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MeFi should refudiate bigotry
August 1, 2010 7:34 AM   Subscribe

MeFites can't handle dissent.

At the risk of feeding the persecution complex, the community standards of Metafilter generally hold that if you take a position that reasonable people see as bigoted and discriminatory, you should explain yourself as to how that's not true. St. Alia (Brand New Day, mark 3) is ignoring it. The thread's now about her (and I helped, sorry), but the larger point remains: how many bites at the apple is our favorite troll going to get?
posted by norm to Etiquette/Policy at 7:34 AM (749 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Thank you for posting this so I didn't need to. What the thread is actually meant to be discussing (the ADL and their reaction) is now being drowned out by __alia and her need to be in the spotlight once again.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:38 AM on August 1, 2010


What the thread is actually meant to be discussing (the ADL and their reaction) is now being drowned out by __alia and her need to be in the spotlight once again.

I'm not sure. The thread is about bigots twisting themselves in knots in an effort to find a semi-coherent justification for their raw prejudice, and St Alia is providing an ample demonstration of that, in a manner that closely matches the ADL's own efforts. It seems pretty on-topic to me.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


Tempest in a teapot? The thread would probably have re-railed itself.....and SAOTB probably thinks she is explaining herself.

School starts in two weeks--I could use some good make ahead recipes, people.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah the "let's interrogate Alia about her beliefs" is pretty much as tiresome as her bringing them up and not really engaging with people in discussing them with anything other than "that's just what I believe" So, I'm glad this MeTa is here, but that was going to be a tricksy thread in any case.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Great title.
posted by fixedgear at 7:44 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


...or she could not be a know-nothing bigoted asshole.

I'm just saying, there's options.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:45 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Jessamyn,

So the question remains, why does she have carte blanche to continue injecting herself into these threads then? By your own admission it's tiresome. It's *trolling* and it keeps happening no matter how many more warnings and 'brand new days' she gets.

I'm not a big poster here, but I've been a regular reader and follower of the site and all it's colourful personalities for many, many, years and I can't think of any other poster that continues to get the kid-glove treatment like she does. When is enough enough?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:46 AM on August 1, 2010 [15 favorites]


Wait a minute...we're supposed to stay on topic when it comes to discussion. Here I was thinking that derailment was an artform.
posted by Fizz at 7:47 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


.... we've got some water, vinegar and salt up for boil now, and I've got like 40 jars in the dishwasher on "ultrascrub". Making pickles today!
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:50 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Doesn't this just come back to, should people be banned for having unpopular opinions and defending them?
posted by smackfu at 7:51 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


No people should be banned for trolling. If she actually defended a single point, it might be a different story.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:52 AM on August 1, 2010


I don't really care that Alia injects her opinions into threads. She represents a certain American viewpoint, and it's useful to know that viewpoint, and it's useful to know how few layers deep it goes until defense of it will be abandoned.

I do rankle at being described as intolerant merely for disagreeing and engaging. I can handle dissent. But I have the right to disagree with, interrogate, and examine that dissent, and to cast that as intolerance is a rhetorical trick that is beyond obnoxious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:52 AM on August 1, 2010 [82 favorites]


Doesn't this just come back to, should people be banned for having unpopular opinions and defending them?

I am curious about the "and defending them" part of this equation. It doesn't seem to have happened in the thread in question, despite repeated requests for further explanation.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:53 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just started reading the thread, but while St. Alia should have been waaay more specific in her first post instead of mouthing bland generalities, I wish more Mefites would resist the urge to make the twelfth comment in a row refudiating her. That's how the thread becomes about her.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [35 favorites]


Sorry, banned for having unpopular opinions and not defending them, then.
posted by smackfu at 7:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


the community standards of Metafilter generally hold that if you take a position that reasonable people see as bigoted and discriminatory, you should explain yourself as to how that's not true.

I think reasonable people get bored with this sort of thing and find another thread.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:55 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'd just like to say she's not MY favorite troll. She's just a reminder that I don't have anyplace I can go where I'm free from Palinites.
posted by nevercalm at 7:57 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean, I don't really think she could post in a way that could make anyone happy here. If she defends herself and argues back, she's making the thread all about herself. If she doesn't defend herself, her positions are weak and worthless and she's just trolling. Seems like the only thing that would make people happy is if she just went away.
posted by smackfu at 7:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


I just started reading the thread, but while St. Alia should have been waaay more specific in her first post instead of mouthing bland generalities, I wish more Mefites would resist the urge to make the twelfth comment in a row refudiating her. That's how the thread becomes about her.

It happens because they've seen it before, they are tired of it. Yeah, the irony is that she knows it works and will continue doing it. That's why it's trolling.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sometimes it's hard to be one of the sole dissenting voices when "the other side" is on a roll. But when you press your dissenting voice in such an in-your-face manner you should at least be able to articulate some of your thoughts. That might actually help some other people in the conversation understand your stance and maybe even sway a few people to seeing the situation from your angle. But if you're just going to be a bump in the road for the sake of being a bump in the road, don't be surprised when you get paved over.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:59 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just started reading the thread, but while St. Alia should have been waaay more specific in her first post instead of mouthing bland generalities, I wish more Mefites would resist the urge to make the twelfth comment in a row refudiating her. That's how the thread becomes about her.

That's why I started this thread. Oh, that and the fact that if anyone else had come in and lobbed that stinkbomb with just enough followup to enrage most normal people, they'd be on a timeout or worse for straight trolling. But I think-- hackles up, admittedly-- that she gets some extra slack because she's considered too stupid to be an intentional troll.

And yeah, it irritates me that we've got a class A derailment for a position that probably a majority in America takes, but is that a good enough reason to put up with her third avatar of idiocy? Can we maintain a standard of discussion here across the board and not have a "aw, at least you used complete sentences" proviso for tea-baggers?
posted by norm at 7:59 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If she defends herself and argues back, she's making the thread all about herself. If she doesn't defend herself, her positions are weak and worthless and she's just trolling.

That's fair. We shouldn't box her into a corner where any participation on her part is trolling, and I think you're right that this is happening.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:00 AM on August 1, 2010 [30 favorites]


No, she shouldn't be banned for having an unpopular opinion. But she is simply repeating the same old false information without backing it up. Lack of critical thinking isn't a crime, but it sure gets tiresome when it's done so often.
The mosque was there long before 9/11 and freedom of expression, rather than repression, is one thing that stops us going down the fundamentalist road.
In other words, if she's going to be contrary like that, at least bring a coherent argument.
posted by arcticseal at 8:01 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


All things said, the thread is going pretty well (as far as I can see - I think there were some comments pruned by vacapita earlier). Alia is alone (from what I've seen), and all her claims have been argued against on the basis of what is being said, not who is saying them. There have been comments about her history of commenting in certain types of threads, and some have gotten a bit nasty, which isn't the way to discuss any topic. But if you post on a site with the same name for a while, your history is following you.

I'm with Astro Zombie on this one.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:01 AM on August 1, 2010


should people be banned for having unpopular opinions and defending them?
posted by inigo2 at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2010


I am curious about the "and defending them" part of this equation. It doesn't seem to have happened in the thread in question, despite repeated requests for further explanation.

This part NEVER happens. Welcome to arguing with St. Alia.
posted by graventy at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


why does she have carte blanche to continue injecting herself into these threads then?

Because we don't ban people for having unpopular opinions. If people stop engaging her, she goes away. She's been on a bit of a roll lately [there's another related but not-going-as-badly mini-derail in the motherhood thread] and we'd like her to tone it down some, but just having a wacky opinion doesn't make her a troll.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


I'm glad that she's there and I'm glad that she's made her "case".

Every once in a while we need bigotry to make it's case just so it can be unmasked and exposed. Bigotry needs to be unmasked so we can all see what's underneath: the infinite, howling emptiness of primal hatred.

Of course, the line between good and evil divides every human heart, so none of us are immune to that terrible spell. All of our minds share the same "mental basement" formed in millions of years of red-tooth-and-claw existence, so St. Alia's (and Red America's) hatred of the Other is something we all share, at least on a subconscious level.

The trick is to regonize these parts of ourselves in others, to see them, and to grow beyond them. Easier said than done when you're fighting against some distant half-remembered genetic dream of the tribe across the river raiding your camp and killing your parents.

But it can be done. It has been done. The existence of people like Gandhi and Jesus (who Alia unironically claims to worship) suggests that we can move on -- even if the latter was just a make-believe character, his existence in her mind at least gives hope that she -- that all of us -- can do better.

Anyway, it's a nice Sunday out there.
posted by Azazel Fel at 8:02 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't care if she defends *herself* or not, but she should know by now, as most of us do, that you need to be able to back up your assertions. Defend your argument. Like that.
posted by rtha at 8:03 AM on August 1, 2010


In other words, if she's going to be contrary like that, at least bring a coherent argument.

This, like a million times. It really burns me when someone without any sense-making argument then comes out with an inanity like calling people who have an opinion and the ability to defend it "closed-minded" and "intolerant." St Alia, in all her incarnations, is a ninja at this. I'm all for free speech, but that doesn't mean that I prefer to read garbled nonsense.
posted by nevercalm at 8:05 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree with Bookhouse. The multiple pile-ons make it even less likely that the engagement people are hoping for will happen, and bring up yet another MeTa about St. Alia. This is the second specific Alia call-out in four months; at what point has this not all been said before, and at excruciating length?

I don't read religion or politics threads on the blue. I see Alia's comments primarily on AskMe, where I find her to be a valuable contributor even when we disagree.

What kind of pickles, seanmpuckett? I picked up 40 lbs of peaches yesterday so it's peach butter, peach rum jam, peach ginger jam, peach salsa, and maybe pickled peaches here. I'm already sick of peaches and I have 15 pounds to go.
posted by catlet at 8:05 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just be glad you don't have two or three people with these opinions, then the flame wars would be completely out of control. People keep asking for an argument, I'm not sure they really want to see what that looks like.
posted by smackfu at 8:05 AM on August 1, 2010


I'm all for free speech, but...
posted by smackfu at 8:06 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am curious about the "and defending them" part of this equation. It doesn't seem to have happened in the thread in question, despite repeated requests for further explanation.

I'm curious, is the defending of an argument (even one that might be offensive or bigoted) sanction to say whatever you wish?
posted by Fizz at 8:09 AM on August 1, 2010


Alias who?
posted by loquacious at 8:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm all for free speech, but...
posted by smackfu


Yeah, hey, cut off the quote so it makes me look intolerant. Good one.
posted by nevercalm at 8:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm curious, is the defending of an argument (even one that might be offensive or bigoted) sanction to say whatever you wish?

In my experience, this is a self-correcting issue. There may be somebody out there who can carefully defend a really outrageous position -- The Holocaust was good for the Jews, slavery is a good thing, whatever. But, in practice, people who are that outre tend to self-destruct in short order on a site like this. Whatever makes them crazy enough to believe something truly abominable also tends to cause them to misbehave in a bannable way after a short while.

Of course, I do all of my writing on poppers and make the case that all Americans should send press releases all the time, and my artistic output is limited to ponrographic outrages, and somehow I have managed to forge a pretty good position for myself in the world of American theater, so sometimes a few of us lunatics sneaks through.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:16 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm sorry I fed the derail in that thread, but I'm not sure what we're supposed to do instead. Should we just give her a pass to say whatever she wants without critique? I'm pretty sure if anyone else had posted her comment, they would've gotten the exact same response.
posted by creasy boy at 8:16 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of us big-city elite liberal types need to hear from St. Alia, need to see that there are intelligent, articulate people out there who are virulently, openly, self-defensively racist. It's important to know. It's too easy to dismiss the supporters of Palin and Beck and teabaggers as ignorant, stupid yokels with no actual political will or followthrough, but that's dangerous--we need to be made aware that they're out there, and cannot be reasoned with. It should stir us to greater action, should get us off our asses and into the streets, to a rally, to write a letter. If Alia's words make you angry, do something about it, do something to counter-act the hatred she's spreading.

Go back, read her words again, get angry, and do something.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:18 AM on August 1, 2010 [36 favorites]


Trolls say things in which they do not believe, in a manner undirected at specific individuals, hoping for someone to rise to the bait and hook themselves. That's why it's called trolling. A troll's opinions are not genuinely held, just as that shiny bit of plastic which is the bait is not a true insect for a fish to bite.

Alia is not a troll. She might not be correct, or "in-line," but that does not make her a troll. It would be awesome if MeFi could collectively stop assuming that people who disagree are trolling. Or, you know, doing the whole outgroup thing. "No, we need actual examples of the hideous subhumans outside of our shining citadel! These monsters are not myths! This is why we must defend!"

The very fact that this (Alia says something unpopular, someone makes MetaTalk post) happens again and again suggest that, yeah, MeFi doesn't handle certain kinds of dissent particularly well. Way to prove her point for her.

I do not much care for her opinions. She does not defend them very well. She parrots what she has heard from sources she wants to believe. So? If you want to invalidate her assertion that MeFi does not do dissent well, drop out of attack mode, ignore her when you can bear it, engage her honestly when you cannot, and generally stop mounting a throat-choking allergic response to a lil' honey bee sting.
posted by adipocere at 8:22 AM on August 1, 2010 [120 favorites]


...or she could not be a know-nothing bigoted asshole.

This is what's so frustrating about her and about people who hold similar opinions in general.

Clearly, the opinion itself, is stupid. I mean, monumentally so. And yet. And yet, these people themselves are clearly not stupid in general, and in areas outside of whether Islam/Muslims are evil (a short while ago it was whether blacks were naturally stupid, or whether Jews should be allowed to move into their community, etc) they can generally think as clearly as anyone else.

This is a horrible position to take, but part of me really wants, quite earnestly, for people to get the Islam they deserve -- which is to say, for people like me who either appreciate Islam or have a live-and-let-live attitude about it, they should get nice or neutral Muslims who interact with them normally, and for the bigots who think that Islam is a violent religion, and that something as innocuous as a fucking mosque is at worst a threat and at best some kind of insult -- those bigots should get fucking blowed-up.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:31 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, here's the problem. People are giving her too much credit by assuming that she's sharing an opinion that she has actually thought through. You can't be specific about an opinion based purely on gut feeling and the ignorant rantings of Sarah Palin. It's impossible. I've seen her, time and again, act like she has some sort of secret knowledge that she doesn't want to share with us because we can't "handle dissent" or are too mean and closed-minded to be fair, instead of actually explaining the stink bombs that she drops into threads like this. Again, she can't explain because, while her feelings about a given topic might be strong, the details are fuzzy.

This is trolling in my book, and Metafilter is more than fair to her when asking that she back up her claims every single time instead of doing what I always do when I see her name in those threads, dismiss her completely.
posted by zerbinetta at 8:34 AM on August 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


Stop talking about her. It's the only thing that works.

I'm repeating it for my own benefit as well.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:35 AM on August 1, 2010


I like St. Alia, sure she shoots from the hip. But gauging by the mere existence of this thread so do a majority of the MF herd.

I'd like to think she is reading and weighing the differences in opinion everyone has.

If we could avoid tire-biting vitriol and address her opinions with courtesy and respect, we would do a much better job of embracing the ideals everyone is complaining about in the thread.

Shouting out "bigot" or lumping St. Alia in with bigots at the drop of a pin helps no one move the conversation forward.
posted by Max Power at 8:36 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Troll or not, as long as she's not breaking the rules, there's not much people can do. While people may talk about free speech and blah blah blah. This is a private website run by someone else who graciously allows users to sign up and post. If the moderators of this site decide that they don't like what a person is saying, I'm sure they can ban or moderate those comments.

If you don't like what someone is saying on the site, go some place else. This is a fairly large community and it's inevitable that you'll run into ideas and commentary that you disagree with.
posted by Fizz at 8:36 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I said this about a year ago, and thought it bore repeating:

The problem is, that same standard doesn't apply to comments that fall left of center. If every comment, liberal and conservative (and all the middle) required links and citations, this place would become a morgue. So it's not really links and citations, but a willingness to put up with half-thoughts and one-liners. This site will put up with them on the left, because most kinda agree with them, but conservatives are held to a much, much higher threshold here. Fair or not, those are the rules.

The only problem, as I see it, is that conservatives, even if they do provide links and citations, would still get their asses handed to them by one-liners, and more often than not, simply have to suck it up, because they're playing an away game. Sure, there are those that will thoughtfully engage them here, and there's plenty of intelligent conversation to be found, which is still why I hang out here, but the game's a bit rigged, and a mild amount of self-awareness and restraint would go a long way to maintaining intelligent discussion and civility.
~ link


It's a shame that MetaFilter welcomes one-liners that it agrees with, but requires a dissertation for those it disagrees with. I actually agree that the Mosque should be allowed, and would go a long way in showing how the US embraces Islam, among other religions / non-religions. But the fact that this place cannot simply "live and let live" with Alia shows a tremendous lack of respect for divergent opinions. You don't have to like the opinion, but as long as it fits the guidelines (respectful of MeFites, on-topic), it doesn't really need a "call-out".
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:39 AM on August 1, 2010 [42 favorites]


> Should we just give her a pass to say whatever she wants without critique?

Sometimes it's sufficient to let people hang by their own words, when what they say is so wrong in the context of conversation that criticism is superfluous.
posted by ardgedee at 8:39 AM on August 1, 2010


Do people really feel that MetaFilter can handle dissent well, in general?

All the topics that "MeFi doesn't do well" are the ones where there is significant dissent, and strongly held opinions on both sides. The topics that we "do well" are the ones where everyone pretty much agrees, and the few people who don't can get piled on and chased away.
posted by smackfu at 8:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


I don't care if she defends *herself* or not, but she should know by now, as most of us do, that you need to be able to back up your assertions. Defend your argument. Like that.

I agree with this, but I've been thinking a lot lately about the nature of argument. I think a lot of people forget that the ability to construct and defend (as well as attack) an argument is not only an intellectual exercise, not only -- to some extent -- an art form, but also something which has to be trained for.

Do you remember (possibly), from late elementary on up through college, being taught about logic, types of arguments, types of propaganda -- I remember worksheets with lists of things like this. Later: how to write a persuasive essay. Writing an attack to your classmates' essays. Writing a refutation. From people coming from different sides other than the literary, I'm sure there were equivalent tests of the ability to think.

In general, people on this site are quite well-educated, and if not, they're well-read enough to have trained themselves, basically, in the ability to think clearly. They question themselves on why they hold the opinions they do, either through being directly taught to do so, or through having a wide enough experience with the world to know it would be wise to do so. I can't make judgments on anyone on this site, none of whom I have ever met, but many people I come across in my day-to-day life really don't think that well. It's not because they're stupid or because of some inherent lack. It's because through some accidental combination of familial beliefs, geography, generation, local education, etc., etc...they were never really taught. Something is right because it feels right, and there's an end to it. When they start making converse fallacies or irrelevant conclusions (pick one from the old mimeographed worksheets) they're not trying to raise a fuss or be a troll. And if you question them, you're being petty and aggressive.

It feels right, so it must be right. A lot of people really do not get that there's more to it than that. I don't know that there's anything that anyone here can do to shed any light on it for them. Let them make their remarks, pause for a moment to see if there's anything there to really respond in a meaningful way to, and go on with the conversation.

Reading this over, I sound like the most insufferable snob. I still think it's true, though.
posted by frobozz at 8:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


I'd like to think she is reading and weighing the differences in opinion everyone has.

She's been at this for what, ten years now? She doesn't give a shit.

Shouting out "bigot" or lumping St. Alia in with bigots at the drop of a pin helps no one move the conversation forward.

She's a bigoted asshole, fuck that. The presence of unchallenged bigotry and racism in a conversation degrades the conversation and the venue it's held in and makes them unwelcoming to the targets of said bigotry.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:42 AM on August 1, 2010 [18 favorites]

The very fact that this (Alia says something unpopular, someone makes MetaTalk post) happens again and again suggest that, yeah, MeFi doesn't handle certain kinds of dissent particularly well.
As I said in the thread, I think it's a sign that MeFi handles it pretty well -- at least, as well as can be expected without there being more people who actually agree with Alia.

Alia came into a thread where everyone was outraged by something, and tossed in a name-calling post. No attempt was made to explain her position, she simply asserted that the people at the center of the thread's story were "brainless" and "compassionless." Then lots of MeFits disagreed with her. One swore at her. Later in the thread, that person was chastised.

Here, someone has started a MeTa thread and a number of people have asked if Alia can/should be banned from the site. The moderators of the site and numerous other MeTa members have defended her right to be here, and even chastised MeFites for suggesting that she be ousted.

There are two questions in play, really: the first is "Does MeFi capture a wide variety of opinions, from right to left, conservative to liberal, or is there a degree of groupthink that is threatened when someone with different views steps in?" That's a soul-searching kind of question, and above my pay grade. The second question is, "How does MeFi deal with this?" There are certainly individuals who deal with it badly, but they're called out as often as Alia is. On the whole, MeFi deals with it better than any online community I've been a part of.
posted by verb at 8:42 AM on August 1, 2010


I do not much care for her opinions. She does not defend them very well. She parrots what she has heard from sources she wants to believe. So? If you want to invalidate her assertion that MeFi does not do dissent well, drop out of attack mode, ignore her when you can bear it, engage her honestly when you cannot,

Many of us have and do. We ask her sincerely to explain what she means when she says things that make a lot of us go [what], and what we get back is almost always some form of "This is what I believe and if you tell me I am mistaken or working from unfounded facts then you are being mean and intolerant."

This is not an argument.
posted by rtha at 8:42 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


If she actually defended a single point, it might be a different story.

Never likely to happen. But, you know she just loves 'stirring the pot' to see us all talk about her. Reminds me of 'dios.'
posted by ericb at 8:43 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Clearly, the opinion itself, is stupid. I mean, monumentally so.

This is what kills me. Someone says something so incredibly dumb and antithetical to everything for which the US purports to stand, and now this is how the conversation is going. The stupid is so poisonous, it just rots and dumbs down everything it touches.
posted by nevercalm at 8:43 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The question is whether an opinion you feel is so stupid could ever be defended to your satisfaction.
posted by smackfu at 8:46 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'll just say this: the name-calling does not help. If you disagree, fine. Say so. But calling someone with a different opinion an "asshole" or "racist" or "bigot" is very unlikely to prompt a civil conversation.
posted by MarshallPoe at 8:48 AM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


Rodney Dangerfield / Hitler / Johnny Cash / Bauhaus / Talking Heads
posted by Meatbomb at 8:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Comparing dios to Alia really isn't fair; while his arguments were generally specious and poorly-reasoned, dios actually engaged and tried to support his points. Alia just throws out a talking point and then anything else she says is either indignant suggestions that as a Carolinian she has some kind of special insight into the world or more talking points.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [25 favorites]


I'm always open to having my mind-changed. And if something I thought was stupid is shown to me to in fact be quite smart, then I get to feel stupid, which in turn makes me significantly more humble. Which can only be good.
posted by nevercalm at 8:49 AM on August 1, 2010


The question is whether an opinion you feel is so stupid could ever be defended to your satisfaction.

EXACTLY. And not to put words in your mouth, but your statement solidifies the argument that it isn't the "way in which she presents" but the content of her opinion that irks people. And you cannot/should not regulate content (unless it's off-topic). People are personalizing this to take attention away from the fact that they'd prefer to censor any opinions that disagree with their own. You can shout that she's evil, a bigot, or any other insult - but at the end of the day, it's cognitive dissonance at play. Too many loud people around here can't stand hearing opinions that disagree with their own. Full stop.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:53 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The question is whether an opinion you feel is so stupid could ever be defended to your satisfaction.

We're talking, though, about instances where there is no defense at all. I don't think she's a troll, but -- leaving aside however I may or anyone may feel about her assertions -- she is certainly not much of a conversationalist in this regard. Whenever anything like this comes up, she basically says something chockloaded with hyperbole, gets everyone to look at her, and then -- having made the conversation about her -- essentially drops out of the conversation. Now, I don't think she's posting in bad faith (I really do think she means what she says), but by venting and then pulling away, she has a lousy effect on a thread. (I get why she might pull away, because most normal people don't want to get in a shouting match with a never-ending tag team of debaters, but that's not the issue.) She isn't going to respond to direct questions, and anyone would have a million of them after some verbal incendiary device has been set off, and so: Derail. I really don't see a solution other than to blow her off when subjects like this one pop up, and flag anything truly offensive.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:56 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

The question is whether an opinion you feel is so stupid could ever be defended to your satisfaction.
This is a pretty important point, and it's one that is important to remember. It's something that applies to almost any discussion where people believe there is a moral or ethical principle in play, rather than simply opinions about current events.

For the record, though, I spend a lot of time on sites that skew strongly conservative, too, and I often find myself in Alia's position -- the lone person expressing an idea in a crowd of outraged opposition. The dynamics in that kind of situation really are skewed against careful deliberation, if only because everyone wants to take a crack at rebutting the lone member of the opposition.
posted by verb at 8:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think a lot of us big-city elite liberal types ... need to see that there are intelligent, articulate people out there who are virulently, openly, self-defensively racist.

Then what you really need is to spend more time around people who aren't just like yourself. Cites are full of intelligent and articulate racists (probably more so than rural areas, and definitely so if you are including the suburbs in your definition of city). You don't need to go online to find them.

Personally, I find SAotB's hit and run stuff tiresome, so I try to refrain from engaging. There's plenty of other lazy and undignified behavior here from the opposite political viewpoint, too, and I have been doing my best to refrain from engaging in that as well.
posted by Forktine at 9:00 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


In my experience, this is a self-correcting issue. There may be somebody out there who can carefully defend a really outrageous position -- The Holocaust was good for the Jews, slavery is a good thing, whatever. But, in practice, people who are that outre tend to self-destruct in short order on a site like this.
posted by Astro Zombie


The problem is that often it is not an outrageous position being put forward. Many times it is a commonly held view. I, like most people on this site, am against these types of positions that often hide racist and sexist agendas, but let's be clear -- there are many smart people who hold nuanced views on these topics that aren't raging racists or trolls.

They just don't stay on this site site long. They aren't here "carefully defending" their positions because it isn't worth it. There are usually one or two well thought out rebuttals, but it isn't worth dealing with the half dozen snarky responses in order to address them.

I realize in this case St. Alia has a posting history to take into account, but we tolerate content free pile-ons a bit too readily when certain topics come up.
posted by stp123 at 9:01 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Trolls say things in which they do not believe, in a manner undirected at specific individuals, hoping for someone to rise to the bait and hook themselves. That's why it's called trolling. A troll's opinions are not genuinely held, just as that shiny bit of plastic which is the bait is not a true insect for a fish to bite.

I think "belief" is orthogonal to "trolling". Most online trolling seems to me to reflect a deep underlying need for attention that isn't being met by the real world.
posted by Slothrup at 9:01 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Shouting out "bigot" or lumping St. Alia in with bigots at the drop of a pin helps no one move the conversation forward.

and

But calling someone with a different opinion an "asshole" or "racist" or "bigot" is very unlikely to prompt a civil conversation.

Speaking for myself-- who is one of the few people to actually use the term "bigoted" in the other thread-- I was very clear to make a distinction between calling her a bigot versus calling out a specific, identifiable, bigoted POSITION. I agree it is not good to label a person with such a term. And I stand by my label on the position, and if it's not evident why I think that based on my prior comment I'll be happy to spell it out for you. Once I'm done going tubing down the river all afternoon, drinking delicious beer and having a tasty sandwich.
posted by norm at 9:02 AM on August 1, 2010


I actually agree that the Mosque should be allowed

It's not a mosque.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:07 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's not her original comment that bothers me so much (despite the stupid), it's the comments she made after that.

People made several comments responding to her "upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular" bit, sharing their experiences living in the neighbourhood around Ground Zero and losing people on 9/11 and about their support for the cultural centre and the (already established) mosques in the surrounding area.

She responded to none of this. Her only response was to stomp her feet and snark that we "forgot" what area of NC she lives in, and that she has a right to disagree.

It's not the stupid that bothers me. It's the temper tantrum she always throws afterwards. It's the name-calling and the smugness and the refusal to respond to anything that is directed at her in good faith. If we respond in a snarky way, then we get a smug bit of snark back. If we respond in an honest, human-to-human, experience-sharing way... radio silence.

That counts as trolling in my book.
posted by heatherann at 9:11 AM on August 1, 2010 [48 favorites]


Once I'm done going tubing down the river all afternoon, drinking delicious beer and having a tasty sandwich.

I'd prefer if you'd take me with you...
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:11 AM on August 1, 2010


At the same time, I must agree with catlet on this: "I see Alia's comments primarily on AskMe, where I find her to be a valuable contributor even when we disagree."
posted by heatherann at 9:13 AM on August 1, 2010


But calling someone with a different opinion an "asshole" or "racist" or "bigot" is very unlikely to prompt a civil conversation.

As ever, the onus of civility is not upon the bigot or the racist but upon those who object to bigotry and racism.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:16 AM on August 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Shouting out "bigot" or lumping St. Alia in with bigots at the drop of a pin helps no one move the conversation forward.

Ah. Here's the thing, though. Part of the reason I have any respect for her at all is because clearly she isn't a total idiot. In threads that deal with dealing with people or practical living day-by-day matters, she can often be extremely insightful. From her posts I gather she is a thoroughly capable person who has managed to raise mostly ordinary kids.

And so, we cannot simply say that she is misinformed or doesn't know better about the situation. In this area, and a few others, she has purposefully taken a mindset which is close-minded and hateful/hurtful. This makes her a bigot.

I still like her, though! I really, really like what she has to say in almost every other thread! I just find it so annoying that in certain areas she holds these bizarre views.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:17 AM on August 1, 2010


I miss dios.
posted by homunculus at 9:19 AM on August 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


Dear Mods,

I've been feeding this troll but it keeps getting bigger! Please fix.

Trolling, as I have always understood it, it deliberately posting a controversial opinion for no other reason than to get a rise out of people. This is not what I see here.

Ms. Bunnies has an unpopular opinion, but is an honest opinion and she does not seem to be posting it just to piss you off.
posted by Bonzai at 9:20 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


She responded to none of this. Her only response was to stomp her feet and snark that we "forgot" what area of NC she lives in, and that she has a right to disagree.

Yep. It's a consistent pattern of dragging conversation in the blue down, not engaging in good faith and basking in the glow of attention for being "controversial." It's fair to ask that it be reigned in a bit by the mods.
posted by mediareport at 9:21 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because we don't ban people for having unpopular opinions.

CILANTRO RULES!
posted by nomadicink at 9:23 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Threads like that are why you should sometimes think of MeFi as a debate, not a conversation. Say what you want to say, as concisely as you can. Read and think about what other people have said. Maybe rebut once, if you think there is some info missing. The constant back and forth chat room in the blue hardly ever works out well.

There's a point in an argument where the person with a weak position can see it, and would let the whole thing drop (with maybe a parting shot for pride's sake) if you stopped pressing them. They'll go away knowing that they looked kind of lame, and maybe look into a better argument for the future, or stop getting into those arguments as often.

Then there's a point where you've gone too far; you've been aggressively trying to squeeze "Ok I'm sorry, I was totally wrong and should never have had the temerity to argue with my superiors. I am a bad person" out of them. They will not go away feeling like they have some homework to do, they'll go away feeling unfairly persecuted by assholes.

Drop the argument sooner. kthx.

plus, I've been around for all the Brand New Days. k- was an infuriating troll, St. Alia not so much.
posted by ctmf at 9:24 AM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


SAotB is a perfect exemplar of the execrable position held by too many these days, i.e. "the strength of my belief invalidates the logic of your facts".

Facts literally have no meaning to these kinds of people. It's very frustrating.
posted by Aquaman at 9:29 AM on August 1, 2010 [32 favorites]


I don't have any problem with St. Alia, and in fact was waiting for a moment to defend her and her opinions. Firstly, Alia isnt a troll, and contributes decent comments to other parts of this site. She has a minority opinion and bad rhetorical and argumentative skills, but I welcome her presence here and wish there was some way to better move beyond being frustrated by her and figure out how to interlock with people who think like she does. Also, I think it is bad form to feed into her persecution-complex with MeTa call out.

Furthermore, for me, I think it is more helpful in the long-run to concentrate on the areas where St. Alia and I agree, as I'm sure there are many things that we would be able to speak in unison, and thats good because it shows that St. Alia isn't so dissimilar from a hard-left New York anarchist.
posted by fuq at 9:30 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's a shame that MetaFilter welcomes one-liners that it agrees with, but requires a dissertation for those it disagrees with.

Well, that's how it goes. That being said, if somebody called me on my liberal one liners, I would be prepared to back them up -- and God knows I have some unpopular opinions here, and am likewise prepared to back them up. Everybody here is an outlier, just a little bit. But it seems like some people, knowing they are outliers, instead of approaching a discussion with that knowledge and with preparation for the additional demands of proof that are going to be made, instead just want to toss out unpopular opinions and never be asked to support them, or engage in discussion, and cry oppression when that happens. And, frankly, that is not a good faith way to engage a discussion.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:38 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


The constant "YOU MUST PROVE AND BACK UP AND DEBATE YOUR OPINIONS OR WE DEMAND YOU BE BANNED" dynamic doesn't sound very healthy for a community.
posted by nomadicink at 9:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Facts literally have no meaning to these kinds of people. It's very frustrating.
posted by Aquaman at 12:29 PM on August 1 [+] [!]


It's worse than that. Facts that contradict a person's worldview will often reaffirm his/her previous beliefs.
posted by knave at 9:42 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


The constant "YOU MUST PROVE AND BACK UP AND DEBATE YOUR OPINIONS OR WE DEMAND YOU BE BANNED" dynamic doesn't sound very healthy for a community.

Who asked for anyone to be banned?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:44 AM on August 1, 2010


I'll pitch in my two cent's worth as someone who doesn't comment terribly often. I think the reason that St. Alia's contributions to threads like the one under discussion are infuriating is that her rhetorical tactics so nearly resemble the ones utilized by the pundits on Fox news and talk radio: make a piously inflammatory statement that can't stand up to much scrutiny whatsoever, and then quickly move on to another thread. Refuse to entertain requests for clarification or supporting evidence, refuse to acknowledge the existence of counter-arguments, and whine about being "bullied" when challenged for any sign of honest engagement in the conversation. The thing is, I love Metafilter precisely because the discussions that go on here are (for the most part) significantly more substantive than what I see on Fox or hear on the radio, so when Alia starts spouting off talking points, it's galling on two levels: first because I disagree with the statement being made, and secondly because I have to pretty much give up any hope that a meaningful exchange of views will result from the disagreement. There's pretty clearly a difference of opinion, not only on the topic under discussion, but on the very definition of "discussion". And I have to say that one of the reasons I'm not a conservative is that whenever I detect this dynamic in action, the conservative's always the one working from a rulebook that nobody else has signed on to.
posted by Ipsifendus at 9:46 AM on August 1, 2010 [20 favorites]


> It's a shame that MetaFilter welcomes one-liners that it agrees with, but requires a dissertation for those it disagrees with.

Well, that's how it goes.


There are a lot of people piping up here who don't believe that is the way it should go.
posted by stp123 at 9:50 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thomas Jefferson once said "When I hear another express an opinion which is not mine, I say to myself, he has a right to his opinion, as I to mine. Why should I question it? His error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixote, to bring all men by force of argument to one opinion?"

It shouldn't matter if St. Allia holds views that are opposite to yours. Aside from here, you don't have to deal with her. Why do you care if she's wrong? It's certain that you're not going to persuade her to your point, just as she's never going to persuade you. Why get all upset about it?
posted by crunchland at 9:51 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is what kills me. Someone says something so incredibly dumb and antithetical to everything for which the US purports to stand, and now this is how the conversation is going. The stupid is so poisonous, it just rots and dumbs down everything it touches.

EXACTLY - Here is an example of this from the thread in question: "I wish we could pack up every meddling asshole from the south and ship them to Afghanistan where they can join their partners in philosophy, the Taliban."

Oh wait, that was you...
posted by Arch_Stanton at 9:57 AM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


This comment is the correct one.
posted by Decani at 10:03 AM on August 1, 2010


There are a lot of people piping up here who don't believe that is the way it should go.

I'm not clear on what the alternative would be. Challenging one-liners you agree with? Not challenging ones you disagree with? What's the fix here?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:05 AM on August 1, 2010


As a longtme poster, I know which threads to avoid to keep from starting miserable, unwinnable fights like these. By now, so should SAotB.

The fact that she doesn't makes me think that:

A) She is not very bright

B) She needs more hobbies

C) She really loves the attention

Or perhaps all of the above.
posted by hermitosis at 10:08 AM on August 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Thomas Jefferson once said "When I hear another express an opinion which is not mine, I say to myself, he has a right to his opinion, as I to mine. Why should I question it? His error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixote, to bring all men by force of argument to one opinion?"

If the opinion is "Muslims should be denied the same sorts of rights offered every other American, and is shared by enough people, that opinion can, in fact, cause injury.

And, listen, I love me some Thomas Jefferson, but if I wanted a millionaire who was in one of the highest positions of power in the world to tell me that confronting bigotry was unnecessary, I'd give Rupert Murdoch a call.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:09 AM on August 1, 2010 [22 favorites]


I guess I'm sorry I fed the derail in that thread, but I'm not sure what we're supposed to do instead. Should we just give her a pass to say whatever she wants without critique?

Take a look at what she said; take a look at the thread after that. Has someone offered a critique or otherwise addressed already what you feel needs addressing? Then move on. If not? Respond if you feel you need to, but take the time to preview after you're done writing it up and if someone else has gotten to that response in the mean time, seriously consider chucking your comment out and moving on.

There's a difference between "this needs a response" and "this needs a response from me" in how to deal with something you dislike in another user's comment. When people do a good job of hewing more to the former than the latter, we don't see big pileups and derails so much. Thing gets said, thing gets responded to, people move on with their lives. When a lot of people want to be the ones to do the responding, or don't bother to see whether they're duplicating effort, it goes not so well and stuff like this happens.

Overresponding is an emergent problem of lopsided dynamics. Every individual involved needs to put some effort into avoiding it if you value having threads continue sans derail in the presence of something otherwise potentially derailing. It's tricky since it's emergent behavior that doesn't fall in any one responder's lap, but being aware of it and taking care to not add to the problem is something every person can do.

If the moderators of this site decide that they don't like what a person is saying, I'm sure they can ban or moderate those comments.

Oh that it were that simple. Far fewer things that annoy me would happen on this site. But far fewer things that interest me would, too, and I don't think I'd be very happy with myself either.

We don't ban people or delete their comments because we dislike what they say. Which makes things complicated sometimes, but it's how this place works and how in my opinion it needs to work for it to be what it is and has been over the years.

Yep. It's a consistent pattern of dragging conversation in the blue down, not engaging in good faith and basking in the glow of attention for being "controversial." It's fair to ask that it be reigned in a bit by the mods.

We have talked to her about this stuff. We have made explicit efforts to keep it in check. The idea that Alia gets some sort of carte blanche is silliness. I think she's obnoxious in political or ideological discussions and a lousy, lousy conversationalist and I personally just avoid talking to her when not strictly necessary, but that goes for a number of people on the site.

The fact is that we deal with more Alia-related chaff on the site in part for personality reasons than we would for just the content of her comments. Part of that comes from her apparent inability to not broadcast her identity even when she changes names, part of it from people's unwillingness to get over her and move on with their mefi lives. Both of those things are annoying, but at the end of the day she's just one person on this site with her own opinions, however unlikeable and however poorly defended, and the problem is more a cult of personality thing than anything. I wish that would go away, but it's not a bannable offense and nothing short of banning seems to strike the people who most dislike her presence here as meaningful mod action on the subject so I think we're stuck being kind of unhappy until the end of time on this one no matter how well it goes.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [25 favorites]


It's interesting to me how quickly a thread can devolve into outright hostility and ad hominem arguments. Civility costs us nothing. Why then should we not grant it even to those whose opinions we despise? Let them rant and troll and violate the unspoken rules of this community. There is a lesson in watching the reaction of this community to such behavior.
posted by aurelius at 10:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


I've been feeding this troll

You don't "feed the troll." The noun "troll" only came into being because people misunderstood that troll in the original sense ("trolling for suckers" on the Usenet) was being used as a verb.

And so, for all of you screaming that she's a troll, all of you who've been knee-jerking at whatever she's babbling about now: What part of the equation does that make you?

As we used to say on the Usenet, GLUB GLUB.
posted by dw at 10:13 AM on August 1, 2010


Who asked for anyone to be banned?

This person.
posted by nomadicink at 10:14 AM on August 1, 2010


I like St. Alia, sure she shoots from the hip. But gauging by the mere existence of this thread so do a majority of the MF herd.

I'd like to think she is reading and weighing the differences in opinion everyone has.


You've never dealt with her or her husband privately.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm always surprised to see longtime users getting into a froth with Alia. You know perfectly well she isn't going to engage your argument, not ever, no matter how reasonable or logical or screamy you are. Why bother? Noobs get a pass - they don't know better. But those who do know better are ultimately as annoying as she is. It's not hard to ignore her comments in political threads and read her contributions to AskMe, which tend to be helpful and useful.


How many Meta posts have been made about this user over the years? I've seen a lot of numbers crunching lately and this made me wonder who gets the Most Controversial User crown.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Okay, I guess I'm late to this party, but I have to say that that thread really tweaks me off royally. A whole bunch of people took a brilliant and extremely useful opportunity for debate on an extremely important topic and pissed it away by moaning, wringing their hands, and declaring the sky fallen. I'm with all the people who say that the Tea Partiers are insanely misguided fear-mongerers with some very serious issues about the way they approach the world, but that thread demonstrates to me in spades that, faced in rational discussion with those same righties, most lefties won't engage them and try to help the world by showing them the truth; they'll just whinge and cry and turn into gigantic babies.

This is why we don't have a functioning democracy in America, people – because we apparently can't fucking talk about important shit.
posted by koeselitz at 10:16 AM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


The alternatives are a) not piling on, b) calling it out when there is a stream of snark posts in a row, even if you agree with their sentiment, and c) flaggingn. Maybe the noise flag serves that purpose but I'm not sure how often people use it and how often the mods take action based on it.

I like a good snark as much as the next person. The problem is when there are 5-10 in reply to a single post. Most of them aren't funny, aren't well thought out, and worse, often contain obviously bad lines of argument, which feed the original poster. As a community we should not tolerate them to the degree we do.
posted by stp123 at 10:18 AM on August 1, 2010


(I mean, I had a few responses to Alia that I thought were at least a little intelligent, and it'd be nice to actually engage her and try to give her good reasons to change her mind. But it's wasted now; there's really no point in joining a discussion where people are already moaning about it so loudly. Jesus - so she has to speak up and give her reasons before she's allowed to say anything? Seriously? Do you people do this with everyone you have discussions with - "you're not allowed to say that until you give your reasons"? How hard is it to just say why you disagree? It's kind of odd that nobody's even trying.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


*Sigh*.

I can't tell if this conversation is going well or not. It just feels like it always does: tedious, like we're swirling down a sinkhole. I don't think there is an answer people are going to be happy with.

St. Alia's not going to realize how incredibly hurtful her comments are.

It doesn't seem as if any mefite is changing their opinion.

The mods aren't banning anyone, because making sweeping generalizations, particularly about things one knows little about and couldn't possibly be correct isn't a ban-able offense.

I'm going to go and eat my bakeside betty chicken sandwich for clarity. If I had more I'd share. Everything is better with a sandwich.
posted by anitanita at 10:22 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know what I like about creationists who are also bigots? Their behavior is self-defeating, as it inadvertently provides support for the idea that we're all a bunch of monkeys who are still evolving.

I am not calling out anyone in particular here, apply it to your own behavior and see if it fits, reader.

Why get all upset about it?

I suspect that disingenuous behavior rankles folks, regardless of the source and the subject matter.
posted by davejay at 10:23 AM on August 1, 2010


also I wish my dishwasher had an "ultrascrub" setting because my dishes would get so clean
posted by davejay at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good grief.

It just never ends, does it?
posted by Gator at 10:24 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


The alternatives are a) not piling on,

Alia tends to get about seven responses simultaneously. It's a rather spontaneous act, rather than people deliberately creating a bottleneck of responses. And there isn't exactly a mechanism we use by which we determine who will respond to her. Others have suggested not responding at all, but then why not merely ban her, if we are not to engage her at all? Is the best solution collective shunning?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:26 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


davejay: “You know what I like about creationists who are also bigots? Their behavior is self-defeating, as it inadvertently provides support for the idea that we're all a bunch of monkeys who are still evolving.”

Bullshit. Two and a half thousand years ago in Greece, there were a few people capable of handling it when other people disagreed with them, capable of talking about it without moaning and crying that the world was coming to an end. Clearly, none of those people exist in America today, least of all on Metafilter. If anything, this seems to indicate that we're moving backwards.
posted by koeselitz at 10:27 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


She's tiresome but my limited supply of grar was exhausted several months ago. Now I just react to her the same way I do when crazy homeless man approaches me and tells me that Al Gore is going to kill us all because space aliens want to stop our quest for energy and progress. I just smile, nod and give him some change for coffee.
posted by special-k at 10:27 AM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Last night, I had headcheese for the first time. It was good. The day before that I had these. They were good, too, in that acid-trip kind of way. This morning I found this at the supermarket. I bought it, but haven't worked up the nerve to try it yet.
posted by jonmc at 10:28 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's exactly why the space aliens are going to win.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:29 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because of jonmc's novelty bacon obsession.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:29 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Doublewhiskeycokenoice: "Who asked for anyone to be banned"

norm: "how many bites at the apple is our favorite troll going to get?"

Seems to be sort of an assumption built into the MeTa.

Some thoughts: Pope Guilty and Astro Zombie (and others, I'm sure) have taken the position that SAotB's opinion is strongly held, but poorly reasoned.

In engaging, what outcomes aside from conversation do you foresee? What might be possible: (1) Changing her opinion (2) Understanding each other's reasoning (separate from agreeing with it) (3) Your opinion changing.

The topic is polarizing; therefore (1) and (3) are unlikely. (2) remains the only outcome. If the goal of understanding isn't palatable or possible, you now have no productive outcomes. Her opinion has been dismissed as shallow, and therefore unlikely to lend themselves to advocacy. If you think her opinion really is poorly reasoned, it is unlikely to change via reasoned argument. Do not engage.
posted by boo_radley at 10:29 AM on August 1, 2010


You've never dealt with her or her husband privately.

They're swingers, aren't they?
posted by homunculus at 10:30 AM on August 1, 2010


refudiate

Of course, the real story here is the mainstream media's continued silence on the malamanteau phenomenon.
posted by useyourmachinegunarm at 10:31 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


We have talked to her about this stuff. We have made explicit efforts to keep it in check. The idea that Alia gets some sort of carte blanche is silliness.

Sorry, didn't mean to imply that at all. Just noting that this kind of callout seemed ok to me, in response to some folks who seemed to be claiming it wasn't worth discussing.
posted by mediareport at 10:33 AM on August 1, 2010


When I first joined mefi, I often challenged St. Alia (she was known by another name then) because I really didn't have a sense of her history and context here, and I doubt I'm the only n00b who lacked or lacks the knowledge that some arguments with some members have been going on for years.

Now, I mostly try to not engage. But sometimes I do, and I do in part because I don't want another new member or even a lurker to think that mefites all condone statements like hers.

Also, I'm really bad at resisting the call of someone who is wrong on the Internet.
posted by rtha at 10:37 AM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


I really am curious about what anti-American propagandistic value she sees in building a Moslem community center a few blocks away from Ground Zero. She hasn't answered, so I did some research.

Here's a site that makes the same claim -- quite forcefully -- but doesn't make clear what the propaganda would be.

A relative of one of those killed in the acts also makes the case: "There are interests in creating an Islamic presence at the site of the worst atrocity in the history of the Republic. It's very important to the people who want to hurt this country." She doesn't say whose interests, or why, or what the actual value is.

I can't find anybody who will tell me what the propaganda will be. Some help here, please.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Muslim, rather. Sorry. That was a typo.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2010


what cortex said, and what koeselitz said, to the nth degree.

St. Alia speaks up directly and bluntly in favor of her political views, which are, indeed, as she points out, the views of many Americans, and for mefi to put our heads in the sand and whine about those views being injected into mefi is rather ridiculous for a site that supposedly thrives on robust argument. I hate to think what conflagrations would occur if more people on mefi who agreed with St. Alia were as determined as she is to speak up and be heard. As it is, not hearing those views (or worse still, lobbing out screeds about how those views should not be heard on mefi) creates a sort of echo chamber effect. It may be comforting, but it's not all that productive.

Anyway, she injects an argument. mefi gets worked up into a boiling froth. Rinse, repeat. I think I can safely say that there are a good number of mefites who agree with her views but don't speak up on mefi about it for fear of getting drowned out by the ensuing vitriol.

She has the right to comment, she has the right to state her views, she has the right NOT to have to explain herself. Many mefites don't explain their views with citations and evidence. Nor should she have to. I dislike her refusal to engage after she's posted a stinkbomb of an argument, but that's the way it is.

I don't think that this callout was particularly necessary or useful.
posted by blucevalo at 10:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


I think this has less to do with certain people getting upset about someone being wrong on the internet, and more to do with Alia regularly getting upset about all of MetaFilter being wrong about everything.
posted by hermitosis at 10:44 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


she has the right NOT to have to explain herself.

Sure. But if you make an argument and do not back it up when requested, other people have the right not to take it seriously. And they have every right to ask that somebody make their case.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:46 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The piling-on makes me squirm a bit. When someone is wrong, and someone else says "hey you're wrong, and here's why," that should be good enough even if the wrong-headed person doesn't immediately understand. We don't need 50 more poele saying "Hey, I also think you're wrong!" It really doesn't help. It causes people to re-trench, from what I've seen of pile-ons over the last 8 years.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have to disagree, koeselitz. It's fine to hold the view that MeFi as a whole responded poorly in that thread, but I don't think it's fair to say that there were no substantive, reasoned responses.

More broadly, we have a situation where someone said some unsupported, maybe-on-the-fringes-of-bigoted things, and a bunch of people responded in varying ways. I don't understand the rationale for being most upset about... responses to the offending statement that you find unreasoned.

More narrowly, I have to admit that in all the time I've been here, I mentally categorized this user as someone whose views I don't always agree with but with whom it would be interesting to have a discussion. I don't remember having been engaged in the discussion as it went along. I had managed not to realize that she is terminally unwilling or unable to support her drive-by talking points. Lesson learned.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:56 AM on August 1, 2010


So I looked at the thread, from my perspective: I don't think ~5 comments aren't enough to warrant this much bile, much less calling someone a bigot.
posted by hellojed at 11:01 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


But if you make an argument and do not back it up when requested, other people have the right not to take it seriously. And they have every right to ask that somebody make their case.

Yes, of course, and I never said that they didn't have that right. But to expect or demand that she do so on pain of being banned or to insinuate that she does not have the right to express those views if she doesn't defend them (which is what some have implied) is another matter.

That's a standard to which nobody holds anybody here who doesn't have her views, and it's not appropriate to invent that standard for her because she holds an unpopular view and does not argue about it in a way that we like.
posted by blucevalo at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Where the fuck is this attitude that it is some monstrously strange idea to request arguments be backed up with citations and explanatory logic coming from? I know I've been asked to cite my sources and I have asked, and it has nothing to do with being to the right or the left.

I'm not saying you have to cite or explain everything if you just want to post your opinion and leave it at that, but if you want to keep making posts on the topic it's your responsibility to at least make token efforts to back up what you are arguing if you want to KEEP POSTING on the subject.

Without ever explaining her previous claims, she bounced onto the claims about terrorists using this community center for propaganda, and never explained that either. It's inflamatory and simply meant to provoke a response, it is not conversation, debate, or argument. It makes no difference if she actually believes it or not. It is trolling.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:08 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think this has less to do with certain people getting upset about someone being wrong on the internet, and more to do with Alia regularly getting upset about all of MetaFilter being wrong about everything.

So what? I mean, really -- in the greater scheme of things. So what? Who cares what percentage of things on mefi she gets upset about or doesn't get upset about? Why should it at all matter?

Where the fuck is this attitude that it is some monstrously strange idea to request arguments be backed up with citations and explanatory logic coming from? I know I've been asked to cite my sources and I have asked, and it has nothing to do with being to the right or the left.

And many other people on mefi have not been asked. And never do get asked. And mefi goes on, forward, unbowed, undented, unaffected.
posted by blucevalo at 11:11 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


How is it not bigoted that she is equating the people who are building the community center with the people who blew up the WTC?

If she objected to its being built because it would increase traffic and make parking more difficult (for instance), that is not bigotry.

If I object to a proposed new Presbyterian church down the street because they'll use all the parking and their church bells are too loud, that's not bigotry. If I object because they are Christians, just like Westboro Baptist is Christian, or that megachurch that's supporting the law to criminalize homosexuality in Uganda is Christian, then yeah, bigotry. How is that hard to understand?
posted by rtha at 11:11 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


It shouldn't matter if St. Allia holds views that are opposite to yours. Aside from here, you don't have to deal with her. Why do you care if she's wrong? It's certain that you're not going to persuade her to your point, just as she's never going to persuade you. Why get all upset about it?

People don't disappear when you turn the computer off. They vote. They participate in the economy. The go to war. They do all kinds of things that affect us all in various ways.
posted by klanawa at 11:15 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


People don't disappear when you turn the computer off. They vote. They participate in the economy. The go to war. They do all kinds of things that affect us all in various ways.

Even more reason to engage/try to understand/not stifle, turn off, scream at, shout down views that we differ with. Just my opinion.
posted by blucevalo at 11:17 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


And many other people on mefi have not been asked. And never do get asked. And mefi goes on, forward, unbowed, undented, unaffected.

Is it your opinion that conversation is better when people refuse to cite sources, but simply assure each other their arguments are sound based on strong faith in the rightness of their opinions?

Can't you guess what would happen to a community like that?

People should back up their arguments when it is reasonably requested if they want to keep on in a conversation, if they have a pattern of not doing so they should be banned because that is simple threadshitting.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:19 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would agree with previous posters that while I love the Metafilter community, the unpopular viewpoint has a way of getting called names and totally dismissed by a scarily large number of posters. In the recent thread on SB1070 (which I am by no means a supporter of) quite a few people referred to supporters as racists, bigots, etc. which frankly serves to kill any actual debate on the issue. Why bother explaining why you don't support a law when you can call the other side names?

I don't think it's a problem with Metafilter in particular. I think it's our culture. When people who tend a certain direction get together, they feel empowered to dismiss any opposing viewpoint outright. Their strawmen and name calling get approval from their peers, their mind is set, and the opposition is effectively dehumanized as a totally illogical being. Which, incidentally, is the best way to get the opposition to never ever once consider your viewpoint rationally.

The problem here is that if you think you're right about something, it's your job to generate a compelling argument explaining your viewpoint. Otherwise you're just complying with those around you and playing along--especially when you're doing so by calling names, dismissing others, and generally adding nothing to the real, actual cultural dialog (that, to be fair, in most instances never even gets started.) More than once I've disagreed with some or more of the community here, and while I didn't always bear it as well as I would have liked, I've always at least done my best to clearly state my viewpoint.

I genuinely believe that this is the same dynamic that makes men tend to go into feminist threads with utter disbelief--if you have no experience of a part of culture that doesn't include you, but you can't see your own lack of experience, you make assumptions. Similarly--when a person raised in a strongly liberal household has been conditioned that racism is a uniquely Southern trait, or that Palin supporters have no brain, or that people who watch Fox News aren't worth talking to while never having actually spoken to a Southern person, or a Palin supporter, or someone who watches Fox News, assumptions are made. One of those groups the more liberal person hasn't really interacted before will make a statement, and get called a troll because "no rational person could ever possibly believe that." And discussion is shut down because both sides are now defensive. Liberals are a caricature to conservatives, and conservatives are a caricature to liberals. That is the result of cultures that don't talk, that call each other names, that are dismissive.

Just upthread, we have
"I think a lot of us big-city elite liberal types need to hear from St. Alia, need to see that there are intelligent, articulate people out there who are virulently, openly, self-defensively racist. It's important to know. It's too easy to dismiss the supporters of Palin and Beck and teabaggers as ignorant, stupid yokels with no actual political will or followthrough, but that's dangerous--we need to be made aware that they're out there, and cannot be reasoned with."

Which really is a posterchild for the death of democracy. St. Alia may very well not be responding to the discussion well or even at all, but how are we responding?

insanely misguided fear-mongerers
ignorant, stupid yokels
bigots twisting themselves in knots
know-nothing bigoted asshole
too stupid to be an intentional troll
I don't really think she could post in a way that could make anyone happy here
Bigotry needs to be unmasked so we can all see what's underneath: the infinite, howling emptiness of primal hatred
those bigots should get fucking blowed-up
The stupid is so poisonous, it just rots and dumbs down everything it touches


And what issues forth is not any greater understanding, but an argument to not even bother trying to discuss this kind of thing, because heck, they'd never listen since they're too dumb anyway. When both sides believe that (and the majority certainly seems to) the culture starts dying. This isn't a huge problem for Metafilter because we agree on a pretty large pool of things. I'm not sure that's a good thing.
posted by Phyltre at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2010 [30 favorites]


"YOU MUST PROVE AND BACK UP AND DEBATE YOUR OPINIONS OR WE DEMAND YOU BE BANNED"

I read this as "or we demand you be damned"

While I deeply respect the mods, I do not believe that any creed currently assigns them this kind of power, although I believe that some fringe religions believe that the mods are capable of mild smiting.

I am not your theologian.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:23 AM on August 1, 2010


That's a standard to which nobody holds anybody here who doesn't have her views,

meh. if someone says "I think ice cream sucks," the most anybody should ever hear about it is "whaaa?! ice cream r00lz!" or whatever. if someone says "muslims shouldn't be allowed to build mosques in a particular place because muslims killed americans in 9/11," then yeah that's gonna be held to a different standard.

you don't give racism its fair chance to make its case, you fight it. that is the difference and that's the way it should be.
posted by shmegegge at 11:24 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


If she objected to its being built because it would increase traffic and make parking more difficult (for instance), that is not bigotry.

So if I were to publicly object to a mosque because the Call To Prayer will be too loud, while privately objecting because I don't want no terrorists in my neighborhood, would that be bigotry? Because there are a lot of cases where you get the sense the public objection isn't the real objection, but no no, they're not racist, they're just.. concerned about the traffic!

At least SAotB and Sarah Palin are being honest and open about their bigotry.
posted by dw at 11:25 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The problem here is that if you think you're right about something, it's your job to generate a compelling argument explaining your viewpoint.

Which applies far more strongly to the person you are defending. Having an unpopular opinion does not absolve you from that responsibility.


I genuinely believe that this is the same dynamic that makes men tend to go into feminist threads with utter disbelief--if you have no experience of a part of culture that doesn't include you, but you can't see your own lack of experience, you make assumptions. Similarly--when a person raised in a strongly liberal household has been conditioned that racism is a uniquely Southern trait, or that Palin supporters have no brain, or that people who watch Fox News aren't worth talking to while never having actually spoken to a Southern person, or a Palin supporter, or someone who watches Fox News, assumptions are made. One of those groups the more liberal person hasn't really interacted before will make a statement, and get called a troll because "no rational person could ever possibly believe that."


No, a lot of our parents are Fox News watching Palin supporters, I know my Dad is.

We say no rational person believes these things because they aren't rational. DRILL BABY DRILL! Six Months Later: IF ONLY YOU LIBERALS HAD LET US DRILL IN A DIFFERENT SPOT THIS SPILL WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED! etc.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:26 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least SAotB and Sarah Palin are being honest and open about their bigotry.

I'm not so sure. I think they're hiding their fears and own unexamined prejudices behind the patronizing canard of wanting to "respect the victims families." It's cheap, Islamophobic political symbolism, made all the more irksome by the fact that they're not at all interested by what the actual families of the victims have to say.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:30 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: People should back up their arguments when it is reasonably requested if they want to keep on in a conversation, if they have a pattern of not doing so they should be banned because that is simple threadshitting.

shmegegge: you don't give racism its fair chance to make its case, you fight it. that is the difference and that's the way it should be.

Both of those statements give ammunition to St. Alia's point about mefi being unable to handle dissent (if it's not eloquently reasoned and backed up with cites and doesn't smell like what we define as bigotry).

Dissent is dissent, whether it's elegantly argued and proven with Euclidean symmetry or not.

I'm not saying that we don't have a reasonable expectation that she should back up her points with logic. What I am saying that labeling her a "bigot" or demanding that she be banned for not doing these things is not a good way to go.

That's my opinion. I'm not going to cart in a wheelbarrow of cites to support why I believe it.
posted by blucevalo at 11:35 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


How is it not bigoted that she is equating the people who are building the community center with the people who blew up the WTC?

Weird, I saw her remarks as defending the point of view that some people are upset about it. Hence, i don't see what people are getting bent out of shape about it.

I mean, she specifically said the people building the mosque or whatever probably have good intentions, but their timing and location was tone deaf. She could have said it in less confrontational way, but geeze, bigot, really?

Seems like a whole lot of grar for not much of an issue.
posted by nomadicink at 11:36 AM on August 1, 2010




That's my opinion. I'm not going to cart in a wheelbarrow of cites to support why I believe it.


Well, the data I have collected proves you are wrong anyway.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:38 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which applies far more strongly to the person you are defending. Having an unpopular opinion does not absolve you from that responsibility.

I totally agree. This wasn't specifically (or really even in general) a defense of St. Alia, with whom I probably agree on just about nothing. Regardless of how recalcitrant/obstinate she's being, it's the community's response that has the larger effect.
posted by Phyltre at 11:41 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Both of those statements give ammunition to St. Alia's point about mefi being unable to handle dissent

no they don't. I'm not arguing for moderator response or anything, but if someone calls Alia out on this, it's not because we can't handle her conservative viewpoint. It's because what she did was argue for the diminished rights of muslims in new york. that's not just dissent, and it's not an opinion worthy of consideration. it's racism.
posted by shmegegge at 11:42 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


It might be personal bigotry, sure. But the mosque or church can respond by saying "Ok, we hear you ha ha, and we will turn our external sound down to [quieter level]."

If the 49ers suddenly decide to build a new stadium across the street from me, I am not bigoted when I publicly state that I don't want it because of the increased traffic and parking. My private feelings on the boringness of football are not being exercised. If the stadium can mitigate my concerns, then my choice is to STFU or state my "true" reasons for objecting to their presence and take the consequences of being seen as anti-49er.

I mean, she specifically said the people building the mosque or whatever probably have good intentions, but their timing and location was tone deaf. She could have said it in less confrontational way, but geeze, bigot, really?

Yes. The people making the community center do not believe the same things as the people who blew up the WTC. I don't know how much clearer I can be. The hypothetical Presbyterians down the street do not believe the same things as the guy who shot George Tiller or the people who think gays should be killed. Even though they all claim the label of Christian. They are not the same and acting as if they are is at the very least profoundly ignorant, and is, to my way of seeing it, bigoted.
posted by rtha at 11:47 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's because what she did was argue for the diminished rights of muslims in new york.

In what statement did she do that?
posted by nomadicink at 11:49 AM on August 1, 2010


I wish mefi wasn't so homogenous. Right now, we only seem to attract:

1. The completely tone deaf who don't realize they're in direct conflict with proper, right-thinking MeFites.
2. Those who enjoy contrariness for its own sake, who enjoy digging in and taking on the challenge of defending an unpopular opinion.
3. Those who see themselves as righteous martyrs for the truth (though not necessarily for a particular religion).

Unfortunately, these folks don't seem to last long (especially not the first kind). I enjoy thrashing things out with an intelligent opponent, but with such an enormous monoculture in place, it's hard to get any hope of fruitful discussion to take root.
posted by Eideteker at 11:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I, for one, am glad that Metafilter nearly universally acknowledges that telling a group of Muslims they can't build a community center in downtown Manhattan because of 9/11 is completely stupid.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:56 AM on August 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


My attitude is just to consider the source. If you know someone is typically talking out of their ass (or hip) without reply, why even pay attention to them? I can't get behind the synechdoche that she is some salient force that must be dealt with in the name of eradicating (or educating) perceived logical (or political) errors. Have the guts to call a spade a spade and to decline to participate when she appears, especially when it comes to driveby threadshitting (in which I include 'refusal to engage'). Put another way, what do you expect?

I think in this case it's the reactions that cause the most trouble and that there is a MeFi groupthink/tropiness/etc. providing a defensive energy that Alia is likely avoiding, but in the face of one poorly-reasoned and possibly willfully-ignorant person I really don't think that there's much of a threat to solidarity (to which, we might be reminded, outliers are always sacrificed). OK, that was just barely English, but hopefully you get my point.
posted by rhizome at 11:56 AM on August 1, 2010


In what statement did she do that?

She didn't. At no point did she say they shouldn't be allowed to do what they're doing, she just personally thinks it's an insensitive move on their part. HOPPITAMOPPITA!
posted by Gator at 11:57 AM on August 1, 2010


It's because what she did was argue for the diminished rights of muslims in new york. that's not just dissent, and it's not an opinion worthy of consideration. it's racism.

If the definition of permissible mefi speech is that an opinion be "worthy of consideration," then we're not much more than an echo chamber of previously agreed-upon viewpoints that reinforce our own already-established superiority.

Just because an opinion isn't "worthy of consideration" on the blue doesn't mean that it doesn't exist in the larger world.

Adding that I agree that her view on this matter is wrong, as I made abundantly clear in the thread. That doesn't mean that she shouldn't be able to express a wrong opinion, even if it's one that I vehemently disagree with. That also doesn't mean that she should be shielded from hostile and vituperative responses, even though in many cases she seems to think that she should have that expectation.
posted by blucevalo at 12:00 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Somewhat off topic, but I learned today of the death of longtime internet troll who has been successfully reeling in the climbing community since the usenet rec.climbing days. Judging by the outpouring of emotion I'm seeing I'm not the only one who sorely misses his humor. I guess my point is that different people contribute in different ways.

Alia is more a foil than a troll, and metafilter (and the causes you endorse) are best served by using her that way.
posted by Manjusri at 12:02 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


no they don't. I'm not arguing for moderator response or anything, but if someone calls Alia out on this, it's not because we can't handle her conservative viewpoint. It's because what she did was argue for the diminished rights of muslims in new york. that's not just dissent, and it's not an opinion worthy of consideration. it's racism.

It's really not, actually. Muslim is not a race. I'm not going to say that racism and prejudice against Muslims don't sometimes go hand-in-hand, because come on of course they do, but when we decide to apply a term like "racist," we should really have more to go on. She seems to me to have a religious prejudice. Frankly, I think that sucks. I find it repulsive. So be it. But in our society, it's much more okay to have an issue with a religion than it is to have an issue with a race, and I think characterizing her as a racist goes above and beyond.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:03 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I understand why people were upset by her comments. I was too, and threw a couple of things while I was reading that thread. I understand that you were upset not because you wanted to prove her wrong, as that xkcd comic suggests; or that you wouldn't tolerate different opinions; but because you think it matters. That those opinions go on to hurt people and cause so much suffering, that such opinions lead to more conflict, more enemies and more danger for people like her daughter's deployed boyfriend. And you respect her contribution in other parts of the site; and you want her to see, because despite calling for her to be banned out of frustration sometimes, you want her to be part of the community. You want her to understand.

But I think reacting to St. Alia this way gives her comments far more power than they otherwise would have had. Imagine similar comments from a name you don't recognize; we get that every often, barely coherent driveby comments, sometimes from people who have just joined. And in my experience, generally our reaction is to ignore, or engage minimally, maybe roll our eyes a bit -- but we let go, we don't let them and our reaction to them take over the thread, because we're not sure if they are just trolling anyway.

I think it's actually because people respect St. Alia more than that, that they get so emotionally involved. Because after all these years, people know that she can't really be just trolling; that she genuinely believes what she says.

But by reacting to her this way, it gets her all kinds of supporters that she would've have had if she were just a few comments in the thread: the many people who sympathize with having an unpopular opinion or being on the end of a pile-on, the people who always wanted to critique how the "lefties" or "liberals" engage, the people who just want to get on and don't see what the big deal is... and now you're having to fend off attacks from all kinds of people, telling you how you're "whining" or piling on because you need to be right, or wouldn't accept different opinions. The blame is on you, and meanwhile she's slipped away, her views unchanged as always, her persecution complex likely just further reinforced.

It's like that Jay Smooth video, the one about not calling someone "a racist". You just get caught up in so much shit if you do, and meanwhile, the person who is hurting people slips away.

There was one point in that thread, when all the New Yorkers were speaking up, where her attempting to make it about her concern for New Yorkers was starting to look patently ridiculous. There was the information about the people who were Muslim who were killed on 9/11; there was the correction that it wasn't a mosque, that there were already mosques nearby. Her comment about it being like the family of the killer moving in next door made her thought process plain to see. Her point of view didn't have a leg to stand on.

And yet here we are, and the blame is being directed at the people who tried to engage her.

You see what I mean?

I know it's really hard, and I really understand why it's hard. But can we try this? Next time we see one of these comments from her, try to forget that it's from her before we respond. Just treat it like a piece of information you need to refute. Because while I'm all for engaging people -- she hasn't engaged for this many years. And I don't see her as having much respect for others in these instances either -- and so she doesn't deserve that engagement. Her comments is now just information, and when it is incorrect or illogical, it is easy to refute. And then we have to trust to let the facts and logic stand for themselves, and let people decide. But don't give them an excuse to see themselves as a victim; if nothing else, do it for that.

There's the other point of it as well, which is that this kind of engagement simply doesn't scale. And we can't let one or two people derail a thread like that every time. So if not for her, do it for us. Correct the misinformation and bad logic as dispassionately as you can, and then talk around them. I know how hard it is sometimes, but I don't see any other way.
posted by catchingsignals at 12:07 PM on August 1, 2010 [20 favorites]


(But by reacting to her this way, it gets her all kinds of supporters that she would've wouldn't have had if she were just a few comments in the thread)
posted by catchingsignals at 12:11 PM on August 1, 2010


It's not like the FPP described some matter of opinion. It described a response to the Cordoba Center among a certain swath of cultural conservatives and now supported, rather shockingly, by the ADL, that any reasonable person would recognize as antithetical to American law and core values we all purport to share. That some numerical majority supports this bigoted response, at least when asked carelessly in terms that accept the racist framing of the issue (it's not a "mosque being built at ground zero," it's a longstanding community cultural center that is relocating within the hugeness of lower Manhattan, to no real opposition from its neighbors -- granting that is a very commercial district -- or the city government until rabble-rousing rightwing activists stepped in to gin up the protests to the point that they made a bit of difference to anyone) doesn't render this an issue with two legitimate, defensible sides.

There is no defensible argument for prohibiting a private property transaction that in no way harms a community, or for stopping such a transaction on the basis of a religious exclusion. Both are explicitly unconstitutional, with constitutionality being something which left and right purport to agree has the highest value in our society, not "fair mindedness" or "sensitivity" or hurt fucking feelings. To call for or support calls for an unconstitutional government intervention in a private transaction with community support under the protection of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion on the basis that the American citizens who are parties to this transaction are somehow indistinguishable from the non-American terrorists who flew planes into buildings because they hated, purportedly, that very freedom I am speaking of, to imply that participation in a faith that has billions of adherents around the world taints one with the most perverse actions conducted in the name of that faith by a tiny minority of its adherents (as many have pointed out, a standard by which any Christian analog would fail miserably), and to further unfairly demonize, stigmatize, dehumanize, and alienate your fellow citizens as unworthy of rights that Real Americans enjoy under the law, not under public opinion, and to do all of this simply because these fellow citizens believe in a particular version of God is either bigoted or deeply ignorant, or usually, both, because they usually go hand in hand, although there are plenty of educated bigots out there too, and plenty of less educated non-bigots, proving it's not a necessary correlation.

Yeah, I'm saying one side here is right, and the other is simply wrong, and there really is no "debate" to be had. There is a "debate" going on, of course, but it is a debate couched in the bad faith of granting the premise that American laws and values can be suspended if we hate the citizens who claim them enough. We've had a lot of that in recent years, and throughout our history, so it's hard to see it as bigotry plain and simple sometimes when it is so many people's media-spun common-sense view of the world: Muslims are out to GET US!

You are entitled to think so. But one is allowed to be a Muslim in the US. Or a communist. And that makes that person no less American. In order to deny that person her civil rights, you need to argue that some Americans are more (Real) Americans than others.

But I believe we hold this truth to be self-evident, that all people are created equal before the law. So if you say otherwise, you're being un-American, and if the basis of the exclusion is race or religion, or gender, or sexuality, you're being a bigot.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:12 PM on August 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


I'm way more offended by people misusing the word 'epic,' than anything that's happened in either the linked thread or this one.

Also, it's a really nice day in Queens. I've got some Chipotle Cashews, Maui Onion & Garlic Macadamias, three tubes of BottleCaps, a half a fifth of Rebel Yell, two 24oz of Modelo and about 7 Schlitzes. Plus a Carl Hiassen novel and Fargo Rock City. And my neighbor is grilling up something herb/onion intensive and Little Feat's "Willin'" just came up on shuffle. Maybe you all can make something similar happen on your porch.

I may go get some more headcheese later.
posted by jonmc at 12:12 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Obviously my "we all" was a reference to my fellow US citizens, just to be clear.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:13 PM on August 1, 2010


Here are a couple of rules I use for MetaFilter that have helped me tremondously and that some may find useful:

-> Assume good faith. If good faith is obviously not the intent then

-> Always use *kid gloves when responding

and the last one I'm still trying to implement **more often

-> Learn the difference between "this needs a response" and "this needs a response from me"

*Shorn and skinned from a young goat if need be.
**Admittedly, I don't always bat a thousand using the first two.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:17 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seriously, can we keep the random chatter and recipes out of MetaTalk? This is still very much an ongoing discussion and it seems that lately people are itching to inject non-sequiturs into MetaTalk at the earliest possible opportunity. It's no longer a way to keep dead threads active, now it's some posters' main contribution to this part of the site. It's not funny, it's not productive, and it just smacks of having no interest in actual discussion. Do it on MetaChat, where it belongs. I know that's part of your schtick, jonmc, but I just don't understand what it adds.
posted by proj at 12:19 PM on August 1, 2010 [28 favorites]


I know that's part of your schtick, jonmc, but I just don't understand what it adds.

Perspective, genius.
posted by jonmc at 12:23 PM on August 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


this seems all so much spitting into the wind.
posted by edgeways at 12:23 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It reads like a hatefest over an opinion. An opinion of ONE person. What, 20-30 words in total? Bleh. This is not what whatever this is supposed to be is supposed to be.
posted by buzzman at 12:25 PM on August 1, 2010


Yes, I have a much improved perspective of your contributions to this discussion.
posted by proj at 12:25 PM on August 1, 2010


Someone needs to show jonmc that his twitter feed is in another tab, and that they are supposed to be 140 characters or less.
posted by terrapin at 12:27 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


jonmcs_liver: @jonmc Why do you hate me? #FD&CYellowNumberFive
posted by loquacious at 12:30 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


What SAotB is advocating in that thread is bigoted, and misinformed. Does she have the right to think and say what she believes though? In America yes. On metafilter, that is up to the mods. If you put any value in the 1st Amendment, you should be for Alia's rights and the rights of those at Cordaba House. You don't have to agree with someone to understand their 1st Amendment rights. I can't think of any reason to abandon that philosophy when you log onto metafilter. I've had a falling out over the anti-Muslim rhetoric used by some people I once admired on another forum, because it's bigoted and because it is an attempt to devalue the rights of Muslims. But my passion will not allow me to demand the silence of those I oppose, since their right to their own conscience is what we should all be in agreement on.
posted by nola at 12:30 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, I'm saying one side here is right, and the other is simply wrong, and there really is no "debate" to be had."
Don't sell yourself short. You actually provided the reasons for why you hold your position, which is more than most posters in this thread can claim. However, when you say
"That some numerical majority supports this bigoted response...doesn't render this an issue with two legitimate, defensible sides"
you're once again missing the crux of the issue. I'd like to scream from my rooftop:

Willingness to debate is not a sign that you are uncertain. Willingness to debate signals that you believe you are correct.

I don't know how this got lost in our modern society, but debates happen BECAUSE there are real truths out there. The more right you think you are, the more you need to prove it to people you believe are wrong! That's the point of the marketplace of ideas! It's not our place to choose what is up for debate. As long as people disagree, debate can be healthy. Why?

Because the alternative is that people never get called on specious reasoning and falsehood, and are exempt from defending it in a logical manner.

Now there's no guarantee that everyone, everywhere, will listen or take note. There will be obstinate people who refuse to admit they might be wrong, or even respond. But that doesn't make your role any less important, because people will be listening. Don't assume that people never change their minds--if they don't, it's only because we see debate as a sign of weakness instead of a sign of intelligence.
posted by Phyltre at 12:31 PM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


If you put any value in the 1st Amendment, you should be for Alia's rights

Do people still make this inane argument? This is not the entire world. This is Metafilter, a single forum (which I use in the general sense of a place to speak and be spoken to and in which to share ideas and debate, not in the more narrow sense of an internet forum) which she does not own. If she were prevented from speaking in this venue, it would not be a violation of her first amendment rights.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:39 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you put any value in the 1st Amendment, you should be for Alia's rights

Except no one is asking the government to censor her. People like her are asking the government to prevent the Cordoba center from being built.
posted by lullaby at 12:49 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


As someone once said, more than one thing can be true. A view can be bigoted and responses to it can be poor. The vitriolic responses, profanity, etc., are an embarrassment.
posted by ambient2 at 12:51 PM on August 1, 2010


Well, indeed, which is why I responded, too intemperately to be sure, to SAoTB's original offensive comment with a substantive rebuttal, albeit an anecdotal one in which I rejected her representation of how "New Yorkers" feel. Because a second thing here is that in general, you should be careful not to represent the opinions of other people in support of your own when those other people are in the room to challenge such a representation.

Of course, I take the point that debate is a tool of the strong, and if I didn't believe it profoundly I would be neither a scholar nor a MeFite. Debate entails a dialogue, however, that advances based on evidence, not merely the projection of feeling or the claim to majority status or common-sense validation. Would that there were more principled conservatives, Republicans, and (winces) rational religious folk on MeFi willing to engage on real differences in the interpretation of fact and law. We could us more of that, and I like to think I'd welcome it. When it happens, it can be sharp and bracing, but civil.

This is bullshit, however. Show me one reasoned, thoughtful, respectful conservative thinker arguing for the suppression of the practice of Islam in the US despite the clear unconstitutionality of any such effort. I'd love to see an intellectually rigorous defense of the proposition that hurt feelings matter more than freedom of religion or freedom to own property in post-9/11 America. I can't imagine what it would be -- or I know what it is: we're in an epic (sorry!) clash of civilizations and the Evil Swarthy Ones are coming to impose Sharia law on America and all hands must man the battle stations and forget those pesky civil liberties you used to enjoy.

It brought us Guantanamo and legal torture, a trillion dollar war we didn't need to fight, the expansion of the security theater state and the erosion of citizen privacy, to mention only a few of the highlights I can remember off the top of my head, this scare tactic.

Man, for a few decades it was the Soviets. Then the New World Order and the UN. Now the Muslims and their Freedom Hatin' Ways are just outside the barriers, with the other Brown Ones streaming in across the southern border. We're in the age of mass communications! There's fear out there to be mined and stoked for profit, or for prophet (either one you like), sheeple to be manipulated into undermining their own best interests with just a little match thrown right . . . over . . . . here.

There's no rationality to most of it. It's a cult-like mentality -- as one sees with a lot of pseudoscience based on fear as well -- efforts to prove it wrong only prove the seriousness of the threat to the believer's reality. People like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin know, instinctively and from their highly paid handlers, how to light this tinder, manipulate it, deploy hate as a political weapon. Karl Rove was the modern master, but it's been basic to the populist paranoid right in America since the 19th century, at least.

The new bread and circus is that it's the Muslims who are out to get us, along with those good old chestnuts, blacks and Latinos, and gays, and educated elites, and feminists, and single mothers, etc.

I've always maintained Osama Bin Laden was straight of of central casting (Get me a scary Muslim villain, boys!). Make of that what you will.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:54 PM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


(Sorry, I was responding to Phyltre's post above)
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:54 PM on August 1, 2010


I believe that some fringe religions believe that the mods are capable of mild smiting.

At the meet-up last night, we discussed MeFi as religion and the unanswerable question of the tater. We did not address whether or not the mods were capable of smiting. This can only mean one thing: WE NEED TO MEET-UP AGAIN AND EAT MORE PIE.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:55 PM on August 1, 2010


It's a shame that MetaFilter welcomes one-liners that it agrees with, but requires a dissertation for those it disagrees with.

QFT.
posted by lohmannn at 1:04 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not too far from here (Temecula), there's a new mosque planned and folks are protesting. On the radio, one woman said that she wouldn't mind if mosques were just a place for people to practice their religions, but that mosques are where "those people have their, you know, pow-wows."

I admit I kinda thought of St. Alia.
posted by klangklangston at 1:06 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So did anyone have the curtesy to drop St. Alia of the Bunnies a message and let her know this discussion was going on? Just curious, since if not this thread is horribly shitty. It's pretty shitty regardless, but if if this bunny bashing is being held without her awareness then I find the pouring forth of righteous vitriol to be gossipy and cowardly.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:08 PM on August 1, 2010


Alia is not a troll. She might not be correct, or "in-line," but that does not make her a troll. It would be awesome if MeFi could collectively stop assuming that people who disagree are trolling. Or, you know, doing the whole outgroup thing.

Yeah, I agree completely. If you're looking for an echo chamber in-group there are a lot of places to go to. They are extremely unpleasant in a mean-girls sense. The worst part is the folks who are among the in-group don't realize how hostile and unwelcoming the community is. Which is what we're seeing here. Alia isn't a troll. She isn't horribly rude except in the sense that a lot of people find her opinions themselves inherently offensive. She contributes to a lot of threads in a constructive manner. To call her a troll and say she shouldn't be welcome on Metafilter is the worst sort of cliquish in-group dynamic.
posted by Justinian at 1:18 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


If she were prevented from speaking in this venue, it would not be a violation of her first amendment rights.

True. The 1st Amendment argument is stupid. But if she were prevented from speaking in this venue for something like the thread at hand it would mean Metafilter was kind of a shitty place. There might be other behavior or future behavior which would warrant action but simply having dumb opinions shouldn't be actionable.

Like I said, if you want a place where you never have to be confronted with poorly reasoned and even offensive opinions I'd be happy to provide you a few links.
posted by Justinian at 1:21 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's because what she did was argue for the diminished rights of muslims in new york. that's not just dissent, and it's not an opinion worthy of consideration. it's racism.
posted by shmegegge at 2:42 PM on August 1


Please do not conflate opposition to a religion with racism. It may, sometimes, be driven by racism but it is not, by itself, racism. Furthermore, it does not incline fair-minded people to sympathise with you if you imply or assume it is.
posted by Decani at 1:22 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

To call her a troll and say she shouldn't be welcome on Metafilter is the worst sort of cliquish in-group dynamic.
Just to be clear, that's what the vast majority of participants in this thread agree on.
posted by verb at 1:22 PM on August 1, 2010


I don't know if anyone has made this argument yet (in all honesty I tried to read through this whole thread and...well, just got tired. Sue me.) but in the "boyzone" sexism threads the point was made, repeatedly, that it was up to men to speak up when they witnessed other men making sexist comments and/or being sexist to women. This situation is no different. People aren't "piling on" because Alia has a dissenting opinion, people are speaking up because they see racist, bigoted behavior and feel it is incumbent upon them as members of a society to call out that behavior as what it is.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:30 PM on August 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


Never likely to happen. But, you know she just loves 'stirring the pot' to see us all talk about her. Reminds me of 'dios.'

That comparison is quite unfair to dios.
posted by Kwine at 1:30 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]



Like I said, if you want a place where you never have to be confronted with poorly reasoned and even offensive opinions I'd be happy to provide you a few links.


And if you want a place where you can spout conservative talking points without anyone asking you to back it up there are places for that too.

Metafilter is for conversations, not "I'm right, you're wrong, you can't handle my opinions, no I won't support them, you can't handle dissent bye."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:31 PM on August 1, 2010


...with the specific intent to ruin threads...

Professor X taught you to use your telepathic powers for good, stop looking into her mind!
posted by nomadicink at 1:34 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please do not conflate opposition to a religion with racism. It may, sometimes, be driven by racism but it is not, by itself, racism. Furthermore, it does not incline fair-minded people to sympathise with you if you imply or assume it is.

Whatever. Fine. Opposition to Islam is not racism. Whatever it is, though, is just as bad. I don't care what you want to call it, but treating one religion as if it owes the rest of society something before it can enjoy the same rights as every other religion in this country is another example of America pissing all over its founding principles. I don't care if you like Islam or not, I don't particularly care for the theology myself, but treating it differently from other religions is a national sin on par with racism.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:34 PM on August 1, 2010


fourcheesemac: If you approach a person caught in a cult-like mentality who is being manipulated by his/her ideological leaders, and tell them that they are in fact wholly irrational and nothing more than a rube caught under a mass-opiate...what kind of response do you expect? Do you believe they will be listening to anything else they say?

I understand what you mean. Their position doesn't include logic as a floor, so why even try? But that's one of the big missteps that can slippery-slope down this whole chain. You're caught up in outrage over where they are now, but the real issue at hand is how to get them out. And that way doesn't include the kind of language Metafilter is teeming with. Just because the other side doesn't seem willing to step up to the plate doesn't mean that we can't build meaningful, persuasive, truthful, non-hostile arguments to start, does it?

Sure, name-calling and belittling (just like in that most recent post of yours) is easier. And if we didn't care about the other side at all, maybe it's even justified. But by your own description, these people are being manipulated in a lowest-common-denominator propaganda movement. How much of the blame for that can be placed on them directly? On one side, you have people validating their beliefs and cultivating their emotional responses. On the other, you have people calling them total blathering idiots incapable of debate. Now if only I could decide which side to gravitate towards...

What I am saying is, the general response on behalf of liberal-tending groups like Metafilter is totally inexcusable. Understandable, but culturally irresponsible and damaging to our entire society. With great power comes great responsibility. If you believe that you are correct, you're doing wrong by turning the correct position into something that belittles, talks down to, and refuses to engage less informed viewpoints. You're turning away the people who need you the most, even if they don't know it.

A tiny parallel: as you may know, I do IT work. I know more about technology-related stuff than most people, because it's my job. I am going to be verifiably, factually correct on tech stuff more than the general populace. When someone asks me a question, but doesn't like my answer that no, Monster cables really aren't any better for digital applications, and in fact it's only cable gauging that will have much more of an effect than branding and cost, do I laugh in their face? Do I tell them they're idiots for buying into Monster marketing? Do I refuse to talk to them ever again because they're obviously vulnerable to propaganda?
...No, I explain to them that culturally speaking, branding is very important and companies would much rather sell you on a brand than the actual specifications of a product since that's more expensive, and therefore you should trust companies that provide concrete specifications first and brand second--in addition to explaining how digital signals work, how longer cables will likely need to be thicker due to impedance, etc.

I do that because, as someone who knows better, that's my cultural obligation. To kindly and efficiently get the person the right answer, even if it's not what they want to hear. It's up to them if they take my advice or not, but it's deplorable to judge people as unworthy of the truth, to do what culture at large and Metafilter specifically tends to do when somebody believes something they believe is backwards.
posted by Phyltre at 1:34 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I try not to take guiding points of personal philosphy from comic books.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:36 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


...a half a fifth of Rebel Yell, two 24oz of Modelo and about 7 Schlitzes.

In more than one way, that is a staggering amount of alcohol consumed in one day.
About half (49%) of American college students don’t drink alcohol on a regular basis, 31% consume five or fewer drinks per week, and only 12% (a little over one in ten) consume ten or more drinks per week.
Alcoholic Beverage Consumption in the U.S.: Patterns and Trends
If a little over one in ten college students drink ten or more drinks in a week, how many drink twenty or more drinks in one day ? One in a hundred ? It would be interesting to know.
posted by y2karl at 1:37 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


People will hate me for this, but I've been reading the site for years and I sort of love it when someone like St. Alia pops in to a controversial thread and takes a big steaming opinion-dump and I hope she continues to do so whenever she pleases.

Not because I want to see drama and pile-ons and flame outs, but because some of the replies from some of my favorite posters in response to her bullshit are so passionate, articulate, and well thought-out that I always come out of those threads feeling more educated, like I actually have some good talking points against the St. Alias that I meet in real life. And we need all the ammo we can get, whether they come from Metafilter, Rachel Maddow, or Op-Eds...I learn from it all and I think a lot of other people do too.
posted by windbox at 1:39 PM on August 1, 2010 [29 favorites]


Not too far from here (Temecula), there's a new mosque planned and folks are protesting.

Yes, that's the protest where the churchy folks organizing the event urged their people to bring dogs on the premise that this would be repulsive to Muslims. There's a few of these stop-the-mosque protests springing up around the US now, and man is it some ugly shit.

Which is an important point. If you think this is about a particular MeFi poster (and believe me she's aware she's being discussed here, and you should read some of the history if this comes across as everybody piling on the nice lady) you're mistaken. The views that got a lot of folks' hackles up come from a context, a movement even. It's a racist, intolerant, potentially violent movement, and it has turned its sights on Muslim Americans for a summer of hate leading up the elections, just as it orchestrated the phony town hall protests of last summer, and as their consistent bashing of African Americans (the ACORN pseudo-scandal, the Sherrod incident) is finally starting to cost them a little bit and probably needs a break.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:39 PM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


If you approach a person caught in a cult-like mentality who is being manipulated by his/her ideological leaders, and tell them that they are in fact wholly irrational and nothing more than a rube caught under a mass-opiate...what kind of response do you expect? Do you believe they will be listening to anything else they say?

If only someone would NICELY explain that all muslims aren't terrorists!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:40 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: “Where the fuck is this attitude that it is some monstrously strange idea to request arguments be backed up with citations and explanatory logic coming from? I know I've been asked to cite my sources and I have asked, and it has nothing to do with being to the right or the left.”

It's just rhetorically stupid. Really, really rhetorically stupid. I mean, what's the goal? If the goal is some sort of formalistic point-scoring debate club competition, then maybe "you must back up your sources or leave the debate" might make some sense. But there are no formal rules here; this is what's known as a conversation, and people are free to pick any old reason to believe anything they want. In that context, the response "oh yeah? BACK IT UP OR GTFO!" is a fantastic failure. Do you really think that's the kind of thing that Alia et al will respond to, much less will cause them to change their minds?

Like I said, people are gonna say what they want. The only rational way to respond is: "okay, but I disagree, and here is why" or even "I think you're wrong, and here are my reasons." This whole "you have to give me reasons FIRST before we talk!" thing is just a massive failure, because it never, never convinces anybody. So why not just give it up, eh?
posted by koeselitz at 1:44 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


but in the "boyzone" sexism threads the point was made, repeatedly, that it was up to men to speak up when they witnessed other men making sexist comments and/or being sexist to women.

Because it was felt by many women that such comments were making them uncomfortable on the site. That's different from one known minority opinion who many don't even take seriously. Everyone seems to be in agreement that Alia's comment on this issue are ignorant. There is not outcry about people leaving the site because of the trend of such statements. There's just one person spouting off.

People aren't "piling on" because Alia has a dissenting opinion, people are speaking up because they see racist, bigoted behavior and feel it is incumbent upon them as members of a society to call out that behavior as what it is.

Alia's comments were hardly racist and the response to them has less to do with she actually said and more to do with her past behavior and comments.

So yeah, the nerd faction that prides itself on respecting facts and reality completely loses its shit whenever Alia says something mildly political and ignores reality to fit its own worldview.
posted by nomadicink at 1:47 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just to be clear, that's what the vast majority of participants in this thread agree on.

I don't think that's quite so. The majority, surely, but I don't think the gap is as vast as you do. There is a sizable minority who say things like...

She's a troll. She's the teabagger bussed in to the town hall meeting, who starts screaming and kills debate on the merits.

or

And if you want a place where you can spout conservative talking points without anyone asking you to back it up there are places for that too. Metafilter is for conversations, not...

These kinds of responses are exactly what you get in cliquish in-group communities hostile to outsiders. Labeling people "trolls" for unpopular opinions is exactly what they do. I've seen it first-hand, and whatever anyone may think of me, one thing I'm definitely not is a troll. It's a way of dismissing someone while avoiding responsibility for making that decision. Because they're a troll, see, so not worth considering.

There are people and opinions one may not wish to bother grappling with, but step up and say that if it is the case. "Troll" is the online equivalent of calling someone a commie or fascist or whatever. It's usually not true.
posted by Justinian at 1:48 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's just rhetorically stupid. Really, really rhetorically stupid. I mean, what's the goal?

I have this weird view where I see debate as a tool to find the truth, which you can't do with phony information and bullshit pulled out your ass. If you have no evidence supporting your opinion, but there is evidence for the other side...and you keep going anyway...you are not conversing in good faith unless you are talking about stuff you can reasonably just take on faith like religion.

I'm not saying, which I made very clear, that every request must be met or every opinion must be cited. However, a pattern of threadshitting and running is a very different thing.

I'm not even saying you should cite, just explain. St. Alia dropped that turd on the thread about the center being linked to terrorist propaganda. A totally inflammatory pile of garbage, never supported, never explained in any way. What the fuck is that shit?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:50 PM on August 1, 2010


It's just rhetorically stupid. Really, really rhetorically stupid.

I'd agree to the extent that it's overused to the point of being silly. It's almost akin to saying "pics or it didn't happen." I do think it can be helpful in sorting out if people are just arguing from an opinion or whether they are making an intelligent and insightful discussion.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:50 PM on August 1, 2010


I am happy that MeFi is hostile toward bigots. If hateful assholes are unhappy with it, they can go find an alternative community. I'm sure Stormfront would be delighted to discuss banning the mosque.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:50 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


I am happy that MeFi is hostile toward bigots.

So am I, actually. I just don't think they should be banned. And that's the whole point of this thread, isn't it? Unless this is all a big "alia sux amirite?" thread in which case the whole thing is very unseemly.
posted by Justinian at 1:52 PM on August 1, 2010


Folks, dragging up old usernames is 100% not okay here. If people don't know what's going on, they can school themselves, but adding old usernames as tags is shitty and not okay here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:01 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am perfectly happy to see unrepentant bigots banned. It happened to PP, it can happen again. Taking out the rotten trash benefits the community.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:01 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I disagree with Alia about her religious beliefs, and her politics, and probably on other things I don't know about, but there are many other people here whom I disagree with to the same extent. The fact is that she's using MetaFilter in a way that no other user would ever be allowed to, and I simply don't get why it's allowed to continue. I literally do not understand. Yes, I've read comments by the mods every time this comes up, and it still doesn't make sense to me. If I were to go into a thread, say something that nobody in the thread agrees with, and then refuse to support my claims with any kind of fact, or support my opinions with any kind of reasoning--and then do it again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.... I guess the mods wouldn't do a thing about it? I mean, that's the message I'm getting here.
posted by tzikeh at 2:02 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


you don't give racism its fair chance to make its case, you fight it.

You don't give blasphemy its fair chance to make its case, you fight it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:03 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Justinian, I don't care that she's a bigot (well, I do, but not as far as this discussion goes). I care that her behavior is continually problematic, and no, it's NOT just because of how others react.
posted by tzikeh at 2:04 PM on August 1, 2010


I'm still waiting for someone to make a rational, fact-based argument in defense of the folks protesting the Cordoba Center. Some reason why they are justified not in feeling whatever the fuck they do, but in making a public case on behalf of a denial of civil rights for fellow citizens because these people might get their feelings hurt.

I don't care about the mefite under discussion. I care about challenging the premise, often heard in the many MeTas this mefite has inspired over the years, that she is merely expressing an opinion that is "unpopular" on MeFi, but a perfectly legitimate -- nay, popular -- position abroad in the land, and that we can't handle "dissent" or "unpopular" or "conservative" arguments.

I don't buy it. There are lots of people who take unpopular stands on MeFi with invigorating results. I hope I'm sometimes one of them.

The arguments in question are unpopular because they express racial and/or religious bigotry, if they constitute a first order justification of the protesters' legitimacy, or the excusal of bigotry, if they constitute a second order claim that the depth of the protesters' purported feelings overrides the illegitimacy of they bigoted demands.

This is not about two equally arguable sides of an issue, one "unpopular" on MeFi, unless you grant the premise that all Muslims are potential existential threats to the United States. The US constitution and Bill of Rights prohibit you from introducing such an argument into the legal or policy spheres, and enjoin your ability to make such arguments even in the public sphere if you obstruct others' civil rights in doing so.

We have a right to consider such discourse as potentially a violation of the norms within our community, whether the solution to that is to respond to it, ignore it, suppress it, laugh at it, or whatever. Those are two different issues. There are larger issues here than one person's comments or feelings.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:04 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


For those who haven't, it's worth reading nikitabot's comment in the original thread to see why it's a problem to ignore or respond too delicately to expressions of outright bigotry.

There are Muslim members of this community. They should feel safe here. Do we allow them to be slandered without demonstrating that this is not a community that tolerates that sort of thing?
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:16 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


You don't give blasphemy its fair chance to make its case, you fight it.

I would be proud to say that I live in a country that takes racist bigotry as seriously as a theocratic state takes blasphemy.
posted by aspo at 2:17 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I care that her behavior is continually problematic, and no, it's NOT just because of how others react.

Except that the behavior you find continually problematic is voicing unpopular opinions which you (and I, for that matter) find irrational and in some cases offensive. Getting rid of people with unpopular or even offensive opinions makes for what I consider a shitty community.
posted by Justinian at 2:17 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I find her behavior problematic very specifically on Sundays. Both here and on another site, I have taken extreme exception to her 'tude on Sunday. I SWEAR TO THE FUCKING GOD I DO NOT BELIEVE IN that they hand out assignments at her church for shit-stirring in the general population, and she always chooses to take on the internet. It never fails, her shitty behavior and god the almighty breast heaving almost ALWAYS happens on Sundays.
posted by msali at 2:24 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would be proud to say that I live in a country that takes racist bigotry as seriously as a theocratic state takes blasphemy.

You want to imprison and/or kill racists?
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't mind that St. Alia has differing opinions -- she shares the opinions of most of the people I grew up with, and while I don't agree with her, I can understand why she feels the way she does. What i really dislike about the way that thread went is that she came in, said something, and then just danced around everyone else by either a) not responding at all, or b) cherry-picking what she wanted to respond to, and leaving weird cryptic messages at that. If someone who voiced an opinion I agreed with did the same thing, I'd find it equally annoying.

I really don't see how that kind of behaviour is going to help the community, and i'm especially surprised that any member is allowed to get away with it. To me, this isn't at all about what St. Alia said, it's about how she said it.
posted by ukdanae at 2:27 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I SWEAR TO THE FUCKING GOD I DO NOT BELIEVE IN that they hand out assignments at her church for shit-stirring in the general population

I'm now picturing a shaved-bald Brad Pitt in shades, a leopard print jacket, and a minister's collar: "You're going to start a fight on the internet...and you're going to lose."

...But yeah, I expect if there is a correlation, it's because she's home on Sunday afternoon. I've noticed (anecdotally; I haven't done a study or anything) that the really ugly MeTa stuff in general seems to happen on weekends and holidays. We may all just need to get out more.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:34 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


At least SAotB and Sarah Palin are being honest and open about their bigotry.

No they're not because people like them don't think they're bigots or that what they believe/say is bigoted. They're being open and honest about their opinion, and in my experience, these kinds of people don't do well at distinguishing opinion from fact. It's generally pointless to argue with them because from their point of view, if you don't agree with a fact, you're stupid. Or oversensitive. Or a left-wing liberal. Or a socialist. Or, a bigot yourself.

She kills meaningful discussion with her evasive non-answers, coy dismissals, and martyr complex.

Yep, and pretty much every internet flame war I've witnessed which involved people who post like her goes this way. It's almost like clockwork. I went back and read the whole thread because I was looking for someone to start quoting random Scripture too.

On one hand I'd like to suggest that MeFites who don't agree with her opinions stop letting themselves get pulled down into the muck every time she drops one of these little bombs. But I also think there's value in letting her see that these wingnut beliefs she expresses do not stand up to reasoned or logical debate.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:36 PM on August 1, 2010


Every time I see her dropping these turds in the punchbowl, and getting called out, and nothing changing and the mods Just Not Getting it, I feel sad. I feel less welcome. I feel more frustrated. I sink lower and lower into wondering whether someone like this getting second and third chances just means that I am the one that doesn't belong here instead.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:36 PM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


I really don't see how that kind of behaviour is going to help the community, and i'm especially surprised that any member is allowed to get away with it. To me, this isn't at all about what St. Alia said, it's about how she said it.

This, ten hojillion times.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:37 PM on August 1, 2010


they hand out assignments at her church for shit-stirring in the general population

Interesting theory.

This IS done, in a lot of churches throughout the US. Don't know about the First Unitarian Church of Kennebunkport, Maine, but for sure it's a primary avenue for propagating rightwing talking points, activist agendas, and memes needing circulation. If the law were ever enforced, a lot of churches would no longer enjoy tax exemptions on their private property holdings or collection income, and would have to register as lobbying organizations.

And you can feel the anti-Muslim/anti-mosque thing heating up over the past couple of weeks almost on cue. Does make you wonder.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:38 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The fact is that she's using MetaFilter in a way that no other user would ever be allowed to, and I simply don't get why it's allowed to continue.

This is not so. She's using Metafilter in a way that most other users have the good taste not too, and that's why I make no bones about finding her an obnoxious presence in political/religious/ideological discussions, but her behavior is not unique and as annoying as I find it at times it is not some fundamental violation of the guidelines.

She's not a particularly high volume participant in these sorts of discussions these days, which I think is for the best, and that may be as much as anything a result of us having told her on a number of occasions to cool it in one sense or another, but in any case she is one person with one set of opinions that I generally dislike and she isn't usually very rewarding to talk to. She's not some sort of superhuman, and if people could do a better job of not reacting to the byline her more obnoxious contributions would just be tiny blips soon rebuked and forgotten in threads that continued on their merry way.

I'm not just speculating wildly here. We've had other users who got to the point of infamy under a handle who proceeded to reboot with a new account and successfully stop being Hey It's That Guy. Some of those folks didn't do much of anything to improve their overall behavior on the site, but just breaking away from the cult-of-personality thing had a huge effect: people stopped reacting out of proportion with the actual content of anything they said.

We don't have the luxury of making that magically happen here, and I doubt somewhat Alia's capacity or at least willingness to really make that happen even if she were to grab a new account, and that kind of sucks, but you don't always go to Metafilter with the specific user dynamic you want, so folks need to try and make things work the the user dynamic we have. And part of that means making the decision to stop letting personal history and persona fixation drive unnecessarily bad interactions. Wash your hands of her bullshit, as it were, and just go on with your day.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:39 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


If she actually defended a single point, it might be a different story.

You know, I'd have a lot more patience for these arguments if....people weren't expecting her to be defending her points IMMEDIATELY AFTER BEING CHALLENGED.

Seriously -- the thread's only been up for not even a day yet. Has anyone considered the possibility that maybe she hasn't come back to "defend her points" because she turned off the computer and went to go get groceries or something?

Give her more time TO defend her points before jumping down her thoat about not having done so, I say.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:40 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


There are a lot of comments in this thread. Did anyone say anything enlightening?
posted by delmoi at 2:43 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every time I see her dropping these turds in the punchbowl, and getting called out, and nothing changing and the mods Just Not Getting it, I feel sad. I feel less welcome.

Given that Metafilter has been going strong for 10+ years and has a thriving and robust community when so many other online communities have faded away or turned into insular cliques, and that the mods have not been getting more lax over time (in fact they've tightened up if anything) have you considered that it isn't the mods that don't get it?

This reminds me of people moving into a robust, culturally diverse neighborhood but, hey, if we only improved this or changed that slightly and wouldn't we be more comfortable if... and then all of a sudden you wake up and it's wall to wall starbucks and jamba juice just like where you moved in from.
posted by Justinian at 2:46 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


cortex i luv u
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I noticed that someone had mentioned that the site was formerly a Burlington Coat Factory outlet I had hopes that we could derail into a discussion of the uniquely creepy aspects of that retail establishment.

The narrow, packed, winding aisles that cut between overstuffed racks of dark polyester suits. The folding tables groaning beneath close-out heaps of shiny plastic purses. The tie selection, my god, the tie selection. The dim buzzing fluorescent lights that make the whole place seem submerged in a mucky pond. There in the corner of your eye, a flicker from the dingy corner by the wallet display: was that an employee? A shopper? A shop-lifter? A prowling coyote lugging the corpse of a child lost during the last President's Day Sale Blowout Spectacular? You don't hear footsteps, or the scrabbling tick of claws on linoleum. It was a breeze flapping a price tag swaying on an empty hanger. Just the breeze from one of the dozens of oscillating desk fans set up atop closthesracks, intended to keep the still air moving, but serving only to redistribute dust. One is blocked in its arc, wire caged head bumping dumbly against a stack of winter coats heaped atop a table unmarked, untagged, inventory sitting in stasis, neither for sale nor not for sale, unpriced, ignored. And there is no one to help you. You haven't seen an employee since you came in, hoping to buy a cheap tie clasp for your cousin's graduation present. But you haven't seen a tips clasp either. Just dreary rows of clothing that looks threadbare already, clothing that can muster only the false promise of a streetwalker's tired smile.

And now the light from the door is far far away, the ring and bleep of the registers indistinguishable in the constant whispering buzz of lights and fans. You turn a corner, thinking to move toward the door, maybe look for a tie clasp at the loud, bright, open mall with a food court but the aisle curves back again into the dimness and is that the same pile of coats you just walked by? And a crude map of the Burlington Coat Factory starts to form in your mind and in that map you are at the center of a doubling spiral and you are here, you have always been here, you will never leave here.

tl;dr: Burlington Coat Factory is fucking creepy. and I'm pretty stoned right now.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:51 PM on August 1, 2010 [44 favorites]


According to this thread, St. Alia of the Bunnies is a troll with a persecution complex,1 and a need to be in the spotlight.2 She provides an ample demonstration of how bigots are twisting themselves in knots in an effort to find a semi-coherent justification for their raw prejudice.3 Potentially a know-nothing bigoted asshole.4 Has been given more chances than she deserves.5 Should be banned for trolling.6 She's a "Palinite."7 A stupid idiot tea-bagger.8 A tiresome non-critical thinking incoherent arguing contrarian9 with whacky opinions.10 A worshiper of a make-believe character.11 An inane garbler of nonsense.12 A spreader of hatred (and lumped in with "virulently, openly, self-defensively racist").13 Frustrating (and once again) lumped in with bigots that "should get fucking blowed-up."14 A bigoted asshole that doesn't give a shit.15 Not going to defend her positions because "she likes stirring the pot."16 A parroter of talking points.17 A smug name calling thrower of temper tantrums.18 A bigot with a close-minded and hateful/hurtful mindset.19 Someone to whom facts have no meaning.20 A possessor of bad rhetorical and argumentative skills.21 Not very bright.22 Obnoxious and a lousy, lousy conversationalist.23 An incredibly hurtful commenter.24 A threadshitter in need of banning.25 Fearful prejudiced Islamophobe.26 Recalcitrant/obstinate.27 A racist.28

Sorry, I had to stop. I can't keep up. The thread is moving faster than I can cite the insults (and I only cited ones that got favorites!). Some of these comments are coming from people that are supporting her! Keep it up long enough and I am sure you can succeed in making an uncomfortable enough environment that she does indeed go away. I can't see what she could possibly find of value here.

So who are we roasting next? It would be nice to know so people can start gathering their stones early.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:52 PM on August 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


I don't have the patience to read this thread, but I read the original thread, and it seems like St. Alia is discussing the topic of the post. That her opinion is flabbergastingly idiotic doesn't mean that she shouldn't have her say.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:53 PM on August 1, 2010


The arguments in question are unpopular because they express racial and/or religious bigotry, if they constitute a first order justification of the protesters' legitimacy, or the excusal of bigotry, if they constitute a second order claim that the depth of the protesters' purported feelings overrides the illegitimacy of they bigoted demands.

I guess it depends on your definition of bigotry, doesn't it? I see arguments, usually offhanded, almost always shitty, illogical, unthought-out, and otherwise, on metafilter all the time, especially in gender-related or sexuality-related threads, to which I could attach the label "bigotry" and scream to the high skies about first order and second order claims all I wanted to if I chose to take the time and energy.

The level of misogyny on metafilter, for example, is in some threads almost breathtaking in its openness, hostility, and belligerence -- and yes, in its disgusting bigotry. Yet we act as though we are some rarefied Solonic debating society that gets sullied when someone like St. Alia makes a comment, partly because she has a history of making such comments, does not respond to efforts at engagement very well, and is not someone who "plays nice."

Those bigoted arguments don't seem to get called out very much and subjected to painstaking legalistic dissection here. They usually get ignored, or else chuckled at (and implicitly encouraged) as too-cool-for-school nerd-boy snark or "typical mefi hamburger" or something along those lines. I don't get on a soapbox and shout that all of those arguments or comments should be purged from the site.
posted by blucevalo at 3:00 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


So did anyone have the curtesy to drop St. Alia of the Bunnies a message and let her know this discussion was going on?

Oh please. The first thing I did when I read her (totally predictable) comment was load metatalk for the (totally predictable) thread about it. I had no doubt it would be here. She's been playing this game for ten years, under three different accounts, and knows the drill.

Honest question for the konolia defenders: Would you rather there be more bigots on metafilter, so that it's "fair and balanced" or something? I don't get these charges of groupthink when an unabashed bigot drops a bomb in the middle of a thread and people respond negatively to it. Am I supposed to feel bad this is an "echo chamber" of people who intensely dislike racial/religious bigotry and challenge it when they see it?

This isn't a right vs. left thing. I see people on the "left" get called out here for making bigoted, ignorant, or factually incorrect statements all the time. Try saying something nasty about the American South or how all Christians are ____ and see how well that flies. Should those "unpopular" opinions be protected too? What about lulzy sexist remarks? 'Cos, you know, that's a pretty common viewpoint in the wider world.

IMO, metafilter is under no obligation to represent all viewpoints equally or treat them with the same amount of respect. The community is allowed to decide what kind of standards it has. Bigotry against entire groups of people for sexual orientation, gender, skin color, and religion is a good standard that seems to be working well here. Why is this bad?

I find it interesting that people keep framing this as a right vs. left thing when in fact what pisses people off about konolia is her frequently expressed intolerance for gays and Islam. Yeah, she's toned it down a lot in this incarnation (I assume by moderators demanding she do so), but I know how she actually feels about these topics because she has made that very clear. I guess I'm expected to pretend that I don't her position every time she leaves a drive-by shit-starting comment? This isn't the lone Conservative just having their say, it's stirring the pot.

I do agree that the response is disproportionate due it being her (whereas if it were some random new user sign up, it'd get one or two rebukes and then be forgotten), but that's because it has gotten seriously old.
posted by cj_ at 3:00 PM on August 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


SeizeTheDay wrote: "It's a shame that MetaFilter welcomes one-liners that it agrees with, but requires a dissertation for those it disagrees with."

That's not actually true, though. Just a couple of days ago somebody espousing a lefty opinion just about lost their shit when a couple of folks asked that person to substantiate their claim. Extraordinary claims, regardless of political implication, require at least sound reasoning if not actual evidence.
posted by wierdo at 3:02 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


If she actually defended a single point, it might be a different story.

Why should she? The first comment challenges her view of reality, even though a poll shows there's significant opposition to it from New Yorkers.

The second comment responding to her immediately downplays her opinion since she isn't a New Yorker, even though they link to a poll (the same one above) says many New Yorkers oppose it (40%).

The third such comment says most people in Manhattan favor the construction, while failing to note it's just 46% actually favor it, with 36% actually opposing it, which gives a more clearer indication of just how many people are bothered by the building. Also that comment does a neat job of branding all Georgians and Alaskans as being "outside agitators" and then finishes up by marrying the Republicans to the Tea party and branding them as an idiotic tribe. That comment has 125 favorites.

That's the first three comments responding to her. The FIRST THREE. These comments willfully twisted facts to fit their own reality, while painting the opposition as stupid hicks and Alia herself as an ignorant minority when the their own links to polls about the building show the lowest point of opposition to the building is in manhattan and that's still 36%.

Who would want to respond to such obvious craziness? Why should one even bother?
posted by nomadicink at 3:04 PM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


Comparing dios to Alia really isn't fair; while his arguments were generally specious and poorly-reasoned, dios actually engaged and tried to support his points.

Point taken. You are right. My reaction was how many threads ended up being about 'dios,' as opposed to the topic and hand -- and the resulting MetaTalks. It was a poor and inaccurate comparison on my part. My bad.
posted by ericb at 3:07 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reading that thread I'm struck less by the fact that Alia is a moron, which is self-evident and continually reinforced, but that fourcheesemac is pretty consistently only slightly less a douchebag asshole on the site as she is. This:

If new yorkers are mostly over it, why don't the yokels in places like Wasila and Fayetteville shut the fuck up?

Is exactly what I'm talking about. This is why east coast intellectual elitists are more harmful to progressive causes than they know. This is exactly what southern conservatives want big city leftist intellectuals to be, and effectively use the stereotype as a wedge between urban progressives and people in the rural working class who should be siding with us on issues of politics that represent their economic self-interest, but don't because they know that deep down east coast liberals think they're just a bunch of fucking rubes who can't be told better, anyway.

Of course, fourcheesemac's continual aggressive onslaughts against people he disagrees with in threads on the blue get a lot more favorites because his politics align better with the general populace of the site, but it makes behavior no less fucked up and his contributions nearly as toxic to many of the discussions he participates in as Alia's.
posted by The Straightener at 3:08 PM on August 1, 2010 [42 favorites]


Yay roasted racists! I have a great recipe for that! It involves a ban hammer.
posted by mr.marx at 3:09 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


IMO, metafilter is under no obligation to represent all viewpoints equally or treat them with the same amount of respect.

The issue isn't about respect. Hell, one of the mods posted in this very thread that he doesn't have much respect for the opinions in question. It's about sanctions and whether having a shitty unpopular opinion should be against the rules.

It bothers me that so many people are treating this Meta thread as a place to get some more digs in. Does anyone and I mean anyone here think these opinions aren't objectionable? I suspect not. Everyone in this damn thread knows that the overwhelming consensus is that Alia holds some opinions which are ill-thought out at best and virulently bigoted at worst. So why can't we take that as a given?

The only issue, then, is whether this should be something which is sanctioned by the mods rather than by peer pressure.
posted by Justinian at 3:17 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


cj_, I hope you realize how terribly ironic "IMO, metafilter is under no obligation to represent all viewpoints equally or treat them with the same amount of respect." is coming from a thread which is about how America can show how tolerant and resilient it is to the Muslims, and any other groups, by letting them build a mosque near Ground Zero.

If the argument we're pushing for mosques near Ground Zero is to show that we're tolerant of all of these viewpoints and how "we" will triumph in the end ... well, here's your chance. Show everyone how tolerant and resilient we are.
posted by adipocere at 3:23 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but suggesting that we tolerate bigotry is stupid.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:26 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


There are a lot of comments in this thread. Did anyone say anything enlightening?

Lord Buddha.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:33 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sometimes struck by how many 'inflammatory' comments on Mefi come from a place of not straight up hatred, but caution and fear. That's how I read St. Alia's comments, and I wonder if there is a way to address them.

In this case, it's a belief, and a fear that New Yorkers in general and 9/11 families would see the center as an insult. It implies that the intentions of the center's builders are not honorable. And that the families and New Yorkers in general cannot distinguish between a religion and people who do horrible things in the name of that religion. I'm a New Yorker, and frankly, I think the center's intentions are heartening. But I do think that the Center's builders face the challenge of sharing their intentions and hopes for the Center, and to recognize the challenge they face. My hope is that they are self aware both of the delicacy of their situation their bravery in continuing to speak out about the fact that people who believe that Islam is about hate do not understand Islam.

It's also a fear that people who wish to harm the US will use the Center as propaganda. This is the fear that good spin will trump good intentions. Sometimes it does. But it's still important to do what you think is right, because the alternatives - to do the wrong thing, or to do nothing, are epic fails in the big scheme of things.

It's become very clear to me lately that you really can't live fully if fear is the overriding sentiment. It stays your hand, and keeps you quiet when you should speak, it tries to anticipate rather than act, it imagines the worst case scenario before the benefits, and in valuing perception over intention, it drowns out a great deal of goodness and joy in the world. But you've got to take that fear into consideration, and deal with it.

The center will be built, and we'll see over time how it is embraced, used and how it acts and reacts to whatever it faces. Right now it can be viewed as a slap in the face or a brave act during delicate times. For now, I'm going to give the Center the benefit of the doubt and go for #2. I'm still sensitive to the fact that it could be perceived, or spun, as #1, by many people out there. But I'm going with #2.


>PS: I am totally aware that someday, someone here is going to say something so hateful, trollish and threadshitty, and I'm going to feel so horrified that the community's reaction to it is so mild, that I'm going to deactivate my account, and probably not look back. But every relationship ends sometime. And today is not that day.

posted by anitanita at 3:35 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ok. This is high quality on the blue:

If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:34 PM on August 1 [5 favorites +] [!]

how the fuck would you know that living in North Carolina?
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:03 PM on August 1 [115 favorites +] [!]

I think you forgot which part I live in.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:43 PM on August 1 [+] [!]

I think thats the most memorable contribution to the thread after it was hijacked.

(this is me being sarcastic) Thanks for doing the exact thing I requested mefites not do at the start a thread I really wanted to read. I appreciate it, Alia.(/this is me being sarcastic)
posted by hal_c_on at 3:40 PM on August 1, 2010


"....and in the need for bravery in continuing to speak out about the fact that people who believe that Islam is about hate do not understand Islam. "


Whoopsie.
posted by anitanita at 3:40 PM on August 1, 2010


The Straightener, I'm proud to be an asshole from El Paso.

Well, not really, but I've eaten more chicken fried steak and raw caribou, listened to more sermons and barroom lies, and shopped in more
Wal Marts than the average MeFite.

I apologized in thread for the heavy handed Swiftian language in that particular comment and tried to clarify that I don't really believe the
red/blue bullshit, but despise the discourse producing it. I indulged in a heated parody of it on purpose, and don't think I'm routinely dismissive, or classist, although apparently you do and that's cool, cause while I'm not from El Paso I
am sometimes an asshole, no doubt. But hey, I gotta be me.

I was mocking, too harshly, the pretense to represent those fantasy
world versions of America. I refer back to my earlier point in the original thread, that Obama carried a certain someone's home county
handily.

We hashed through issues of Mefi's (and my) bias against Real Americans back in those glorious Palin threads of yore. I pretty much said my bit on the subject there.

Sorry my style bugs you so much. But it's cool.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:43 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Comparing dios to Alia really isn't fair; while his arguments were generally specious and poorly-reasoned, dios actually engaged and tried to support his points. Alia just throws out a talking point and then anything else she says is either indignant suggestions that as a Carolinian she has some kind of special insight into the world or more talking points.
Well, look, I disagree. Dios tried to defend his positions, but mainly he did it through misdirection. Frequenly, he would try to derail the thread and make it about some minor, inconsiquential highly technical point that he thought he could win on. He wasn't just a troll, he was a really good troll. He made discussion of the central issue impossible.

St. Alia is someone who, I think, genuinely belives what she's saying. The important thing is that arguing against people who disagree with you is a good thing. It sharpens the knife, so to speak. Come up with good arguments that you think will change her mind, and post them. She won't, of course, but it's a good excersize.

What Dios did was, again, derail the conversation and confuse people. Maybe it's a good skill for a lawyer, but it's not really all that helpful for real, honest discussion.
CILANTRO RULES!
I got some cilantro a couple weeks ago. A few leaves really spiced up sandwiches, but it went bad pretty quickly. But it was only 88¢ for a bundle, so who cares?
posted by delmoi at 3:59 PM on August 1, 2010


How many threads about St. Alia have there been over the years? Over ten?
posted by josher71 at 4:20 PM on August 1, 2010


When you are really sure of your convictions, it becomes a lot easier to handle people's different convictions without shitting your pants. Because it then just becomes something to talk your way through.

Either you'll both speak and listen to each other, and thereby learn something, or one or both won't be interested in listening or speaking, and the conversation will go nowhere.

Neither one of these scenarios requires screaming or freaking out, or being totally incapable of tolerating the mere presence of someone who disagrees with you. Or who might even be factually or morally wrong about something.

People are factually and morally wrong all the time. It's not like interacting with them, or tolerating their mere presence, will give you herpes.
posted by Ouisch at 4:26 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love the brand new day concept, but after several instances of the member not changing their behavior shouldn't the member have to deal with the shit they cause?
posted by nestor_makhno at 4:29 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Believes? Or just parrots what the guy at the pulpit has told her? I'll lay money on the latter.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:31 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


In this case, it's a belief, and a fear that New Yorkers in general and 9/11 families would see the center as an insult.

Which is completely debunked bullshit. The Christian conservatives think Ground Zero is a holy site in the holy war between Jesus and Allah and are enraged at having an Allah-related presence at their holy site. That's all it is, end of story. Everything else is an incredibly transparent cover which can be seen through by anybody who isn't committed to taking bigots and racists at their word.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:35 PM on August 1, 2010


Fair enough, delmoi.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:36 PM on August 1, 2010


I picked up 40 lbs of peaches yesterday

Dude. That is a shit-ton of peaches.
posted by cucumber at 4:41 PM on August 1, 2010


nestor_makhno: "I love the brand new day concept, but after several instances of the member not changing their behavior shouldn't the member have to deal with the shit they cause"

And cortex said:
"I doubt somewhat Alia's capacity or at least willingness to really make that happen even if she were to grab a new account, and that kind of sucks, but you don't always go to Metafilter with the specific user dynamic you want, so folks need to try and make things work the the user dynamic we have."

So she gets to stay because... um...

...

...words.
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:43 PM on August 1, 2010


Technically it's only one four-hundredth of a shit-ton, assuming that we're talking about the English shit-ton and not the metric shit-ton.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:43 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


This isn't the schoolyard. Nobody's going to aquiesce to your great counter-arguments by pleading "uncle".

Make your points. If you disagree with what someone has said, explain why you disagree. Don't then expect them to come back to you with either a good argument or an apology. If they've said all they can say, then leave it at that. An intelligent reader can go through everything that has been said and decide for themselves.

This isn't the schoolyard - Part 2. You should go through some of the classic called-out St Alia threads and see what is said. There's a lot of personal attacks, name-calling and general nastiness. And it's generally one way.

There should be a moratorium on the word Troll. If you're actively trying to wind people up and cause a flame out, then that's trolling. If you believe what you say and you're trying to make an unpopular point, then you're not trolling. If the majority can't handle what you have to say, and they decide to flame out, then you're not trolling.

St Alia is just one member of this community. It's human behaviour to single out individuals for the ills that ail society, but we should be better than this. If you can't control your anger in a thread, it doesn't matter how right you are. It's your fault the place is a shithouse.

If I were a right-winger with good tea party / republican connections, then I'd be organising my tea party pals to fuck this place up good and proper. A couple of hundred sleeper agents with right wing views should cause enough damage for long enough to drive fun and rational discourse from the site. It's maybe a good thing that St Alia does actually like the people here, that she's a Christian, and she's not doing this for any reason other than she wants a rational debate.

St alia - If you're reading this, I hope you keep away from it. I'm guessing that you're doing the grown up thing and allowing this thread to burn itself out.

Finally - It's a bit rich hearing a number of you saying we should be more tolerant of other beliefs without that tolerance being applied to Christians. Regardless of what they teach you at athiesm school, they aren't all crazy racists out for nothing but segregation and conquest.
posted by seanyboy at 4:49 PM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Pope Guilty, you're being intolerant. I just use a different system.
posted by cucumber at 4:49 PM on August 1, 2010


I'm proud to be an asshole from El Paso.

It's attitudes like fourcheesemac's that make these shitstorms happen. Way I see it, the mods have three choices.

- They ban those who have unpopular opinions.
- They deal with all assholes. Whatever the denomination.
- They allow these kinds of thread to happen.
posted by seanyboy at 4:53 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So she gets to stay because... um...

Because we don't have a rule for banning people who have opinions or tactics that we disagree with and are not compelled to create one. My feelings are a lot the same at cortex's. I really truly understand that people dislike her and her opinions intensely, and we often reign in the "Alia gets interrogated" mechanism when we see it happening, but that's about what we're willing to do. She's making dopey pronouncements in a thread, blow them off if you think they're risible.

I seriously don't understand how people think she's crafty enough to hold totally noxious opinions and yet never once voice them specifically but only allude to them enough to make people batshit. Just say "that's a bigoted uneducated thing to say" and move on.

I indulged in a heated parody of it on purpose, and don't think I'm routinely dismissive, or classist

I find you to frequently be dismissive, actually. Not a huge deal, but if you're asking... The "I am parodying the people who I aggressively dislike" schtick is not that great. Otherwise I generally enjoy your contributions but you could ease off on the assholishness some. The same is true for many people in this thread, actually.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:55 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


There are a lot of comments in this thread. Did anyone say anything enlightening?
posted by delmoi at 5:43 PM on August 1 [+] [!]


I'm sorry. I can't stop laughing at this.
posted by cavalier at 4:57 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So she gets to stay because... um...

"Because we don't ban people for having unpopular opinions." -- jessamyn, a few inches up from here.

Jessamyn has previously stated that Alia has cleaned up her act to a good enough extent from the old days ("she's changed the things we told her to, to the best of my knowledge"), and at any rate she's not the only polarizing figure around here who's on their third username.

To me, a lot of these threads read like this:

Alia: I think [opinion most MeFites find wrong].

Some folks: Oh, so you think [hyperbolic extension of what she actually said]? And you're in favor of [horrific atrocity she said nothing about]? And you advocate [oppressive dehumanizing treatment of persons related to issue at hand]? And you're okay with [other bad stuff she didn't say]?

Alia: ...

Some folks: WELL?!?!?!?!?!

posted by Gator at 4:58 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


you could ease off on the assholishness some

Words to live by. Can we get that embroidered on a pillow?
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:58 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


they aren't all crazy racists out for nothing but segregation and conquest.

No, they're not. And moreover, I don't believe St. Alia is a crazy racist out for nothing but segregation and conquest. But. She says things that are also said by people who are crazy racists who are out for nothing but segregation and conquest. I don't think the things she says should go unchallenged. Words matter.

Of course, words that we all say matter, and a lot of the response to St. Alia is also ridiculous. But what are you going to do? As said above, racist language really shouldn't be tolerated and I think the onus is not on the person who is anti the language to tone it down.
posted by gaspode at 5:00 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Challenging is one thing, but what happens here is more than a simple challenge. I'm all for challenging, but vitriol, personal attacks and a mob mentality is not the same as "challenging"
posted by seanyboy at 5:03 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a bit rich hearing a number of you saying we should be more tolerant of other beliefs without that tolerance being applied to Christians.

Nobody is saying that. You are beating on a strawman.


Pope Guilty, you're being intolerant. I just use a different system.

I'm not a fan of the word "tolerant", because it's got some nasty and stupid implications. Not least of these is the fact that there is a power structure implied in the word; it implies that one side is right and normal and legitimate, that the other isn't, and that the first side is tolerating the second's wrongness. That's stupid, and I think it's a good reason to avoid the word.

The other reason I dislike it is the linguistic ease with which arguing for "tolerance", when used as a way of arguing for people not being bigoted assholes, is too easily turned into the idea that the non-bigoted must "tolerate" the "intolerant"- that it is some kind of moral failing to be intolerant of racism, of homophobia, of all the various bigotries and ways for people to deny the personhood of others.

I'm not some liberal who believes that unrestricted freedom of speech is some kind of holy principle which must never be abrogated. You can tell me I'm being intolerant of bigoted jerks all you want; I simply don't care. There are far more important things in this world than the farcical "right" of bigots to work to dehumanize people and keep their bigoted power structures intact.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:04 PM on August 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Also - The onus is on everyone to tone it down. "she started it" and "an eye for an eye" is a bullshit response in this sort of forum.
posted by seanyboy at 5:06 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


PG, you realize you just wrote that long diatribe about shit-ton = 40 lbs?
posted by dirigibleman at 5:08 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm terrible at keeping track of people, sorry.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:08 PM on August 1, 2010


Pope Guilty: From your comment, it would appear you're quite fond of the strawman too.
posted by seanyboy at 5:09 PM on August 1, 2010


I think if a user takes the Brand New Day route the mods should select their next username for them. A sort of witless protection program.
posted by terrapin at 5:11 PM on August 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


A sort of witless protection program.

Love this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:12 PM on August 1, 2010


The ADF can go fuck themselves. Period. I'd mention Nazis but some bright spark would quote 'Bodkin's Law' or whatever.
posted by Monkeymoo at 10:16 AM on August 1 [2 favorites +] [Flagged]


Why was this allowed to stay?
posted by amro at 5:12 PM on August 1, 2010


Why was this allowed to stay?

Because I'd been so busy dealing with this thread I didn't even see it? It's gone now, you can always email us that stuff, you know.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:13 PM on August 1, 2010


STOP PILING ON HER YOURE MAKING ME SYMPATHETIC TO A REPUBLICAN YOU IDIOTS
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:14 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Because I'd been so busy dealing with this thread I didn't even see it? It's gone now, you can always email us that stuff, you know.

Sorry, I made a comment about it in the thread which was deleted and followed by a note from you to act like adults and take crap to Metatalk.
posted by amro at 5:16 PM on August 1, 2010


NB: I haven't read the whole thread, but I wanted to respond to this.

I hate to think what conflagrations would occur if more people on mefi who agreed with St. Alia were as determined as she is to speak up and be heard.

I don't particularly agree with her position here, but she's been called nasty names in the past for holding views that I do agree with. (And she's been called names just for holding them, not for holding them in an obnoxious way, or failing to back them up e.g. drive-by posting or whatever.)

Part of the reason that people on mefi who (about whatever controversial thing X) agree with St. Alia aren't more vocal is because they see what happens to her. This of course makes the site less valuable for everyone to the extent that it inhibits exchange and mutual understanding.
posted by Jahaza at 5:17 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think the thing that bothers me most about this user is that she plays the victim so well in these arguments that she has the mods protecting her now.

She can thread dump all she wants and all that happens is that she gets a brand new user name and can start over.

How many other users have this luxury?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 5:18 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


STOP PILING ON HER YOURE MAKING ME SYMPATHETIC TO A REPUBLICAN YOU IDIOTS

The only time I notice you is when you're yelling at one or more liberals.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:20 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


followed by a note from you to act like adults and take crap to Metatalk.

All the people who wanted to poke at St Alia need to take it here, yes. I deleted a few comments, not just yours.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:23 PM on August 1, 2010


Alright, I really have to weigh in here -- I just can't let this pass by without note.

Though I can't find an authority to quote, I'm positives that a shit-ton is a lot more than either a metric or imperial ton.
posted by Some1 at 5:24 PM on August 1, 2010


WinnipegDragon. As stated several times in this thread, all users have this luxury.

BTW. I'm unaware of any other users who have been explicitly told that they can't talk about certain subjects.
posted by seanyboy at 5:30 PM on August 1, 2010


None of us are allowed to talk about He Who Cannot Be Named.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:32 PM on August 1, 2010


I really am curious about what anti-American propagandistic value she sees in building a Moslem community center a few blocks away from Ground Zero.

I think it isn't presented that way. The way it's presented is more like: "A Moslem organisation wants to build a mosque at Ground Zero."

The whole point of the 9-11 attack was its value as propaganda: the idea that a few people inspired by (bin Laden's interpretation of) Islam were able to make a substantial attack against the USA. The attack symbolised the defeat of the USA; and the World Trade Center therefore became a symbol of the USA itself. I can totally see that bin Laden's audience would appreciate the symbolism of building a mosque as its replacement.

But that's not what's happening here. It's just another mosque. It's not on the site, it's not a replacement for the WTC, it's not some symbolic neener-neener to the USA. Even if it were being built directly on the site it wouldn't be a replacement for the WTC; it would still be just another mosque. The only symbolic value it could have is that granted by its opponents: if you think the construction of a mosque shows that you are weak then yes, every mosque that is constructed weakens you.

So I don't dismiss the idea that some people will see this as a symbolic triumph of Islam over the USA. If you frame it the right way - that is, the wrong way - then it really does fit into the same pattern of ideological triumphalism that leads armies to raise their flags over the palaces of defeated opponents. Or, frankly, the triumphalism that led the Ottomans to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque. But the symbolism only works if you ignore the actual facts about the construction, and it's not as if the USA is actually interested in getting into a propaganda war of "Islam weak! USA strong!" That's so contrary to the USA's values that a victory would actually be a defeat.

Anyway, I don't think SAotB is a bad person. She's the victim of mischievous propaganda. The bad people are the ones who are framing the conflict between the USA and terrorists as being about the USA vs Islam, and depicting this construction as part of that conflict. Their campaign, paradoxically, would make the USA more like its enemies in this conflict - focused on symbols, revenge, and triumphalism. I think they're rather more damaging to the USA than bin Laden could ever be.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:34 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


How many other users have this luxury?

Every single one of you, actually. There are maybe 5-10 users [other than SEO spammers] who have been kicked out and are not welcome back. Everyone else can come back. She was told to dial back her behavior and she has. She was told to stay out of certain threads if she can't act decently and she has. She's corralled into interacting appropriately when she's not being okay with the community. This is the same as with pretty much any other longtime user.

We are not protecting her from anything. We're keeping this community from being shitty and awful with a bunch of users piling on another user or with threads being derailed with a bunch of people being assholes. It's a big internet. If people want to defend their right to be assholes to bigots, there are many many other places where they can do that. Here you're pretty much not supposed to be an asshole regardless of topic and so we try to channel angry touchy discussions to MetaTalk.

Opening this MeTa thread pretty much stops the St A derailing in the MeFi thread in question and she can come here to talk more if she wants to. Or not.

And seanyboy, that really was the deal we've made with her that only became public because she pretty much brought it up; I don't think we've had to have that conversation with any other users.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:35 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh hai. I read the other thread, and then I read most of this thread, until it got to be too long and bulky.

I think it's just fear that makes people say these things. Fear and ignorance.

And I'm not afraid enough of St. Alia and the Bunnies nor Sarah Palin to respond to their bullshit. Because that's all it is: bull-fucking-shit. Only time I've ever been afraid of that is if I forgot to wear my waders.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:37 PM on August 1, 2010


seanyboy, no other user is as exceptional.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:38 PM on August 1, 2010


We're keeping this community from being shitty and awful with a bunch of users piling on another user or with threads being derailed with a bunch of people being assholes. It's a big internet.

I appreciate this a lot. If I only wanna see popular posts and comments, I know where to go. ಠ_ಠ
posted by edguardo at 5:46 PM on August 1, 2010


I posted in the original thread. I have to say I'm heartened about the Mefites who challenged Alia's opinion. I've met plenty of folks like her, even when I was living in NYC. I have kind of an old fashioned Persian first name and a last name that looks Italian so people don't generally think I'm one of those people. As a result, I've heard some pretty offensive things before they know better. I've certainly noticed that slight pause some of them make after they find out my first name is Persian. I also remember when my father was stabbed in the arm by a co-worker during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Maybe people like her wouldn't wield the knife but they might be the ones making excuses for the attacker.
posted by nikitabot at 5:46 PM on August 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


I think if a user takes the Brand New Day route the mods should select their next username for them.

Except that St. Alia of the Bunnies is a kickass username. Anyone that disagrees loses all credibility.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:48 PM on August 1, 2010


Also - The onus is on everyone to tone it down. "she started it" and "an eye for an eye" is a bullshit response in this sort of forum.

Yeah, which is why I said a lot of the response is ridiculous, too. But just as you can't tar St. Alia with the brush of all crazy racists, one can't say that everyone that was talking to her was going at it with personal insults.
posted by gaspode at 5:50 PM on August 1, 2010


Cjorgensen, I'm number 24 in your cite list. I said, "St. Alia won't realize how hurtful her comments are", so I'll just speak to that.

I have found some of St. Alia comments to be hurtful. I realize she is stating her opinion(s), and has every right to it. There are many comments on MeFi by many members which make me realize that people don't realize that their comments land a punch, because that isn't their intention, so they don't notice until another person flinches with a snarky retort. Their intention is to state their belief. It seems to me that every discussion has the possibility of bruising - that's just part of the cost of conversations where there are diverse opinions around sensitive topics that are personally meaningful. My point is we all say things that hurt other people at one time or another. I don't think saying that is contributing to the 'roasting' or 'insulting' of St. Alia, anymore than I think the comments of hers that I have found interesting or I have agreed with to be my contribution to 'tolerating bigotry'.

But you're right - there is insulting the person vs. disagreeing with the person's statement, and there are a lot of cruel personal attacks of her as a person, which really isn't fair, regardless of how much one disagrees with the sentiment. I also think there have been a number of strong, counter arguments in the other thread, minus the personal attacks, and I'd like to take a moment to commend everyone who kept it above the belt.
posted by anitanita at 5:51 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


As ever, the onus of civility is not upon the bigot or the racist but upon those who object to bigotry and racism.

So, you say, "You're an assshole racist, bigot." Then...what? Do they say, "Yes, I've seen the error of my ways." Do they explode? Or do they just keep riding the shit train? I know from personal experience that getting vitriolic with someone who is being an idiot and asshole is fun and mildly cathartic (although, not as much as, say, Brutal Legend,) but it's like pissing with your pants down. It might feel good, but it doesn't really change the nature of things and everyone can see your ass.
posted by Snyder at 6:03 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Hell, I'll probably do it in the future, if I get het up enough. I'm not going to pretend it's even close to fighting the good fight, tho.
posted by Snyder at 6:08 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


it's like pissing with your pants down. It might feel good, but it doesn't really change the nature of things and everyone can see your ass.

Feels good, man.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:09 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can totally see that bin Laden's audience would appreciate the symbolism of building a mosque as its replacement.

I understand that, and I agree with your assessment. However, I would like to point out that the genius of propaganda is that anything can be spun into propaganda. Build the community center, the propaganda can be "We have destroyed their symbol of economic power and build a mosque on its ashes." Refuse to do it and the propaganda could well be "They despise Muslims so much that they will not even obey their constitutions to provide Muslims with what is guaranteed everyone else under law."

Me, I'd rather not make decisions based on how those who hate us may spin it. I'd rather make decisions consistent with the most noble goals of our sometimes faulty history.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:12 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


IMO not her that needs protecting, but the community from the likes of her. There is a social standard to MeFi. And MeFi drives a good chunk of on-line and real-world influence. Do we really want to spread her repugnant ideas around?

On the other hand, she could be considered to be the sacrificial goat. If writing-off her batshit "opinions" serves to keep bigots and racists from spewing their toxic ideology, so much the better.

I hesitate to use the word "opinion," as I'm not sure that uninformed, uneducated regurgitation of talking-point theo-political falsities contains enough thought to qualify as such.

Personally, I find it easiest to grit my teeth and ignore her. My expectations of MeFi are not those of Mathowie and crew. It's go full rant or STFU. Hell, I've overranted as is. Back to STFU I go.

Rant off.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:14 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I really truly understand that people dislike her and her opinions intensely, and we often reign in

Let's focus on what's really important in this debate:

It's "rein in", dammit.
posted by asterix at 6:16 PM on August 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


I don't get why people feel compelled to respond to the things she writes. You give her backwards-ass views legitimacy when you try and reason with the lady. And by now it should be quite clear you aren't going to convince her she's not thinking about issue XYZ clearly.
posted by chunking express at 6:20 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is exactly what I'm talking about. This is why east coast intellectual elitists are more harmful to progressive causes than they know. This is exactly what southern conservatives want big city leftist intellectuals to be, and effectively use the stereotype as a wedge between urban progressives and people in the rural working class who should be siding with us on issues of politics that represent their economic self-interest, but don't because they know that deep down east coast liberals think they're just a bunch of fucking rubes who can't be told better, anyway.

I've refrained from contributing in either this or that thread. I gave up on the thread that spawned this one after it became apparent that St. Alia's comments and those who responded to her had utterly derailed it.

Just want to say this:

I was born in New York. Have lived here for most of my life including during 2001 and every year since. Lost an acquaintance in the Towers on 9/11.

I am beyond tired of fuckwits who use the attack on our city as an excuse to further their bullshit political agendas. In the years since 9/11, politicians on both sides of the aisle (BUT ESPECIALLY THE FUCKING CONSERVATIVES) have used our dead to promote their own goals. Encouraged mass fear from our tragedy. I watched Dick Cheney get himself and George Bush re-elected in 2004 by giving speeches which could all have been summarized as "DO WHAT I SAY OR THE TERRORISTS WIN." Enough.

I agree with fourcheesemac that people who live outside of New York should not impose their beliefs about what we all believe or might feel. I think I've earned the right to do so by virtue of being one of those they're claiming to speak for.

And I sincerely don't give a fuck whether or not non-New Yorkers think that makes me an elitist. Were they living here during 9/11? Did they watch their neighbors jump to their deaths, either live (as my brother in law did) or on television in those first uncensored local broadcasts? Live near first responders who are now suffering from lung cancer, or whose friends and family members never made it home? Or be treated for symptoms of PTSD not only because of the event but also because there was no escape the unending, inescapable flood of media attention in the months that followed. Did they see heartbreaking displays every day filled with pictures, flowers and candles from families who were hoping and praying that their parents, brothers and sisters would return home... months after the buildings collapsed?

Read this comment, please.

Do you really think those of us who feel that way give a damn whether or not speaking out against the manipulative, craven political hijacking of a event which was profoundly and personally tragic and traumatic to us is "harmful to progressive causes?"
posted by zarq at 6:31 PM on August 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


anitanita, I wasn't making a judgement to truth or accuracy to any of the statements I cited. That responsibility lies with the original authors. I may even have pulled some out of context to show how they could be read. I was trying to point out that I wasn't even halfway through the thread and there was a lot of mean shit being said. Just because some or all of it may be true doesn't make it less potentially hurtful.

I was finding irony in people saying she was saying offensive things then saying offensive things themselves. I am not a fan of call out threads.

My most favorited comment was a dig on St. Alia of the Bunnies. She was one of the people that favorited it.

I'm not sure what question remains to be resolved here.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:42 PM on August 1, 2010


> As ever, the onus of civility is not upon the bigot or the racist but upon those who object to
> bigotry and racism.
> posted by Pope Guilty at 9:16 AM on August 1 [3 favorites]

If you're going to throw around bad words, the onus is on you to establish that what you see is in fact an instance of the bad word you called it.

Every.single.time.

Why? So we know you can, and aren't (as I think) just saying "I know it when I see it" out of plain incapacity and "when I see it I will challenge it" for the pleasure of chest-beating. The onus is on you because otherwise the distinction between you and any other random /b/tard throwing bad words around approaches zero. And it's already arbitrarily small.

I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it. -- Potter Stewart, Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 U.S. 184 (1964)

That was inadequate when Stewart said it, PG, and you're not him.


> IMO not her that needs protecting, but the community from the likes of her. There is a social standard to MeFi.
> posted by five fresh fish at 9:14 PM on August 1

Remember, fff, transgressive is good.
posted by jfuller at 6:47 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Five fresh fish, the argument given, in thread, for building a mosque near Ground Zero is that, yeah, can even tolerate the bigots. We can survive the fundamentalists. The title of the post is "Democracy is stronger than this." That, yes, America can survive even the intolerant. That a pile of bricks tangentially associated with people who made some of our largest buildings into rubble is something we are tough enough to even embrace. That's being promoted in that very post.

So, yeah, I'm suggesting that, if we can handle a mosque-or-vaguely-Islamic-building near Ground Zero because our faith in diversity is so strong, we can cope with one little St. Alia. Are you a bad enough dude to issue the silly little parade permit to the Illinois Nazis, even if you do hate them?

If we can't, that's cool, but that means that "diversity" is pretty shallow in action.
posted by adipocere at 6:47 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


...she's [St. Alia] not doing this for any reason other than she wants a rational debate.

Whoa. Really? Where is her rational response to the many questions asked of her to support the claims made in her original statement?

Let's repeat: "...she wants a rational debate." Really?
posted by ericb at 7:05 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had a pretty good day today. Went to church, early service. Puttered on the computer a little while, then drove out to the country to my parents' house for a nice lunch of barbecue pork chops, collards, homemade potato salad, etc. with homemade chocolate pie for dessert. Picked a crapload of blueberries (their bushes always ripen late and they have a ton of them.) Talked to two of my children on the phone (one is out of pocket overseas at the moment.)

I got home about a half hour ago, and went back to the computer room with a bag of fresh blueberries to munch on. They were pretty good.

Perspective is a wonderful thing to have. I haz it.

I mean, I don't really think she could post in a way that could make anyone happy here. If she defends herself and argues back, she's making the thread all about herself. If she doesn't defend herself, her positions are weak and worthless and she's just trolling. Seems like the only thing that would make people happy is if she just went away

Once I understood this and quit worrying about it, my experience here has been quite a bit better.

Hope you all had a great Sunday.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:06 PM on August 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


In your hypothetical, is my silly little town moderated? If it is moderated, then I guess I'm on the side of not only denying the Nazi parade permit, but also running them out on a rail. If the town is unmoderated, we'll have to accept that we're reading alt.illinois.nazis.parades.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:11 PM on August 1, 2010


Heh. That amused me, but I did say I would stfu. My bad.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:12 PM on August 1, 2010


In other words, once again you've been asked by multiple members to clarify deliberately incendiary and bigoted comments you have made here.

Once again you have refused to do so.

I'm now throwing my hat into the ring as someone who thinks your ass should be permabanned. You don't know how to be a constructive member of this community.
posted by zarq at 7:13 PM on August 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


And by the way, Alia, I say that as someone who has defended you and urged a presumption of good faith for you in at least a couple of MeTa threads.

No longer.
posted by zarq at 7:16 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


In other words, once again you've been asked by multiple members to clarify deliberately incendiary and bigoted comments you have made here.

Once again you have refused to do so.


Sounds to me like she's not willing to take on all comers in the middle of a massive firestorm. That seems reasonable to me, especially while you're tossing curse words at her.

Her opinion isn't really all that unusual. There are plenty of other places you can go to hear about the opposition.
posted by Jahaza at 7:16 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm now throwing my hat into the ring as someone who thinks your ass should be permabanned. You don't know how to be a constructive member of this community.

Seconded.
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:17 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: “I have this weird view where I see debate as a tool to find the truth, which you can't do with phony information and bullshit pulled out your ass.”

No; I don't think you do. And that's okay, but this is obviously not a Platonic discourse or anything. This is a debate. You have an opinion. You believe your opinion is correct. (So do I, by the way.) And the objective is not to uncover the truth – you already believe you have the truth. The objective is to convince others of the truth.

Seriously, isn't this the case? Are you really in that thread to determine whether it is true that building a mosque near Ground Zero is disrespectful of the victims? Really? Or do you, like me, already feel as thought that's sort of a silly question, as it's a bit obvious, at least to people who are paying attention to the same reality we are?

The point is to convince potential angry conservatives that the conservative talking points are wrong. I don't see why that's not the objective for you. It certainly is for me. Maybe that makes it seem combative, but honestly it's just practical.

fourcheesemac: “I'm still waiting for someone to make a rational, fact-based argument in defense of the folks protesting the Cordoba Center.”

Dude, you know we've disagreed on Alia before, and when I saw your first comment in the thread about her, I kind of rolled my eyes and sighed. But I have to say that I really respect you for seeing it was a mistake and apologizing for it. I imagine we still disagree on some points, but this right here is the truest thing anybody's said here, and it's what bothers me most about all of this.

Everybody's all het up about the minor technical matter (really, that's what it is, in the final equation) of whether a registered user of a particular web site gets banned, gets a timeout, or gets to stay. Everybody's all rushing to slap the label "bigotry" on her because it's an easy label, a label with fine print which reads YES THAT'S RIGHT I THINK SHE'S SO WRONG THAT I REFUSE TO DISCUSS SAID DISAGREEMENT WITH HER OR ANYBODY. Seriously, that's what "bigot" means here, and that's the line people are drawing when they call Alia that name; someone whose beliefs might be animated by some subconscious racism might be unjust or unfair, but those are things you can talk out. But when somebody's a bigot, oh, hell no. GTFO. That's our attitude.

The thing that's remarkable is – well, I mentioned the rhetorical value of these arguments up above. What's remarkable is that the cost of rhetorical victory here is so low. And nobody notices this and takes advantage of it. People whine – oh, she posts her opinion and then runs off, never giving her reasoning! Would that most of our opponents did the same! In that situation, she's giving you the opportunity to say clearly, decisively, unequivocally, and rationally precisely why she's wrong. And it's almost guaranteed that you will be granted the apparent win in this debate, because she'll probably never say another word. If she does, it will probably be a brief one, which will be just as easy to refute. Why aren't people doing this?
posted by koeselitz at 7:18 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Zarq, just what is it you want me to clarify? I think I made my opinion clear enough. The problem is you don't agree with it.

Now, since anything else I could possibly say would only result in more work for mods, I'm done with this thread. I would like it to be closed since it simply seems redundant but I will leave that call to the mods.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:19 PM on August 1, 2010


I had a pretty good day today. Went to church, early service. Puttered on the computer a little while, then drove out to the country to my parents' house for a nice lunch of barbecue pork chops, collards, homemade potato salad, etc. ....

Blah, blah, blah. We get it lady. You're a down-home 'real American,' nothing the urban elitists can possibly understand.

We get it. You live in North Carlolina. Your husband is 'Ralph.' Your son graduated from the Air Force Academy and you have a biracial grandson.

You always spin this 'homey' bullshit when taken to account when asked to defend your statements/positions. We get you schtick. And it's not only old; it's rotting.
posted by ericb at 7:23 PM on August 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


(one last thing)

Actually, ericb, I posted all that so you would know I WASN'T ON THE BLASTED COMPUTER ALL DAY.

Now, I promise, I'm done.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:27 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Blah, blah, blah. We get it lady. You're a down-home 'real American..

Again, why bother talking? Everyone has made up their mind, chosen their side. Everyone got their personal views validated in this thread, so hurray, shit floats.
posted by nomadicink at 7:31 PM on August 1, 2010


There are a number of community members who have asked you what you meant by original statement in the FPP:
"If the builders of that center don't understand why this is upsetting to New York in general and 911 victim's families in particular they deserve the Insensitive Clods of the Year award. Period.

Talk about tone deaf. If they had any compassion or brains they'd build elsewhere. Because if their goal is mutual respect and peace this is a hell of a way to go about it."
Many have questions and would like to understand why you believe what you believe. Why you said what you said. Now's your chance. Can you give us a 'rational' reponse to those who oppose your position and statement? If not, why not?
posted by ericb at 7:32 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sounds to me like she's not willing to take on all comers in the middle of a massive firestorm. That seems reasonable to me...

She has done this before: she has weighed into threads with vague, controversial comments that deliberately spark a firestorm. She then refuses to clarify or discuss what she has said in depth when asked to do so. This is unreasonable behavior for someone who wants to continue to be a member of a community.

especially while you're tossing curse words at her.

What are you referring to, please? I made no comment in this or the other thread directed to Alia other than this and this. Neither demands a further statement from her.

Her opinion isn't really all that unusual. There are plenty of other places you can go to hear about the opposition.

"The opposition" didn't make the comment. She did. Her refusal to respond to reasonable requests for clarification are a problem for those of us who would like this community to rise above the sort of firestorms she seems to infrequently ignite.
posted by zarq at 7:32 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


I just want to voice my appreciation and support of the moderators and the difficult task they often have, and how much I value this site. This discussion presents a difficult, predictable pattern that gets tiresome.
posted by effluvia at 7:36 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


*Can you give us a 'rational' reponse to those who oppose take issue with your position and statement?*
posted by ericb at 7:38 PM on August 1, 2010


I'm irritated by this, especially the tendency to go so lightly on the brand new day policy. Offhand threadshitting, particularly when it's repeating racist talking points, should be deleted and the poster warned, especially when it's somebody who's had their username changed for being so disruptive in the past. People who benefit from getting a fresh name and just fuck up the next one may not be the best people to contribute to the community. Her response here is even more damning, because it's plain that she is disrupting the community and doesn't give a shit. Why does that fly?
posted by graymouser at 7:39 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just emailed Jessamyn. I will no longer give political opinions or post on political threads.

The mods did not ask me to do this but I will no longer inflict this kind of nonsense on myself or on the mods. Long live SLYT posts.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:40 PM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


I am fascinated and appalled by people repeatedly wanting to interrogate her and if she doesn't respond, she should be banned.
posted by nomadicink at 7:41 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think that this callout was particularly necessary or useful.

It was, for two reasons.

1. I posted it to stop the derail on a thread I was very interested in.
2. I don't advocate people getting banned for crappy, bigoted, troll-like behavior. I do think if a person has a history of such behavior, to the point of a third BND, and public directions to stop acting that way, then maybe at least a public reminder to avoid such crap is worthwhile.

Jessamyn, feel free to delete the tag with my apologies. I understand the reason you have a problem with it.
posted by norm at 7:43 PM on August 1, 2010


I wish there were more, coherent conservative and non-coastal voices on this site. Sometimes I find myself pushed into a "conservative" role in a thread for taking positions that are basically moderate Democratic stances, which is bizarre to me, and the groupthink and piling on is IMHO Metafilter's biggest weakness.

All that said, I've become convinced she's a troll. You don't even have to squint to see her gloating in her home office and she sends off these quick, tart rejoinders. Ban her.
posted by msalt at 7:44 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


on preview, yay!
posted by msalt at 7:45 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


What are you referring to, please?

I'm referring to this: I'm now throwing my hat into the ring as someone who thinks your ass should be permabanned.

Neither demands a further statement from her.

Well, I guess you can claim that you don't actually want further clarification from her? But since you're calling for her to be banned based on her lack of clarification that seems odd.

She has done this before: she has weighed into threads with vague, controversial comments that deliberately spark a firestorm.

I know that. I've been around for a while.

Her refusal to respond to reasonable requests for clarification are a problem for those of us who would like this community to rise above the sort of firestorms she seems to infrequently ignite.

Yeah... see that's not really the case as far as I can tell. Her opinions exist whether she expresses them or not. Her opinions are fairly common, even here in New York City. The site is better when they are fairly expressed (which she doesn't usually do a good job of), you could try to pitch in to that effort if you wanted to... there's plenty of people you can ask. Heck you could read our local newspapers. The firestorm comes from people eager for either some sort of epic showdown with someone with wrong opinions or from people hoping for viewpoint (private) censorship on the site (or just the entertainment of a bannin' [I don't put you in any of these categories]).
posted by Jahaza at 7:45 PM on August 1, 2010


Knock it off, cj_.
posted by mattdidthat at 7:47 PM on August 1, 2010


Everyone got their personal views validated in this thread, so hurray, shit floats.

Even if it's a (Metric or Imperial) ton?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:00 PM on August 1, 2010


Now, since anything else I could possibly say would only result in more work for mods, I'm done with this thread.

Frankly, I'm not sure why you came into the thread at all if it was with the comment you chose to make. It's both personalized and non-responsive in exactly the way that drives a lot of people up the wall about your style of participation here, and as a response it certainly didn't make any less work for us. Just electing to say nothing would have been better.

I just emailed Jessamyn. I will no longer give political opinions or post on political threads.

The mods did not ask me to do this but I will no longer inflict this kind of nonsense on myself or on the mods. Long live SLYT posts.


That, at least, is a goddamned relief. I hope you stick to it. It'd mean the end of what are easily your worst contributions to the site and would probably in fact save us some grief going forward.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:11 PM on August 1, 2010 [33 favorites]


> Even if it's a (Metric or Imperial) ton?

What else floats?

a. bread
b. apples
c. small rocks
d. duck
posted by jfuller at 8:28 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just emailed Jessamyn. I will no longer give political opinions or post on political threads. The mods did not ask me to do this but I will no longer inflict this kind of nonsense on myself or on the mods.

And, most importantly on the entire MeFi community!
posted by ericb at 8:30 PM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


@koeselitz

No; I don't think you do. And that's okay, but this is obviously not a Platonic discourse or anything. This is a debate. You have an opinion. You believe your opinion is correct. (So do I, by the way.) And the objective is not to uncover the truth – you already believe you have the truth. The objective is to convince others of the truth.

Seriously, isn't this the case?


I'm not going to suddenly decide the mosque is a bad idea, no, but nearly 100% of the time when I argue I end up moderating my position in areas where flaws in my reasoning have been exposed. I don't believe the truth is always in the middle, but some of it is.

That process never happens when all the other side does is lower their pants, take a shit on the keyboard, and disappears.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:31 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just emailed Jessamyn. I will no longer give political opinions or post on political threads. The mods did not ask me to do this but I will no longer inflict this kind of nonsense on myself or on the mods.

Hahahahaha..

Famous. Last. Words.
posted by special-k at 8:34 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of St. Alia's best contributions to the site has been to demonstrate that one need not answer disingenuous questions deployed in an attempt to grapple for a rhetorical hold.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:36 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


What else floats?

a. bread
b. apples
c. small rocks
d. duck

e. a shit-ton*

* depending on diet
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:49 PM on August 1, 2010


smackfu: I mean, I don't really think she could post in a way that could make anyone happy here. If she defends herself and argues back, she's making the thread all about herself. If she doesn't defend herself, her positions are weak and worthless and she's just trolling. Seems like the only thing that would make people happy is if she just went away

Speaking only for myself, that's not true. If she *argued back*, I would be interested in what she had to say. But she never, ever does. She never backs up her comments or explains on what she bases her opinions, when she is repeatedly asked to do so. I would welcome a true *argument* from Alia (in the classic sense of the term), but we never get one.

St. Alia: Once I understood this and quit worrying about it, my experience here has been quite a bit better.

You've always "understood" it, to the extent that you never bothered with it in the first place.

Alia: I had a pretty good day today. Went to church, early service. Puttered on the computer a little while, then drove out to the country to my parents' house for a nice lunch of barbecue pork chops, collards, homemade potato salad, etc. ....

ericb: Blah, blah, blah. We get it lady. You're a down-home 'real American,' nothing the urban elitists can possibly understand.

Alia: Actually, ericb, I posted all that so you would know I WASN'T ON THE BLASTED COMPUTER ALL DAY.

Wow. That's astoundingly disingenuous. You know how I would know that you weren't on the "blasted computer" all day? If you had said, "I haven't been on the computer all day." So the rest of it is, in fact, exactly what ericb called it out as.
posted by tzikeh at 8:58 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Wow. That's astoundingly disingenuous.

Yep. It's kinda like the "I can see Russia from my porch" approach to debate.
posted by ericb at 9:03 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


More like the Hockey Mom stuff. Proximity to Russia is about establishing foreign policy credentials, not folksiness.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:05 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess you can claim that you don't actually want further clarification from her? But since you're calling for her to be banned based on her lack of clarification that seems odd.

Many people over in the MetaFilter thread have been asking for clarification. Her sole answer to them was here in MeTa: a non-sequitur. My comments were directed to her were made once she made clear she would not be trying to explain herself further. As we can see, further clarification will not be forthcoming.

But I must admit I was honestly surprised by St. Alia's subsequent comment, when she asked me to tell her what my expectations were. I am still trying to figure out if I should respond or if that would be an exercise in futility, because she then announced in the next sentence that she was "done with this thread." So I guess I can assume that if I reply she will not respond to me?

Edit: On preview, since she's bowed out of political discussions altogether I guess that answers my question.

FWIW, If I had thought she honestly might be open to continuing a conversation here rather than bowing out and leaving a huge uproar and yet another angry MeTa in her wake, I would not have called for her to be banned.

Yeah... see that's not really the case as far as I can tell. Her opinions exist whether she expresses them or not. Her opinions are fairly common, even here in New York City. The site is better when they are fairly expressed (which she doesn't usually do a good job of), you could try to pitch in to that effort if you wanted to... there's plenty of people you can ask. Heck you could read our local newspapers.

Yep. I have neighbors who are against the Cordoba House. I'm not, personally. I do read the Post, Daily News and WSJ each day. I know the basic arguments.

Sincere question here: Do we know if the opinions being expressed in popular media speak for her, or if she's voicing political arguments without much depth, justification or meaning?

One of the reasons I wanted to hear her responses was so many people in that thread were assuming they knew what she meant. I've had to defend my own minority views here before, and it has always bothered me when people have misinterpreted my meaning. (This is something I've been trying to work on myself lately -- not to jump and accuse people without asking if they would explain themselves. It's not at all easy.)

So yes, I wanted her to explain what she was trying to say. Not to attack her for disagreeing with me, but because I felt that if she did so it might stave off those who were attacking her for making what seemed like a vague trolling comment without much in the way of deeper follow-up.

Look, she holds conservative views. They're not popular around here and she's going to take a certain amount of slack for them no matter what. But in addition to the various attacks, a lot of folks in the main thread posted very heartfelt responses to her that went unanswered. It's frustrating. People are engaging her and assuming at least some measure of good faith, for nothing.

The firestorm comes from people eager for either some sort of epic showdown with someone with wrong opinions or from people hoping for viewpoint (private) censorship on the site (or just the entertainment of a bannin' [I don't put you in any of these categories]).

Thanks.

You're right. Perhaps nothing good would have come from it if she had responded in good faith. But the fact that she didn't really, really irritates me.
posted by zarq at 9:08 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just emailed Jessamyn. I will no longer give political opinions or post on political threads.

The mods did not ask me to do this but I will no longer inflict this kind of nonsense on myself or on the mods. Long live SLYT posts.


And so ends SAotB's scoring the MeFi equivalent of epic lulz (that's right jonmc I said "epic"). For now.
posted by MikeMc at 9:11 PM on August 1, 2010


Can we just stop this?

I mean, I am being criticized because I described my day.

For those of you who were at least trying to question me in good faith, I apologize. The real naked truth is I am not intellectually up to the challenge. I am who I am-I am not a college graduate, I do hold opinions but have not been rigorously trained to defend them, and my trying to communicate what I do think on this forum was a fool's errand.

So, in that sense, I earned all the crap that came my way.

It's my hope that someone who does have the brains and the education and the cojones to defend a conservative viewpoint will show up one day, but I am not that someone and it was stupid for me to try.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:15 PM on August 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


For those of you who were at least trying to question me in good faith, I apologize. The real naked truth is I am not intellectually up to the challenge. I am who I am-I am not a college graduate, I do hold opinions but have not been rigorously trained to defend them, and my trying to communicate what I do think on this forum was a fool's errand.

Wow! There's a level of honest self-assessment you don't often see in internet discussion threads. So...who's going to be the first to step up and mock her for it?
posted by MikeMc at 9:19 PM on August 1, 2010


Leave her alone, people. Enough.
posted by mattdidthat at 9:19 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Crabby Appleton, for somebody whose attitude is basically "fuck this place", I'm kind of surprised you're still here.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:21 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Man, you people are relentless.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:30 PM on August 1, 2010


For those of you who were at least trying to question me in good faith, I apologize. The real naked truth is I am not intellectually up to the challenge. I am who I am-I am not a college graduate, I do hold opinions but have not been rigorously trained to defend them, and my trying to communicate what I do think on this forum was a fool's errand.

So, in that sense, I earned all the crap that came my way.

It's my hope that someone who does have the brains and the education and the cojones to defend a conservative viewpoint will show up one day, but I am not that someone and it was stupid for me to try.


That was well said.

I think you're deeply underestimating both your intellect and mental abilities. I've seen you express yourself quite eloquently in AskMe and in various comments on MeFi -- and I think people expect you to be able to do the same when asked to defend yourself. When you don't, I know I personally tend to think that you're poking MeFi with a stick rather than engaging with us honestly.

For whatever it's worth, I take back my comment here, calling for you to be banned. I'll leave you in peace now.
posted by zarq at 9:31 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


oh, i took my daughter to the mall, where she browsed through hot topic, spencer's, a couple of cheesy import shops and fye's - then i took her to a used cd place and then i went shopping at save a lot

i also dropped off my rent check and the electric bill

yesterday, i visited the busy bee indoor flea market in paw paw where i was confronted with scads of kitschy junk, old romance books, overpriced pots and pans, velvet pictures of jesus and elvis, countless trashy knick knacks, and the general detritus of small town american civilization, thousands of square feet of it

it was like being caught in a black hole of homey

i did neglect to eat potato salad or ribs or go to church

clearly, i have more work to do
posted by pyramid termite at 9:32 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does a person have to disparage their own intellect to get off the hook around this place? Me, I'll take "Meh, I just don't feel like it" as a valid reason to not fight every battle to the death.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:34 PM on August 1, 2010 [26 favorites]


Does a person have to disparage their own intellect to get off the hook around this place?

The Gods of MeFi demand self-abasement. They have been satisfied. For the moment...
posted by MikeMc at 9:39 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does a person have to disparage their own intellect to get off the hook around this place?

No.

Me, I'll take "Meh, I just don't feel like it" as a valid reason to not fight every battle to the death.

It becomes problematic when that's the answer being given every time one's views are challenged.
posted by zarq at 9:42 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boy, some of you are real assholes. And that's coming from me.
posted by Justinian at 9:43 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


"get out of my treehouse" is a nice change from "get off of my yard".
posted by the aloha at 9:48 PM on August 1, 2010


[...] for somebody whose attitude is basically "fuck this place" [...]

Yet another tedious lie.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:49 PM on August 1, 2010


It's my hope that someone who does have the brains and the education and the cojones to defend a conservative viewpoint will show up one day,

I've fantasized about creating a conservative online persona, as an intellectual exercise to test my own opinions and challenge blowhard people I actually agree with. Sometimes I imagine going to places like National Review and taking things to logical extremes, other times going to Mother Jones and keeping people honest. Sadly I don't have time to play like that -- gotta earn a living.

But if Matt were to cough up a small subsidy, I would happily play MeFi scapegoat and sincerely give it my best shot to be an intelligent right-wing devil's advocate (as a sanctioned sock-puppet.) Whaddya say? I promise to argue with everyone long into the night, avoid ad-hominems and be funny as much as possible.
posted by msalt at 10:08 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Yes, that's the protest where the churchy folks organizing the event urged their people to bring dogs on the premise that this would be repulsive to Muslims. There's a few of these stop-the-mosque protests springing up around the US now, and man is it some ugly shit."

Something that I found interesting about that story—aside from "Hey, these folks are fucking nuts, wassup Cali?"—is that the reporting, both in the newspapers and in the blog repost, focuses on the Tea Party label for these folks. Which makes sense, the protesters are labeling themselves as of Tea Party ilk, but the "official" Tea Party itself is disavowing them. It's just interesting to see that the very ground-up nature of this rhetoric makes it impossible to weed out assholes that make the Tea Party look bad (worse). I can even imagine that the poor chapter heads who spoke to the LA Times were probably already sick of explaining that they have nothing against Islam and that they deplored the instruction to "bring dogs."

(Stone paranoiac rambling: Obama's using secret false-flag operations to unpopularlize the populist right.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:38 PM on August 1, 2010


GRAR! *Menacingly holds torches and pitchforks*

*Looks around...*

Fuck, I'm late again?

*Sulks away...*
posted by schyler523 at 10:38 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those of you who were at least trying to question me in good faith, I apologize. The real naked truth is I am not intellectually up to the challenge. I am who I am-I am not a college graduate, I do hold opinions but have not been rigorously trained to defend them, and my trying to communicate what I do think on this forum was a fool's errand.

The main points that you were asked to address do not require a complicated intellectual argument. Your general ability to put words together has more than demonstrated that you are capable enough to participate in this discussion.

You're basically talking about how Muslims should behave in order to reassure other Americans that they are sorry that 9/11 happened, right?

But my point is that it is unfair to expect Muslims to hide themselves in collective shame because an atrocity was committed by other Muslims. What advice would you give someone who has been smeared with a cruel untrue rumor? Would you tell that person to hide and act guilty?

These people building the center didn't have anything to do with the attack, they disavow it and the hijacking of their faith by terrorists, and most importantly, they are regular ol' NYC residents just like the NYC residents of other ethnicities, faiths, races, political beliefs.

So, I'm asking, what do you think is insensitive about building a mosque (or Muslim community center) near the site of the WTC? What value would there would be in bowing to commonly-held bigotry, other than validating it?
posted by desuetude at 10:55 PM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


I don't get it. I'm perfectly happy disagreeing with people I disagree with, or ignoring them. I would hope everyone else is similarly capable.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:58 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


An interesting point that (as best I can tell) there is nobody here with a conservative viewpoint and the brains, education and cojones to defend their views. If that's true, hard to see how the site's better for it.
posted by ambient2 at 11:16 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


She loves this shit.
posted by bardic at 11:34 PM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


As demonstrated, there are people among us who feel very strongly about things but who don't think strongly about them at all.

It's futile to ask them to defend their positions with rigor because often they have nothing other than they way they feel to cite.

The folks in this category literally cannot understand why we insist that their heart-felt opinions are not equivalent to fact-based opinions.

Expecting them to defend their feelings in a logical way verges on the Gödelian.

Oddly, I feel like this makes them important to have around; as others have pointed out, they spur people to sharpen their rationales (& their rhetoric!), and also have provided the impetus for some really stellar posts, the kind I learn from all the time.
posted by Aquaman at 11:35 PM on August 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


An interesting idea: we should invite bigots to speak eloquently, if inevitably untruthfully, for the sake of "balance."

MeFox: We Report(1), You Decide.

(1) def'n: lie, dissemble, invent, and distort grotesquely.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:38 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, you all don't look busy enough. I have a yard that I could use a hand with if you're this bored.
posted by iamabot at 11:38 PM on August 1, 2010


An interesting point that (as best I can tell) there is nobody here with a conservative viewpoint and the brains, education and cojones to defend their views. If that's true, hard to see how the site's better for it.

Hey, it's hardly the site's fault that people with brains & education are unable to defend certain "conservative" views.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:43 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


In the "Democracy is stronger than this" thread: A challenger appears!
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:45 PM on August 1, 2010


Well, shit. I can't tell for certian yet if andy_t is serious or having fun, but he's gone and left a far smellier turd in that thread than st. alia of the bubbas could ever hope to.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:46 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


An interesting point that (as best I can tell) there is nobody here with a conservative viewpoint and the brains, education and cojones to defend their views. If that's true, hard to see how the site's better for it.

One of two things must be going on here. Either brains and education aren't on friendly terms with St. Alia's viewpoints, or effectively defending those viewpoints requires superhuman levels of cojones. Neither one of those paints her point of view in a particularly flattering light.

But that's truly neither here nor there because this whole outcry of people asking her to "defend her views" was just kabuki. She can't defend her views and she admitted as much here. There is no good reason to oppose the building of Cordoba House just as there is no good reason to oppose gay marriage or any of the myriad other nonsensical opinions she holds. This is crucial to understand: she doesn't have a good reason because a good reason does not exist.

When she's not talking about politics or the way she wishes American society would be St. Alia's an excellent contributor to the site. I hope she sticks around, and I say this without a hint of irony or sarcasm. But I see her decision to quit political threads as a good one. It strikes me as something similar to Ross Douthat's discomfort in discussing his opposition to gay marriage. At a certain point a community or culture won't put up with your dog whistles anymore, and you'll either have to come right out and say what you mean or shut your mouth. The fact that St. Alia can't express her opposition to Cordoba House without a cavalcade of angry responses strikes me as a sign of progress.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:48 PM on August 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


ambient2: “An interesting point that (as best I can tell) there is nobody here with a conservative viewpoint and the brains, education and cojones to defend their views. If that's true, hard to see how the site's better for it.”

Another interesting point is that all of those in the liberal camp who find themselves with similar circumstances are similarly disinclined to give a good argument of any kind of why they're right. They just sling the word "bigot" and then ask that the competition be BANNED 4 LIFE. And as a person who often thinks of himself as a liberal, this is infernally frustrating.
posted by koeselitz at 11:56 PM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


ambient2 wrote: An interesting point that (as best I can tell) there is nobody here with a conservative viewpoint and the brains, education and cojones to defend their views.

Why would you imagine that conservatives are the ones who believe in expropriating property and banning places of worship? I am tearfully proud that so many MeFites have stepped up to the plate and refudiated the socialist ideals of their former comrade.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:09 AM on August 2, 2010


Really? All of us?
posted by rtha at 12:09 AM on August 2, 2010


This thread is just sociopathic.
You just can't help yourselves can you?
posted by seanyboy at 12:10 AM on August 2, 2010


Yes, all of you, there is a 25 foot plumb tree that needs tending too, and all i have is a collection of hand saws.
posted by iamabot at 12:20 AM on August 2, 2010


Plum. bah.
posted by iamabot at 12:20 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


andy_t just asked how to sort a thread by favorite count. If he mentions circumcision or cat declawing, Burhanistan, you'll have your answer.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:26 AM on August 2, 2010


The fact that St. Alia can't express her opposition to Cordoba House without a cavalcade of angry responses strikes me as a sign of progress.

That fact is what is what I find most distressing. The message of those so righteously outraged about her opinions is hopelessly lost in the vitriol. I'm embarassed by the hatred expressed by those I may agree with.
posted by klarck at 12:49 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Klarck, how would you like Metafilter to respond to people who think Jews control the media? Or that miscegenation is an abomination? Or that vaccines cause autism? Or that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen? What is the nice way to respond to that kind of nonsense?

"Oh, I'm sorry, there's this thing called the First Amendment you may not have heard of" strikes me as so infantilizing that it's even more disrespectful than your standard "fuck off."

"Manhattan is a small place to begin with, and downtown Manhattan is so small that there's effectively nowhere Cordoba House could be built that would not be within walking distance of the WTC site and still serve the needs of the Islamic community" is something that was said an ignored.

If you could reach into my mind and control how I responded, what would I say?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:57 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is it just me, or is anyone else sort of uncomfortable with mods discussing their opinions of the behavior of metafilter users so casually / candidly? I mean, it's one thing for someone with no administrative control to say, "I don't respect this person's opinion"; it's another for a moderator to do so.
posted by aberrant at 1:09 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"If you could reach into my mind and control how I responded, what would I say?"

Strangely put. Sorry, I won't engage you on those terms.
posted by klarck at 1:18 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's an excellent response; exactly what I'd expect Doublewhiskeycokenoice to say to such silly arguments.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:22 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


aberrant, why does that make you uncomfortable? I'm much happier knowing the biases that people with authority hold. Everyone has them, better to put them out in the open for everyone to see. If only our (alert: US-centric) political leaders were so transparent.
posted by wierdo at 1:23 AM on August 2, 2010


I consider myself more liberal than conservative actually. I was ok with mislabeling all conservatives as racist homophobes or whatever other label necessary in order to get the health care bill passed. I voted for Obama.

I didn't know sorting by favorite count was a controversial feature request, but I've wanted it for a couple years. The popular favorites tab is a good start for people who only visit metafilter every week/couple weeks.
posted by andy_t at 2:24 AM on August 2, 2010


Doublewhiskeycokenoice. how would you like Metafilter to respond to people who think Jews control the media?

If that person were a Palestinian who consistently sees the Palestinian perspective ignored by American media, I'd probably try and talk the thing though sympathetically and without rancour. I'd try and understand why they think such a thing. I'd offer them the respect they need in order for them to return that respect to me.

Your big "There is only one way to deal with intolerance" statement is fine in principle, but damaging in practice.
posted by seanyboy at 2:53 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


"If you could reach into my mind and control how I responded, what would I say?"

"Bring back the McRib!"
posted by nomadicink at 4:00 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


But that's not what's happening here. It's just another mosque.

Actually, IT'S NOT EVEN A MOSQUE. It's a community center. Sheesh.

Zarq -- I'm a little pleasantly embarrassed that you're directing people towards a comment I made, but most of the embarrassment is coming from the fact that "shit, I have a lot of typos in there."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:13 AM on August 2, 2010


I don't think she should be banned for being a Conservative. I didn't create this thread, afterall. I do, however, feel she should cease to engage in hate speech, because it offends a whole bunch of people here, including myself. That she's toned it down (at moderator insistence) to code words and dog whistles isn't much consolation for those of us who can see it for what is is. She is welcome to hold these hateful views because this is a free country, but I do not wish to read them on MetaFilter because I find them offensive and I get enough of this hateful bullshit outside of MetaFilter already. I thought this place was better?

I don't want to change her mind OR ban her. What I would like is for her to desist in dropping shit-stirring bombs in threads on the subject of Islam or LGBT issues and then gleefully spectate as the people she personally offended fight amonst themselves because they are upset and offended. This is completely bullshit behavior. No one else on this site would get away with it. I think people defend her because they equate her bigoted views with conservatism and are convinced they have to be "fair and balanced." This is ironic to me, because I don't think she would define herself as a bigot.
posted by cj_ at 4:29 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I had a pretty good day today. Went to church, early service.

...

I mean, I am being criticized because I described my day.


Alia, I'm reluctant to get involved in callouts like this, and I don't feel particularly vitriolic towards you (I mostly hang out in Ask, where politics don't get involved), but this move irritated me. It's the equivalent of "I'm heading to the gym in 26 minutes" with wholesome down-home contentment swapped in for the alpha-male posturing. If that's how your day went, that's rad for you, but it's not relevant and it's a transparent attempt to make yourself look better than your detractors here with the classic "I have a life, and you obviously don't or you wouldn't be arguing on the internet" dismissal. If you'd rather eat pie and talk to your kids than throw down here, I don't blame you, I would too. But it's rude to kick shit around all day and claim you're too busy and fulfilled to deal with it when it comes back to you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:39 AM on August 2, 2010 [33 favorites]


Is it just me, or is anyone else sort of uncomfortable with mods discussing their opinions of the behavior of metafilter users so casually / candidly?

We only do this in threads where people are breathing down our necks asking "hey why didn't you ban this user??" I think it's worth knowing that while we agree with some people's assertions personally, that we also have our mod approach which is whatever it is. We try hard to not bring personal characterizations into MeFi discussions. That said we're also site members and this back and forth that has been happening with this one user (and others like her) over many many years is one of the toughest things for us about running this site.

Between her commentary and other people hounding her in totally distasteful ways [and resultant hounding of us when we don't allow further hounding, dredging up of past usernames and activities] it's far and away one of the worst things about working for this site for both cortex and me. We'd like, in a perfect world, to have less of that bleed through, but sometimes it does.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:50 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I consider myself more liberal than conservative actually. I was ok with mislabeling all conservatives as racist homophobes or whatever other label necessary in order to get the health care bill passed. I voted for Obama.

The simulacrum of trolling become trolling? I'm confused.
posted by monocultured at 4:54 AM on August 2, 2010


St. Alia provides a necessary punching bag, I think, for people who'd like to shout down their conservative aunts/uncles/parents/siblings/coworkers but are just too damn polite to do it in real life. This is just another example of an onanistic political thread cum-fap-fap-fap-interruptus as in stumbles St. Alia with her simplistic, ill-considered, xenophobic opinions. We may not have the balls to send off a ripping screed to Pops or Grammpy, but in a pinch, St. Alia will do. If she didn't exist, I'm sure we'd make her up anyway.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:21 AM on August 2, 2010 [18 favorites]


People, please stop. Can you not see the sympathy turning? That is what I most dreaded happening. You're making me feel I need to defend St. Alia too. How can we persuade people, if we can't treat people decently too?


Can we just stop this?

I mean, I am being criticized because I described my day.

For those of you who were at least trying to question me in good faith, I apologize. The real naked truth is I am not intellectually up to the challenge. I am who I am-I am not a college graduate, I do hold opinions but have not been rigorously trained to defend them, and my trying to communicate what I do think on this forum was a fool's errand.

So, in that sense, I earned all the crap that came my way.

It's my hope that someone who does have the brains and the education and the cojones to defend a conservative viewpoint will show up one day, but I am not that someone and it was stupid for me to try.



St. Alia, it has never really been about some intellectual debate.

It is how you treat people.

Did you get to read lupus_yonderboy's comment?
Most taxi drivers in New York City are Muslim. I've had literally thousands of interactions with Muslims this way (and on that very biased sample, would judge them to be a civilized, polite, well-educated and thoughtful group).

I asked the first Muslim taxi driver I had after 9/11, "I'm sorry, it must have been rough, how have things been for you?" He said, "I didn't drive for a few weeks because I was frightened but then when I started driving, every passenger I had said the same thing, "We know it's nothing to do with you, and it's hurting you more than it's hurting us, we're really sorry and we're all in this together."" (paraphrased, this was a while ago)

He teared up and so did I.
Or fourcheesemac's?
Some people's "them" are our neighbors. My Muslim neighbors -- New Yorkers with whom I interact in all kinds of contexts -- are, from all the evidence, a community of hardworking, family-oriented, yummy food-making (ditto on the Halal cart), devout immigrant Americans. The Yemeni kids who man the deli outside my front door and always trust you to come back with the money for your cigarettes, the line of taxis that blocks the gas station up the street at sundown, while all the drivers go into the station's tiny little prayer room (many NYC gas stations have them) to face Mecca and kneel on their prayer rugs, the Afghan refugee who makes sandwiches in the cart on the corner, implacable inside a metal box even when it's 100 (or 15) degrees outside, the Egyptian American man who runs the specialty bookstore and can recommend recent works of Arabic fiction in translation, the Palestinian American musician, the brilliant engineering student, the guy checking baggage at JFK.

New York is like a small town. We don't gang up on our neighbors when they want to build a church near the town square.
Or nikitabot's?
I have kind of an old fashioned Persian first name and a last name that looks Italian so people don't generally think I'm one of those people. As a result, I've heard some pretty offensive things before they know better. I've certainly noticed that slight pause some of them make after they find out my first name is Persian. I also remember when my father was stabbed in the arm by a co-worker during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Maybe people like her wouldn't wield the knife but they might be the ones making excuses for the attacker.

They are all real people. People who are being hurt. People who are having to be afraid, when they are innocent, good people. But there is no acknowledgement from you of their humanity at all. None. Your response to their hardships is a shrug of the shoulders: I haz perspective. So the perception is, you don't give a shit about them. How does people respond in your world, when a person acts like they don't care at all about you?

I'm not a college graduate either. It's got nothing to do with anything, because this is not some debate competition. This is real people talking, about real people hurting and suffering. If you really thought you weren't "intellectually up to the challenge", you would not state your opinions with such certainty. You would acknowledge other people's corrections as information you might have possibly missed. You would be interested in other people giving you more information, because you would want to be better informed, so the decisions you make are the correct ones. But your not feeling intellectually up to it extends only far enough to mean not have to think about challenges to your reasoning, and no further -- not to any point where you might actually have some respect for other people's possibly better-informed views.

But all that's really beside the point -- if you don't want to engage, if you don't want to consider your opinions, that's entirely your choice, that's up to you. But if you are going to treat other people's concerns with such disdain -- I'm not. They don't know how to handle dissent. I haz perspective, maybe you should get some? -- then why are you surprised people react the way they do? You don't care about them.
posted by catchingsignals at 5:58 AM on August 2, 2010 [79 favorites]


Ok, I can agree with you there about most Muslims in America not wanting to see girls being killed with stones in Iran. But are they willing to give up their religion to see it stopped?

And more like that from andy_t, which makes St. Alia's contributions look positively...well, okay, not enlightened. But it smells and feels way more like trolling than her participation ever did.
posted by rtha at 5:58 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think andy_t is trolling. He is a self proclaimed new poster. Some of you jumped on him way too harshly. Unlike St. Alia, he IS asking to be educated and instead you guys are berating him and calling him a troll. Unlike St. Alia, he is explaining himself and wants enlightenment. And what do you guys do?

Now is the time for the slow-clapping.
posted by verb at 2:23 AM on August 2 [1 favorite +] [!]

Uh, gosh. andy_t, are you for real? That's like a thousand times more ignorant than the derail earlier in this thread.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:28 AM on August 2 [+] [!]

andy_t: You've really bought the two minute hate, haven't you?

If it will calm you down at all: we "know that a percentage of the tithe in a new mosque doesn't go to the top of the Islam religion", because there isn't a "top of the Islam religion".

Theology aside, I suppose.
posted by pompomtom at 2:38 AM on August 2 [+] [!]

So, like, if you give money to a Christian group you could be funding the Lord's Restitance Army. YOU JUST DON'T KNOW. Think about it!
posted by Artw at 2:42 AM on August 2 [2 favorites +] [!]

Ah, ok. Performance art. Have fun.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:42 AM on August 2 [+] [!]


andy_t, when you know you're ignorant about something, it's usually best to not display that ignorance for all to see. It tends to make people not think the best of you, and for good reason.
posted by rtha at 3:03 AM on August 2 [+] [!]

Are you twelve andy_t, because it really sounds like you're twelve.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:15 AM on August 2 [+] [!]


andy_t, maybe go back to lurking, or perhaps look up 'trolling' in Wikipedia. Good grief, look up 'mindless bigotry' while you're at it. Wikipedia may not have all the answers but it's a good start for people who know absolutely nothing about anything. Your welcome.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 3:33 AM on August 2 [+] [!]


andy_t then says this:
Is there a way to sort a thread by most popular favorited comments? This was my first comment on metafilter but I've been lurking for awhile.
posted by andy_t at 3:21 AM on August 2 [+] [!]


And this is the oh so helpful response:
Yeah, good job.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:31 AM on August 2 [+] [!]


Sometimes you just can't win. Being treated like this probably keeps a lot of people from posting.
posted by futz at 5:59 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah...but as you can see from the above exchange, sometimes it's best if something on metatalk keeps people from posting on here.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:16 AM on August 2, 2010


Is it just me, or is anyone else sort of uncomfortable with mods discussing their opinions of the behavior of metafilter users so casually / candidly?

I completely understand where it was all coming from, but I was pretty disappointed with cortex's last couple of comments too. Oh well.
posted by Gator at 6:17 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


futz, you forgot to mention what they were reacting to:

I don't know too much about Islam except for what I've read in wikipedia and these articles in the news about the woman being stoned, and other human rights violations in Iran.

I don't have cable/dish tv and just use news.google.com, news.ycombinator.com, and twitter links for my source of news 95% of the time, so that includes non US media also.

I've spent probably at least 5+ hours over the past couple weeks reading things about it.

I meant 5 hours of research over the past couple weeks starting in early July when that stoning news story first came out. I scrolled through about 20 comments here, then posted my comment because I've also been posting about this on Facebook and Twitter over the past couple days.

I'm intimidated because of what she said about being thought a bigot, of course.

Is there a way to sort a thread by most popular favorited comments? This was my first comment on metafilter but I've been lurking for awhile.

It's easy enough to come on here and say things and ask questions, but going to a Muslim community center near me would be a lot of effort. Have you ever been to one? If I had a friend nearby who would go with me I would probably go, lol.

posted by catchingsignals at 6:23 AM on August 2, 2010


andy_t is, on the one hand, happy to admit his ignorance...and on the other, appears delighted to continue displaying it in the most offensive ways possible.

I wanted to know if 10% of the money people earn and give to the mosque is supporting Islamic punishments in countries where that happens.

and

If the moderate, peaceful Muslims of the western world had a choice would they want to stop the growth of Islamic criminal jurisprudence worldwide?

and

What good things is Islam doing for this world?

If it's shared by 1 in 4 people it's probably like that because if you try to leave than you die.


and

How do we know that a percentage of the tithe in a new mosque doesn't go to the top of the Islam religion, who support stoning for adultery, and capital punishment for people who try to leave the religion? Not to mention cutting off your hands(s) for stealing.

Religion should be based on faith, and allow you to leave - not force you by killing you if you try to leave. If we don't take a stand against this extremism and question if funding from a mosque funds these terrorist activities stuff like this will keep happening in the world.


(NB: These are in reverse chronological order, because that's how I was scrolling through the thread and I just realized that that's how I copied them. It's early and I'm still on coffee #1.)
posted by rtha at 6:25 AM on August 2, 2010


Preview fail. Hi, catchingsignals - I'm going for more coffee now. Anybody need any?
posted by rtha at 6:25 AM on August 2, 2010


I completely understand where it was all coming from, but I was pretty disappointed with cortex's last couple of comments too. Oh well.

No, you've got to cut him some slack. Dealing with these ongoing huge PITA posters is the absolute shittiest part of modding.

St. Alia, if she actually sticks to her word, has just removed for team mod one of the ugliest chores - moderating her shitstorms. Of course he is happy.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:27 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sometimes you just can't win. Being treated like this probably keeps a lot of people from posting.

This may sound elitist, but if someone can't be arsed to do some actual studying (sorry, "5 hours" reading random stuff on the internet over a few weeks really is not convincing) of a topic that they are broadly denouncing then perhaps this kind of site really is not a good fit for them.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:28 AM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


Yeah, well, he could have read the fucking (original) thread before posting his hateful stereotypes and generalizations. The education he needed was already there.

Once again, there is no legitimate debate here. The "scary Muslims are out to destroy America" meme is racist bullshit, and 95 percent of us know that already. The others are ignorant or bigoted or both. It doesn't matter how many Americans believe shit like that. I bet you a majority of Americans once believed black people were stupid and Mexicans lazy and Jews crafty and dishonest -- and many still do. Even if 99 percent of Americans believe that kind of bullshit, it's an opinion that needs no honoring here.

As usual, I will point out that I (personally) have *never* called for any Mefite to be banned, silenced, or otherwise sanctioned. I'm glad people like SAotB and andy-K are here. I just think there's no reason their hateful opinions need to be treated with respect. Because they are not just "opinions," on a spectrum of perfectly legitimate political views. It's precisely not a "liberal v. conservative" issue -- I posted above some of the conservative arguments for respecting the rights of Muslim Americans to build their community center wherever they want and can secure private property under the additional constitutional protection of freedom of religion.

Grotesque generalizations about Islam or Muslim Americans are just bigotry, and to treat it as anything else is to overthink a plate of hatred. There is no legitimate legal or moral argument to be made against the Cordoba House project unless you have some hard evidence that it is a front for some organization that actually intends to do concrete harm to the United States. And by "organization," I don't mean the Islamic faith. As any educated person should know, there is no central authority in Islam, nor any doctrinal basis for assuming all Muslims are hostile to Western culture. Islam is a major world religion, with several longstanding major divisions within its community of the faithful and its doctrinal history.

We're watching the effects of a decade of ant-Muslim propaganda, fed to us to make us docile in our acceptance of two appallingly misguided (arguably, in one case, criminal) wars and the willing suspension of the civil rights of all American citizens.

Anyone who doesn't recognize that as the source of the ignorant bigotry toward Muslims that appears in the original thread is ignoring both the facts and history.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:28 AM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


Heh rtha. I feel like I could do with one.
posted by catchingsignals at 6:28 AM on August 2, 2010


*pours coffee into intertubes*
posted by rtha at 6:34 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


aberrant: "Is it just me, or is anyone else sort of uncomfortable with mods discussing their opinions of the behavior of metafilter users so casually / candidly? I mean, it's one thing for someone with no administrative control to say, "I don't respect this person's opinion"; it's another for a moderator to do so"

Speaking strictly for myself: I'd be uncomfortable with it if it were Just Anyone, but when it's a user that creates a large public response and outcry, I feel that the needs of the community outweigh the needs of the offender, and a community response is deserved.

I trust the MeFi staff to share what needs to be shared in an appropriate manner at appropriate times. They have all the information, and the rest of us only have part of it.

I also suspect that the 80-20 rule is in effect here: 20% of the users create 80% of the work, and I would further guess that the repeat offenders own a big, big chunk of the 80%. As Jessamyn pointed out, the mods are users too, and I don't begrudge the opportunity to vent steam in a way that reminds the rest of us how much they work behind the scenes.

Much like MetroidBaby, I didn't really have a dog in this hunt till the "aw, shucks, I just ain't smart enough to talk fancy with you larned folk."

And now, I feel manipulated. St. Alia has now played a beautiful sympathy trump card, one that engenders a lot of goodwill she doesn't necessarily deserve from people who have good hearts—especially those MeFi liberals who have been conditioned to react with guilt at the notion perpetuated by the right that the left side of America shuts out the "jes folks" who maybe didn't have the same opportunities for education.

But from where I see it, the idiomatically correct response to, "Y'all forgive me but I just ain't smart enough to run with the big dogs" is "...then stay on the porch." You don't get to have it both ways.

I don't care what your ideology is: if you enter the fray, you're expected to engage in good faith, and to community norms.

If you can't deal with that, then don't enter the fray. MetaFilter isn't for everyone, and I'm okay with that. The site welcomes people of all political stripes, but there is a standard for discourse here that transcends party— which is why liberals and conservatives alike get called out for not playing by the rules of the yard.
posted by pineapple at 6:43 AM on August 2, 2010 [15 favorites]


*pours coffee into intertubes*

*stands at the bottom of the tubes, unhinges jaw*
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:46 AM on August 2, 2010


Unlike St. Alia, he IS asking to be educated and instead you guys are berating him and calling him a troll. Unlike St. Alia, he is explaining himself and wants enlightenment.

sometimes, though, people believe the things they do because it fills some kind of need for them - the need to feel there's an enemy out there and that enemy is out to get US - especially when things go badly in the world and there must be a reason for that

the nuances of enlightenment take a long time to penetrate that need
posted by pyramid termite at 6:48 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


*lines up behind snuffleupagus, taps foot impatiently*
posted by catchingsignals at 6:52 AM on August 2, 2010


It's the equivalent of "I'm heading to the gym in 26 minutes" with wholesome down-home contentment

Oh hell no, you did not just bring John Fitzgerald Page into this! Why don't we put up a It's Not News, It's Fark.com Metafilter banner.
posted by MikeMc at 6:53 AM on August 2, 2010


conditioned to react with guilt at the notion perpetuated by the right that the left side of America shuts out the "jes folks" who maybe didn't have the same opportunities for education.

Yep, the populist trump card. Re-read those Palin threads from October 2008 when you've got a spare weekend sometime.

It's as tactical as any other sort of commentary we're seeing here. Jes' folks down in the sticks, tellin' it like it is.

It's complete hogwash. Once more, her home county went for Barack Obama by a substantial margin. She's too busy speaking for New Yorkers to notice she isn't necessarily speaking for her neighbors either.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:56 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Sometimes you just can't win. Being treated like this probably keeps a lot of people from posting."

Yeah, he seems earnest enough and willing to learn. Maybe he is paying a proxy pound of flesh. Whatever the case, when someone is willing to learn it isn't very productive to insult them and be dismissive. You can stay patient and educate or you can hold one person responsible for the evils of society and indulge your rage.
I don't know why anyone would choose the latter when the former would help fix the problem. I wonder about people that have seemingly always known everything. One thing I know: they make terrible teachers.

In other news it is a holiday here in Manitoba. The holiday is called the "August Long Weekend". I like that.
posted by vapidave at 7:09 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


*opens CTP (Coffee Transport Protocol) socket and waits for the rush*
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:10 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey - I've posted 2 comments more in this thread than St Alia did in the original thread. Does this mean I've drowned out the discussion? Because that would be awesome.
posted by seanyboy at 7:15 AM on August 2, 2010


CTP://coffee.metafilter.com

apt-get install sweetened condensed milk for everyone
posted by fuq at 7:23 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another interesting point is that all of those in the liberal camp who find themselves with similar circumstances are similarly disinclined to give a good argument of any kind of why they're right. They just sling the word "bigot" and then ask that the competition be BANNED 4 LIFE.

I think that's pretty unfair to those of us who have consistently tried to have a good-faith discussion on touchy topics. Hey, I did it again an hour or so before your comment, right here in this thread!
posted by desuetude at 7:26 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yep, the populist trump card.

Metafilter likes to play it. There's plenty of comments disparaging Alia for being from North Carolina, along with Georgia, Alaska and the south in general.

If the card bothers, you don't play it and don't pretend the right isn't the only group that plays it.
posted by nomadicink at 7:27 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it just me, or is anyone else sort of uncomfortable with mods discussing their opinions of the behavior of metafilter users so casually / candidly?

Hell, I'm uncomfortable with it. I try to keep it to a bare minimum, because I don't like going there. But at this point this is something that has been going on literally for years, and it's an impossibly frustrating position to deal with, defending principles that are important to me and getting a shitload of flak for that and being told in so many different ways that it's not so much a matter of caring about this community as it is coddling my good special buddy or whatever the fuck. I have pretty much lost my patience with trying to be gracious about it.

I genuinely hope she sticks to her promise. I think it would be an unambiguously good thing for the site. I would be thrilled never, ever to have a reason to discuss this topic again.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 AM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


*hugs cortex*
Hug it out, buddy. Hug it out.
posted by JeffK at 7:40 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


The thing is, you can call it the populist trump card all you like, but it's human nature for most people to root for the underdog, the people who are perceived to be persecuted, when there is a big power imbalance. And you would say that in this case, it's people who are Muslims who are the underdog, who are persecuted, and I cannot agree with you more -- but if you make St. Alia the underdog here, then many people won't see that any more, because St. Alia, unlike those abstract Muslim people, is someone they know well and respect for other contributions to the community, and it is more urgent to defend her. And so you find the tide of public opinion turn against you, even when you are fighting for the right thing and the right reasons. It's happened to me before, too many times, and I've learned from bitter experience that I need to know when to let go. And it doesn't matter if St. Alia is playing some trick (I really don't think she is, but it doesn't matter), because it is not just about her. I understand how you feel, but you gotta leave some breathing room for people. If you are decent and generous, even when people don't necessarily deserve it, people can see that.

Yeah, he seems earnest enough and willing to learn. Maybe he is paying a proxy pound of flesh. Whatever the case, when someone is willing to learn it isn't very productive to insult them and be dismissive. You can stay patient and educate or you can hold one person responsible for the evils of society and indulge your rage.
I don't know why anyone would choose the latter when the former would help fix the problem. I wonder about people that have seemingly always known everything. One thing I know: they make terrible teachers.


If I had more time and energy, I would take what he said and change all the charges he made against Muslim people, and make them about Jewish people. Or Americans. Or white people. And see how much patience you have, to educate. You act like we are not patient and trying to engage people every day, in so many of these threads. People were responding to his attitude, that he could make broad and sweeping generations and charges against a huge number of people, and it is up to others to convince him different, because he has read the first 20 comments of the thread and done FIVE HOURS of research, and he would go and talk with some actual Muslim people, but it's a lot of effort lol. And there were still people patiently trying to engage him there, last time I looked. Why don't you do it, if you think people are not patient enough for you? Take the load off others.
posted by catchingsignals at 7:40 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


St. Alia has now played a beautiful sympathy trump card, one that engenders a lot of goodwill she doesn't necessarily deserve from people who have good hearts—especially those MeFi liberals who have been conditioned to react with guilt at the notion perpetuated by the right that the left side of America shuts out the "jes folks" who maybe didn't have the same opportunities for education.

Who are these Mefi liberals who have been conditioned? Please, let us know so we can help these poor souls!
posted by nomadicink at 7:41 AM on August 2, 2010


I don't like what Alia has to say. I think it's pretty important that she be permitted, if not welcomed, to say it. Although it's certainly disruptive enough. Contrary opinions are often disruptive. I'm disappointed, however, that she has said point blank she is unable/unwilling to defend her statements rhetorically. To me this, and particularly based on what I most enjoy about Metafilter, this is posting in bad faith.

Contrary opinions posted in bad faith, especially when posted repeatedly or predictably, are little more than noise, and should be treated as such.

The core problem is that not everyone has the knowledge of SAotB's habits, and so while many of us can just flag-it or skip-it, new users or those only now venturing into those sorts of threads will encounter these steaming turds and think: "hey, this is the blue... there's generally reasoned and thoughtful commentary here. But look, there's this bizarro bigoted comment and I don't agree with it so I should post a response."

And then a half dozen people do that et voila: the thread is derailed. A bunch of folks standing around a steaming turd, shouting at its stink, its looseness, its size, the flies landing on it, and why is there a steaming turd here at all?

I don't know what the right answer is, but I do think that posting in bad faith a.k.a. having a habit of leaving undefended contrary and/or bigoted statements, is, while not a banning offence, certainly something that should be discouraged if not officially censured.

I suspect we should just deal with the noise and occasional derails as an inevitable product of having a system that encourages freeform commentary from all sides. After all, some of those derails produce some stunningly ept comments that ought to be required reading in civics courses. We'd never get those if we weren't occasionally dodging turds.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:43 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hmm. It took me so long to write my comment that it seems that I'm saying "she's cool" at the top and "she should be stopped" at the bottom. I mean in the first paragraph that I think contrary opinions are fine in general. I then refine that thought to say that contrary opinions in bad faith should probably be toned down.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:46 AM on August 2, 2010


"MeFi should refudiate bigotry"

I refudiate this 'word.'
posted by Eideteker at 7:51 AM on August 2, 2010


People should stop being jerks. Even if you think someone else is being one. Please.
posted by waraw at 7:54 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


The only time I notice you is when you're yelling at one or more liberals.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:20 AM on August 2 [+] [!]


So says the meaningless 50k-er. Lets not kid ourselves on that this site is full of leftists, its faux leftists whose only contribution to the class struggle is to pull up misguided people on internet threads as though they were confronting sarah palin herself.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:55 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


CTP://coffee.metafilter.com

apt-get install sweetened condensed milk for everyone


[insert joke about unmet dependencies]
posted by catchingsignals at 7:56 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


So says the meaningless 50k-er.

This is a bullshit metric used by people who have no valid contribution to this site but somehow thing that length of account ownership is somehow laudable on its own merits. Let's be clear: your contributions here are mostly noise.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:59 AM on August 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


The core problem is that not everyone has the knowledge of SAotB's habits, and so while many of us can just flag-it or skip-it, new users or those only now venturing into those sorts of threads will encounter these steaming turds and think: "hey, this is the blue... there's generally reasoned and thoughtful commentary here. But look, there's this bizarro bigoted comment and I don't agree with it so I should post a response."

A look at the first five commenters who responded directly to Alia show that the newest one joined in 2007, so your line of thought here doesn't seem to be accurate.
posted by nomadicink at 8:02 AM on August 2, 2010


Eideteker: "MeFi should refudiate bigotry"

I refudiate this 'word.'


Typical. You're one of those Hollywood types, aren'tcha? It's a perfectly cromulent Shakesperian word, you betcha. Mister Shakespeare was American, dontcha know. One of us real people. And he used that word himself. Used it just like any other Proud American would. Hardworking True Blue REAL American patriots from right here in America's Heartland who shed their precious American blood to ensure our Almighty American freedom to use that word....
posted by zarq at 8:05 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


> St. Alia provides a necessary punching bag, I think, for people who'd like to shout
> down their conservative aunts/uncles/parents/siblings/coworkers but are just too damn
> polite to do it in real life.

sed s/polite/chickenshit/g

I have been doing essentially the same thing here since 2001 (jfuller is user number 3343; there are lower UNs still active but going on ten years is enough time get a good feel of the place and the changes in mores that have occurred over time) and somehow the kind of mobbing other users indulge in regarding St. Alia does not happen to me. My theory (I invite disproof; bare denial not supported by multiparagraph disquisitions full of linkies--you know, the king of thing they're demanding from St. Alia--will earn only a sardonic smile that no one will see, just trust me) is that St. A. calls out the sharp teeth, with many users vying for the definitive putdown, because she is perceived as easy meat that can't bite back: she's not coastal or urban, she had no college, she's a girl in a notorious boyzone, nothing visible that might suggest caution, vituperate at will.


> People, please stop. Can you not see the sympathy turning? That is what I most dreaded happening.

BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Conservative! Can't stand change!
posted by jfuller at 8:06 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I saw that dig at sgt.serenity last night. And I thought "Ruh Roh"

Pope Guilty - I'm guessing that the only way that comment could be more uninformed (and annoying to sgt.serenity) is if you'd appended "from your house in England." to the back of it.
posted by seanyboy at 8:06 AM on August 2, 2010


C'mon zarq, reign it in.
posted by waraw at 8:07 AM on August 2, 2010


C'mon zarq, reign it in.

*sigh* It was a joke. Not directed at anyone here in particular.

I was trying to lighten the mood.
posted by zarq at 8:09 AM on August 2, 2010


is that St. A. calls out the sharp teeth, with many users vying for the definitive putdown, because she is perceived as easy meat that can't bite back: she's not coastal or urban

Wrong on all counts, but especially those two.
posted by zarq at 8:16 AM on August 2, 2010


Sorry zarq, mine was a joke as well. You rein over all others in my heart!
posted by waraw at 8:25 AM on August 2, 2010


Heh. Okie doke.

Apparently my humor meter is off today. ;)
posted by zarq at 8:31 AM on August 2, 2010


I mean, I am being criticized because I described my day.

No. You are being criticized because you came into a thread that was about the fact that you don't back up your assertions and it's a bit maddening, and instead of backing up your assertions, your comment was about how you have more "perspective" than the people who are arguing about it. It did not come off as "Here's my day, how was yours?" (which wouldn't have been germane to the thread ANYWAY) - it came off as "While you folks were debating stuff that doesn't matter, I was eating barbeque and going to church because I have more perspective than you do."

People were waiting for you to back up what you said and you came in and pretty much told them that you don't care and they're wasting their time.

Your day had nothing to do with the thread. You describing it accomplished nothing. This was not a discussion of "How do we think Alia's day is going?"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:33 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


*pours more coffee into intertubes*

Clearly, we need it.
posted by rtha at 8:39 AM on August 2, 2010


Alia, I have been biting my tongue since your first comment yesterday morning, not because I agree with you but because I agree that you have a right to your opinion.

But this -- The real naked truth is I am not intellectually up to the challenge. -- this is a cop out, and an insulting one at that. You're not stupid, and you know you're not stupid. If you don't feel like defending your positions, don't. But don't tell us you're not smart enough to do so. You're not just insulting yourself, you're insulting the rest of us.

I think you were backed into a corner by having so many people jump down your throat at once, especially considering you were out all day and came home to find that you were, once again, the subject of a giant MeTa. And you know, if I were in that situation I'd probably have been incapable of responding coherently, too. Not because I'm intellectually inferior, but because it's hard to have any kind of debate when people are throwing grenades all over the place.

Seriously, though. Don't tell us you're not smart enough to have these conversations. You don't want to? Fine. You don't feel able to because everyone and their mother is attacking you? Also fine. You don't have the time? Still okay.

But extracting yourself from a conversation and then returning and claiming you're not smart enough to engage is dishonest and unfair.
posted by brina at 8:40 AM on August 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


You're not just insulting yourself, you're insulting the rest of us.

Awesome, even if she admits she feels that she isn't smart enough to defend her points, apologizes for trying to do so and admits by doing so she deserved all the crap she got, she's actually insulting "the rest of us".

By the way, thank you for for speaking up for the "rest of us" and solidifying that there's an "us" and "them". It's good to have it out in the open.
posted by nomadicink at 8:49 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If all this thread is going to devolve into is "kick St. Alia" I think it's time to close it. I already said I'm not posting any more in political threads. You got what you want.

Unless what you really want is to have a punching bag. Forgive me for thinking that's actually a possibility here.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:54 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


brina, I'm a pretty smart guy with lots of opinions (many unpopular) and I don't think I am smart enough to take on all comers. Even if I were I'm smart enough to know it's no fun. I've tried it before. You end up with shit pulled out of context with strikes and the ever mature "FTFY" that paints you as a sexist racist bigot and as soon as you deny that you're dismissed as privileged. It really is a no win situation.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:03 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, I'm out canvassing for gay marriage the other day, and I get to talking to this woman from Australia. She starts out saying that she doesn't mind "them" having the same rights, but her religion prevents her from giving up the word marriage.

Since I've been at this a while, I already know the response to the "religion prevents use of 'marriage,'" that the United States has a bad history of separate not being equal, and it's important both to society and to individuals to preserve equality under the law, more important than semantics and besides, all right-thinking people are linguistic descriptivists and also laws based on one religion's beliefs often conflict with other religions and in the absence of material evidence, it's wiser not to legislate from the Bible anyway. But I don't get through hardly any of those, because she starts talking about how Americans are too hung up on the idea of equality and anyway, some discrimination is good.

Because she's a woman, and because people are more likely to understand things in their personal contexts, I start to ask her about discrimination against women. While she herself enjoys a career in government (family services, in fact) back Down Under, she believes that the removal of discrimination against women in employment and schooling has been a net bad thing for the West. She keeps coming back to the idea that nature discriminates against women, and that attempts to overcome that have led to things like families being unable to afford houses—"It used to be that only the man's income was considered for a mortgage. But now, if you don't have two incomes, it's impossible to get a house in a nice place." While I do agree that the emphasis on two earners has certainly distorted the market, the remedy of denying women a place in the employment market seems like a rather poor answer. But let's go even more basic, I say. What about the right to vote?

Well, she says, she thinks that women voting has been a net negative for the west, and that one of the reasons why places like the Middle East have a more cohesive identity is that they don't let women vote. And anyway, her religion says that the man should be in charge anyway, so it's not like she decides who to vote for on her own. To me, it seems perverse to deny other women their own choice to engage in careers or, christ, elections, while still carrying through on doing it yourself, but she tells me, "That's a very American attitude."

(Spluh? I just had a couple from Perth sign up as full members, fighting for gay marriage halfway around the globe from their homes. Whatever.)

And as I talk to her more, it comes out that she wasn't always this way. She resented, even still resents, the way that her father treats her mother and treats her. He sits at the table, describes what he will be served, and bangs his fist on the table if it's not quick enough. When he's done, he pushes the dishes away, lights his pipe and reads his paper. She said that the last time he pulled that, she flatly refused.

But she thinks that the push for education and careers for women is brainwashing. I wouldn't understand, she says, because I'm a man, but women are very much pressured these days, if they're smart and capable, to pursue schooling and careers. I don't really see a problem with that, but for her, this is tantamount to "denying nature and God."

Things really click for me when she mentions why she's over in the states—apparently, Australia's health care system isn't up to providing the most cutting-edge fertility treatments. She went to college, had a career for a few years (it's odd, as she's only a year or two older than I am, but looks much, much older), and then her doctor told her, "Too bad, you've got old eggs. Shoulda had a kid when you were 20."

That's why the liberal "brainwashing" of equality has destroyed her life—because she can't conceive. That's why she's against sending her daughters to college (and she said that in Australia, it's not even mandatory that they finish high school). That's why she doesn't want to support equality for herself or for anyone else—because she blames the notion of inequality for her infertility. And she keeps saying that I don't know what it's like, that women are brainwashed until the most powerful urge in the universe takes root in their bodies only to be thwarted, and that's why it's important that girls not go to school…

After which, we had an interesting discussion about how talk of "socialism" in America is all right-wing propaganda, and really, everyone should have health care and pensions and everything.

Just an aside on argument, persuasion and rhetorical positions from which there is no escape.
posted by klangklangston at 9:04 AM on August 2, 2010 [24 favorites]


I am not defending St. Alia here but I have to agree with one point -- she got criticized for being all folksly and aw shucks and whatnot when she described her day -- which might be true, but so did jonmc (although his description was less folksy and more rocksy) and I was told that's "perspective, genius."
posted by proj at 9:05 AM on August 2, 2010


You got what you want.

Well, it seems like there were many people who were honestly engaging you and asking genuine questions, so just checking out would not actually be giving them what they want.

Of course, it's not your responsibility to make everyone feel good about themselves, but if you cared about being a respectful participant in the thread, you could at least respond to those people in kind.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:05 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


nomadicink, by "the rest of us," I meant, "the other members of this community, of which St. Alia is a part."

Nor am I suggesting that the pile-on that has now been going for more than 24 straight hours is "deserved." I'm saying that, as a strong independent woman with thoughts and opinions and feelings, I find it disingenuous and upsetting when another woman claims intellectual inferiority as the rationale for her decision to back away from a discussion.

St. Alia is also a strong, independent woman with thoughts and opinions and feelings. She's an intelligent woman. And she should know this, and she should not either (a) be forced to "admit" to stupidity in order to escape harassment or (b) feel that it's okay to use the "I'm sorry, it's my fault, I'm dumb, I won't talk any more" gambit in order to avoid having a thoughtful discussion. It's not a good strategy, and for those of us who know that Alia is both intelligent and articulate, yes, it is insulting.
posted by brina at 9:10 AM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


she blames the notion of inequality for her infertility.

Holy shit, klang.
posted by rtha at 9:11 AM on August 2, 2010


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: That is bullshit. If you've said all you have to say, why do should you continue "responding in kind"?

And what's this "if you cared" rhetoric. Here's one for you. If YOU cared about the community, you could at least have phrased that in such a way as not to make it a personal attack. It's not a difficult thing to do. Unless you're being deliberately provocative.
posted by seanyboy at 9:13 AM on August 2, 2010


If all this thread is going to devolve into is "kick St. Alia" I think it's time to close it. I already said I'm not posting any more in political threads. You got what you want.

Unless what you really want is to have a punching bag. Forgive me for thinking that's actually a possibility here.


cortex and mathowie and I decide when the threads are closed, you don't. I've said several times that we'd appreciate if people were civil in this thread and most of the recent comments have been more than civil though they have not been particularly friendly. I've stayed pretty well out of this, but feel like I need to mention that having people wanting to actively and vigorously debate your points is part of the downside to having opinions that are controversial or contrary, especially when you repeatedly state them. If this is not something that you are willing to engage in, or stay away from, this may not be the place for you.

As I've said frequently, we'll defend your right to participate in this community if we feel like you're doing so in good faith. Showing up with a breezy "hi y'all" and ignoring the fact that people still want to discuss issues with you is the exact same problem that started things over in MeFi originally. And honestly I can't tell if you don't like this or don't actually see it. Still. After all this time. Dropping a lot of touchy button-pushing unsupported comments and then conveniently being gone for the whole day is becoming a pattern. We'd like it to stop, whether it's you sticking around to talk about things, or just not dropping off the map and coming back later and acting like people have their priorities screwed up because they wanted to keep talking.

Refusing to engage with the community on topics that you hold against-the-grain opinions on [and state them in touchy threads] is technically allowed but socially sort of annoying. We'd like it if you could manage that better than this, and that includes the "woe is me I can't talk about my day" stuff. If you want to follow up in this thread or the contact form, please feel free. You are welcome to not return to this thread if you don't like the way things are going, but your participation on the site is a problem that is larger than just "hey St Alia, please do better, okay?" which is why there is this long thread to begin with and why we don't think it's a great idea to close it just because you've shown back up.

Everyone else: keep the ad hominen down, it's not useful and makes this place worse. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:17 AM on August 2, 2010 [28 favorites]


And what's this "if you cared" rhetoric. Here's one for you. If YOU cared about the community, you could at least have phrased that in such a way as not to make it a personal attack.

I don't think it's particularly insulting to infer that St. Alia doesn't much care to clarify her position. It's only a slight to her if she is in turn criticizing others for not engaging her fully. If you feel like my phrasing was the height of reprobation, I would respectfully disagree with you. To answer your statement, I'm not being deliberately provocative.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:19 AM on August 2, 2010


proj, what I was getting at with my description of the nice day and the porch and 'perspective' was that having this tedious argument that we've had seeming several billion times around here and seems to covince nobody of anything kept us all from doing things that were undoubtedly more pleasurable.
posted by jonmc at 9:21 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's why she doesn't want to support equality for herself or for anyone else—because she blames the notion of inequality for her infertility. And she keeps saying that I don't know what it's like, that women are brainwashed until the most powerful urge in the universe takes root in their bodies only to be thwarted, and that's why it's important that girls not go to school…

Several years ago, I encountered a small number of women (and one man) who felt similarly. They were vehement anti-feminists, and blamed the equal rights movement for putting them in a situation where they were trying to start their respective families later in life and each found it difficult to conceive. Well-intentioned doctors had told them (truthfully) that conceiving would probably have been easier for them if they had started their families a decade earlier, when they were in their 20's, and in return they had decided that feminism was responsible for their infertility.

There's a blog entry about this phenomenon here.
posted by zarq at 9:23 AM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


nomadicink, by "the rest of us," I meant, "the other members of this community, of which St. Alia is a part."

Of which I am, so I'd appreciate you not assuming to speak for me, thank you.

I find it disingenuous and upsetting when another woman claims intellectual inferiority as the rationale for her decision to back away from a discussion.

Honestly and I'm not trying to be mean toyou, perhaps this is your issue or some such? You are not Alia and Alia is not you, so how she handles this doesn't necessarily match how you would do it and more importantly, that isn't necessarily a negative relation on her that you or anyone else needs to feel insulted about.

I'm really confused and flabbergasted that anyone would be insulted her reasons for bowing out. It's like you're holding her to some standard of humanity and if she doesn't measure up then it reflects on you somehow.

feel that it's okay to use the "I'm sorry, it's my fault, I'm dumb, I won't talk any more" gambit in order to avoid having a thoughtful discussion. It's not a good strategy, and for those of us who know that Alia is both intelligent and articulate, yes, it is insulting.

Could you explain please, how this is a "gambit"?

Also, how do you know Alia? Are you two friends off site or interact in some way other than threads on Mefi?
posted by nomadicink at 9:24 AM on August 2, 2010


You're not inferring that "she doesn't care to clarify her position". You're inferring that she doesn't care about being a respectful participant. It's disingenuous to say otherwise.
posted by seanyboy at 9:25 AM on August 2, 2010


The real naked truth is I am not intellectually up to the challenge.

That is one of the 10 biggest LIES I have ever seen her perpetrate here. From having been made way too aware of her 'contributions' over the years (and even the previously alluded to non-public contact), "St.Alia" has a rather remarkable skill at framing issues to her own advantage; witness the 'turning' of sympathy toward her after her contributions here. A very powerful manipulator whose power over me dissipated after I started assuming there was manipulation behind her contributions. I do honestly believe her that the requirements of her 'real life' kept her away from being able to contribute more to that thread, but it was so obvious that she framed it in a way to declare her superiority over those who did stay with it. And if she had been able to, it would not have been a positive contribution. If some of MeFi's better known lefty trolls were nearly as skillful as she, this site would be in big trouble.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:27 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jessamyn, it's not productive to bash me for actions I have already and repeatedly said I am not going to engage in anymore. I don't care if this thread continues if people want to discuss ISSUES but there is a difference between that and going over the same sad crap over and over again.

I really do feel that no matter what I do there is someone who will criticize it. No, I am not stupid, far from it, but there are areas in which I am fairly well informed and comfortable, and then there are areas that, while I do have opinions, it is pretty blatantly obvious I have trouble defending them. Some of that is the fact I am not analytical and that I think "out loud" and some of that is that no matter what I say I get pilloried, and feel that I am not actually being listened to and then feel like it is useless to try. Because if I do try, I'm either "a bigot" or 'dropping turds" or whatever. And then, because I DO have to walk away from the computer, well, then, I am arguing in Bad Faith. Well, maybe I am sick and tired of all of it, and I just want it to stop. I just want to enjoy the parts of the community that AREN'T all grar, the parts where it seems my contributions are welcome.

And I would just like the conservatives that I KNOW are out there to quit being lazy and cowardly and get your butts here and have conversations instead of letting me be hung out to dry all the time.

St. Alia is also a strong, independent woman with thoughts and opinions and feelings. She's an intelligent woman. And she should know this, and she should not either (a) be forced to "admit" to stupidity in order to escape harassment or (b) feel that it's okay to use the "I'm sorry, it's my fault, I'm dumb, I won't talk any more" gambit in order to avoid having a thoughtful discussion



Talk about a crazymaking double bind. Well, good thing I don't CARE whether it's okay or not with anyone that I finally said I'd had enough and am going to stop posting on those threads. Because that is my decision. And it is my opinion that if you continue to rag on me about that, then it's time for you to stop. If you don't agree with that, I don't know what else to say.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:31 AM on August 2, 2010


I could be wrong, obviously, but your words read as if you get a grim pleasure out of sacrificing your presence in political threads.
posted by Windigo at 9:37 AM on August 2, 2010


You're not inferring that "she doesn't care to clarify her position". You're inferring that she doesn't care about being a respectful participant. It's disingenuous to say otherwise.

Fair enough. I'm saying that her comments in this thread indicate to me that she doesn't care about being a respectful participant. She can prove me wrong and my mind is open. I have defended St. Alia before and I'll do it again, but in this case I can't. She continues to state that she is incapable of processing the topic at hand beyond an emotional level and that her opinion cannot be swayed. To me, that is not the sign of one who is engaged respectfully with others.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:38 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, windigo, you ARE wrong.

To all: One thing that would help a lot is if we quit imputing motives to me. If you want to know a motivation behind a post, ask. Don't assume.

I am just tremendously angry right now. I don't get angry much. It's not an emotion I enjoy.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:39 AM on August 2, 2010


Fair enough. I'm saying that her comments in this thread indicate to me that she doesn't care about being a respectful participant

And this is the sort of BS that totally sends me around the bend.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:40 AM on August 2, 2010


If you want to know a motivation behind a post, ask. Don't assume.

Many people did and you did not respond to them.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:40 AM on August 2, 2010 [22 favorites]


Man, has this not fizzled out yet?

I swear, I will never understand this sort of personal pile-on MeTa callout. It just seems to me that if someone says something you disagree with or dislike you can post to counter them, or you can ignore them, or you can tell teecher on 'em by flagging. This desire to hold an auto da grey strikes me as... unhealthy and unproductive.

That said, I suppose it says something about me that I can never resist reading them and laughing like a drain.
posted by Decani at 9:41 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you want to know a motivation behind a post, ask. Don't assume.

*head explodes*

But....but....everyone IS asking. Repeatedly! And that's a large part of the problem, is that you DON'T let us know your motivations and reasoning, no matter how nicely (or not) you're asked!
posted by Windigo at 9:43 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I just can't believe that anyone is calling for SAotB to be banned. Really.
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:44 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I don't want to be another person to gang up on you, so I will leave now. Just know, St. Alia, that I respect you and your positions, and I feel like your opinion is an interesting voice among the variety of perspectives on Metafilter. However, because you do offer contrary opinions, it would be awesome if you could articulate those opinions more thoroughly so that some of us who do not share your opinions better understand where you're coming from. To the others who just pile on with ten, twenty comments, reiterating the same thing over and over again, I don't know what to say. I'm checking out now.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:44 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you want to know a motivation behind a post, ask. Don't assume.

*slaps forehead* We've been doin' it all wrong.
posted by special-k at 9:44 AM on August 2, 2010


You wrote that whole thing just to use the phrase 'auto da grey,' didn't you?
posted by jonmc at 9:46 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


And I don't want to be another person to gang up on you, so I will leave now. Just know, St. Alia, that I respect you and your positions, and I feel like your opinion is an interesting voice among the variety of perspectives on Metafilter. However, because you do offer contrary opinions, it would be awesome if you could articulate those opinions more thoroughly so that some of us who do not share your opinions better understand where you're coming from. To the others who just pile on with ten, twenty comments, reiterating the same thing over and over again, I don't know what to say. I'm checking out now.

Well, when it comes to politics, you no longer will have that perspective. I have already said I am unable to articulate my opinions in such a fashion that won't get me shredded every single dang time. I'm done. What part of done do people not understand?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:47 AM on August 2, 2010


Fair enough.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:49 AM on August 2, 2010


"She continues to state that she is incapable of processing the topic at hand beyond an emotional level"

You know that this is how most people process topics right? I've got a pretty liberal set of beliefs, and almost without exception I arrived at them emotionally and then filled in the "proof" of my rightness using a kind of "discussion" that I incorrectly call logic. I suspect that you're the same. I suspect that most people are the same.

I suspect that (for example) you didn't start off racist, and then was somehow convinced using a rigorous mathematically sound proof that people who look different to you should be treated the same. I suspect that you held anti-racism initially as a belief that you fitted a bunch of logic around.

That is, you got your beliefs before you got your proof.

Most of us here are actually incapable of processing topics at anything other than an emotional level. That we continue to try and pretend otherwise says something about our humanity. I'm not sure what that something is.
posted by seanyboy at 9:51 AM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Man, you're awful picked on aren't you ?
posted by iamabot at 9:52 AM on August 2, 2010


I think it'd be cool if any metatalk threads that get to 100 comments also had there own meta thread.
posted by andy_t at 9:56 AM on August 2, 2010


I would respond to your bad faith misquoting of me, but I have to go out and pick up dead bunnies in my yard. I'm totally serious. It's kind of squicking me out. Why are there two dead baby rabbits out there? Is it a sign? What does this mean?
posted by norm at 9:59 AM on August 2, 2010


Elmer Fudd's finally had enough?
posted by jonmc at 10:01 AM on August 2, 2010


I actually hope she changes her mind and doesn't impose limits on herself about what topics she can and can't participate in. I say that knowing full well the amount of GRAR that would ensue.

HOWEVER.

I do think that when the pileons happen (and let's be honest, even if she stays out of political threads, certain people are still going to be waiting and watching for her to "slip up" and say something, anything, they can pounce on), she would be well-advised to not pop in with stories of barbecue and blueberries. I don't think she means any harm with that stuff, and I don't believe all the weird Machiavellian motives that are attributed to her. I think she simply and genuinely hopes that comments like that will defuse the GRAR -- the same way other people think posting recipes in MeTa will get people to lighten up and move on already. Sadly, knee-deep GRAR is not so easily dissipated.

I like St. Alia of the Bunnies. I think she's a nice lady. Once in a while she says something that makes me close my eyes and sigh, but you know, the same is true for people like, say languagehat (who I think is completely awesome but every once in a while seems to be so cranky I want to reach through my screen and give him a shoulder rub). And I'm quite sure there are people who feel the same way about me.

I just don't see why some folks have to keep this nonsense up. So she "doesn't respond to repeated requests for clarification." So what? Seriously, so what? Who cares, and why? So someone is WRONG ON THE INTERNET. So what?
posted by Gator at 10:08 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not an emotion I enjoy.

That's hard to believe, given the way you interact with the world. To me, it looks like you get up every morning, bathe in anger, drink a gallon of haterade, and then go out and spew it all over the decent folk just trying to live life without your approval.
posted by nomisxid at 10:08 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


After I noted the first deceased lagomorph, the first thing that came to mind was "what have I done?....I killed the wabbit! Poor little bunny."
posted by norm at 10:08 AM on August 2, 2010


No Easter next year?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:12 AM on August 2, 2010


I actually hope she changes her mind and doesn't impose limits on herself about what topics she can and can't participate in

I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm not changing my mind. At the very least I am not going back on my word to the mods. I'd like th think their work lives would be better as a consequence but unfortunately I have the feeling that the break will only last until another target is chosen.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:12 AM on August 2, 2010


That's hard to believe, given the way you interact with the world.

Metafilter is not the world.

It's true!
posted by nomadicink at 10:14 AM on August 2, 2010


Well, when it comes to politics, you no longer will have that perspective. I have already said I am unable to articulate my opinions in such a fashion that won't get me shredded every single dang time. I'm done.

That's too bad for all of us. It seems to me like a small minority of vocal members of the community have hounded SAotB's out of the blue/gray because they don't like her politics, full stop. Said members say, often in a very hurtful way, that they don't like her because she fails to argue for her opinions in the way they think is proper on MeFi. I don't believe that's the real reason. If it were, then they would insist that everyone who issues any sort of political opinion on MeFi back it up with the full spread of arguments, citations, etc, etc, that they ask of SAotB. They don't, so I conclude that there must be some other reason for their repeated attacks on her. And that reason, I say again, is that they don't like her politics.

All of us read opinions on Mefi we disagree with. But only a few of us insist on attacking the holders of those opinions as if the world's very fate depended on it. It doesn't. This is a place to meet and talk. If you want to save the world, join the Peace Corps.
posted by MarshallPoe at 10:14 AM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


And I would just like the conservatives that I KNOW are out there to quit being lazy and cowardly and get your butts here and have conversations instead of letting me be hung out to dry all the time.

It could be argued that your controversial presence in these arguments deters conservatives from participating. Maybe they'll be more likely to do so in situations where they can defend their own ideas without being contaminated by association with you.
posted by hermitosis at 10:16 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


- she got criticized for being all folksly and aw shucks and whatnot when she described her day -- which might be true, but so did jonmc (although his description was less folksy and more rocksy) and I was told that's "perspective, genius.""

Crucial distinction: the thread was not about jonmc's comments elsewhere on the site.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:20 AM on August 2, 2010


You wrote that whole thing just to use the phrase 'auto da grey,' didn't you?
posted by jonmc at 12:46 PM on August 2


I was actually going to put "Star Chamber" then decided that "auto-da-fé: was better and then it hit me. Scout's honour!
posted by Decani at 10:21 AM on August 2, 2010


You know that this is how most people process topics right? I've got a pretty liberal set of beliefs, and almost without exception I arrived at them emotionally and then filled in the "proof" of my rightness using a kind of "discussion" that I incorrectly call logic. I suspect that you're the same. I suspect that most people are the same.

This is true. We get many of our beliefs from communities that we grow to respect and appreciate. We also use a "cumulative case" approach where we adopt the beliefs of a community that seem to provide the best paradigm for the data that we see, even though there might be a few anomalies we can't quite explain. This is why, in the case of some beliefs, we still hold on to them even though we can't always articulate why, or forgot some of the details behind the justification for the belief. If the paradigm (or community that holds the paradigm) has done a very good job of describing the world to us in a way that makes sense of everything, we assume there must be a good explanation for this additional belief that seems to fit coherently with the whole, even though I can't always explain how. Or, someone from my trusted community has found a way to explain that belief with good reason, and I can't exactly remember how that goes right now, but I remember enough to not quite ditch it. This isn't always a bad move. I hold onto a lot of scientific beliefs, for example, because I trust scientists in general; although I do hold these beliefs in tension, as evidence comes in and I'm able to parse it out to the best of my ability.

This doesn't alleviate us from the responsibility of looking closely at all of our beliefs, and holding them in tension, or being willing to revise them in the fact of opposing evidence. But at face value, many of us hold onto beliefs that we can't always justify immediately. However, and here's the funny thing, it doesn't always mean it's irrational to hold them. It just means that when you are the minority, you are going to have a rough time of it, because people are bringing other beliefs to the table, many of which were put together by their respective communities, and they tend to pile on. And better yet, they have good reasons for holding those beliefs that form the expert testimony of their community, and it makes sense to bring good reasons to the table, as well. If you can't, it might make sense to know when to step back. It doesn't mean that your opinion is necessarily wrong, it just means it's not going to be a productive conversation.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:35 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


It could be argued that your controversial presence in these arguments deters conservatives from participating. Maybe they'll be more likely to do so in situations where they can defend their own ideas without being contaminated by association with you.

This is the sort of continued put down of Alia that doesn't serve any purpose. You haven't presented a shred of proof that is so, just opined about what you think and perhaps would like to be true, while continuing to cast Alia as ugly person that no one sane or reasonable would want to be associated with.
posted by nomadicink at 10:36 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


It seems to me like a small minority of vocal members of the community have hounded SAotB's out of the blue/gray because they don't like her politics, full stop.

I don't think that's true. As a member of one of the many groups whose rights are outweighed in her mind by her religious beliefs, I don't like her politics, full stop, but I can say for myself that what I find very annoying about arguing with her is that there isn't really any argument. She'll throw something out there that I find very offensive for whatever reason, I'll respond to it with what I think is a fairly level criticism of what she wrote, and she just moves on to some other point.

That said, I don't think she should be banned, or have to moderate herself any more than she has in the past. It's much more useful for everyone else to learn how to take bad arguments in stride, I think.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:38 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


MarshallPoe wrote: "If it were, then they would insist that everyone who issues any sort of political opinion on MeFi back it up"

Oh, but they do. I'm mostly in line with the prevailing thought here, politically speaking, yet political arguments never have trouble finding me. The only way that won't happen is if there's a cookie cutter monoculture in political belief on this site. I like to think that most of us don't just subscribe to all the tenets of whatever "team" we associate ourselves with in the absence of due consideration of those beliefs.

Anyway, I think St. Alia gets more shit than she deserves, but a lot of it is her own damn fault. Like many sometimes controversial posters, her reasonable contributions are sometimes read by others with the worst possible meaning, thus sparking a bunch of fightiness. Sometimes, though, she means to provoke, or at least puts on a good show of looking like it.
posted by wierdo at 10:45 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, are we still fighting? Because if she really and truly will stick to threads where she gets along with us much better (e.g. the green), then that seems like a good solution for everyone.
posted by heatherann at 10:49 AM on August 2, 2010


This is exactly why Astro Zombie 2 is not allowed to participate in threads about cannibalism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I see a future in a MeTa betting site where wages are placed on the possibility of when and where events could occur. Need not even be money; heck, favorites could work as currency.
posted by cavalier at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2010


Said members say, often in a very hurtful way, that they don't like her because she fails to argue for her opinions in the way they think is proper on MeFi. I don't believe that's the real reason. If it were, then they would insist that everyone who issues any sort of political opinion on MeFi back it up with the full spread of arguments, citations, etc, etc, that they ask of SAotB. They don't, so I conclude that there must be some other reason for their repeated attacks on her. And that reason, I say again, is that they don't like her politics.

I promised her I'd leave her in peace, so will to try to put this in general, non-condemning terms.

I don't call for people to be banned. This is the first time I had ever done so. And I've already retracted my comment based on what I felt was a heartfelt comment from Alia upthread.

I posted this comment in the kldickson callout at this time last year. I still suck at following those guidelines, but they represent a level of discourse I personally think is worth striving for.

You're right that this is a place for people to meet and talk. However, it is important to folks around here that all members of a conversation participate in good faith -- meaning that they aren't going to make deliberately outrageous one-off comments in order to provoke a nasty reaction, then ignore requests for clarification. When I called for her to be banned, I believed that sort of bad faith trolling what she was doing.

My personal impression was that people were not asking her to back up her comments with a "full spread" of citations. They were asking her to back up her comments with some facts, period. Hyperbolic statements don't fly well here. I don't think that's a bad thing.
posted by zarq at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not cannibalism when the dead eat the living.
posted by Astro Zombie 2 at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Shut up, dude.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:01 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, good thing I don't CARE whether it's okay or not with anyone that I finally said I'd had enough and am going to stop posting on those threads.

well, a lot of us had already figured out that you don't care

i don't care either - just drop it - all this drama isn't necessary
posted by pyramid termite at 11:01 AM on August 2, 2010


> I just can't believe that anyone is calling for SAotB to be banned. Really.
> posted by MarshallPoe at 12:44 PM on August 2 [+] [!]

That (and nothing else about it) is what makes the thread important to Metafilter members. Are the rules going to change regarding what behavior can cause a member to lose access to the site? I feel relatively confident they are not; it's a privately owned site and users don't have anything like a formal vote on such matters. On the other hand I expect the weight of expressed opinion does have some cumulative weight, in the same way the Supreme Court is said to read the election returns.

If the worst were to happen and it became site policy that expressing opinions contrary to the hither-prevailing ones (whether repeatedly or not, whether with clarification/defense/"engagement" or not) changes from "technically allowed but socially sort of annoying" to "not allowed" and becomes good cause to be denied site access, merely because they cause an enormous henhouse cackle in threads and make tiresome work for the mods, then at that moment the site's value shrinks to that of just another feelgood-for-lefties echochamber. Further, it would be final proof that Metafilter could not handle dissent, in the sense that it could not deal with the fact that many, even most, individuals "out there" (out there online or out there physically, in the world of flesh and the Devil) hold such wicked wrong opinions, and some of them sometimes wander in here.

We have a statement from A Moderator, in thread comment #4:

> Yeah the "let's interrogate Alia about her beliefs" is pretty much as tiresome as her bringing
> them up and not really engaging with people in discussing them with anything other than "that's
> just what I believe"

The thread was started off by norm the OP with the note "The thread's now about her (and I helped, sorry), but the larger point remains: how many bites at the apple is our favorite troll going to get?" If the interrogation of St. Alia and her opinions is just as tiresome as St. Alia's opinions themselves, it strikes me as entirely fair that there be discussion about whether norm should be banned, along with everyone else who contributes to this (or any) pile-on. "I helped, sorry" -- that's not nearly enough groveling. To remain members, pile-on participants should have to grovel just as much as the user at the bottom of the pile has to. If the user at the bottom of the pile is risking loss of access, so should they all be.
posted by jfuller at 11:02 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is the sort of continued put down of Alia that doesn't serve any purpose. You haven't presented a shred of proof that is so, just opined about what you think and perhaps would like to be true, while continuing to cast Alia as ugly person that no one sane or reasonable would want to be associated with.

Well, i for one hold some conservative views that i am perfectly capable of debating and, if convinced, evolving. I also make it a point never to discuss them here, in part because of the villagers-with-torches-and-pitchforks mentality on display in this very thread. I'm not defending Alia - having abandoned herself, she certainly isn't deserving of any sympathy from me - but I just wanted to point out that there are small-c-conservatives on MetaFilter who decline to be lion food.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 11:04 AM on August 2, 2010 [15 favorites]


"I helped, sorry" -- that's not nearly enough groveling.

I'm not sure I see your point. I started the thread because this is the appropriate place to call out a member who is derailing a thread with bigoted comments. My apology was for posting two comments at her in the original thread instead of just posting this first. As for the substance of my comments, I stand by them.
posted by norm at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2010


Metafilter is not the world.

Indeed it isn't. I'm basing the statement on her own self-reported incidents of real-world behavior, behavior she's said she was proud of, behavior which would make baby jesus cry at the mind-boggling-Pharisaical-evil she does in his name.
posted by nomisxid at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2010


It could be argued that your controversial presence in these arguments deters conservatives from participating.

Or perhaps SAotB's opinions can't be defended from a clear-eyed conservative standpoint in the first place.

The Constitution allows for freedom of religion, which the Founding Fathers, as has been amply shown, understood to encompass any and all faiths including Islam - and while on the subject of the First Amendment, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has the same rights to free speech and free association as every other American - so both respect for the rule of law and original intent are on the Cordoba Initiative's side. The Cordoba House is, first and foremost, a local issue for New York City that the community is capable of deciding for itself; someone 500 miles away does not have a direct interest in it (SAotB is not in any way, as far as I can determine, a representative voice of 9/11 victims and their families and friends). And in a free (real estate) market, the Cordoba Initiative has the same rights to purchase property as anyone else and do with it as they will, without interference from the government and politicians beyond applicable statutes.

On the other hand, if we're talking about religious conservatism, then SAotB may embark on her crusade/seek martyrdom by herself.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


For the record, conservatives don't come here because a large number of them are nearly entirely scared to engage in honest and open debate in which they have to back up their views with factual references.

Fark.com politics tab is full of conservatives. There are conservative headlines and conservative commentators in every thread, some of which are very intelligent and would fit in well here. Liberals are meaner than they are here, the moderators don't restrain anyone, and the liberals outnumber them. Those things aren't what drive conservatives away.

A forum in which commentary must be backed up with logic and facts and will be exposed to rigorous debate is what drives them away. As you can see with Alia from her own keyboard. Unless you want to give up that aspect of Metafilter, stop whining about the lack of conservative commentary. Another good example would be the debate and discussion forum at SomethingAwful. Very well moderated, you aren't allowed to get away with being an over the top asshole to conservatives, but there are very few there aside from a few token libertarians because the forum expects some level of serious effort to back up what you claim.

This isn't some crazy theory out of left field, there is a reason conservatives need their AM radio hosts with zero dissent, their Fox News with zero liberal hosts, and their internet sites where emotional ranting is given equal weight to facts.

There is a very real pile on nature that can drive people away (sometimes wrongly, sometimes rightly, like in cases where people are making bigoted racist statements like all Muslims are like family members to terrorists) I would urge people to try and look for restraint when it is appropriate, but we don't need to be overly nice to racists just for the sake of being Fair and Balanced.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:25 AM on August 2, 2010 [14 favorites]


It screams of hubris that the rationale for MeFi being composed of "liberal" or left-leaning commentators is due to the fact that only these type of folks can back up their views with factual references. That's just a short sided view. I know plenty of conservative minded folks -- and they can debate just fine. I don't grok their rationale, but they can surely present it.

Just because I disagree with someone, does not make them stone dumb simply for the matter that their viewpoint is contrary to mine. It is one's actions as an individual that should define them. I'm not sure what it would encourage a "loud mouthed" conservative looking for a debate to participate on the boards. Since we have an overwhelming population of extroverted debate-prone leftist folks, these few individuals (off the top of my head, Paris, dios, St. Alia), often are forced into a corner where they are labelled fools at best or trolls and pariahs at worst. Does this excuse trollish behavior? No, it does not, starting a fight and walking away from it is not exactly the same as just holding a contrary view point and expressing it. There's a difference there.
posted by cavalier at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


A forum in which commentary must be backed up with logic and facts and will be exposed to rigorous debate is what drives them away.

Yes, it is true, only liberalism that can live up to logic and facts. Damn you conservatives, for all your emotions and lies!
posted by nomadicink at 11:37 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


> the same is true for people like, say languagehat (who I think is completely awesome but every once in a while seems to be so cranky I want to reach through my screen and give him a shoulder rub)

WHERE'S MY SHOULDER RUB DAMMIT
posted by languagehat at 11:38 AM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh and Steven whatshisname. Granted, a lot of the posts you remember from them came from "throwing a stink bomb" into a kumbaya thread, but really -- isn't that what a contrary position is? A bunch of people singing kumbaya, and dude walks up and says "Y'all know that song was stolen from the Egyptians, right?"

I can not be bothered to come up with an actual example that makes sense. Back to watching.
posted by cavalier at 11:38 AM on August 2, 2010


This is the sort of continued put down of Alia that doesn't serve any purpose.

It's not a put-down. Politics aside, she's a polarizing and contentious presence on the site that I could imagine less well-known people wanting to avoid association with, especially if they wanted their opinions to be evaluated fairly.
posted by hermitosis at 11:39 AM on August 2, 2010


For the record, conservatives don't come here because a large number of them are nearly entirely scared to engage in honest and open debate in which they have to back up their views with factual references.

You don't really believe that, do you?
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:42 AM on August 2, 2010


It screams of hubris that the rationale for MeFi being composed of "liberal" or left-leaning commentators is due to the fact that only these type of folks can back up their views with factual references.

I backed up my opinion with factual references to a few other forums, maybe you can do the same, because I would love to find a good, well moderated forum for that type of debate.


I'm not sure what it would encourage a "loud mouthed" conservative looking for a debate to participate on the boards. Since we have an overwhelming population of extroverted debate-prone leftist folks, these few individuals (off the top of my head, Paris, dios, St. Alia), often are forced into a corner where they are labelled fools at best or trolls and pariahs at worst. Does this excuse trollish behavior? No, it does not, starting a fight and walking away from it is not exactly the same as just holding a contrary view point and expressing it. There's a difference there.


Again, I referenced the Fark.com politics tab. It has an overwhelming liberal population, people are labeled as trolls and pariahs and worse, and yet there are conservatives there...plenty of them. CLEARLY, liberals being mean isn't the fucking problem.

Why do YOU think conservatives made Rush Limbaugh a billionaire but refuse to listen to liberal hosts, why do YOU think Fox News does not have one liberal host, why do YOU think their online presence is restricted to sites where appeals to emotion and faulty logic are expected and allowed?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:45 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]



Yes, it is true, only liberalism that can live up to logic and facts. Damn you conservatives, for all your emotions and lies!


Sarah Palin is their idea of a brilliant mind. I'm not being outrageous here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:47 AM on August 2, 2010


Surely they are tuning in to Glenn Beck for their daily dose of reason and logic!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:48 AM on August 2, 2010


I don't like Sarah Palin and I don't listen to Glenn Beck. Conservatives are not one single bloc.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:52 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


But that comes a little too close to what I've said I won't do, so never mind. Carry on.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2010


Sarah Palin is their idea of a brilliant mind.

Who exactly is "their" in this sentence? Why the broad brush? Is it really "us" and "them"? And because I'm pretty conservative, does that make me one of "them?"
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


A forum in which commentary must be backed up with logic and facts and will be exposed to rigorous debate is what drives them away.

You may be right, but I'm not convinced of this. Primarily because the Conservatives I know in RL are quite willing to debate facts and logic. They don't need the security of an echo chamber.

However I'd like to also point out that in TWO MeTa threads about religion, I had to repeatedly say "go back and read my comments again please" because a bunch of people here were misunderstanding some things I'd said about Richard Dawkins. I had literally made one extensive, bulleted comment, and others in which I quoted him directly, linked to at least one or two of his essays and a source video of Dawkins own TED talk yet people were STILL telling me I was: (a) misrepresenting his views, (b) not supporting my comments with sources and (c) biased for a variety of reasons, which all seemed to boil down to some sort of argument that I possessed anti-atheistic religious privilege and had dared to make and then defend what seemed to be a perfectly valid complaint about someone they respected.

I was attacked for not wanting to discuss the reasons behind my own son's circumcision, (which I suppose was my fault because I'd brought it up as an example) and then when I posted a rather personal and revealing comment about it the asshole who had called me out for not wanting to talk about it decided to then mock me for doing so.

I found it very frustrating at the time. It led directly to my taking a brief break from this place.

Does MeFi expect you to back up what you claim? Yes. But it should be noted that citations, valid arguments and source materials don't always satisfy -- especially when you're tilting at the community's sacred cows.
posted by zarq at 11:56 AM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


Why are there two dead baby rabbits out there? Is it a sign? What does this mean?

As an amateur haruspex, I would be happy to divine this sign for you. You would need to provide me with diagrams and photographs of the wee rabbits position on you lawn, and fedex me the baby bunny guts in a refrigerated container.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:57 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "Well, when it comes to politics, you no longer will have that perspective. I have already said I am unable to articulate my opinions in such a fashion that won't get me shredded every single dang time. I'm done. What part of done do people not understand"

There is a difference between "unable" and "unwilling."

I feel like it needs to be pointed out that everyone who is saying, "Look, she's promised to behave by committing to Behavior X, and that should be good enough! Let her be, you animals! Have you no compassion? MetaFilter is better than this!!!"

...should mark this thread somehow. Favorite it, bookmark it, put a sticky note on your computer. And remember the day and time where St. Alia said that, in the interest of general community health, she would not come into the political threads any more.

Because this ain't our first rodeo, to use a folksy Texas colloquialism. The reason that so many people are balking at the notion that St. Alia should be allowed to just hold up her right hand and say, "I'll do better, scout's honor!" —is that in our experience, the fingers on her right hand are crossed behind her back.

St. Alia of the Bunnies: "...then there are areas that, while I do have opinions, it is pretty blatantly obvious I have trouble defending them. Some of that is the fact I am not analytical and that I think "out loud" and some of that is that no matter what I say I get pilloried, and feel that I am not actually being listened to and then feel like it is useless to try. Because if I do try, I'm either "a bigot" or 'dropping turds" or whatever. And then, because I DO have to walk away from the computer, well, then, I am arguing in Bad Faith."

St. Alia, I would like to gently point out that successful participation at MetaFilter is a responsibility, not a right. You could very well try harder to meet the community standards for communication. You elect not to, and then you want a pass for that because you perceive yourself to be a protected minority class here.

It is frankly disingenuous (and another blatant populist appeal/neocon martyr play, IMO) to try and suggest that you simply can't understand why presenting your opinions as fact, speaking with authority on behalf of broad swaths of people, and refusing throughout to ever provide any backup for your assertions should just be accepted and welcomed by the community because it's your style. Your implication is that everyone is entitled to their style, no matter what—and even more so if they feign lack of intelligence.

As far as I'm concerned, 90% of the trouble here is not actually St. Alia's ideology; it is the choices she makes while expressing that ideology which aren't working. Framing the whole argument as the conservative Davids against the liberal Goliaths is glossing over the actual problem.

And the 10% that is ideological... we would all be better served by cutting back on the kneejerk. As has been said upthread, read the comment content before reading the byline, and see if that doesn't make your life a little easier.

Brand New Day takes two to tango: the user who promises to behave better... and the community who promises to respect (and even encourage or support) the new, improved effort.
posted by pineapple at 11:57 AM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


I have previously disclaimed I am talking about EVERY conservative, you can drop that line and try and explain why all of their most popular media figures are more in the Palin and Beck and Limbaugh mold instead of the William F. Buckley mold.

58,343,671 people, 46% of the voters in this country, thought Sarah Palin should be Vice President of the United States. I'm going to make an astounding guess here and hypothesize the majority of those people are people who actively support conservative politics.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:00 PM on August 2, 2010


I think there's some talking-past going on because some people refer to the tea party/party of no types as "conservative," while others mean actual conservatives.

St. Alia is (or plays) a tea party-type. The raft of people coming out of the woodwork who refuse to associate themselves with the tea partiers are the actual conservatives.

Actual conservatives have a point of view grounded in reality. We may disagree about how best to interpret the facts, but at least we agree on the facts as they stand. We work from a common reality. The tea party types are based primarily in fantasy, whether it be a literalist interpretation of religion, the lone survivalist/militia lust, and whatever else. We do not inhabit the same reality, so there is little to no productive dialog.
posted by wierdo at 12:03 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


However I'd like to also point out that in TWO MeTa threads about religion, I had to repeatedly say "go back and read my comments again please"

I've been there too. It's not about conservatism, it's about going against the grain which will get you a lot of attention here. It happens exactly the same way on a wide range of subjects in which we still have participants, one side isn't driven away like for politics. Conservatives are unique in that response.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:03 PM on August 2, 2010


St. Alia, I would like to gently point out that successful participation at MetaFilter is a responsibility, not a right. You could very well try harder to meet the community standards for communication. You elect not to, and then you want a pass for that because you perceive yourself to be a protected minority class here.

I could try harder to leap a tall building at a single bound, too. I'd have about as much success.

Thank you for proving my point that nothing and I do mean nothing I can do will stop the criticism.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:04 PM on August 2, 2010


St. Alia, I would like to gently point out that successful participation at MetaFilter is a responsibility, not a right.

How are you defining "successful participation"?
posted by nomadicink at 12:04 PM on August 2, 2010


On not-preview, St. Alia claims to not be a tea-party type. I don't really know what to make of it, given her previously expressed point of view.
posted by wierdo at 12:04 PM on August 2, 2010


How are you defining "successful participation"?

Multiple spouses!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:06 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


wierdo, I know teaparty types. I have never been to a teaparty gathering but I know those who have....if I wasn't married to the person I'm married to I'd be pretty much apolitical with mostly conservative viewpoints. Hope that helps. (I once drank the Palin koolade but have since spit it out.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:07 PM on August 2, 2010


I have previously disclaimed I am talking about EVERY conservative, you can drop that line and try and explain why all of their most popular media figures are more in the Palin and Beck and Limbaugh mold instead of the William F. Buckley mold.

Again, who is "their" in this sentence?
posted by MarshallPoe at 12:08 PM on August 2, 2010


Who exactly is "their" in this sentence? Why the broad brush? Is it really "us" and "them"? And because I'm pretty conservative, does that make me one of "them?"

Palin's "favorables" among the GOP is 76% and she's considered the best-known and highest-rated of the 5 potential GOP candidates as of today. I'm not sure if you're quibbling about the accuracy of the generalization (which seems on point as over 3/4ths of the GOP approves of her) or if you're arguing about being lumped in with them. The number of GOP strategists who appear on TV and speak frankly about Palin is pretty small; there's probably some remnants of the "11th Commandment" behind that as well.
posted by Challahtronix at 12:09 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


For the record, conservatives don't come here because a large number of them are nearly entirely scared to engage in honest and open debate in which they have to back up their views with factual references.

Got cites? Can you back up that argument? It does not meet the exacting, rigorous standards this community demands at all times of all positions.

Could you paint with a broader brush? Do you rationally think you speak for all conservatives?

By your standards, one could say all liberals come here with sanctimonious views and petty, mean-spirited attitudes because they love to stroke their egos in an echo chamber filled with smug, arrogant people.
posted by ambient2 at 12:10 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


By your standards, one could say all liberals come here with sanctimonious views and petty, mean-spirited attitudes because they love to stroke their egos in an echo chamber filled with smug, arrogant people.

Or, see recent atheism threads here.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:11 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh hey I already cited some forums, still waiting for a counter-cite.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:14 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


How are you defining "successful participation"?

I can't speak for pineapple, of course, but in my mind? Successful participation is one that doesn't involve a higher-than-average number of MeTa call-outs and mod warnings (both in-thread and behind the scenes). It also means the ability to present one's views, no matter how much in the minority they might be, with substance, with actual facts (where applicable), and with minimum agita for all parties involved. It's not a terribly complicated concept, really.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:15 PM on August 2, 2010


It seems like this thread has reached the point where everybody has said what they wish to say; now that the bickering and recriminations have ceased, I suggest we move on and, in a communal, supportive, cooperative spirit, play everybody's favorite parlor game: "Who goes Nazi?"
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:17 PM on August 2, 2010


But that comes a little too close to what I've said I won't do, so never mind. Carry on.

See, but you will continue to, because these are topics you like to share your opinions on. This is why I'd take wagers on how long it would be before you came back and opined in a political thread. It's not because I dislike you or want to see you drummed out or anything of the sort -- you truly do like to be the iconoclast in the thread; you are proud of your beliefs and you want to present them. There is no other way to read you thread history in political/medical threads. What you don't like to do, and this is conjecture, is play the whole back and forth that inevitably comes up after you toss your hat into the thread. Why can't they just get that you have a differing opinion?

This is as charitable as I can make it. Otherwise it's a matter of you cherishing the attention and feeling that "any news is good news." You can claim that you're not going to get into those threads, and I look forward to losing a wager on it, but I think you'll be right back where we started in this thread. A tiger cannot lose its stripes. Please, in action, make a fool of me and make me eat crow for saying this.
posted by cavalier at 12:17 PM on August 2, 2010


I know there have to be some good forums out there where right and left participate equally where logic and reason are encouraged over emotion, come on. I don't even care about the argument, I would just like to participate. I'll stick it up on AskMe later if you can't help me now.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:18 PM on August 2, 2010


Baked or barbecued? Because it ain't happening any more.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:19 PM on August 2, 2010


Can't believe people are still hounding this person.

It wasn't that long ago that many people here were sharpening the spike upon which they would fix my head, and I like to think I'm at least somewhat well-liked around here.

Hey, St. Alia. Simmer down.

Hey, everyone. Simmer down.

Everyone. Needs. A. Hug.

First, we cook. And then we chill.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:20 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The proper question is Who Makes the Nazis?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:21 PM on August 2, 2010


the mind-boggling-Pharisaical-evil she does in his name.

Evil? Really? Evil? She typed words onto a web site, and that's evil?

I have a definition of evil and this is nowhere near it.

Proportion, people. Proportion.
posted by micawber at 12:22 PM on August 2, 2010


It screams of hubris that the rationale for MeFi being composed of "liberal" or left-leaning commentators is due to the fact that only these type of folks can back up their views with factual references

Well, it's *definitely* true when it comes to lgbt issues.
posted by mediareport at 12:23 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


As angry as I was with St. Alia for her participation in the original thread, I fail to see what purpose is served by continuing to pile on her now.
posted by languagehat at 12:23 PM on August 2, 2010


I'm basing the statement on her own self-reported incidents of real-world behavior, behavior she's said she was proud of


Evil? Really? Evil? She typed words onto a web site, and that's evil?


I have no idea what behaviors this is about so I can't tell you if they are evil or not but that isn't about typing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:24 PM on August 2, 2010


Successful participation is one that doesn't involve a higher-than-average number of MeTa call-outs and mod warnings (both in-thread and behind the scenes).

What if they're stupid call outs and the mods warnings are from people complete losing their shit about the poster for stupid reasons?

It also means the ability to present one's views, no matter how much in the minority they might be, with substance, with actual facts (where applicable), and with minimum agita for all parties involved. It's not a terribly complicated concept, really.

This whole "present your views and defend" is what's really irking me about this thread. It seems like it turns discussions from a general conversation to a debate warzone, particularly when it's only applied to certain viewpoints, which people seem to be misreading as racist and/or bigoted.

It's just really weird to me and I don't understand it.
posted by nomadicink at 12:30 PM on August 2, 2010


If you want to know a motivation behind a post, ask. Don't assume.

**is this thing on??**

I did. A couple of times. You never reply. *sigh*
posted by desuetude at 12:33 PM on August 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


It screams of hubris that the rationale for MeFi being composed of "liberal" or left-leaning commentators is due to the fact that only these type of folks can back up their views with factual references.

I backed up my opinion with factual references to a few other forums, maybe you can do the same, because I would love to find a good, well moderated forum for that type of debate.


Ahh, err, was more of a sweeping statement, there. Myself, being a commie leftist pinko nihilist goat herder, I don't get into the whole debating scrappin thing with opposite viewpoints as often as I could, but as obnoxious and / or dumb that your Palin and your Limbaugh fans might be portrayed, surely there are intelligent folks out there who believe in a more limited form of government and the like. LGF and the like I assume are fairly obnoxiously partisan, like DKos and the like are fairly partisan. I'd love a mecca in between the two, and that place could even be MetaFilter, if we er, um, were a little more willing to engage then say they were baseless and factless.

To sum up, as I'm quickly losing coherency with this, not everyone who is conservative is a rush dittohead, so not everyone should be painted with the same brush as being factless or baseless, if only because you are frustrated with the dittoheads.
posted by cavalier at 12:33 PM on August 2, 2010


Meanwhile, another mosque is vandalized in Texas.


Either you believe it or you don't, but I assert there is an organized effort to ramp up anti-Muslim rhetoric and to harass Muslim communities and mosques in particular emerging from the American right wing and specifically from the evangelical quarters of that constituency. We're seeing people bring dogs to protest mosques, vandalizing mosques, and trying to bring the legal process (landmark declaration my ass) into fundamentally discriminatory constitutional non-compliance, along with the usual stream of calumnies and slanders against Islam in general and American Muslims in particular.

Some people are just mindless followers who hear the propaganda and think, "good, let's kick those dangerous people out of America." They are the ones at whom this propaganda is targeted, making racial and religious hate seem acceptable, normal, and legal.

Then there are people who are actively spreading that propaganda or provocatively daring its critics to rise up in defense of our Muslim neighbors, friends, fellow citizens, and fellow humans. Some of them, of course, when pressed withdraw the worst of their statements or claim to be among the simple folks who just repeat what they're hearing on the TV. Deniability is often key when you're trying to insinuate hate propaganda into the public discourse.

When this happens to gays, Jews, blacks, or immigrants, we have no problem seeing it for what it is. We feel for our fellow MeFites who embrace those identities, and defend them from the slanders and stereotypes. We have no problem recognizing the organized nature of the hate rhetoric, or of hearing individual expressions of it as evocative of a dangerous movement in our culture, or a longstanding structure that needs to be torn down one mind at a time.

Curious how little offense is taken on behalf of Muslims subjected to the same crap here, how easy some people find it to rationalize, justify, excuse, minimize, or sympathize with the hate on display.

How long before someone tosses a bomb into a mosque or sets on on fire? (Which happened right after 9/11, as I recall.) Do people have to start getting killed before we call religious bigotry by its proper name, and call it out as unacceptable whether you're educated enough to know better or not?
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:33 PM on August 2, 2010 [13 favorites]


(I am also convinced it's not really religious bigotry for the most part, but plain old racism; most Americans do not understand the difference between an Arab and a Muslim, so adding a layer of rationalization targeted at the religious ideals and beliefs of a minority makes overt racism a deniable motivation -- you see it all over andy_k's posts in the original thread.)
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:36 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, because me saying a group is tonedeaf = wanting to vandalize a mosque.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:37 PM on August 2, 2010


posted by fourcheesemac How long before someone tosses a bomb into a mosque or sets on on fire? (Which happened right after 9/11, as I recall.) Do people have to start getting killed before we call religious bigotry by its proper name, and call it out as unacceptable whether you're educated enough to know better or not?

People have already been murdered.
posted by mattdidthat at 12:39 PM on August 2, 2010


Yes, because me saying a group is tonedeaf = wanting to vandalize a mosque.

You know, I've been wondering if people are actually reading what you wrote, because that's pretty much all you did, however badly stated. You ascribed good intentions to the group proposing the community but seemed to just feel it was clumsily and insensitively done.

Your entire point seems to be that center isn't "culturally sensitive" to those who have issues with the Islamic ties of the 9/11 terrorists, so it's not surprising that people are getting up in arms about it. Perhaps, but I'd suggest you look closer and see if that's really the issue or if some political groups are fanning those flames.
posted by nomadicink at 12:46 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


So fourcheesemac, what you're saying is that culpability for the sociopathic actions of a few as-yet-unidentified individuals rests with an entire population of perfectly innocuous and law-abiding citizens, just because it's possible to draw a very tenuous logical connection between the lawbreakers' perverted motivations and the ideology of the law-abiding group?

And this is different from SAotB's original "bigoted" statements, how?
posted by yersinia at 12:46 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, because me saying a group is tonedeaf = wanting to vandalize a mosque.

I don't see fourcheesemac conflating the two.

I do think that the big disconnect here is that most people do not feel threatened by Muslims in general and by American Muslims in particular. But I do sense in your comments, St. Alia, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you feel as though there is currently a battle raging between Islam and the West - either actual combat or a propaganda war of some kind, of which there will be a loser and a winner. That they both can't come out on top. This belief will inevitably lead you down one ideological path while those of us who don't see the world through such a lens will just keep shaking our heads at your statements, unbelieving. So while your opinion does not equal wanting to vandalize a mosque, it does fit the worldview that there is conflict between the West and Islam, and the more heated the rhetoric gets that paints Muslims as "they" who should be more sensitive to "our" concerns, the more likely we are to see the kinds of things outlined in fourcheesemac's link.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:47 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Thank you for proving my point that nothing and I do mean nothing I can do will stop the criticism.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:04 PM on August 2 [+] [!]
Have you been reading this thread, or just CTRL-Fing your name? What people seem to want, and this may be projection of my own thought process here, is for you to continue in conversations rather than coming in, stating something you probably know will get people riled up, then refusing to elaborate any further. If you're gonna say something, please be able to back it up. ESPECIALLY if you're going to do things like speak for other people. You're clearly not dumb, so when you come in here saying that you won't defend your positions because you're incapable, that comes off as terribly disingenuous; when you assume this (or what comes off as a) hurt pose on account of people wanting you to stick to the same rhetorical standards they'd hope for from anyone else here, it becomes risible.

ps have you checked out YOTSUBA&! yet? pure happiness in a tankobon
posted by jtron at 12:50 PM on August 2, 2010


I think PEOPLE should be considerate to PEOPLE'S concerns.

This is the kind of crap I am talking about. When I (try) to make a point usually it is a specific one. I still think that group was tonedeaf. Meanwhile some of you have assumed quite a lot about how I treat Moslems. Which is rich-when I moved out of the last neighborhood I lived in, my Iraqi Moslem neighbor across the street just about cried when he heard we were moving. But oh noes! I mentioned something about my personal life! Get out the torches and pitchforks!!!!!!!

While I am at it I think white Southerners should be sensitive to African Americans and ditch the freaking Battle Banners.

Just because you have a legal and moral right to do something doesn't mean it's always the KIND thing to do. But bring that up, and yup, must be a racist. Which, by the way, I thought Islam was a religion, not a race. Hmmm. Correct me if I am wrong, but has anyone else pointed that out yet?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:55 PM on August 2, 2010


so have you checked out YOTSUBA&! yet? pure happiness in a tankobon

Yep, got a copy of the manga for Chrismas. Cuter than pie!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:57 PM on August 2, 2010


Correct me if I am wrong, but has anyone else pointed that out yet?

Since you're asking for corrections, I would like to (politely) point out that it's Muslim, not Moslem.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:58 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Caught another one. Zing. *weak trumpet fanfare*
posted by cavalier at 1:00 PM on August 2, 2010


After reading this, I'm not sure if MetaFilter's bigger problem is its increasing monoculture of agnostic-to-atheist left-wingers or the increasing cognitive dissonance brought on by people not responding in whatever timely fashion means to the inquisitor.

But either way, it's becoming a significant problem.
posted by dw at 1:01 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


(Muslim. Sorry.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:01 PM on August 2, 2010


Just want to chime in, SAOTB, to maybe clarify something for you. All of your protestations that you only care for the welfare of the aggrieved families when you say you'd prefer the community center not be built have one problem that I believe many of those arguing with you would like for you to recognize, or at least consider. And That problem is that many of us can't find a non-racist explanation why it'd be unkind to build a community center a few blocks away from ground zero. That's the problem, plain and simple, and in my opinion, if you can't engage with those sorts of objections, you're right that you should just stay away from topics like this.
posted by Hello, Revelers! I am Captain Lavender! at 1:07 PM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies - What you are continually doing here and with your original comments in the post in question, is talk about Muslims being insensitive, tone deaf, unkind, and continually speak about the group of Muslims looking to build the Cordoba Center as part of "them" - as though they share anything except the very broad label of Muslim with the 9/11 hijackers or their supporters.

They share NOTHING except some very broad label. St. Alia - they share NOTHING except this. I don't think you really understand how varied "Islam" and being "Muslim" actually is. But because they share this broad label, you believe should always be regarded with some level of responsibility, even thought they share NOTHING else in common with the perpetrators.

And that's great that you have a former neighbor that misses you, who just so happens to be Iraqi, and who just so happens to be Muslim. But I don't understand how this is relevant, except that you feel like you need to state that you somehow don't regard Them with suspicion and contempt, 'cause you know one of Them in person.
posted by raztaj at 1:10 PM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


nomadicink: "How are you defining "successful participation"?"

It's a little bit like pornography: you know it when you see it. But I'll throw you some metrics for which I would be willing to wager a limb that SAotB brings high percentages, and might even be in the top 5 of all MeFi users:

Number of derails caused.
Number of flags on comments.
Number of comments deleted.
Number of warnings from staff (private or public).
Number of MetaTalk callouts one is the subject of.
Number of times banned or time-outed or Brand New Dayed.

Let me emphatically say that I am not asking for some sort of report, or for any kind of private numbers from the moderator dashboard.

But these metrics exist, somewhere. Have you ever been personally contacted by MeFi staff and asked to tone it down? Have you ever deleted a username and come back with a new one because the old one had too much baggage? The vast majority of us have not.

I realize there are outlier cases that this kind of thing might happen which aren't an example of my point. But in the main, this is just not the experience of the average MeFi user. When cortex or Jessamyn say that St. Alia has been problematic for the site, I trust them.

Or use my 80-20 number from earlier. If you are one of the 20% of users who create 80% of the cleanup work for staff, then maybe striving for being in the majority is a good thing.

While I was typing this reply to nomadicink, shiu mai baby made my point, more succinctly.

But I will go ahead and respond that if someone truly subscribes to this notion:

"What if they're stupid call outs and the mods warnings are from people complete losing their shit about the poster for stupid reasons?"

he or she is asking us all to suspend too much disbelief. You are asking us to believe that ALL OF THIS -- this years of ongoing Sturm und Drang around one user -- is merely just a conspiracy perpetuated by stupid people who are complete [sic] losing their shit over stupid reasons... and that the mods are too naive or stupid to see through it as well.

If you distrust the site, the staff, and the community that much, then this is probably not ever going to be a good fit for you. MetaFilter uniquely, successfully relies on self-policing and a trust in the community.

If you truly believe that one of the most regularly imflammatory users on the site is merely a victim of a few bad apples with an axe to grind, you're probably never going to be pleased with the way we do things around here.
posted by pineapple at 1:10 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, the Muslim friend. This is now just about the Platonic ideal of a SAOTB thread.
posted by lalex at 1:11 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


How many blocks away from the WTC site should Cordoba House be before its construction is no longer tonedeaf?

How many years after 9/11 must American Muslims wait before they can safely assume that they aren't inflicting grievous emotional wounds on their fellow citizens by openly proclaiming their religion?

The fact that those questions aren't rhetorical makes me want to cry.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:11 PM on August 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


Well, first it isn't racism precisely because Islam is NOT A RACE and Muslims are found in all three races. Second of all-New York is a big place. There are lots of places to build community centers that don't have that kind of baggage.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:11 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


All of your protestations that you only care for the welfare of the aggrieved families when you say you'd prefer the community center not be built have one problem that I believe many of those arguing with you would like for you to recognize, or at least consider.

That is not what she wrote. She said the Muslim group wanting to put the center there was being tone deaf.

The next logical question to act her is: "How do you suggest this could have been handled better? What, ultimately do you think should be done?"
posted by nomadicink at 1:11 PM on August 2, 2010


Also, having read the Meta first and the originating thread second:
1) Peoples' reactions on the blue were nowhere near the level of vitriol I'd expected from the LEAVE ALIA ALONE people in this thread,

and

2) FOURCHEESEMAC/CATCHINGSIGNALS 2016!
posted by jtron at 1:14 PM on August 2, 2010


Several years ago, I encountered a small number of women (and one man) who felt similarly. They were vehement anti-feminists, and blamed the equal rights movement for putting them in a situation where they were trying to start their respective families later in life and each found it difficult to conceive. Well-intentioned doctors had told them (truthfully) that conceiving would probably have been easier for them if they had started their families a decade earlier, when they were in their 20's, and in return they had decided that feminism was responsible for their infertility.

The issue here seems to be the logical fallacy that feminism and conceiving in your 20s are incompatible. Just because being told you shouldn't under any terms give birth in your twenties to have value is (marginally) better than being told you have to give birth in your 20s to have value doesn't mean either is right. At some point, we have to have a social movement oriented around people doing what they really want to do in loving and supporting environments, trends be damned.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:17 PM on August 2, 2010


Three races?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:17 PM on August 2, 2010 [20 favorites]


"All three races?"
posted by rainbaby at 1:20 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree with SAOTB that she isn't being racist. She is being xenophobic and intolerant, and she is stigmatizing an entire religion based on the actions of extremists. But, she isn't being racist.
posted by found missing at 1:20 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seriously, three races? Wut?
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:20 PM on August 2, 2010


Three races, that's good. We can guess? What does the winner get? Okay I'll go first.

1) White
2) Black
3) Hmmm, this is tougher. Yellow?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:21 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


St. Alia, I think you're generally a decent person, so I hope a mosque gets built very close to your house.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:21 PM on August 2, 2010


Ding ding ding ding. More fish caught.
posted by cavalier at 1:23 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Less attacking, more hugging it out.
posted by cavalier at 1:23 PM on August 2, 2010


Either you believe it or you don't, but I assert there is an organized effort to ramp up anti-Muslim rhetoric and to harass Muslim communities and mosques in particular emerging from the American right wing and specifically from the evangelical quarters of that constituency.

The preparations are underway to frame mosque-building as this election cycle's gay marriage. While Republican pols pile on and concerned citizens wring their hands and plead "Won't someone please think of the 9/11 victims' families?", the RNC is watching to determine the sharpness of this wedge issue. Come September (with the obvious anniversary coming up), they will know if it will be ready for battle in the November election campaigns.

And that's why it's important when this issue comes up for Mefites to be honest and frank in expressing their opinions instead of disingenuously dodging requests for clarification or declaring they're gonna take their political footballs and go home.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:24 PM on August 2, 2010


cavalier, maybe less trying to impose your will on things here and more actual content.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:24 PM on August 2, 2010


1) Indy 500
2) Daytona 500
3) Hmmm, Talladega Superspeedway?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:25 PM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'd dearly love to hear *anyone* present a coherent explanation of the "rightness" of the "opinion" that started all this.

But I don't think it'll happen, because I don't think there can be any non-bigoted reason for denying this use of commercial Manhattan space for an expanded community center.

Which leads me to believe that a good number of defensive claims in this thread are thoroughly bogus. It is absurd to suggest "reasonable debate" on the topic is possible. There is *no* defense for hateful spew.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:25 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Less attacking, more hugging it out.

Oh come on, just because we disagree with St. Alia doesn't mean we can't joke and tease. "All three races" is comedy gold, I'm not letting that one go for all the tea in China.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:25 PM on August 2, 2010


Three races? Elves, Dwarves, and Men (Hobbits being a subgroup thereof)?

Alia, please read the wikipedia article on Scientific Racism. It's really interesting and not that long. There's only one "race" that can be shown to actually exist: the human race.
posted by jtron at 1:27 PM on August 2, 2010


Kentucky Derby; Preakness; Belmont
posted by found missing at 1:27 PM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


cavalier, maybe less trying to impose your will on things here and more actual content.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:24 PM on August 2 [+] [!]


Pot meets kettle.
posted by futz at 1:28 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


he preparations are underway to frame mosque-building as this election cycle's gay marriage. While Republican pols pile on and concerned citizens wring their hands and plead "Won't someone please think of the 9/11 victims' families?", the RNC is watching to determine the sharpness of this wedge issue. Come September (with the obvious anniversary coming up), they will know if it will be ready for battle in the November election campaigns.

How in the hell do they hope get away with that after Sen. Weiner's Krushchev-like explosion? They'd just be inviting more of the same. People who voted to deny first responders' medical care aren't going to have much luck spinning this.

I'm going to be so depressed if I'm wrong about that.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:29 PM on August 2, 2010


HEY FIVE FRESH FISH DO YOU BY ANY CHANCE DISLIKE ST. ALIA OF THE BUNNIES, POSSIBLY MORE THAN YOU DISLIKE ANYBODY ELSE ON METAFILTER

I JUST WANT TO ASK BECAUSE I'M NOT REALLY CLEAR ON THAT POINT AND I WAS HOPING YOU COULD MAYBE ELUCIDATE A LITTLE

SO THAT I WOULD BETTER UNDERSTAND YOUR FEELINGS ON THE SUBJECT

IS WHAT I WAS THINKING
posted by Gator at 1:30 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


1) Basmati
2) Medium Grain
3) Jasmine
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:31 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Know your races! Alllll three of 'em! You have the whites... Italians and Jews..."

This comment is meant to be agenda-free silliness. I think St. Alia is a well-meaning contributor. Political threads aren't her thing, fine, we're not all great at everything. It's great news that despite being upset at how things all went down the past day she's hanging around the site.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:31 PM on August 2, 2010


St. Alia, I think this could probably all die down if you can bring yourself to admit that your original position about the Muslims who are building the Cordoba House (and, make no mistake it will get built and it will be awesome) is pretty much indefensible and rooted in your own biases of what you personally think is right and wrong, rather than any real debatable rubric.

Your claim that you don't have the rhetorical chops to defend yourself is a cop out. It's ok to hold biased, untenable positions in this country, but if you refuse to acknowledge them as only valid to you then it's also perfectly ok for others to rip them apart.

I don't like this pile-on, and I don't like participating, but it can all be boiled down to that.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:31 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pot meets kettle.

Show me where I've tried to control or stymie the flow of conversation here.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:32 PM on August 2, 2010


Show me where I've tried to control or stymie the flow of conversation here.

IS THAT A THREAT!!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:33 PM on August 2, 2010


St. Alia, I'm glad you're still here. You keep saying the word "tone deaf" over and over again, right from your first comment to your latest one. But tone deaf to whom? Only, from whatever's linked in the OP and what you've said, to cries that they're being tone deaf.

Anyway, here's the point: Islam has nothing to do with 9/11. Muslims, by the mere fact of their Muslimness, bear no responsibility for the attack. This is not like the Holocaust; do you see? I live in India, and I was in Mumbai when three - three! - people managed to hold the entire city hostage for three days. Those people were Muslims. Do you think that Mumbai residents - or New Yorkers, or people of any city which proudly accommodates people of all beliefs and backgrounds, any city whose plurality is its identity - disowned their Muslim neighbors? Do you think we even made a connection between fellow-Indians and invading terrorists, let alone conflate the two so brazenly and blindly as Sarah Palin and Co. seem to be doing on a regular basis?

Do you think that Muslim people don't die in these attacks? Do you have any idea what's going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan right now?

Mumbai has been the target of many terrorist attacks over the years; several of them were linked quite convincingly to terrorist organizations in Pakistan and most of them also required cooperation of a few Indian citizens, who were also (invariably) Muslims. But it is utterly unthinkable in Mumbai that fellow citizens - fellow sufferers of such indiscriminate attacks, and sufferers, too, of extra scrutiny at airports - would be expected not to celebrate their religion or nurture their community in order to be kind to the rest of us, because a handful of loud, violent men (Muslims!) left a bomb on a packed train. Expecting Muslims to be apologetic for their beliefs because of 9/11 and calling it kindness is simply outrageous.

Your views are neither racist nor bigoted. They are shortsighted, essentialist and separatist. This is what they have in common with racism and bigotry.

I could really have explained my whole comment much better with Venn Diagrams, but oh well.
posted by mondaygreens at 1:35 PM on August 2, 2010 [18 favorites]


Yes, very threatening. I'm a Muslim and I own firearms.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:35 PM on August 2, 2010


I was thinking Caucasian, Asian and ...oh, whatever. When I was a kid they divided us all into three and I think lumped the American Indians in with the Asian (I don't care for the term Mongoloid.)

(I prefer jtron's breakdown, honestly.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:36 PM on August 2, 2010


You speak of kindness and consideration, but Doublewhiskeycokenoice's comment leaves you completely unmoved. What's the point?
posted by catchingsignals at 1:36 PM on August 2, 2010


I was actually focusing on "more actual content" part of your post.
posted by futz at 1:37 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boston Marathon
New York Marathon
Bay to Breakers
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:38 PM on August 2, 2010


"People just don't understand me!"

Well, maybe you need to better explain yourself. Say what you mean. Mean what you say!
posted by ericb at 1:41 PM on August 2, 2010


Your claim that you don't have the rhetorical chops to defend yourself is a cop out

Not if it's true, dude.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:41 PM on August 2, 2010


Hang on now, where did I try to control the conversation? I'm just ringing a bell here. If you're saying my suggestion of more hugs was a direct effort to manipulate or control the thread.. well.... come here ya big lug, cav's got a bear hug for ya.
posted by cavalier at 1:42 PM on August 2, 2010


The next logical question to act her is: "How do you suggest this could have been handled better? What, ultimately do you think should be done?"

I disagree.

The next logical questions were asked pretty quickly.

Answers are still not forthcoming.

To recap:

* How is it tone deaf to build a Muslim Community Center and Mosque near Ground Zero (Cordoba House is not just a mosque) since New Yorkers who live in the area do not seem to oppose it, a number of Muslims died in the WTC attacks on 9/11, and a single Muslim was even cited in the text of the Patriot act as a hero?

* Should all religions be banned from building around sites where terrorist acts by those who claim membership with them have taken place? The example raised was Oklahoma City and Timothy McVeigh, whose ethics were influenced by the "Christian Identity" movement. If not, why not?

* By her reasoning, does Alia support the closing and demolition of churches near the families of people who have been abused by priests or the closing of German restaurants near synagogues? Are all Christians in this country also responsible for the death of nine doctors, nurses, and security guards working at abortion clinics since 1993, the two people killed and hundreds injured during the 1996 Olympics -- since all of those were done in the name of Christianity?

* How is the Center an affront to "mutual respect and peace?" Especially since it is being built by those who are outspoken about their opposition to Islamic radicalism?

* Since she lives in NC, why does she feel she knows what New Yorkers feel? When presented with evidence that she does not, why did she not respond to that?

* There are 600,000 Muslims living in NYC whom this Center could conceivably serve. Should they not also be considered when we are speaking about what New Yorkers believe and want?

* This is (to quote verb) a "Muslim organization that has done all of the things we say Muslims should do, has vigorously spoken out against radical Islam, engaged with tje community around it, planned a rec center and worked for a year with Christians and Jews in the community to get things rolling, and has the support of the people who live around it." How are they being brainless, compassionate-less and tone-deaf?

There are probably more, but this is a good start.
posted by zarq at 1:42 PM on August 2, 2010 [13 favorites]


Let me emphatically say that I am not asking for some sort of report, or for any kind of private numbers from the moderator dashboard.

But you brought up stats which you can't prove are correct but are wiling to bet are true, so obviously the next question is "Where does Alia fit into those stats? Are pinapple's suppositions correct and if so, to what extent?"

It those questions can't be answered and we all know they won't, for understandable reasons, then how you can use them as criteria?You're just guessing.

he or she is asking us all to suspend too much disbelief. You are asking us to believe that ALL OF THIS -- this years of ongoing Sturm und Drang around one user -- is merely just a conspiracy perpetuated by stupid people who are complete [sic] losing their shit over stupid reasons... and that the mods are too naive or stupid to see through it as well.

1. I'm not supposing a conspiracy, those are your words
2. My use of the word "stupid" was, in this context, um, stupid.

My point was that I don't see number of callouts as a reasonable measure, because most of them, like this, seemed to be based on faulty assumptions about Alia (hence my ill conceived stupid crack) and her comments.

If you truly believe that one of the most regularly imflammatory users on the site is merely a victim of a few bad apples with an axe to grind...

No, I think it's about her being an overly emotional responder and her holding a minority opinion that Metafilter in general finds intolerable and would prefer not exist. The two don't mix and why ya'll are still demanding she answer answer answer after all these years is pretty silly, IMO.
posted by nomadicink at 1:43 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was actually focusing on "more actual content" part of your post.

And your point is? What have you said here that justifies that?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:45 PM on August 2, 2010


1) Basmati
2) Medium Grain
3) Jasmine


Race is great if you're really angry and want to oppress thousand millions of a socially constructed identity.
posted by catchingsignals at 1:45 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, first it isn't racism precisely because Islam is NOT A RACE and Muslims are found in all three races.

Antisemitism contains a strong component of racism, despite the Jews not being a race. It's important to understand that race is a somewhat flexible concept -- historically, it meant something closer to 'ethnicity" than to "clearly distinguishably biological differences," which is why the English could see the Irish as a different race, even though they were both mostly Spanish, although, in the case of the Irish, there was some sea monster thrown in.

So you're technically correct. It's not really racism when people are opposed to Muslims. It's mostly religious and cultural intolerance. But there's no doubt it contains a component of racism, because, for many Americans, Muslims are seen as having distinct physical characteristics, and these characteristics are held up to scorn.

But whatever you want to call it, treating all Muslims everywhere as being collectively responsible for the actions of some Muslims somewhere is unfair behavior. And while you might personally find it distasteful for them to build a place of worship near Ground Zero, and you may know others who likewise find it distasteful, questions of taste are almost entirely meaningless in discussions of justice. A just act can be tacky, but it makes it no less just. And letting people be is a just act, no matter how much we may disapprove of them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:46 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


And yes, I realize that she's said quite clearly that she won't be responding to those questions.

But let's not make it seem like they weren't asked, or that they were not entirely reasonable responses to her various comments.
posted by zarq at 1:47 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


* By her reasoning, does Alia support the closing and demolition of churches near the families of people who have been abused by priests

There, I'd be satisfied if the child molesters went to jail and the ones who shuffled and sheltered them would be brought to trial and justice as well. Plus reparations paid to the victims.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:47 PM on August 2, 2010


You are asking us to believe that ALL OF THIS -- this years of ongoing Sturm und Drang around one user -- is merely just a conspiracy perpetuated by stupid people who are complete [sic] losing their shit over stupid reasons... and that the mods are too naive or stupid to see through it as well.

The mods have repeatedly stated, here and in past threads on the same subject, that a considerable part of this problem comes from the cult of personality that certain people have constructed around Alia, the insistence on interrogating her and piling on instead of just letting it go when she says something you don't like. Those are actual words the mods have used, quite a few times. Do you disagree with the mods about this?
posted by Gator at 1:48 PM on August 2, 2010


Not if it's true, dude.

You haven't addressed very specific and easy questions that get at the heart of the matter in simple language. None of this is any sort of advanced legal debate or logician arcana. It's using your own words to explain your position. It's very easy, and you're more than capable.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:49 PM on August 2, 2010


* By her reasoning, does Alia support the closing and demolition of churches near the families of people who have been abused by priests or the closing of German restaurants near synagogues? Are all Christians in this country also responsible for the death of nine doctors, nurses, and security guards working at abortion clinics since 1993, the two people killed and hundreds injured during the 1996 Olympics -- since all of those were done in the name of Christianity?

Oh, brother.
posted by Gator at 1:49 PM on August 2, 2010


[NOT ANTI-FOMORIAN]
posted by jtron at 1:49 PM on August 2, 2010


Wait I thought anti-Semitism was being anti "Jewish race" and anti-Judaism was being anti "Jewish religion". But I've been watching a lot of documentaries about the Holocaust and Bonhoeffer lately so that might be an archaic distinction but it was definitely one a lot of WWII scholars were trying to get across.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:50 PM on August 2, 2010


. A just act can be tacky

You know what? I think that's it. That's what I think. Tacky.

My opinion doesn't matter-if the locals are okay with it, fine. I had been under the impression it was otherwise.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:51 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


There, I'd be satisfied if the child molesters went to jail and the ones who shuffled and sheltered them would be brought to trial and justice as well. Plus reparations paid to the victims.

We have a Guantanamo Bay full of "perpetrators" of 9/11, and we'd be paying some compensation to victims of the attack if a certain political party hadn't acted like a bunch of gutless wonders last week. There was a video about this. You may have seen it.

Why does 9/11 require the extra step of allowing an informal veto against the practice of a single religion within an indeterminate geographic area?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:51 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was directed at AZ's comment, btw.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:51 PM on August 2, 2010


St. Alia of the Bunnies: “Well, first it isn't racism precisely because Islam is NOT A RACE and Muslims are found in all three races.”

This is true, and moreover it seems to me that "racist" is a word much like "bigot" – it's generally been used here as a way to end discussion, a la "I disagree so much that there's nothing to talk about here."

“Second of all-New York is a big place. There are lots of places to build community centers that don't have that kind of baggage.”

What you're suggesting is that Muslims ought to be tactful, given that some members of their religion killed a large number of New Yorkers in the tragedy ten years ago. You're saying that they ought to cede the area as a sign of respect, and as an acknowledgement of their part in that terrible act.

But that's the problem – does that make sense? They were emphatically not part of the attack. They were not part of the community that decided to make it. They were not party to the conversation. In fact it's clear that many Muslims feel very strongly that the attack on 9/11 was antithetical to the heart of Islam, and was a complete desecration of everything they stand for. And while they have not been any more belligerent or loudly declamatory in the community of New York City than they were before the attacks, many of them see it as very important that they not meekly withdraw from society at large out of some sort of misplaced guilt or shame.

Muslims at large don't share any guilt for what happened on September 11; I have a feeling you and I can agree on that point, at least. But that's exactly why many of them feel as though it's very, very important for them to remain involved in the life of the city, and to resist the urge to withdraw into their own cloistered corners.

There's really only one thing that matters here: making sure that what happened on September 11 never, never happens again. There are a lot of ways to do this, some of them easy, some of them very difficult. There are all kinds of difficult pitfalls here; for one thing, I think that by now many of us are aware of how easy it is to make the common liberal mistake of falling back on self-loathing hatred at our own country, to blame our nation for a terrible terrorist attack that took the lives of thousands of people who clearly did not bring it upon themselves. At the same time, though, I think the most essential way to prevent another 9/11 is to do everything we possibly can to educate young people in America and all over the world to peace, to freedom, and to acceptance of others, and to teach as broadly as we possibly can that to choose an open, communal spirit, to work in common with our fellow human beings to create peace, must be our highest goal.

In short, the best possible way to prevent another 9/11 is to teach peace. And building mosques, churches, synagogues, temples, and other communal gathering places is one of the most effective ways we human beings have of teaching peace. A community center for Muslims can stand as a place where young and old can come together and learn about the heart of Islam, near to which is true peace and true love for humankind. Yes, the attackers on 9/11 claimed to be Muslims – but that's exactly why I believe, Alia, that not only is a Muslim community center an appropriate thing to allow near ground zero – it's probably the most fitting tribute and memorial we can build to what happened there.
posted by koeselitz at 1:51 PM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


I think she was referring to Blue, Green, and Gray.*

*Also known as Grey.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:52 PM on August 2, 2010


Oh, brother.

The abortion murders, Timothy McVeigh OK City bombing and the 1996 Olympics bombings were clearly terrorist acts committed by extremists in the name of Christianity.

Explain to me why this isn't a relevant parallel please.
posted by zarq at 1:52 PM on August 2, 2010


Wait I thought anti-Semitism was being anti "Jewish race" and anti-Judaism was being anti "Jewish religion".

That's an interesting distinction, but one that is only useful to scholars. In the real world, there is only Jews, and many are neither identified racially or by religion, but by their cultural and ethnic self-identification.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2010


Some of you guys need to get outta the house more.
posted by R.Stornoway at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Either you believe it or you don't, but I assert there is an organized effort to ramp up anti-Muslim rhetoric and to harass Muslim communities and mosques in particular emerging from the American right wing and specifically from the evangelical quarters of that constituency.

I agree. I think we're just seeing the beginning. Sowing fear and hate of Muslims as a new "wedge' issue -- especially before the November elections. The strategy of Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, etc. at its best.

Zero Tolerance.
posted by ericb at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2010


I'd dearly love to hear *anyone* present a coherent explanation of the "rightness" of the "opinion" that started all this.

Okay, here goes (*crosses self*). SAotB said (I'm paraphrasing b/c I'm lazy) that the folks who advocate putting a Muslim cultural center near Ground Zero were "tone deaf." The argument in favor of this empirical proposition might be as follows:

1. A Z-religious group attacked a city, killing thousands. (Leave aside for a moment that said group doesn't represent all Z-ians, etc., etc.).
2. Many of those aggrieved, call them "Angry Folks," associate the attack with the core teachings of religion Z. (Again, leave aside that they may be wrong).
3. Another Z-religious group, and other groups A, B, and C, want to put up a center to teach about religion Z near where the "bad" Z-religious group murdered thousands.
4. It is reasonable to suppose that the members of the "good" Z-religious group and their allies would know that the Angry Folks would--rightly or wrongly-- be miffed at the placement of a center teaches about religion Z near the spot where "bad" Z-religious group murdered thousands.
5. IF THEY KNOW THIS, the members of "good" Z-religious group and their allies are "tone-deaf" where "tone deaf" means "not sensitive to or understanding of the feelings of someone else."

Note that the argument is not about "right" or "wrong," but rather about the state of mind of members of the "good" Z religious group. So, if they knew they would piss the Angry Folks off, they could reasonably called "tone deaf" in the narrow sense intended above. And that would make the "opinion" correct.

NB: This is not an endorsement.
posted by MarshallPoe at 1:54 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The tactic of the right of using 'the gays" as 'the other' is fading.

A new boogeyman is needed -- and he is 'the Muslim.'
posted by ericb at 1:57 PM on August 2, 2010


How is it tone deaf to build a Muslim Community Center and Mosque near Ground Zero (Cordoba House is not just a mosque) since New Yorkers who live in the area do not seem to oppose it

Cite?
posted by nomadicink at 1:57 PM on August 2, 2010


In Manhattan, support for the project led, with 46 percent to 36 percent opposed.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:00 PM on August 2, 2010


Cite.
posted by koeselitz at 2:00 PM on August 2, 2010


There's already another mosque two blocks away.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:02 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Manhattan, support for the project led, with 46 percent to 36 percent opposed.

Exactly, 36 percent opposed, with only 46 supporting, as I noted way back when. Alia's description of the decision as insensitive doesn't seem out of place at all.
posted by nomadicink at 2:04 PM on August 2, 2010


Explain to me why this isn't a relevant parallel please.

Feel free to keep asking me this question as many times as you want, using as many different words and extrapolations as you like. Also, feel free to start a MeTa thread about me when I continue to not answer.

Since, you know, that's what we do around here, right?
posted by Gator at 2:05 PM on August 2, 2010


Nate Silver posted today on how the "Ground Zero Mosque" is neither really a mosque nor really at Ground Zero. Kinda interesting.
posted by Perplexity at 2:06 PM on August 2, 2010


Feel free to keep asking me this question as many times as you want, using as many different words and extrapolations as you like. Also, feel free to start a MeTa thread about me when I continue to not answer.

Since, you know, that's what we do around here, right?


Actually, I'll just make a note in my handy-dandy little Usernotes script that you ask useless rhetorical questions and then don't have the balls to respond when someone asks you a reasonable question in response.
posted by zarq at 2:10 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Explain to me why this isn't a relevant parallel please.

Because she didn't say that the Cordoba House should be banned. She didn't advocate the closing or demolition of any existing buildings related to Islam or anything else. She wasn't proposing any action at all. She said that she thought it was insensitive to build this center so close to a place that many people associate with an attack perpetrated by Muslims. Your examples (and much of the rhetoric in this thread) were far more extreme than anything she said.
posted by Dojie at 2:10 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Muslims are found in all three races.

Really?

(1) White
(2) Black (some of my best friends are, including my son-in-law)
(3) Everyone else.
posted by ericb at 2:11 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


> Nate Silver posted today on how the "Ground Zero Mosque" is neither really a mosque nor really at Ground Zero. Kinda interesting.

Since when did Nate Silver book a gig on Coffee Talk?
posted by m@f at 2:11 PM on August 2, 2010


Actually, I'll just make a note in my handy-dandy little Usernotes script that you ask useless rhetorical questions and then don't have the balls to respond when someone asks you a reasonable question in response.

And, presumably, you will now not engage with me in the future. Good for you. I sincerely hope everybody else around here follows your sterling example.

While you're in there, why not do the same with this Alia character you seem so very determined to keep it up with?
posted by Gator at 2:13 PM on August 2, 2010


Actually, I'll just make a note in my handy-dandy little Usernotes script that you ask useless rhetorical questions and then don't have the balls to respond when someone asks you a reasonable question in response.

That's bad form to publicly announce that you're putting in negative notes about a user. Do what you like of course, but do you really have to state to the world?
posted by nomadicink at 2:13 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


And, presumably, you will now not engage with me in the future. Good for you. I sincerely hope everybody else around here follows your sterling example.

While you're in there, why not do the same with this Alia character you seem so very determined to keep it up with?


Good idea.
posted by zarq at 2:14 PM on August 2, 2010


Actually, I'll just make a note in my handy-dandy little Usernotes script

Please don't do this sort of thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:16 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sowing fear and hate of Muslims as a new "wedge' issue ...

Or, what Doktor Zed said!
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on August 2, 2010


She wasn't proposing any action at all. She said that she thought it was insensitive to build this center so close to a place that many people associate with an attack perpetrated by Muslims.

Yeah, and that makes as much sense as me freaking out if Jehovah's Witnesses knock on my door because a Christian killed George Tiller, or because Westboro Baptist folks want me dead because I'm gay.

Which is to say, none.
posted by rtha at 2:17 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yay! It only took 624 comments to decide that it's a good idea to just ignore the people we don't like. Great job, gang!
posted by Gator at 2:17 PM on August 2, 2010


That's bad form to publicly announce that you're putting in negative notes about a user. Do what you like of course, but do you really have to state to the world?

Obviously I didn't have to.

He felt free to vilify me for asking a reasonable question. I felt free to call him on it in response. Shit happens.
posted by zarq at 2:20 PM on August 2, 2010


Please don't do this sort of thing.

As I said... I am trying to learn to follow my own advice and not always succeeding.

I'm walking away from this thread now.
posted by zarq at 2:23 PM on August 2, 2010


This is a bullshit metric used by people who have no valid contribution to this site but somehow thing that length of account ownership is somehow laudable on its own merits. Let's be clear: your contributions here are mostly noise.

Especially the one about how some of you are a bunch of fakes that the left really, really does not need to fight its corner - I think thats the noisiest one of all.

Length of time is very important, only then can one discern the lengthy parade of users who turn up here channelling Cicero, Oscar Wilde and Martin Luther King from their parents basements.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:25 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) Indy 500
2) Daytona 500
3) Hmmm, Talladega Superspeedway?


(1) Monaco
(2) Le Mans
(3) Anything at Laguna Seca
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:25 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Muslims are found in all three races.

Come on.. I was doing my best to stay out of this thread because I don't think there's much that can be said that hasn't already been said, but then you chuck things out like this and expect people to take you in any way seriously? It's like talking to someone about the complicated and nuanced moral issues surrounding abortion and they consider it for a bit and then say something about babies being delivered by storks.
posted by modernnomad at 2:26 PM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


  1. Tour de France
  2. ....
  3. Are there are other bike races?

posted by Fezboy! at 2:30 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


modernnomad: "It's like talking to someone about the complicated and nuanced moral issues surrounding abortion and they consider it for a bit and then say something about babies being delivered by storks."

I usually try to avoid this kind of thing, but I'll make an exception. Because I really did read that as "...babies being devoured by storks."

I think an anti-abortion group should make a cartoon logo of that, with a big don't symbol crossed through it.
posted by Drastic at 2:31 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


She wasn't proposing any action at all. She said that she thought it was insensitive to build this center so close to a place that many people associate with an attack perpetrated by Muslims.

But the point is that this association is patently unfair, and caving to it is doing everyone a disservice.
posted by desuetude at 2:42 PM on August 2, 2010


When this happens to gays, Jews, blacks, or immigrants, we have no problem seeing it for what it is.

Ironic isn't it, that St. Alia was siding with the ADL on this one? (I understand the ADL doesn't represent every jew, just whoever contributes to it.)

... I don't think there can be any non-bigoted reason for denying this use of commercial Manhattan space for an expanded community center.

I haven't read the original thread since yesterday, did I miss you descrying the ADL in these terms?
posted by Max Power at 2:46 PM on August 2, 2010


But the point is that this association is patently unfair, and caving to it is doing everyone a disservice.

That view is unfair, yet it's a view that some large segment of the New York population seemed to have. To me the question is how does that get addressed so that said large segment becomes a tiny minority.
posted by nomadicink at 2:51 PM on August 2, 2010


Man was I wrong! SAotB is still scoring epic lulz. Let this thing die already.
posted by MikeMc at 2:52 PM on August 2, 2010


To me the question is how does that get addressed so that said large segment becomes a tiny minority.

If only the Muslims who live in the area would build some kind of...center where they could, I don't know...reach out the community and interact with them as neighbors. I'll bet you if something like that got built people's weird prejudices would start to melt away.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:55 PM on August 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


Lest this seem jumpy-ony I would like to clarify my position as having had serious issues in the past with some of Mefi's murders' row of non-conformists but that I'm pretty much less so now. Sure, I get het up with some of the more Randian and anti-universal healthcare folks, but I have unclenched somewhat. Not to say I won't go apocalyptic now and again, but I've gotten a bit hinged and this is healthier IMO. Let SAOTB throw out the tasty tasty red meat. If you're lucky to be first on the scene, comment and move on. If you're not, just misuse the favorites button like I do and "vote up" the lucky winner.

SAOTB is better read as performance art. Sure, she's my mom, a few aunts and uncles, and in-laws all rolled in to one but I've gotten a great deal more satisfaction dealing with them directly than via proxy. Mefi's honor (or what-have-you) has survived a great many provocateurs and a few trolls in its day. SAOTB isn't going to bring the collective down.

That she cannot step away from the mic is obvious. I think that it isn't particularly legalese to be pointing out that a few of her subsequent contributions since taking the pledge might already be considered going back, unless this is thread is like the last bender before going sober or something. At any rate, this observation is likely labeled 'baiting' so I'll cop to that and take my spanking in stride.

Shine on you crazy diamond!
posted by Fezboy! at 2:56 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the community center is "tacky," then what's this?
posted by jtron at 2:57 PM on August 2, 2010


Exactly, 36 percent opposed, with only 46 supporting, as I noted way back when. Alia's description of the decision as insensitive doesn't seem out of place at all.
posted by nomadicink at 4:04 PM on August 2 [+] [!]


This means that 56% of those with an opinion are for it. Non-voters aren't counted in elections and a 56% share of votes casts is usually presented as a pretty nice mandate.
posted by jtron at 3:01 PM on August 2, 2010


Drastic, here you go.
posted by brina at 3:02 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm hugely amused by the idea of putting forth a poorly thought out statement, and then excusing myself from supporting the idea because I'm not up to the task, intellectually speaking. I mean, I've made my fair share of asinine remarks in my time, but I generally believed while saying them that there were plausible reasons to believe them to be true. I'd be embarrassed to knowingly address a large group of people in a public forum with personal opinions that I didn't have at least a preliminary rationale for believing, one that I was prepared to share with the group if asked. Seriously embarrassed, I mean. It would probably lead me to keep my mouth firmly shut. Even better are the people jumping in to suggest that knowing why the hell you feel the way you do, and being able to put it into written words, is a gigantically onerous burden, a bar to participation that would somehow keep out people otherwise worth paying attention to.
posted by Ipsifendus at 3:05 PM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


That stork is never going to get that baby devoured by nibbling at the swaddlebindle!

Then again, I guess the expression is "eat like a bird" for a reason.
posted by Drastic at 3:14 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I'd dearly love to hear *anyone* present a coherent explanation of the "rightness" of the "opinion" that started all this.

Ho! for the occasional long memory. fff remembers that it was the opinion of the Anti-Defamation League that started "all this," and therefore can't have overlooked that the shitstorm directed at St. Alia was not for being a Republican or some sort of sub-Tea Party fellow traveler but for having dared to agree publicly with this institutional offspring of The Independent Order of B'nai B'rith. It hardly gets any more piquant than that around these parts, buckaroo.

(Though it is almost equally piquant to see so many members finally achieve their breakthrough ephipanies about the bogosity of arguments against X based on X's perceived insensitivity to somebody's injured feelings. Every one of these members may count on being reminded of this hereafter.)
posted by jfuller at 3:16 PM on August 2, 2010


That view is unfair, yet it's a view that some large segment of the New York population seemed to have. To me the question is how does that get addressed so that said large segment becomes a tiny minority.

Setting aside for a moment the question of who is offended by this center...

If the group building the center moves to a different site:

* They have been bullied into a limitation on their right to religion and assembly.
* They frustrate and possibly offend the many people (not just Muslims) who would find this Center a valuable resource.
* But most importantly, it bolsters the claim that they are to be feared. It provides fuel for the unfair prejudice.

If you haven't committed a crime, you don't have any reason to run, right?
posted by desuetude at 3:21 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Simma. Down. Naow.

In Odin's name, puh-leeze.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:25 PM on August 2, 2010


pineapple: As far as I'm concerned, 90% of the trouble here is not actually St. Alia's ideology; it is the choices she makes while expressing that ideology which aren't working.

Quoted here because I can't favorite it twice. I think this is really getting lost in the Rhubarb. I would like more conservatives on MetaFilter to voice their opinions; I *do* feel like we're becoming a liberal-atheist burbclave, and, speaking as a liberal atheist, I'd much rather hear from people who can espouse a different opinion and either help me see what I don't understand, or maybe even (horrors!) persuade me to another way of thinking, than to argue endlessly about the difference between an atheist and an agnostic, and what we hate Richard Dawkins for today. But the opinions *have to have something behind them that back them up*. The reason a lot of liberal opinions don't get called out for "proof" is that most of the people who are reading/responding already know the answer. It's not "there's only a call for facts when it's an unpopular opinion"--it's "there's only a call for facts when *we don't know them*." And since the majority of MetaFilter is liberal (I extrapolate from this thread and many, many, many others), as well-read and as intelligent and as thoughtful as we'd like to believe ourselves, many of us are far more ignorant of the building blocks that go into a conservative opinion on any given issue, because everything is so SHOUTY that we never get to hear them. (And I don't just mean here. I mean every-damn-where.)

zarq: Should all religions be banned from building around sites where terrorist acts by those who claim membership with them have taken place? The example raised was Oklahoma City and Timothy McVeigh, whose ethics were influenced by the "Christian Identity" movement. If not, why not?

St. Alia, if you are still reading, I am honestly curious what your answer is to this question. If you think it's is tone-deaf and hurtful to the people of New York City that an Islamic community center with a space set aside for prayer (and let's be clear this is *not a mosque*) is built near the site where the Twin Towers used to stand, would you think it also tone-deaf and hurtful if a Christian community center with a space set aside for prayer were built the same distance from the Murrah Federal Building? If not, why not? They are the same thing: at attack by religious extremists on American soil that killed American citizens. Just because one was carried out with planes and one was carried out with a bomb doesn't make them different in any ideological way. I don't believe that you would have to have a college education to answer this question, if you believe (as you do) that the people who want to build in NYC are cruel for doing so. Religious extremists murdered American citizens. Should building any buildings dedicated to *the entire religion*, not the extremists, be banned from the areas where the tragedies took place? Can you answer this question, please, if you are still here.

And finally:

Speed Racer
A Day at the Races
Death Race 2000
posted by tzikeh at 3:50 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


would you think it also tone-deaf and hurtful if a Christian community center with a space set aside for prayer were built the same distance from the Murrah Federal Building?


I'm guessing it would be pretty hurtful/ tone deaf to attempt to build a Christian Identity center near the Murrah site (I doubt SAotB will answer so I'll just throw that in). Off the top of my head I couldn't tell you what sect of Islam the 9/11 hijackers belonged to or which is trying to build this center in Manhattan. Personally I don't live in Manhattan and I don't give shit who builds what there. They could build a nuclear waste dump for all I care.

Caucasoid
Negroid
Herculoid
posted by MikeMc at 4:00 PM on August 2, 2010


Can you answer this question, please, if you are still here.

While I appreciate that you're trying to ask this from a position of understanding the "SAotB please answer my question that tries to tease apart your beliefs that I don't feel that you sincerely hold so I can maybe have a GOTCHA moment when you answer this one carefully crafted question" schtick is tired. She said she's not talking about politics, just leave it.

- Kinetic Sculpture
- Swamp Buggy
- Mud Bay Races or Australian Bog Snorkelling, can't decide.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:03 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


St. Alia, if you are still reading, I am honestly curious what your answer is to this question. If you think it's is tone-deaf and hurtful to the people of New York City that an Islamic community center with a space set aside for prayer (and let's be clear this is *not a mosque*) is built near the site where the Twin Towers used to stand, would you think it also tone-deaf and hurtful if a Christian community center with a space set aside for prayer were built the same distance from the Murrah Federal Building? If not, why not

Well, it depends on the answer to this question...was the Murrah Federal Building blown to smithereens in the name of a deity? Honest question. At the time it happened, I do not recall Christianity being brought into it whatsoever.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:05 PM on August 2, 2010


And on that note, you know, Jessamyn is right. Let's just drop it and go eat dinner or go watch the Bachelorette tonight or something. (Tonight's the finale. Total junk food tv. Starts in less than an hour...)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:07 PM on August 2, 2010


You know to hell with it; I'm going to get some dinner.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:08 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh and:

Pirates
Ninjas
Vikings
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:09 PM on August 2, 2010


- Human
- Amazing
- Rat
posted by found missing at 4:09 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wrote a few versions of the following comment in the original thread and deleted them all on the "no piling-on" principle. But here it is, thanks to St. Alia's responses here and the lesser angels of my own nature.

St. Alia reminds me of my ex-sister-in-law. The morning of 9/11, I went out on my deck to see what the hell that noise was and saw the second plane hit. I called my mother (in my small TX hometown, where my whole family still lives) to let her know I was okay. She hadn't even heard about it yet. Then my sister-in-law called, which was weird. We'd never been close and she and my brother were already separated—but she'd seen the news and wanted to know how I was. I assured her I was fine and everyone I knew was fine and, after a brief and surreally banal chat, I said, "Well, I'll let you go." Right as I hung up the first tower fell.

That was the last phone call I made for about a week. Landlines were dead and cells were iffy; people were lining up at payphones and borrowing cells from strangers. I got and sent a few emails to farflung friends but I knew my folks knew I was okay.

But they didn't. On 9/11 my sister-in-law got off the phone with me and went to her boss, sobbing hysterically, saying she had to leave because my boyfriend worked near the WTC (true) and I'd gone down to find him (false) and we'd both been killed (also false). She'd talked to me after my mother had so for the next few days my family wondered and worried, while my sister-in-law got time off with pay.

When I found out, I finally understood the phrase "blind with rage." Not because of what she did to my family; that was bad but it was literally the least of it. All those days my family spent wondering about me, people who really had lost someone they loved were posting flyers all over the city. Flyers like "Lost Dog—REWARD!" flyers, with the little pull-off phone-number tags and wedding photos and birthday snapshots and ID photos, all begging for any information at all about this one person's last moments, any hope at all that this one person might still be alive.

I fantasized about lining up everyone who'd posted one of those flyers and forcing my sister-in-law to look each and every one in the eye and describe what she'd done, how she'd appropriated their vast grief and loss and shock to serve her own purposes, her monstrous narcissism.

That's what Sarah Palin is doing. That's what Abe Foxman is doing. That's what St. Alia is doing. It makes me just as angry now, all these years later.

Some—not all—family members of 9/11 victims object to the Cordoba Center. I disagree with them but I can understand and honor the emotional weight behind their opinions, as misguided as I think them. Palin, Foxman, St. Alia get no such pass.

I notice St. Alia has now backed off her blithe assertion that her opinion is the voice of New Yorkers and 9/11 survivors. I hope she takes to heart that particular lesson: her emotional, off-the-cuff, "thinking out loud" opinions are hers alone. Since she's disavowed any responsibility for supporting those opinions, she has no right to claim any authority beyond her own experience and emotions. Which I'll give their due weight.
posted by dogrose at 4:11 PM on August 2, 2010 [51 favorites]


Human
Elf
Dwarf
posted by lore at 4:12 PM on August 2, 2010


jessamyn: While I appreciate that you're trying to ask this from a position of understanding the "SAotB please answer my question that tries to tease apart your beliefs that I don't feel that you sincerely hold so I can maybe have a GOTCHA moment when you answer this one carefully crafted question"

Not even remotely what I was trying to do, but thanks for putting words in my mouth. I asked that question because I wanted to *know*, but apparently nobody believes anyone in this thread actually does that anymore.

Human
Gallifreyan
Latex Appliqués
posted by tzikeh at 4:18 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies wrote: "There are lots of places to build community centers that don't have that kind of baggage."

Shall we refuse to allow churches in Salem, then? After all, the Christians killed a bunch of suspected witches there. (see what I did there?)
posted by wierdo at 4:20 PM on August 2, 2010


jessamyn has gone to dinner, but I think she meant to put a comma after "understanding," that is, you meant to ask from a position of understanding, BUT, the SAotB please answer etc.
posted by Gator at 4:20 PM on August 2, 2010


cake
taco
velociraptor

what?
posted by elizardbits at 4:21 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


jessamyn has gone to dinner, but I think she meant to put a comma after "understanding,"

Yeah, that's my read too. I can see how it could read blinkworthy as rendered, so I can understand the spit-take, but it doesn't even parse properly without the comma.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:28 PM on August 2, 2010


Gator - ah, thank you. That does make it clearer.

Regardless, I wasn't trying to craft a "gotcha" question. I foolishly (and I mean that sincerely and without snark) thought I might have a discussion about the topic. But I shouldn't have; St. Alia has said she doesn't want to, and it's far too late in the game to salvage any of it. So, yes, I'll no longer try.

underpants
???
profit
posted by tzikeh at 4:29 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


To all: One thing that would help a lot is if we quit imputing motives to me.

I'll make you a deal, St. Alia -- I'll stop imputing motives to YOU if you stop presuming to speak for ME, as a New Yorker.

Deal?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:30 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Deal.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:35 PM on August 2, 2010


Dogrose - that story is bonkers. Was there any fall out for her? Did you let her work know the truth?
posted by orville sash at 4:35 PM on August 2, 2010


Shall we refuse to allow churches in Salem, then?

ENOUGH.
posted by dw at 4:42 PM on August 2, 2010


fad
trend
meme
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:47 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


New Yorker. His arms wide. At Tenagra.
posted by seanyboy at 4:49 PM on August 2, 2010 [20 favorites]


seanyboy

For.
The.
Win.
posted by tzikeh at 4:53 PM on August 2, 2010


At the risk of outing myself. At first I had a gut feeling that the Cordoba House was a bad idea along the lines of what Alia originally stated. I have bad memories of 9/11 that I won't get into here. Strong memories. Bad feelings.

But the other thread and this one have convinced me that regardless of my feelings, I was not thinking. I was just feeling.

I was wrong.

I still have bad memories but I think that I can come to terms with them now. The two threads are actually a form of closure. I have no problem with the Cordoba House. Or Muslims in general. My issues otherwise are my own. And I will deal with them as a self-aware individual and not some kind of knee-jerk bag of emotions.

So thanks to everyone that made sensible refutations of Alia's original comments.
posted by Splunge at 4:53 PM on August 2, 2010 [27 favorites]


professor plum
in the conservatory
with the wrench
posted by raztaj at 4:54 PM on August 2, 2010


Darmok
and Jalad
at Tanagra.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:54 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which is either a genius comment from me about the need for a common language in situations where lack of communication is rife. Made doubly genius by the fact that it's phrased in a deliberately and recursively metaphorical way which references a show (and series) known for it's focus on negotiation, metaphor and cultural difference.

Or it's just me wanting to say "New Yorker" and talk about Star Trek.
posted by seanyboy at 4:55 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


It feels so good seeing your comment Splunge, I want to give you a hug.
posted by catchingsignals at 4:58 PM on August 2, 2010


Vladimir
Estragon
Judge Lynch
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:59 PM on August 2, 2010


that kind of baggage.

Beating a dead horse that has been beaten so much it looks like those clumps of goo left when a vampire gets staked on True Blood but:

As a person who lived in NYC 1993-2009, New Yorkers' "baggage" is their own fucking bizness.

I have never disliked my country so much as in that run up to Iraq, when my dead neighbors were used to justify more killing.

Anyway, St. Alia, that's why you enraged me. Because you're using (unconsciously, let's say) dead people to make political points.

You ain't got no say, so why don't you learn a little respect.
posted by angrycat at 4:59 PM on August 2, 2010


If only the Muslims who live in the area would build some kind of...center where they could, I don't know...reach out the community and interact with them as neighbors. I'll bet you if something like that got built people's weird prejudices would start to melt away.

I know right? It's a shame there isn't a center yet and that the center seems to be causing some controversy with the locals. Maybe the Cordoba group could have a meet and greet, reach out to those who are foolishly being scared? Maybe explain the meaning behind their name, discuss whether that and the construction start date of Sept 11th, 2011 was maybe a bit insensitive or just plain stupid from a PR move?

Look, the idea behind the group and the building seems well intended, but frankly some of their choices do seem a bit tone deaf in how it might be perceived. Not a big deal, own up to it and view as another chance to improve Muslim and West relations. Something like the press conference on their home page is definitely in the right vein.

This means that 56% of those with an opinion are for it.

I don't think so, unless I'm reading the question data wrong (Scroll down, it's question 24a). That remaining 18% is classified as Don't Know/No Answer.

The reason a lot of liberal opinions don't get called out for "proof" is that most of the people who are reading/responding already know the answer

No, the reason they don't get called out is because people already believe them. That's different from knowing.

You know to hell with it; I'm going to get some dinner.

I just finished Season Two of True Blood. Bil, you really need to deal with Eric, just sayin'.
posted by nomadicink at 5:09 PM on August 2, 2010


You're going to dig this season, nomadicink.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:13 PM on August 2, 2010


As a person who lived in NYC 1993-2009, New Yorkers' "baggage" is their own fucking bizness.

I have never disliked my country so much as in that run up to Iraq, when my dead neighbors were used to justify more killing.

Anyway, St. Alia, that's why you enraged me. Because you're using (unconsciously, let's say) dead people to make political points.


Ugh, I should so just be keeping my hands folded right now.

But may I point out that in this very thread fourcheesemac has used a nasty case of vandalism against a mosque in Texas by persons utterly unknown to score political points against right-wingers and Evangelicals? And that netted 11 favorites and some admiring responses.

People 'round here regularly make use of the suffering of pedophilia victims to score completely unrelated doctrinal/political points against the Catholic Church. They make use of the suffering of people like Brandon Teena to score political points on the issue of gay marriage. Heck, a while back there was some guy trying to draw out an asshole cop's shooting a random family's dog into some global point on the futility of the drug war.

Obviously, it's all nonsense, but when Bad People do Bad Things, it makes for a prepackaged appeal to pathos that's almost impossible to resist. I haven't noticed many people on either side of the political spectrum being ultra-scrupulous about co-opting others' pain to serve their political ends.
posted by yersinia at 5:19 PM on August 2, 2010 [16 favorites]


The way that MeFi so reliably will pile on top of St. Alia and call for her banning, the way that they will make personal attacks about her whenever she goes against the grain here, the way that each "Brand New Day" isn't really because certain members take some degree of pride in exposing her new identities as if they are a kind of fraud rather than just trying to get a reprieve from how whatever she says is judged not usually on its merits, but by the fact that she is the source... all of that is my very least favorite thing about this site.

The fact that St. Alia keeps coming back is one of my favorites, however.

There are opinions, and there is behavior. Yes, like almost everyone on this site, I disagree with many of St. Alia's opinions. But the site isn't damaged by having them here. We're not in any danger of turning into FreeRepublic or anything like that. At least in terms of being a bastion of conservativism. As far as being an echo-chamber, well, St. Alia helps a bit in that regard, which is part of why I like that she's here. She's also a fantastic contributor to the green and not every one of her comments has political or ideological bias. She's just this woman, you know?

Behavior, however, can damage the site. Behavior like a handful of members trying to raise up a lynch-mob every time St. Alia says something. We hold dissenters to a higher standard than we hold the majority, and that ain't cool. And it'd be one thing if everyone involved were honestly engaging her, but we also get a lot of bullying with the intent to either silence her or get her to leave for good. Fuck that.

And her opinion in this instance, by the way, wasn't particularly inflammatory. As a (displanted) New Yorker who lived through the attacks, I disagree with it, but the heft of what she was saying was that the location for the community center was "tone-deaf." Coming from any other member it would have passed with maybe a comment or two explaining why the sentiment was incorrect. This wasn't about opinions, but about St. Alia and the need some people have around here to bully her.

To put this another way: Pope Guilty, I agree with almost every opinion you've posited on this site. But I think you're behavior here is and has been exponentially more damaging than anything St. Alia has done in any incarnation. Please, please knock that shit off. And I only mention you in particular because you're so reliably in the bullying faction in these cases.

I have friends IRL whom I disagree with about a ton of stuff. St. Alia is like my friend online who I disagree with about a ton of stuff. In either case, I will still step up to defend those friends, because whatever our differences, my life is better with them around.

This site is better for St. Alia's contributions, and worse off because of those who are so ardent in personally attacking her.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:19 PM on August 2, 2010 [21 favorites]


i expect alia will keep her word to stay out of political threads exactly as well as she kept her word about this thread


I'm done with this thread.
(one last thing)
Now, I promise, I'm done.

posted by nadawi at 5:25 PM on August 2, 2010


You're going to dig this season, nomadicink.

OMG, Sookie and Tera get together?!
posted by nomadicink at 5:27 PM on August 2, 2010


Maybe explain the meaning behind their name,

Yeah, they may want to hold off on that. The name strikes me as kinda tacky what with the bloody conquest of the Iberian peninsula and the Christians and Jews having to convert to Islam or face life as second class Dhimmi paying a punishing Jizya of up to half of their annual produce and all.
posted by MikeMc at 5:28 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


me: The reason a lot of liberal opinions don't get called out for "proof" is that most of the people who are reading/responding already know the answer

nomadiclink: No, the reason they don't get called out is because people already believe them. That's different from knowing.

Sorry, let me rephrase. What I mean is, they already know the answer(s) that the person espousing the liberal opinion will give; in other words, because they're already aware of what constitutes the building blocks of that opinion, they don't need to ask.

cortex
jessamyn
vacapinta
posted by tzikeh at 5:28 PM on August 2, 2010


i expect alia will keep her word to stay out of political threads exactly as well as she kept her word about this thread

ENOUGH.
posted by dw at 5:30 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


you can keep yelling enough all you want, but since she keeps banging the drum that she really, really, really means her word and i think it's appropriate to point out that maybe "promise" is a loose term for her. which is slightly funny considering her religious bent, but whatever.
posted by nadawi at 5:32 PM on August 2, 2010


Why is this thread still open? All that's happening is that people are continuing to take jabs at St. Alia, apparently in the hope they can get her to break her word, so they can go back to calling for her to be banned. That's not right, no matter how you feel about her views.
posted by languagehat at 5:38 PM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "I know there have to be some good forums out there where right and left participate equally where logic and reason are encouraged over emotion, come on. I don't even care about the argument, I would just like to participate. I'll stick it up on AskMe later if you can't help me now."

Not to engage your argument but The League of Ordinary Gentlemen comes as close as any I've seen and you may enjoy it.

Space
to Witch Mountain
to the bottom
posted by vapidave at 5:39 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fine.

I'm done with MetaFilter and all this petty shit. Bear baiting is awfully fun for you, but it's still a goddamn bear. I don't care if she has been an obnoxious shit here, which she has been, multiple times, like the fucking dog won't stop coming back to eat its fucking vomit (which is in the fucking Bible, look it up). What I see is a bunch of fucking intellectual jocks wanting to wave their collective dicks around shoving the worst kid in school in the locker again.

Grow the fuck up. Meanwhile, I'm hitting the red button. Goodbye.
posted by dw at 5:40 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


dw: ENOUGH.

Shouting people down seems... counterproductive.

But good luck. Perhaps it will help.

nadawi: i think it's appropriate to point out that maybe "promise" is a loose term for her. which is slightly funny considering her religious bent, but whatever.

It's understandable though, yes? Human nature. This is an entire MeTa thread filled with people who seem bent on attacking her and dissecting her motives whether she engages them or not. I doubt I would find it so easy to walk away from a similar thread if people were as upset with me there.
posted by zarq at 5:41 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, dammit. :(
posted by zarq at 5:42 PM on August 2, 2010


Thought you were walking away, zarq. Good thing nobody placed any bets about that, huh? Since, you know, that's what we do around here.
posted by Gator at 5:43 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:46 PM on August 2, 2010


I want to place bets on Eric and Pam. They should get their own spinoff, with Lafeyette as the maid or neighbor. You KNOW you'd watch it.
posted by nomadicink at 5:46 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree with shutting this down. There is nothing new to be addressed, nothing to be resolved, and it's turning into the worst of the web down here.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:46 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm hitting the red button. Goodbye.

Oh, grand, another longtime user gone. And watch, this will be blamed on Alia, and not the cadre of people who just can't stop going on and on and on about somebody being WRONG ON THE INTERNET, despite repeatedly being asked by the mods to just leave her alone, if you don't engage her she goes away, stop piling on, stop the cult of personality. Grand.
posted by Gator at 5:48 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I agree with shutting this down.

But we haven't hit a thousand yet!
posted by MikeMc at 5:49 PM on August 2, 2010


Taunting. How droll.

I walked away from the thread in order to take a break from it and calm down a bit. Spent a few hours working rather than procrastinating. Commented in a few other threads. Have now returned. In a better mindset.

Since I'm now replying to your comment, will you now also point out (predictably) that you assumed I would not be engaging you in the future, and I replied that it would be a good idea to do the same for St. Alia? :)
posted by zarq at 5:50 PM on August 2, 2010


i think it's appropriate to point out that maybe "promise" is a loose term for her. which is slightly funny considering her religious bent, but whatever.

What?

Once I learned a hard lesson about posting to the blue. It was something about global warming, and I made two mistakes, one innocent and one that, in retrospect, I should totally have seen coming. The first mistake (innocent and in good faith) was that I asked about "global cooling," which someone had cited in the first few comments as a reason why "conservatives" don't believe in global warming. So I asked, "well, what about that, anyway?" The answer I got was "well, you know, this is googleable - it's not like it's in secret code or anything." I am the first to admit that I didn't phrase the question very well, but it should have been (sort of?) clear that I was legitimately asking for information on something that is now discredited but was recently a VERY BIG DEAL.

And rather than that, I got "Go Google it." Rather snarkily, I might add. I wasn't even TRYING to debunk a dearly-held position! I was trying to get others, who presumably know more about it than I do, to explain it to me.

But then, and this is to my undying shame.....I fell asleep. Thus, I "disappeared" from the thread, and would you believe, when I went back to it upon waking, someone had snarked at me in-thread for having disappeared. This is why I now tend away from the blue and more toward the green, where staying awake for your own comment to stir up a shitstorm doesn't seem to be SOP.

That's my story - take from it what you will. I will add that it only took one time for me to learn that lesson, and I don't really get into very many political things on MeFi now. Point well taken, and all that.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 5:50 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


i don't think she's wrong to participate in this thread. i think it's good that she's at least, in her own special way, trying to discuss some of the issues. i think she shouldn't have, in the heat of the moment, promised to stay out of this thread and then act hurt when some don't believe she'll stay out of the political threads.

i wasn't trying to "catch" her - she said the three things i quoted way, way the fuck up there and said many, many more things after that.
posted by nadawi at 5:50 PM on August 2, 2010


Look, none of this is worth anybody closing their account over. There are plenty of links and comments that remind us why we are here and why we bother to stick around, none of which are probably in this thread.

I hate seeing people get bent over this. I hate the pile-on. And it really sucks when people leave.

Why on Earth is this thread still open?
posted by iamkimiam at 5:51 PM on August 2, 2010


Damn, dw's account is already disabled. I wanted to ask him not to be hasty.

dw: "Fine.

I'm done with MetaFilter and all this petty shit. Bear baiting is awfully fun for you, but it's still a goddamn bear. I don't care if she has been an obnoxious shit here, which she has been, multiple times, like the fucking dog won't stop coming back to eat its fucking vomit (which is in the fucking Bible, look it up). What I see is a bunch of fucking intellectual jocks wanting to wave their collective dicks around shoving the worst kid in school in the locker again.

Grow the fuck up. Meanwhile, I'm hitting the red button. Goodbye
"

I don't agree with his wording. But I agree with the message. There is a crapload of hypocrisy on show here. Very sad.
posted by Splunge at 5:53 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


...it's turning into the worst of the web down here.

Turning? No shit. This is one of the ugliest threads I've seen on meta. Sometimes I am proud of this place. These last few days, not so much.

I honestly think this thread served no purpose. I have decided a lot of people are hypocritical shit heels. So I guess there's that.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:54 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Since we can speculate and opine because rhetoric is hard, if St. Alia was St. Al, would he get this much cushion from the mods? I don't think so because I don't think so.
posted by rainbaby at 5:55 PM on August 2, 2010


i don't think she's wrong to participate in this thread. i think it's good that she's at least, in her own special way, trying to discuss some of the issues.

Agreed.

i think she shouldn't have, in the heat of the moment, promised to stay out of this thread and then act hurt when some don't believe she'll stay out of the political threads.

I understand. I just sympathize with her about it. It was going to be a very difficult promise for her to be able to keep in the short run when people were yelling at and about her.
posted by zarq at 5:57 PM on August 2, 2010


I wasn't exactly intending to taunt you, zarq (well, a little), but more to point out that while Alia is being mocked for staying in the thread even though she said she was done, nobody's really likely to pile on you for doing the exact same thing. (And yet, you didn't much care for it when I did that, apparently. See how it feels?)

Just like my previous jab, which was meant to point out that even though I wasn't answering your question, it's not too likely that anybody's going to hound me about it or start a MeTa thread about me, though when Alia does the exact same thing ("refuses to respond to our repeated questions") it has to be a Big Deal. Because that's what we do around here. I "assumed," sarcastically, that since you have decided I'm a jerk, you'll ignore me in future, which is the proper enough thing to do, but for some reason people can't do that very simple task with Alia.
posted by Gator at 5:58 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


This isn't a political thread.

Stop closing doors.
posted by Max Power at 6:00 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think so because I don't think so.

Opinions are like...

So are you gainsaying the mods who have already said that they aren't playing favorites here?
posted by Splunge at 6:01 PM on August 2, 2010


The issue of the ADL in all this is an odd red herring. You can read their support for the protesters as dishonoring their legacy of standing up against scapegoating (the proper name for what we're discussing all through this thread) or in more nefarious ways than that. I've never been a contributor, although I always had thought of ADL as rather closer to the SPLC than to the Tea Party. This seems (to various New Yorkers I've talked to as well) like they've just gone off the rails.

Somebody called me out on this above, I can't find it. But let me try to expain why I think there's a different between associating anti-Muslim sentiments expressed here by members of our community (even leaving aside the issue of their motivation, in ignorance or bigotry or both) with the ramping up of anti-Muslim rhetoric and harassment abroad in the land this summer, and my critique of the casual association between Muslims and "Terrorists" or "enemies of America," is that I am speaking a language of rights and not discourse.

It's always nice to consider people's feelings, and advisable, and ethical, even when those feelings are fear, suspicion, or even maybe hatred. A long term goal of every civil rights struggle has been to win the battle of feelings as well as the battle of rights, and the two can never be fully detached.

But the point neither Alia nor the ADL seems to be acknowledging, covered by the tiny fig leaf of an appeal to stop the Center by declaring its building site a historic landmark, is that the mob does not get to decide, in America, whether someone enjoys freedoms guaranteed by the US constitution, and if we keep denying those rights to Muslims as a class (which is already happening in many ways) then none of us are safe from tyranny.

Obviously, the Cordoba Center people have taken efforts to respond to people's feelings, and that is part of their mission and their mandate -- and a subtheme of all of this has been that all of us New Yorker MeFites consider Muslim American New Yorkers to be our neighbors, not a faceless mass -- but they don't have to consider anyone's feelings to build their Center on private property in the United States of America. To me, it is the denial of full citizenship status to Muslim Americans that is most offensive about much of the anti-Muslim rhetoric all over the public sphere these days. (The same thing is now happening to the citizen children of undocumented immigrants; it's a tactic that works, unfortunately, to undermine the social effects of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and much subsequent legislation that created the Republican southern strategy, which is all the Tea Party right is reviving.)

Merely representing a popular opinion does not entitle you to respect. You can be a bigot all you want. I don't have to honor such discourse by conceding its truth value. But I do have to honor your right to hold whatever opinion you do. That's the difference. You don't have to like the Cordoba Center. But it's un-American to oppose it. The right spends plenty of time telling the left that it's un-American in myriad ways. I'm calling the kettle black.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:06 PM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


I just want to know...


you guys figure this one out yet?
posted by P.o.B. at 6:10 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


All she did was say it would be tone deaf!



And, you know, say the people building the center were like the families of murderers. Amazing this kind of thing can be whitewashed in the name of bleeding hearts because she is playing the victim.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:11 PM on August 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Lucretia
The Sabine Women
The Lock
posted by Trochanter at 6:11 PM on August 2, 2010


Splunge, I really appreciated your comment upthread, thank you for that.

I've been reading here for years, and have seen this over and over with this user and I'm sick of it. Since user is excused from backing up her opinions, I thought I'd offer a mock one of my own to see how it flew.

See? Not so well.
posted by rainbaby at 6:13 PM on August 2, 2010


Rock
Paper
Scissors
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:13 PM on August 2, 2010


When I was a kid they divided us all into three and I think lumped the American Indians in with the Asian (I don't care for the term Mongoloid.)

Nobody else remembers this? It was:
Caucasiod
Negroid
Mongoloid
posted by Houstonian at 6:16 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


And, you know, say the people building the center were like the families of murderers. Amazing this kind of thing can be whitewashed in the name of bleeding hearts because she is playing the victim.

You are mistaken, this is exactly what she wrote:
I still say this is tonedeaf. For many victim's families this really is, as one letter I saw stated, like having the family of the person who murdered your loved one move next door. Yes, they have the legal right to move there but you sure don't feel good about it.

I am not an idiot, I am sure the people who want to build this thing have good intentions. But I think their choice of site is defeating their purpose.
posted by nomadicink at 6:18 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought it was four races, and Jesus loved them all the same. Red and yellow, black and white. Well, that's what I was taught, at least.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:18 PM on August 2, 2010


Jacks
Lockes
Bens
posted by questionsandanchors at 6:20 PM on August 2, 2010


Nobody else remembers this? It was:
Caucasiod
Negroid
Mongoloid


I remember being taught that in school with the help of a pamphlet published, IIRC, by the U.N., but what fun is that?
posted by MikeMc at 6:20 PM on August 2, 2010




rainbaby: "Splunge, I really appreciated your comment upthread, thank you for that.

I've been reading here for years, and have seen this over and over with this user and I'm sick of it. Since user is excused from backing up her opinions, I thought I'd offer a mock one of my own to see how it flew.

See? Not so well
"

Sorry if I took it the wrong way.
posted by Splunge at 6:21 PM on August 2, 2010


Man, you people don't know how to give a critical beatdown. To me it's like if your friend said she is going for an interview at Company, Inc. and another friend says, "Oh, I know some people who work there, they'll never hire you," and then refusing to elaborate.
posted by rhizome at 6:22 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently we are all tone-deaf, all around.
posted by catchingsignals at 6:24 PM on August 2, 2010


I thought it was four races, and Jesus loved them all the same. Red and yellow, black and white.

That was in the Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars books. I'm not sure how Jesus felt about the martians.
posted by marxchivist at 6:24 PM on August 2, 2010


I'm not sure how Jesus felt about the martians.

I'm pretty sure he said something along the lines of "Love your fellow man but f*ck those f*cking Martians before they f*ck you." I may be paraphrasing there.
posted by MikeMc at 6:28 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You are mistaken

Don't look like it to me. You don't get away with saying virulently racist or sexist shit in support of your argument just because you put, "Some say..." in front of it with of course no citation.

The proponents of this site are not being "culturally sensitive" to those who are still insensed that those towers were brought down in the name of Allah. After all, weren't those terrorists convinced they were going to go straight to heaven for what they did????


She isn't just white knighting for 9/11 victims, she agrees that it is a bad idea because it is tone deaf (because Muslims are like family members to terrorists, why else would they have the responsibility to restrain their actions otherwise) and because the terrorists will use it as propaganda because of course the Muslim world makes no distinction between terrorists and Muslims.

Am I wrong? Does she secretly support the mosque and is just playing Devils Advocate?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:29 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let's just drop it and go eat dinner or go watch the Bachelorette tonight or something.

I've resisted the urge to jump in much longer than everyone else who resisted the urge to jump in, but this just tears it. The Bachelorette is downright horrible for both television and humanity and you should be ashamed of yourself.

I actually wrote this entire comment just so that I could say that I have met Ali Fedotowsky on a few occasions. She once served me drinks at a house party in a bikini.
posted by rollbiz at 6:36 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wasn't exactly intending to taunt you, zarq (well, a little),

OK.

I don't like being Mr. Outraged. So when I realize I'm passing a sort of mental anger threshold I really do try to close threads and not open them until I'm able to talk to people without attempting to shred them to pieces. If after a few hours I find I'm really just unable to let go, I'll remove them from my recent activity and never go back.

But the last time I walked away from a thread for a little while without saying something I got a really nasty MeMail about it from the person I was actually trying my best *not* to publicly attack in a thread. So I figured I'd better say something without being overly dramatic in an "I'm taking my ball and going home" way.

I'm just... happier when I can post comments and not regret them afterwards.

but more to point out that while Alia is being mocked for staying in the thread even though she said she was done, nobody's really likely to pile on you for doing the exact same thing. (And yet, you didn't much care for it when I did that, apparently. See how it feels?)

I understand. And yes, I see how it feels.

I "assumed," sarcastically, that since you have decided I'm a jerk, you'll ignore me in future, which is the proper enough thing to do, but for some reason people can't do that very simple task with Alia.

True. My .02¢: Part of the problem here is her history, which everyone is familiar with -- it's lengthy and a turbulent. Another part of it is (I suspect) people believe she's unwilling to act in good faith because she refuses to engage them back. The rest of it is probably people vehemently disagreeing with her positions and some not doing it quite rationally.

Meanwhile, I rose to the bait and continued to engage her after I said I wasn't going to. That wasn't right either.
posted by zarq at 6:36 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


One thing I would say is that if you hold a belief you can't argue for, you should have a harder look at it. Maybe it's indefensible, or maybe it isn't, but you should examine your beliefs so you know why you believe them.

That's true for everyone, not just the person in question. And it's why the contentious threads are good. They prove (in the old sense) your beliefs.
posted by Trochanter at 6:37 PM on August 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


I remember being taught that in school with the help of a pamphlet published, IIRC, by the U.N., but what fun is that?

Only a few years ago in a forensic anthropology class I got to hear discussed the uses and limitations of that particular 'tri-racial' theory when doing craniofacial (I think that's the right word) identification. I thought it was fun, and quite interesting. The whole history of race theory, and where it meshes with biology one one side and culture and prejudice on the other, is fun to get into. I do find it odd to see it inserted here, however.
posted by frobozz at 6:54 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another member of Team Close This Motherfucker of a Thread Already, Mods.

You know, from the great state of North Really? This Shitpile is Still Going? Really? What the Flying Fuck?
posted by item at 7:02 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ people it's only been a week!

The three races are:
1. Terran
2. Protoss
3. Zerg
posted by graventy at 7:04 PM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


You should see our state flower.
posted by item at 7:06 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I should so just be keeping my hands folded right now.

But may I point out that in this very thread fourcheesemac has used a nasty case of vandalism against a mosque in Texas by persons utterly unknown to score political points against right-wingers and Evangelicals? And that netted 11 favorites and some admiring responses.

People 'round here regularly make use of the suffering of pedophilia victims to score completely unrelated doctrinal/political points against the Catholic Church. They make use of the suffering of people like Brandon Teena to score political points on the issue of gay marriage. Heck, a while back there was some guy trying to draw out an asshole cop's shooting a random family's dog into some global point on the futility of the drug war.

Obviously, it's all nonsense, but when Bad People do Bad Things, it makes for a prepackaged appeal to pathos that's almost impossible to resist. I haven't noticed many people on either side of the political spectrum being ultra-scrupulous about co-opting others' pain to serve their political ends.



Dude, you quoted me and then used my remarks to make all sorts of allegations about hypocrisy, which ain't cool

What happened with NYC was bad shit that was used in an evil way to cause much worse shit, in terms of needless human death.

That's why what she said pissed me off. I didn't call her a bigot, I accused her of unconsciously using a bad thing to make political points.

I don't see how calling a turd a turd (here, SA's sentiments) should bring about a charge of hypocrisy.

You wanna go rooting through my posting history and then attack me, that's another thing.
posted by angrycat at 7:09 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


angrycat is angry. Please stop me before I post in this thread again!
posted by MikeMc at 7:24 PM on August 2, 2010


I'm glad that I am from Canada. We don't have any racial problems at all (none whatsoever!) and we will cheerfully share this fact with anyone and everyone, especially Americans.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:30 PM on August 2, 2010


I want to place bets on Eric and Pam. They should get their own spinoff, with Lafeyette as the maid or neighbor. You KNOW you'd watch it.

For this, I will finally wade into this thread, wave my hands in the air, and scream AMEN!!! As long as there is no Sookie, because while I believe we should be accepting of many things, my personal sense of tolerance stops right where Sookie goddamn Stackhouse starts.

Also:
1. Aglaea
2. Euphrosyne
3. Thalia
posted by scody at 7:35 PM on August 2, 2010


Just got in. What's been happening? Is this thread closed yet? I still want to post!
posted by dubitable at 7:45 PM on August 2, 2010


692like the fucking dog won't stop coming back to eat its fucking vomit (which is in the fucking Bible, look it up).

I had to look this up.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:47 PM on August 2, 2010


As long as there is no Sookie

What if they feed on Sookie, that ok?
posted by nomadicink at 7:49 PM on August 2, 2010


Sorry, angrycat; I wasn't meaning to call you a hypocrite, only to say that the rhetorical moves you were objecting to we all use all the freaking time, so I didn't see why Alia should get called out indignantly for what's a virtually universal practice here and elsewhere.

fourcheesemac: I was the one who responded to your comment earlier, so I'll just chime in to thank you for clarifying your position and to try to elucidate mine a bit. The difficulty with what you're saying, as far as I can see, is that you appear to be conflating protest and expression with coercion-- saying that the ADL's (or whoever's) deciding to speak in opposition to the construction of the Cordova Center is equivalent to denying the owners of that land their right to use it as they see fit. This seems to me to be manifestly not the case, and I think that considering the myriad of other public contexts in which public protest/opposition gets used in America today would support that. Protesters picketing the site of a new Wal-Mart in town, for instance, aren't really saying that the WalMart shouldn't legally be entitled to build on land they've purchased. Teachers' unions marching around contract time aren't denying the legal right of the school district to pay whatever it chooses. These are people who choose petition precisely because they acknowledge they have no real legal say in the matter; they hope to use public opinion to exert indirect pressure on the people who are the rightful decision-makers. Someone's saying that he disagrees with my actions, even that he objects to them, is a world away from his saying I have no legal right to take those actions, or that the law should intervene to prevent me from taking them. From what I can see, all the anti-Cordova sentiment that's emerged so far has been in the former category, not the latter.

I suppose you could try to slippery-slope one sort of opposition into the other, to argue that the people who presume to voice mere disagreement today would be supporting coercion and disenfranchisement tomorrow (and I can only assume that that's what you were trying to do by bringing in the completely unrelated incident at the Texas mosque). But I think that a rights-oriented perspective should be especially wary of this kind of fuzzy thinking. Saying that opining on the placement of a mosque is the same as outright racism, which is the same as stripping citizens of their rights, which is the same as vandalism and property destruction, effectively means that we're justified in punishing mere opinions with the kinds of measures deemed appropriate for serious threats to social order. That's exactly the same sort of sloppy reasoning that would say that being of the Muslim faith is the same as supporting Islamist terrorists, which is the same as hating America, which is the same as crashing a plane into the Twin Towers. Words are not deeds, opinions are not court decisions, which are in turn not beatings or broken windows or crashed planes.

With that said, the historic-site strategy does seem a bit like dirty pool. Still, it's also the sort of thing that's daily done elsewhere in the name of environmentalism or preserving property values or political gamesmanship, without anybody batting an eye. When anybody seriously proposes concrete legal measures to strip American Muslims of their rights as citizens, then call me and I'll join the picket line. But for now, I'm going to bed, because I'm getting the embarrassing feeling that everybody else has already packed up and gone home.

posted by yersinia at 7:57 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


You guys know you love it every time Bill yells SOOKEH!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:57 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


What if they feed on Sookie, that ok?

OH MY GOD YES JESUS

This spinoff cannot come fast enough. It's like Maude and Phyllis and Rhoda and Good Times and The Jeffersons all rolled into one, except with more torture.
posted by scody at 7:59 PM on August 2, 2010


Aquilonian
Cimmerian
Stygian
posted by keli at 7:59 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please don't expect anyone to read a wall of text in (small) yersinia.
posted by Splunge at 8:01 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't like dw's wording either, and I'm sorry he felt he had to leave over a thread like this - but I just learned a hella great Bible quote thanks to him.

"As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly." - Proverbs 26:11
posted by HopperFan at 8:04 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


There've been three or four distinct points where closing this has seemed like a good idea but we held off because it felt like it might be cutting things off at a weird point and we wanted to let people talk if they were gonna. At this point I think anybody who might have had something to say has probably said it, so call this number five and a keeper.

dw, I appreciate your frustration. I hope it's a temporary break.

There's a whole lot not to like in how inter-user stuff plays out on the site sometimes, and assigning blame for that in any unambiguous or one-sided way is never really going to be practical. Suffice it to say that each of us being on the one hand careful and thoughtful about how we make arguments or state our opinions or beliefs, and on the other cautious and generous about how we go about dealing with other user's arguments and opinions and statements of belief, is vital to this place remaining a workable community.

We all fall down on that front some times, for all kinds of complicated reasons, but being able to recognize that and work on it and do better next time is deeply, deeply important even if it's extra hard when it's something about which we care passionately or have strong external connections to.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:16 PM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


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