Really? December 15, 2009 1:49 PM   Subscribe

There seems to be a mefi tradition to not speak ill of the dead in obit threads, but what do we do when the obit is for someone abhorrent to the community?
posted by BrotherCaine to Etiquette/Policy at 1:49 PM (154 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

There seems to be a mefi tradition to not speak ill of the dead in obit threads

No, there isn't.
posted by grouse at 1:51 PM on December 15, 2009 [29 favorites]


Just wait for the Thatcher thread.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on December 15, 2009 [39 favorites]


Then they will be spoken ill of. Plenty of people have had their virtual graves spat upon in obit threads. I'm not too fond of it but that's how it goes. Its not like we can have a "don't post obits of people we don't like" rule. If anything, this is the other side of the coin for the folks who complain about obit threads being just dots.
posted by cimbrog at 1:53 PM on December 15, 2009


There's a tradition to basically not be like "great, I piss on his grave, farewell to that piece of shit" but the occasional "good riddance" is not such a big deal. The bigger deal is when someone dies who has great importance in some good way to part of the community and is reviled by some other portion of the community. I hope the Oral Roberts obit doesn't turn toxic, but people saying "good riddance" doesn't seem like that big a deal because I suspect we're really not going to get people on MeFi mourning the guy. Forgive me if I'm wrong about this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:53 PM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, that is kind of why I posted it the way I did. My personal belief that he was a fraudulent huckster and an embarrasment to Oklahoma as well as genuinely religious and caring people should not color the news of his passing.
posted by yhbc at 1:54 PM on December 15, 2009


Yeah, these things are determined by the general mood of MetaFilter about the person, not by general rules of decorum. It's disruptive to go against the flow of traffic, whether the traffic is heading towards lionization or damnation.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:54 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


but what do we do when the obit is for someone abhorrent to the community?

Then the speaking of the ill spills over to Metatalk and we end up with an epic, 8,000 post thread. I'm looking forward to it.
posted by bondcliff at 1:55 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


You should've seen the thread when Ceaucescu died.
posted by electroboy at 1:55 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


There seems to be a mefi tradition to not speak ill of the dead in obit threads

I disagree.
posted by Pragmatica at 1:58 PM on December 15, 2009


No but my favorite part is whenever someone we love dies (like, say, Teddy Kennedy) and then in the obit thread everyone jumps over each other to post links to Red State and Free Republic and stuff where people are saying 'Good riddance' and going 'Look how fucking vile Republicans are!'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:58 PM on December 15, 2009 [19 favorites]


As long as you're comfortable with somebody writing nasty things about people you admire after they die (in my case, Kurt Vonnegut, for example), I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to write nasty things about somebody you abhor when they die.

On the other hand, if there are some people you feel don't deserve even the slightest criticism after death, tread carefully. Everything you feel about the people you hate somebody else feels about the people you admire.

Oh, and fuck Oral Roberts.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:58 PM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hate it when prominent right wingers die, if only because of the obit threads they cause.
posted by brundlefly at 1:59 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


what do we do when the obit is for someone abhorrent to the community?
posted by SLC Mom at 2:00 PM on December 15, 2009


Oops.
what do we do when the obit is for someone abhorrent to the community?

It doesn't matter. That thread is full butt ugly comments, besides being weak to begin with, and please please please can it be pulled.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:02 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes. Really.
posted by Babblesort at 2:03 PM on December 15, 2009


I don't think we should link to a bhorrent right on the front page, no matter how many people are excited about demonoid.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:03 PM on December 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised that post is still standing. SLNYT seems to not clear the bar on obits that seems to be mod-enforced in the past. I still have time to post some drive-by snark?
posted by barrett caulk at 2:04 PM on December 15, 2009


Just wait until Pat Robertson goes back to hell, then you'll see an ugly obit thread. Ideally, the rule of three will be in effect and Cheney and James Dobson will all croak in quick succession. I think we might break the server with the outpouring then.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:05 PM on December 15, 2009


You are assuming Cheney was ever alive.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:07 PM on December 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


Good riddance to bad rubbish. He and the rest of his fundie con artist friends are toxic to everything good and decent about humanity. And the sooner Pat Robertson and Phelps and Miscavige and all the other cult leaders follow him into the ground, the better.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:10 PM on December 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


You are assuming Cheney was ever alive.

Oh, he'll have to stage some kind of public death of his corporeal form so he can gain true ascendancy to the demonic circles that control Washington, and so that the rank and file citizens don't get suspicious.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd also vote for pulling it, simply because it's a single-link newsfilter post. I honestly feel like, if you're going to do an obituary post about anyone, you should take the time to actually give it some worthwhile content.

Otherwise, it seems like it's just a big Metafilter circle jerk on the blue, whatever direction it goes in. What's the point of the post?
posted by Brak at 2:10 PM on December 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


You better hope Cheney doesn't die. He is actually doing humanity a favor by keeping the black hole in his heart (roughly) at bay. Once he kicks the bucket, it's a question of seconds before the Milky Way is consumed.
posted by qvantamon at 2:10 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


And the sooner Pat Robertson and Phelps and Miscavige and all the other cult leaders follow him into the ground, the better.

You think those bastards are bad just wait until the next generation comes into prominence.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:11 PM on December 15, 2009


I'd like to see obitfilter posts come with a one-comment-per-customer rule. Everyone can say their piece, pro or con, and no arguments or derails can develop.
posted by rocket88 at 2:11 PM on December 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


You are assuming Cheney was ever alive.

Yeah he was saved by that pacemaker put in by Dr. Alan Wasserman secretly a Sith Lord?
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:12 PM on December 15, 2009


Okay seriously that thread is quickly becoming about the ugliest thing ever. And I was just in the GOP.am thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:12 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Respect for the dead is highly overrated. They really are beyond caring. If it's respect for his living relatives or all who cared for this man that you are concerned with, that is a different story. Personally, I don't give a flying fuck for Oral Roberts' family or anyone who cared for him, and I doubt I am alone in this.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:14 PM on December 15, 2009


Good riddance to bad rubbish. He and the rest of his fundie con artist friends are toxic to everything good and decent about humanity. And the sooner Pat Robertson and Phelps and Miscavige and all the other cult leaders follow him into the ground, the better.

I actually agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. I do think, though, that it is better posted here than in the actual obit thread. I don't think there's anything wrong with posting in the thread actual factual stuff about him, though, or opinions about actual facts. In that regard, my own comments may have gone a bit beyond what I think is appropriate, and I apologize if that's the case.
posted by The World Famous at 2:15 PM on December 15, 2009


If you are a "believer," death apparently comes with its own reward/punishment (a decision which many probably assume mirrors their own wishes for the newly deceased). If you aren't a believer, death seems about as harsh a comeuppance as one is likely to get.
posted by nickjadlowe at 2:15 PM on December 15, 2009


kuujjuarapik: Personally, I don't give a flying fuck for Oral Roberts' family or anyone who cared for him, and I doubt I am alone in this.

Frankly, for me it's that I don't think hateful gloating over death is healthy either for the self, for the community, or for our image to those with whom we disagree. I think it makes us look like assholes, primarily because we are being assholes.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:16 PM on December 15, 2009 [29 favorites]


Not giving a fuck does not equal gloating. Not giving a fuck is pretty neutral.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:18 PM on December 15, 2009


I actually agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. I do think, though, that it is better posted here than in the actual obit thread.

Really, what difference does it make where you post it? Your words are your words. It's not like the thread on the other section of this website is being piped into the memorial chapel or something. Let's have sense of relativity.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:18 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


kuujjuarapik: It's not really about respect for the dead, it's about not being hateful while alive. Sure, Oral Roberts doesn't give two shits what you or I or anyone else has to say about him, but what's the point of being hateful, then? If it makes you feel better to wish a dead person in hell with a pitchfork up their ass, perhaps they are not the person with issues.
posted by Pragmatica at 2:18 PM on December 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


This seems like something that's best left up to the user's discretion. Just because somebody feels one way or another isn't any reason to expect everyone else to feel the same.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:20 PM on December 15, 2009


When did I say anything about hell? Pitchforks? Find another outrageous windmill to tilt at.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:20 PM on December 15, 2009


Jerry Falwell obit thread
posted by mattbucher at 2:21 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


When did I say anything about hell? Pitchforks? Find another outrageous windmill to tilt at.

That's true. Forgive the error. Should have read "If it makes someone feel better..."
posted by Pragmatica at 2:24 PM on December 15, 2009


I find the entire thread offensive. Irrespective of your ilk of religiosity, the comments say to Christians very clearly, "You kind is not welcome here".

Suppose a prominent gay-rights activist died. Or a prominent Democrat. This would be flagged as hate speech.

The counter-argument is that no group of people on MF identifies with Oral Roberts the way they identify with Ted Kennedy. But that is beside the point. Without some massive cleanup by the mods, that thread will remain a hotbed of anti-Christian vitriol. I find that unacceptable.
posted by jefficator at 2:32 PM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Who was bad-mouthing Kurt Vonnegut?
posted by fixedgear at 2:33 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


If it makes you feel better to wish a dead person in hell with a pitchfork up their ass, perhaps they are not the person with issues.

Generally speaking, this is my feeling, though not about kuujjuarapik. We'll be keeping a close eye on the Oral Roberts thread but even though a single link NYT obit isn't a great obit, given the circumstances it at least seems to be a neutral one. I'm aware that this disappoints some people and I apologize.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:33 PM on December 15, 2009


It's not like the thread on the other section of this website is being piped into the memorial chapel or something.

Well, when Thatcher finally shuffles off her evil coil, I wholeheartedly hope someone finds a way to pipe Elvis Costello singing "Tramp the Dirt Down" into the memorial chapel, even if just for two seconds. Please, oh please, let it be done.
posted by scody at 2:35 PM on December 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


the comments say to Christians very clearly, "You kind is not welcome here".

You are incorrectly presuming that all Christians identify with Oral Roberts.
posted by scody at 2:36 PM on December 15, 2009 [19 favorites]


So you're arguing he was a Christian, jefficator? Mmm. Gonna go out on that "no" limb there, especially as Roberts and his ilk seem to do everything but follow the set of precepts established by the person they supposedly revere.

I like Christians just fine. I think people who prey upon them and pander to their very worst instincts shouldn't be classed in with them as a group.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:37 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


the comments say to Christians very clearly, "You kind is not welcome here".

You are incorrectly presuming that all Christians identify with Oral Roberts.


Agreed. When I assist Mr Costello in tramping the dirt down when Thatcher dies, I don't think I should be presumed to be a misogynist.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 2:43 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find the entire thread offensive. Irrespective of your ilk of religiosity, the comments say to Christians very clearly, "You kind is not welcome here".

He wasn't a Christian.
posted by stirfry at 2:44 PM on December 15, 2009


Who was bad-mouthing Kurt Vonnegut?

Well, davismsc for one.

I also, for the official MeFi record, I welcome Christians here. I welcome people who want to celebrate and defend Oral Roberts. When I say "fuck Oral Roberts," it should not be construed as me disliking his supporters anymore than my saying "fuck Spuds McKenzie" means I hate all beer drinkers.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:49 PM on December 15, 2009


I generally have a rule against posting earnest opinions in MeTa threads, but as a former obit writer I really do have strong feelings about this.

Obit posts, in my opinion, should always have multiple links: one to the person's bio, one to a news article or obituary, and if possible one or two links to the person's main accomplishments. The posts themselves should be two or three sentences long. They should include a basic summary of who the person was, what he or she did, and what people thought about him or her. They should be unbiased if at all possible. They should only be posted after a death has been confirmed -- I have seen one or two based on early web rumors (example), which I think is a very bad idea.

As for commenting in-thread ... well. If we do our best to capture a person's life without malice in the original posts, maybe the thread itself will do better.

When you don't know someone, and you only know about the hurtful things a person has done, it's very easy to say something rude about them on the internet. But, cheesy as this sounds, every person's life has some value. Every person, including Oral Roberts, has done something good. The bad may outweigh the good, but even the people we abhor most will be mourned by their children, grandchildren, friends and lovers.

I think a good first step toward better obit threads is to encourage users to compose better obit posts.
posted by brina at 2:50 PM on December 15, 2009 [13 favorites]


Oh Boy! It's POPCORN night tonite!
posted by humannaire at 2:51 PM on December 15, 2009


the comments say to Christians very clearly, "You kind is not welcome here".


What is clear to you is not clear to other people and I have to say I don't agree with this sentiment but I am sorry you feel this way. We make a big effort to keep potshots against Christians out of the general discourse here, but I don't think people saying not-nice things about Oral Roberts can be equated to them taking potshots at Christianity generally.

That said, if you are a person that feels that way, you may find that the general non-religious slant here [including our militant atheist brigade as well as our tolerant members of many faiths and of no faith] is not to your liking. This may be one of those cases where we say "you're going to have to assess how comfortable you are with the situation" because it's not one of our goals to make this a "safe space" for Christians in the way we may make an effort to make this a safer space for members who are in, for example, legally persecuted minorities. And this is of course a little dodgy because really devout Christians are in the minority [as I assess it] on MetaFilter and I guess we can talk about that if people feel that we need to.

I don't think we've gone on the record as saying this, and I'd like everyone to feel comfortable here to the extent possible, but we maybe need to be specific on what we're willing to do at a mod level and what we expect from people at a user level. I did not see the obit thread, when I last peeked in, as that terrible.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:52 PM on December 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


I suppose that were I a Christian, I would find this site . . . erm . . . less than 100% welcoming at times. But, really, the vitriol in that post isn't about Christians, it's directed at someone who deliberately worked to become a public figure. You want a million-strong flock? And you want them to give you money? Then you will likely end up with a million detractors as well. Add the internet to the equation, and you get that thread.

The real problem is the nature of the post itself: a single link news obit is practically inviting the 200-comment hate for such a divisive figure. If a well-crafted post worthy of this man's place in American/religious culture/history (be it good, bad, or what have you) were offered, I suspect (hope? (foolishly?)) that the responses would be more measured in tone. But there it is and awaaaaaay we go.
posted by barrett caulk at 2:54 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


As someone who's posted a thread here in Meta concerned about the treatment of Christianity (in an AskMe question), I haven't seen really anything anti-Christian or particularly unwelcoming in the Oral Roberts Thread. I actually had expected some nasty stuff to arise, but with the exception of a silly Jeebus comment, it's been pretty good.

Well. Not for Oral. But I don't consider televangelists to be good Christians to begin with, so I'm pretty biased.
posted by Atreides at 2:58 PM on December 15, 2009


what do we do when the obit is for someone abhorrent to the community?

I think we have different definitions of "abhorrent" and "community".
posted by blue_beetle at 2:59 PM on December 15, 2009


Hell, I'll crap all over Woody Allen even in a pre-obit thread.
posted by evilgenius at 3:01 PM on December 15, 2009


I'm sorry people are disappointed in the thread, but I won't apologize for making it the way I did. I deliberately tried to be neutral, which is why I only linked to the NYT. I knew there was going to be an Oral Roberts obit thread, and I didn't it want to be a real "the sumbitch is dead, lets piss on his grave!" thread. I also don't think there's any supporting or background links that could be necessary in this case. He's a (very) well-known figure, and he just died. That is it.
posted by yhbc at 3:02 PM on December 15, 2009


Oh, so this isn't the long-awaited call for a Tulsa meetup, then? Shit.

*shuffles off*
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:03 PM on December 15, 2009


saying that hating on oral roberts is showing that christians aren't welcome is like saying that hating on carrie prejean is hating on christians. when really, it's hating on offensive, holier than thou, drama queens, who like to run around yelling LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME and then try to protect themselves under a shroud of religion. Jesus would have been the first to throw these guys off the steps. If your current church/belief system doesn't feel the same then maybe it's a good time for internal reflection.
posted by nadawi at 3:05 PM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ufez Jones - i support a tulsa (or owasso!) meet up

(yeah, i know, fat chance on owasso - it's just that tulsa's roads are so fucked up)
posted by nadawi at 3:06 PM on December 15, 2009


I like Christians just fine. I think people who prey upon them and pander to their very worst instincts shouldn't be classed in with them as a group.

Yes, a thousand times yes. The intolerance of the man alone, not to mention his shameless and relentless demands for money, are very far from what I understand Christianity to be about.
posted by bearwife at 3:08 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's only because *you* and *your kind* didn't send Oral enough money to pave Lewis with gold.

But cool. I'll shoot you a me-mail soon.
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:09 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian : You are assuming Cheney was ever alive.

I generally try to be as not-a-giant-dick as possible in obit threads, but I make no promises for Cheney. For his crimes, that man deserves to have his whole history laid bare and dissected publicly and all his horrible deeds held up to the light so everyone can see what happens when we don't hold people accountable.

Assuming, of course, he is capable of dying. At this point, I'm not convinced he isn't some kind of evil fucking robot.
posted by quin at 3:15 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Irrespective of your ilk of religiosity, the comments say to Christians very clearly, "You kind is not welcome here".

If you want to see how Metafilter deals with Christians, go to the seach field and type in "Mister Rogers".

This thread, on the other hand, is how Metafilter deals with con men.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:19 PM on December 15, 2009 [36 favorites]


yhbc, I didn't mean my comment to be a direct attack against you. I just think we should have stricter guidelines for obit posts in general, and I do respect your effort to ensure that the Oral Roberts post wasn't a "Party Time! Dead guy is dead!" post.

::hugs::
posted by brina at 3:29 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread, on the other hand, is how Metafilter deals with con men.

This. My objections aren't metaphysical (my honestly light-hearted speculations mid-thread being just that), they're criminal and ethical. The guy was a crook. If he were a prominent and expolitative Scientologist or Pop-Buddhist or whatever I'd be just as upset with his moral failings as I actually happen to be.

Respect for the beliefs of others is not incompatible with (secular or otherwise) moral criticism of their principles or lack thereof.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:47 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


*exploitative, duh.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:48 PM on December 15, 2009


I guess I like these threads because they remind me that there are people here at MetaFilter who are ready, willing and able to stand up to the bigotry, racism, sexism, classism, blind zealotry, anti-intellectualism, and fear that made the subjects of these obit threads so popular, wealthy, and influential.

It may seem like snark to you, but all I see are people who are refusing to sit by while someone attains sainthood-by-omission.
posted by greekphilosophy at 3:53 PM on December 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


I sure am learning some good Bible verses over in that thread, though. Titus 1:10-11 is pretty much made for us, isn't it?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:54 PM on December 15, 2009


That thread is going so much better than the Reagan obit did.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:06 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


saying that hating on oral roberts is showing that christians aren't welcome is like saying that hating on carrie prejean is hating on christians. when really, it's hating on offensive, holier than thou, drama queens, who like to run around yelling LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME and then try to protect themselves under a shroud of religion. Jesus would have been the first to throw these guys off the steps. If your current church/belief system doesn't feel the same then maybe it's a good time for internal reflection.

Well now, I am a Christian, and I agree with you that Prejean and Roberts are terrible examples of the faith, and that Jesus would probably kick their asses six ways to Sunday before he ever said 'I agree with those folks.' However, I think this is some kind of no-true-Scotsman justification thing going on here. Roberts identified himself as a Christian, and whether he adhered to how you or I interpret the precepts of Christianity, neither of us gets to say that he wasn't really a Christian. That's between him and his god. And regardless of whether you or I think he was representative of what Christianity really is (or should be) about, there are a significant number of people who do think so, and threads like the Jerry Falwell obit thread, any lolxtians thread, etc communicate a certain kind of 'your kind is not welcome here' message, even if 'your kind' doesn't actually mean 'Christians'-- a lot of folks, both who identify as Christians and who would never identify as Christians, will read it that way.

I feel pretty comfortable here at MeFi, despite being in a philosophical/theistic minority, and I don't think the mods should do anything different. But sometimes I do wish folks wouldn't be such assholes just because they think it's only their friends who can hear them.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:14 PM on December 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


I generally try to be as not-a-giant-dick as possible in obit threads, but I make no promises for Cheney.

Assuming he has a state funeral, i'll make the trip downtown just to spit on his coffin.
posted by empath at 4:15 PM on December 15, 2009


I am uncomfortable with the "he wasn't a Christian" sentiment. A Christian is someone who self-identifies as a "Christian," which Oral Roberts did. To equate "Christian" with a sincerely good person is to accept that identifying as a Christian makes one more moral, which I don't, any more than I accept that identifying with any particular religious group makes one so.
posted by Morrigan at 4:32 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"neither of us gets to say that he wasn't really a Christian"

i never said that. i said that hating on him wasn't tantamount to hating on christians and if people are unable to see the distinction then maybe they should do a bout of self reflection about how they align themselves. what it seems like you're suggesting is that somehow we aren't able to bring up actual points of how he was a swindler and an asshole because someone might get the idea that we as a community hate all christians. if we agree that anyone can identify as a christian, no matter their lifestyle, beliefs, and actions - then it is silly to use it as a blanket to shield them from ridicule and scorn.

i was raised mormon. i know about all about considering yourself christian when large swaths of the population don't agree (agnostic now - but don't think i've forgotten the school yard fights about how real my faith or religion were).
posted by nadawi at 5:00 PM on December 15, 2009


i never said that.

I was referring to the many people in this thread and the other who did say exactly that.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:07 PM on December 15, 2009


A Christian is someone who self-identifies as a "Christian," which Oral Roberts did. To equate "Christian" with a sincerely good person is to accept that identifying as a Christian makes one more moral

I think you've got this backwards. To equate "Christian" with a sincerely good person is to say that a Christian is not merely someone who self-identifies as Christian. People who are calling Roberts a non-Christian are saying that identification doesn't count; that you have to walk the walk.

Or in other words, saying that "true" Christians are moral does not imply that calling yourself a Christian is moral, nor does it imply that Christians are more moral than other people.

But, yeah, seems kind of silly to call Roberts a non-Christian, unless he secretly didn't believe in God/Jesus/whatever. His brand of Christianity isn't the brand most beloved by atheists (including myself), but it's certainly within normal usage of the term.
posted by equalpants at 5:07 PM on December 15, 2009


i never said that.

I was referring to the many people in this thread and the other who did say exactly that.

while i will take you at your word, quoting me, using "you" to refer to me and then making no indication that "you" referred to anyone else 60 words later, with no paragraph breaks, is what made me assume that you were, in fact, responding directly to me.
posted by nadawi at 5:13 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, nadawi, at least he didn't accuse you of "hateful gloating" as if there is nothing written in his book about not bearing false witness.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:16 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll just say, as an atheist, that the thread didn't equate Oral Roberts with Christianity, per se, but definitely included a lot of comments which seemed, to me, to be ignorant of the particulars of Roberts, and grave-pissing because the commenters knew he was a televangelist.

Does he deserve it? Maybe. But I'd rather, if grave-pissing is to be done at all, that it be done by people with citations for what their talking about.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:19 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't question Oral Roberts's self-identification as a Christian, because I think people get to say what their spiritual path and identity is and not be shouted down by others.

And I say this as someone who self-identifies as Christian, and who has been shouted down as "not a Christian" by people who were graduates of Oral Roberts University.

The Reverend Mr. Roberts certainly wasn't always Christ-like, in my opinion, in his statements and activities. But being Christ-like isn't a prerequisite for being Christian--being Christ-like is the goal that people who self-identify as Christian strive for when we're doing our best.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:33 PM on December 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


Folks like to gloss over a lot of contemptible bullshit in both the new and old testament. One can follow Christian doctrine to the letter and still be an immoral jerk, in my opinion.
posted by empath at 5:38 PM on December 15, 2009


Artw: “Just wait for the Thatcher thread.”

scody: “Well, when Thatcher finally shuffles off her evil coil, I wholeheartedly hope someone finds a way to pipe Elvis Costello singing "Tramp the Dirt Down" into the memorial chapel, even if just for two seconds. Please, oh please, let it be done.”

Well, between you and me, I've been pulling for the Mekons' "Vengeance" myself:
Don't be depressed, don't be downhearted!
There's a mighty crisis coming.
Pearls of thunder, pearls of wisdom
Reagan, Thatcher dead and gone!
Although "The Fletcher Memorial Home For Incurable Tyrants" ("Did they expect us to treat them with any respect?") certainly makes the short list.

In fact, when Thatcher and Reagan both die, we could have a goddamned music festival with all the myriad tunes of hatred they inspired.
posted by koeselitz at 5:40 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I mean Christ himself was just a dissident apocalyptic preacher and miracle worker that conned his followers into abandoning their families and livelihoods in pursuit of an end-time that wasn't coming.
posted by empath at 5:45 PM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


His brand of Christianity isn't the brand most beloved by atheists

It's not the brand most beloved by a majority of Christians, either. In his early years as an evangelical Protestant revivalist, Roberts targeted Roman Catholics--members of Christianity's largest denomination--for "conversion" and said some pretty intemperate things about their personal salvation.

Later, Roberts became more tolerant of the sectarian differences within Christianity, for which (showing that you can't win for losing) he often drew fire from other evangelical Pentecostals for "betraying the Bible" by being inappropriately ecumenical.

Christianity is a bigger tent than some of its practitioners would have one believe. The marketing effort that has induced many people to equate "Christian" with "evangelical and/or fundamentalist and/or Pentecostal Protestant" is kind of impressive, especially given the numerical dominance within Christianity of folks who don't self-identify with any of those categories.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:46 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


when Thatcher finally shuffles off her evil coil, I wholeheartedly hope someone finds a way to pipe Elvis Costello singing "Tramp the Dirt Down" into the memorial chapel, even if just for two seconds

It is so rare for me to disagree with you, scody!

I would love to see that at a public ceremony commemorating her public life, because she was a deeply shitty Prime Minister who fucked over a lot of people in her public role.

At a memorial chapel? At a service for her family (which admittedly includes some arrant shitheels)? I would be sad for the little kids who had just known her as "Great-Grandma" or whatever.

Protesting at private funerals is too Fred Phelps for me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:51 PM on December 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Morrigan: “I am uncomfortable with the "he wasn't a Christian" sentiment. A Christian is someone who self-identifies as a "Christian," which Oral Roberts did. To equate "Christian" with a sincerely good person is to accept that identifying as a Christian makes one more moral, which I don't, any more than I accept that identifying with any particular religious group makes one so.”

That's not really true. The label isn't really related to self-identification at all, except in a very distant sort of behaviorist context. Nor does it indicate "goodness" in any way but a proximate one. A "Christian" is someone who ascribes to and professes those teachings which by tradition fall under the heading of Christianity; she or he may have plenty of moral failings, but the key thing (especially in the case of Christianity) is that she or he believes that the teachings of the Bible and the Church are true. Someone could probably redefine the word for themselves, so that they, being a Scientologist or something, could identify themselves as a Christian; there is still a meaningful way in which the Christianity-professing Scientologist is actually not a Christian - namely, in that that Scientologist does not actually believe any of the teachings traditionally placed under the heading of Christianity.

As a Christian, I'm tempted to say that Oral Roberts wasn't one himself, and that he was merely a hypocrite who saw a situation where he stood to profit. But I have a feeling some part of him really believed it, and what's more death makes all of us so frail that I guess I feel some mercy for the poor fellow, who can't have had any real happiness in life any more than any other greedy, self-serving hypocrite can.
posted by koeselitz at 5:52 PM on December 15, 2009


Sidhedevil: “At a memorial chapel? At a service for her family? ... I would be sad for the little kids who had just known her as "Great-Grandma" or whatever.”

Oh, believe me - I already am.

Seriously, though, I agree, I guess; frankly, I'd be concerned that using a funeral as a political platform in that way would, in a frightening sort of horror-movie way, resurrect the ghost of Thatcherism and cause her to haunt us all. Using private moments like that for political gain would be very much her style, after all.
posted by koeselitz at 5:58 PM on December 15, 2009


Oh come on, people. You don't really think I literally want to pipe music into the memorial chapel.
posted by scody at 6:03 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


(guh, stupid itchy posting finger) I mean, it's a wonderful IMAGE, and I certainly expect there should and will be public celebrations of her much-anticipated demise, but I'm not really going to torment her great-grandchildren (nor the not-so-great ones. ba-dum-bum!).
posted by scody at 6:04 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I had a feeling you weren't actually planning on taking a trip to the cemetery and stomping in the mud, either.
posted by koeselitz at 6:09 PM on December 15, 2009


Which community are you talking about?

I only know of the guy from the fact that The Simpsons made a reference to his university once, and I suspect that most non-Americans would be in a similar boat.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:14 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


And also, the name "Oral" is a fantastically bad name. His parents must have loathed him. Did that actually used to be a more common name or something?
posted by koeselitz at 6:19 PM on December 15, 2009


I had a feeling you weren't actually planning on taking a trip to the cemetery and stomping in the mud, either.

I may still actually do that.
posted by scody at 6:28 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


But I'd rather, if grave-pissing is to be done at all, that it be done by people with citations for what their talking about.

If this is intended to include me, I'll just note that I'm familiar with Roberts' track record, especially his (relatively) late-in-life demonization (insert your own word here if you must) of Roman Catholics and then there's the bits about him claiming to have been visited by various incarnations of the risen Christ informing him, among other things, to solicit donations of a SPECIFIC AMOUNT IN US CURRENCY to (build a foundation ostensibly designed to) help cure cancer.

Here's your citation, sir/ma'am.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:35 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


BrotherCaine: There seems to be a mefi tradition to not speak ill of the dead in obit threads.

Yeah, not so much.
posted by MikeHarris at 6:50 PM on December 15, 2009


great, I piss on his grave, farewell to that piece of shit

Thanks, Jessamyn, that was a handy phrase. I didn't have to bestir my brain at all!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:55 PM on December 15, 2009


I find the entire thread offensive. Irrespective of your ilk of religiosity, the comments say to Christians very clearly, "You kind is not welcome here".

charlatan hucksters, your kind is not welcome here. christians? different story. this thread isn't about a man of God.
posted by radiosilents at 7:05 PM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


You don't really think I literally want to pipe music into the memorial chapel.

Nah.

But I bet there are people who actually, literally do, and those people freak me the hell out.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:12 PM on December 15, 2009


me: “I had a feeling you weren't actually planning on taking a trip to the cemetery and stomping in the mud, either.”

scody: “I may still actually do that.”

Somewhere outside Grantham, circa 2020:

News reporter: So, you've worked here at the cemetery for how long, then?
– Oh, ever since I left school... must be... thirty-two years now?
I see. And tell me, what's your reaction to the moves the new Conservative government is making?
– Well, I tend to think that... hold on just a moment - Hey! Move along, then; we've had enough of that! Sorry about that... I...
Hold on - what happened there? It looked like a woman was frantically jumping up and down and cackling maniacally.
– Yeah, they're usually quite easy-going. You just have to let them get it out of their system. They tend to get their satisfaction of it and then wander off.
But what was that about?
– Oh - that's only Mrs. Thatcher's grave, that is. People seem to like to stomp on it and laugh for a few moments; soothes their minds and expunges some of the bitterness, I suspect.
And this happens often?
– Oh no - not very often at all. Only two or three times a week. Seems to happen more around 5th November, though.
posted by koeselitz at 7:15 PM on December 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


And also, the name "Oral" is a fantastically bad name. His parents must have loathed him. Did that actually used to be a more common name or something?

Yes, though "Orel" is a more frequent spelling.

And remember that he was born in 1918, so his teenage peers didn't think of "oral sex" whenever they heard it; that phrase wasn't commonly used in the US, even by sex researchers, until the 1940s.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:18 PM on December 15, 2009


His teenage nickname, 'Mouthfuck' Roberts, was actually a testament to his performance on his high-school debate team.
posted by box at 7:29 PM on December 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


I'm not going near that thread. Saving up all my bile for the inevitable (i hope) Cheney-just-died thread or the far more likely Cheney-just-faked-his-death-to-escape-prosecution thread.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:29 PM on December 15, 2009


I hope to hell that when Cheney dies he's either harpooned by a unicorn or flattened by space debris so we'll have something else to talk about other than what a sneering swearing-at-my-senator jerk he was.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 PM on December 15, 2009 [17 favorites]


I took a walking tour in Berlin that included a visit to the site of Hitler's bunker. The guide claimed that once, after finishing his talk for that stop, he turned around to leave and found several of the tour participants pissing on the tree now located where Hitler's charred remains were found.
posted by little e at 7:48 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Every obit post that's a single link to a mainstream news story should be yanked immediately with the reason: PLEASE TRY HARDER IN OBIT POSTS. THANKS!
posted by mediareport at 7:52 PM on December 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


And also, the name "Oral" is a fantastically bad name. His parents must have loathed him. Did that actually used to be a more common name or something?

And he named his son Richard. I'd have loved to have had the chance to make them guests of honor at a party. 'Hey everyone, come to my place on Saturday! I promise you all the Oral and Dick you can handle!' People would turn up expecting one of my usual parties, and end up being harangued by fundamentalist preachers. What a laugh! Now, it can never be.
posted by eatyourcellphone at 8:02 PM on December 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


eatyourcellphone: “And he named his son Richard.”

He named his younger son Richard. Let's not forget that his eldest son Ronald committed suicide at the age of 37, after being convicted of 'illegally obtaining a cough suppressant from a pharmacy' (!) and being given a deferred sentence and ordered to attend drug counseling. Which leads to the question: how does one illegally obtain a cough suppressant? Is that "lawyer-got-me-off" code for "stole a bunch of morphine," or what?
posted by koeselitz at 8:08 PM on December 15, 2009


In fact, when Thatcher and Reagan both die, we could have a goddamned music festival with all the myriad tunes of hatred they inspired.

Zombie Reagan?
posted by nestor_makhno at 8:13 PM on December 15, 2009


koeselitz - my guess would be forged scripts for a prescription cough medicine, probably codeine.
posted by nadawi at 8:16 PM on December 15, 2009


while i will take you at your word, quoting me, using "you" to refer to me and then making no indication that "you" referred to anyone else 60 words later, with no paragraph breaks, is what made me assume that you were, in fact, responding directly to me.

Well, nadawi, at least he didn't accuse you of "hateful gloating" as if there is nothing written in his book about not bearing false witness.


Wow I quoted someone's comment and then addressed more general thoughts not specifically related to that quoted comment I must be a hypocrite.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:23 PM on December 15, 2009


how does one illegally obtain a cough suppressant?

impersonating a physician's office staff and calling in a fake prescription, swiping a prescription pad and writing oneself a fake prescription, altering an otherwise legitimate prescription, purchasing more than the legal limit of a schedule V codeine product in a state where it is available without a prescription, there are more ways but that's all I can think of 'cause I haven't worked outpatient in a year

(not a cough syrup junkie, just a pharmacist who used to work in the type of place where people occasionally got arrested in the drive-through)
posted by little e at 8:29 PM on December 15, 2009


seriously, shakespeherian? there is NOTHING in your comment that indicates you're talking to anyone but me. maybe you're unclear on how english works or what the word "neither" means or what "you" or "us" generally indicate - but again, i'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not that much of an idiot and just got on a roll and lumped me in with a bunch of people (again, who's opinions i never put forth) and when you were called on it, you just had no back down in you because you're already riled.

the funniest part to me is that you responding to me like i was the great metafilter anti christian cabal goes back to what i was talking about in the first place - discussing the individual is not casting a stone at the group - although you seem more than happy to throw those rocks at an individual when you have a problem with the group.
posted by nadawi at 8:31 PM on December 15, 2009


A Christian is someone who self-identifies as a "Christian," which Oral Roberts did. To equate "Christian" with a sincerely good person is to accept that identifying as a Christian makes one more moral

**

I think you've got this backwards. To equate "Christian" with a sincerely good person is to say that a Christian is not merely someone who self-identifies as Christian. People who are calling Roberts a non-Christian are saying that identification doesn't count; that you have to walk the walk.


The problem is that then you have some self-identified Christians sitting in judgement of other self-identified Christians, and arguing over what "walking the walk" looks like, which different kinds of Christians are entitled to define quite differently.

A "Christian" is someone who ascribes to and professes those teachings which by tradition fall under the heading of Christianity; she or he may have plenty of moral failings, but the key thing (especially in the case of Christianity) is that she or he believes that the teachings of the Bible and the Church are true.

This is a good example of what I noted above. As a Christian, then, I'm supposed to believe that the "teachings" of the "Bible" and the "Church" are "true?" Which teachings? Which Bible? Which Church? What is truth?

The understanding of Christianity as a multifaceted and historically complicated spiritual tradition, just like Judaism or Buddhism, is one that would really be a welcome evolution of MetaFilter discourse, speaking as a self-identifying Christian (who has a lot of beefs with the idea that there's a Christian "truth" or that it lives in some specific version of the Bible, etc.).

There are a lot of self-identified Christians whom I abhor and whose theology I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. That doesn't mean I get to say they're "not Christian." It's not for me to tell someone else what path they consider themselves to be on. I don't need to assert that someone's a bad Christian in order to make arguments that they're a lousy contributor to an atmosphere of respectful moral discourse or tolerant humanism. Their approach to Christianity is actually irrelevant to that aspect of the discussion of their significance to society.

I can definitely say that we don't take the same perspective on Christianity, though - and no one who's not a fundamentalist has any claim to state that either Oral Roberts' or my own version of what each of us would consider a "Christian" life is less valid than the other's.

In other words, fault people for their moral failings and their impact on society. Engaging with how "good" a Christian they seem to be implies that you're willing to accept their worldview as true, and measure them by that yardstick.
posted by Miko at 8:49 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've got nothing.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:00 PM on December 15, 2009


I hope to hell that when Cheney dies he's either harpooned by a unicorn or flattened by space debris

Thank you, jessamyn, for the mental images which I shall focus on with all my might when I lay down tonight in the hopes of inducing the happiest dreams I will have slumbered through all winter.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:32 PM on December 15, 2009


Jerry Falwell obit thread

Oh shit, that's right. Phew. That obit thread killed.
posted by Skygazer at 9:34 PM on December 15, 2009


The bigger deal is when someone dies who has great importance in some good way to part of the community and is reviled by some other portion of the community.

In all seriousness, jessamyn, would it make sense when someone like Thatcher dies to allow two posts, one like

Margaret Thatcher, who [did a bunch of horrible shit], died today. Good riddance.
Posted by Someone....

And one like

Margaret Thatcher, who [did a bunch of things that made people admire her], died today, and the world loses a lion.
Posted by SomeoneElse

?

Would it be easier to just be resigned to having a "Jump up and down on her grave singing hallelujah" thread and a "Be sad a hero of our movement died" thread, and just police people posting in the wrong thread (which would then be pretty clearly a jackass thing to do)? Or would that be even worse than a single grousey, GRAR-filled thread?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 PM on December 15, 2009


i'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're not that much of an idiot and just got on a roll and lumped me in with a bunch of people (again, who's opinions i never put forth) and when you were called on it, you just had no back down in you because you're already riled.

I appreciate the benefit of the doubt, but I'm not sure why you think I'm riled up or why you think I don't have any back down in me. As I said, I quoted your comment and took it as a jumping-off point for expressing my thoughts w/r/t the thread topic. I'm sorry that there was confusion, but I don't really why, given that you acknowledge the confusion, you are acting as though you and I should be upset with one another.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:36 PM on December 15, 2009


In all seriousness, jessamyn, would it make sense when someone like Thatcher dies to allow two posts, one like

Nope. This sort of thing, how it's worked today, is decent. One obit thread [maybe a better one next time] and a MeTa thread for people who absolutely positively must get their GRAR on. I'm not policing two threads when I'd rather not be reading either one.

EatTheWeak: you're welcome.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:43 PM on December 15, 2009


I quite consciously, over the thirty days it was open, refrained from commenting in the McNamara obit. thread.

Not because I didn't want to damn him to Hell, but because I worried I'd wind up incoherent, and with a destroyed keyboard.
posted by orthogonality at 10:09 PM on December 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


how does one illegally obtain a cough suppressant?

Is that more of a 'why are there illegal cough suppressants?'

He was probably trying to get purple drank.
posted by empath at 10:46 PM on December 15, 2009


Miko: “This is a good example of what I noted above. As a Christian, then, I'm supposed to believe that the "teachings" of the "Bible" and the "Church" are "true?" Which teachings? Which Bible? Which Church? What is truth?”

Well, that's possible, and I never said I was absolutely certain about this. But unfortunately the state of questioning you're presenting can't possibly be the position of someone who ascribes to any kind of belief system. It's just not as simple as you're presenting it. While I'm not trying to argue that mine is the correct one, I believe it is, and so do you and everybody else. And that belief unfortunately means we're forced either to believe that some people are wrong, or to completely eschew belief itself. Which frankly also might be the best path - I am not judging, or decreeing that this must be, and I think it might be possible to completely refuse to let one's beliefs crystallize. I've tried to see that path in the context of Christianity, though, and I can't see a way for Christianity and the refusal of all belief to really coexist. But of course I don't - I'm probably limited by my beliefs. Nature of the beast.

“The understanding of Christianity as a multifaceted and historically complicated spiritual tradition, just like Judaism or Buddhism, is one that would really be a welcome evolution of MetaFilter discourse, speaking as a self-identifying Christian (who has a lot of beefs with the idea that there's a Christian "truth" or that it lives in some specific version of the Bible, etc.).”

Judaism and Buddhism both have long, complicated traditions involved with an ongoing debate about what it means to be a Buddhist or to be a Jew. There are lots of different answers there, and there is a certain amount of agreement in both but not absolute certainty for any normal human being. St Thomas Aquinas claims that faith is a philosophical inquiry and a rational deliberation; I think he means by this that this debate about what being a Christian means is a necessary part of faith and of the tradition.

Unfortunately, you can't have a debate if the participants don't actually believe that anyone could possibly be right. The tough thing is striking that balance between rigid, unmoving, simplistic dogmatism and complete disinterest in truth. Completely denial of the possibility of right opinion kills the debate just as quickly as unflinching, stubborn insistence on one's own point of view.

“It's not for me to tell someone else what path they consider themselves to be on... I can definitely say that we don't take the same perspective on Christianity, though - and no one who's not a fundamentalist has any claim to state that either Oral Roberts' or my own version of what each of us would consider a "Christian" life is less valid than the other's.”

So you disagree with me about what Christianity means - you think I'm wrong. That's okay. It's great. I don't mind it, and in fact I welcome it.

“In other words, fault people for their moral failings and their impact on society. Engaging with how "good" a Christian they seem to be implies that you're willing to accept their worldview as true, and measure them by that yardstick.”

Well, I wonder if you read my comment carefully. Actually none of this has anything to do with my claim about Oral Roberts. I said I'd like to say that he wasn't a Christian - but I concluded that I couldn't. And the reason I said I'd like to say he wasn't a Christian was not because I thought he didn't meet the proper standard, or even that he didn't believe the right details about what Christianity means. I feel some justification for saying he wasn't a Christian because I get the sense that he was a complete hypocrite - that is, that, if he spoke honestly to the public, he would say that Christianity is a silly, stupid sham, and that a person is well justified in using that sham to make a few bucks and make life more pleasurable to live. People can claim that they think of themselves as Christians, but what if they're lying? That doesn't happen very often - that kind of complicated lie isn't really very natural - but of course I start to wonder in the case of Oral Roberts. What if, in his private moments, he thought to himself, "gee, I'm glad I'm not one of these stupid Christians?" That has nothing to do with my own beliefs about Christianity - I'm more interested in his honest beliefs about what he was.

And, as I said earlier, unfortunately I can't say that Oral Roberts really was the crypto-atheist faker I'm intrigued to imagine he was. I think he really believed the things he was saying; the human mind is astounding in its ability to twist its own beliefs around things that are to its own benefit. (That's why most of the religious, through no fault of their own, are drawn to religion to justify their wishful thinking that they won't die.) So, yeah: I would have to say that Oral Roberts was a Christian, in the sense that he really believed that he was a Christian, and really felt compelled by the tradition.
posted by koeselitz at 11:16 PM on December 15, 2009


Is that more of a 'why are there illegal cough suppressants?'

yeah, I hate that part of the job. I would much rather worry about overuse of, say, antibiotics, that is something that is harmful to us all.

He was probably trying to get purple drank.

Heh, I unfamiliar with that definition of the term. Purple drank may also refer to a grape-flavored beverage available in certain school cafeterias, which I suppose could lead to some confusion. Pank drank is the fruit punch version, I wonder what else that means.
posted by little e at 11:23 PM on December 15, 2009


In fact, when Thatcher and Reagan both die, we could have a goddamned music festival with all the myriad tunes of hatred they inspired.

...Morrissey: Margaret on the Guillotine
The Beat: Stand Down Margaret
Blow Monkeys: She Was Only a Grocer's Daughter
Crass: How Does it Feel? (To be the Mother of 1000 Dead)
The Specials: Ghost Town....

This is going to be fun!
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:33 AM on December 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


He was probably trying to get purple drank.

See also Sizzurp, and the deaths of Pimp C and DJ Screw.
posted by electroboy at 3:36 AM on December 16, 2009


Apparently people slowed down in naming their kids "Oral" in the late 1920's

Useless trivia: Girls named Oralia took off in the late teens and dropped down by the late 1950's.
posted by lysdexic at 4:57 AM on December 16, 2009


BrotherCaine: There seems to be a mefi tradition to not speak ill of the dead in obit threads.

Exhibit A, BrotherCaine: the Christine Maggiore obit thread.

I'd never heard of the woman before I saw this thread. I was a bit floored at the reaction on MeFi to the word of her passing.
posted by magstheaxe at 5:20 AM on December 16, 2009


Is he still dead then? Whoot!


So what would a skank drank be? In my day it was kamikazes, but I haven't been to a bar in maybe...10 years.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:04 AM on December 16, 2009


Margaret Thatcher, Televangelists, Ronald Reagan, Elvis Costello . . . Maybe it's just that it's the holidays, but you guys are making me all nostalgic for my childhood. Just throw on a copy of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and start talking about your mid-life crisis!
posted by thivaia at 7:12 AM on December 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


But unfortunately the state of questioning you're presenting can't possibly be the position of someone who ascribes to any kind of belief system. It's just not as simple as you're presenting it. While I'm not trying to argue that mine is the correct one, I believe it is, and so do you and everybody else.

Though I have a "belief system," and do ascribe to it, I do not believe it is "the correct one," so please don't assume I do. What I beleive is that it is my cultural heritage and my path of inquiry; it gives me a liturgical calendar, texts, and an array of traditions to employ in my spiritual life, among many others. You're projecting some assumptions on me that aren't accurate.

Judaism and Buddhism both have long, complicated traditions involved with an ongoing debate about what it means to be a Buddhist or to be a Jew.


So does Christianity.

debate about what being a Christian means is a necessary part of faith and of the tradition.

Debate is interesting and challenging. Is it a necessary part of faith? I don't think so.

So you disagree with me about what Christianity means - you think I'm wrong.

No; I think you and Oral Roberts are entitled to define Christianity in ways that are meaningful to you, and I'm entitled to define it in ways that are meaningful to me, and so are all Christians of all faiths; and more broadly, all followers of all religious paths, through their participation, define what those faith traditions mean both individually and as members of structured faith communities.

would have to say that Oral Roberts was a Christian, in the sense that he really believed that he was a Christian, and really felt compelled by the tradition.


All I'm saying is that I agree with you here. Whether or not someone is "a Christian" is not in the eye of the beholder, and can't be measured on a behavioral checklist, what it means to that person to identify as "Christian" is something held in the heart and mind of that person.
posted by Miko at 7:16 AM on December 16, 2009


I hope to hell that when Cheney dies he's either harpooned by a unicorn...

Specifically, harpooned by a unicorn that is being ridden by a naked President Obama. Right?
posted by cimbrog at 8:08 AM on December 16, 2009


Christians don't feel welcome on MetaFilter? Oh dear.

Fortunately, there's a place where Christians are in the majority and set the framework of discussion. Namely, everywhere else.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:10 AM on December 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


Joe Beese:

shakespeherian: I feel pretty comfortable here at MeFi, despite being in a philosophical/theistic minority
posted by shakespeherian at 8:21 AM on December 16, 2009


Christians don't feel welcome on MetaFilter? Oh

Oh, I'm not complaining that I feel uncomfortable or anything. Among the things I don't identify with are Christians who claim they're a persecuted minority.

I just think that there often tend to be manifold assumptions and simplifications and conflations of different kinds of "Christian" here, which become inaccurate and unuseful, and it sometimes makes talking about anything related to the topic really confusing and derailing. The question of whether Oral Roberts was an asshole, or hypocritical, is different from the question of whether he was a "Christian."
posted by Miko at 9:33 AM on December 16, 2009


Christians don't feel welcome on MetaFilter? Oh dear.

Actually, in this thread, it was just one. Let's not try and stir up the bee's nest. We've had this MetaTalk before.
posted by Atreides at 10:23 AM on December 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just wait for the Thatcher thread.

Dammit, I keep forgetting she's not dead. It's like Lizbet Bathory or something... one just expects that someone that horrible is dead and gone by default.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:45 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Someone should try and create a post of "People You Thought Were Dead, But Really Aren't."
posted by Atreides at 10:48 AM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sort of a Grim Reaper To-Do list?
posted by quin at 10:57 AM on December 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fortunately, there's a place where Christians are in the majority and set the framework of discussion. Namely, everywhere else.

Except China and Japan (and most of the rest of East Asia) and Russia (and most of the other former Soviet states) and India and Pakistan (and the rest of South Asia) and Indonesia and the Middle East and Africa, sure. "Everywhere else."

This is not about me feeling persecuted as a Christian, because that's nonsense. We're the largest religious denomination in the world, after all!

This is about me thinking it's facile jerkwaddery to define "everywhere else" as "the United States of America and maybe some of Europe."
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:26 AM on December 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Someone should try and create a post of "People You Thought Were Dead, But Really Aren't."

Starting points: Dead or Alive? and Who's Alive and Who's Dead.
posted by ericb at 11:50 AM on December 16, 2009


Here's hoping that, whenever it's posted, the Roy Disney thread goes better.
posted by brundlefly at 11:50 AM on December 16, 2009


I always liked "Dead or in Vegas?" as performed on "Remote Control" by Ken Ober (dead) and Colin Quinn (occasionally in Vegas).
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:29 PM on December 16, 2009


Death List is sort of a collection of people who hover in that "omg are they still alive?" category. Also, it has irreverent professions listed for people, including Thatcher whose occupation is listed as "Milk Snatcher."
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:56 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just wait for the Thatcher thread.

Dammit, I keep forgetting she's not dead.


"That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die."

Ia! Ia! Thatcher f'taghn.
posted by reynir at 1:09 PM on December 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should parcel out famous people to various mefites, and they can keep an up to date obit file on them just in case. Tragedy today, as former President Gerald Ford was eaten by wolves. He was delicious.

I look forward to the Thatcher thread, and promise not to call it out.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:17 PM on December 16, 2009


Herr Gravy and I were talking about "The Life of Brian" which was financed by George Harrison. Spouseboy was flabbergasted to hear that Harrison was dead. Somehow he missed it (he is not a Beatles fan.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:50 PM on December 16, 2009


...Morrissey: Margaret on the Guillotine
The Beat: Stand Down Margaret
Blow Monkeys: She Was Only a Grocer's Daughter
Crass: How Does it Feel? (To be the Mother of 1000 Dead)
The Specials: Ghost Town....


Simply Red: "She'll Have to Go"
posted by blucevalo at 5:23 PM on December 16, 2009


Someone should try and create a post of "People You Thought Were Dead, But Really Aren't."

Jack LaLanne
posted by lukemeister at 7:15 PM on December 16, 2009


Generally speaking ill of the dead is rather gauche. Especially some poor random Joe Schmo who is in the news becuase of an ironic or gruesome death.

But famous people? I dunno. What you're really commenting on is merely the public personae of a person who probably wanted to be commented upon. Still I suppose there's no need to be cruel or libelous.

And then there is a class of famous people who we can factually and truly say the world is better off without. A particularly horrible example would be some one like John Wayne Gacey. Then there are degrees of horrible. None the less people who caused harm... like Jerry Falwell.

When people like that pass it's damn hypocritical to bite your tongue merely out of superstition.
posted by tkchrist at 8:39 PM on December 16, 2009


Someone should try and create a post of "People You Thought Were Dead, But Really Aren't."

Abe Vigoda is always, ALWAYS at the top of this list.
posted by palomar at 1:12 AM on December 17, 2009


Luckily AbeVigoda.com has taken care of all your Vigodan status update needs. Don't miss the catchy song!
posted by FatherDagon at 8:00 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read the whole thread last night, and I found it pretty tame, really. The sorts of posts you get in obit threads are going to vary from quiet acknowledgement (e.g. ".") to varying degrees of "it's about time/good riddance/makes my day" depending upon the famous person in question. That's just par for the course. I don't think that enforcing some set of rules of decorum for these sorts of threads would be a benefit to the site. Some venting is to be expected.
posted by wheat at 11:11 AM on December 17, 2009


I'll be too busy to post in an obit thread when Thatcher goes as I have a longstanding deal to meet up with some long-lost friends at the Class War Trafalgar Square street party.

I exist in a state of permanent readiness.
posted by somergames at 1:51 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


What do we do when it's Brittany Murphy?
posted by fixedgear at 1:09 PM on December 20, 2009


We politely say "try harder than a single TMZ link, thx"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:21 PM on December 20, 2009


Should I open up a new MetaTalk thread, or will the current Brittany Murphy obit be OK? It's a single link to a Jezebel article that was a comment in the now deleted thread. Now that link, which seemed fine as a comment, is the whole obit post.
posted by fixedgear at 4:36 PM on December 20, 2009


« Older Press the PS button.   |   SPAM Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments