No more dead baby jokes. September 11, 2008 3:19 PM   Subscribe

In the abandoned baby thread someone made a joke about dead babies. Then someone complained about it. So the new rule is, dead baby jokes are a bad thing on MetaFilter.

Because, if my understanding is correct on this, we do not talk about anything, or speak in particular ways about particular things, if any other member of the site finds that insensitive or if it hurts them.

We are moving towards a future in which no one need fear being insulted or hurtor reminded of an unpleasant personal memory by someone else's words, ever.

Is my understanding of this situation correct?
posted by Meatbomb to Etiquette/Policy at 3:19 PM (228 comments total)

As a dead baby myself, I find these so-called "jokes" deeply offensive.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:23 PM on September 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


So this isn't the place to post more then?
posted by sanka at 3:24 PM on September 11, 2008


That's why we aren't telling them anymore, Sys Rq.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:25 PM on September 11, 2008


the most things that cause outrage, the closer i get to my bingo card being filled out.
posted by Stynxno at 3:25 PM on September 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Seriously? Is it that difficult, or that much of an inconvenience, to forego the dead baby jokes, knowing that many of us out there have lost children? There are all kinds of things that reasonably sensitive and tactful people refrain from saying, even if they and their friends personally find it funny, and they do so to spare other people pain. I don't think that's such a terrible thing.
posted by justonegirl at 3:27 PM on September 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


I thought the film was pretty entertaining. But then I thought, "Dead Babies", that's pretty offensive. So I stopped liking the film.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:28 PM on September 11, 2008


Can I be sensitive and unsensitive at the same time. Oh yeah I forgot, I'm a MeFite?
posted by Xurando at 3:29 PM on September 11, 2008


What's the difference between Meatbombs and bowling balls?
posted by telstar at 3:30 PM on September 11, 2008


telstar: if this is a joke about my short penis you can back the fuck off.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:33 PM on September 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


grapefruitmoon wrote No one on MetaFilter is going to stop making off-color jokes while the Earth is still spinning around the sun. It's better to remember that they're not at all talking about actual [JOKE SUBJECT UNDER DISCUSSION] and hey, it's just a joke. Everybody has something that truly, truly bothers them, and if we all stopped making jokes that someone else might find to be uncomfortable, we'd be like those feminists and their lightbulbs. That's not to say we should be downright mean, but I don't see anyone in this thread doing that. Certainly no one is making any connections to dead-baby jokes and any actual specific [JOKE SUBJECT]

Fill in your favorite outrage, then see where you fall on the "This is what I'm laughing about" scale. Move on to next most favorite outrage. Repeat ad nauseum.
posted by waraw at 3:33 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think most of us would agree, however, that jokes about eating one's young are a joy to all, and should continue!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:34 PM on September 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


Some people will say you shouldn't make fun of certain things, like dead babies and Helen Keller. They may be right.

Other people will tell you can't make fun of certain things, like dead babies and Helen Keller. And that's just flat wrong, as anyone who's heard the one about Helen Keller falling into a well and breaking three fingers calling for help will tell you.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:35 PM on September 11, 2008 [14 favorites]


For those of you who haven't held your undersized penis in your own hands, well you just don't understand how hurtful this is.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:36 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dude, what? From the comment to which you linked:
As an aside - could you guys refrain from the dead baby jokes?
That's called a polite request. No one's laying down freaking rules. Your own outrage is way more ludicrous than FritoKAL's.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 3:40 PM on September 11, 2008 [16 favorites]


For those of you who haven't held your undersized penis in your own hands, well you just don't understand how hurtful this is.

I don't wanna bum you out, man, but if it's really that undersized, the answer is "probably not very, if its presence is even noticeable."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:40 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


First they came for the dead babies
And I said nothing
For I was not a dead baby.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:42 PM on September 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


as anyone who's heard the one about Helen Keller falling into a well and breaking three fingers calling for help will tell you.

oh god I'm laughing. I am a bad person. Bad person.

posted by rtha at 3:42 PM on September 11, 2008


Horrible callout.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:44 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually, I think you've got it wrong.

No one is making a law saying you can't say the jokes. You're allowed to make a dead baby joke just as a parent of a dead baby is allowed to get mad at you for it.

They are not allowed to prevent you from joking, and you are not allowed to prevent them from telling you off for it. Seems fair enough.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:46 PM on September 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Because, if my understanding is correct on this, we do not talk about anything, or speak in particular ways about particular things, if any other member of the site finds that insensitive or if it hurts them.

Your understanding is not correct. Did you have any more questions?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:48 PM on September 11, 2008 [21 favorites]


I, for one, welcome our dead baby overlords. Carry on.
posted by booknerd at 3:50 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "Did you have any more questions?"

Do you always ride your bike diagonally?
posted by Plutor at 3:51 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meatbomb, this feels a little bit like taboo brinksmanship on your part the way you've presented it. There will always be things that some people find funny and other people find offensive, and, no, there's no justice in a hardline position from other side.

Possible responses to "please stop making jokes about this thing that bother me" include, among other things:

- laying off the jokes
- not laying off the jokes
- aggressively ramping up the jokes
- calling the requester out for even saying anything

How many people are going to go with which choice is going to depend an awful lot on the context and how the person objecting stated their objection, but I don't think that last choice was really all that justified—especially in the "oh I see, THE RULES HAVE CHANGED" type rhetoric you went with here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:51 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is it that difficult, or that much of an inconvenience, to forego the dead baby jokes, knowing that many of us out there have lost children?

Is it that difficult, or that much of an inconvenience, to stop and think before you click into a thread and ask yourself -- "Hey, wait! There are a few things that I'm VERY SENSITIVE about because of bad events in my past! And metafilter is full of snarky jokes at the best of times, and this thread is about one of those things I'm very sensitive about. Maaaaybe a smart me would go and do something else other than click into this thread and become predictably hurt by the likely contents therein."

In any case, you can substitute nuns for dead babies in most occurrences by adding a "what's black and white and..." to it. Viz, what's black and white and can't fit through a revolving door? A nun with a spear through her.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:53 PM on September 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


This comment bothered me the most:

"Is the baby breathing."

If I heard that question, I would have replied: "God damn it, of course its breathing! I already told you I found a baby on my doorstep. Otherwise I would have said I found a dead baby on my doorstep!"


That's a terrible way to respond and ultimately is unhelpful to the person on the other end of the line and the situation. You HAVE to realize that not everyone reacts the way you hypothetically would in this situation and that is is absolutely fucking critical that the operator gain a clear understanding of what's going on. You yelling at that person who's trying to either help you and get you help is completely and astonishingly self-centered and ignorant.

Shut up and answer the "stupid" question so the dispatcher can ascertain the situation as quickly as possible and allocated the limited resources where they need to be.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:54 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


How do you stop Meatbomb from masturbating at your house?

Stop buying pitted olives.
posted by CKmtl at 3:54 PM on September 11, 2008 [22 favorites]


Do you always ride your bike diagonally?

No. Next?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:54 PM on September 11, 2008


How's your week going?
posted by ODiV at 3:58 PM on September 11, 2008


Is it that difficult, or that much of an inconvenience, to stop and think before you click into a thread and ask yourself -- "Hey, wait! There are a few things that I'm VERY SENSITIVE about because of bad events in my past! And metafilter is full of snarky jokes at the best of times, and this thread is about one of those things I'm very sensitive about. Maaaaybe a smart me would go and do something else other than click into this thread and become predictably hurt by the likely contents therein."

That's a stretch. The post, as it appeared on the front page, indicated nothing of dead baby jokes inside. Most of us who have lost a child do not actively avoid any media having to do with babies and children. Had the post indicated that it contained links to dead baby joke sites, Rotten.com or the like, then yeah, it's reasonable to expect someone to avoid. This post did not, and the fact that someone's polite request that others be sensitive to some of the rest of us resulted in someone else boo-hooing to Metatalk is bullshit to me, hence my comment that you quoted.
posted by justonegirl at 4:02 PM on September 11, 2008 [9 favorites]


This is either a shit callout or the start of a contest to see who has the most sand in their vagina.

Third place: people who complain about dead baby jokes
Second place: Meatbomb
First place: the person who complains about my use of the phrase "sand in their vagina".
posted by GuyZero at 4:03 PM on September 11, 2008


First place: the person who complains about my use of the phrase "sand in their vagina".

I find it annoying.

Yay, I win!

ODiv, does that answer your question?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:05 PM on September 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


I don't like your use of the phrase "the most sand in their vagina". It is not the quantity of sand that matters, texture and moisture content of the sand in the vagina have a greater effect on the vagina's owner outlook.
posted by dirty lies at 4:07 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think meatbomb physically resembles a baby, and it pains me to think of him as a dead baby.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:09 PM on September 11, 2008


I've heard the Helen Keller jokes, I've heard about sand in the vaseline...

But sand in the vagina??

THAT wins my 'ewwww' award of the day!! (it also sounds like a title to an 80's punk song...)
posted by matty at 4:10 PM on September 11, 2008


Because, if my understanding is correct on this, we do not talk about anything, or speak in particular ways about particular things, if any other member of the site finds that insensitive or if it hurts them.

Also, we apparently don't consider moderate possibilities. Only the extremes of "anything that causes the slightest offense to anyone anywhere at any time is forbidden" and "anything goes, even if it's deeply offensive to everyone." Any policy or guideline between those two is apparently inconceivable.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:11 PM on September 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


For the record, "shit callout" was presented as an option over sandy va-jay-jays.
posted by GuyZero at 4:12 PM on September 11, 2008


For the record, I am not outraged and I am not boo-hooing. I wanted to hear opinions regarding site policy and etiquette on this issue, which seemed more appropriate here than in the thread in question.

I am however respectfully asking that people not point and laugh at me because of my small penis - given the reactions against my reaction against the request not to tell dead baby jokes, I would expect a little more consistency and consideration when I make a polite request not to poke fun at my inadequate manhood, overblown sense of entitlement, poor rhetorical skills, lack of perspective, inability to see the possibility for a middle ground common sense compromise, general confusion and slowness, etc.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:15 PM on September 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


Live baby jokes are still OK, right?

"How do you make a live baby float?
Root beer and two scoops of live baby."

Hey, that's even better than the original.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:18 PM on September 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


My youngest sister was born when I was 12, and I held her in my arms as an infant. Now, she phones me at work with dead baby jokes*. Make of it what you will.

*And pedophile jokes!
posted by everichon at 4:20 PM on September 11, 2008


For the record, I am not outraged and I am not boo-hooing. I wanted to hear opinions regarding site policy and etiquette on this issue

Ah, that explains why you framed your question in such a neutral manner.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:22 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's true. I am the younger sister Everichon speaks of. I doubt he ever held me, but I can confirm I am a reliable source of sadistic, the aristocrats-eque jokes.
posted by ShadePlant at 4:24 PM on September 11, 2008


In the abandoned baby thread someone made a joke about dead babies. Then someone complained about it. So the new rule is, dead baby jokes are a bad thing on MetaFilter.

One person asks nicely for people to not do something and it becomes a rule? SWEET.

Guys, could you all please refrain from not-sending me $15 via Paypal? I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:24 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am however respectfully asking that people not point and laugh at me because of my small penis

Wow, from horrible to worse.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:25 PM on September 11, 2008


Can we just jump to the end of this thread? Someone will start talking about dead babies having sand in their vaginas, and someone else is going to say that they'd hit that dead baby sandy vagina and jessamyn will close the thread. There we go. the end.
posted by garlic at 4:30 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Site policy, such as it is, is "please try not to be an exceptional asshole to others". Most of the time, this works just fine. We've spelled out some specific assholish things you can do in the guidelines so that people have something to work with. Assholism actually in the guidelines includes things like

- stalker behavior
- talking shit about other MeFites who aren't even participating in threads
- over the top racism and other types of slurs
- things that make a good chunk of the general MeFi public go "ewwww" or "I think you've gone too far" i.e. things that fill up the flag queue.

Since that's not really cut and dried, we have MetaTalk to hash things out a little more. So, as to dead babies, I find the jokes annoying but personally not OMG deletable. However I wasn't participating in that thread. If people are saying "gee, maybe you could tone down the jokes a little" then you're back to the list cortex outlined.

Stated a different way: there is no explicit policy, it would be nice if people took others' feelings into consideration generally especially if people go through the trouble of making them clear. I'm aware, and everyone is aware, that this doesn't always happen. For that, we have MetaTalk.

And I always thought vagina sand was sort of a starter vagina dentata -- you know like if I have it you all better back the fuck off or you'll get a nasty injury -- but maybe I've been reading too much wikipedia.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:32 PM on September 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


How ded babby joke is formed?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:34 PM on September 11, 2008 [13 favorites]


For the record, I am not outraged and I am not boo-hooing. I wanted to hear opinions regarding site policy and etiquette on this issue, which seemed more appropriate here than in the thread in question.

Ah, that explains why you framed your question in such a neutral manner.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. The way the callout was worded seemed pretty dramatic, Meatbomb, yet now it's like you don't even have a dog in the fight. (And yeah, I am aware MeFi is a jokey kind of place, but the fact that hardly anyone, let alone the original poster, has weighed in on why the dead baby jokes are so important to the site, says a lot. The small penis thing has what to do with the issue that you yourself raised?) I'm just saying, a discourse on site etiquette doesn't seem to be the priority here.
posted by justonegirl at 4:36 PM on September 11, 2008


Paraphrasing Johny Carson, "Everything is funny, except the assassination of Lincoln"
posted by Mick at 4:39 PM on September 11, 2008


Here's a joke for all of you:

Do you know why the monkey fell out of the tree?

It was dead.


We're about evenly split on whether that joke is funny or not.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 4:39 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I had never though of interpreting "sand in her vagina" as a sort of sublimated expression of vagina dentata but there is a certain hate-what-we-unconsciously-fear logic to it.

There we go. the end.

You see right though my strategy to shut down shitty callout threads.

but maybe I've been reading too much wikipedia.

Is vagina dentata a big theme on Wikipedia? I have to start checking between the lines a bit more closely.
posted by GuyZero at 4:39 PM on September 11, 2008


it would be nice if people took others' feelings into consideration generally especially if people go through the trouble of making them clear

Sorta like Meatbomb is hoping others do for his callout here.

So if we apply the same consideration for his request that he does for others, I guess we'll have to blow it off as being pretty ridiculous or behind the enlightened times or something.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:39 PM on September 11, 2008


I added a bunch of dried and salted dead baby fish to my rice at lunch yesterday. If you were all fish, you would not love me as much as I know you do now.
posted by bardic at 4:40 PM on September 11, 2008


Thou shalt not profane the sacred vagina. Neither with sand, nor with the uncalled-for introduction of a small penis, shalt thou profane it. Passing foolish remarks regarding its products is also right out! So let it be written, so let it be done.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:43 PM on September 11, 2008


I wish I could think up a good joke about a dead baby's cunt. (If I could, I'd be using both 'cunt' and 'dead baby' in the much less offensive British sense.)
posted by jack_mo at 4:44 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


- over the top racism

I'm curious about this, could you make it a bit clearer? I'm guessing you mean if someone says "I don't like a Mexicans because of X, Y and Z" it's ok, but the statement "I can't stand fucking wetbacks" won't fly at all (rightly so, of course)?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:44 PM on September 11, 2008


I had never though of interpreting "sand in her vagina" as a sort of sublimated expression of vagina dentata but there is a certain hate-what-we-unconsciously-fear logic to it.

My first thought reading Jessamyn's comment was of the formation of oyster pearls, as if she was suggesting the sand was literally the precursor of the dentata, but that's an even weirder thought.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:45 PM on September 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Here's how it works.

Scenario where you are an asshole:

Other person: My baby died.
You: Hey, have you heard this dead baby joke?

Scenario where you might feel like an asshole in the unlikely situation that the other person has actually had a baby go and die on them, or at the very least unfunny:

Other person: La la la cheese is delicious hey look at that cloud!
You: Hey, have you heard this dead baby joke?

Regardless of whether we find dead baby jokes the apex of hilarity (mostly that seems to be a middle-school thing), we cannot go around not making jokes about things on the off chance that somebody, somewhere in earshot, actually has, for example, a relative who performs a stage act called 'The Aristocrats' or something.

On the other hand, some modicum of situational awareness and sensitivity is not a bad thing.

In conclusion, have you seen Meatbomb's weiner? That thing's tiny!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:47 PM on September 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


"I think most of us would agree, however, that jokes about eating one's young are a joy to all, and should continue!"

It's half of Saturnalia!

"My youngest sister was born when I was 12, and I held her in my arms as an infant."

You were an infant at age 12?

"And I always thought vagina sand was sort of a starter vagina dentata -- you know like if I have it you all better back the fuck off or you'll get a nasty injury -- but maybe I've been reading too much wikipedia."

The fundamental flaw of "sand in the vagina" is that it implies a peculiar femininity to the irritation. The easy replacement "sandy taint" is something we can all experience.

(And upon experiencing, swear off sex on a beach for good.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:48 PM on September 11, 2008


What if the dead baby is only collateral damage - say, as part of a holocaust joke?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:49 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


To those of us who have held Meatbomb's wiener in our arms, there is nothing funny in jokes about same. TIA.
posted by everichon at 4:49 PM on September 11, 2008


"Paraphrasing Johny Carson, "Everything is funny, except the assassination of Lincoln""

Too soon.
posted by klangklangston at 4:50 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Meatbomb: "For the record, I am not outraged and I am not boo-hooing. I wanted to hear opinions regarding site policy and etiquette on this issue, which seemed more appropriate here than in the thread in question."

This is what you should have posted in the first place.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 4:50 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


My first thought reading Jessamyn's comment was of the formation of oyster pearls, as if she was suggesting the sand was literally the precursor of the dentata, but that's an even weirder thought.

I believe that's the sub-plotte of Cory Doctorow's next novella, Open, Sore.
posted by jack_mo at 4:52 PM on September 11, 2008


"To those of us who have held Meatbomb's wiener in our arms, there is nothing funny in jokes about same."

What about those of us who held his wiener between two fingers, tightly, for fear of losing it and not finding it again?
posted by klangklangston at 4:52 PM on September 11, 2008


The easy replacement "sandy taint" is something we can all experience.

We do not achieve gender equality by eliminating gender. We must all, men and women alike, embrace our sandy vaginas the same way we embrace our gigantic brass balls. Regardless of which of those two (or both or neither) we actually carry around with us day-to-day.
posted by GuyZero at 4:52 PM on September 11, 2008


Ok, so these three leprechauns are standing on a street corner, talking about how much it sucks to be a leprechaun.

The first one says "Man I hate being a leprechaun. Look at how short I am. I got these tiny little arms that aren't good for anything. They just stick out and flap in the air when I walk down the street. I bet I have shortest arms in the world."

The second one says "Oh yeah? Just look at my legs! Ridiculous little stumps. I can't run, I can't jump, I bet I have the shortest legs in the world."

The third one jumps in. "That's nothing. My dick is so small, I can't stand it. Every time I get with a woman, she just laughs at the size of it. I practically pee all over myself everytime I go to the bathroom, it's so pathetic. I bet I have the smallest dick in the world."

"Well you know" says the first leprechaun "The Guiness Book of World Records is right down the street. Why don't we go find out?"

So off they go. The first leprechaun goes in by himself. A few minutes later, he comes out jubilantly waving his short fat little arms in the air.

"Woohoo! They said I've got the shortest arms in the world!"

Excited, the second little leprechaun goes in. He comes out a few minutes later, just as happy.

"Alright! I've got the shortest legs in the world! I'm number 1!"

So the third little leprechaun runs in, thrilled that his tiny penis is going to finally gain him some notoriety.

A few minute later he emerges, looking dejected and pissed off.

"Ok, who the hell is this Meatbomb?"
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:55 PM on September 11, 2008 [36 favorites]


Does someone have sand in his mangina?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:57 PM on September 11, 2008


I'm conflicted.

I don't really find dead baby jokes offensive, but I don't find them funny. But EATING-a-baby jokes crack me up.

I don't think it's unreasonable for someone who has experienced the undoubtedly traumatizing death of a child to request that we refrain from such jokes... but I don't think it's realistic to expect compliance with those requests.

I love blueberries. LOVE them. But I hate blueberry muffins.

I just don't know anymore.
posted by katillathehun at 4:57 PM on September 11, 2008


While I didn't make any dead baby jokes myself, I stand by my previous statement that a blanket ban on "insert x joke" here is a bit much. I think it's perfectly reasonable for any MeFite who is offended by how a thread is going to stop reading it. I think it's MORE than reasonable for a MeFite who is engaged in a discussion and a joke comes up that is offensive to them to say "Yo, cut it out." And of course, anyone can *ask* for jokes to stop at any time...

... but to go into a thread and have your first contribution be "You need to be sensitive to my pain!" seems a bit much. I totally would be sensitive to your pain, had I previously been speaking with you and known what your pain WAS! I think "don't be an asshole" is a good rule, but I don't believe that general tomfoolery and assholery are the same thing.

I suppose I would have been more receptive to someone in thread saying "Hey, I don't think the dead baby jokes are funny, it's a really sensitive topic" rather than getting kind of self-righteous in saying "you should be sensitive to MY issue!"

(Anyhoo, I think that the people in this thread who are "blahhhh, why are you asking for people to stop doing stuff? You're a poo-poo head!" are treading over the asshole line, but the actual dead baby jokes themselves - dude. They were totally kidding. Since no specific dead babies were involved, it seemed totally natural to joke about an uncomfortable topic to, y'know, lighten the mood.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:57 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


BrandonB, yeah that's pretty much it. We see people from time to time use a lot of otherwise-racist slurring in order to either strengthen their point or make an ironic joke and that generally doesn't fly here except inrare circumstances. I know that point in and of itself is a touchy issue here, but generally speaking we find it a good idea if sort of ambiguous racially-based fighty talk is kept to a minimum. Also, that's mostly referring to the rest of the site, MeTa is more of a free-for-all and always has been.

We don't want to play thought police with anyone ["is he really being racist or is he being ironic-racist? Oh I just can't tell..."] and are okay with the fact that this may mean that some people's freedom to tell rape, jew or gypsy jokes is somewhat curtailed.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:57 PM on September 11, 2008


the statement "I can't stand fucking wetbacks" won't fly at all (rightly so, of course)

Why not? Maybe they actually are bad in bed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:59 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


SpacemanStix: Sorta like Meatbomb is hoping others do for his callout here.

Those calls for consideration ring hollow.

Like the smart-ass requests a bratty kid might make after being grounded for going out without permission:

"Mom? Do I have permission to go to the bathroom?", "Mom? Do I have permission to use this fork?", "Mom? Do I have permission to take a breath?", etc.
posted by CKmtl at 5:04 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suppose I would have been more receptive to someone in thread saying "Hey, I don't think the dead baby jokes are funny, it's a really sensitive topic" rather than getting kind of self-righteous in saying "you should be sensitive to MY issue!"

"As an aside - could you guys refrain from the dead baby jokes? Some of us have had miscarriages or stillbirths and those are an unhappy reminder of those events. Dead children are rarely funny to those of us who have held one in our arms."

That seems like "it's a really sensitive topic" to me. It's plenty passive. The poster even wrote "as an aside", which is not very self-righteous at all.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 5:07 PM on September 11, 2008


Flagstaff and move on?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:08 PM on September 11, 2008


Nice Slarty Bartfast, I really didn't see that coming.
posted by -t at 5:09 PM on September 11, 2008


"the statement "I can't stand fucking wetbacks" won't fly at all (rightly so, of course)

Why not? Maybe they actually are bad in bed."


It may also be that the commenter is legless, or confined to a wheelchair.
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 5:10 PM on September 11, 2008


Most of us who have lost a child do not actively avoid any media having to do with babies and children.

What the hell do you think a metafilter thread was going to have? Uplifting stories about babies? Glurge about how wonderful babies are and how dead babies all end up being lifted up by angels because of their glurgeful innocence and big sad eyes? Here?

Whatever the thing that provokes a strong reaction in you -- babies, dead babies, Captain and Tennille, or even Mormonism to use a real example -- if there's something out there such that people speaking irreverently about it would hurt you, you should not open metafilter threads about it.

Within some very wide boundaries, it isn't other people's job to monitor their own speech so that they avoid offending anyone who could conceivably be offended. It's your job to monitor your own internet use and not go into threads that are likely to offend or hurt you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:13 PM on September 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


I really didn't like the dead baby jokes either. At all. But I also didn't like the tone of the commenter complaining, thought it sounded censorial and fingerwaggy.
posted by nickyskye at 5:13 PM on September 11, 2008


It may also be that the commenter is legless, or confined to a wheelchair.

It might also mean that he can't get an erection.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:15 PM on September 11, 2008


Paraphrasing Johny Carson, "Everything is funny, except the assassination of Lincoln"

Needs updating. Everything is funny except for the murder of Phil Hartman.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:25 PM on September 11, 2008


THE SETTING: Metafilter as a huge, ongoing party, with many different cliques intermingling. The group by the nachos passionately discusses Sarah Palin. Over by the Ice Sculpture of a recumbent bike, different people are showing off impressive photography and art-work they've come across. A small group smokes cloves around a back corner, whispering about underground comics. Inside, people pass a guitar around, sharing music, while another group hangs out at the poolside, bringing up questions and problems while the rest of the group tries to help.

The majority of revelers wander from one group to another, seeing what might interest them.

Over by the bar, one group gregariously trades off-color jokes and barbs, while also discussing semi-seriously the news of the day. They are a jovial group, good people mostly, who have a good feel for each other. Conversation turns to a man who found a baby on his doorstep. A few party-goers wander over, curious to hear people's thoughts on this.

One of the jokers makes a dead-baby joke which probably would've gone over like gangbusters, and been seen as nothing more than a joke wth no malice behind it just a few moments ago. However, with the new additions to the conversation, the dynamic has changed. A late-comer coughs up, "I've actually lost a child. Could we please not joke about that?" The jokers feel a little guilty, except for one.

That one guy then stands up and shouts, "Hey everybody!" The party goes quiet. "Someone just told us to stop making dead baby jokes because she's all sensitive to the fact that she's lost a child! What the fuck, right?!"

The rest of the party shifts uncomfortably. They've known this guy forever, and like him, and don't want to see him acting like this. Some people whisper to others that he's really cool, usually. They just don't know what's up with him right now.

The one guy then turns back to the bartender. "Amirite?" he asks.

The bartender cuts him off.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:26 PM on September 11, 2008 [51 favorites]


MetaFilter: censorial and fingerwaggy
posted by ColdChef at 5:27 PM on September 11, 2008


OTOH: Meatbomb, giving you the benefit of the doubt that you were actually not outraged and just trying to bring up a discussion about what is acceptable and what is not, and also that your penis os surely of exactly average length and girth, I'll say this.

In the Tim Russert Obit-thread, I noticed a lot of derailing, and created a meta-talk post just in the hopes of handling the derail, which made some people assume that I (a) hated Obit threads in general (I actually think they're a great use of the site) and (b) really wanted to defend Tim Russert (who I didn't care about one way or the other, really, aside from having a modicum of respect for the dead.) So if people are misinterpreting you hear, then you've got my sympathies.

Also, maybe my most heavily favorited comment was a horribly vile, self-created dead baby joke in the Instant Rimshot thread from a few months back. No one complained, probably because of context. Still, even there, I knew it was risky, because as much as any one person might find something funny, you have to know your audience. The thread about an actual abandoned baby apparently wasn't filled with the right audience.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:32 PM on September 11, 2008


Those calls for consideration ring hollow.

They were intended as a rhetorical device, CKmtl, to highlight the fact that all kinds of people can get offended by all kinds of things. Here on MetaFilter I think that new people should learn it probably isn't so cool to join a conversation just to tell everyone how they are being inconsiderate to their special feelings and their tragic situation.

Scenario where other person is an asshole:

MeFite 1: blah blah babies blah blah haha
MeFite 2: haha, yeah, abandoned babies, joke joke!
MeFite3: Yeah, and dead babies too, joke joke!
Other person (who just joined the conversation): My baby is dead, just thought you should know how painful that is, could you be more sensitive?

Yeah, that's too bad for other person. And yeah, now we all feel bad for that fun we were having. We are thinking about your terrible personal tragedy.

I submit to you that in the scenario as it occurred in the original thread FritoKAL was being a wet blanket and a party pooper and general buzzkill. Just as people don't want me blathering about my tiny penis, we don't need to hear about your personal tragedy in this context. Come share it with us in the serious thread about crib death and we'll be respectful and sensitive. In that thread people were having lighthearted fun. FritoKAL was providing TMI and was being insensitive to the tone of the room.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:36 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't even remember if I posted a dead baby joke in there, or if I was going to and didn't, or if I actually did and it got deleted.

It would have been in the eating of young variety, though. Babies taste good. In the unlikely event I find a woman delusional enough to lay down with me in the Biblical sense and carry our undoubtedly mutant offspring to term I'm so going to take photos of the delicious little morsel in various baking dishes surrounded by vegetables and gravy. Or piled into a giant Dagwood. Or nestled in a Full English Breakfast between the grilled tomatoes and beans. Or wrapped in bacon on a barbecue. I'll probably even photoshop in hot coals and lit stoves. Yeah, I'm never having kids.


Anyway, what's 12 inches long and makes a woman scream in the middle of the night?









NOT MEATBOMB!
posted by loquacious at 5:39 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


sand in the vagina

sand in his mangina?


No, no, it's sand in the clowns. C'mon, surely you've heard the song:

Sand in the clowns...
There ought to be clowns...
Don't bother, they're here.

Otherwise, I got nuthin...

Except for this obligatory link to Dead Babies.


And on preview, what Navelgazer said about knowing your audience. Work the room, people, you gotta work the room!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:40 PM on September 11, 2008


I love blueberries. LOVE them. But I hate blueberry muffins.

I hate bluberries. HATE them. But I love blueberry muffins. And pancakes.

Blueberries are so small and roll-y and chalky. But put them in pancakes?? Genius.
posted by Pax at 5:41 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just as people don't want me blathering about my tiny penis...

Not at all, Meatbomb. Tell us more!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:42 PM on September 11, 2008


That one guy then stands up gets out of the freezing cold pool and shouts, "Hey everybody!" The party goes quiet. "Someone just told us to stop making dead baby jokes because she's all sensitive to the fact that she's lost a child! What the fuck, right?!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:44 PM on September 11, 2008


Not at all, Meatbomb. Tell us more!

That is, if you're not currently sitting down to pee ...

bah dum bump, khsss...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:45 PM on September 11, 2008


And Navelgazer: I think the analogy breaks down at the point where the one guy stands up and shouts. That's not what a MetaTalk thread is like, I'd say it is more like that guy runs down to the utility closet where the party regulations are debated and tacks a note to the wall about not being a buzzkill in the bar area...
posted by Meatbomb at 5:45 PM on September 11, 2008


Needs updating. Everything is funny except for the murder of Phil Hartman.

Almost entirely true, except that in the Newsradio episode "Bill Moves On," Andy Dick was able to bring some teary, heartfelt, pathetic humor to it by not being able to believe that Bill was actually dead, because he was just repeating with complete gullible conviction what Bill had told him about his "secret life" before his passing.

That is the closest we will ever get to being able to find Phil Hartman's murder funny, and even then it just made it all the sadder.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:45 PM on September 11, 2008


(and the hosts get all pissed off because they wanted to party but now have to sit and listen to this fucking guy in the utility closet again)
posted by Meatbomb at 5:46 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just as people don't want me blathering about my tiny penis

Don't be silly. You blathering about your tiny penis will make people feel better about their average sized ones. Some people, I mean. The ones with average sized penises.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 PM on September 11, 2008


Dammit; I'm really too late to properly respond to Brandon Blatcher, but I'm going to anyway.

I can't stand fucking wetbacks either.

They always slide out from under me when I'm about to come.
posted by yhbc at 5:47 PM on September 11, 2008


Blueberries are so small and roll-y and chalky.

Chalky? WTF???
posted by Sys Rq at 5:48 PM on September 11, 2008


Blah blah MAH FREEDUMZ IZ BEIN INFRINGED! Quit flogging this dead baby.
posted by DU at 5:49 PM on September 11, 2008


Come share it with us in the serious thread about crib death and we'll be respectful and sensitive. In that thread people were having lighthearted fun.

But the thread wasn't the rimshot thread, it was an abandoned baby thread. Granted it wasn't "ten things you need to know about cribdeath" but FritoKAL posted about halfway through when some jokes had been made but some people were still sort of discussing the original thread topic. Tread drift happens and that's inevitable. However, trying to re-rail or just be like "um hey that's not funny" isn't actually any more against the rules than making the jokes in the first place.

And, to put a fine point on it: your special snowflake buzz isn't any more protected from buzzkill than my desire not to have people making vagina jokes all the time.

"tone of the room" varies from comment to comment and this is not an acid trip where we all agree to always be groovy and not harsh anyone's mellow. I'm sorry, but this sort of thing goes both ways and you are appealing to some sort of astral philosophy that is not quite in line with the terra firma reality.

Calling someone who mentions her dead child in an abandoned child newsfilterish thread [albeit one where people were making jokes] a buzzkill seems to be a likewise failure to "read the room", in my opinion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:50 PM on September 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Chalky? WTF???

Yeah, they're chalky and squeaky and bursty and ew. *shudders*
posted by Pax at 5:51 PM on September 11, 2008


ARGH I JUST REMEMBERED THE BLUEBERRIES IN MY BACKPACK IN A DAMN PLASTIC BAG FUCKING HELL DAMN AND AAAAAAAAGH FUCK THAT'S WHERE THEY WENT

*sniff*

Sorry... last local berries of the season from my favorite blueberry representin' farm at the farmer's market.

BRB, I need to plan a funereal.
posted by loquacious at 5:53 PM on September 11, 2008


Meatbomb: fair enough, I just wanted to point out that it's fine to tell whatever jokes we want, but if someone in the discussion is legitimately offended because of personal tragedy, we might do well to consider the "everyone hanging out at a party" metaphor before deciding that the offended person was in the wrong for politely mentioning that they find that sort of joke offensive.

1. Dead baby jokes are shock humor. They work precisely because they would not be okay in anything resembling polite company. That makes it kind of silly to get perturbed when polite company objects to them.

2. Realistically, in the "party" scenario, FritoKAL's comment would have been followed by, "Oh, shit, I'm so sorry!" "It's okay, you couldn't have known." And eveything would've gotten back on track pretty quickly. It's only through the magical power of the internet that we can act like this about a simple and legitimate request.

I don't think you or me or anyone else making off-color jokes around here are bad people, let's just try to remember that the other users on the site are flesh-and0blood people too, and act as we would if we were face to face with them.

Except for the SEO spammers. I'll blend them up and pour them into a phone booth just to suck 'em out with a straw.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:54 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought we did agree not to harsh anyone's mellow? But I am easily confused and defer to your more lucid and responsible assessment of the situation, jessamyn (sincerely).
posted by Meatbomb at 5:55 PM on September 11, 2008


The amazing thing (well, one of the amazing things) about Meatbomb's penis is that it's tattooed with the complete text of the Treaty of Westphalia.
posted by jtron at 5:55 PM on September 11, 2008


ARGH I JUST REMEMBERED THE BLUEBERRIES IN MY BACKPACK IN A DAMN PLASTIC BAG FUCKING HELL DAMN AND AAAAAAAAGH FUCK THAT'S WHERE THEY WENT

They went to a better place. RIP. Just think of the nice big autumn apples you'll have soon.
posted by Pax at 5:57 PM on September 11, 2008


I thought we did agree not to harsh anyone's mellow?

I agreed not to harsh your mellow, brother Meatbomb, and I realize I am treading close, but I think FritoKAL had a hard day and if she was here we'd give her a footrub so we should maybe think of a way to translate that into the virtual realm. Just my suggestion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:59 PM on September 11, 2008


What;s the difference between a thousand bucks and a thousand rotten blueberries?

Louquacious doesn't have a thousand bucks in a plastic bag in his backpack.

bu-dum-kssh!
posted by Navelgazer at 6:00 PM on September 11, 2008


Please don't tell Martin Amis about this callout. We'll never hear the end of it.
posted by Rangeboy at 6:01 PM on September 11, 2008


Do you know why the monkey fell out of the tree?

What I need to know in order to answer the question:
Was it a baby monkey?
Was it holding Meatbomb's penis in its hand?
posted by chillmost at 6:10 PM on September 11, 2008


Do you always ride your bike diagonally?

No. Next?
posted by jessamyn at 6:54 PM on September 11 [+] [!]


So it's no to the echelon of tandem recumbent riding admin piloted doberman attack bikes then?
posted by fixedgear at 6:14 PM on September 11, 2008


How many Vietnam vets does it take to change a lightbulb?

YOU WOULDN'T KNOW CAUSE YOU WEREN'T THERE!!!
posted by brundlefly at 6:20 PM on September 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


They were intended as a rhetorical device, CKmtl, to highlight the fact that all kinds of people can get offended by all kinds of things.

Yes, I know. Such rhetorical devices are fine and dandy until someone takes them seriously, as SpacemanStix seemed to do.

To return to the bratty li'l twerp analogy; it's like some well-meaning aunt scolding the mother for sending the kid to his room when he was just asking politely.

Here on MetaFilter I think that new people should learn...

Dude, she joined in 2001. Not so new.

I submit to you that in the scenario as it occurred in the original thread FritoKAL was being a wet blanket and a party pooper and general buzzkill.

I submit to you that the joke-teller, in the act of joke-telling, fully assumes the risk that their joke will bomb. If it does, it's not the audience's fault. It's yours for having served up the wrong material.

Know your audience or, failing that, have a sense of the potential audience. A straight-up news story about an abandoned baby = "Hm, people reading this will probably have a soft spot (heh) for babies." A straight-up news story about a horribly neglectful puppy mill = "I smell dog-lovers a-comin'."
posted by CKmtl at 6:23 PM on September 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


"I don't like a Mexicans because of X, Y and Z"

Fuckin' Italians.
posted by EarBucket at 6:31 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


ROU_Xenophobe, you sound like you'd be happier at Fark or SomethingAwful or something.
posted by rodgerd at 6:36 PM on September 11, 2008


What the hell do you think a metafilter thread was going to have? Uplifting stories about babies? Glurge about how wonderful babies are and how dead babies all end up being lifted up by angels because of their glurgeful innocence and big sad eyes? Here?

ROU Xenophobe, I may be alone in thinking this way, and I'm okay with this. I think this is comment is pretty mindboggling in how dickish it is. I don't think anyone who pays their entrance fee here (or who has been around long enough not to have paid one) comes here for "glurge." This isn't a fucking Anne Geddes fansite and no one expects it to be. But, again, the post wasn't framed as some childish gross har-de-har about dead babies. If it was, I doubt FritoKAL, or I, or plenty of other members of the site would have gone in. And FritoKAL's request in the face of the derailed thread was, again, perfectly reasonable. But acting like the kind of thread you described above is the only kind of child-related thread that a mourning parent belongs in is ridiculous, and it's fucking insulting.
posted by justonegirl at 6:51 PM on September 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Did you hear about the circus fire?
posted by sciurus at 6:51 PM on September 11, 2008


You know what I don't like because of X, Y and Z?

Algebra.
posted by box at 6:55 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I submit to you that in the scenario as it occurred in the original thread FritoKAL was being a wet blanket and a party pooper and general buzzkill.

I submit to you that get the fuck over it. There are far more obnoxious things that people do in threads on this site every day than dare to mention that something makes them uncomfortable in a thread that's not explicitly about the thing they're taking offense at.

It's surprisingly difficult for someone to actually fuck up a whole party by making a polite request; parties are resilient things like that. The maintenance of your mellow and/or buzz should not depend so heavily on the behavior of each of thirty-some thousand other people.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:06 PM on September 11, 2008 [11 favorites]


bluberries.
posted by Pax at 7:10 PM on September 11, 2008


Meta, Meta, META! Now this discussion could be a really swill party line podcast.
posted by buzzman at 7:13 PM on September 11, 2008


if she was here we'd give her a footrub so we should maybe think of a way to translate that into the virtual realm.

If we could do that, we'd ditch the Community Weblog jazz and make some moolah.
posted by jonmc at 7:14 PM on September 11, 2008


I heard it was intense, sciurus. Fortunately, I managed to kill the entire circus.

I went for the juggler.
posted by yhbc at 7:15 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


how is babby killed?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:19 PM on September 11, 2008


Down the street you can hear her scream "you're a disgrace"
As she slams the door in his drunken face,
And now he stands outside and all the neighbours start to gossip and drool.

He cries "Oh girl, you must be mad,
What happened to the sweet love you and me had?"
Against the door he leans and starts a scene,
And his tears fall and burn the garden green.

And so vaginas made of sand fall in the sea, eventually.

True story.
posted by Sailormom at 7:28 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meta, Meta, META!

Goddammit, somebody start a conga line.
posted by box at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2008


Man this thread is just depressing, though i did lol at the dead baby float joke.
posted by empath at 7:36 PM on September 11, 2008


Sooooo...what'd you guys think of Sarah Palin?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:37 PM on September 11, 2008


I guess MTB riders going through what used to be called a rock garden and is now called 'baby heads' is off limits, huh?
posted by fixedgear at 7:42 PM on September 11, 2008


this thread : tl; dr.


I did however teach Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" today (with a great deal of relish) to a bunch of Freshmen, who had never read it before! AWESOME!
posted by exlotuseater at 7:43 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


***SPOILER***

it's about EATING babies!
posted by exlotuseater at 7:44 PM on September 11, 2008


I submit to you that get the fuck over it.

Oi, now you are really harshing my mellow. It's all good, man, we're past all that now, we're just chilling in the utility closet brother...
posted by Meatbomb at 7:49 PM on September 11, 2008


With relish?
posted by yhbc at 7:49 PM on September 11, 2008




But, again, the post wasn't framed as some childish gross har-de-har about dead babies. If it was, I doubt FritoKAL, or I, or plenty of other members of the site would have gone in.

Okay. But what purpose does it serve to bring it up? Why not just say "Oh, another metafilter thread like that" and just read another thread?

But acting like the kind of thread you described above is the only kind of child-related thread that a mourning parent belongs in is ridiculous, and it's fucking insulting.

That's a fair cop. Sorry.

But still, within wide bounds -- and I think something as universal in American society, if childish, as dead baby jokes falls well within those bounds -- it's still up to people to keep from going into places where they're likely to be unintentionally hurt, and/or to just leave those threads where they're being unintentionally hurt.

Or, to use the party analogy, if people are telling jokes that are more-or-less objectively harmless, if childish, then what a polite person would do if those jokes for whatever reason drive home in a hurtful way is go over to any of the other hundred groups that are talking, not chide the people at the first.

That said, I don't really get meatbomb's outrage. It's not like FritoKAL tried to call down banhammers on anyone. I just think it would have been better if FritoKAL just butted out and called it even instead of raising a scene.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:52 PM on September 11, 2008


It seems weird to me that people are telling others to avoid threads that would be comforting for people who have had child-loss traumas. Those types of stories tend to give a feeling of warmth and healing, so they would be natural for a person who has been through that kind of loss to want to read without also being reminded of the reason why it would be a personal comfort.

Weirdest is that anyone would assume that dead baby jokes are somehow natural and normal in a venue populated mostly by adults. I got tired of those when I was around 12 (notably, after an aunt had a miscarriage and I realised that I could be causing unnecessary pain to people who had already been through something incredibly difficult and, often, shattering. It didn't hurt me at all to be more gentle in that respect. Plenty of other things to joke about, after all).
posted by batmonkey at 7:59 PM on September 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Do we have a W.C. Fields in the house?
posted by buzzman at 8:05 PM on September 11, 2008


hey! I thought it was about eating Irish babies????
posted by supermedusa at 8:06 PM on September 11, 2008


that's for exlotuseater. could we get a preview button or something?
posted by supermedusa at 8:07 PM on September 11, 2008


Sooooo...what'd you guys think of Sarah Palin?

Why, did something happen to her baby?
posted by jonmc at 8:12 PM on September 11, 2008


I owe myself five dollars.
posted by FritoKAL at 8:18 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think meatbomb physically resembles a baby, and it pains me to think of him as a dead baby.

I can think of at least one way Meatbomb resembles a baby.

His small penis.
posted by graventy at 8:36 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meatbomb: not to claim exclusive copyright over my original metaphor, but I see Metatalk more as the kitchen, where the exhausted hosts are passing around a bottle of wine and stretching their aching backs against the counter, while the quests keep cycling through to mention their complaints and gossip. If anything is the utility closet, it's projects, where a random few partiers sit in the dark smoking a joint and talking about their new ideas, and every once and a while, one of the people listening is totally blown away, running out into the general party-population screaming, "HOLY FUCK! Y'ALL HAVE GOTTA COME SEE THIS!"

Just my thoughts.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:36 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do we have a W.C. Fields in the house?

I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

Once, during prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.

The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves. [not blueberry-ist]

Ah, the patter of little feet around the house. There's nothing like having a midget for a butler.

Madam, there's no such thing as a tough child - if you parboil them first for seven hours, they always come out tender.
posted by netbros at 8:41 PM on September 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


I see batmonkey's comment, and raise with:

It would be bizarre to expect someone to happen upon a post about a live, healthy, baby being found and think to themselves "You know, this could be a nice thread, but I should be on the look-out for dead baby jokes. Those would be natural and foreseeable outcomes of this thread."

If the post had been about, say, some Malaysian attempting to break the World Record for telling the most dead baby jokes in a 24-hour period, then I'd probably agree with you, ROU_Xenophobe.
posted by CKmtl at 8:41 PM on September 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


But what purpose does it serve to bring it up? Why not just say "Oh, another metafilter thread like that" and just read another thread?

Well, I obviously can't speak for anyone else, but the main purpose I see is to possibly enlighten someone that hey, those kind of jokes can be hurtful, even if you don't realize it, and if you care about people's feelings, you'll try to avoid stomping on them if you're made aware there's a problem. Not that there's a shortage of people out there who don't give a shit whose feelings get stomped on, but maybe FritoKAL assumed that the people 'round these parts weren't that thoughtless? I don't know.

Or, to use the party analogy, if people are telling jokes that are more-or-less objectively harmless, if childish, then what a polite person would do if those jokes for whatever reason drive home in a hurtful way is go over to any of the other hundred groups that are talking, not chide the people at the first.


I see what you're saying, but I think the analogy in this case is a little flawed. Sure, no one wants to be the "buzzkill" at some one-time cocktail party maybe. But if you're meeting up with the same group every week to watch the game, and said group is dropping dead baby jokes or racist jokes or AIDS jokes or what have you, yeah, you might say something. In a friendly, passive and reasonable tone. And hope that the group decides you (and the many others who didn't speak up) are worth not hurting, and will find something a little more universal to joke about.
posted by justonegirl at 8:47 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


and will find something a little more universal to joke about ...

... such as you-know-who's schlong.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:54 PM on September 11, 2008


You know what they say about guys with you-know-who's schlong...




Small shoes.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:05 PM on September 11, 2008


Needs updating. Everything is funny except for the murder of Phil Hartman.

Yeah, and "Besides that Mrs. Hartman, how did you like the play?", really just doesn't work.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:20 PM on September 11, 2008


As the perp here, I had no intentions of offending anyone with the joke.

To be honest, the jokes could have gone to an exponentially more offensive level, but this doesn't seem like the appropriate time or tube to share.
posted by clearly at 9:23 PM on September 11, 2008


And now that I'm a little more possessed of tact and not inclined to want to do anything I'll regret later - my intention in asking was simply a polite request. If it meant that some people will pause and think before making a joke, that is all I really wanted. To encourage some level of forethought when discussing in public subjects that are pretty universally sensitive and more common than many people think.

Sadly, nor am I surprised at the people who said, in effect, "It's just a joke, stop being so uptight." or "Don't read any threads that have anything to do with babies because there might maybe be a offensive joke." In that, I would prefer not to be a shrinking violet - spending my entire life afraid of people because they might make a poorly thought out comment is not a good way to have a rich social life. That I choose to read those threads does not eliminate my right to comment on hte things I feel are unnecessarily harmful and thoughtless.

I did not intend to create a 'rule' or cause a ruckus, and using the party metaphor, I am the person usually sitting and listening and very occasionally quietly chiming in. I don't make casual chatter unless I have something I think is important enough to say.

If that means that a few people think I'm a party pooper, that's a perfectly acceptable price to pay for encouraging some forethought and tact.
posted by FritoKAL at 9:48 PM on September 11, 2008 [26 favorites]


No more dead baby small penis jokes.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:52 PM on September 11, 2008


vagina dentata

I thought it was some kind of frittata and got all excited, but then I googled it and was upset.
posted by sluglicker at 10:02 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


HURF DURF BABY EATER
posted by exlotuseater at 10:05 PM on September 11, 2008


And I'll go to bed at noon
posted by Nick Verstayne at 10:06 PM on September 11, 2008


My perspective is that if you want me to to something (or refrain from doing something) that I don't want to, you need to pay me.

I'll commit to not telling dead baby jokes on Metafilter for $35/month.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:18 PM on September 11, 2008


I'll do it for $30!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:19 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sadly, nor am I surprised at the people who said, in effect, "It's just a joke, stop being so uptight."

Fritokal: Communication 101 ("I" statements and "you" statements) -- i.e., you did not say, "I am sort of offended and hurt by this 'humor' about something that I find sacred/painful ... " (etc) -- You said, "... could you guys refrain from the dead baby jokes? "

I didn't see that anyone wanted to add to your pain, but then I also didn't read your post as very 'polite' -- in fact, I thought it was presumptuous.

I can't understand how anyone has the time to *read* all of the comments in metafilter -- let alone the wacky ones that go way off topic. Metafilter is a steady flow of effluence with brilliant nuggets of wit and wisdom popping up every now and then. (And then there are the moments of pure poop.) Drink in moderation.

Viva la poop!
posted by Surfurrus at 10:40 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I submit to you that in the scenario as it occurred in the original thread FritoKAL was being a wet blanket and a party pooper and general buzzkill.

It's just like that time I was at a party and finished up telling my hilarious joke about the abused black lesbian and the pommel horse, only to turn and find an abused black lesbian listening. Totally harshed the mood, and then she had to nerve to be upset, even after I pointed out there was no pommel horse in sight!
Sooo fucking inconsiderate.

Just as people don't want me blathering about my tiny penis

And yet, you still do. Funny ol' world.

*Fictional event used as a rhetorical device; I would never go to a party.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:55 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought it was some kind of frittata and got all excited, but then I googled it and was upset.

vagina dentata (n): hurf durf baby eater.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:59 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I felt it was a perfectly reasonable request for FritoKal to make, in a nice tone of voice, and certainly not worth the endless thread about it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:02 PM on September 11, 2008


Sheesh. Lots of bizarre justification going on here. She asked nicely, said please, and explained why the comments were personally painful to her. What's so ridiculously offensive and presumptuous about that?

If you don't want to stop making the jokes, go ahead and keep making them. Complaining because now you feel bad and the lawls aren't as much fun is so pathetic.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:15 PM on September 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


In related news: Is it still too soon for jokes about Sept. 11?
posted by ericb at 11:15 PM on September 11, 2008


too soon?!?? we were making jokes about it, um... *counts* seven years ago.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:23 PM on September 11, 2008


(dark humour, yeh? and yes, we've been through this before, and yes, i still disagree that only people on the gallows can use it, and yeh, no further discussion will be entered into)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:25 PM on September 11, 2008


Complaining because now you feel bad and the lawls aren't as much fun is so pathetic.

It is somehow oddly satisfying to see lulz-trolling turn into whining.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


(casting pearls before whines)
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:44 PM on September 11, 2008


(casting pearls before whines)

Lipstick on a wig!
posted by ericb at 11:47 PM on September 11, 2008


Or, in the Queen's country | -ies ...

Lipstick on a whig!
posted by ericb at 11:50 PM on September 11, 2008


you reap what you sow.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:52 PM on September 11, 2008


- things that make a good chunk of the general MeFi public go "ewwww" or "I think you've gone too far" i.e. things that fill up the flag queue.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Let me tell you, Goatse and Tubgirl are nothing.

I also have an undefeated champion of dead baby jokes but oddly this doesn't seem to be the thread for dead baby jokes.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:54 PM on September 11, 2008


yeh, making dead baby jokes in that thread was really quite ham-fisted.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:58 PM on September 11, 2008


The easy replacement "sandy taint" is something we can all experience.

I went to school with Sandy Taint. Hell of a guy.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:04 AM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I went to school with Sandy Taint. Hell of a guy.

really?!?? i met him, and found him to be a really grating cunt.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:18 AM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


(sorry, i forgot how offensive that word is to Americans. I'll change that to "a really grating prick")
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:19 AM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyway, what's 12 inches long and makes a woman scream in the middle of the night?

a tarantula
posted by pyramid termite at 1:08 AM on September 12, 2008


I'll change that to "a really grating prick"

no - whoever heard of a a sandy prick?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:09 AM on September 12, 2008


Why do babies soft spots in the top of their heads?

So the nurses can carry them out like sixpacks if there's a fire in the maternity ward.
posted by flabdablet at 1:38 AM on September 12, 2008


...have soft spots...
posted by flabdablet at 1:38 AM on September 12, 2008


whoever heard of a sandy prick?

Not me. But I've heard of a Sandy Bull.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:56 AM on September 12, 2008


Oops. Sandy Bull.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:58 AM on September 12, 2008


One of the people who writes for my local paper is called Sandy Cooch. No lie.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:38 AM on September 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


I didn't see that anyone wanted to add to your pain, but then I also didn't read your post as very 'polite' -- in fact, I thought it was presumptuous.

I'd just like to chime in that that was my reading of the comment as well. The substance in and of itself - sure, everyone has the right to object if they feel that the conversation is hurtful. It was the tone of the comment that suggested to me that the user was speaking up from a high-horse.

I apologize, FritoKAL for my misreading. It's hard on the internet to judge tone.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:41 AM on September 12, 2008


Paraphrasing Johny Carson, "Everything is funny, except the assassination of Lincoln"

Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?
posted by klausness at 4:56 AM on September 12, 2008


Hey, which is easier to unload from a pickup truck: babies or bowling balls?

Babies, cuz you can use a pitch-fork.
posted by Mister_A at 8:18 AM on September 12, 2008


jessamyn, that is like the best subhead ever to grace a front page. Thanks for the laugh,my colleagues got a kick out of it too.
posted by Mister_A at 8:20 AM on September 12, 2008


I have eaten
the dead babies
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 8:50 AM on September 12, 2008 [7 favorites]


It's all very well for you to think it's scarey but I've got to come back tyhis way on my own.
posted by Artw at 9:17 AM on September 12, 2008


Perhaps a clue as to the origins of Sandy Cooch, I once worked for guy named Sandy Weiner.
posted by ulotrichous at 9:35 AM on September 12, 2008


It's now my goal to write a story featuring twin sisters named Sandi and Toofi Cooch.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:37 AM on September 12, 2008


There's twenty of them!
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on September 12, 2008


endless thread about it

This description... just doesn't quite seem right given recent events...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:58 AM on September 12, 2008


guys! guys! you've got it all wrong!

Sand in the vagina is just another adorably sexist way of saying that someone is annoyed and irritable for no reason. It's like saying "oh hey, it must be your period!" the idea is that sand in the vagina is uncomfortable and irritating, so a woman who is dealing with that (as in a movie where you might have heard a character at the beach say something like "you know what, I've got sand in places you don't want to know about so don't start with me right now!") is clearly someone whose sensitivities and issues can be ignored since she's really just pissed about having sand in her vagina.

vagina dentata, indeed. I swear, it's like you can't be sexist anymore without someone mistaking it for an illustration from Vampire: The Masquerade.

also, Meatbomb is wrong.
posted by shmegegge at 10:10 AM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hey admins/mods, can you institute that if a post hits more than 200 comments, images are enabled?
posted by Damn That Television at 10:58 AM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


SURE WE'LL GET RIGHT ON THAT
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


What this thread needs is more dead baby jokes.
posted by caddis at 12:19 PM on September 12, 2008


I can't believe almost 200 comments and not a smell of this, possibly the most hilarious dead baby prank ever.

Making fun of dead baby websites is how I deal with the loss of my precious angels Connor and Abby (b/d-2/18/02). Who are you to judge how I mourn?! They are in heaven right now beating the everliving shit out of your dead babies because I raised them on the STREETS.
posted by dorian at 12:30 PM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, really, there should be a bonus unlock system for when comments spiral into oblivion. Like if something gets over 300, canyon.mid is automatically embedded, and if it hits 400, everything turns comic sans, and if it hits 500, adverbs are replaced with Hamster Dance gifs
posted by Damn That Television at 12:49 PM on September 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


so instead of spiraling into oblivion, it spirals backwards in time? at 1000, the entire page can look like an oldschool AOL chat room with AOHell macros all over it.
posted by shmegegge at 1:01 PM on September 12, 2008


Presumably the Palin thread would look like something created before Palins supporters believe the Earth existed.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on September 12, 2008


Yes, exactly. Once it hits 2K, the comments turn into interactive fiction
posted by Damn That Television at 1:22 PM on September 12, 2008


> HIT TROLL WITH STICK

The mirror breaks!
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


No more dead baby jokes.

awkward pause...

In what respect, Charlie?
posted by R. Mutt at 1:31 PM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dammit, somebody's already registered inwhatrespectcharlie.com but hasn't done anything interesting with it yet. That's the worst kind of thing right there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:35 PM on September 12, 2008


Thread 16719 is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

>what is a grue

The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

>

>

>

>in what respect charlie_
posted by shmegegge at 2:10 PM on September 12, 2008 [9 favorites]


The fundamental flaw of "sand in the vagina" is that it implies a peculiar femininity to the irritation. The easy replacement "sandy taint" is something we can all experience.

Maybe I'm putting vaginas on a pedestal, but I'd imagine that a sandy vagina would be much more irritating than a sandy perineum, no?
posted by timeistight at 2:30 PM on September 12, 2008


I can think of a suitable male-specific alternative, but it would only apply to the goyim and even then it wouldn't be entirely applicable. Perhaps this is indeed due in whole or in part to desert-wandering conditions?

(Commence circumcision debate.)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:46 PM on September 12, 2008


Can I confess that I don't understand the "Helen Keller breaks fingers calling for help" joke? How exactly does she break them? Is it simply that if we yelled for help for a long time we would lose our voice, or is she somehow breaking her fingers by hitting them on the side of the well?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:06 PM on September 12, 2008


Maybe I'm putting vaginas on a pedestal, but I'd imagine that a sandy vagina would be much more irritating than a sandy perineum, no?

No. And that is a major reason this gibe annoys the hell out of me--it makes no sense! Sand in the folds of the labia, sand in the gluteal cleft, sand caught between the thighs, or sand stuck to the perineum would all be irritating. Sand inside the vagina would probably be as unnoticeable as a tampon string because there's no friction. Unless, of course, the sand was being rubbed against the vaginal walls by a penis (or other object), in which case, as jessamyn so aptly noted, the penis's owner would end up equally uncomfortable. Clearly this phrase was coined by someone who didn't pay attention in 6th grade health class and hasn't bothered to learn a damn thing about female anatomy or physiology since.

To be clear: I'm talking about incidental sand-in-the-vagina-ness. If someone were to intentionally shove in a dump-truckload, all bets are off.
posted by weebil at 3:15 PM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


ericb: "In related news: Is it still too soon for jokes about Sept. 11?"

I heard a great joke at lunch today.

Knock knock...
posted by team lowkey at 3:22 PM on September 12, 2008


AmbroseChapel: she broke her fingers falling down the well, and they're the only way that she CAN call for help, is how I interpret the joke.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:25 PM on September 12, 2008


Nah, it's that she was "shouting" in sign language so violently that she broke her fingers. It's not a perfect joke, but I think the analogy from terrified screaming to wildly gesticulating ASL* is pretty clear.

*or whatever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2008


Ahem.

Knock knock...
posted by team lowkey at 3:36 PM on September 12, 2008


NO SOLICITING!
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:39 PM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, I thought I'd seen the last of the dead baby jokes and the Helen Keller jokes in 4th grade. So does that mean that folks are getting their nostalgia on and recycling, or is this a new generation that thinks no one's heard the material?
Or do I not really want to know?
posted by batgrlHG at 3:39 PM on September 12, 2008


Fine. I'll sell my brushes elsewhere, you fucking neighbors.
posted by team lowkey at 3:43 PM on September 12, 2008


If it's the interrupting cow at the door, definitely answer it!
posted by rtha at 3:59 PM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


three weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, comedian Gilbert Gottfried .... mentioned that he had tried to get a direct flight “but they said they have to stop at the Empire State Building first.”

THEN he launched into "The Aristocrats" joke.

He deserves a medal.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:44 PM on September 12, 2008


Indeed. He hadn't been planning to go into the Aristocrats and been leading up to it with way-too-soon 9/11 jokes; it's what he went to once the 9/11 jokes bombed, so to speak.

Which is fucking awesome, even though it is far from the filthiest version of the joke ever told, or even just told in the documentary (that award either goes to Carlin, Sagat, Silverman, or Parker/Stone, depending on your sensibilities.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:28 PM on September 12, 2008


that award either goes to Carlin, Sagat, Silverman, or Parker/Stone, depending on your sensibilities

I had a Doug Stanhope link go over like a lead balloon in another thread today, so I won't link to it, but Doug's performance of the joke for that movie wins the filthiness award for me based on the colorfulness of his metaphors.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:56 PM on September 12, 2008


Possible responses to "please stop making jokes about this thing that bother me" include, among other things:

- laying off the jokes
- not laying off the jokes
- aggressively ramping up the jokes
- calling the requester out for even saying anything


Aye... and only one of those responses is not made of some percentage of douchebaggery. People around here tend to go for the third option (plus rampant castigation of the person who suggested that hey, just maybe they were being totally tasteless), which is made of 100% douchebaggery.

Mefites in general are like very bad-tempered sharks. A hint of blood in the water and it's feeding frenzy time. Maybe--just a thought--when someone is saying "Hey, that's really offensive because XYZ," y'all should not instinctively respond with "OH YEAH HERE'S MORE OFFENSIVE STUFF PS UR A DOUCHE FOR SAYING IT," and maybe try to consider where the other person is coming from, yeah?

I mean yeah, sure, MeFi is not a place overly given to hugs and rainbows and magical unicorn pee, but the amount of time we spend positively revelling in jerky behaviour is pretty gross.

*shrug*
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:57 AM on September 13, 2008


I mean yeah, sure, MeFi is not a place overly given to hugs and rainbows and magical unicorn pee, but the amount of time we spend positively revelling in jerky behaviour is pretty gross.

Magical unicorns *don't* pee! It's why they're magical! Sheesh.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:54 AM on September 13, 2008


"Interrupting magical unicorn who?"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:39 AM on September 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


/SOUND OF A MAGICAL UNICORN NOT PEEING!
posted by Navelgazer at 8:22 AM on September 13, 2008


Every time you hear a magical unicorn not pee, a tree falls in a forest where no one is around.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:27 AM on September 13, 2008


...and it doesn't make a sound.
posted by flabdablet at 8:42 AM on September 13, 2008


... in what respect, charlie?
posted by shmegegge at 11:33 AM on September 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


timeistight: "Maybe I'm putting vaginas on a pedestal ...?"
Wouldn't they keep slipping off? Although, if you added sand...
posted by dg at 2:12 AM on September 14, 2008


magical unicorn mayonnaise.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:31 AM on September 14, 2008


Maybe I'm putting vaginas on a pedestal...? Wouldn't they keep slipping off?

Cleary you didn't see the ad for lube mentioned here. The vagina will simply swallow the pedestal whole.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:40 AM on September 14, 2008


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