Veering off topic November 26, 2008 3:31 PM   Subscribe

Please don't let this thread devolve into a discussion of US policy. Can we keep that thread on the rails and you can discuss it here?
posted by desjardins to Etiquette/Policy at 3:31 PM (148 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

There could be nothing better. Such an outrage combines the greatest possible regard for humanity with the most alarming display of ferocious imbecility. I defy the ingenuity of journalists to persuade their public that any given member o f the proletariat can have a personal grievance against astronomy. Starvation itself could hardly be dragged in there - eh? And there are other advantages. The whole civilised world has heard of Greenwich. The very boot-blacks in the basement of Chari ng Cross Station know something of it. See?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:44 PM on November 26, 2008




But... Americans are the real terrorists here.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:38 PM on November 26, 2008


Dr. Steve, could you shed some light on the following question for me?

Is the USA now at war with Pakistan or not?

TIA!
posted by telstar at 4:42 PM on November 26, 2008


Or we could just let a thread's discussion go wherever it goes, and stop trying to control it out of a fit of pique.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:05 PM on November 26, 2008 [10 favorites]


Just out of curiosity, what makes you think that US foreign policy is somehow not relevant to the topic?
posted by adipocere at 5:17 PM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's OK, the thread has gone back to metafilters core area of expertese now: Quibbling about semantics.
posted by Artw at 5:18 PM on November 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


Blame Canada
posted by Rumple at 5:19 PM on November 26, 2008


It's time to spin the wheel of blame!
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:21 PM on November 26, 2008


Somewhere, unseen by scientist and unknown to man, a tiny yellow star in the galaxy of Diogenus was swallowed up by a black hole. As it's structure crumbled under the crushing force of incomprehensible gravitation pull, and as it released massive amount of nuclear radiation, which was, too sucked into the black hole, it managed one final thought: I wonder how this, too, will cause people on MetaFilter to talk about the United States?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:25 PM on November 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Just to save everyone some time so they don't need to comment:

This terrorist attack only confirms everything I already believed about world geopolitics.
posted by empath at 5:31 PM on November 26, 2008 [11 favorites]


It seems that thread is big enough to accommodate reaction to the Mumbai situation, links to news sources AND a larger discussion of geopolitical influences of India, including the USA. It doesn't have to be some pristinely moderated academic discussion...it's a bloody tragedy and there's no use trying keep it "on topic".
posted by Burhanistan at 5:51 PM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


But... Americans are the real terrorists here.

Splendid, this post has paid for itself already.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:13 PM on November 26, 2008


Or we could just let a thread's discussion go wherever it goes,

Cool. Who likes pie?
posted by jonmc at 6:24 PM on November 26, 2008


Hitler liked pie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 PM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Only Duetschland Uber Apple, Brandon.
posted by jonmc at 6:28 PM on November 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


My god are there a lot of bullshit little Hitlers trying to mod that thread. I'd say that, rather than any veering "off-topic" (and those are very quotey quote marks) is the threads biggest problem.
posted by Artw at 7:01 PM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


shonali: Yes, it sounds like NSG commandos definitely plan to enter the Oberoi from the back & roof #mumbai to get the terrorists (on the 19th floor)
November 26, 2008 7:03:56 PM PST [Reply]


Sure hope the terrorists aren't following Twitter too...
posted by lostburner at 7:05 PM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


desjardins, I urge you to contact the relevant authorities immediately, since you apparently know more than they yet do about the origins, motivations and causes of this tragedy.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:09 PM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


You can really see people's true colors in these threads. I'll say it again: People will use just about any excuse they can just be fucking douche-holes for no reason. Especially when they think they're "right."
posted by tkchrist at 7:18 PM on November 26, 2008


All we need is some "."ists to chide everyone for not only posting dots.
posted by Artw at 7:21 PM on November 26, 2008


Yeah. This was a dumb call out for sure.


There is all this chatter about Pakistan being involved. Great. 2 nuclear nations on the brink.

McCain and the Republicans must so being thinking how many bullets they dodged by losing the election right now. I bet Bush is shitting bricks.

posted by tkchrist at 8:02 PM on November 26, 2008


My question is do you think Dean Martin and Christopher Hitchens would have been drinking buddies or not?
posted by nola at 8:17 PM on November 26, 2008


The problem in the thread right now seems to less about people's views on U.S. policy and more about UbuRoivas's views on what punishment annoying Israeli teenagers in Bombay deserve. Maybe an admin could look in on the thread and clean it up, because it's ugly and it's getting derailed.
posted by Dasein at 8:22 PM on November 26, 2008

I bet Bush is shitting bricks.
Your faith that Mr. Bush is aware of this is charmingly ingenuous.
posted by Flunkie at 8:22 PM on November 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Major Props to The Whelk for reposting contact info.
posted by Artw at 8:35 PM on November 26, 2008


Re: Bush, shouldn't this be his job?

Not that anyone is likely to complain.
posted by Artw at 8:44 PM on November 26, 2008


Can anyone provide any reasoned source on why Pakistan or the ISI would want to be involved in this? That seems spurious to me. It's not like they gain anything from a bit of localized mayhem in Mumbai, and would stand to lose credibility. Perhaps lower lever rogue elements of the ISI are tangentially involved, but nothing top down. But can we not speculate on that sort of thing without backing up with some hard analysis?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:46 PM on November 26, 2008


TBH If you're not prepared to see people speculating on things, other people making counter speculations and other people backing up or tearing down said speculations with whatever facts they have to hand then you should probably stay out of metafilter comments threads.
posted by Artw at 8:50 PM on November 26, 2008


And who are you?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:51 PM on November 26, 2008


Right now I'm the person calling you an overbearing dick.
posted by Artw at 8:53 PM on November 26, 2008


How many times have you posted in this thread?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:54 PM on November 26, 2008


Well that was charming.
posted by Artw at 9:07 PM on November 26, 2008


Seriously dude, if you want to hash it out here you can..maybe you'll be more civil.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:09 PM on November 26, 2008


Maybe an admin could look in on the thread and clean it up, because it's ugly and it's getting derailed.

It looked like it was re-railed before we got to it and cortex and I think it might be a better idea to leave it as is. My personal preference would be for people who want to follow Twitter to go do that there and not copy/paste twitter updates into the MeFi thread, but I don't know how lucky I'll be requesting that either.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:26 PM on November 26, 2008


cortex and I think it might be a better idea to leave it as is

I agree, it got re-railed as I was composing my comment here. Thanks.
posted by Dasein at 9:39 PM on November 26, 2008


It's OK, the thread has gone back to metafilters core area of expertese now: Quibbling about semantics.

I'm so glad that you've said this.

Shouldn't it technically be a bowl of beans? Who the fuck (besides the English) eat beans from a plate?
posted by loquacious at 9:40 PM on November 26, 2008


loquacious: don't forget that many people eat their beans in or on tortillas or rice. the entire concept that beans are only served on crockery is marginalising and quasi-racist.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:01 PM on November 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you're not prepared to see people speculating on things, other people making counter speculations and other people backing up or tearing down said speculations with whatever facts they have to hand then you should probably stay out of metafilter comments threads.

When you put it that way, speculation on what players/factors might be involved in the situation does seem entirely appropriate. I just got a sinking feeling in my stomach at one point in the thread that things could derail into a litany of the dark side of US foreign policy in general; not necessarily with regards to how it pertained to the situation. Following tweetchat's mumbai room and the grid has been like watching a bloody Tex Avery cartoon in fast motion, with Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan, even Russia (an NDTV report that terrorist emails came from a Russian IP) being brought into play, and so it is natural to think about what's behind this, and bring in all pertinant information.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:01 PM on November 26, 2008


Who the fuck (besides the English) eat beans from a plate?

*raises hand nervously*
posted by Wolof at 10:11 PM on November 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


The beans are a symbol for the increasing marginalization of the underclass in western societies. Can't you sheeple see that?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:16 PM on November 26, 2008


FWIW, I've heard multiple reports that at various points hostages were vetted to see their country of origin, and that Americans, Brits, and Israelis were singled out by the terrorists.

So sure, Americans tend to think we're the center of the world. But Americans were being specifically targetted, apparently. Meaning this has as much to do with American politics as it does with Indian, British, and Israeli politics.
posted by bardic at 10:23 PM on November 26, 2008




deep sigh

its to early to open the bottle to drown sorrows of the world
posted by infini at 10:48 PM on November 26, 2008


It's OK, the thread has gone back to metafilters core area of expertese now: Quibbling about semantics.

I believe you meant to say "Squabbling about semantics." Cretin.

And who are you?

And who are you to be asking who he is?!?
Now someone do me!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:00 PM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hear that Alvy Ampersand hates pie. Cretin.
posted by trip and a half at 11:47 PM on November 26, 2008


Well who doesn't hate cretin pie?
posted by philomathoholic at 11:59 PM on November 26, 2008


Can anyone provide any reasoned source on why Pakistan or the ISI would want to be involved in this?

I don't know if they do. But I don't think it's completely out in left field why they might. The ISI is dominated by Islamic extremists, and one of their big programs has been reacquisition of Kashmir from India, to which end the ISI has been heavily involved in supporting terrorist attacks there and elsewhere in India.

That's ISI foreign policy, whether it's Pakistani foreign policy or not. One of the big dangers to that program would be a true peace between Pakistan and India, which necessarily would include Pakistan as a nation giving up completely on trying to reacquire Kashmir. So the argument would be that preventing peace between the two nations would be an important goal for the ISI.

Indirectly supporting the occasional high-profile terrorist attack inside India has the effect of preventing a true peace by maintaining suspicion and tension, without representing enough of a provocation to bring about a real war.

How's that?
posted by Class Goat at 12:01 AM on November 27, 2008


My question is do you think Dean Martin and Christopher Hitchens would have been drinking buddies or not?

Dino would punch Hitchens square in the mouth within five minutes, and Frank and Sammy would bootfuck him while he was down.

And rightly so.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:35 AM on November 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


the entire concept that beans are only served on crockery is marginalising and quasi-racist.

As a nember of the European Meta-minority, I *can't* overthink a plate of beans. Overthinking beans is a structural function of the yankee imperialist oppressors.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:39 AM on November 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


i disagree, peter mcdermott, why I daily overthink my plate of beans, and I'm neither european nor yankee
posted by infini at 1:55 AM on November 27, 2008


that would be because your beans come in the form of a rajma masala, am i right?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:26 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Watching the twitter feed glide by, I'd estimate 30% of the tweets are people posting live facts about the events, 30% of the tweets are people pleading for people to stop updates. and 40% of tweets talking about how great twitter is for updates on these events.
posted by Jimbob at 2:27 AM on November 27, 2008


that was a great update, Jimbob. keep it up.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:30 AM on November 27, 2008


oh, now that a fellow Aussie is here - do you think this is in bad taste?

somebody: "Australian TV star soandso is being held hostage"

me: "she was on Neighbours, for fuck's sake. let's hope the terrorists get her before she launches a singing career"

seriously, great or not? my slightly biased vote is for "great". that would've surely landed me at least three rounds if i'd been at the pub at the time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:34 AM on November 27, 2008


Ubu: ouch.

I was listening to rednecktalkback radio in my car this morning, and the host was interviewing a Melbourne man named Isaac who is in Mumbai to attend a wedding. Isaac and some friends had spent the whole night hiding out in a restaurant as chaos went on outside. They were discussing how hard it had been to get connected on the phone, as all the lines had been engaged. Isaac says "Must be Brooke Satchwell calling her agent."

There's got to be a Mathew Newton gag waiting to made as well
posted by goshling at 3:16 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't it technically be a bowl of beans? Who the fuck (besides the English) eat beans from a plate?

Tokyo MeFites at meetups in Spanish restaurants, that's who!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:18 AM on November 27, 2008


Right now I'm the person calling you an overbearing dick.

This is unfortunate and incorrect, as Burhanistan was most certainly not being an overbearing dick.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:22 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


awesome! did you see the papers online? after one or two headlines, it was "Cricket Australia's response to the crisis"

basically: "Warney, hole out in Singapore until this blows over, OK?"

Warney would be distraught: "But my pallet of baked beans is already in India!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:22 AM on November 27, 2008


Prince's ex-wife was there.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:26 AM on November 27, 2008


I am an Oz-ite who has never watched Neighbours ever.

Although I might sneak into the cricket tomorrow.

/banality of evil and all
posted by Wolof at 3:26 AM on November 27, 2008


warney's prolly living it up on Boat Quay with a singapore party girl or two ;p

[i hate rajma chawal btw]
posted by infini at 3:44 AM on November 27, 2008


banality of evil and all

indeed. you realise, of course, that there's about a 99% chance that the perpetrators here didn't attack earlier because they were glued to the broadcasts of the India v Australia Cricket Test Series?

on preview: Warney - the banality of weevil.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:48 AM on November 27, 2008


Yeah, I was watching a web feed of indian TV earlier...scenes of carnage and mayhem, with cricket scores scrolling peacefully along the bottom of the screen.

Tact, Ubu, Tact. I admit your Neighbors example works well, but personally, having had no experience with Israeli backpackers, but a near lifetime's supply of Australian telly, I may be an unfair judge of the comparison.
posted by Jimbob at 3:58 AM on November 27, 2008


Metafilter: You're either with us or against us.
posted by gman at 4:15 AM on November 27, 2008


LEAVE BROOKE ALONE!
posted by tellurian at 4:20 AM on November 27, 2008


Yeah, I'd go with the tact thing. It's all very well to be scathing of people's careers but still, they are there right in the middle of things (and they've done more than Neighbours) and it's really scary for them. I'd be hiding in a cupboard if I were there. I'd be fucked if I'd be wanting to be in the middle of of it. Give that girl a break, would you please? Could you not at least try for a bit of empathy?
posted by h00py at 4:28 AM on November 27, 2008


actually, ABC or SBS had a brilliant doco on Israeli backpackers just a month or so ago.

jumping to the main subtext / conclusion: Israel has a kind of unofficial or de facto outsourcing of its rehabilitation of ex military service personnel to India.

here's roughly how it works: kids (and i mean kids - 18-21yos) are forced to do military service to defend the country & preserve security. during this time, they fight with & kill palestinians, and are under probably a 24/7 fear of RPG attacks, suicide bombers & so on.

at the end of their military service, they take their savings from three years of army pay, and hit the road to unwind. India is the primary destination, along with Nepal, Thailand, and (to a lesser extent) the rest of SE Asia.

it goes without saying that there is a fuckton of stress-related mental issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, and so on.

typically, these kids spend a year or so in india, and around two years all up in the region. typically, they also take bucketloads of drugs. and hang around & travel in large groups, generally aggressive & completely self-absorbed to the point of being totally oblivious of anybody else's needs or comfort.

reasonably frequently, individuals end up going off the deep end - whether through too many drugs or unresolved stress issues, or a combination of the two. at that point, the chabad houses, the embassy & consulates, and a small army of support personnel get involved, and repatriate the poor suckers to israel where presumably they get some decent psychiatric care.

but yeh, overall, there's a very strong impression (from my own experiences, and from what israeli & indian officials said in the doco) that it's largely just a huge offshoring or outsourcing operation, like "hey guys, sorry about all that crap you had to go through, here, have a bunch of money & fuck off somewhere else for a couple of years & see if you can sort your head out again" with a well set up safety net ready to take care of the worst cases who still can't handle things.

for people wanting a clumsy analogy, it would be a bit like if the US gave all its Iraq veterans the equivalent of a hundred thousand dollars or so, and packed them off to Cancun for a year. as you could imagine, the results wouldn't be pretty.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:29 AM on November 27, 2008 [7 favorites]


h00py: i'm all for empathy, but these ex-soapie stars need to empathise with us, as well. do we really need more Kylies, Jason Donovans, Natalie Imbruglias, Craig McLachlans, Delta Goodrems or Natalie Bassingthwaightes torturing us with their awful plastic pop warbling?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:35 AM on November 27, 2008


Fuck you all, I like Neighbours.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:53 AM on November 27, 2008


The point is, Ubu, you shouldn't want anyone to be caught up in the middle of this kind of shit, regardless of what group they belong to. And that's what you sound like you're scathing of, because they're a soapy actress or an Israeli teen selling didges. You've gotta imagine if it were you or anyone you know, because the people over there are just people who're going about their daily lives and then BANG fucking terrorism, they will pay because they are perceived to be this kinda person or BANG you are in our way and they're are going to make you pay because you are here and I believe this and you don't or maybe you do but I don't give a shit you are in my way and so you can just die anyway because I have a point to be made.

In any case, you should get a grip and not make fucked up jokes about this because getting kllled for being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not funny at all, regardless of who you are and where you come from.
posted by h00py at 4:55 AM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh Ubu, I hate shithouse pop music from soapie stars too, believe me, but I don't want them to die because of it. My remedy is to avoid listening to any of their shit to begin with, and that stops me from wanting them to die in foreign countries.
posted by h00py at 5:01 AM on November 27, 2008


Also the Walkley's are on. Outstanding photographer: David Gray
posted by tellurian at 5:10 AM on November 27, 2008


I'd hate to see this thread be the start of a trend where people think it's useful to frequently cut and paste twitter updates under the guise of being "comments".
posted by modernnomad at 5:13 AM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've had years of experience with backpackers - both in social situations and in business. And any large groups of these people suck. Doesn't matter if they're Israelis in India or Thailand, Australians in Turkey, Canadians in Western Europe, or the Brits in Ibiza. While there are no solo travelers I avoid, I do stay far far away from any of the aforementioned cliques. When people who share a common nationality get together in large numbers, they tend to think they 'own the place'. And it quickly becomes neo-colonialism at its best. All English guest houses pop up serving black pudding, sausages, bacon and fried eggs for brekkie. There are something like two dozen Israeli restaurants in Bangkok alone - many of which are owned and operated by Israelis. This being the first and the most popular.

I have a couple short stories to share - keeping in mind I am a Canadian Jew who's lived in Israel. When I first went to India and saw signs up on countless guest houses in and around Goa - "NO Israelis allowed", I cried 'racism' or whatever the hell it is. That was before I experienced the way Israelis treat and look down upon both locals and their establishments. When I had my restaurant/bar in Vang Vieng, Lao, I'd originally intended to have both an English and Hebrew menu. I also procured 20 litre pails of tahini from Bangkok in order to serve up Hummus. Both plans got nixed after I almost had to ban Israelis from my establishment. It was either have them and almost no other clientèle or vice versa. I chose the latter. After the complaints I received from my local staff about Israeli customers, I had no choice. I would say that without exaggeration, at least a quarter of the Israeli patrons complained about legitimate items on their bill. Funny thing was that if it was me who went to collect, there was NEVER a dispute. They happily handed over their money to a person who looked like them. They would verbally abuse my staff so badly, that I taught those working for me how to say they are not welcome and to get the hell out in Hebrew - when such occasions arose.

Israelis (amongst others) have a pack mentality and how UbuRoivas described his experiences with them is spot on, in my opinion. What I'd like to add is that because they know that once they get home, their parents are going to guilt them into not leaving again... being active contributors to the Israeli economy, they want to stay away as long as possible by being as frugal as possible.

The migration routes are as follows:

Thailand

Arrive in Bangkok and stay at the D&D for a while.
Head down to Ko Pha Ngan for December and January.
Scoot up to the Paradise Guesthouse for a couple months in Chiang Mai.
Perhaps a little jaunt over the Lao border to hang out in Vang Vieng and get that passport stamp out of the way.

India

Goa over Christmas and the new year.
Up to Pushkar in Rajasthan.
Once summer kicks in, it's time to head for the hills of Manali.
Come down from there and head over to Varanassi before taking off.
Visa permitting, Cochin in Kerala is another stop.

Having said all this, what REALLY got me down was the fact that because I look Israeli (or Middle Eastern), I was constantly the target of Israelis. My girlfriend at the time, couldn't have looked like more of a WASP. When Israelis would come up to us, it was as if she didn't even exist. Not one ever acknowledged her presence.

Israel’s embassy in India even called on Israeli tourists to behave better and to represent the State of Israel in the best manner possible.

In this comment, I chose to talk about the "backpackers" I know and understand best.
posted by gman at 7:26 AM on November 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


In any case, you should get a grip and not make fucked up jokes about this because getting kllled for being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not funny at all, regardless of who you are and where you come from.

This, pretty much. Ubu, you have this habit of being not just tonedeaf (understandable, happens to everyone some times and there's no real insurance against it other than learning to just be quiet from the get-go sometimes) but either stoically or intentionally so, and it's really frustrating.

You're a good guy who just insists on being an asshole and running with it and that pretty much makes everyone's day worse, and I wish you'd cut that sort of thing out, especially in situations like this where you're not just being a jerk but doing so during the playing-out of a pretty awful fucking real-world situation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:37 AM on November 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


And any large groups of these people suck. Doesn't matter if they're Israelis in India or Thailand, Australians in Turkey, Canadians in Western Europe, or the Brits in Ibiza. While there are no solo travelers I avoid, I do stay far far away from any of the aforementioned cliques. When people who share a common nationality get together in large numbers, they tend to think they 'own the place'.

While this is true, I think you and I both know that what Ubu is talking about is on an entirely other level. Another planet. I've seen tourists freak out, and I've seen them band together and treat others (particularly locals) badly, but nothing like Israeli military brats in India, Nepal, and to some extent, Thailand. I say this having travelled in those places with (older, non-crazy) Israelis who made the same observations. It would never have occurred to me to make such generalizations from the comfort of my proudly multicultural country. What Ubu reported regarding military "outsourcing" makes some sense, cause I've never otherwise seen anything like that, from anyone, nevermind repeatedly.

Oh, and that thread on the blue obviously not the place to be having that conversation.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:07 AM on November 27, 2008


UbuRoivas, I simply cannot believe that you started this shit up again in this thread. Some things you do stick in people's minds. This is one of them.
posted by Dasein at 9:24 AM on November 27, 2008


You're a good guy who just insists on being an asshole and running with it and that pretty much makes everyone's day worse, and I wish you'd cut that sort of thing out, especially in situations like this where you're not just being a jerk but doing so during the playing-out of a pretty awful fucking real-world situation.

There is another word for it: Troll.

And as you note he does it all the time even after multiple people tell him to cool it. Therefore I would beg to differ with the "good guy" characterization. That is classic and serial trolling.

Here he has made THIS thread about him and this idiotic "Isreali Tourists are like this, AMIRITE!" bullshit all over again. (And did you catch his smart ass "retraction" in the original thread? Um. How about a god damn apology?)

Mods. Stop letting his shit slide—he doesn't listen—and give this dick a time out already.
posted by tkchrist at 11:54 AM on November 27, 2008


er, what are we complaining about here? a tasteless black joke about a soapie star, or a serious discussion of israeli backpackers?

the comment about the backpackers was out of line an the context of a discussion of terrorism, i admit that. but i won't sit down & be accused of racism, either, so it was worth posting a longer comment to explain the deal. if you read gman's comment above, i'm clearly not the only one with that opinion. not to mention private memails from other old india hands, or favourites received.

note that i'm not talking about all israelis, let alone about jews. just a certain (quite large) subset of people wreaking havoc after their military service. i'm sorry if that offends, but it's a very real & easily observable thing. i'm tempted to think that anybody taking an "OMG RACIST!" stance against me simply has never ever been to any of these places or seen the kinds of behaviours i am talking about. if i'm wrong on that assumption, please let me know.

and yeh, i've had the misfortune to be surrounded by aussies & kiwis in turkey, en route to anzac day celebrations in gallipoli. they suck, too. gman is spot on there: "When people who share a common nationality get together in large numbers, they tend to think they 'own the place'. And it quickly becomes neo-colonialism at its best."

in that sense, i'd say aussies in bali* = brits in ibiza = yanks in cancun = israelis in india, more or less. but the other groups aren't coming down from three years of military conflict, which seems to instil a very aggressive & cliquey "us v them" mentality.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:11 PM on November 27, 2008


"I'm sorry" is a nice pair of words sometimes.
posted by mediareport at 1:29 PM on November 27, 2008


I think the point, Ubu, is that you chose the worst possible -- and I don't think that's hyperbolic here -- thread in which to trot out observations about rude nationals (or ok, a subset of), when a discussion is underway about how many potential victims of that nationality and others there are -- or may yet be. It seems to me you could only expect it to: a) be taken as a joke, or b) engender serious discussion. Do you think either of those things were likely, given the context?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:57 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


For the record, I included my observation here because I didn't think it would be fair to let you dangle like that in the grey. But in the blue... fogettaboutit.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:58 PM on November 27, 2008


Ubu. Jesus Christ. Could you be anymore clueless?

The more you try and "explain" and the longer you go without simply saying "Sorry. I was a jerk" the more convincing a troll you become. Nobody gives a shit what you think about Israeli backpackers or anything else right now, Okay. Get it?

That you thought it was, and obviously continue to think it is a good idea, to go on this frigg'n Isrealitouristsarejerksamairite spree when they are being held hostage says everything we need to know about your personal bigorty. REGARDLESS IF IT'S TRUE THAT ISRAELI TOURISTS ARE ANNOYING OR WHY. You had the chance to drop it. But no. You brought it here, too.

How much cleaer do you want it from the growing consensus here? Do mods literally need to post a 72pt headline that says: Shut the fuck up. Sweet Christ. I'm starting to think your fucking mentally ill or something.

It's simple. Just close your pie hole for lets say the next day or two.

This is the last I will say on the matter. I suggest you do the same.
posted by tkchrist at 2:06 PM on November 27, 2008


Mmm, this stuffing is delicious
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on November 27, 2008


I don't know about this 'sit Ubu sit!' bull shit. I've looked through all his comments from that thread and NOTHING is racist. It's merely a case of wrong place, wrong time. And for this, I believe he has, in his own way, apologized.

the comment about the backpackers was out of line an the context of a discussion of terrorism, i admit that.


If he has been called out as a racist for any of his comments, he has a right to defend himself here. Any person who's travelled in these spots and isn't blind or overly politically correct KNOWS what he's been talking about. He was just doing what I've done countless times on Metafilter - not using his filter.
posted by gman at 2:32 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


ok, the last i'll say on the matter too: sorry, it was jerkish of me to make that comment in that thread, but that doesn't change the actuality of what i was talking about, which would actually be an interesting discussion for another place & time (outsourced conflict-zone rehab).

paraphrasing, that's exactly the feedback i received via memail, ie "yes, totally correct, but totally the wrong place & wrong way to say it".

so, sorry about that.

in other news, i'm attending my first ever thanksgiving this weekend. i understand the etiquette is to start out with restrained civility, then unleash a storm of passive aggressive snarking about the other attendees. would that be right?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:51 PM on November 27, 2008


Wrong place, wrong time: maybe. But Ubu's and gman's characterizations of the outsourcing of PTSD therapy to backpacking hostels by the Israeli military (intentional, or, more likely passive) is one of the more interesting things I have read in a long time.

And if it turns out that the Ugly American is sometimes an Ugly Israeli, and if that kind of cross-cultural friction is that pervasive, and if it turns out that is why Israelis may be targeted in this action, and if that means it is not a targeting of them as Jews or as Zionists or whatever, but a targeting of them as a pervasive presence of western bad manners, then, not only is it a good point it is an essential one.

Now, that's a lot of "ifs", but I like to hear from people who have spent time in countries in the news, and this being the internet, you have to handle it all with a little caution. Not everything is about the USA, nor, it may be, about Israel.
posted by Rumple at 3:14 PM on November 27, 2008


Shut the fuck up. Sweet Christ. I'm starting to think your fucking mentally ill or something.

afterthought: as an officially diagnosed person with bipolar awesomeness, i was going to take offence with that, but you might actually have a point. after all, two of the warning signs of a hypomanic episode are there:

sleeping less & trying to fit more into every day: *check*

making jokes that seem funny to me because of all kinds of snake-swallowing-tail self-reflective games ("well, it should be *obvious* that i was being tongue in cheek there in order to highlight some sort of poignant contradiction in my own thought") when everybody else is saying "that's not funny; stop being such a dick" *check*

plus a potential precipitating factor: winding up involvement in a big project before taking off for Burma very shortly.

not an excuse, per se, but food for (my own) thought.

on preview: Rumple hit upon something else relevant here: you'd find a fair amount of sympathy within Australia for the idea that the Bali bombings had a lot to do with "a targeting of them as a pervasive presence of western bad manners".

Bali has been called "Australia's playground" for a long time, and a lot of the scene there revolves around bogans (rednecks) getting drunk & hitting nightclubs, and all the boorishness that this entails. whilst the (Hindu) Balinese themselves tolerate the behaviour with grace (it's their main livelihood, after all), bikinis & booze don't sit very well with Muslim Indonesia.

And when you have less privileged people watching (relatively) rich foreigners running amok & treading all over cultural values & disrespecting the locals, it's easy to see how that could turn into a festering sore which could at least partially contribute to a general feeling of outrage & vengefulness.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:29 PM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Stop digging.
posted by bardic at 4:30 PM on November 27, 2008


but i can almost *smell* Iceland!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:11 PM on November 27, 2008


i work in the field doing observational research in the developing world in the lower income demographic with a view towards obtaining insights that can better improve the success rate of products, services and programs meant for the underserved through better design.

in the broad area of design/research/strategy, i'm probably one of the very few specializing in this (for mostly european corporates) NOT of european heritage myself.

i recently attended a presentation by a very well known practitioner (recently mentioned in NYT, the Economist et al ) whose employer is a megabrand globally

the subtle yet unnoticed patronizing approach to field work was an eye opener and left a bad taste in my mouth (sending in a fixer to make arrangements then swooping in with a large team later versus actually getting ones own hands dirty by understanding how difficult it is to make arrangements for anything (housing, transport, telcom etc) in a third world country, which only adds to the insights of 'how to do business' etc) made me want to ask 'where's your pith helmet?'

we've talked in the two india threads about colonialism, colonial hangover, rich country tourists and foreigners, the poor and disaffected, backpackers and resentment etc and most importantly political correctness (versus empathy and sensitiveness yet being frank about the real challenges in the field)

the assumption is that one needs be very obviously rude or racist to piss the local populace off. perhaps that is true for those who earn a living by serving their needs (bars, guest houses, restaurants etc) but I came away from the presentation I attended very subtly insulted

I'm writing this to point out that often its the subtle attitudes and unnoticed assumptions or filters that are far more grating to those on the other side than the obvious symptoms displayed by boors. that often the resentment doesn't stop at the poor or service industry but across all economic strata, worse to be honest, when you're a peer in the field and you have good standing.

perhaps there's no luxury for us to be politically correct anymore because if we don't get these issues out on the table and talk about them openly they'll simmer and fester inside creating far more havoc than a few moments of uncomfortable conversation might be worth.
posted by infini at 6:21 PM on November 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


so, my other question is, am I significantly mentally ill or have some cultural lack of understanding ( I am of the third world) if I still haven't figured out what the issue is that would make people respond like this?

Shut the fuck up. Sweet Christ. I'm starting to think your fucking mentally ill or something.
posted by infini at 6:31 PM on November 27, 2008


Frustratingly consistent pattern of behavior + baseline metatalk hyperbole + The Joy Of Being With (Or Without) Family For The Holidays, is my take on it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:46 PM on November 27, 2008


well, i *did* make a joke about people celebrating israeli deaths, in a thread related to the violent deaths of israelis & others.

the rest of the discussion would need to be read as lying in the shadow of that initial mistake.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:57 PM on November 27, 2008


yes i read that and it could be said to be in poor taste, particularly in context of that thread where the general theme was shock, horror, grief etc (wonders if she's putting her size 5's in her own mouth etc but is determined to discuss and clarify this) and when pointed out to you, you apologized etc

however, what I didn't get was the continued outrage adn insistence, which, imho, seemed more to arise from an overly enthusiastic emphasis on political correctness than anything you said or did personally. (although here I'll give cortex's explanation above due weightage that prior experience with yourself may have been an additional cause for what seemed like an outsized response) my intent for starting this conversation is not to get into ad hominum discussions of specific Mefite behaviour per se


{although i'd add, can we seperate the point that was being made about why there might be increased resentment against certain foreign groups versus others from perhaps the particular illtimed adn illchosen choice of words of the individual poster?}


but to bring up and discuss the actual issue of political correctness as a cultural thing and the pros and cons of it. my own experience as a minority in the USA (the homeland of political correctness) after a decade of living there compared to the rather more obvious attitudes I perceive in the European Union (where I've been frequently traveling on work all year) lead me to question the value and dangers of being PC in today's multiplistic multicultural world

I came away from reading all the threads frustrated that we couldn't actually frankly and bluntly discuss why is it that us brown people can often get very very pissed off by rich country white people, particularly in our own country or even in convrsations about our culture and/or business, because any such conversation gets into minefields of good taste and PC etc

because this frustration/anger/resentment is a very real thing and can and does influence attitudes and approaches when it comes to interactions and doing business and goodwill

by laying the cloak of PC over the whole topic of subtle patronizing, arrogance of the 'might of the western cutlure' or "we know best what you poor people need" mentality, we are losing out on understanding on why things happen perhaps the way they do

and this has nothing to do with the actual violence or whatever, this has to do with daily life adn business

maybe if we start to talk about these things, there will be greater understanding, empathy, sensitivity and clarity rather it all being lumped under "ex colonial mindset"

to clarify, this comment pissed me off

why?

becuase everytime something like this comes up, must our (third worlder, excolonial, brown or otherwise) reaction be stereotyped as "blame the west" or "blame the colonizers"?

how about blame the patronizers?

so where can we discuss things like this and how can we start, if ( and I could be wrong) its all covered under the cloak of "its not nice to talk about these things, you know, political correctness etc"
posted by infini at 7:23 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


BAD LINK above, sorry

THIS is the comment

(mods please change because I don't want to ruin any reputations etc online )
posted by infini at 7:28 PM on November 27, 2008


(although here I'll give cortex's explanation above due weightage that prior experience with yourself may have been an additional cause for what seemed like an outsized response)

meh, that's a libellious exaggeration, anyway.

it's only ever happened about two or three times before in over four years and probably approaching 10,000 comments here, so it's barely indicative of a general pattern of behaviour for anybody who isn't indulging in steroid-enhanced confirmation bias

(i can think of turkey-on-plate-gate, ironed-boobiegate, um, er, that might be about it; or at least the only ones that led to any significant MeTa argy-bargy. i'll allow for the possibility of up to three or four minor cases that i've forgotten).

the pattern in these cases is:

* me: tasteless, out of place joke
* others: omg outrage!
* me: doesn't shut up but defends or backpedals in face of outrage.

i understand that this was hitler's modus operandi also, but that's where the comparisons end, as far as i'm concerned.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:42 PM on November 27, 2008


I've looked through all his comments from that thread and NOTHING is racist. It's merely a case of wrong place, wrong time.

Racist wasn't the problem - being a juvenile derailing ass in a thread about a terror attack was. And you should know that at least one of his juvenile derails was deleted by jessamyn and so isn't there anymore.
posted by mediareport at 9:34 PM on November 27, 2008


Dude, that you're comfortable dismissing the idea that it's even a problematic pattern of behavior slots pretty well into the problematic pattern of behavior. You do this bullheaded-tonedeaf-why-shouldn't-I-say-this thing enough that folks recognize it and call you on it, and it's more or less seared into our admin awareness as a uniquely frustrating Thing UbuRoivas Does.

Regardless, the threshold for considering and revising one's behavior here should reasonably be a lot lower than some unspecified larger-than-x "significant MeTa argy-bargy" events. Whether you truly don't recognize this as something you do or you just aren't inclined to do any of that considering and revising, I don't know, but it's a goddam pain. You're like a go-to guy for messmaking, and I wish that weren't so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:41 PM on November 27, 2008


that you're comfortable dismissing the idea that it's even a problematic pattern of behavior slots pretty well into the problematic pattern of behavior - wow, way to beg the question! no way of escaping that kind of circular logic.

are you able to cite any examples of this messmaking, or are you happy to continue with vague arguments-from-authority?

i'll look forward to reading the results later. it's beer o'clock now.

it just occurred to me: i *have* been slipping jokey answers late into resolved askmes over recent months - is this what's causing your impression?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:07 PM on November 27, 2008


I said:

my intent for starting this conversation is not to get into ad hominum discussions of specific Mefite behaviour per se

sighs ;p

can we talk political correctness, huh? c'mon? its getting on past lunchtime here ;p
posted by infini at 10:10 PM on November 27, 2008


can we talk political correctness, huh? c'mon? its getting on past lunchtime here ;p

Sure:

While I understand your point, I think the term "politically correct" has become the catch-all counter-charge to level at anyone who corrects you for saying something insensitive. Up until the early-90s, we used to call "political correctness" by such terms as "respect" or "courtesy" or "politeness". Now "PC" has become a meaningless label you slap on someone, like "liberal", to make them feel thin-skinned or lacking a sense of humor; that the person offended is the one with the problem. It's a weaselly, sickening little trick to make speaking up in the face of racism something to be avoided. No one likes being called out for crossing a line, least of all me, but it seems the classy thing to do is just nod, say sorry, and move on; not accuse the offended party of being some uptight prig.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:26 PM on November 27, 2008 [7 favorites]


No, I'm not going to spend the rest of my evening digging through your flagging history to laundry-list this stuff. I can try dropping you a line next time I see it happening, if you like.

There are a ton of people on this site. I don't have any real incentive—and I definitely don't have any inclination—to invent random peccadilloes for users, and we're talking about behavior that you've already acknowledged and outlined yourself and even started a metatalk thread in the past specifically to apologize for.

It may be that my threshold for what qualifies as a mess is different than yours here—we see the flags and get the email etc. when stuff goes down on the site, so comments that may strike you as non-events can get our attention anyway.

I'm not aiming for an assassination here; I maintain that you seem like a good guy and I believe you don't intend harm, and this stuff is just a slice of your participation here. But it's a recurring, visible, frustrating slice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:32 PM on November 27, 2008


are you able to cite any examples of this messmaking, or are you happy to continue with vague arguments-from-authority?

Happy anniversary, Ubu.

I find the boyzone wars stuff kind of a horrible and personally embarrassing thing to revisit, but uh, yeah you do this. A lot. Here.

Sorry about calling you manic in there, not really though. /crazyclownmaskmindblow
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:42 PM on November 27, 2008


marisa etc : and while I understand what you're saying here, its this very aura of pro and con covered by this catchall term that i'd like to rip aside in order to bring forth discussion on race and subtle prejudices (unrealized though they may be) as, due to this very point you make, it seems to me that bringing up the topic itself then makes one concerned that one might be labelled insensitive.. you see how its an interesting circle here?
posted by infini at 11:05 PM on November 27, 2008


for example, this comment, to me, seems overly PC in its attempts to tease apart nuances
posted by infini at 11:11 PM on November 27, 2008


I'm not aiming for an assassination here; I maintain that you seem like a good guy and I believe you don't intend harm, and this stuff is just a slice of your participation here. But it's a recurring, visible, frustrating slice.

Not to pile-on but just to explain, the larger problem isn't any sort of "geez that was sort of a jerk comment you made" idea. The thing from my perspective is that it seems to be a thing that once started doesn't stop without forcible intervention by one of us [in this case the last comment removed and the "take it to metatalk" note].

This generally only happens after reading the flagging queue [where at least four comments you made got multiple flags this time around] and several emails from other people about this particular string of comments. This leads us to have to babysit the thread and/or give you, Ubu, a timeout because we're just not sure where you're going and why you're not wrapping it up once people have pointed out that it's not okay. We also have to write back to all the people that wrote us because that's what we do.

Again, it's not your fault that you're in a timezone that often makes these events take place at the tippy end of our work day, literally when I'm heading to bed, but that's another factor. We see it as not quite cricket to time someone's account out and then go to sleep if there's just a low level problem, but it's an uneasy sleep when you're worried that the person who was acting out might do it again and then the thread and/or site would go to shit while we were sleeping. I don't sleep well when that happens.

So we've erred, mostly, on the side of not timing out the account, the old "sleep it off" 24 hour timeout, but only because of the inconvenient timing, not because it wasn't at some level rightfully deserved. No big deal and I enjoy your participation here a lot, but on the rare occasions when these "flare ups" happen, they're a real problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:14 PM on November 27, 2008


its this very aura of pro and con covered by this catchall term that i'd like to rip aside in order to bring forth discussion on race and subtle prejudices (unrealized though they may be) as, due to this very point you make, it seems to me that bringing up the topic itself then makes one concerned that one might be labelled insensitive.

Certainly, the label "PC" hangs like smog over any discussion about race - some fearing the accusation of causing it, others fearing breathing it in, others still not even understanding when or why wanting some common respect became a desire to be reviled or avoided. It poisons the whole dialogue. As a general rule, I think if people approach the subject coming from a place of genuine interest, curiosity and respect, and people keep a level head with regards to phrasing or intentions, then the dialogue is a lot more productive.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:14 PM on November 27, 2008


maybe then its the problem with terminology. if we used "respect" and "sensitivity" and "empathy" we'd all know what was what, but I fear (and purely imho) that "politically correct" tends to semantically behave like "collateral damage" - abstract the very real challenges away into the kinds of situations you have described in your previous post.

naturally no one wants to stand around and use the obvious terminology out of fear of stepping on toes and feelings, and there are pros and cons to using the actual words to describe someone but otoh it can be very challenging at times to know whom a speaker might be referring to if they choose to go around in circles in order not to use a racial description when identifying an individual

its not easy to discuss or find any answers to, what I've brought up and what you point out, but my intent here today wasn't to debate PCness per se, so much as to lay a foundation of mutual understanding that there is no intent to be disrespectful to any race, culture, nationality, ethnicity, gender orientation etc in order to actually get to the point of having an open discussion on intercultural and interracial and often, inter regional challenges faced by global workers in today's highly interconnected world

for often, imho, PCness (particularly when taken to extremes) covers a subtler hyprocrisy in one's real attitudes...
posted by infini at 11:26 PM on November 27, 2008


my intent here today wasn't to debate PCness per se, so much as to lay a foundation of mutual understanding that there is no intent to be disrespectful to any race, culture, nationality, ethnicity, gender orientation etc in order to actually get to the point of having an open discussion on intercultural and interracial and often, inter regional challenges faced by global workers in today's highly interconnected world

Sure, I can abide that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:31 PM on November 27, 2008


infini - I read that "West Wing" quote and was very insulted and incensed, but for a very different reason. Americans just don't get to boast about throwing off colonial masters when the white Americans who had the revolution were the colonials, and one of the major causes of the revolution was their desire to expropriate more land from the native people in the Ohio valley. There is a reason the Iroquois fought for the British. The story of North America is a story of colonialism - and all North Americans (esp those of us with colonial ancestors) need to admit this, and own up to it to understand their own history.
posted by jb at 11:45 PM on November 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


jb: yes, and sometimes this lack of contextual knowledge of the larger perspective leads to assumptions or attitudes that can be extremely frustrating to encounter
posted by infini at 3:49 AM on November 28, 2008


We also have to write back to all the people that wrote us because that's what we do.

Wow, I'm impressed. Can't you get PB create some kind of automated form letter, or something?

Dear fellow Mefite,

Thank you for your MeMail. Several people have alerted us to the fact that PETERMCDERMOTT is BEHAVING LIKE AN ASSHOLE AGAIN and we are currently contemplating BRINGING THE BANHAMMER DOWN ON HIS STUPID HEAD,

Once again, thanks for bringing this to our attention.
Your friendly neighbourhood moderator
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:18 AM on November 28, 2008


mediareport - Racist wasn't the problem - being a juvenile derailing ass in a thread about a terror attack was. And you should know that at least one of his juvenile derails was deleted by jessamyn and so isn't there anymore.

While I agree racism definitely "wasn't the problem", he felt he was being accused of it.

but i won't sit down & be accused of racism, either, so it was worth posting a longer comment to explain the deal.

And I'm not searching through that thread to see if he was. I am curious how I "should know one of his juvenile derails was deleted"?
posted by gman at 4:21 AM on November 28, 2008


is there any way for one to track one's own comments or posts that have been flagged? wonder if htat might help? I'd love to know what kinds of things that I might post are considered globally offensive, for eg
posted by infini at 5:08 AM on November 28, 2008


I am curious how I "should know one of his juvenile derails was deleted"?

Um, you couldn't. That was "should" as in "you ought to know," thus I told you.
posted by mediareport at 5:49 AM on November 28, 2008


is there any way for one to track one's own comments or posts that have been flagged? wonder if htat might help? I'd love to know what kinds of things that I might post are considered globally offensive, for eg

Mods, I'm giving you a big heads up. For Christmas this year, I'd like a list of my deleted comments for 2008. And please check it twice.
posted by gman at 5:55 AM on November 28, 2008


it's only ever happened about two or three times before in over four years

Ubu, that's bullshit. I like you and am glad you're a member of the site, but you've done this shit repeatedly and basically unashamedly, and until you wake up, slap yourself, and say "I've really got to stop being such a shit, it isn't funny to anyone but me and it makes people want me to go away," the problem is going to keep getting worse. I'm glad you mentioned the bipolar thing because it puts the situation in an important context, but that doesn't mean you get a free pass for acting like an asshole; it's up to you to recognize when you're entering the wrong zone and stay away from MeFi for a while, just as it's up to an alcoholic to not post while drunk.
posted by languagehat at 6:13 AM on November 28, 2008


...or me while high.
posted by gman at 6:15 AM on November 28, 2008


Mods, I'm giving you a big heads up. For Christmas this year, I'd like a list of my deleted comments for 2008. And please check it twice.

gman, check your email. Around here Buy Nothing Day (today) is my wintertime holiday.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:13 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


You, madame, ROCK!
posted by gman at 1:00 PM on November 28, 2008


cortex, AV and languagehat: i've owned up to the two or three times when a misplaced joke has contributed to a shitstorm*. again, if you want to talk about "a lot" or "all the time" or a "regular pattern" then i think it would only be reasonable for you to back up those assertions with some evidence. even a brief mention of a handful of egregious examples that have stuck in your head would satisfy my curiosity.

otherwise, impressionable members might mistake your massively confirmation-biased claims for truth, and i don't think that's at all fair.

jessamyn: that sounds a lot more balanced; thank you.

* AV: i called myself out on that one upthread. sorry, try again
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:02 PM on November 28, 2008


just as it's up to an alcoholic to not post while drunk.

oh, c'mon, now that's just going off the deep end - when on earth am i supposed to post then? in my sleep?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:06 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really don't understand why you can name several incidents but can't figure out why anyone would call it a pattern of behavior. They still count even if you mention them first. But, yes, off-hand I can clearly recall the Condi-has-a-smelly-cunt episode.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:21 PM on November 28, 2008


damn, i'd forgotten that*. ok, make that four. i guess when talking about patterns, it's a matter of how many locusts do you need to see before concluding that there's a plague going on?

infini: interesting points about western-centrism. it was curious how early in the thread, because some western hostages had been taken, a number of people seemed to want to conclude that it was somehow about the west, as if blissfully unaware that india & pakistan have a long history of niggling conflict, and, indeed terrorism.

having been to jammu (not even kashmir proper) that place is a serious warzone, and has been for decades. it's probably quite similar to the occupied territories, in terms of the roadblocks & heavy military presence everywhere you look.

* see, i was basically egging on a "wall of shame" - gotta be careful what one wishes for, hey?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:32 PM on November 28, 2008


oh, c'mon, now that's just going off the deep end - when on earth am i supposed to post then? in my sleep?

Heh. But I wasn't talking about you—you're not alcoholic, just Australian, if I understand these things correctly.
posted by languagehat at 2:34 PM on November 28, 2008


Lesson learned?
posted by gman at 2:47 PM on November 28, 2008


you're not alcoholic, just Australian, if I understand these things correctly.

There's a difference?

*ducks*
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:59 PM on November 28, 2008


*and other waterfowl*
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:59 PM on November 28, 2008


flapjax beat me to it.

*pours beer on breakfast cereal*
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:49 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is this anything?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:11 PM on November 28, 2008


it's a quote from the young ones, if i'm not mistaken.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:22 PM on November 28, 2008


i guess when talking about patterns, it's a matter of how many locusts do you need to see before concluding that there's a plague going on?

I don't want to belabor the point, but okay: I think maybe we're looking at it through distinctly different lenses, here. When I talk about a pattern of behavior, it's this:

Someone did something that sucks. They got called on it. They are now aware that folks think that thing sucks. It's officially people acting like people, and pretty forgivable, since everybody has a bad day sometimes and everybody is going to blunder into fuckup territory now and then.

But that having happened and been hashed out, do they do it again? That's a bad sign, but maybe they just really didn't get the message the first time. Thin vestiges of benefit of the doubt ideally granted, see above about bad days and occasional fuckups.

Do they do it again? And yet again? That's a pattern of bad behavior from someone who no longer has anything like the excuse that they didn't realize that what they were doing, or that it was a problem.

It's not about locusts or any other such abstraction, it's about acting in a lousy manner when you know better and we've been on that ride before already. And I don't want to know how many specific iterations of "oh, I'd forgotten about that one, but that's still only n+1"; I just want to say, look, it's happened several times, you acknowledge that it's happened several times, you seem to acknowledge that it's shitty behavior, and it'd be really great if you could refrain from that kind of thing in the future, out of respect for everybody else on the site.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:41 PM on November 28, 2008


infini: interesting points about western-centrism. it was curious how early in the thread, because some western hostages had been taken, a number of people seemed to want to conclude that it was somehow about the west, as if blissfully unaware that india & pakistan have a long history of niggling conflict, and, indeed terrorism.

from elsewhere on the webs,

The South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA) discussed media bias, particularly in CNN’s focus on American and British civilian deaths. Though at least four Americans’ and one Canadian’s deaths have been confirmed, there is no question at this stage that the majority of those killed were Indian. True, CNN is an American news source, but as Mira Kamdar, Asia Society fellow and author of Planet India, explained, even CNN International — meant for a worldwide audience — is focusing on the deaths of non-Indians. Why is this?
(snip)

It’s been a violent few days leading up to and passing over Thanksgiving, and not just for the Western civilians that are dead or missing in Mumbai. Yet, somehow, it seems we need a First World face to identify with, to care. It makes me wonder how long the news coverage would last if there weren’t any Westerners involved. A couple of days? Would the headline today be back to Obama and family volunteering in a soup kitchen or Black Friday — the biggest shopping day of the year — during an economic downturn?

Regardless of this speculation, our focus is on India now, returned to the fear of random and horrible terrorism that, eight years after September 11th, we let fade into the background a bit. Psychological warfare “could be considered a type of unconventional warfare. This is because it attempts to influence the mind of the enemy rather than destroy its military. The press is one of the most commonly used weapons for spreading propaganda.” Between their timing: starting the attack the night before Thanksgiving, and the media’s separate agenda with a one-two punch of Western focus and bedroom scenes like the one above, psychological warfare becomes a central element.

The fear of what comes next; it could be us — it could be me — has returned. It’s the media’s primary way to hold our interest; by identifying ourselves with the issue, and to scare us. What worries me about it is the human connection isn’t enough to trigger us. It has to have a Western face.

posted by infini at 4:57 PM on November 28, 2008


Speaking of, Ubu, I removed another comment from you in that thread. Please take further fighty talk either here or to email. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:02 PM on November 28, 2008


i guess when talking about patterns, it's a matter of how many locusts do you need to see before concluding that there's a plague going on?

I'm not a moderator, don't get to see the flags and crabby emails (much as I would like to), and don't read every MeTa thread. And even I am aware of your pattern with this. Trust me, people aren't making this up, and it's not your most endearing quality. Everyone puts their foot in their mouth, some of us more than others -- but where you stand out is in responding to criticism of that foot-in-mouth incident by frantically digging that hole deeper, rather than saying "oops, looks like I transgressed a community norm there, huh, sorry!"

I really like reading your contributions, and give a lot of value to what you say. (Like someone else said a page or so up, your comment on the outsourcing of PTSD treatment to backpackers' resorts is one of the most interesting things I've read here in a very long time.) And because I like you, and like what you have to say, I cringe whenever you start doing the inappropriate humor thing again. And again, it's not the first joke that's the problem -- it's the pushing forward rather than backing off that's the issue. (It's like the guy at a party who keeps leaning forward until he's just about french-kissing you, as if that'll make his jokes funnier.)

So yeah, mellow it out a little, and don't give the poor mods a hard time, ok? (And find a link or two and make a FPP out of that PTSD outsourcing thing, while you are at it.)
posted by Forktine at 5:36 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Speaking of, Ubu, I removed another comment from you in that thread.

*laughs*
posted by mediareport at 7:54 PM on November 28, 2008


Of the topics that people suggets be sidelined to meta in that thread, I think the subject of Ubu related issues is one that we can all be agreed on.
posted by Artw at 8:04 PM on November 28, 2008


Do they do it again? And yet again? That's a pattern of bad behavior from someone who no longer has anything like the excuse that they didn't realize that what they were doing, or that it was a problem.

cortex, dude. We'e done discussing Israeli backpackers, already.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:50 PM on November 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aaaaaaand scene!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:17 AM on November 29, 2008


As someone who read like three comments in this thread I have to ask. What "West Wing" quote are you guys talking about?
posted by delmoi at 9:47 PM on November 29, 2008


this
posted by infini at 10:36 PM on November 29, 2008


cortex, AV and languagehat: i've owned up to the two or three times when a misplaced joke has contributed to a shitstorm*. again, if you want to talk about "a lot" or "all the time" or a "regular pattern" then i think it would only be reasonable for you to back up those assertions with some evidence. even a brief mention of a handful of egregious examples that have stuck in your head would satisfy my curiosity.

otherwise, impressionable members might mistake your massively confirmation-biased claims for truth, and i don't think that's at all fair.


just to be clear, you forgot jessamyn who also asserted the pattern of behavior, and as a fellow mefite who thinks quite fondly of you I'm also going to chime in to say I've noticed said pattern. There comes a point, I think, when you have to ask yourself how many people need to point out a pattern before you consider the possibility that it exists.
posted by shmegegge at 9:28 AM on December 1, 2008


oh no, fuckballs!

i thought cortex calling "scene" meant thread closure.

ok, no more off-colour jokes in sensitive threads then.

(oh! a priest, a rabbi & a prostitute walked into the bar of the Taj Hotel - aw, forget it...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:27 PM on December 1, 2008


(the punchline is "the aristocrats!" - you can probably piece together the rest of the joke yourself)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:30 PM on December 1, 2008


ok, no more off-colour jokes in sensitive threads then.

I think really all we care about is that if it happens in the future [we'd all like to be better versions of ourselves sometimes, yes?] that you just be in the "gee my judgement might not be the best on whether to move forward in this direction...." camp, and take other people's word for it that it might be time to give it a rest in any one particular thread. And thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:56 PM on December 1, 2008


yep, understood.

don't blame this sweet & tender hooligan, hooligan
coz he swore that he'll never never do it again
and of course he won't

posted by UbuRoivas at 2:22 PM on December 1, 2008


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