Obitfilters only for . . and . February 15, 2002 10:49 PM   Subscribe

I didn't want to derail the Kevin Smith obit thread from where ever it might be going so... [more inside]
posted by willnot to Etiquette/Policy at 10:49 PM (21 comments total)

You have multiple people making jokes about the impact crater the guy left, and your concern is a couple of posts about the daily death rate which are at least tangentially on topic, not disrespectful to the guy that died and surprisingly lower than I would have expected? OK.

But now that you mention it no I don’t think you need to pass a personality test to qualify for morning, so let’s shed a tear and raise a glass to:

1. Pauline Triger Fashion Designer dead at 93
2. Vernon Walters Ambassador to U.N. dead at 85
3. William Dwyer US District judge who stopped logging in national forests dead at 72
4. Ong Teng Cheong Former President of Singapore dead at 66

16,440. Vesta Roy first female GOP Governor dead at 76

posted by willnot at 10:49 PM on February 15, 2002

So much for that theory that famous people die in threes.. But then do any of these people fit the bill for celebrity? Even Kevin Smith. His only claim to fame was playing a god on Xena. I opted not to chime in on that thread specifically cuz I couldn't think of anything to say but disrespectful attempts at humor. I bit my tongue. However, I personally have no problem with other people thinking they're being amusing at the expense of a complete stranger's death. Let'em screw up their own karma.

When I die, I plan to personally haunt and taunt anyone who doesn't crack insulting jokes about me. If anyone says something like, "oh he was such a humble and passionate human being who lit the world with his smile and the world's a little darker now from this loss," I'll be a mighty pissed off ghost. Anyone who mourns me by grabbing a pint of ale and cracks insulting jokes at my expsense, provided they're funny, that'll make my afterlife. I don't wanna wake: I wanna roast.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:34 PM on February 15, 2002

It's fine for people to mourn but if you're going to mourn the death of celebrities on public websites with discussion facilities, you have to accept (a) ribbing and (b) perspective. Especially if Xena, Warrior Princess is involved.

(And thanks for the stats willnot.)
posted by sylloge at 12:17 AM on February 16, 2002

oh stop being so sensitive. it's so 1998.
posted by jcterminal at 12:19 AM on February 16, 2002

I'd also like credit for biting my tongue and not contributing my knee-jerk insensitive remarks to this thread because, quite frankly, it felt like being fisted by the incredible Hulk.
I'm trying to mature a bit, here.
posted by dong_resin at 1:33 AM on February 16, 2002

If every death of someone who was marginally famous was posted to the front page things would get out of hand.

maybe we need obituFilter?
posted by Mick at 2:33 AM on February 16, 2002

I vote no "<celebrity> is sick/dying/dead/was great/managed to finish that last movie just before" posts at all, period. If it's oh...the president, then okay, but only one, please. I just don't see how the celebrity obits fit the posting guidelines. Would someone who's put one up in the past please explain how they came to the decision?
To bring up the second part of the argument, why is it special when a celebrity dies? Frankly, the corner grocer dying would have a more profound impact on my life than if some actor from Buffy did. As a call to action, I propose whenever one of these threads gets posted, anybody who could care less comment with a link to their local(or closest) newspaper's obit page.

And I'm sorry, but if you make a post about a guy who was apparently known for nothing else than wearing a codpiece on Xena, you are asking for whatever you get, and you know it. Don't bitch.
posted by Su at 3:22 AM on February 16, 2002

Okay, my fault.

It didn't seem to not fit the posting guidelines (although I didn't examine them closely). He is a very well known personality where I am, and I thought his international profile was larger. The point about frequency of deaths (of all people, as well as 'celebrities') is valid.

Sorry to have offended anyone with my post and I certainly don't want to start a precident to make MeFi an obit site. By my measurements (which are based solely on me) it seemed like a link worth posting.

As for the jokes, well, what the hell, you expect that I guess.

Anyhow, it's late (or more specifically, early) and I have rambled. Just a little more - I posted the link shortly after I got up, which was when I first heard the news, it was difficult to believe, because on Xena and in person Kevin Smith seemed like the last person likely to be dying anytime soon, I was more surprised than anything maybe my judgement was lax. In future I will stick to links regarding socio-political commentary, specifically with a leftist slant perhaps. See, I am tried, and now it's becoming sarcastic. I will stop now.
posted by sycophant at 5:41 AM on February 16, 2002

(tips hat to willnot)
posted by clavdivs at 6:54 AM on February 16, 2002

I just wish I hadn't misplaced a decimal point and lowered the real stats by a factor of 10. Approx 164,380 deaths per day. Clearly I need more skoolin.
posted by willnot at 7:14 AM on February 16, 2002

posted by davidmsc at 7:27 AM on February 16, 2002

I'm sorry, but I forget.., if there is a thread on the frontpage that we don't find interesting, can we ignore it, or do we have to make some snarky remark and a MetaTalk post to accompany it?
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 8:04 AM on February 16, 2002

I think someone needs to create a Xenafilter.
posted by crunchland at 8:34 AM on February 16, 2002

HDS: If the individual thread is uninteresting, yes, ignore it all you want. If it's just the latest example of an acknowledged and generally annoying trend, then someone will bring it up. There's a distinct difference between not finding something interesting and it simply not being of any particular note. C'mon, he was an actor, and not even the star, in a schlocky American TV show.
Continuing, Sycophant's apology(not really necessary; it's not a personal thing) actually underlines the main problem with these posts: "He is a very well known personality where I am..." Beyond the basic "so what?" factor inherent to almost all of these posts, the great majority of the world--MeFi being a global forum--doesn't know or care who these people are.
posted by Su at 8:46 AM on February 16, 2002

hotdoughnutsnow - I guess you could also turn that around and ask if there is a comment or a MetaTalk post you don't find interesting can you ignore it? I guess you could if you wanted to. Clearly you didn’t. It seems we are one -- a mirror even .

I posted in response to this comment more than the particular thread.

I didn't particularly mind the thread, although it's worth discussing whether these are the types of threads we want. I didn't particularly like all of the impact jokes what with a death involved an all. Still, I think it's worth discussing the need or appropriateness of the Chuckles Bites the Dust effect.

My point is should people have a right to expect solemn reverence or any particular attitude in a thread simply because that's what they are feeling/want?

posted by willnot at 9:14 AM on February 16, 2002

I don't think people are being fair - just because you don't care about a particular person's passing, that doesn't make the thread any less legitimate (according to the current guidelines). I remember when Mr Dressup died; a similar discussion of appropriateness occurred. Fact is, if someone is a reasonably well-recognized celebrity (as Kevin Smith is), their death (especially an unusual, sudden death) is perfectly appropriate for MeFi, if someone feels it's significant enough that they wish to share. If you're not interested in said celebrity, don't read the thread - that's my feeling.

Of course, what I'm trying to do here is mount a defense of sycophant's post given the current MeFi environment. I'm not certain that we don't want to change policy to discourage posts such as this one. Although I feel a post about Tove Janssen or Astrid Lindgren's death, for instance, is good for MeFi, others may not. Still, I think it's quite clear that sycophant's post was wholly acceptable given the way things are right now.

To try to articulate that better: Sycophant's post did not break any guidelines; it should not be criticized. Discussion of the type of post he made, however, and whether we wish to encourage such posts, is worthwhile. (And has been conducted previously.)

My point is should people have a right to expect solemn reverence or any particular attitude in a thread simply because that's what they are feeling/want?

This, too, is a very good question. I think the answer is one relating to common decency, as with any comedy. A couple jokes are fine, but burying any trace of seriousness when it comes to a serious death, however, seems a little unkind.
posted by Marquis at 3:50 PM on February 16, 2002

I would say "meanspirited," and that is what I object to on Metafilter more than anything else that takes place here, even more than the daily stack of pancakes. Why do some feel the need to be petty and mean even amidst a community of strangers? It's pretty sick behavior, if you ask me, and highly disruptive of what Metafilter is supposedly trying to accomplish.
posted by rushmc at 1:41 AM on February 17, 2002

sycophant - I'm glad you posted it. If Steven Spielberg died it'd be all over the news, but when smaller actors die, it tend to slip under the radar. I personally was bummed.
posted by tcobretti at 7:49 AM on February 17, 2002

The reason you don't hear about smaller name actors dying is that its of interest to far fewer people.
posted by xammerboy at 2:38 PM on February 17, 2002

Perhaps what made Kevin Smiths death a bit more newsworthy is that he was "world famous in new zealand" News of his accident and death made the headlines of all the newspapers in NZ that day. It was the first item on the TV news all weekend.

He may have been a small actor on a worldwide scale, but his death has had a big impact on a whole country. There would be nary a person in NZ who knew who Kevin Smith was.

Now if Kevin Smith the director died in an accident in China, most New Zealanders wouldn't register it as newsworthy. But you can be certain the post wouldn't get an "uh, so?" on metafilter.

posted by Foaf at 5:09 PM on February 17, 2002

It would from me.
posted by Su at 12:10 AM on February 18, 2002

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