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April 25, 2012 8:13 AM   Subscribe

If a linked article on the blue is about a delicate or heated topic, please read it before you leave an angry or dismissive comment. If you don't want to read it, please don't comment in the thread.

I know we've had a multitude of conversations here and elsewhere about users on the blue who don't seem to have read the linked article before commenting. I get that there's no way to actually enforce some sort of "read the damn article!" rule, nor would I suggest even trying to.

But I would like to ask that, in cases where the linked article is about a topic that many users feel strongly about, we all agree to just leave the thread alone if we don't feel like reading the article first?

Because by the time I'd read the piece linked in this post and gone back to leave a comment, the entire thread had already been so overrun with awfulness that I had to give up trying to wade through it. Worse, many comments were reacting to assumptions about what the article might have said, not the actual text or the points it made. And so right out the gate, the conversation had been so thoroughly derailed that it couldn't really get started.
posted by Narrative Priorities to Etiquette/Policy at 8:13 AM (162 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

It'd be good for folks to make the effort as much as possible, yeah. Totally understandable that hot-button topics can get people agitated, but things generally go a whole lot better when it's read-first, discuss-second rather than vice versa or skip the link(s) entirely.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:17 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah it was disappointing to see all the out of the gate "lulz!" comments, that article was interesting and deserved more attention.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:20 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Narrative Priorities, I agree with you. But it's hard to take this MeTa seriously when you admit, in the first line of your first comment there, that you didn't read beyond the first few comments.
posted by troika at 8:21 AM on April 25, 2012


I read the article before I posted my first comment. The comment was "This article is so white".

Spot on! And funny, as well!

But the comment got deleted. So much for displaying a bit of humor in a "race" thread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:23 AM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have read the article and commented in the thread, and I guess I might be part of the problem because I'm not seeing what the problem is. There's a lot of people talking past each other, but that's MetaFilter.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:24 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Troika, I went back and looked through the comments more thoroughly before I posted this here. It didn't change my opinion of what had happened in the thread.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:27 AM on April 25, 2012


That thread is really bad, and yeah, there are a lot of commenters who could probably stand to RTFA, read what they wrote in response to it, and feel bad.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know that scene in Inception where they're just in the kid's brain and that train comes barreling out of nowhere onto the city streets?

That is the caliber of derailment in that FPP.
posted by griphus at 8:30 AM on April 25, 2012 [21 favorites]


Yeah it's a little sad but also sort of amazing, the degree to which so many people in the thread are responding to what they're imagining the article probably says.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:32 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am so confused by that thread now. After trying to make sense of all the things are being said I have no idea whether my own comment is true to the topic or part of the derail. I went back and re-read the article but it didn't help. I need to go lie down.
posted by Ritchie at 8:35 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I read the article and thought it was a mess. The author didn't really make his points well.

Didn't post a snarky comment in the thread, though.
posted by zarq at 8:37 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


The provocative description "Why it’s time to stop using “white” as a pejorative" effectively provoked. It certainly left a lot to the imagination, and was a kind of a "gotcha!" description that invites misperception of the article's (meandering) thesis. The post as written is kind of a snark-magnet. Not that any bad snark is warranted by this.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:40 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I disliked the article, but didn't even feel like commenting in the thread because it was already so negative, contentious, and angry (seemingly from people who hadn't even read the dumb thing). I feel like it's a recurring problem that isn't even confined to controversial topics, but extends to pretty much any type of link where people can look at the FPP text and make a comment based solely off of that. Unfortunately I don't think there's a solution - it's just the nature of having a large user base.
posted by codacorolla at 8:41 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


If a linked article on the blue is about a delicate or heated topic

It would be nice if the article about a delicate topic could have been written a little more delicately. Maybe that would reduce the s/n ratio.

That thread is going about as well as could be given the way the article's author put the article together. When the first paragraph starts with a MadMen reference as the cornerstone of argument, frankly the whole thing is shot. If that first paragraph was a MeFi FPP, I wonder if it would have be deleted for editorializing

I don't agree with the snark and derails and such and I am with you on the RTFA part 100%. However, that article was destined to get crapped on simply due to the less than well thought out presentation of the author. Yes, it is an interesting and timely subject, but it deserved a bit more of a delicate treatment than comparing societal issues with the popularity of tv shows.

Garbage in, garbage out.
posted by lampshade at 8:42 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


If that first paragraph was a MeFi FPP, I wonder if it would have be deleted for editorializing

We don't delete those, any more, sadly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:44 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will donate money to the racial-harmony charity of MetaFilter's choice if we can manage to keep this comment from re-igniting the "definition of racism" pandemonium. I am completely, 100% serious.
posted by griphus at 8:46 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


However, that article was destined to get crapped on simply due to the less than well thought out presentation of the author.

I thought it was destined to crapped on because people didn't read it and it seemed obvious they didn't read it.
posted by josher71 at 8:49 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


griphus: "I will donate money to the racial-harmony charity of MetaFilter's choice if we can manage to keep this comment from re-igniting the "definition of racism" pandemonium. I am completely, 100% serious."

It's actually a really, really good point. But I wonder if it's going to wendell.
posted by zarq at 8:51 AM on April 25, 2012


Narrative Priorities: “... the entire thread had already been so overrun with awfulness...”

That is totally not the impression I got of that thread at all. I guess there were a bunch of dumb jokes, they were deleted, fine. But it was certainly not terrible by any stretch of the imagination. What exactly was the 'awfulness' you're talking about here? Was it a paucity of conversation about what you saw in the article that you liked? It seems like the only answer to that kind of problem is always to be the change you see in the world – if you think people should talk about it, then make a comment about it and point it out.

I guess my impression of that thread is just really different from other people's. I get that the mods had to do cleanup on the thread a bit, and yeah, dumb jokes should be deleted, but I'd hardly characterize a thread with a few dumb jokes as awful.
posted by koeselitz at 8:56 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]



griphus: "I will donate money to the racial-harmony charity of MetaFilter's choice if we can manage to keep this comment from re-igniting the "definition of racism" pandemonium. I am completely, 100% serious."

The only people who have any difficulty defining racism are those who don't like the proper definition.
posted by Decani at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


koeselitz - Not to speak for Narrative Priorities but to me what was "awful" about the thread was people reading the headline of the FPP, making assumptions about what the meat of the article must be about while failing to actually go through the effort of reading it (at which point they would have learned that their assumptions were incorrect), and then making snarky, dismissive comments based on the false assumption the linked article was some sort of "reverse racism" treatise, which is simply not the case.
posted by The Gooch at 9:14 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The proper definition, as implied in the comment referenced by griphus, is all fine and dandy if we're having some pedantic discussion about the meaning of words. But that's not typically what happens in these discussions. Few people actually seem to interested in some even-handed discourse about the nature of prejudice and the need to expunge all forms of racism. Sure, racism against any race is a bad thing and should not be perpetuated, but I think it's also true that racism against whites, as defined in the proper sense of the word, is still much less bad than racism against non-whites. And it seems a little misleading at best to act like "hey, whites get discriminated against too" is really the most salient point in grand scheme of things.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:16 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


In this context, it's worth remembering where the word "prejudice" comes from.

The root is "pre-judge". You have an opinion about a person based solely on the fact they are white or black? You are pre-judging, whether you turn out be right or whether you turn out to be wrong.

Likewise, if you have an opinion about an article that you haven't read.
posted by philipy at 9:22 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


We don't delete those, any more, sadly.

We don't?
posted by rtha at 9:22 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually made as best an effort as I could to not suggest anything at all about what I consider the proper definition. "[Minority] can be racist too!" -- especially when it is completely out of context -- is just an absolute powderkeg of a statement. One less thread that ends with two equally vehement people bent on "enlightening" one another would be nice.
posted by griphus at 9:23 AM on April 25, 2012


Narrative?

I don't know what you are looking for here. Here is how I interpret it. Forgive me if I am wrong.

-- Sensitive thread that you took the time to actually RTMFA.

-- By the time you had, and had a comment ready, you felt it would be too far buried in silliness to get noticed.

-- You post a MeTa espressing your dissapointment in the two things above

1. Seems to me like you are looking for attention. Not calling out a true flaw in the way things work here.

2. Race involved things always seem to go badly. Were it not for dillegent Mods, we would devolve into two unreasonable factions on these things. Good on the sensible apes who can chime in and point out the inconsistencies in us all.

3. The whole "white as perjorative " thing? I'm white. How upset should I be? Historically speaking, my folks have had it anywhere from OK to pretty good. It goads me a bit to have to wear that mantle and think I am getting lumped into the Romney's of the world whent he truth is I'm broke as shit.

I am just as upset as a 22 year old black kid when he hears the word "nigger" in a rap record. Hopefully that kid, who might be getting his MBA at that point, can realize that isn't about him, but he know's where the trope comes from.

That's just being realistic, forgiving, and intelligent about all the factors that go into it.

No offense, I think you are just being petulant about your post not getting noticed enough to your satisfaction, and I am unconvinced that you needed you open up a MeTa can of worms about it.
posted by timsteil at 9:31 AM on April 25, 2012


You're wrong.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:32 AM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


I am unconvinced that you needed you open up a MeTa can of worms about it.

Hey, look at the bright side. You got to comment in it!
posted by octobersurprise at 9:43 AM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]



We don't delete those, any more, sadly.

We don't?


That is a horrible deletion; it's a post that was well-researched and presents a number of opinions around the negative impacts of the legislation. Someone put some actual time into developing that and it's sad it's gone.

I mean, there are discussions on Mexican immigration and Market Island that are surviving on the front page with single-link, op-ed source material. The line for how much spoon-fed editorializing is permitted moves around like a string in the wind sometimes.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:46 AM on April 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Rodrigo Lamaitre: "That is a horrible deletion; "

Why not join the conversation already in progress at the MeTa post about it. Or at the thread where it was reposted and survived?
posted by zarq at 9:50 AM on April 25, 2012


Heh. This post certainly got the double whammy - Mefites love to shout down articles sight unseen at the best of times, or scan through them for reasons to dismiss them just 'cos, hnad in this case it's an article about a behavior a fair number of Mefites indulge in and, aparently, get really defensive about.

I have to say, my sympathy is with the poster here.

Also I'd love us to stop the lazy cookie seeking behavior per the article.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on April 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


Seems to me like you are looking for attention. Not calling out a true flaw in the way things work here.

I can't speak for Narrative, but I'll certainly jump on the bandwagon of, "There is a flaw in how these things work." That is to say, people comment early and fast, often without really processing the FPP and too often without clicking its link(s) at all. For somebody who wants to really read an FPP, think over his/her reaction, and comment from experience and/or expertise, it can be disheartening to see that rather than contributing to "the FPP," now—"now" being maybe an hour later—you're basically dropping your comment into an in-progress discussion that has gone in a different, usually much shallower direction.

This effect is not a huge deal for many threads. But for popular topics, whether hot-button or otherwise, it's significant. People don't necessarily want to take the time and trouble to compose a few paragraphs of genuine insight that are just going to be swallowed in the midst of a hundred-comment thread arguing the same ol', same ol'.
posted by cribcage at 9:52 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


in the first line of your first comment there, that you didn't read beyond the first few comments.

Seriously, why should anybody read your comments if you can't be bothered to read theirs? People who announce that they haven't read the other comments should be smacked upside their rude heads.
posted by Gator at 9:57 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


TBH I'd be perfectly okay with "If a linked article on the blue is about a delicate or heated topic, please read it before you leave an angry or dismissive comment" joining "Everyone needs a hug" at the bottom there, or maybe being the special message for first comments.
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Race involved things always seem to go badly. Were it not for dillegent Mods, we would devolve into two unreasonable factions on these things.

I want to hear more about what these two factions would be.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:01 AM on April 25, 2012


I mean, there are discussions on Mexican immigration and Market Island that are surviving on the front page with single-link, op-ed source material.

I'm sorry, your comment is just too funny. You've just demonstrated the exact problem: opening your mouth before reading the post.

Even though the Market Island post links to an op-ed page, there is virtually nothing editorializing or axe-grindy about it, whatsoever. It's a story about borders — that's it.

I love this place, sometimes, but damn, that's just too rich. Lol.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:01 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


1. Seems to me like you are looking for attention. Not calling out a true flaw in the way things work here.

2. Race involved things always seem to go badly. Were it not for dillegent Mods, we would devolve into two unreasonable factions on these things. Good on the sensible apes who can chime in and point out the inconsistencies in us all.


Emphasis added.

Sorry but it was really funny to me that you said one thing and then a sentence later basically said the other thing.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:03 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, when I was about 17, I got this bright idea to go on a road trip with two of my friends. We decided to drive to Baltimore - a city we'd never been to before, where we didn't know anyone - and look around.

Now, at that point I would say that I was fairly naive about cities. I didn't know there wouldn't be a kitchen in the hotel, and ended up eating cold beans from a can. I had no idea how to differentiate between your average passer-by on the sidewalk vs one who's acting a bit sketchy, and when it's best to avoid a situation, or at least not obviously stare. I couldn't tell a good neighborhood from a bad one, which was clearly evident from the hotel selected. And yet somehow we survived, wandering around like idiots. I have no idea why we didn't get into any more trouble than we did. Perhaps we were so obviously out of place that it looked like a setup? Who knows.

Anyway. We got lost, on foot, and were tired. I saw a guy standing on the corner by himself about half a block away, walked over to him, and said "Excuse me, sir, we are quite lost, could you tell me how to get to--" but he cut me off, and with a good deal of vehemence said "HEY FUCK YOU, GODDAMN CRACKER"

I yelled at my friends "Did you guys hear that?" and then turned back to the guy and said, "Sorry, I'm a little excited, that was my first racial slur!"
posted by dubold at 10:03 AM on April 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


We don't?

Anyway: No, we don't, not really. There have been a number of axe-grinding technology posts recently where the authors should GTOFB, already.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want to hear more about what these two factions would be.

Sharks/Jets
posted by shakespeherian at 10:05 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want to hear more about what these two factions would be.

One thinks it "tastes great." The other: "less filling."
posted by jabberjaw at 10:06 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: “Anyway: No, we don't, not really. There have been a number of axe-grinding technology posts recently where the authors should GTOFB, already.”

Well, geez, BP. Why don't you just start deleting those things? We really need to get on this!
posted by koeselitz at 10:07 AM on April 25, 2012


Hmm, maybe that article on how iTunes is basically malware DOES deserve it's day in the sun...
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2012


Dear ask.metafilter, people are wrong on the internet, like, all of them. What should I do? What if they keep being wrong?
posted by fuq at 10:09 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh I know let's have a stupid fight about Apple in this thread
posted by shakespeherian at 10:09 AM on April 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


Artw: "Hmm, maybe that article on how iTunes is basically malware DOES deserve it's day in the sun..."

So help me, I will Turn This Site Right Around.

Seriously, please don't do this.
posted by zarq at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2012 [13 favorites]


Even though the Market Island post links to an op-ed page, there is virtually nothing editorializing or axe-grindy about it, whatsoever. It's a story about borders — that's it.

You're right...I absolutely wrote it off on a cursory glance of the front page because it was on the opinion page. It was a really good article.

My apologies, BP.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 10:14 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


As race in America is a topic rarely discussed with any grace, race related posts here seem rather oft deleted when they are posted without it. For example.

I am not entirely comfortable with this.

Posters could do themselves a favor by running them by the mods. If it is important enough to merit a post, get a grip on your emotions -- no one's consciousness is raised by bomb throwing.

But I do not like such a heavy hand on these posts. We are grown ups here whether we act like it or not. No one should claim ignorance of how these things can turn out or the insights that might bloom like a flower in a desert.
posted by y2karl at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2012


might bloom therein, that is.
posted by y2karl at 10:16 AM on April 25, 2012


My apologies, BP.

Apology accepted, thanks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


race related posts here seem rather oft deleted when they are posted without it. For example.

That one was a weird trifecta of a lousy thing that happened, a bizarre race angle [Fox News basically claiming reverse racism for this white man who was severely beaten not getting the attention the Trayvon Martin case did] and a gratuitous insertion of Obama which had very little to do with the article. It was a terrible post about a possibly-otherwise-interesting topic.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:18 AM on April 25, 2012


No offense, I think you are just being petulant about your post not getting noticed enough to your satisfaction,

Is this meant to imply that I made the original post that I linked to on the blue?

Because I did not make that post.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:19 AM on April 25, 2012


I think part of the issue might have been with people not reading the article, and part of it might be the article itself. I mentioned this in the thread as well - I think that the author takes for granted that his readers will understand that he is specifically referring to white people using "white" as a perjorative, specifically to mock the cultural choices of other white people.

There is an interesting discussion to be had about why that is problematic, and it's sort of trying to happen in that thread. It's a small, quiet thing buried under heaving pile of grar.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:20 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dear ask.metafilter, people are wrong on the internet, like, all of them. What should I do? What if they keep being wrong?

DTMFA.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 10:21 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you don't want to read it, please don't comment in the thread.

To be perfectly snarky, that would take the fun out of it.

More seriously, the linked-to article wasn't that interesting, insightful, or coherent that a deep discussion of it was really even possible. Yes, it had some good points buried deep down, but it was lost in a morass of shallow writing.
posted by deanc at 10:22 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


More seriously, the linked-to article wasn't that interesting, insightful, or coherent that a deep discussion of it was really even possible. Yes, it had some good points buried deep down, but it was lost in a morass of shallow writing.

Perfectly good comment in the blue. However, not sure what this brings to the conversation on the gray.
posted by josher71 at 10:23 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


'Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,' y2karl.
posted by jamjam at 10:24 AM on April 25, 2012


No offense, I think you are just being petulant about your post not getting noticed enough to your satisfaction,

Is this meant to imply that I made the original post that I linked to on the blue?

Because I did not make that post.
posted by Narrative Prioritie


No.

Sorry, by "post", I just meant your comment on it.

Quite sorry if there was confusion.
posted by timsteil at 10:33 AM on April 25, 2012


The author doesn't make a single point in the article. He makes multiple, and sometimes contradictory points. Additionally, it seems an odd thing to complain about -- there are a lot of lazy, tacky, not-well-thought-out criticisms being tossed out there. "Too-white" isn't the worst of them, isn't the most overused, and does, in fact, mean what an early responder said it meant -- that it shows a world too couched in a specific privilege, too often failing to unpack that privilege.

Just because somebody isn't responding to a point in a messy article that you especially liked doesn't mean they didn't read the article. They may have read it and be responding to another point in that mass of points. Some of the criticisms of the article that are generated the DRTFA strike me as coming from people who actually did read the thing, disagreed with it, and it is irritating to people who liked the article that it might be disagreed with.

Let us start with the presumption that people did read the piece unless we have evidence otherwise. People are not always going to respond to the things you responded to, or even respond directly to the linked piece, but instead to ideas that the piece generated. You may not like it. You may think the article should generate a specific sort of response. It often doesn't, and that's just how conversation goes.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:42 AM on April 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


Let us start with the presumption that people did read the piece unless we have evidence otherwise.

Yes, after all, I read the article all the way to the end and managed to be in the first 5-10 comments with the only thing I found particularly notable about the article. So, it can be done.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:45 AM on April 25, 2012


I don't think I said anything in that thread that warrants much attention, and would probably just delete one or both of my comments if that was a thing you could do on Metafilter without bothering the mods. Most of what I say on Metafilter gets very little attention, and I'm honestly just fine with that -- being at the center of attention on a site where people are frequently pretty mean to each other is not my cup of tea.

I only made this Metatalk post because I thought it might be useful, and didn't want to clutter up the original thread.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:47 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Suggestion #1: It's best to copy a sentence or two from the article and respond to its points. Helps to keep one focused.

Suggestion #2: Complaints about reverse racism and the like will only get worse.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:49 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, my last comment was in reply to timsteil, to be clear.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:49 AM on April 25, 2012


I think it's perfectly OK to react to a post without reading whatever it is linked to. Sure, its much better to read the link, but really, the OP is responsible for choosing the words that make up the post, and it's a work that stands on its own. If the OP wants to give a good overview of the linked article/topic, she is free to do so. If she wants to make a controversial sound bite sort of post that doesn't really reflect the article, then some comments are likely to be off base.
posted by DarkForest at 11:07 AM on April 25, 2012


Perfectly good comment in the blue. However, not sure what this brings to the conversation on the gray.

I'm trying to explain to Narrative Priorities the reason why the commentary on the article in the blue wasn't "up to snuff." It just wasn't that great of an article. Not sure why it was supposed to be an enlightening comment thread, given that reality.
posted by deanc at 11:07 AM on April 25, 2012


deanc: "I'm trying to explain to Narrative Priorities the reason why the commentary on the article in the blue wasn't "up to snuff." It just wasn't that great of an article. Not sure why it was supposed to be an enlightening comment thread, given that reality."

Well that is certainly a novel excuse for threadshitting,

'The article I plainly didn't even bother to read made me do it!'
posted by Blasdelb at 11:15 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read the article before I posted my first comment. The comment was "This article is so white".

Spot on! And funny, as well!


Yeah, but no.

Too many people 'round here with comprehensively mistaken opinions that they're ever so funny and clever, and Must Be Heard.
posted by ambient2 at 11:28 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm actually surprised at the number of people that thought the article was messy or poorly thought out. It seems plainly obvious to me that approaching that subject from the direction he was is walking a minefield and using your toes to find the mines. Sure it was mincing, ginger, and awkward but on the other hand it's pretty miraculous that he didn't turn himself into giblets and stew meat.

I also think it's hard to go all that wrong with a conclusion that actually asks people to do something difficult, like make positive recommendations of artists of color.

DarkForest - are you joking?

I mean I think it's pretty uncontroversial to suggest that we'd be better off if people actually read an article before trying to talk about it.
posted by kavasa at 11:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Too many people 'round here with comprehensively mistaken opinions that they're ever so funny and clever, and Must Be Heard.

Honkies gonna honk.






runs away
posted by louche mustachio at 11:45 AM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm not joking at all. I also said its much better to read the link. Still, I think the OP should be responsible for what he writes in his post, even (or especially if) its just a teaser/quote.
posted by DarkForest at 11:47 AM on April 25, 2012


1. Seems to me like you are looking for attention.
posted by timsteil at 9:31am


Most of what I say on Metafilter gets very little attention,
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:47 AM


OK
posted by timsteil at 11:54 AM on April 25, 2012


This is getting weirdly fighty and you should maybe stop.
posted by cribcage at 12:17 PM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Too many people 'round here with comprehensively mistaken opinions that they're ever so funny and clever, and Must Be Heard.

Tough crowd. I'm dying up here.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Too many people 'round here with comprehensively mistaken opinions that they're ever so funny and clever, and Must Be Heard.

Pretty much anyone, funny and clever or not, who posts or comments thinks that they Must Be Heard or they wouldn't post. Kind of a given. If nobody here thought that they Must Be Heard, we would have no Metafilter.
posted by blucevalo at 12:41 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


STOP SAYING FIGHTY
posted by jonmc at 12:52 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: weirdly fighty
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:53 PM on April 25, 2012


Fighty > Sammich
posted by josher71 at 12:54 PM on April 25, 2012


fighty fighty fighty
posted by rtha at 12:55 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


STOP SAYING FIGHTY

You're being a bit demandy aren't you?
posted by empath at 12:56 PM on April 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


The first rule of fighty club is

TICKLE FIGHT
posted by griphus at 12:56 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I bring a pillow to a tickle fight. THAT's the CHICAGO way.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:58 PM on April 25, 2012


I bring piano wire. Stop touching me.
posted by Gator at 1:01 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


moist fighty grar sammich
posted by elizardbits at 1:01 PM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am bigoted against iTunes.
posted by Trurl at 1:03 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't that just like a gator, bringing piano wire to a tickle fight.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:06 PM on April 25, 2012


I bring a pillow to a tickle fight. THAT's the CHICAGO way.

Yeah, guys, don't fuck with shakes. I've seen what he brings to a pizza party.
posted by griphus at 1:07 PM on April 25, 2012


MetaFilter: moist fighter grar sammich shruggo twee.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:15 PM on April 25, 2012


Fuck you, iPad. moist fighty grar sammich shruggo twee.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:16 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


STOP SAYING FIGHTY

You and your New Yorky problems.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:16 PM on April 25, 2012


I've seen what he brings to a pizza party.

it's definitely not pizza
posted by elizardbits at 1:18 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Taters?
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:22 PM on April 25, 2012


Hey that reminds me of a story
posted by shakespeherian at 1:27 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've liked "shruggo" from the start. Saying someone is "feeling all shruggo" expresses what is often represented poorly as "meh".

"taters", however, makes me cringe a little, because of the request from the inadvertant coiner that we please let it drop and the obviously non-harmful intentions of most users.
posted by batmonkey at 1:34 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was a terrible post about a possibly-otherwise-interesting topic.

Oh, I agree. And a more isolated example, as I see now. Between shuttling from that post to this post on Metatalk to the thread referenced here, I had gotten the impression both were deleted. So, once again, I am wrong on the internet forever. At least until the next Carrington Event.
posted by y2karl at 1:54 PM on April 25, 2012


Stop it stop it, you bastards! I'll rhapsodize about the Dictators! I'll hate on Pitchfork! I'll describe my lunch!
posted by jonmc at 2:06 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


You don't need to get all hoppitamoppita about it.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:11 PM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


*explodes*
posted by jonmc at 2:16 PM on April 25, 2012


*pours one out for jonmc*

To our fallen fighty-hating brother!
posted by rtha at 2:27 PM on April 25, 2012


I want to hear more about what these two factions would be.

Rockers/Mods, obvs.
posted by epersonae at 2:33 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why confine your rage to individual words? There's a whole slew of phrases that can rouse the urge to smash a chair against a wall. Let the hate flow through you!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2012


It does seem editorializing isn't policed as harshly as it used to be. One example would be this one, great links but describing Rush Limbaugh as a "Republican Mouthpiece" instead of talk show host and expressing the opinion that the Catholic reaction was a "Freak Out" were not editorially neutral statements. It kind of renders the "A Coordinated Assault on Women?" question into the Fox News style of "Just Asking Questions!".

I expected that one to be deleted and reposted without that stuff.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:27 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


No offense, I think you are just being petulant about your post not getting noticed enough to your satisfaction

No offense, but I think you might not understand what "no offense" means.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:51 PM on April 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's not an insult if you preface it with "no offense."

"No offense, but I would sooner eat my own hands then go out to dinner with you," for example.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:53 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would sooner eat my own hands then go out to dinner with you,"

Excellent choice, sir. May I recommend the Raveneau Chablis Les Clos, 1996, to go with that?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:58 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


timsteil, a lot of people think conversations here being swamped by comments from people who didn't bother to read the linked content we're ostensibly talking about is flaw in the way things work here. And think it's reasonable to assume that by making this MeTa post Narrative Priorities meant draw attention to the issue rather than himself.

If you disagree with Narrative Priorities and other people who think this is a problem, it would helpful if you could explain why you think it's not a problem, rather than simply accusing Narrative Priorities of attention seeking.

I agree with a lot of other commenters that the article didn't seem that well thought out, but it's annoying for people who want to discuss the article, whether they agree with it or not, or partially disagree, that a about half the people in the thread, that they're supposedly discussing it with, seem to think the article is about reverse racism or discrimination against white people — which is not what the actual article was about.

This a pretty pervasive problem here, not just with this thread, and not just with threads that have something to do with race or mention controversial subjects.
posted by nangar at 3:59 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mainly I'm just surprised that the first comment wasn't "Oh yeah? I suppose you want to know why there isn't a WHITE HISTORY MONTH!"
posted by Artw at 4:02 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


the proper definition of $WORD is the one i use
posted by LogicalDash at 4:07 PM on April 25, 2012


No offense, but you're ugly and I hate you.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:08 PM on April 25, 2012


I have to say, though, that thread got a lot better.
posted by nangar at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2012


I have to say, though, that thread got a lot better.

Indeed. One person was disavowed of the horribly false notion that the Allman Brothers band is too white. That alone made it all worthwhile, and I ain't kidding.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:36 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jazz is still white peoples music though.
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on April 25, 2012


I wish people wouldn't hate on Greg Allman. He's just trying to make a living and doing the best he can.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:42 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


One person was disavowed of the horribly false notion that the Allman Brothers band is too white.

Believe it or not neither is the Average White Band.
posted by jonmc at 4:44 PM on April 25, 2012


He's just trying to make a living and doing the best he can.

Dude, that was Dicky Betts.

Y'all really don't know your Allman Brothers, is the conclusion I've come to.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:44 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tie him to the whipping post.
posted by jonmc at 4:46 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Always nagging on our imperfect Allman Brothers' knowledge. Sometimes I feel like I've been-

God dammit jonmc.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:48 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's alright Marisa*, there just wasted words, never been heard...

Marisa is my sisters name so it's weird to type that, dude
posted by jonmc at 4:50 PM on April 25, 2012


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, I think you need to chill out with one of their other songs, a very mellow one that I have in mind. And just imagine it's being done by an Allman Brothers cover band from Japan. the tune of course, would be Sweet Marisa.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:54 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, and I have the perfect accompaniment for that song. If you know what I mean! And I think you do!





Earphones, of course.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:00 PM on April 25, 2012


As a good friend of mine used to say, "Make like the Average White Band and Cut the Cake!"
posted by languagehat at 5:11 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Y'all really don't know your Allman Brothers, is the conclusion I've come to.
I didn't, but the BBC recently came to the rescue.
posted by Abiezer at 5:22 PM on April 25, 2012


Stop it stop it, you bastards! I'll rhapsodize about the Dictators! I'll hate on Pitchfork! I'll describe my lunch!

You just try, damn your eyes, and I'll rabbit on about Korea for 15 paragraphs! I'll pull 5-dollar words out straight out of my butt at the drop of a hat! I'll fail to avoid repeating myself while decrying the Decline of America yet again!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Um, wait, were we supposed to read something before posting to this thread?
posted by sammyo at 6:10 PM on April 25, 2012


"I didn't, but the BBC recently came to the rescue."

I experienced a weird clash of interest and loathing just now when reading about that documentary.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:44 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um, wait, were we supposed to read something before posting to this thread?

These threads are already difficult enough.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:48 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter:a weird clash of interest and loathing.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:14 PM on April 25, 2012


I know someone who sang quite loudly and confidently along to the lyrics, "But that corn meal always runs... to sweet Melissa!"
posted by argonauta at 11:54 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perfectly good comment in the blue. However, not sure what this brings to the conversation on the gray.

Take it to the blue!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:22 AM on April 26, 2012


Um, wait, were we supposed to read something before posting to this thread?


Allman Brothers discography, apparently...
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:40 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alien Resurrection was pretty disappointing, but it did give us, "With all due respect, sir, but FUCK YOU."
posted by Trurl at 5:35 AM on April 26, 2012


People can you feel it?
posted by Sailormom at 6:43 AM on April 26, 2012


BRIAN GLOVER LIVES!
posted by clavdivs at 7:04 AM on April 26, 2012


No offense, but I find you offensive.
posted by OsoMeaty at 9:07 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't like the blue. I'm here for some of the green and a little gray.
posted by notned at 9:41 AM on April 26, 2012


I can't tell if this thread is anything resembling serious anymore, or if anyone's even really paying attention, but I am regardless going to take a moment and call out this comment:

Also, Asians are like subsidiary whites.

as being emblematic of the sort of casual anti-Asian racism that passes completely without comment far too often on this site. I'm sorry we're not colored enough for you, dude. I'll pass around a memo to try a little harder during our franchise meeting.

I can't tell if that was supposed to be a joke, or what, but it's fucking gross and it really bothers me that no one seems to give a shit about this stuff.
posted by Errant at 8:48 PM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


No I'm with you, that's a pretty serious bullshit comment. I deleted it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:53 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you. I wish mine hadn't been the only flag, but I guess you can't have everything.
posted by Errant at 9:16 PM on April 26, 2012


I'm 100% sure that comment was a sarcastic calling out of the implication of this comment which was attempting to explain what the commenter means when s/he uses the term 'white' to denote blandness and boringness:
Last weekend I was in a restaurant called the California Chicken Cafe. Outside of the Mexicans working at the place the only people there were whites and asians. My girlfriend had a salad, I had some kind of wrap thing with rice and avocado. The food was perfectly adequate. It was certainly edible, but it was bland and boring, the sort of food that comes from trying to avoid offending anyone. Salsa was available but it was uniformly bland and without character. It was the very definition of white people food. [emphasis mine]
I know we discourage tongue-in-cheek over-the-top offensive comments as sarcastic attempts to make a point opposite that of the comment, but I think it's worth stating that I don't believe at all that whoever it was (I don't remember) who posted that now-deleted comment meant to do anything else but criticize someone else's perceived casual anti-Asian racism.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:58 PM on April 26, 2012


I read that. Actually I read it a few times, along with the preceding and following twenty comments or so, because I was trying to figure out if it was supposed to be a joke or not. Despite lengthy experience I still, possibly foolishly, would like to believe that people wouldn't say such things here, even though they do.

It seemed to me like a snarky comment which basically said, "actually, asians are just white people simulacra, so to say 'whites and asians' is redundant." Allowing for the most charitable interpretation, it's a shitty play on a broadly-held stereotype which does not merit returning to the comment box just to make sure he got it in, especially since his preceding critique was sufficiently sarcastic and dismissive while making an actual point, that the phrase "urban youth" should not be used as a stand-in for all people of color. Less charitable interpretations are perhaps more easily read.

As I said, I don't know if it was supposed to be a joke, but if it was, it was stupid, pointless, and harmful. If it wasn't, just add "cruel" to the above. Either way, I flagged it. I mentioned it here because the mods said that it would be helpful to bring up in Metatalk examples of this behavior I find pervasive. Otherwise I would have just swallowed my bile and gone out for a beer, which is what I usually do and did this time also.
posted by Errant at 11:02 PM on April 26, 2012


My theory is that, as a general phenomenon, people are sometimes tempted to sabotage a thread, instead of allowing it to potentially develop or reinforce a view that they strongly disagree with.
posted by polymodus at 11:55 PM on April 26, 2012


I'm not Asian, but my wife is, and I have lived in Asia since forever, and I have long felt that pretty much anywhere in the English-speaking world at least, comments or 'jokes' that are derogatory towards Asian people are the last racism that is still acceptable in general society.

It's a complicated thing, but I suspect that part of that is response to things like the (general) success of Asian immigrants or academic prowess of (many, but by no means all) Asian foreign students -- that's there's some kind of feeling that it's not (to clumsily coin some terms) insulting-downward, it's insulting-upward in some way, and so it's somehow less pernicious.

Still, it makes me angry if I let it get to me, because a racist joke with a wink towards people who 'get it' is still a racist joke, and it encourages and emboldens the dullards who actually are actively, unironically racist.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:58 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I made that comment. shakespeherian got it exactly. It was no joke. Not in the sense of trying to make people laugh, anyway. I was (attempting) to do it in the same tone as my previous comment, on "urban youth" and whatnot. It was sarcastic. I also feel its exactly what mikesch's comment implied. I'm sorry you feel it was racist, casually or otherwise, because that was the exact opposite of what I intended. I certainly was not trying to say or even imply with a wink that Asian people are somehow white or not minority enough.

Mikesch's comment really ticked me off, for a number of reasons, among them his grouping of Asians into his category of whites, presumably as they have adopted white signifiers and they are boring and bland, too. I was attemtping to more nakedly post mikesch's implications.

I'm not gonna bitch and moan about my comment being deleted, but I will say (once) that I'm not super pleased with my comment being deleted for something it was not.

But Errant, I do apologize for not making my myself clear enough.
posted by Snyder at 2:12 AM on April 27, 2012


I appreciate the apology, Snyder, and, at least by me, it is accepted. I hope we may now continue to have a dialogue about it.

My problem with shakespeherian's interpretation is that it wasn't quite in the spirit of your previous comment. I think mikesch was using "urban youth" to denote "people of color", and to that extent your previous comment made sense (and, for whatever this is worth, went unflagged by me), because I agree that it's a common, yet insufficient and frequently harmful, catch-all for people of color.

The thing is, though, mikesch wasn't conflating "whites" with "asians". He, in fact, did the opposite, by noting explicitly two different groups. To my mind, then, your comment had the appearance of chastising him for doing so, which is very different than what you surely intended.

But, regardless of what you intended, as a single comment and a single line, your comment was merely a blanket reiteration of the stereotype you're obviously aware of, rather than any critique of it. I honestly believe that with context it wouldn't have been much better and would probably have been shitty anyway, but there wasn't any clarification; it was just this statement, with a period at the end. And, I have to tell you, it really sucked to read it. I understand that that wasn't what you wanted, and as said before I accept the apology. But I'd like us, as a community, to think about how many of these kinds of jokes or throwaway lines are not actually that to those people who hear them far more often than you might expect, and to just try to be aware of that before making what seems to you like a shallow quip.

I don't expect or want MeFi to be a "safe space", in the social justice sense of the term. I don't really like safe spaces anyway. I want you, and for that matter myself, to be able to make throwaway jokes without worrying too much about it. But, man, after that tiger mother and Asian ceiling thread, after the total difference in tone between the "tiger mother" and "frog mother" (also shitty, as a title) threads even though they were basically about the same shit, after all the ways that people let off steam on this site by throwing away a joke about Asians, it stops being throwaway and starts to feel like we're just here because you are amused or intrigued by us. It really fucking sucks, and it happens all the time. Maybe you're catching the backblast of a buildup that's been coming from me, and I'm sorry for that because you're not the source, just the straw on the camel's back. I just am having a hard time understand why this site seems so crazy about Asians and Asian stuff. Maybe I need to make a new MeTa thread about it or something, god forbid, but it's been bothering me for a long time and it doesn't seem like it's getting better.
posted by Errant at 3:13 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


> It was sarcastic. ... I'm sorry you feel it was racist, casually or otherwise, because that was the exact opposite of what I intended.

Thus we see once again that sarcasm is a really, really shitty way to make a point. It's great that Errant accepted your apology, but you should spend less time being "not super pleased with my comment being deleted" and more time figuring out better ways to make your points. "See, if you read my apparently stupid/racist/offensive comment in the right tone of voice, with a proper understanding of what an awesome person I am in my heart of hearts, you'll get it!" is not generally successful on the internet.
posted by languagehat at 6:46 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah that's exactly why the mods tend to encourage people to say what they mean (especially when it comes to potentially-terrible things like comments about racism, sexism, etc) rather than the opposite of what they mean with a big wink-- winks don't always carry.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:01 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know we discourage tongue-in-cheek over-the-top offensive comments as sarcastic attempts to make a point opposite that of the comment

We specifically do this because of the conversation that unfolded above. I don't want to have to think about Snyder's motivations and figure out whether or not a comment that has one read as a weird racist thing to say is in fact a weird racist thing said or a comment on someone else's comment. I, personally, am not great with subtlety and I know there are many people like me on this site. This is just true, whether you think it should be true or not. So, comments that rely on some degree of subtlety to get at what they're really saying, especially if they are brief, are problematic.

Put another way, these sort of comments can seem like pointed jokes to some people and "Wait, is that guy being racist?" statements to others. We sort of feel like the burden in these sorts of cases is on the commenter to be speaking clearly-not-racistly until such a time as we can just take that for granted from a group of generic folks talking about race. We are okay if this inhibits people's joke-making ability to a minor degree.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:07 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sort of speaking of which could someone remove the ethnic slur near the top of this thread? taz dropped a mod comment in there but the comment is really sticking in my eye.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:10 AM on April 27, 2012


No. A few people had commented on it and taz made a decision to leave it and leave a note instead.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:11 AM on April 27, 2012


shakespeherian: "Sort of speaking of which could someone remove the ethnic slur near the top of this thread? taz dropped a mod comment in there but the comment is really sticking in my eye."

The slur "guinea" insults Italians by comparing them to dark-skinned Africans. So basically, it's racism within racism.

Perhaps that says as much about the person using the slur as it does about the person who is offended by it.
posted by zarq at 8:11 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah that's exactly why the mods tend to encourage people to say what they mean (especially when it comes to potentially-terrible things like comments about racism, sexism, etc) rather than the opposite of what they mean with a big wink-- winks don't always carry.

The point I really, really want to stress here is that the wink carrying or not carrying isn't the issue. If it had seemed entirely sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek to me, it still would have been a shitty and needless thing to say. The problem isn't that I didn't get the joke. The problem is that it's not actually a joke, and in many ways the "wink" actually makes it worse. Ironic racism is just racism with the added bonus of making me complicit in the shitty thing someone just said, because otherwise I obviously have no sense of humor and am such a killjoy or whatever. Double points if it's my own marginalization that I'm being asked to consent to. It is a way to wield the power of racism without getting called out for it, which is what makes it attractive as a methodology to assholes everywhere. It would be better if we were not that guy.
posted by Errant at 10:57 AM on April 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


There was an askme last year sometime (?) from someone who was getting shit from some of their friends because the OP used racist language "ironically" to challenge the assumptions of their friends, and they wanted some confirmation that what they were doing was okay. (I'm almost certainly not describing this completely accurately, because I don't remember all the details, and also the OP pissed me off in some of their follow-ups.) The general consensus was that it was not okay, and the OP being a person of color didn't make it okay, especially when the "ironic" language was used at or in front of people the OP didn't know well.
posted by rtha at 11:30 AM on April 27, 2012


jessamyn: "No. A few people had commented on it and taz made a decision to leave it and leave a note instead."

I'm a bit curious about this. Is the slur not strong enough to warrant automatic deletion? Or would it have been if y'all had seen it before people started discussing Dean Martin?
posted by zarq at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2012


The thing is, though, mikesch wasn't conflating "whites" with "asians". He, in fact, did the opposite, by noting explicitly two different groups. To my mind, then, your comment had the appearance of chastising him for doing so, which is very different than what you surely intended.

I guess I feel differently. He mentioned whites and Asians as being the only patrons present, and then categorized the food served as "white people food." I felt that was special pleading, how Asians weren't real minorities in America, that they might as well be white people. I just want to let you know where I'm coming from. That being said, I understand why you see it that way.

But, regardless of what you intended, as a single comment and a single line, your comment was merely a blanket reiteration of the stereotype you're obviously aware of, rather than any critique of it. I honestly believe that with context it wouldn't have been much better and would probably have been shitty anyway, but there wasn't any clarification; it was just this statement, with a period at the end. And, I have to tell you, it really sucked to read it. I understand that that wasn't what you wanted, and as said before I accept the apology. But I'd like us, as a community, to think about how many of these kinds of jokes or throwaway lines are not actually that to those people who hear them far more often than you might expect, and to just try to be aware of that before making what seems to you like a shallow quip.

To respond to this, and other comments in this vein, I understand where you're coming from. I don't hold myself as some anti-racist superman, just some white person trying to respond to things I see, and obviously my response was not the best. My thinking there was, "If I restate a post implications in the most naked or hyperbolic way imaginable, it will be obvious that is not meant literally. This will possibly provoke a response and/or re-thinking of the implications of the post." I think that because I find it hard to imagine that anyone would say something like that in any seriousness, and it would be obviously seen as sarcastic. So it wasn't meant as a joke, but more of a "do you realize what you just said?" kind of thing.

Obviously, that was not what you read, and it was hurtful. I am sorry for that. I am intellectually aware people say things like that in all seriousness, or make ironic jokes as a public performance that look like what I said. Again, it's just hard for me, in the moment, to imagine someone saying something like that with any seriousness or jocularity, so I assume it wouldn't be taken that way. Probably because I've rarely had to deal with people directing statements like that about me at me. (Or luckily, hear statements like that about anyone all that often.

What seems to me like obvious hyperbole or sarcasm is not always obvious to other people. So, again, thanks for pointing that out. And, also, thanks for being cool about it too. I appreciate that.
posted by Snyder at 12:33 PM on April 27, 2012


Oh, and a question. If I had phrased it as, "So, I guess you feel that Asians are just subsidiary whites?" Do you feel that would have been ok? I assume you yes, that would, if I'm reading you right, but I ask just in case I'm not.
posted by Snyder at 12:35 PM on April 27, 2012


I'm a bit curious about this. Is the slur not strong enough to warrant automatic deletion? Or would it have been if y'all had seen it before people started discussing Dean Martin?

I don't know. I think we need to be a bit stronger about not playing the "Well would you have deleted it if it had happened this way...?" game here because honestly I don't know. I know why it wasn't deleted which was what I mentioned here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Again, it's just hard for me, in the moment, to imagine someone saying something like that with any seriousness or jocularity, so I assume it wouldn't be taken that way. Probably because I've rarely had to deal with people directing statements like that about me at me.

I think that's another thing that's infuriating about attempts at ironic racism: they expose the speaker's privilege in a very immediate way. This isn't intended as a shot at you -- I very much appreciate you taking the time to consider your statements and my response, and your apology -- but just as me exploring my own reactions. Taken as a joke, it becomes readily apparent that you have no idea that people say these things often, publicly, to our faces or around us. It's sort of the same thing as with rape jokes: people say some obviously awful things for laughs, completely unaware that those things have been said verbatim with very different intents and tones of voice and completely seriously. (I am, here, comparing the types of jokes and not racism vs. rape in and of themselves.) So even the joking about it becomes another signal that I inhabit a very different world than you. Yours is both broadly visible and presumed: you assume that I must know where you're coming from, because obviously that should be the default mode. Mine is broadly invisible and difficult to enter: you have a hard time imagining my daily experience, and where you can imagine it, you think that it is an aberration instead of the norm.

So that's kind of a funny outcome of this ironic racism stuff. What you intend as a way of joining us in common laughter at an absurd opinion is instead a reminder of our power differential. You can afford to find it amusing; I can't. It seems to me that that's more or less the same outcome as actual racism, which is why I start having a hard time seeing the difference.

If I had phrased it as, "So, I guess you feel that Asians are just subsidiary whites?" Do you feel that would have been ok?

It certainly wouldn't have provoked the same reaction from me. It seems like inflammatory phrasing to me personally, but it'd be clear that you were attempting to clarify someone else's opinion rather than either stating your own or making a kind of crappy joke. It would have seemed like you were trying to make or discuss a point rather than be immediately dismissive. In general, too, I think this style of trying to rephrase other people into the most hyperbolic and shitty version of what they actually said is pretty counterproductive at best and prone to explosion at worst. (I say that knowing that I have done the same; in hindsight, I regret doing so and wish I hadn't.) So, yeah, I think that would have been better.
posted by Errant at 1:34 PM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess I feel differently. He mentioned whites and Asians as being the only patrons present, and then categorized the food served as "white people food." I felt that was special pleading, how Asians weren't real minorities in America, that they might as well be white people.

Oh, and to elaborate, this point is far better made and far more clear in what you mean and whom you're addressing than your deleted comment. It might not seem as funny, but considering I didn't think your joke was very funny either, this at least has the benefit of cogency. Maybe it's worthwhile to start with this instead of that?
posted by Errant at 1:39 PM on April 27, 2012


I think that's another thing that's infuriating about attempts at ironic racism: they expose the speaker's privilege in a very immediate way. This isn't intended as a shot at you

My example of this which is about gender differences and not racial ones is something that has happened to me three separate times with three separate people. I'm walking alone somewhere, in a city, late at night, usually heading home or to a friend's house and some guy a bit farther away on the street starts yelling something directly at me that I can't quite understand. I immediately get on edge, look around, try to figure out if there are other people around, where I'd run to if I needed to go for help (this was in pre-cell phone times) and basically spend 20-30 seconds in an adrenaline rush worrying that this is going to turn into a bad situation where I get assaulted.

All three times, it's turned out to be a male friend of mine just jokily yelling something because they saw me and knew I hadn't seen them and thought that would be funny, you know, pretend to be a hobo, that sort of thing. In none of those cases did they think "Oh hey this is going to be funny, let me make jessamyn worry that she's going to be raped for a little while...." At the same time it literally did not occur to them that the only real context in which someone would yell something at a woman alone in a city at night is if they had very different social boundaries and might possibly be scary or creepy people and there very well might be an imminent danger situation. Because that's not what it means, generally, if there is a guy yelling at another guy in that sort of situation. Sometimes yes, but most of the time, no.

So, their frame of reference was so different from my frame of reference (even though we are otherwise very similar) that they made what to them was a joke only to find out [in at least once case because I was crying by the time I figured out what was going on] that I had taken it very differently. And we had to have a long conversation about how that's not what they MEANT, which I knew of course as soon as I figured out it was them. The fact that for them it could be just a joke, that it was even something one would joke about, meant that they live in a somewhat different universe from me. Same thing, different example. Which isn't to say I'm sure I haven't made these same sort of gaffes from my own position of occasional cluelessness, I just hope that having been on both sides of it helps me do that sort of thing less often.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:10 PM on April 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


Jessamyn, I know you as such a strong person that it warps my brain a little to imagine this rattling you as much as it rattles me. :( i am sorry the world sucks.
posted by gusandrews at 9:34 AM on April 29, 2012


A Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism’
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:07 AM on April 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for that link, flapjax; it's excellent. Pull quote I want to make sure gets read:
People in positions of power simply cannot make jokes at the expense of the powerless.
posted by languagehat at 7:13 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The comment thread in that article is depressing as hell, not like that's a surprise. "You think black people need defending, you're the one who's racist!" "See how white people aren't allowed to think or say anything? Thought police!"

That feeling those people are trying to evoke, where people are shamed into silence or frustrated into giving up? That's what oppression actually feels like. It's funny because it works.
posted by Errant at 5:50 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


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