History from a witness. July 23, 2008 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I would like to thank Dee_extrovert for sharing her experiences and insights with us in this thread.

I can't describe what I would want to say in the way of response or commentary, and anything I could say would be inadequate and presumptuous. All I can do is encourage anyone who is reading this to read her words, to take a little time to learn a little more about the Bosnian war, and to take a moment to remember its victims.

I don't know how to point to specific comments in a thread URL. I hope someone can put the time in to do that to increase the chances anyone reading this post with take the time to read her comments.
posted by foxy_hedgehog to MetaFilter-Related at 9:58 AM (58 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Absolutely. A tragic tale, related with poise and sensitivity, lacking any of the hatred and vitriol I'd have been unable to keep from it had I written it. Thank you for sharing, Dee.
posted by BorgLove at 10:12 AM on July 23, 2008

This comment?

1. Right click the comment's timestamp.
2. Select "Copy link location" (or similar)
3. Paste it in the link box dealie.

(BTW, Dee Extrovert's posting history is chock full o' similar greatness.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:12 AM on July 23, 2008

Here, here, here, here and here
posted by Mitheral at 10:14 AM on July 23, 2008

(BTW, Dee Extrovert's posting history is chock full o' similar greatness.)

Absolutely. Every post about her experience has those same rare qualities:

A tragic tale, related with poise and sensitivity, lacking any of the hatred and vitriol I'd have been unable to keep from it had I written it.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:23 AM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

This needs to go on the sidebar.
posted by konolia at 10:24 AM on July 23, 2008

Extraordinary. Yes, please sidebar, mods!
posted by scody at 10:26 AM on July 23, 2008

I've admired Dee Xtrovert's comments, especially those about the Balkan situation, for a long time. As a Russian I tend to assume that tragic reports from Bosnia are a form of propaganda intended to justify Western military intervention in the Balkans (and while I recognize that this assumption is problematic, it's almost instinctive and gut-level for me). But her comments are so unfailingly lucid, fair-minded, and gut-wrenchingly frank that I can never find a way to disagree with her, despite my ethnic prejudices. I'm extremely glad she's here.
posted by nasreddin at 10:34 AM on July 23, 2008 [10 favorites]




posted by foxy_hedgehog at 10:35 AM on July 23, 2008

Sidebar-worthy, if valid.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 AM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I can say the worst part of that link was having to see another "wow, just wow" sitting several comments below like a trite, warm turd. I wish NPR had interviewed someone like Dee last night instead of the guest they had on. In two paragraphs I now have enough imagery to fully resolve any lingering ambivalence of what will happen to Karadjic.
posted by docpops at 10:39 AM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

Reading that sure makes the squabbles that happen around here all the more petty and small.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:47 AM on July 23, 2008

Speaking of petty and small; I would say something about docpops' comment, but I fear his finely-honed sensibilities and exquisite taste would strike me down like the classless peon that I am were I to dare such an affront.
posted by yhbc at 10:48 AM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

What an experience, thank you Dee for sharing it. - I hope Karadjic's capture will bring you and your countrymen some peace.

posted by Craig at 10:52 AM on July 23, 2008

yhbc - it's Metatalk. Even classless peons get their say here.
posted by docpops at 10:55 AM on July 23, 2008

posted by yhbc at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2008

This is why I am a Mefite.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:14 AM on July 23, 2008

Thank you, Dee.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:16 AM on July 23, 2008

I spent a week in Sarajevo in 1996, mostly just walking around and listening to my friend Nebojsa and his friends and family members patiently and graciously tell their stories in answer to the inexorably stupid questions of a very young, very naive American visitor. Reading Dee's comments on that time, in that place, is like hearing those stories all over again, miraculously transmutated into perfect, understated English prose. I thank her for that, and I thank you for this callout.
posted by dyoneo at 11:19 AM on July 23, 2008

Sidebar, please.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:29 AM on July 23, 2008

Thanks for the MeTa.

Wow indeed. Jackass.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:33 AM on July 23, 2008 [6 favorites]

Humbled, amazed and full of much-needed perspective after reading that comment.

(quits bitching/is ten stripes of grateful/gets the hell on with it)
posted by TryTheTilapia at 11:40 AM on July 23, 2008

Yes, sidebar that comment.

I had to spend 10 min. explaining my reaction to that comment to my girlfriend last night. That it took me from, "Yeah! Lock that asshole away forever! Nyah, nyah! Hah!" to a much colder, less exuberant, probably longer lasting and definitely more personal and rational anger.
posted by QIbHom at 11:43 AM on July 23, 2008

It's a pretty amazing and moving story but as I told a couple people that emailed earlier today, I think the story is a little dark/grisly for the sidebar. I think people might be mildly upset by first person accounts of death and destruction. (pjern had a similar amazing story the other day but it too involved someone's death.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:45 AM on July 23, 2008

I agree with you, Matt. I think it would cheapen it to sidebar that story.
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:48 AM on July 23, 2008

Anyone who watches American action movies or television, or who plays videogames, probably has seen a million times worse things. Anyone traumatized by the imagery in that comment is probably too fragile to be surfing the internet in the first place.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:00 PM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

mathowie, I've always respected you and the mod's and your discretion in running this site. I think you guys do a better job than anyone else could and thanks to that this site has changed my life for the better.

But life isn't always rainbows and teddy bears. Speaking as someone who had a comment on a darker subject sidebarred (for which I remain quite thankful / humbled), I think sometimes its important for the community at large to stop and put a little perspective into the fray, even if that is difficult for some. Bringing attention to an important issue that our generation has on its hands through one of our community member's direct involvement isn't cheapening it. I think its only due justice.

The sidebar is yours, but the site, by its very nature, is everyone's. And so I disagree, respectfully. This should be sidebarred.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:00 PM on July 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'm on the bar on this, I've been sort of going back and forth with Jess and pb as well. We generally avoid the super dark personal stuff (and super heavy political stuff) on the sidebar for the most part, not because it'd cheapen it per se but because it just seems like damned heavy stuff for the sidebar of a generalist site.

That said (don't kill me, Matt), I did go ahead and sidebar the thread itself—I think maybe pointing to the thread and letting it develop for the reader organically, instead of trying to narrow the focus to just one of Dee's comments, is probably less brutally contextless and also less Hi Personal Spotlight On Your Family Horror and hopefully will work as a compromise.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:09 PM on July 23, 2008

The bar is kind of like the fence, I guess?
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:09 PM on July 23, 2008

Thanks, Dee Xtrovert, for your always-insightful comments and for sharing so much of your experiences and thoughts with us, not just in the recent thread but in others that you've participated in. And thanks to foxy_hedgehog for bringing that particular comment to our attention. I had missed that thread, so I wouldn't have seen it otherwise.
posted by amyms at 12:12 PM on July 23, 2008

I'd seen it right before coming into MeTa, but thank you for this post, where I saw the other comments.
posted by cashman at 1:06 PM on July 23, 2008

The bar is like a fence, yes.

Thanks, foxy, for MeTa-ing this. And thank you, Dee Xtrovert, for your contributions around this place, and for being willing and able to tell the stories you tell.

As I was driving to work this morning, NPR was doing a story on Karadzic's capture, and I started to say my carpoolmate "I know someone who survived..." And I stopped myself. Because it's not really true, except it sort of is. Instead I said, "I'll send you a link to this amazing thread on Metafilter."

Anyway. Thank you.
posted by rtha at 1:40 PM on July 23, 2008

Well, I'm mentioned in here, so I guess I'll chime in. My vote would be to sidebar the thread, vice the individual comment, unless (and I haven't yet read the whole thread) Dee_extrovert goes along with the idea. I wouldn't presume to speak for her but I can say that I'd be awfully uncomfortable to see my particular comment in the suicide by train thread over there. If I did see it over there, I'm pretty sure I'd ask Matt to remove it.

Yes, a few of us here have been touched by violence and/or death, but I don't think it's something that we should elevate at all. I just try to remind myself sometimes that I should be glad that so few people have these experiences, and most of us don't. The suicide by train thread went in an unexpected direction, and I considered asking the mods to remove my comment, but decided, ultimately against it.
posted by pjern at 1:41 PM on July 23, 2008

I'm on the fence about the bar being a fence.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:56 PM on July 23, 2008

I think in this situation its always good to check with the original commenter. Its always a bit unnerving to see something you posted into the middle of a thread showing up on the front page.
posted by onalark at 2:41 PM on July 23, 2008

Comments of that nature really raise the fence, I mean bar, around here. Thanks Dee.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:46 PM on July 23, 2008

I agree with you, Matt. I think it would cheapen it to sidebar that story.

I felt the same way about favouriting it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:49 PM on July 23, 2008

I think the thread is important, and deserved to be side-barred. I don't go to the sidebar looking for entertainment, but for extraordinary posts... and her posts are certainly that.
posted by jokeefe at 4:07 PM on July 23, 2008

Also, just to note that it was rumble, not docpops, who made the "wow" comment in the thread (unless docpops commented and it was deleted).
posted by jokeefe at 4:08 PM on July 23, 2008

I would not have seen the comments were it not for this call out, and I think they are the sort of thing that people are going to want to read. I am also in favor of the sidebar.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:24 PM on July 23, 2008

I flagged it hoping it would be side-barred. Other serious comments/posts have been side-barred before. As jokeefe says: extraordinary.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:06 PM on July 23, 2008

Thanks for sidebarring it, cortex. I completely agree with allkindsoftime.
posted by languagehat at 6:07 PM on July 23, 2008

UbuRoivas, I felt the same way about both Dee_extrovert's comment and pjern's, and I didn't favorite either of them for just that reason. As long as they're both here, though, I want to tell each of them that I read their comments, I appreciated their making them, and I was overwhelmed at the thought of how difficult they must have been to make.

Those kinds of complicated emotions deserve a little more than a "favorite" check-off.
posted by yhbc at 7:22 PM on July 23, 2008

I understand the "cheapening" aspect - the word "favourite: hardly captures how I feel about that comment, and if you think the sidebar is for fluffy kittens, then it's wrong to treat that comment as cute fluffy kitten. But I think of both favourites and the sidebar as blunt instruments for attracting attention, and I'm totally ok with doing that, especially for something that I think merits more attention than anything else we have seen recently.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:40 PM on July 23, 2008

The comment moved me to read more of her other comment history, and I favorited a few others that I found that I'd like to be able to find again. But I didn't favorite the comment in question. "Cheapening" isn't precisely the word that came to mind when it came to favoriting it. It felt more like "trivializing". And I agree with cortex that sidebarring the thread as a whole and letting the comment stand in context was a much better choice; to sidebar the comment would have had a grotesque sensationalist quality.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:42 PM on July 23, 2008

Thank you for your empathy, yhbc.

This thread, and Metafilter as a whole, is one of the reasons I keep coming back. It's nice, for me, to feel like I'm surrounded by such a group of fantastic minds, and yhbc's comment above confirms my feelings. Metafilter is the only place in my group of online communities where I'd feel safe in exposing that part of myself, confident that I wouldn't be met by snark. Finding, instead, a thoughtful discussion and support from my peers and the admins is like having a supportive family of people around yourself.

So, thank you all for being the people who you are, and thank you matt, cortex, and jessamyn for making this place what it is for me and others.
posted by pjern at 9:17 PM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

It turns out the author of the piece linked to for the suicide by train thread is a member of an online community for ageing UK lefties I participate in. I linked the MeFi thread there for him and he said he enjoyed reading the comments.
posted by Abiezer at 10:45 PM on July 23, 2008

Amazing, amazing posts. Blessings and thanks to you, Dee Extrovert.

And thanks mods for handling the sidebar issue in a typically sensitive, thoughtful way.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:35 PM on July 23, 2008

0-tears in 3.2 seconds.
posted by heeeraldo at 11:43 PM on July 23, 2008

If there ever was a thread that could be stopped after a comment, that was it. And I mean stopped to allow your story to resonate even more. It still blows my mind that despite the horrors you were witness to, that you are here with us today and able to share your experience. I cannot fathom what that was like and I wanted to thank you for sharing it.

It jarred a memory in me as well. That memory has to do with a dear, dear friend of mine who is Bosnian. I met her at a guitar center and we struck up a conversation which I am not prone to doing. I was with my wife and we all hit it off pretty well. Turns out she was at UIC and had published a few papers on PTSD treatment for Bosnians who had resettled here in the USA. She was driven, passionate and just an awesome human being who fell out of touch with. Your story reminded me of all the Chicago area Bosnians I'd met over the years and how I've lost touch with my dear friend.

Again, thank you dee_extrovert for sharing your story.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:29 AM on July 24, 2008

posted by dg at 1:34 AM on July 24, 2008

Had it not been side-barred, I would never have seen that comment. I'm not glad per se that I did, but it needed to be read.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:08 AM on July 24, 2008

I agree there is something almost lighthearted about the term "favorite" that makes it seem somehow inappropriate for certain posts and comments. It's like the way I felt when someone asked me if I'd liked "Schindler's List." Liked? I thought it was an excellent film, but did I like it? The term just doesn't work.

"Favorite" is good for recipes and funny videos and flash games and scanned cats, but it just seems inappropriate -- insufficiently respectful, I guess -- for genocide, suicide, the slow, painful death of the U.S. Bill of Rights, raw stories of personal pain. I look at it as "bookmark," instead, and that seems respectful enough, a way of saying, "I want to remember this."
posted by notashroom at 9:10 AM on July 24, 2008

I was about to post similar thoughts to what notashroom just did, but she said it far better than I could. In any case "favorite" just seems... inappropriate.

(Though I will mention that I was playing Apples To Apples with some friends a few weeks ago and Schindler's List came up for "lucky" and I haven't laughed that hard in a really, really long time. I totally snorted.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:18 PM on July 24, 2008

I have to remember to not read threads like this at work, i don't like crying and trying to explain myself...Thank you for sharing yourselves so candidly. This is what Metafilter means to me.

grapefruitmoon: I got Helen Keller and senseless in Apples to Apples and thought that was pretty good, but yours is funnier.
posted by schyler523 at 1:02 PM on July 24, 2008

schyler523: While we're on an Apples to Apples tangent, the classic A2A moment was when the adjective was "chunky."

Winning noun?

The Challenger Explosion.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2008

I would never have seen that comment, and been forever impacted by it without this notice. Thank you Dee, for sharing.
posted by dejah420 at 3:13 PM on July 24, 2008

Some of the things Dee wrote about her immigration experience in the Sean Tevis thread make me take notice of her and read through her posting history. I am blown away by her ability to communicate her perspective.

When the Radovan Karadžić thread was posted I read through it simultaneously hoping that she would have something to say while hoping that she didn't have to live through that.
posted by peeedro at 9:57 PM on July 24, 2008

I was schooled by reading Dee Xtrovert's recountings.

posted by batmonkey at 11:10 PM on July 25, 2008

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