Twitter is exploding with them. What can the impulse behind that be? Does the hive mind crave some catastophic celebrity die-off or something?

I'm a little late to the party, but that Goldblum thing pops up ever couple months. Not sure about the Ford thing.
posted by dead cousin ted at 7:41 PM on June 25, 2009


"The surviving thread sure reads like one to me."

Confirmation bias or poor reading comprehension?

"But feel free to drop in with your best HURF DURF PEDOPHILE material and we'll see how it goes over."

Well, I've already made jokes about Tito, Latoya, The Simpsons appearance, Jeff Koons and Mechajackson. I was planning on detouring into the video game and the "very, very devilish" thing.

But hey, didja hear about Jackson's book on being a father? It's called the Ins and Outs of Child Rearing. Didja hear that his heart attack was caused by a K-Mart flyer? He heard boy's pants were half-off. How did he know it was bedtime at Neverland? The big hand touched the little hand.

Sorry that they're all so old, but, y'know, I wasn't planning on trotting them out until you asked so nicely.
posted by klangklangston at 7:48 PM on June 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wow, I went hiking for a few hours and I came back to this.

asking for the moderators to put together a decent obit post

Once someone famous has died [if we're not already out hiking] we don't have time to put together decent obit posts, honestly. I wish this community did this sort of thing better, but often we don't. Last I checked the Farrah Fawcett thread, it was quite kind and decent.

I deleted some crappy kiddie porn/rape jokes. I don't care if you thought the guy was an A#1 molester, that sort of thing is pretty weak around here genrally and obit threads aren't an exception to that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:03 PM on June 25, 2009


Wait a second, are jokes about MJ being a pedophile actually forbidden in the blue thread? Because mine seems to have been nuked. But klang's bits here are still standing. Are you allowed to slam the guy in the blue, so long as it is done in a sober and sincere way?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:05 PM on June 25, 2009


(on non-preview, see that jessamyn has already explained that)
posted by Meatbomb at 8:09 PM on June 25, 2009


klang's bits here are still standing.

He's excited.
posted by gman at 8:10 PM on June 25, 2009


What memo did I miss?

Miss the Reagan obit thread, did we?
posted by Krrrlson at 8:24 PM on June 25, 2009


klangklangston: "" I wasn't planning on trotting them out until you asked so nicely."

Well, as long as you bring up reading comprehension, I have to note that neither Latoya jokes there nor pedophilia jokes here count as pedophilia jokes there - which is what my comment actually discussed.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:29 PM on June 25, 2009


It seems sort of precedential.

In my opinion it's not always a great idea to establish policy precedent on exceptional cases. Obits and breaking news can be bumpy, but this here is a big outlier.

This sort of thing might happen again. It's going to depend a lot on the situation. If I'd been off getting lunch for an hour when the MJ news had broken, who knows how this would have played out—we certainly aren't always going to be able to be lightning-quick about catching crappy posts about big breaking news like this.

Well, as long as you bring up reading comprehension, I have to note that neither Latoya jokes there nor pedophilia jokes here count as pedophilia jokes there - which is what my comment actually discussed.

You did, in fact, fail to notice some pedophile jokes over there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:36 PM on June 25, 2009


cortex: "You did, in fact, fail to notice some pedophile jokes over there."

I don't see any from the Klanger. Were his one of the "crappy kiddie porn/rape jokes" that jessamyn cleaned up?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:39 PM on June 25, 2009


Wow, I went hiking for a few hours and I came back to this.

Was that "hiking" hiking or "visiting a lover in Argentina" hiking?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:41 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


It did not read to me from your comment like you were suggesting that klang, and klang alone, had the power to make a meaningfully unpopular pedophile joke in the thread. I'm not really clear on what you're trying to argue here, but if it's that mefi obit threads cannot and historically have not contained contrary or negative comments about the deceased, sometimes fairly intensely negative ones, you are mistaken.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:56 PM on June 25, 2009


Long Trail not Appalachian Trail, geez.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:58 PM on June 25, 2009


Come on, that shit about Tito's phone was A+++ lulz.
posted by The Straightener at 9:01 PM on June 25, 2009


"Well, as long as you bring up reading comprehension, I have to note that neither Latoya jokes there nor pedophilia jokes here count as pedophilia jokes there - which is what my comment actually discussed."

Touchdown… Wait… No, the goalposts were here just a minute ago…

You started out with a pro forma lament about the MeFi snarkers, then I corrected you. Then you conflate snark with HURF DURF PEDO.

Then I made fun of you for being stupid and dropped some pedo jokes.

So here I am, making fun of you for being stupid and pompous again, but unfortunately, I only really know one more pedo joke, and I'm saving it for the Roman Polanksi obit.

How about you quit playing at pious concern troll and start planning your next LOOK AT ME MeTa post.
posted by klangklangston at 9:12 PM on June 25, 2009


cortex: " I'm not really clear on what you're trying to argue here, but if it's that mefi obit threads cannot and historically have not contained contrary or negative comments about the deceased, sometimes fairly intensely negative ones, you are mistaken."

Oh, I haven't forgotten how it works. But "can" and "have" doesn't equal "should". My original comment here only expressed the wistful idea that, in a more perfect MeFi, spite might cede right-of-way to grief.

Then klangston did that thing he does and we were off to the races.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:20 PM on June 25, 2009


Races involve more than one person.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:22 PM on June 25, 2009


You know, fuck it, I don't know why I'm topping off a long-ass day by digging into an argument I don't even feel like having. If you need to keep fighting klang for the last word on this, go crazy, but I'm gonna go ahead and recuse myself from this.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, Jay Leno wasn't really doing anything with that archive of monologue jokes from 1988 - 2005 anyway.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:27 PM on June 25, 2009


Is this a contest 'tween some determined-to-be-high-profile people to see who can be more infantile, unpleasant and pathetic?
posted by ambient2 at 9:36 PM on June 25, 2009


There are reports now that he died of an OD of demerol.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:46 PM on June 25, 2009


Chocolate Pickle: "There are reports now that he died of an OD of demerol."

"Reports in The Sun", to be exact. But yeah... I'm thinking pills.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:48 PM on June 25, 2009


genuflecting at the Church of the Holy Dot.

I don't know why everybody's having such problems with that - it's more of a euphemism than a full-on pedo joke.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:50 PM on June 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Earlier this evening, before I knew MJ had died, I was wearing a single glove. The first time in years I've done that.

(ok it was a garden glove to pick blackberries behind the Waffle House and i couldn't find the other one but still: EERIE MUSIC.)
posted by mediareport at 9:59 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obit posts, what a joy. There's the pious brigade - "the proper way to do things, hurrumph". The way to do it, see, is to type a dot. Then the readers can see a dot, and look at the name, and nod "yep, Shithead expressed concern; ok, I see canopener4567878 also expressed his sorrow; bulgingfilth is grieving, good, good; smellmyfinger is heartbroken, ahh, s/he's a good egg". Depending on how famous the person is, you can get anywhere from 3 to 4000 dots. And that's all folks. Everybody is happy. A great post, respectful of the dead! Respectful! Moment of silence!

Problem: it's fucking boring. So, what to do? How about we slather an even layer of "respect"? You know, facts, memories, associations. Never mind, if it's deeply fascinating - did you know Ed had a mother? And a father? And he was friends with Johnny? "Heeeere's Johnny!" - you don't say! So what that it's trite? It's respectful and heartfelt. Isn't that what we come to metafilter for? Dots and heartfelt banalities? Best of the web, cause we'd never know otherwise that MJ died! And so many interesting links to obscure stuff like that video where he steps on squares that light up! Whooee! I love to read those threads! Best. Of. The. Web.

Then come in a bunch of brutes and snark with no respect. Disgusting. So disgusting. But also kinda funny. Sometimes. So a lot of them are tired jokes. So what? That's true for all snark. But we live for the few gems.

Really people. What is the matter with snark? That's the metafilter ecosystem. There's the pious bunch with the dots. It bores me, but I don't complain, I realize they have to exist like bison on the planes. There are the respect mongers, who also bore me most of the time, but again, I don't complain, because they are the tall grass the bison chew on. But then there are the snark brigade, the vultures - sure they're often ugly, smelly and have no respect, but ye gads, people they're part of the ecosystem, and if they didn't come to pick the bones, you'd have a landscape of unrelieved dot and respect corpses. Let 'em live. I like to watch vultures. So sue me.
posted by VikingSword at 11:49 PM on June 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


VikingSword: "There's the pious bunch with the dots. It bores me, but I don't complain"

I see.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:04 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't care what you think; I am not going to share a flight with a fucking bison - do you have any idea how much methane those things produce?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:05 AM on June 26, 2009


I realize they have to exist like bison on the planes.

I want these motherfucking bison off this motherfucking plane!

Also, bison aren't extinct - they're astral.
posted by GuyZero at 12:11 AM on June 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


"There's the pious bunch with the dots. It bores me, but I don't complain"

Whoa... you don't genuflect at the Church of the Holy Dot?
posted by crapmatic at 12:21 AM on June 26, 2009


Thank You Max.
posted by adamvasco at 12:44 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I didn't comment in any of the threads, mostly because, the way I see it, Michael Jackson died a long time ago. All of the good music, all of the artistry, that died a long time ago. It was nice, even fantastic, even if, for me a bit dated. The guy that died today was a living joke, and I can understand wanting to bust out one last riff on him, because, really, after today, that joke will be pointless, a Yakov Smirnoff joke about Mother Russia, when he was still telling them in the mid-90s.

At some point, with the monkey, the ranch, the endless surgeries, the baby dangling, the military-esque uniforms, the continued creepy association with young children after all of the damning allegations, fleeing the country for Dubai, Jackson became a cartoon (or more of a cartoon). Yes, technically he was a human being, but by and large, or his own doing, he became the easiest target in the room, so much so that most people (aside from, say, Leno) just let it go. Now, we just want to fire off all these bottle rockets before the end of the summer.

Anyway, my . belongs somewhere after Man in the Mirror/Smooth Criminal. I hope he's finally at rest, because there was no way things were going to end well for him, now, or later.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:04 AM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's the pious bunch with the dots. It bores me, but I don't complain, I realize they have to exist like bison on the planes. There are the respect mongers, who also bore me most of the time, but again, I don't complain, because they are the tall grass the bison chew on. But then there are the snark brigade, the vultures - sure they're often ugly, smelly and have no respect, but ye gads, people they're part of the ecosystem, and if they didn't come to pick the bones, you'd have a landscape of unrelieved dot and respect corpses.

Incidentally, these aren't the only species indigenous to the Metafilter ecosystem. I'll skip trying to conjure up an extension to this metaphor and just say that there are also people who contribute their personal anecdotes about the work of the deceased that actually are interesting to read, whether personal encounters or how one of their works contributed to something deeply personal, inspired some other body of work of their own, gave birth to some obscure movement. Or maybe there's a funny story related to the deceased's work.

In other words, there's generally more to an obit thread than just a string of dots, "trite" eulogies and smart asses. People tend to react negatively to the "vultures", I think, because obit threads are assumed to be a place to pay respects in some sort of way. To be honest, I'm of a mixed mind about it. I think with someone as uncontroversial as Ed McMahon, for example, just piping up to say "Who cares? What did he ever do?" is crass at best.

But Michael Jackson was a controversial character, and so there's going to be strong opinions about the guy one way or the other. Most of the people who've posted in the thread on the blue who don't have a high opinion of him have brought up some good points. Tired-ass pedo jokes that I last heard in 1985 isn't among these. YMMV.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:26 AM on June 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


I want these motherfucking bison off this motherfucking plane!

Damn you GuyZero! Totally beat me to the punch, but you said it way better than I would have....
posted by nevercalm at 4:33 AM on June 26, 2009


*ahem*
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:53 AM on June 26, 2009


Hey remember when you all fell for the Kaycee Nicole hoax? What the heck was up with that?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:32 AM on June 26, 2009


.

For the Bison
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:19 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


.-- . / .- .-.. .-.. / -.. .. . / --- -. -.-. . / -....- / .. - / .. ... / -. --- - .... .. -. --. / ... .--. . -.-. .. .- .-..
posted by kaibutsu at 8:00 AM on June 26, 2009


Hey, I'm late to the party! But it wouldn't be Metafilter if I didn't drop my 2 cents in.

Frankly -- and this is just me -- it seems not just odd, but hypocritical, to suddenly say only nice things when someone dies. If an obit thread is a chance to remember someone's life, why remember some whitewashed version? Is the "right way" to mourn the dead covering one's ears and shouting LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU when people point out* that, yeah, this dude was a talented musician, but he was also a fucking weirdo who, in all probability, was a pedophile? Me, I think remembering the dead should be done in a clear-eyed and honest way. Why speak differently of the dead than you would have when they were alive?

*True, "point out" often does mean "snark" in this context.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 8:02 AM on June 26, 2009


... .--. . .- -.- ..-. --- .-. -.-- --- ..- .-. ... . .-.. ..-. kaibutsu. .---- ) .. ' -- .. -- -- --- .-. - .- .-.. ... --- ..-. .- .-. .-.-.- ..--- ) .-- .... . -. ... --- -- . --- -. . .. -- -- --- .-. - .- .-.. -.. .. . ... .. - ' ... .--. .-. . - - -.-- ... .--. . -.-. .. .- .-.. .-.-.-
posted by Mitheral at 8:10 AM on June 26, 2009


There's a big difference between leaving a dot, leaving some rememberance, acknowledging the complicated nature of the man's life and legend, and making boy-rape jokes. It's really only the latter that's beyond the pale, in my opinion.

Really people. What is the matter with snark?

In cases like this it comes across as a little tone deaf. There's a sense with humor, that the most effective jokes aren't just funny because they're in-and-of-themselves hilarious, but because the person has done a great job of reading the room and delivering something that is amusing to the people there, appropriate to the occasion etc. Snark lives in a weird place where it's funny to some people precisely because it's unfunny to others. Maybe it's a joke at someone's expense, maybe it's edgy racial or sexist humor, maybe it's so incredibly angry that there's a certain shock value to it. I'm certainly not going to come out as anti-snark and I like a good joke, but in obit threads where people are interacting at some sincere level, it often seems out of place.

Out of place isn't against the rules, but there's a thread-shitting aspect when you have a lot of people who are sort of clumsily trying to explain why the death of a stranger affects them in some way (they didn't expect it, maybe, but there it is) or are sharing personal stories about the one time they met this person or whatever and someone comes in and calls the guy a rapist and make jokes about forced sex with little boys. So, it's a joke that a lot of people don't share, or find offensive, in a place where it's already sort of out of place. And then we disagree about it because to some people that's perfectly okay, in fact even warranted by the death of someone whose life was such a complicated jumble of good and bad.

Don't like the periods in an obit thread, super. They're very easy to skip if you find them dull. I find most of them to be a lot more than "oh I'll miss them!" and dots. MetaFilter bores you? I'm sorry about that. Lots of people find it interesting. Just the fact that you are bored does not mean you are doing anyone a favor by "lightening it up" with rapey jokes and "fuck this who cares" statements. We expect the good and the bad to show up in an obituary thread about controversial people, in fact we tend to find the Meta threads inevitable. We tell people "hey you can't expect everyone to care about the deceased in the same way, MeFi has a lot of different sorts of people here" but we also don't just suspend the "Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand" request just because a lot of people didn't like Michael Jackson.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:19 AM on June 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


In a highly unusual display of restraint, notice that because I had nothing nice to say, I chose to say say nothing at all.
posted by JeffK at 8:37 AM on June 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


In cases like this it comes across as a little tone deaf.

Typical of a tonedeafist to be colourblind to the offensiveness of tonedeafism.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:31 AM on June 26, 2009


Typical of a tonedeafist to be colourblind to the offensiveness of tonedeafism.

I'm aware that you are tone deaf in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word. Perhaps you should put that in your profile?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on June 26, 2009


Klang and Joe Beese:

There's only one way to settle your differences -- pistols at dawn!
posted by double block and bleed at 11:21 AM on June 26, 2009


I wonder who is going to defend OJ when the reaper comes to collect his soul... Let's compare opinions on that day about the threads and what's fair and respectful. I 'spect that since his contributions are a little askew of the demographic here that there'll be some volcanic volume of fence jumping. Heck, I believed that Reagan & Nixon deserved a day of peace. Michael, on the other hand, not so much.

A thought on someone is just that. I came by to see the myriad reactions. The fighting, though, is not very comely.

I'll retire to my Pepsi can with the juice.
posted by valentinepig at 11:40 AM on June 26, 2009


Good job as usual Marisa. You are a classy dame.

Actually she's a dude.
posted by ericb at 1:12 PM on June 26, 2009


Actually she's a dude.

I am NEITHER, how many times do I need to say this? 3D is pig disgusting. Refer to this diagram.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:20 PM on June 26, 2009


Isn't being tone deaf when there is a strong tone, and one or a few guys is going against that predominant tone? If a whole bunch of people are snarking, then that isn't tone deaf, that is part of the tone. Some obits have a very somber tone with a little tone-deaf snarking, but from what I can tell, the MJ obit's tone was, itself, a mix of snark and somberness.
posted by Bugbread at 2:23 PM on June 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Deadbeat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasure of Obituaries actually addresses this issue, this question of how we treat the dead in writing.

Americans tend to believe that the obituary is meant to memorialize the person, whereas (according to the book), Brits use the obituary to take stock of a person's whole life, and possibly make a few ribald jokes.

I think the jokes are obvious and crass, but without them there is no story. Michael Jackson was famous for his music first, but that tends to get lost in the shuffle when the man we all remember most is the one who dangled his child off a balcony. It's the man who wore surgical masks because he was afraid of germs. It's the man who was strange and possibly quite out of his mind.

There's a balance, of course. But I'm glad I don't have to decide what it is.
posted by brina at 3:24 PM on June 26, 2009


"It's the man who wore surgical masks because he was afraid of germs."

He did that? I always thought he turned from a black man into a Korean woman, but I'm going to have to change that to a Japanese woman.
posted by Bugbread at 6:24 PM on June 26, 2009


I'm aware that you are tone deaf in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word. Perhaps you should put that in your profile?

because of my disability, i couldn't tell if that was a joke or not, but it's done & done :)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:27 PM on June 26, 2009


Heck, I believed that Reagan & Nixon deserved a day of peace. Michael, on the other hand, not so much.

Let me get this straight. You believe the guy who, amongst other things, backed the Khmer Rouge, leading to the most brutal genocide of the twentieth century, and one of the most appalling genocides of all time, deserves a "day of peace", but psycholgically abused pop musician who may or may not have been a kiddie-fiddler is so beyond the pale he doesn't?

I am, literally, speechless.
posted by rodgerd at 3:59 AM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Not literally, rodgerd, as you made a speech about it.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:19 AM on June 27, 2009


I saw that bit about Reagan and Nixon more deserving of respect than Michael Jackson and my head literally exploded.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:31 AM on June 27, 2009


Not literally, Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, as you made a speech about it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:41 AM on June 27, 2009


I literally read that comment.
posted by Bugbread at 6:12 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


a mix of snark and somberness.

Snarkomberness.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:03 AM on June 27, 2009


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