Fighting words make for a heck of a derail. September 24, 2007 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Will the blatent and offensive derail at the end of this thread be allowed to continue?

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with sotonohito spewing his venom , but I wish he'd do it somewhere else. I'm actually interested in the original topic of the thread. Or am I missing something fundamental about the way Metafilter's supposed to work? (And, yes, I did flag it, and refrained from posting myself.)
posted by Crabby Appleton to Etiquette/Policy at 2:22 PM (154 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Dude. That thread is a bazillion comments long. I think it is past the derail threshold.
posted by dame at 2:27 PM on September 24, 2007


The one about Liza Minelli vs. Ozzy Osbourne? I agree, gotta go.
posted by gleuschk at 2:31 PM on September 24, 2007


Stay on topic, gleuschk!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:34 PM on September 24, 2007


More threadgineering!
posted by found missing at 2:36 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Has anyone noticed that Firefox now has NFL themes you can download and install?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:39 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yes.

If you're wishing that a thread would have more comments than that on the topic, you're way too interested in the topic.
posted by The World Famous at 2:39 PM on September 24, 2007


You Yankees just want my land.

*shoulders rifle, kisses Emmylou, heads off to war*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:44 PM on September 24, 2007


OK, I see, my attention span's too long, OK, got it.

I didn't realize that the complete ephemerality of these discussions is a design feature. My apologies.

On preview: that's "damn Yankees", BitterOldPunk.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:45 PM on September 24, 2007


Someone is Crabby.
posted by Sailormom at 2:50 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Crabby, exactly. I should have put a smiley or two in my previous post. (No irony intended.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:54 PM on September 24, 2007


OK, I see, my attention span's too long, OK, got it.

You probably could have noticed this when all the other threads on MeFi petered out somewhere way, way short of 670 comments.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on September 24, 2007


That thread is just plain nutso huge. Someone starting a great big destructive (which is usually to say combative) derail at the beginning of a thread is one thing; when a thread gets to be a few days old and as long as that one, the issue is usually pretty moot—the only folks still commenting are those invested in whatever conversation is still kicking, which is many times not the thread's purported topic.

So, well, yeah. The phrase "lost cause" is less flattering than the one I'd use if I could get it off the tip of my tongue, but concerns about conversation drift hundreds of comments into a thread probably aren't worth even the shallow spike in blood pressure.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:01 PM on September 24, 2007


Kokoryu: I'm off to install a Packers theme on my fiance's laptop (Bears fan).
posted by desjardins at 3:02 PM on September 24, 2007


Oh well, guess I'll have to GMOB (where football fans won't be welcome :-). So, cortex, will you object to an updatefilter post on the original topic in a day or two?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:12 PM on September 24, 2007


I read that as "You Yankees just want my HAND" and was expecting another fabulous flameout.
posted by Sk4n at 3:17 PM on September 24, 2007


When did terms like newsfilter and updatefilter lose their negative connotation?

Will the blatent and offensive derail at the end of this thread be allowed to continue? Will The Man continue to get us down? Will we feel OK anyway? Tune in next post for the exciting continuation of NEWS!
posted by carsonb at 3:19 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish I parlayed the over on the Cowboys last night. Fucking never listen to your friends' advice.
posted by phaedon at 3:21 PM on September 24, 2007


Will the blatant and offensive derail at the end of this thread be allowed to continue? Will The Man continue to get us down? Will we feel OK anyway? Tune in next post for the exciting continuation of DELMOIFILTER!
posted by fandango_matt at 3:23 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it's an updatefilter for the sake of updatefilter and continued conversation, that's probably not a great idea, Crabby Appleton. If it turns out she's been sent to Gitmo or is Osama in elaborate make-up or something similarly insanely notable, that sounds more like a post worth making.

Mefi does not (as frustrating as it may be when you get burnt by this) come with a discussion-of-the-topic-of-your-choice guarantee; sometimes you just miss the dang boat.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:25 PM on September 24, 2007


Got it. Thanks.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:30 PM on September 24, 2007


Wait a minute, there was a boat?
posted by box at 3:30 PM on September 24, 2007 [4 favorites]


so it's gone from a student wearing a circuit board on her tshirt at an airport to a heated discussion of south carolina's role in the us civil war.

maybe someone could draw a diagram explaining this very logical progression.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:32 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mary: If it's an updatefilter for the sake of updatefilter and continued conversation, that's probably not a great idea, Crabby Appleton.
Crabby Appleton: Hit me with it. Just give it to me straight. I came a long way read almost 700 comments just to see you, cortex. Just...at least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?
cortex: Not good.
Crabby: Not good like one in a hundred?
cortex: I'd say more like one in a million.
Crabby: So you're telling me there's a chance?
posted by carsonb at 3:35 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


So does anybody besides be get the delicious, delicious irony of cortex calling Crabby's complaint a "lost cause"?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 3:52 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


Will the blatant crybaby whining over some pixels representing some words be allowed to continue?
Teh Horror.
posted by 2sheets at 3:54 PM on September 24, 2007


Off-topic is a possibly convincing charge for that comment. "Spewed venom" is not.

Judges, am I correct that intentional eponysteria does not count?
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 4:03 PM on September 24, 2007


Okay... I'm not an American, so there's probably stuff I'm missing, but what's so outrageously offensive about sotonohito's linked-to comment? It seems a pretty good comment to me, in fact.
posted by Kattullus at 4:08 PM on September 24, 2007


Yes, Doublewhiskeycokenoice, I got it, but I chose not to acknowledge it because it contributes nothing to the discussion.

I do object to people shitting in threads, regardless of the length of the thread. Apparently that makes me worthy of ridicule, and a crybaby—in this forum, at least. I'll consider the source.

and hosted from Uranus, does unintentional eponysteria count?

I'll refer you and Kattullus to the derailed thread, rather than derail this one myself.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:13 PM on September 24, 2007


i'm now downloading 2.8 gigs of "time-life's guitar rock of the 60's to the 90's" just to get that damn crabby appleton song.
posted by quonsar at 4:15 PM on September 24, 2007


when a thread gets to be a few days old and as long as that one, the issue is usually pretty moot

That thread was just weird. It hit 400 comments in no time flat, so it's actually slowed down a bit.
posted by smackfu at 4:17 PM on September 24, 2007


Seems okay to me too Kattullus. I think it might be a touch too Boanergean for some.
posted by tellurian at 4:19 PM on September 24, 2007


Okay... I'm not an American, so there's probably stuff I'm missing, but what's so outrageously offensive about sotonohito's linked-to comment? It seems a pretty good comment to me, in fact.

In a combination of racism, revisionist history and plain-old nostalgia, there are huge swaths of Americans that believe the Civil War was more about states rights and self-determination than slavery. That the Confederacy was fighting for something more honorable than the mere right to own slaves. That the Confederacy was an right noce bunch of guys that you'd be glad to have beers with.

Never mind who fired the first shots. These are the people that think "Gone With the Wind" was a documentary.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:30 PM on September 24, 2007


And as the turds begin to fall in this thread, I will take my leave. Have fun.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:37 PM on September 24, 2007


So... there's an academic debate over the legality of an action that was obviously immoral... which means that ordinary people can't say what they actually think about each other any more? "I think slavery is an abomination and its upholders are morally bankrupt" hasn't been fighting words in Tennessee for a century. Where do you live? (Checks profile, sees Cambridge, MA, reminisces about Good Will Hunting.)

Wow. How do you like them apples, eh?
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2007


MetaFilter: My, how the turds have fallen.
posted by phaedon at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2007


It really is surprising that turds would begin to fall in a MeTa callout thread.

I'm going to see if I can catch a plate of them to overthink.
posted by The World Famous at 4:51 PM on September 24, 2007


"In a combination of racism, revisionist history and plain-old nostalgia, there are huge swaths of Americans that believe the Civil War was more about states rights and self-determination than slavery. That the Confederacy was fighting for something more honorable than the mere right to own slaves. That the Confederacy was an right noce bunch of guys that you'd be glad to have beers with."

There was an interesting article in a Civil War history journal that I wish I could find to cite easily (I used it in a paper a couple years ago), where a woman looked through a huge pile of CW correspondence for references to what the troops believed they were fighting for. The results were something like 80% thought they were fighting to maintain slavery, usually with a bundle of justifications about why slavery had to be maintained, rooted in concepts of state's rights and the danger that blacks posed to Southern society, etc. It was a really interesting paper, and I only really remember it because I had a History of Journalism professor who delighted in playing at the contrarian, always insisting that a) the Civil War wasn't about slavery, and b) that white indentured servants, of which there were more, had it worse than black slaves. I didn't find it all that surprising that he was a Randian, either. Aside from that, he was a pretty good teacher, with a lot of interesting things to say about historical trends in the 20th century.
posted by klangklangston at 4:57 PM on September 24, 2007


Hey Klang... was it James McPherson's What They Fought For?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:02 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with sotonohito spewing his venom , but I wish he'd do it somewhere else.
What?
posted by boo_radley at 5:12 PM on September 24, 2007


Although I don't know why people bother doing all that detailed historical research. Just read the damn Declarations of Secession!
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:12 PM on September 24, 2007


No, though it cited him and was done in large part as a response. The historian that I read did two things differently: she included many more letters than McPherson (I believe because she used partial letters as well as whole letters, though don't quote me on that), and she classified things with a slightly different taxonomy, allowing for more complex justifications (so, where McPherson might have accepted on its face a guy's claim that he was simply fighting to preserve the South as it was, she was classifying things based on what the letter emphasized about preserving the South).

I know the article appeared also in a regular newstand glossy, with many of the citations axed, and that it would have likely been around 2005 (Christ, I can't even remember exactly when I took the guy's class).
posted by klangklangston at 5:12 PM on September 24, 2007


And as the turds begin to fall in this thread, I will take my leave. Have fun.

You called it venom-spewing and linked to it. Some people don't see the venom. You refer to the linked comment by way of explanation, without any actual explanation. Someone else attempts to explain your reasoning.

Where's the turd, exactly?
posted by CKmtl at 5:16 PM on September 24, 2007


turds begin to fall

That's my favourite song on Cruising with Ruben and the Jets.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:22 PM on September 24, 2007


Crabby just can't abide the honor of the south being besmirched by Yankees.
posted by empath at 5:31 PM on September 24, 2007


I just looked at the title of this thread. Did Crabby challenge sotonohito do a duel?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:35 PM on September 24, 2007


I think I did hear the resounding of a glove slap.
posted by dame at 5:41 PM on September 24, 2007


Sounded like cranial foreskin slapping to me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:42 PM on September 24, 2007


Such flexibility.
posted by CKmtl at 5:44 PM on September 24, 2007


There's definitely some thumb-biting and button-polishing going on. I fear fisticuffs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:51 PM on September 24, 2007


And as the turds begin to fall in this thread, I will take my leave. Have fun.

Wait, you're offended by the comments against the CSA? I mean, obviously that's the case since you called out sotonohito. Now it's one thing to say that the Confederacy wasn't all evil, or whatever. I don't think that's accurate. But where in the hell does one get off being offended on behalf of slavers? I mean the very concept of slavery is offensive, and anyone who would defend it looses, I think, any moral right not to be insulted.

I mean come on.

Oaf's hilarious formulation that the CSA were not traitors, but that Union supporters in the CSA were, is equally backwards. I mean, suppose I declare my 12 meter vicinity a sovereign state, then run handing out nuclear secrets (or whatever). I'm not a traitor, because I'm not betraying the legitimate government. In fact, the police who might apprehend me are the true traitors!

Like you can just declare your own government and then do whatever you please.
posted by delmoi at 6:31 PM on September 24, 2007


The turds are falling! The turds are falling! [/chickenlittle]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:36 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


687 comments? I don't think I read any of them. Any new inside jokes I need to know now?
posted by ninjew at 6:42 PM on September 24, 2007


Sounded like cranial foreskin slapping to me.

*falls into a delicate swoon, falling crinoline over teakettle cleah over the porch railin'*
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2007


Sir, your journey from this mortal coil shall be hastened by the hand of Dixie!
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:10 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:11 PM on September 24, 2007


Anyone up for a heated revisionist argument over the War of Jenkins' Ear? I reckon he really got it cut off in a brawl in a Kingston knocking shop. Possibly the ear, too.
posted by Abiezer at 7:20 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


ninjew, the highlights are as follows:
OH MY GOD IT'S A BOMB! Oh, wait, no it isn't.
"I AM NOT A TERRORIST' buttons.
The real terrorist is her stylist.
Welcome to (user's) Wacky World of Logic.
"Here I sit on the poopah/Givin' birth to a Bay State Troopah"
This thread is a litmus test.
blue. alkaline. got it.
posted by boo_radley at 7:25 PM on September 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


My god. I just vomited in my mouth, but then my mouth couldn't hold it, so i swallowed it, which made me vomit even more. Suffice to say, I now need a new gerbil.
posted by oxford blue at 7:36 PM on September 24, 2007


Wow, this call out sucks.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:37 PM on September 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm struggling very hard to understand why Crabby Appleton thought an attack on a revisionist, slaver-friendly view of the South would be condemned here.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:51 PM on September 24, 2007


While almost any slight can be the cause of an affair of honor, only a very serious injury can force the recipient's hand. A grave enough insult might force a response or else cause the loss of some face through whispers that the insult is true, but there is always the comfort of knowing that the truth outs in these matters once the public has chewed it through.

However, in the ritualistic dance of demands and intransigent counter-offers that precedes a duel, the first to declare an insult must receive some sort of satisfaction... to bite his tongue at this late hour is to admit pusillanimity and defeat. Contrast this with the wisdom not to rise to defend one's honor in the moment of the slight, when only the most calumnious insults can force a duel, and you have to wonder: what sort of yellow cretin calls a man out and then slips away chastened?

Even according to the antiquated honor he apparently ascribes to, Crabby Appleton is a weak-livered traitor-lover, a uniquely pungent mix of cowardice and idiocy. I shouldn't be surprised if we never see him again.

/end fighting words.

(His short comment history actually looks fairly unobtrusive, even sweet. This is a strange call-out.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:59 PM on September 24, 2007


I live in Birmingham, Alabama. My ancestors fought for the Confederacy. And to this very day, if you get more than three drinks into a college-educated Southern boy, you'll hear about how his great-great-great-grandaddy single-handedly won the Battle of Chickamauga.

I come to MetaFilter so I don't hafta re-fight the goddamn Civil War over and over and over again. It was about SLAVERY, we LOST, that was a GOOD THING, and we need to just GET THE FUCK OVER IT.

Please make it stop.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:29 PM on September 24, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm still looking for satisfaction of my extremely mild curiosity on this point: wtf does the Civil War have to do with the original post?
posted by ottereroticist at 9:24 PM on September 24, 2007


It was about SLAVERY, we LOST, that was a GOOD THING, and we need to just GET THE FUCK OVER IT.

As someone who could be a son of the confederacy if he wished, I endorse BoP's comment 100%.

(Hey, BoP! The oldtimers say my great-great-great-grandaddy was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga. How about that!?)

That thread in question is the certainly the gift that keeps on giving, however. I've been getting acrimonious emails from Bunnycup all weekend. One of the last ones just said "Bleeding fucking heart cunt." I don't even have a cunt!
posted by octobersurprise at 9:34 PM on September 24, 2007


I just realized that the real reason I don't list an email address in my profile is that I'm afraid I wouldn't get any "cunt" emails.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:21 PM on September 24, 2007


I'm still looking for satisfaction of my extremely mild curiosity on this point: wtf does the Civil War have to do with the original post?

I think that was pretty much poor Crabby's point in this thread, otterphile. It started with pyramid termite pointing out, apropos of nothing and without comment, that two rednecks had been arrested for driving around Jean with nooses hanging off their pickups. Sotonohito interpreted this as a statement about freedom of speech and objected to it. I still can't figure out what pyramid termite's point was supposed to be, personally. But sotonohito objected strenuously to whatever it was. It was in this comment that the term "traitor worshiping southerners" came up, leading to the the eventual discussion (after about 500 relatively more on-topic comments) of whether the civil war was treason on the part of the confederacy. Or something like that.

See, how hard was that? and the otterpimp goes home satisfied, thanks to me.
posted by nanojath at 10:24 PM on September 24, 2007


Sounded like cranial foreskin slapping to me.

Can't be. American dickheads are all circumcised.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:57 AM on September 25, 2007


One of the last ones just said "Bleeding fucking heart cunt." I don't even have a cunt!

Americans are such cultural imperialists. Why oh why must you seek to impose your narrow view of the wonderful word 'cunt' on a single gender? Why oh why do you seek to destroy our indiginous cultures with their rich and diverse use of the word 'cunt'.

I'm gonna strap on my LED t-shirt, gather up my play doh and go visit Logan Airport immediately to protest this savage policy of systematic oppression immediately.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:04 AM on September 25, 2007


And lose one of those cunting 'immediately's, please.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:06 AM on September 25, 2007


Hey! Just because we're circumcised doesn't mean we don't have a foreskin to swing around! That shit's useful.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 1:22 AM on September 25, 2007


Some people are just cunts in hats, simple as that.
posted by h00py at 5:30 AM on September 25, 2007


I hate it when a discussion turns into a conversation. Good callout.
posted by OmieWise at 6:08 AM on September 25, 2007


Can't be. American dickheads are all circumcised.

O RLY?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:22 AM on September 25, 2007


This thread is extremely tolerable without pics. Really.
posted by maudlin at 7:14 AM on September 25, 2007


"I live in Birmingham, Alabama. My ancestors fought for the Confederacy. And to this very day, if you get more than three drinks into a college-educated Southern boy, you'll hear about how his great-great-great-grandaddy single-handedly won the Battle of Chickamauga."

hahahahah! guilty.
posted by taliaferro at 8:17 AM on September 25, 2007


Wow.... I guess now that I've had a callout thread I'm a true member of MeFi.

BitterOldPunk I'm sorry man.

taliferro but do you pronounce it "tolliver" or "tal-eh-ah-ferr-oh", that's the real question.
posted by sotonohito at 8:31 AM on September 25, 2007


I thought it was pronounced "Tell-YA-fair-oh."
posted by fandango_matt at 10:02 AM on September 25, 2007


You're probably correct. I'm terrible at spelling out pronunciation.
posted by sotonohito at 11:30 AM on September 25, 2007


maybe someone could draw a diagram explaining this very logical progression.

Original Topic --->Dogged Determination To Remain Intertwined In Discussion No Matter What The Cost--->Liquor/Drugs--->Wikipedia--->Resulting Discussion.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:19 PM on September 25, 2007


I think you just did.
posted by dg at 5:03 PM on September 25, 2007


OK, I finally found my hip waders. Let me wipe a little Vicks under my nose and I'll jump back in. Let's see. Dick-head, coward, cretin, idiot, and a few innuendos. What an educational experience this has been.

I asked a question and I got an answer. I used the word "derail" in my post, but apparently that was the wrong terminology in this instance. So I'll call it "threadjacking" instead. I had been laboring under the misapprehension that off-topic comments aimed at completely changing the subject were considered harmful on principle, always and everywhere. Apparently, it's more context-dependent than that, taking into account when the comment occurs (early or late in the thread) and, possibly, the content (based on cortex's little bon mot). Duly noted.

For the benefit of anyone who was sincerely puzzled by what I actually said, I'll restate it in a way that I hope will be clearer. I object to sotonohito's threadjacking. I characterized it as "blatent" (which I think is uncontroversial) and "offensive", which refers both to the content and tone of his remarks and to the threadjacking itself.

I will defend to the death sotonohito's right to make those remarks, as distasteful as I find them, but not in the context he chose. Had he made them in a context in which they were on topic, I would not have objected to them on MetaTalk.

So why did I find his comments offensive, why did I characterize what he did as "spew[ing] ... venom"?

sotonohito said that anyone who fought on the Confederate side was a traitor (and a murderer), and that those who revere their ancestors who fought on the Confederate side (probably a majority of Southerners) are traitor worshippers, and probably racists and Bush supporters.

In the threadjack, there's been copious legalistic hair-splitting about the definition and legality of treason, which has little relevance to the question of whether the insult was offensive. The word "traitor", used as an insult, derives its visceral emotional impact from its commonly understood meaning: one who betrays one's own people. sotonohito's knowing (in my opinion) use of this primal epithet, his subsequent insults and smears, and the tone he took with anyone who essayed to call him on his bullshit, should shed some light on why I said he was spewing venom.

In my opinion, sotonohito knew exactly how inflammatory his remarks were, and that they would provoke outraged responses, probably even from those who would normally refrain from abetting a threadjacking. And so it was.

I have no interest in discussing the topic introduced by the threadjack. You would not believe how many such discussions I've read over the years, starting with those on the POLI-SCI mailing list on the Arpanet back in the early 80s, through innumerable Usenet group discussions, up to the present-day blog threads. I will say that it has always warmed my heart that in every such discussion there have always beem a few brave and courageous souls who are willing step forth and take the bold and unpopular moral stand that slavery is wrong. What would we do without them?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:26 PM on September 25, 2007


Wow, crabby did you spectacularly miss the point of anotherpanacea's post or what?
posted by empath at 5:40 PM on September 25, 2007


Btw, I've been reading all of Crabby's posts in the voice of Foghorn Leghorn, which is cracking me up.
posted by empath at 5:40 PM on September 25, 2007


Apparently, it's more context-dependent than that, taking into account when the comment occurs (early or late in the thread) and, possibly, the content (based on cortex's little bon mot).

Okay, would somebody explain to me just what the hell I said that was so clever? That's like "oh zing" number three, and I'm completely lost.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:45 PM on September 25, 2007


cortex, I thought you were referring to this. My apologies if I misread you.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:57 PM on September 25, 2007


Oh, man. No, not at all, but I can see why that could seem like a little knifetwist. No harm done.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:26 PM on September 25, 2007


Crabby In all honesty I didn't mean to derail, or threadjack, or whatever. I think its fairly obvious that the first post in which I used the phrase "traitor worshiping southerners" was, in fact, on topic.

I'd also like to point out that nearly 24 hours elapsed between my first use of the phrase and oaf's objection to it. Then another 8 hours before I replied to oaf's objection. The thread had moved off the front page and already spanned over 600 posts, and was fizzling out (based on frequency of posting and time between posts) before the derail you are so upset about even happened.

I will admit, freely, that I did use the term with the intention of painting the people I so described with an epithet, a smear, and an insult. I happen to think a person who is proud of his father's membership in the KKK, who makes death threats to peaceful protesters, who glories and revels in the symbol of over 4,000 brutal lynchins and countless cases of physical assault deserves all the scorn, epithets, insults, and smears that can be laid on him. Is it your position that such people *shouldn't* be insulted?

I do deny that I used the term deliberately to sidetrack the discussion. I held the person Pyramid Termite referenced in contempt and I used terminology that I thought expressed that contempt. The derail into proper terminology for the (murdering, raping, torturing) traitors who founded the CSA was unintentional I assure you.

I'll also not deny at all that I've got a large amount of venom for the CSA and its defenders.

You wrote "sotonohito said that anyone who fought on the Confederate side was a traitor (and a murderer), and that those who revere their ancestors who fought on the Confederate side (probably a majority of Southerners) are traitor worshippers, and probably racists and Bush supporters."

That's an excellent summary of my position. I will disagree with your "probably a majority of Southerners" comment, however. I haven't noticed any polling on the subject, but it doesn't match my personal experience as a southerner. Though, to be sure Texas is only technically part of "the South", so I'll concede that its quite possible that in the more genuinely "southern" states the situation is different.

As the Jenna case has illustrated, however, the cancer of racism has not been excised from the former CSA, and I don't think its at all improper to assume that anyone who reveres a nation founded on the principle of racial inequality and eternal slavery of blacks is self evidently a racist.

If you want to discuss the accuracy of the term "traitor", and given that you've started discussing its accuracy here I assume you do, there's a conversation about that on a certain thread and you can join in any time you'd like to.
posted by sotonohito at 6:46 PM on September 25, 2007


Lighten up, dickheads.
posted by nanojath at 7:22 PM on September 25, 2007


Crabby, I should say explicitly that every other one of your comments has indicated that you are a very nice person. However, your position in this debate is increasingly looking untenable under the onslaught of your own absurd demands for topicality and sotonohito's expert analysis of the historiographic and legal issues. I think you'd be better off letting this drop, especially since you've switched from asserting the legal definition of treason to the colloquial one as soon as it was demonstrated that there is little room for dispute under the legal definition.

However, if you're going to start responding to the actual content of the discussion, I'm reminded of H.L.A Hart's analysis: civil wars indicate zones of indeterminacy for legal jurisdiction, but after the fact the victorious legal body asserts continuity out of necessity. During the secession deeds were transferred, contracts were made, and common crimes were committed, and they didn't suddenly become void when Lee surrendered. In that sense, the war was partially fought to determine the truth of the claim "Secession is treason." Having lost the battle, they also lost the debate.

As for the colloquial definition, "one who betrays one's own people," this seems even more settled than the legal question (also quite settled.) Confederates were perfectly happy to stick with the United States so long as things went their way, but the second the election results came in, they jumped ship. The northern and southern states formed one people, and the southern states betrayed the bond because they didn't like the results of a vote. How is that not treason? How is that not the worst sort of take-your-ball-and-go-home you've ever seen?

Of course, if by 'people' you mean 'race,' then there's some dispute which states betrayed the white race more: the northerners who freed blacks, or the southerners who raped them and so mixed their 'blood' with that of another people. Where do you fall on this question?
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:55 PM on September 25, 2007


That's blatant not blatent. [not to derail but]
posted by tellurian at 7:58 PM on September 25, 2007


The northern and southern states formed one people

no - there were significant cultural, social, economical, political and historical differences then - and of course, there was the basic moral difference

yes, at the heart of it, the civil war was about slavery - but the conflict had many other aspects too

and the basic question of secession rights of the states was never solved LEGALLY by the civil war

it was settled by guns (and not in a way that i have a problem with - the south needed to lose)

still, whenever i see something like this, i wonder if the question's really been settled for all time

people did talk about this in a semi-serious way - don't be so sure that the civil war settled this question for all time
posted by pyramid termite at 9:22 PM on September 25, 2007


Yeah, "blatant". Kinda rhymes with "cunt". In a hat.

*fist-bumps h00py*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:33 PM on September 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Like twat.
posted by tellurian at 10:00 PM on September 25, 2007


tellurian: That's blatant not blatent.

So it is. Thank you.

empath: Wow, crabby did you spectacularly miss the point of anotherpanacea's post or what?

Did I?

anotherpanacea, if you don't stop alternately kissing and kicking me, you're going to turn me into a masochist. You and sotonohito need to understand something: I'm not involved in your debate quarrel, I don't give a shit about it. I have not been participating in it, I am not participating in it, and I'm not going to participate in it, in this thread or any other. I will stick to the topic in this thread, regardless of whether or not you consider it "absurd".

sotonohito just admitted that he intended to insult literally millions of people and smear them as racists. He knew or should have known what the consequences of that action would be. But he says he didn't intend to threadjack. I believe him; I suspect that in his haste to spew venom it didn't even occur to him to consider the consequences.

So, anotherpanacea, I think you can see that for the purposes of this discussion, the definition of "traitor" is moot. sotonohito confirmed that he intended it as an insult, which was all I was trying to establish. Still, I can't resist pointing out that your comment on the matter is laughable. Next you'll be telling us that our ties to our immediate family, kin, and neighbors should be weaker than our ties to state, country, and world.

anotherpanacea: Of course, if by 'people' you mean 'race,' then there's some dispute which states betrayed the white race more: the northerners who freed blacks, or the southerners who raped them and so mixed their 'blood' with that of another people. Where do you fall on this question?

I can't answer this question, anotherpanacea, because I don't think in those categories. Frankly, this sounds like the kind of question a white racist supremacist would ask. Are you a member of Aryan Nations? I suggest you ask sotonohito which is worse, abolition or miscegenation. And then duck; I think you'll have a fight on your hands.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:07 PM on September 25, 2007


This definitely is metatalk.
posted by blacklite at 2:48 AM on September 26, 2007


Crabby Oddly enough, though I'm part of an interracial marriage I haven't technically been involved in miscegenation thanks to the wonders of modern contraception. I'm all for it for other people though.

As for insulting millions, I see nothing wrong with insulting racists. If you are correct, and I fear you are, that there are millions of racists in the USA how do their numbers somehow make it less acceptable to insult them?

The thing is that racism has retreated, become a bit more subtle, but hardly vanished. Back before the success of the civil rights movement it was easy to see who was racist and who wasn't because back then the racists were, for the most part, quite open in their racism. But more subtle racism still deserves all the scorn, disapproval, and insult that can be laid on it, does it not? Or is evil less evil simply because its learned to hide?
posted by sotonohito at 3:44 AM on September 26, 2007


I had been laboring under the misapprehension that off-topic comments aimed at completely changing the subject were considered harmful on principle, always and everywhere.

I'm glad you realize it was a misapprehension. MeFi threads are conversations, not formal debates; subjects frequently change midstream, and it's really not a good idea to be the guy who jumps up and hollers "can everybody PLEASE STAY ON TOPIC PLEASE!"

I too have been irritated with sotonohito in the past, but I've come to realize he's vocal and forceful because he believes passionately in what he's saying, not because he wants to upset anybody or derail anything, and in this case he's definitely on the side of the angels. So you might want to back off and just let it go.
posted by languagehat at 6:23 AM on September 26, 2007


"but I've come to realize he's vocal and forceful because he believes passionately in what he's saying, not because he wants to upset anybody or derail anything"

I'll admit I'm an ass when I feel strongly about something. I've always maintained that I'm a conservative who has come to hold liberal ideals. But there's no denying that I tend to take a binary right/wrong view of the world, and I can be just as dogmatic and rude as Limbaugh or Coulter when I'm convinced that I'm right.
posted by sotonohito at 7:01 AM on September 26, 2007


sotonohito just admitted that he intended to insult literally millions of people and smear them as racists.

Insulting assholes and smearing bigots is good behavior.

Frankly, this sounds like the kind of question a white racist supremacist would ask.

Actually, it's the question Lincoln asked Douglas in the Charleston debate. But then, he was both a white supremacist and an abolitionist. If the abolitionists were racists, how can the slaveholders have been angels? At least the abolitionists weren't fighting to keep blacks enslaved and to preserve an economy and way of life based on slavery.

Next you'll be telling us that our ties to our immediate family, kin, and neighbors should be weaker than our ties to state, country, and world.

The problem is that the confederates felt closer to the whites who lived across the country than they did to the blacks who lived in the backyard. Make up your mind: should we care for our neighbors or for people who look like us?
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:10 AM on September 26, 2007


Next you'll be telling us that our ties to our immediate family, kin, and neighbors should be weaker than our ties to state, country, and world.

Why shouldn't they be?
posted by empath at 8:16 AM on September 26, 2007


empath: Why shouldn't they be?

Before you ask me that question, empath, I suggest you ask your family and friends. By the way, just out of curiosity, did you read the last paragraph of this comment in your Foghorn Leghorn voice? Did you find it equally amusing?

languagehat: So you might want to back off and just let it go.

Truly, I did. I tried twice to bow out of this thread, but I was called a coward for doing so. (Actually, I think the phrase "yellow cretin" was used in one instance.) So now, I reckon I'll have the last word. But I'm curious—if sotonohito had changed the topic to abortion, say, or Windows vs. Mac, would you be defending him here? I'm prepared to believe that, at heart, sotonohito is on the side of the angels. But he has his weapon on automatic and he's spraying bullets with wild abandon, and hitting many of those who might otherwise be fighting alongside him.

anotherpanacea, I don't think you've responded adequately to my rather pointed remarks referred to above. Are you truly concerned about degrees of betrayal of the white race? Do you actually imagine that the notion of betraying a race is even meaningful? To the best of my knowledge, only a racist would answer either of those questions in the affirmative. After all, the very concept of "race" was quite thoroughly discredited scientifically in the last century. So, I'll ask you again, sir. Are you now or have you ever been a racist?

(For those who haven't been paying close attention, let me bring you up to speed. anotherpanacea, in his unseemly haste to smear me as a racist, has tripped over his own dick. Ow, anotherpanacea, that's got to hurt! And just think, you're a Philosopher and I'm just a lowly computer programmer. Oh, well. Come back when you're ready for the big leagues.)

I wonder if anotherpanacea still thinks I'm a nice person.

And, sotonohito, I never said that there were millions of racists in the USA. You're the one who sees racists everywhere you look. I think you should see somebody about that. The newer antipsychotics have very few side-effects, you know.

Just to be clear, sotonohito, let's do a thought experiment. Suppose we take a poll in the the South and ask "are you proud of your ancestors who served in the Civil War?" Now, by you, everyone who answered "yes" to that question is a racist and an apologist for slavery, am I correct? In other words, every one of them is morally equivalent to the yahoo with the nooses attached to his pick-up truck, right?

Or how about this. Recall that BitterOldPunk said:
And to this very day, if you get more than three drinks into a college-educated Southern boy, you'll hear about how his great-great-great-grandaddy single-handedly won the Battle of Chickamauga.
And that guy is a racist, right sotonohito? Nothing but a God-damned, no good racist, isn't that right? Come on, sotonohito, say it. Show everybody what a kook you are.

I know these people, they're not cartoon characters to me.

I think I'm ready to "back off and let it go" now. I have some real work to do, the code doesn't write itself. Here endeth the lesson, you're dismissed.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:47 AM on September 26, 2007


I appreciate you taking the time to bold all the usernames. It's the little things like that make me want to leave my apple on teacher's desk.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:02 AM on September 26, 2007


So now, I reckon I'll have the last word.

This should be good.

Do you actually imagine that the notion of betraying a race is even meaningful?

Do you actually imagine that the notion of betraying a people is even meaningful? Do you believe that the South Carolinian people excluded blacks? If not, then how can secession have been anything else but just such a betrayal as the one from which you wish to defend secessionists?

If, on the other hand, the term 'people' is just as fraught with racism as the term 'race,' than why are you defending the secessionists at all?
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:38 AM on September 26, 2007


than != then
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:42 AM on September 26, 2007


and hosted from Uranus: I appreciate your taking the time to bold all the usernames. It's the little things like that that make me want to leave my apple on teacher's desk.

You get an A-. Watch the grammar and careless mistakes.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:46 AM on September 26, 2007


"By the way, just out of curiosity, did you read the last paragraph of this comment in your Foghorn Leghorn voice? Did you find it equally amusing?"

Oh, God, that's hilarious.

"(For those who haven't been paying close attention, let me bring you up to speed. anotherpanacea, in his unseemly haste to smear me as a racist, has tripped over his own dick. Ow, anotherpanacea, that's got to hurt! And just think, you're a Philosopher and I'm just a lowly computer programmer. Oh, well. Come back when you're ready for the big leagues.)"

Big leagues? You're swingin' like a benchwarmer for the Peoria Bumfucks, man. Like, Low-A Midwest League. You think some fantastical narrative about dick-trippin' is something that advances your argument or makes people reconsider their views? Then quibbling over grammar, the last internet refuge of yellow cretins?

Perhaps you'd be better served by realizing that "racist" is not the be-all and end-all of most racists' identities, but it's there and is, you know, kinda a bad thing. These people aren't necessarily cartoons for me either, but that doesn't mean that I put up with the whole Stars and Bars forever bullshit, y'know?
posted by klangklangston at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2007


klangklangston: Then quibbling over grammar, the last internet refuge of yellow cretins?

I know you're not really this obtuse. I suggest you actually read the comment, instead of just scanning for a stick to beat me with.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:14 PM on September 26, 2007


But it really is you that I appreciate, you big little apple.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:34 PM on September 26, 2007


Crabby Pride or shame in anything your ancestors did is, from my POV, pretty silly. You aren't them, you had nothing to do with what they did.

But, yes, I will say that anyone who gloats about the victories of people serving a nation dedicated to the principle that blacks are subhuman and should be treated as property rather than people is exhibiting racism.

Racism goes beyond what we saw in the 1960's. I think part of the problem is that, especially among the generations who were old enough to be politically aware during the civil rights movement there is the idea that racism is limited to being part of the KKK, using the word "nigger", and segregation. Thus we get Don Imus, I think honestly, being shocked that anyone would call him a racist because of his description of the Rutger's women's vollyball team. He thinks racism is limited to the overt, blatient, racism what he saw back in the 1960's.

So, no, you can't say "The Confederacy was a good cause" without being racist. You can't say "I'm glad my ancestors fought for the Confederacy" without being racist. It may not be racism to the same degree as "Bull" Connor exhibited, but I fail to see how its possible for you to think that support for the CSA can be anything but racism.

So, yeah, any twit who brags about his great-great-great-whatever-granddaddy fighting to preserve slavery and the dehumanization of blacks is a racist. Any twit who displays a Confederate battle flag [1] is showing his allegance to a nation founded on racism and slavery and thus is demonstrating that he's a racist.

Part of excising racism from our culture must be an acknowledgement that, unfortunately, a large number of us (including me) had ancestors who actively worked to make the world a worse place. Ancestors who participated in and defended an absolutely evil and indefensable system. Its part of the whole truth and reconciliation process, and unless the ugly truths of the past are fully recognized we'll be stuck in a cycle of denial.

Look, for example, at the continued denial of Turkish genocide against the Arminians in Turkey. The Turkish government and people continue to deny that the event took place, and, unsurprisingly, there is an enormous amount of racism against Arminians in Turkey today.

If you don't think that racism is alive and well today, how do you explain the events in Jena?
posted by sotonohito at 3:48 PM on September 26, 2007


Well, I suppose this is as good an outcome as any. In the dueling metaphor, random grammar corrections are the equivalent of 'reserving and throwing away' the shot, like Alexander Hamilton supposedly did in the duel with Aaron Burr.

Of course, that noted traitor Aaron Burr is said to have responded to the allegation that Hamilton never intended to fire upon him with a laconic, "Contemptible, if true."

Pretty much sums it up for me: even treasonous wretches find shoddy callouts contemptible.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:11 PM on September 26, 2007


sotonohito, if you still maintain that all the people I refer to in the second half of this comment deserve the invective you've hurled at them, then you are indeed a kook (or an extremist, if you prefer). I think the majority of Americans would agree with me on this.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:17 PM on September 26, 2007


I can't respond directly to anotherpanacea because I don't carry on polite discussions with racists—I only insult and smear them.

But it appears that my dissection of his shoddy rhetoric has driven him 'round the bend. He's reduced to spouting incoherent nonsense. Would someone please tell him I'm sorry, and I hope he gets well soon? Thanks.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:28 PM on September 26, 2007


"But it appears that my dissection of his shoddy rhetoric has driven him 'round the bend."

When in doubt, declare victory.
posted by klangklangston at 7:55 PM on September 26, 2007


Well, gee, kk, you certainly get your panties in a wad over every little jape I direct at anotherpanacea, but the slurs and innuendos directed at me don't seem to bother you at all. Are you two related somehow?

anotherpanacea passed an utterance (cited previously by me) that is prima facie racist, and would be regardless of context, but I don't see anybody except me calling him on it. So until I hear from you or sotonohito (that fiery scourge of the racist multitudes) why you haven't attacked him for it, you miserable hypocrites are cordially invited to kiss my ass.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:55 PM on September 26, 2007


"Well, gee, kk, you certainly get your panties in a wad over every little jape I direct at anotherpanacea, but the slurs and innuendos directed at me don't seem to bother you at all."

Yeah, it wouldn't be that you're a whining weenie crying racism. That'd have nothing to do with my relative insult sympathy. Luckily, you've sussed out the real reason for my support—I'm panacea's dad!
posted by klangklangston at 10:54 PM on September 26, 2007


Crabby wrote "if you still maintain that all the people I refer to in the second half of this comment deserve the invective you've hurled at them, then you are indeed a kook (or an extremist, if you prefer)."

Can you read? I'm not meaning to be an ass or anything, but there's no "if" there. In my reply I stated, quite unambigiously I think, that *YES* pride in having ancestors who fought for the CSA is a sign of racism.

"I think the majority of Americans would agree with me on this."

I hope that's not true, but if so its just a sign of how much work we have do to. Right isn't determined by a majority.

There was a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans opposed interracial marriage. They were wrong, and the minority who supported it were right.

There was a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans opposed the right of women to vote. They were wrong and the minority who supported it were right.

There was a time when a majority, if not an overwhelming majority, supported slavery. They too were wrong.

I ask again: how is it possible to be *PROUD* of anyone, ancestor or no, who fought for the CSA without being racist?
posted by sotonohito at 3:46 AM on September 27, 2007


Suppose we take a poll in the the South and ask "are you proud of your ancestors who served in the Civil War?" Now, by you, everyone who answered "yes" to that question is a racist and an apologist for slavery, am I correct? In other words, every one of them is morally equivalent to the yahoo with the nooses attached to his pick-up truck, right?

I know these people, too. My experience is that people who are genuinely proud of their Confederate ancestors--proud, that is, not just curious or interested or respectful of the dead, but proud--are usually either mildly racist or obnoxiously so.

What's to be proud of? My Confederate ancestor went off to fight for a fucked-up cause, for slaveholders much richer than he ever was. Allegedly, he made his own way back home after being wounded and then, permanently disabled, spent the rest of his life eking a living from a dirt farm and a small public pension. Proud? I pity the fool. If I could return to 1860, I'd tell him to take his family to California and to not look back.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:18 AM on September 27, 2007


Our discussion of dueling has but one last point: how does the callout end? It was early American custom to fire until satisfaction: this could mean until one duelist was unable to continue, or until the mutual exchange of volleys had so spooked one of the parties that they acquiesced, usually through their second, to whatever half-hearted apology was offered. Death was very rarely the result: most opponents would be satisfied with whatever face-saving injury they managed to inflict or sustain in the first three volleys, especially because of the legal and social repercussions of committing a murder in a country that viewed dueling as a European extravagance.

More honor could be lost by stubbornly refusing to accept a negotiated settlement and thus killing a man than might have been at stake in the original insult. The desire to maintain decorum even in the midst of violence required participants to restrain their rage or bloody-minded vengefulness. Today we see a similar judgment in the opprobrium heaped upon those who 'kick a man while he's down.' A defeat suffered with aplomb is better than a victory sullied by distasteful displays of man's base instincts.

That said, I heartily apologize for my accusations of cowardice on Crabby's part. He may be green, but he's not yellow. My thanks to klangklangston for his assistance, and to sotonohito for his thoughtful and impassioned analysis of the underlying issues.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:30 AM on September 27, 2007


I thought so.

You know, if you had the courage to try to address my point, you'd have an opportunity to learn something about yourselves—nothing pleasant, but personal growth is not always easy. Pity.

And anotherpanacea, I accept your specific apology. You know, I thought your allies would surely hasten to your defense, but aside from klangklangston's impotent snarks, it never happened. A word to the wise: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

For what it's worth, I do heartily regret my first and probably last MetaTalk post.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:38 AM on September 27, 2007


You know, if you had the courage to try to address my point, you'd have an opportunity to learn something about yourselves—nothing pleasant, but personal growth is not always easy. Pity.

You've been addressed and refuted on the charges of topicality and venom. Don't mistake indifference for defeat. But it strikes me: have you not heard of the Lincoln-Douglas debates? Are you not familiar with Lincoln's famously racist screed?

While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. [Great Laughter.] While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied every thing. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. [Cheers and laughter.] My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes. I will add to this that I have never seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men.

I'll always love him for the second Inaugural. But I'll always doubt him for having had either the dishonesty to utter these words for political advantage or the authentic belief that they were justified.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:17 AM on September 27, 2007


Crabby Pride or shame in anything your ancestors did is, from my POV, pretty silly. You aren't them, you had nothing to do with what they did.

I think we must all be pretty silly, then. Pride in your ancestors is only as silly as pride in your children, and roughly the same as pride in your own culture. I'm proud of my grandpa for being a kickass pilot and a stroke survivor, I'm proud my great-great-greats whose hard work and innovation developed corn liquor, country gravy, and bluegrass music, I'm proud that my last name certifies me pre-1780 USian stock, and I'm proud of how indefagitably English I look. It's hilarious when I offer guvna a sausage, especially. I'm proud of how all these things have inlfuenced the way I turned out. None of that would substantially change if I were Chinese, Brazilian, Persian, etc. You can be a world citizen and pro-multiculturalism and tolerance and be proud of which part you represent.

Pride is fine.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:41 PM on September 27, 2007


Sorry that got a litlte garbled, I am eating deliriously good pizza baked in heaven's very womb.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:43 PM on September 27, 2007


anotherpanacea: You've been addressed and refuted on the charges of topicality and venom.

I get it now. anotherpanacea is posting from an alternate universe. Have your ISP check their router configuration, interdimensional messaging is strictly regulated by the United Federation of Parallel Worlds.

Nobody has disputed the fact that the flame-fest ensuing upon sotonohito's offensive remarks in the original thread was off-topic in that thread. (The post in which those remarks were first made was mainly on-topic.) sotonohito himself admitted (or rather joyfully affirmed) that his remarks were intended to be offensive and even used the word "venom" to describe his feelings in the matter. Seriously, anotherpanacea, what are you smoking?

anotherpanacea: Don't mistake indifference for defeat.

I'm glad you learned something from this thread. At least something was accomplished here.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 1:25 PM on September 27, 2007


Oh anotherpanacea, anotherpanacea, poor, dim anotherpanacea. Even now, you truly don't see what you did, do you? Don't fret, I'll explain it to you.

Consider the following text, the last paragraph of this comment:
Of course, if by 'people' you mean 'race,' then there's some dispute which states betrayed the white race more: the northerners who freed blacks, or the southerners who raped them and so mixed their 'blood' with that of another people. Where do you fall on this question?
At that point in the discussion, and in that comment, you had mentioned nothing about the Lincoln-Douglas debates (which, by the way, I have heard of). You asked this question with no apparent irony, with no qualification of any kind, and with, apparently, a sincere interest in the answer.

Now perhaps you expected everyone to immediately recognize this as a quotation from the Lincoln-Douglas debates (although you used none of the standard devices to indicate quotation, nor did you cite your source). I will admit that I am not that familiar with the debates, and I did not, in fact, recognize it as such. I did, of course, recognize it as an extremely offensively racist question and responded accordingly. If you disagree with my assessment, I suggest you post the quoted paragraph to AskMetaFilter and see what happens.

Now you will probably respond that, regardless of all the above, your comment was still OK because of the overall context. But I think the burden of proof is on you to explicate why it's OK. After all, in an age in which a public official can be fired from his job for using the word "niggardly" according to its exact definition (which has nothing to do with race), I sincerely believe that you have some explaining to do.

If you can explain why you think that such a baldly racist remark was not only OK to make, but should not even be remarked upon, I think you will become enlightened. I know why you, and sotonohito, and klangklangston think it's OK. But if I just tell you, you won't be enlightened. You need to figure this out on your own.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:00 PM on September 27, 2007


After all, in an age in which a public official can be fired from his job for using the word "niggardly" according to its exact definition (which has nothing to do with race), I sincerely believe that you have some explaining to do.

I sincerely believe you're trying to outlaw weak, "edgy" snark in the name of deference to rabid political correctness, which is antithetical to the spirit of MeTa.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:34 PM on September 27, 2007


an extremely offensively racist question and responded accordingly

Yes, it is offensive. That's why I asked it: because you maintained that the confederates, while legally traitors, had not betrayed their 'people.' So what's a people? Is it a culture? If so, why weren't blacks a member of that people? Or is it a race? In which case, why should we credit or respect individuals whose only loyalties are racial?
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:00 PM on September 27, 2007


No, Grasshopper, that's not it. Go back and meditate some more. Only scrupulous self-examination will save you now.

Would anyone else like to try?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:13 PM on September 27, 2007


This is all about context, Ambrosia. What is it about this context that makes it OK? As a thought experiment, a bit of self-exploration, I suggest you ask yourself why you regard this as just a bit of "weak, 'edgy' snark", rather than what it truly is. The others know, which is why they're not answering.

Thanks for your previous comment. Being an appeal to common sense and common decency, it probably won't go over well in this thread. I hope it doesn't cause you any problems.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:15 PM on September 27, 2007


Missed this one the first time around:

anotherpanacea: ... you maintained that the confederates, while legally traitors, had not betrayed their 'people.'

No, anotherpanacea, I never "maintained" that.

What I "maintained" was that sotonohito's use of the word "traitor" would be perceived as an insult by millions of people, rather than as a neutral technical term. I offered the observation that people commonly view "traitor" as meaning "one who betrays one's people", in support of my assertion that people would perceive it as an insult. I could have done without even that bit of explication had I known that sotonohito would cheerfully acknowledge that he did intend to insult millions of people.

One might be permitted to hope that one's interlocutors would read what one has actually written, comprehend it correctly, and respond directly to that. I found out pretty quickly that, in this thread, it was a vain hope. Subsequent to that realization, the only reason I continue to write is for some hypothetical reader who has good reading comprehension and some intellectual honesty.

It's so amazing. I've said over, and over, and over again that I'm not participating in your idiotic quarrel. It's completely irrelevant to this thread. (And I should know; I started the thread.) I don't know how to say it any more clearly. Yet you doggedly persist in trying to draw me into it. And you persist in distorting what I've said and making up stuff out of whole cloth and attributing it to me. For another example, sotonohito first claimed that I said there that there are millions of racists in the USA; then he claimed that I "don't think that racism is alive and well today". So which is it? (The answer, of course, is neither.)

So why do they keep doing this? Are they stupid? As much as it pains me to say it, I don't think so. I know why they're doing it. Hint: the answer is the same as the answer to the other questions I asked.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:14 PM on September 27, 2007


I've said over, and over, and over again that I'm not participating in your idiotic quarrel.

Classic.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:59 AM on September 28, 2007


(The answer, of course, is neither.)

So why do they keep doing this? Are they stupid? As much as it pains me to say it, I don't think so. I know why they're doing it. Hint: the answer is the same as the answer to the other questions I asked.


So the answer is 'neither'?
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:55 AM on September 28, 2007


Heh. I had dropped out of this thread, in anticipation of goading Crabby Appleton to a flameout over some other issue, but I see that he's one of those rare types of genuises, able to both participate in an argument absent anyone else and to continually declare that he is not participating.

It's all very post-modern.
posted by klangklangston at 9:36 AM on September 28, 2007


Do try to keep up with the context, klang. I know it's difficult for you.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:15 PM on September 28, 2007


Kill me now. I think the last two days of this thread may be enough to convince to force Matt to implement a "remove from Recent Activity" function.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:35 PM on September 28, 2007


Nah... I wouldn't have wanted to miss this.
posted by timeistight at 12:48 PM on September 28, 2007


It's time to wrap up this extended exercise in pro bono public education. I don't think it's done much good; I didn't realize that a certification in Special Ed. would be required in order to be effective.

Let's start with a little review. As far as I'm concerned, the thread was effectively over at this point. And immediately the insults and ridicule began. Also, a couple of people asked why I found sotonohito's original comments offensive, and I referred them to the threadjack, because the answer seemed obvious to me, and also others were addressing the issue there. Also, tellurian posted an answer that was within shouting distance of the truth, and I figured that should be sufficient, although I guess I underestimated the obscurity of the word Boanergean. Shortly thereafter, the first attempt to contaminate the current thread with the idiotic quarrel from the threadjack occurred; this marked the true tipping point of the thread into total irrelevancy, so it seemed an opportune moment for me to bow out.

Then the real torrent of shit began. It was about what I had expected: malicious mischaracterizations of my position and mindless insults and ridicule. (There were a few islands of sanity in this river of excrement.) By popular demand I made one last (hah!) , attempting to explain exactly what I was trying to say in my original post, for the benefit of anyone who sincerely did not understand it. I actually thought I was done.

But Noooooo! anotherpanacea posted his
masterpiece. Aside from the truly astounding last paragraph, and some babbling about the idiotic quarrel, he has the colossal gall to say this: "if you're going to start responding to the actual content of the discussion, ...". It takes big brass ones to come into a thread that was started to complain about a threadjack of another thread and casually assert that the subject of the threadjacking discussion is the subject of current thread. Let's all take a moment to marvel at that one.

So I responded appropriately to that. Then a little later, I responded politely to languagehat's attempt to be the mature adult voice of reason. Good try, languagehat, but by that time this thread was way past the point at which that would have helped. Also, by this time sotonohito had made his position crystal clear, so I took the opportunity to highlight it, just in case anyone had missed the implications. By this time, as you could probably tell, I was getting a little pissed.

The exchange of pleasantries continued for a while, during which klangklangston uttered what is probably the funniest line of the whole thread (directed at me): "Yeah, it wouldn't be that you're a whining weenie crying racism"

This brings us almost up to date, and I will reveal the answer to the most burning question of the thread, the question that anotherpanacea lost track of, in my next exciting comment! Stay tuned.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:04 PM on September 28, 2007


Uh, sorry about the missing delimiter in my last comment.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:07 PM on September 28, 2007


cortex, if your duties require you to read every word of this thread, I do sincerely apologize to you. I feel your pain; just think, I've had the read parts of it several times in order to be sure my comments are accurate (a duty seemingly felt by no one else in this thread). My intention is to make one last comment and call it a thread. It's necessary because, after all, I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm a coward.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:11 PM on September 28, 2007


Crabby Appleton, my pleasure reading (which is what's kept me at mefi lo these many years—duties are a fairly recent development) dictates that I end up seeing updates in any thread I've commented in recently when I'm checking out my Recent Activity tab—if you're not familiar with it, check it out, and if you are, disregard. I live out of the damned thing; it's incredibly useful for tracking multiple conversations.

My intense curiousity about how conversations develop on the site obliges me to at least glance at everything that shows up in said threads, even if I eventually decide to scroll past a given thread's recent additions after getting tired of what I'm seeing.

The length of time required to scroll past those threads correlates to the length of the comments themselves; the longer the comments, the greater the chance that my curiosity will defeat my common sense before I finish scrolling past and leave me reading, once more, comments in a sworn-off thread despite my best instincts.

And the frequency with which new comments are added to such a thread is the frequency at which I will have to test that curiosity vs. restraint instinct. So too, the length of time over which the recurrances continue. Long-ass comments at a higher frequency over a longer period means a greater chance of my will breaking.

And when it breaks, I read the comments, and if they haven't magically improved since the last time I waded into the thread, I die a little bit inside and try to bolster my will and all the while silently wish that there was some way to just make the damned thing stop showing up in Recent Activity and annoying me.

So when a thread goes on for a couple of days, with great big comments, and those comments are all the sort of thing that drive me fucking crazy, I do a lot of dying inside. My duties don't really have anything to do with that; in fact, my duties recommend (if not exactly require) that I refrain from talking about it quite as often or as vehemently as I might otherwise be inclined to do.

So, basically, heck: I heartily encourage you to stick with that one-last-comment idea. There's other threads than this'n.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:36 PM on September 28, 2007


Don't listen to him, Crabby! You have your honour to defend.

You don't want us thinking you're a coward now, do you?
posted by timeistight at 3:13 PM on September 28, 2007


Hush, you!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:18 PM on September 28, 2007


Where's the bridge?
posted by Sailormom at 3:32 PM on September 28, 2007


"You don't want us thinking you're a coward now, do you?"

C'mon, he already admitted that he was a racist. What more do you want?
posted by klangklangston at 3:46 PM on September 28, 2007


So, as this thread draws to a close, it's time to address the elephant in the room: the real meaning of anotherpanacea's infamous last paragraph, and the deafening silence of his allies regarding it.

I have explicated the nature of this paragraph. And again, I'll ask (entirely rhetorically, this time) why all my interlocutors here seem to feel that it's not worthy of comment or censure?

And what could possibly have prompted anotherpanacea (who, by the way, I don't really think is a racist—I was just engaging in a little weak, edgy snark there, no harm done) to post such an ugly racist remark, without qualification, in, apparently, his own voice?

Here's the answer: target fixation—a truly deadly phenomenon of human psychology.

And here's the ugly truth about this thread: it's not an "academic discussion", it's not a good-faith argument among disinterested seekers after the truth. It's a witch hunt.

A bunch of self-righteous Mefites decided they'd have themselves a nice little game of bait-the-racist. Because, after all, anyone who has the temerity to merely point out that it's offensive to smear all Southerners who are proud of their ancestors must be a racist. Right? It's a no-brainer, right?

This explains a lot. It explains all the ridicule and snark. It explains why no one is interested in what I've actually been trying to say in this thread, and why my remarks have been consistently and deliberately misconstrued, and why statements have been invented for me out of whole cloth. It explains why so many flocked to the thread initially, and then bailed out when they saw it wasn't exactly going the way they had expected.

It certainly explains why no one attacked anotherpanacea: all is fair when one is engaged in the noble cause of crushing a (presumed) racist, even uttering the vilest kind of racist rhetoric oneself. Right, guys?

anotherpanacea asked me a question that only a racist would be able to answer, because only a racist would accept the premise of the question. The reason he didn't qualify it or indicate that he was quoting from someone else (Hey, guys, I'm not saying this vile racist thing, it was Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln, can you believe it?), the reason he presented it flatly is that he was hoping I would take the bait and answer the question, and then, then they would have the rhetorical hook with which to hang me as a racist. Still, why would he take such a risk?

Well, I don't know for sure, but I imagine that, by that time, he and sotonohito were fairly dancing with frustration because they couldn't find anything I had actually said that would prove that I'm a racist. Which is unsurprising, of course because I'm not. sotonohito will never buy that, of course, because, in his Weltanschauung, if one has even one drop of racist blood (or the metaphorical equivalent), one is a racist fully as vile as any slaveholder of old. And he no doubt wonders why I call him an extremist. (Maybe anotherpanacea will favor us with a citation for the referent of this analogy.)

anotherpanacea said that my callout is contemptible. Well, friends and neighbors, I'm here to tell you that there's nothing more contemptible in this thread than anotherpanacea's vile and cynical tactics, and the tacit endorsement of them by his enablers here. [On preview: I think klangklangston might actually have topped him.]

I could stop here but, hell, I told cortex this would be my last comment, so I might as well be sure to make it count.

It also becomes clear why the threadjack "discussion" (or "idiotic quarrel", as I call it) was ported over to this thread. If they could draw me into it, they would no doubt quickly find the rhetorical hook they needed. As they know full well, I'm no historian, no philosopher (although I think I've held my own here), and no expert in the subject matter of that debate, which has raged for scores and scores of years and shows no sign of even slowing down. So they carefully set up their syllogisms and urged me to instantiate the variable that would induce the inferential cascade to the inevitable conclusion: Crabby is a racist. At the risk of offending klangklangston again, let me illustrate this in a whimsical way, as a notional conversation between me and sotonohito:
sotonohito: Hey Crabby, come over here and stick your head in my logic-chopping box!
Crabby: Hai, hai, sotonohito-san, domo! Domo arigato! ... Yatta! <snick>
I was born at night, but not last night. Even if I had fallen for it, all the tortured definitions and qualifications that would have to be added to the premises to make the argument correspond even vaguely to the real world would render the conclusion effectively meaningless. But no one here would ever acknowledge that.

And again, as I've explained countless times, that "discussion" is completely irrelevant to this thread.

Furthermore, folks, those kinds of arguments never settle anything in the real world, and for good reason. Anyone who's read any recent philosophy (beyond the later Wittgenstein) knows that. (If you haven't, you might start with Richard Rorty's Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, and follow the references from there.) So maybe klangklangston is actually right about something after all: it is all very post-modern. And that's why I referred to it as an idiotic quarrel. It settles nothing, it changes nothing, it's all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

So if you still agree with sotonohito, I ask only one thing: please re-read this comment (which is not by me) and ask yourself seriously whether you really want to be an extremist.

I have no way of knowing how any of you will reply to this. But I will honor my word to cortex. I will not post anything further unless cortex gives me permission, and I will not ask him for it; if he does so, it will be because he decides on his own to do so, and posts his decision in this thread.

I'd like to say something profound in parting, but truthfully I'm so sick and tired of this, I can't even think about it. Maybe a few of you will examine your own prejudices and maybe get a sense of proportion, but I won't hold my breath.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:52 PM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


You don't need my permission; it's not mine to give, nor yours to ask for. Comment or don't, and don't try to pawn the responsibility for that decision off on me. I'm just over here counting the cabooses on this old train.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:58 PM on September 28, 2007


For what's it worth, Crabby, I don't think you're a racist pompous asshat.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 5:11 PM on September 28, 2007


Any of you guys remember old Marvel comics where they'd just randomly bold words in the bubbles for no apparent reason?
posted by klangklangston at 5:17 PM on September 28, 2007


I think I speak for most everyone when I say

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGH!
posted by Kattullus at 5:55 PM on September 28, 2007


I'd like to say something profound in parting

allow me -

HONOR

on their wedding night
she offered her honor
he turned off the light
and honored her offer
and for the rest of the night
it was offer and honor
posted by pyramid termite at 12:37 AM on September 29, 2007


We could have avoided all this unpleasantness if you'd just stayed a colony of our glorious Empire, as God surely intended. Then you could have joined us massacring poorly armed natives of various colours in the far-flung corners of the globe.
posted by Abiezer at 12:47 AM on September 29, 2007


You're so clever, Crabby! Good job! I bet you will get a gold star.
posted by blacklite at 4:02 AM on September 29, 2007


Crabby Explain, please, how its wrong to make the following assumption: People who revere soldiers who fought for a government dedicated, and indeed partially created, to enshrine racism and slavery are themselves racist.

See, for all your ranting, for all your self defense, you never have explained just why you're so peeved about that.

Let me use one further from home. Say we have a Turk who reveres his ancestors who participated in the Armenian genocide. Would you not agree that he'd have to be racist against Arminians to think that the actions of his ancestor were worth revereing [1]?

Now, if you want to argue that the traitor worshiping types have every right to engage in their racist bullshit, I'll agree completely. But you have made two arguments that just don't compute. The first is that the phrase "traitor worshiping" is flatly incorrect and shouldn't be used, and on that for some odd reason you've flatly refused to expand on your position.

But the second argument is even stranger. You've argued that not only are those who revere the CSA, its leadership, and its soldiers, not racist, but that to accuse them (correctly) of being racist is wrong.

You seem to take this as a self evident position that people must be complete idiots not to understand because you've never explained why you think this is the case.

So, please take pity on me. I must be a complete idiot. Please answer the following question.
Why it isn't racist to heap adoration, praise, and reverence on people who fought to preserve racism and slavery.
I mean, to me this appears self evident the other way. If you praise racists for fighting a war to preserve racism you must be pretty damn racist yourself. A non-racist, from my POV, would not praise the attempted preservation of racially based slavery and all that entails. You, self evidently, hold a radically different view, would you mind explaining it?

[1] And, BTW, I'm *still* waiting for my prize in avoiding the most obvious comparison and saving this thread from all the people shouting "GOODWIN!"
posted by sotonohito at 4:16 AM on September 29, 2007


dying a little bit inside too
Entertaining though it is. I learnt something. There is still a divide in America.
posted by tellurian at 6:14 AM on September 29, 2007


Then you could have joined us massacring poorly armed natives of various colours in the far-flung corners of the globe.

you guys weren't massacring them enough so we had to take that business over - and anyway, you guys were getting all the side benefits all wrong

parliamentary democracy? judges with funny wigs? membership in some kind of commonwealth and the right to put an old lady on their money?

feh, you can't make much from that

WE gave them action movies, brand name t-shirts, bad food, marlboros and cartoons

we not only massacre them better than you, we keep the survivors stupified and poor

eat our dust
posted by pyramid termite at 2:08 PM on September 29, 2007


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