End the "Brand New Day" Policy? April 13, 2010 9:15 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way that the moderators could close the door on the unofficial "brand new day" policy that allows people to shed their old Mefi usernames at will? I was about to get all apoplectic about St. Alia's contribution to a recent thread when somebody helpfully noted that it was just konolia in a different guise.
posted by The Confessor to Etiquette/Policy at 9:15 PM (548 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Stop it.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:19 PM on April 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


So this is a call-out... for... someone... acting in a way that identifies... her... as herself?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:26 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am pretty sure that it is an actual, official policy. I have had a couple of new usernames too, and I think it's a good policy for that (and other) reasons.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:26 PM on April 13, 2010


No, we're not ending the policy. And people can't shed their usernames at will. If people leave of their own accord, they can come back more or less when they want. If people get banned for something specific, we'll often let them back under a new username if they lay off the specific stuff. I'm sorry you didn't know St Alia was here previously, but it's pretty much an open secret around these parts.

The problem we have, of course, is that enough people know so it's hard to tell if people go after her because of her current unpopular opinions, or if they remember her being here under previous usernames when she got into what I would call more trouble. So, we're pretty comfortable with the policy. She's subject to the same rules as everyone else here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:27 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


They could but they shouldn't. I like that people can get a second chance as much as I like the fact that some people won't change and will rightfully get booted.
posted by Paragon at 9:27 PM on April 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


What do you have against change? Besides, if finding out who she 'really' was saved you from having a stroke, then you should really be thanking her instead.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:31 PM on April 13, 2010


what's the rule if you hate your username? can you just abandon ship and start anew under a fresh ID?
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:32 PM on April 13, 2010


Yeah I don't understand this. It's like, you were gonna be 'Hey new person whom I don't know, I disagree with your statement!' but then you were like 'Oh hey I know you already I guess I agree!' or what?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:33 PM on April 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


you know what? I'm OK with having a few people like St. Alias or sixcolors around.

It makes things interesting.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:35 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please. St. Alia and Sixcolors aren't even in the same league. St. Alia says things that people disagree with, but she participates in the site in good faith. Sixcolors was a perpetual trainwreck just looking for attention.
posted by Happydaz at 9:40 PM on April 13, 2010 [22 favorites]


IS SIXCOLORS AROUND? don't tease like that - if it's true, memail me.
as for konolia, YES MOST DEFINITELY people know who she is because she can't say that the sky is blue without a gang piling on to disagree in the nastiest of tones. I love mefi but it's a drag that anyone "different" (i.e. "pretty normal, actually") has to wear a flame-retardant suit to participate.
posted by moxiedoll at 9:40 PM on April 13, 2010 [29 favorites]


One thing I've noticed on metafilter, and try to remember in my non-internet life as well, is that most everyone has valuable contributions at one point or another. Perhaps when someone has a fresh start, at least some people can let go of long-held biases and get value of what the person is saying?
posted by serazin at 9:41 PM on April 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


sixcolors is one of the few people who have been on this site in the past who are not actually welcome back. There are very very few people on that list.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:41 PM on April 13, 2010 [16 favorites]


what's the rule if you hate your username? can you just abandon ship and start anew under a fresh ID?

That's pretty much fine, yeah. Whether or not someone wants to do that is entirely up to them.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:44 PM on April 13, 2010


I'll second that dunkadunc, and take it up one further. I also like having her around, because she's an earnest human who means well and is trying to get by in this world, just like the rest of us. She takes a lot of shit and sifts through it all and learns what she can. She sticks by this community and reads the threads and participates, despite however many times people call her out, bring up the past, or focus on the negative. She's an inspiration to me, because I know that when I do or say something contrarian, or am dragged through the mud by fucking strangers, I can remind myself that I don't need to flame out, quit, or retaliate in kind. I can keep trying. And if one person recognizes that, even if it is just me for my own transgressions, then it's worth sticking it out. Because there's always tomorrow, which may be more accepting than today. I'm glad St. Alia is here and I hope she never decides to leave us.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:44 PM on April 13, 2010 [114 favorites]


for me, it's one of those realizations that "geez, it would be awfully boring if everyone else was just like me".
posted by dunkadunc at 9:46 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, it's fine having her around, and I guess I'd even be fine with a brand new day, provided there was some attendant modification to mindset and/or behavior. What upsets me is the dispensation of a new platform for St. Alia to spout the exact same statements, devoid of coherent foundational logic; to be, basically, the exact same person she was as konolia, or bunnyfire (if memory serves). If she's not going to disavow the past, why should she be given an unsullied platform for the future?
posted by The Confessor at 9:46 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Confessor: “I was about to get all apoplectic about St. Alia's contribution to a recent thread...”

Jesus Christ, what the fuck for? I assume you're talking about this thread. Seriously, I'm not delighted about bunnykins' niggling insistence upon participating in the five minutes hate threads about the Tea Party wingnuts, but what exactly did you see that was so horribly offensive in St. Alia's comments in that thread?

All she said was, in essence: I'm a tea partier, I'm not racist, blah blah, biracial grandchildren. On the scale of 'offensive,' that doesn't even rank. Hell, it's hardly even remarkable. Frankly, it's boring.

What happened to the callouts where there was genuinely something offensive to excoriate people for? I miss those. Now it's just "oh, she disagrees with me! She posted a mildly idiotic opinion! Stop her now!" You need to get out more.
posted by koeselitz at 9:46 PM on April 13, 2010 [19 favorites]


I'm not a hardcore Metafilterian or whatever but even I ended up aware that St. Alia of the Bunnies used to be called konolia. (Somehow. Not sure why I know that.)

But anyway, who caaaaaaaaares.
posted by Neofelis at 9:50 PM on April 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah I quit once and came back--didn't actually realize you could have your old username/account re-opened or whatever and just signed up a second time. I got nervous after reading someone's comment once that reflected what The Confessor is saying, and asked the mods. They suggested I could just put a note in my profile if I was worried about it. SORTED!

I'm sure there's other reasons people might change names as well. But what difference does it make? It's really only going to be a shortcut for you to write off someone as a jerk/asshole/dummy/racist/THAT guy. But at the length truth will out.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:50 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


St. Alia says things that people disagree with, but she participates in the site in good faith.

Yeah, that's true 80% of the time. Then she decides to get involved in a thread about politics or religion, and then her participation isn't in good faith at all. It becomes disingenuous, manipulative, and purposefully inflammatory.

On the other hand, I prefer her 80% good faith participation to another goddamn MeTa about konolia. It's too bad it's not one or the other.
posted by Caduceus at 9:50 PM on April 13, 2010 [19 favorites]


woah [sic] (in case you missed that thread).
posted by sleepy pete at 9:52 PM on April 13, 2010


(Yeah, The Confessor - sounds like you haven't read the thread. Follow sleepy pete's link right over, and note that this subject has been done to death.)
posted by koeselitz at 9:53 PM on April 13, 2010


And... that explains that.

YES MOST DEFINITELY people know who she is because she can't say that the sky is blue without a gang piling on to disagree in the nastiest of tones

You underestimate some people's abilities to get on people's nerves.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:01 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


sixcolors is one of the few people who have been on this site in the past who are not actually welcome back. There are very very few people on that list.

This also puts him on the No Fly list and he get's a spot on America's Most Wanted. He is referred to in the media as "the notorious anti-Mefite" and old women spit when they see him.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:07 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


"What upsets me is the dispensation of a new platform for St. Alia to spout the exact same statements, devoid of coherent foundational logic; to be, basically, the exact same person she was as konolia, or bunnyfire (if memory serves). If she's not going to disavow the past, why should she be given an unsullied platform for the future?"

I would imagine for two reasons:
A) She *is* the same person, hence the same personality. But growing and evolving, again, like all of us.
B) To protect her from people who are predisposed to judging her based on her past.*

It's really hard to grow, change, or evolve as a person if people constantly see you in old light, old judgment. How can they change and get you to see and accept their changes if the things that mark them look exactly the same to you and you can't see past it? If you can't see the subtle shifts towards a new, more improved being?

It'd be like if you were Waldo and in your travels you learned all these interesting things about the people around you, and you decided to not be so contrarian and blend in more with the locals, but everybody insisted that you wear stripes so that they'd be sure to associate this new you with the old one you used to be. The one they had already formed opinions about and decided that they disapproved of.

*This is kind of bullshit actually. It really protects us. Changes happen in the smallest increments. With a new name, you get to work backwards, towards the old person you held judgment about. But you never quite get back there, because that person moved forward just a little bit in the time that has passed. So really, it allows them to move (which they were doing anyway), and allows us to see it. I personally like the pleasant surprise of finding out who used to be who. Then I can compare my new judgment against the old one, and from out of that, I learn something and grow a bit too.

Ok, hugs hugs hugs and I'm outta here.

posted by iamkimiam at 10:13 PM on April 13, 2010 [14 favorites]


Count me in with a vote of support for BF/K/SAOTB. I pretty much disagree with all her positions but she's on the level and she tries to be nice. Reactions to her comments usually give me a chance to see just how impatient and mean those I agree with can be.
posted by klarck at 10:13 PM on April 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


The vortex of hate that opens up at her every comment isn't something that makes this a great place.

That vortex of hate isn't something that can be, or should be, pinned on her.
posted by peeedro at 10:17 PM on April 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


Wait, wait, sixcolors was a guy!? Somehow I'd just assumed that sixcolors = sort of pathetic teenage girl looking for attention.
posted by MeghanC at 10:18 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Confessor: "If she's not going to disavow the past, why should she be given an unsullied platform for the future?"

Because we're not the thought police and people are entitled to their opinions. What the hell is wrong with you?
posted by dhammond at 10:22 PM on April 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


Yeah, sixcolors was a girl, but at least college age.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:22 PM on April 13, 2010


sixcolors was female, in her early 20s, I believe. The trunk cookies were of indeterminate gender.
posted by scody at 10:24 PM on April 13, 2010 [13 favorites]


iamkimiam, this thread is making me miss you.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:24 PM on April 13, 2010


Yeah, that's true 80% of the time. Then she decides to get involved in a thread about politics or religion, and then her participation isn't in good faith at all. It becomes disingenuous, manipulative, and purposefully inflammatory.

No. Those are just the subjects where her opinions diverge the most radically from what most people on Metafilter believe, I have never seen her make a single statement that disingenuous, manipulative or purposefully inflammatory.
posted by atrazine at 10:26 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


posted by Caduceus she decides to get involved in a thread about politics or religion, and then her participation isn't in good faith at all. It becomes disingenuous, manipulative, and purposefully inflammatory.

That's not true. She participates in good faith. The people who bring up her irrelevant history and her old usernames are the ones behaving in a disingenuous, manipulative, and purposefully inflammatory fashion.

Please stick around, St. Alia.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:29 PM on April 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


I read the comments for content usually without looking at the username. Am I doing this wrong?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:39 PM on April 13, 2010 [12 favorites]


dhammond

What the fuck is wrong with you?

As I said before, I wouldn't mind use of "brand new day" to disassociate oneself from beliefs that are no longer held, and that would overshadow proceeding contributions... but it's obvious from St. Alia's posting history that she is interested in no such thing. Thus, her use of "brand new day" to spout the same vile spew with a new profile amounts to disingenuous sockpuppetry.

I'm surprised to find myself in the minority with that opinion.

Anyway, whatever; it's late, and I'm tired. Fair warning, though; I'll post pretty much the exact same complaint again if I find that she's evaded my mental categorization of her worth by switching to "Sanctus Lapin" or some other bullshit sockpuppet profile.
posted by The Confessor at 10:42 PM on April 13, 2010


No, JohnnyGunn, you are doing it exactly right. That's why the username is at the bottom of the post.
posted by kindall at 10:43 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


What no keyboard sexual assault vitriol in this thread? Lame. You guys are all getting soft. Soft and old. And pudgy around the middle. Like a Twinkie left standing on its end in a humid rainforest.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:43 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


posted by The Confessor I'll post pretty much the exact same complaint again if I find that she's evaded my mental categorization of her worth by switching to "Sanctus Lapin" or some other bullshit sockpuppet profile.

Before you do so, perhaps you need to explain why you care so much about what she says.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:48 PM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Like a Twinkie left standing on its end in a humid rainforest.

Oh oh, you take that back! Rap rap trucksartus, rap rap foo spangle.
posted by nola at 10:50 PM on April 13, 2010


There's a greasemonkey script that allows you to hide usernames. I've considered installing it.
posted by rtha at 10:51 PM on April 13, 2010


No. Those are just the subjects where her opinions diverge the most radically from what most people on Metafilter believe, I have never seen her make a single statement that disingenuous, manipulative or purposefully inflammatory.

Yes, that's true. The disingenuous, manipulative, and purposefully inflammatory parts of her participation involve what she doesn't say. I have repeatedly seen her enter a thread, make what ought to be the first comment in what could be a valuable discussion between people of different political viewpoints, but when anyone tries to engage with her arguments, she completely ignores any responses that are cogent, reasonable, and backed up by facts, the ones that actually challenge her arguments and assumptions in a meaningful way, and instead, if she ever comes back at all, she only responds to the most inflammatory, most poorly worded comments, and usually makes a big deal out of how mean we're being to the poor ol' southern granma, and isn't that just like us nasty liberals?

For instance, I will eat my hat if she ever responds to this comment, at least if she engages it with more than a reiteration of her "Well, gosh, people were just too busy trying to make it to pay attention to little things like that," argument from above. And I know she's smart enough to read and comprehend the comments that actually challenge her positions; she just chooses to ignore them and instead respond to whatever will give her the maximum emotional capital in the ensuing discussion, which not coincidentally stirs up the most shit, too. The problem is not just the people who won't let go, though they don't help. None of this would matter if people would just ignore her. I know I'm not doing that here, but anyone claiming that she's anything other than a masterful troll in political threads is not only wrong, but being manipulated by her in exactly the way she intends, because they feel bad about the way people pile-on her when she pulls her bullshit.
posted by Caduceus at 10:51 PM on April 13, 2010 [34 favorites]


She's subject to the same rules as everyone else here.

I hope so.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


what has been going on of late? what's the difference between this and simply logging in under a sock puppet? why have there been threads on unspoken deletions, edits, pretending to be another mefi questions of late? there's a paranoid pattern that seems to have been showing up here that i don't recall in the little time I've been here ...
posted by infini at 10:52 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like that people can get a second third chance as much as I like the fact that some people won't change and will rightfully get booted.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:53 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sure I'm not the first to say it, but does anyone else find the idea of a bunch of people with fake names on the internet complaining about someone having 2 or 3 fake names on the internet a bit ridiculous?
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:57 PM on April 13, 2010 [23 favorites]


Not really.

Well, maybe just a little.
posted by George Clooney at 10:59 PM on April 13, 2010 [23 favorites]


I've seen lots of great discussions with St Alia, many of them about religion and politics - topics that, ya know, she cares about a lot.

Most recently, this one comes to mind. And the person who pooped on that thread, the person who turned an interesting debate into a polarized festival of predictability, wasn't Alia.

Oh, and that person isn't here anymore. That's cool, I guess.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:59 PM on April 13, 2010


FOO SPANGLE MOTHER TRUCKER! Kirk Grim if that is your real name.
posted by nola at 11:00 PM on April 13, 2010


it's hard to tell if people go after her because of her current unpopular opinions, or if they remember her being here under previous usernames

So long as she continues to express her current unpopular opinions — which are largely the same as her old opinions — each time she has a new alias, she'll continue to have people go after her regardless if they knew her under an old name.

If she wants a brand new day, she's going to have to try a hell of a lot harder to not express antediluvian social opinions and turn down the woo. I say the evidence is that she very much does not want to do so.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:02 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, I didn't realize St. Alia was konolia, so I guess she's doing something right.

I've got pretty thick skin, and konolia still managed to offend me on a regular basis under the old name. That I had never made the connection lets me know she's at least doing something right now.

klarck wrote: "she's on the level and she tries to be nice"

That would be the "new" St. Alia. The konolia of old was neither on the level nor nice.
posted by wierdo at 11:04 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want the Brand New Day policy to apply to all of life. E.g., HI GUYS my name's...um...Agatha now. Nice to meet you! Then I would behave myself, and everyone would politely forget certain indiscretions, faux pas, and ill-considered dalliances.

(I suppose in place of a new account, one could be required to obtain a new driver's license. That's hassle enough to limit frivolous Brand New Days.)
posted by little e at 11:07 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I disagree very strongly with some of St. Alia's opinions, but she has never struck me as anything other than a perfectly nice lady who happens to believe things that are totally different than I do. I have to wonder what it feels like for her to see these call-out threads that specifically target her when she hasn't actually done anything worthy of being called out. It probably hurts her feelings. I've noticed she never really shows up in MeTa to defend herself when this stuff happens; maybe she sees her name in the post body and thinks, "Yeah, reading that is only going to make my day worse today." I wouldn't blame her. I'm actually a little surprised that she still comes around when so many people are so rabidly hateful toward her even when she's done nothing wrong. I like that about her.

Also, this post just stinks of "dick move" to me. Seriously, Confessor, what did she actually do besides disagree with you and then still disagree with you later? Because that's not so good a reason for a call-out.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 11:11 PM on April 13, 2010 [20 favorites]


mattdidthat

As I stated before, I'm tired, which has probably affected the course of my contribution to this discussion thus far. I'll probably wake tomorrow regretting some of the terminology I've used here, and wishing I'd used other words.

Put simply, because her faith seems entirely blind; unmotivated by logic (or at least by any logic intelligible me), and unaffected by the same. Internet arguments are famously futile in most cases, but with people like her, with positions impregnable to logical assault, there seems to be no hope at all for productive discourse. Take her contribution to the recent Tea Party thread; notably, her refusal to recognize the racism in the movement. I was about to post my own rebuttal (which was not nearly as elegant and well-written as those others have since posted) when I read the since-deleted post that identified her as konolia. Knowing that, I wish I hadn't wasted my time.
posted by The Confessor at 11:13 PM on April 13, 2010


Sorry you wasted your time almost responding to something on the internet.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:16 PM on April 13, 2010 [13 favorites]


She and Ralph sent me a Get Well card that made me smile.
posted by klangklangston at 11:30 PM on April 13, 2010 [17 favorites]


Time for a pony request:

Can we get rid of this drab grey background, and make MetaTalk more reflective of the various subsites?

1. Blue for the front page, Jobs & Shop
2. Green for Ask
3. Indeterminate dark teal for Projects
4. Dark browny-black for Music
5. Grey for MeTa & the Podcast
6. White for the professional white plain theme

Instead of calling it "the grey" we could call it "the six colours page".
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:30 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, I disagree very strongly with some of St. Alia's opinions, but she has never struck me as anything other than a perfectly nice lady who happens to believe things that are totally different than I do. I have to wonder what it feels like for her to see these call-out threads that specifically target her when she hasn't actually done anything worthy of being called out.

I need to go to bed and am very hesitant to get into a conversation about this, but, for what it's worth, one big problem is that she has a tendency to inject passive aggressive guilt into an unrelated conversation. I'd dig up examples, but they are not hard to find. It always provokes a bad reaction, because it's not a good way to start a conversation about anything except her. I like her though she does get my goat sometimes, but there are some pretty egregious examples where she practically trolled a thread and totally derailed it into a giant trainwreck, and seems blissfully unaware of any responsibility for it. I think people here get way too worked up about some of this stuff, but she knows that and yet continues to poke at the hornet's nest, and it's not a fun game after a while and edges into familiar territory all too quickly.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:42 PM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Captain Cardanthian! wrote: "Seriously, Confessor, what did she actually do besides disagree with you and then still disagree with you later?"

While I don't think this callout was by any means necessary or even well advised, she does refuse to engage in any sort of productive discussion. She's not by any means the only one, though. If banhammering for that were MeFi policy, we'd probably be down to a hundred users or less.

I appreciate different perspectives. I don't appreciate drive-by needling.
posted by wierdo at 11:46 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd drink a beer with St. Alia ( if she doesn't drink beer, she can have tea while I have a brewski). If someone wants to start over with a new user name, I have absolutely no problem with that. I have to say that I have been pretty mystified by a lot of people's problems with her- she seems honest about where she's coming from and pretty willing to give folks their fair say. I've found her to be a lot more tolerant of dissenting opinions than a lot of "liberals" on this site.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:20 AM on April 14, 2010 [12 favorites]


It's her third alias, actually.

I spend too much time here.
posted by bardic at 12:22 AM on April 14, 2010


I'd rather not start a new thread, but I'm having trouble finding a comment by a user (sometime this year?) that was "comedy = tragedy + time to upload to youtube". Was that even here? Looks like I forgot to favourite it if so.
posted by ODiV at 12:31 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Put simply, because her faith seems entirely blind; unmotivated by logic (or at least by any logic intelligible me), and unaffected by the same. Internet arguments are famously futile in most cases, but with people like her, with positions impregnable to logical assault, there seems to be no hope at all for productive discourse. Take her contribution to the recent Tea Party thread; notably, her refusal to recognize the racism in the movement. I was about to post my own rebuttal (which was not nearly as elegant and well-written as those others have since posted) when I read the since-deleted post that identified her as konolia. Knowing that, I wish I hadn't wasted my time.

OK.

Now that you know, don't engage her. It really is that simple.

If you absolutely feel the need to vent, try writing that comment and then not posting it. Sometimes, that helps me alleviate frustration.

I spent a hell of a lot of time writing a comment completely skewering Pope Pius XII this evening. When I was done, I deleted it, and in tomorrow's morning sunlight, when I've had a cup of coffee and am a little less tired, angry at the world and frustrated that my son is sick at the moment, I'll politely withdraw myself from a debate that's going absolutely nowhere -- that will never go anywhere -- because (as far as I can tell, and I freely admit this might be an uncharitable characterization,) the person I'm speaking to seems way too heavily invested in being an apologist for the Catholic Church, and I'm personally too invested in trying to prove that Church was complicit in megadeathcrime during the Holocaust.

Sometimes, a different perspective and a breath of fresh air is helpful.

Dude, it ain't worth it. It's not worth the stress or aggravation. It's not worth getting upset over, or calling for someone to be banned over because you can't convince her that 'you're right, dammit!'

Let it go.
posted by zarq at 12:32 AM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


I recall learning the konolia handle way back in a thread either having to do with the election or the invasion of Iraq... was it that monster Palin thread? Anyway, if I recall correctly, there seemed to be a lot of "I don't care about your facts, I'm just going to think X" comments. It seemed like every time I came across that konolia byline it was like some trolling Fox & Friends party-line pop-up ad. When I found out she was this new "St. Alia", I thought she was trying to hide and just mentally took note of the "Alia"s. But lately I have found myself reading some really good comments in many of the human relations AskMe's and seeing her new name on them. So kudos for those St. Alia!
posted by blueberry at 12:47 AM on April 14, 2010


I had absolutely no idea that she was the same user and don't care. Why does it matter to your argument (you were about to go apoplectic) until you realized it was an old user? Does this make your argument less apoplectic?

iamkimiam: "To protect her from people who are predisposed to judging her based on her past."

Goodness yes. More than once I've considered getting a new username to avoid the stigma that some Mefites have shown to me since I openly admit on Mefi that I have a personality disorder (although these incidents took place outside of Metafilter proper). I often wonder if people who do remember that about me would treat me differently if they did not know it.
posted by IndigoRain at 1:01 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


because she can't say that the sky is blue without a gang piling on

For some reason I read that as "a gaping pileon" and now although I realize I need to go to bed I'm a little nervous about the imagery that might show up in my head if I do.
posted by Balonious Assault at 1:27 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm in with the "don't pin the derails on St. Alia" gang. She's contributing lots to the site. Examples have been cited in this thread.
posted by Harald74 at 2:16 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


METATALK MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH PEOPLE LATELY.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:42 AM on April 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


Personally I like having people I disagree with around. Living in an echo chamber is boring. Plus, more generally know your enemy is so important, and willful ignorance so damaging.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


faith seems entirely blind; unmotivated by logic (or at least by any logic intelligible me), and unaffected by the same.

Second funniest indication of not understanding basic tenets of a concept today.

(First place goes to "mindless political correctness".)
posted by carsonb at 3:58 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


shedding old usernames, whatever. just don't make me take a bath, is all.
posted by dirty hippie at 4:02 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bunnyfire/Konolia/St. Alia, whatever, she is one of my favorite mefites.
posted by caddis at 4:15 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Examine why you're about to get all apoplectic. It's just a web site after all. Save your outrage for Dancing With the Stars. What is up with THOSE PEOPLE!
posted by netbros at 4:22 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Internet arguments are famously futile in most cases, but with people like her, with positions impregnable to logical assault, there seems to be no hope at all for productive discourse.

This is the real problem people have with Alia, the inability to convince her that's she wrong and they're right. It drives a certain segment of the online populace batshit insane.

Pro tip: You could try using something other than logic and talking to her.

Take her contribution to the recent Tea Party thread;

Take a look at her first comment in that thread. All she's saying is that her husband, a man she seems quite proud of, has attended a few of the Tea Party events and she's bothered by him be characterized as a racist, so hey, could you cut it out.

All she's pointing out is the Tea Party may not be the drooling, gun toting racist idiots as show on tv and various left leaning blogs. That's hardly a radically position to make and certainly one worthy of thought.

zarq, I hope your son gets well soon.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:26 AM on April 14, 2010 [18 favorites]


I'm surprised to find myself in the minority with that opinion.

Anyway, whatever; it's late, and I'm tired. Fair warning, though; I'll post pretty much the exact same complaint again if I find that she's evaded my mental categorization of her worth by switching to "Sanctus Lapin" or some other bullshit sockpuppet profile.


You do realize the irony involved here, don't you? You're acting completely tone deaf to the community and incapable of modifying your behavior (i.e., the warning) based on the mods' acceptance of the poster's behavior. You've gone to that "blind faith in being right" place you seem to hate so much.
posted by Hiker at 4:36 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Take a look at her first comment in that thread. All she's saying is that her husband, a man she seems quite proud of, has attended a few of the Tea Party events and she's bothered by him be characterized as a racist, so hey, could you cut it out.

Not only that, but then immediately every single person in six time zones immediately posts a comment attempting to prove to her that her husband actually is racist, and also how come she's such an evil liar who is bad and awful? Then they storm into MeTa to complain that she's disingenuous and acts in poor faith.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:47 AM on April 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


To protect her from people who are predisposed to judging her based on her past.

I actually like the Brand New Day policy, although I think it's important for folks who adopt it not to engage in the same behavior that made it necessary in the first place. This doesn't mean that they have to think differently, it means they have to act differently. Having the same opinions, and expressing some of them, is just fine. At least one of my favorite contributors here had a rough time under another username (both because of how he acted and because of how he was treated), and really managed to change his behavior under a new name.

But let's not pretend that konolia fled the hardship of people randomly picking on her. konolia frequently trolled threads expressing vile and hateful opinions that have been used to incite violence and mayhem in other venues. She derided whole groups of people with condemnatory language that made their lives seem less valuable, and their morals seem forever suspect. Her subsequent arguments for a different kind of civil rights based on her bi-racial grandchildren seemed to fuel her conviction that her moral pronouncements and condemnations were entirely just.

I don't think we need to legislate those issues again, but konolia wasn't some victim in need of the sockpuppet protection program, nor was she so disturbing because of her political opinions. I haven't seen the same behavior from St. Alia, but if she starts to spout the same bullshit then this type of callout would be completely appropriate. If the clock resets when you invoke Brand New Day, then the user's use of that reset needs to be payed attention to.
posted by OmieWise at 5:00 AM on April 14, 2010 [12 favorites]


Hike

Because I feel that my complaint is legitimate, notwithstanding the moderators' seeming contempt of it. Is it too much to ask for people to not engage in the exact same manner of disruption when given a brand new day? Like I said, people should own their legacy or disavow it; I feel that this third way is dishonest, and the moderators' condoning such use of the policy makes this site dishonest to that extent.

And I say this as somebody who has some history of disruptive behavior, and of posts and comments I'm not exactly proud of. This morning, I find that I can add to my list of regrets using profanity when responding to the "thought police" cheap shot, and clumsy formulation of the original MeTa post. I probably should have blind-itemed it, among other things, though it probably wouldn't have helped in keeping focus on the concept, rather than the specific person; St. Alia's blatant ill-use of the brand new day system is notable for its rarity.
posted by The Confessor at 5:16 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is it too much to ask for people to not engage in the exact same manner of disruption when given a brand new day?

She's not. Having a (for here) minority opinion is not deemed disruptive behavior. Those things that she used to say under her old name that necessitated the BND? SHE STOPPED DOING THOSE THINGS.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:20 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


As long as I am polite, and adhere to the rules of this place, I am still going to post things that some of you may disagree with. I saw hypocrisy in that thread, and it ticked me off enough to say something about it. I saw some (not all) of the posters in that thread casually spout off opinions about people involved in the Tea Party movement, opinions they have simply because they saw pictures of SOME teapartiers or saw interviews of SOME teapartiers saying stupid stuff. Well, guess what. I have gone to plenty of rallies in general and I know that the news people like to interview the nuts and take pictures of the nuts. Normal people usually get ignored.

There IS no one big group in charge of Tea Parties. There is a lot of warring behind the scenes as one group or another tries to take credit or take control of the movement, but a lot of it really is grassroots people who have been personally affected by the economy's nosedive and are now paying attention and are scared. Okay, in some of this communities eyes, these people are "stupid" or "racist"-well, for those of you who think it's because Obama is black, pot meet kettle, because you think these people are racist because they are conservatives. And yes, I am telling you that if you think the majority of these people are racists you DO have a great big honking blind spot and you are making exactly the same logical fallacy as the minority of teapartiers who ARE racist jerks.

You don't have to agree with a single letter I have typed up there, of course. But I know I have the right to type it. Carry on.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:24 AM on April 14, 2010 [25 favorites]


I must admit that the first time that I recall running across St. Alia in a thread I was ready to join the pitchfork brigade. I didn't post in the thread, I think it was something about home schooling or something similar. Later on someone mentioned her name in another call out and I went to her profile and looked through her comment history. And there's not much in there that's offensive in any way. If you are all up in arms about what you think that she has said, I would say to look at what she HAS said. I still don't agree with her, but under her current user name she has been almost unfailingly respectful. I only wish that I could say the same.

And on that note, I would like to second the motion that Metatalk makes me want to punch people lately. Your callouts are weak, where's the recipes, and have a big hug.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:26 AM on April 14, 2010


Personally I like having people I disagree with around. Living in an echo chamber is boring. Plus, more generally know your enemy is so important, and willful ignorance so damaging.

People with whom I disagree are welcome and encouraged. I'm not sure how I feel about people who disagree just enough to say they disagree but not quite enough to actually talk about the disagreement.

I can understand not wanting to be piled on but dropping little nuggets of disagreement and vanishing aren't an acceptable middle ground.

The debate is far more important than who wins.
posted by Skorgu at 5:30 AM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


shakespeherian

FWIW, scody posted an excellent takedown of konolia here that seems to apply just as aptly to St. Alia. Does anyone really thing that she'll have the integrity to make a good-faith reply to this. That is her pattern, just as much now as it was then.
posted by The Confessor at 5:32 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm all for Brand New Day - the issue is that, in most cases, it's unrealistic. Clearly so in a case like St. Alia. She is who she is, specifically, and the only way she could reach an absolute zero Brand New Day would be to change details of her life and beliefs that are pretty intrinsic to her person. Ain't gonna happen.

The problem with Brand New Day is that there is no way to quarantine the old day from the new, so people connect dots and add the crime of "trying" to get a Brand New Day to whatever list of crimes committed by both (all?) usernames. I've barked at new names for being given credit for things that the old named did, and felt dumb and angry about it.

Like so many things Brand New Day is good in theory, good in most cases, occasionally more trouble than it is worth.
posted by dirtdirt at 5:33 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sure I'm not the first to say it, but does anyone else find the idea of a bunch of people with fake names on the internet complaining about someone having 2 or 3 fake names on the internet a bit ridiculous?

[snarf] Yes, it's ridiculous. There's really no such thing as a brand new day for people here, unless you'd posted so little and/or so forgettably that no one knew who you were anyway. Any username soon becomes just another facet of the same identity. Although I use "Orange Swan" almost exclusively on the net, there has been a time or two when I didn't want something I was doing to be associated with my posting history, and used another username. But then I'd find I'd soon become concerned with keeping that username from being associated with anything that embarrassed me too. You're the same person regardless of what your username is, and no matter what you use it soon becomes just as representative of you as your more established usernames or even your real name.
posted by orange swan at 5:33 AM on April 14, 2010


Does anyone really thing that she'll have the integrity to make a good-faith reply to this.

I'll make a good-faith reply to it. The Tea Partiers didn't care about Bush's spending because he's a Republican. They care about Obama's because he's a Democrat, and politics in this country is the biggest of all sports rivalries, in which we don't so much care what the other team does, we just know we disagree! Sure, some of the TPers are racist assholes, but frankly I think it's shameful the way that folks on MetaFilter casually toss around the notion that Tea Partier = racist asshole. It's lazy, stupid thinking. Pointing out that TPers engage in politics as sport does not mean they are all racists; insisting that it does merely means that you are also engaging in politics as sport, and therefore St. Alia was exactly correct when she said that doing so is exactly the moral equivalent of what you are decrying.

OH NOES
posted by shakespeherian at 5:39 AM on April 14, 2010 [16 favorites]


Dude, you don't even have the stones to link to the comment that enraged you enough to post this. Bad form. Play the ball, and not the bunny.

That said:

Roast one eggplant in the oven at 180' celsius for 30-40 minutes.
Squeeze the eggplant out of its skin into a sieve, and push the juice out with a spoon
Put the pulp in a food processor with 2 eggs, a handful of chopped basil, 2 cloves of garlic , 1/3-1/2 a cup of grated parmesan, and 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs (I prefer wholegrain crumbs)
Process the mixture
Form it into patties (it should be quite light and squooshy)
Roll your patties in more breadcrumbs, and fry on a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on both sides
Serve with a nice, bitey salad of cos, radicchio etc spiked with something sweet like nashi.
posted by smoke at 5:40 AM on April 14, 2010 [14 favorites]


You know, I am not obligated to stay up all night just to argue with people on a website. I posted a few things on that thread last night and then I went to bed.

It's a WEBSITE, people, not thunderdome.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:40 AM on April 14, 2010 [25 favorites]


Because I feel that my complaint is legitimate...

But your complaint boils down to "She exists and disagrees with me and I don't like that".

What has she done that's so offensive?

FWIW, scody posted an excellent takedown of konolia here that seems to apply just as aptly to St. Alia. Does anyone really thing that she'll have the integrity to make a good-faith reply to this.

Honestly, you're starting to come off as someone who's looking for fight and determined to get it.

Does anyone really thing that she'll have the integrity to make a good-faith reply to this.

Now you're just being jerkish by indirectly saying she doesn't have integrity.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on April 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


Re-casting this call out, which seems to me to be simply more of the same anti-religious, anti-conservative vitriol which characterizes MetaFilter far too much of the time. Seriously, all one needs to do to generate either a long string of abusive comments or a full-fledged MeTa callout is sound off as being opposed to the dominant hard-left ideology around here. This is, as I understand it, a place where people are supposed to be able to talk about anything and everything in a civil, enlightened manner. But you wouldn't necessarily guess that given the abuse MeFites of faith or even slightly right-of-center political beliefs regularly have to put up with.

I normally handle this by simply not feeding the trolls, i.e. self-censorship, but dammit man, grow the fuck up. The problem here is not what St. Alia did or did not say but your utter inability to co-exist with a person with her religious and political beliefs.
posted by valkyryn at 5:47 AM on April 14, 2010 [17 favorites]


I, like whomever that was up above, really don't pay much attention to peoples user names. There's a couple I've come to pay attention to, but generally who cares. What I DO NOT UNDERSTAND is the idea that someone is somehow obligated to respond to your vitriol. Nobody owes you half a crap for a few paragraphs of crap you posted in response to someone else's few paragraphs of crap.

We're all here in good faith...well, that's the idea anyway. We're all here expressing ideas that might be perfectly sensible to us and perfectly nonsense to everyone else.

There is honesty, and then there is truth.
There is science, and then there is fact.
There can be fact and truth without either being right.
Being factual, truthful, and honest...does not make you righteous, just as being righteous is not constrained by absolute truth, fact, or science...but it generally involves honesty.

So read everyone's crap, post your own crap, and realize that your crap is worth the same per volume as everyone else's crap, which is to say about 10KB a paragraph.
posted by TomMelee at 5:50 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I posted a few things on that thread last night and then I went to bed.

How DARE you go to bed when I was SOOO enraged!

that makes my blood BOIL!
posted by Max Power at 5:52 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]



It's a WEBSITE, people, not thunderdome.


It's WORSE than thunderdome:

Two men enter, then everyone else jumps in and no one leaves unless one of the thundermods comes in and shuts down the dome.

Really, this is one of the most pointless callouts ever.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:58 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


shakespeherian

Obviously... along with the fact that most of them were too stupid to realize the dog was rabid before it bit 'em. But would St. Alia have had the integrity to admit to the speciousness of her cause?

Consider her contribution to this thread: a defense of her right to continued membership and posting privileges , which was never a focus of this callout... and no mention of why she chooses to trade as St. Alia now, rather than using the earlier aliases which she clearly doesn't want to disassociate from.

smoke

I've never had an eggplant in memory, mostly because I recall it being used quite often as an example of poor-tasting produce in the literature of my childhood, but now I'm kind of interested to try it. Would you recommend the recipe you cited for an eggplant virgin? If not, could you perhaps recommend another?
posted by The Confessor at 5:59 AM on April 14, 2010


you think these people are racist because they are conservatives.

That's not why I think they (or, rather, a significant minority of them, a far larger proportion than in either the Republican or Democratic parties as a whole) are racists.
posted by box at 6:03 AM on April 14, 2010


Confessor, I happen to like the name St. Alia of the Bunnies better. I would have been happy to resume as Bunnyfire but that option was NOT on the table for me. As for Konolia, that was my grandmother's name. I could have kept it, but decided if I was going to come back (I left briefly, by my own choice ) I might as well have a new name.

So basically, this was a pointless callout, wasn't it?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:04 AM on April 14, 2010


And yes, I did think that people had way too much of a kneejerk reaction to anything Konolia posted, so there was that. But I wasn't trying to deceive anyone, which was matthowie's concern when I decided I wanted to change.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:06 AM on April 14, 2010


Ooh is this the part where we get to watch Confessor flame out?
posted by TomMelee at 6:07 AM on April 14, 2010


No, this is the part where we share eggplant recipes.
posted by box at 6:08 AM on April 14, 2010


Excuse me, aubergine.
posted by box at 6:09 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eggplant makes my mouth itch. So, basically, fuck eggplant.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, this is the part where we share eggplant recipes.

Can't it be both? Fire-roasted eggplant is a delight.
posted by Hiker at 6:12 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh my goodness, WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS WORDS.

As long as your BND name doesn't repeat the same mistakes as the old one, you have the right to keep them separate. I don't think there's enough proof that St Alia has broken that guideline, though I've not looked for any myself - if there is some, I bet it'll be posted in one of these quarterly St Alia threads.
posted by subbes at 6:12 AM on April 14, 2010


Obviously... along with the fact that most of them were too stupid to realize the dog was rabid before it bit 'em. But would St. Alia have had the integrity to admit to the speciousness of her cause?

Consider her contribution to this thread: a defense of her right to continued membership and posting privileges , which was never a focus of this callout... and no mention of why she chooses to trade as St. Alia now, rather than using the earlier aliases which she clearly doesn't want to disassociate from.


You're really just not a very pleasant person. You are here complaining that another person lacks integrity or good faith or whatever (I still don't understand your original complaint, a confusion which you have yet to respond to) and your complaining takes the tone of assuming the worst of someone, putting words in her mouth, and generally ignoring anything anyone has to say to you that addresses your points in order to continue to be fighty.

As a matter of fact, I think this is your callout.


What should we do about The Confessor's continued bad-faith participation in this site? Let's discuss!
posted by shakespeherian at 6:18 AM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


Hoping for/cheering on a flameout is stinky.

We've gotten some honest answers from SAotB at the end here that directly address the question at the heart of this call-out. jessamyn backed up the site policy all the way at the top. Can we stop this now, please?
posted by mintcake! at 6:18 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: For those of you who think it's because Obama is black, pot meet kettle...
posted by hermitosis at 6:23 AM on April 14, 2010


Well, if I may repurpose Rumsfeld:

You don't post with the reputation that you want, you post with the reputation you have, and I don't appreciate the apparent attempt to circumvent that absent an underlying change of heart... so I disagree quite strongly with mathowie's dispensation in this case.

Having said that, I'll repurpose Rumsfeld again by saying that I know I don't post on a website administrated in the exact manner I want... and I find Metafilter, even with my peeves, worlds more interesting than fark, or digg, or boingboing, or reddit, and AskMetafilter a much better resource than any other Q&A site on the internet. And even MetaTalk is okay, though I have a marked aversion for hugs.

So no flameouts here, unless someone posts a recipe calling for flame-broiled eggplant.
posted by The Confessor at 6:25 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


What upsets me is the dispensation of a new platform for St. Alia to spout the exact same statements, devoid of coherent foundational logic; to be, basically, the exact same person she was as konolia, or bunnyfire

Well, yes; she is the same person.

I'd even be fine with a brand new day, provided there was some attendant modification to mindset and/or behavior.

What you seem to be upset about is that her mindset and opinions didn't magically change along with her username. That's not a reasonable thing to expect or ask for.

She's not generally engaged in disruptive or inappropriate behavior anymore -- that was a problem back in the bunnyfire days to be sure, but she's cleaned up her act since then (and that was years ago.) There was a while during the konolia days when she seemed to be pining for the notoriety, and kept bringing up the connection to the bunnyfire, but I can't remember the last time I saw her even doing anything. To the extent that there is disruption still associated with her, it seems to be caused not by her but by the people who can't seem to let the GRAR BUNNYFIRE thing go.

She may indeed engage in poor logic, selective attention, and self-contradictory or unsupportable opinions. That doesn't differentiate her from a great number of other people, though.

In conclusion: slice eggplant paper-thin, and put a single layer on a pizza crust; drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt, and sprinkle a bit of fine-diced onion. Bake at 375 for twenty minutes or so.
posted by ook at 6:34 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


You don't post with the reputation that you want, you post with the reputation you have, and I don't appreciate the apparent attempt to circumvent that absent an underlying change of heart... so I disagree quite strongly with mathowie's dispensation in this case.

She openly admits to being konolia and bunnyfire. She did it once again in this thread.

If she's trying to circumvent things, she's doing an absolutely brutal job of it. I think part of the reason the mods are so receptive to it is because she's not trying to hide her past, despite the amount of knee-jerk vitriol she takes virtually everywhere she goes. She is not the only poster whose opinions are so universally-hated around here, but she generally takes more flak than anyone for them because of her posting history, not because they're the most egregious offenses to logic of all time.

If she really wanted to avoid her past, she would've told nobody who she was. Hell, sixcolors could do that too if she really wanted. I'm sorry you didn't get the memo of who is who, but considering the majority of people in this thread seem to a) already know; and b) judge accordingly; it seems disingenuous to blame your lack of knowledge on the site moderators' judgment.
posted by Hiker at 6:35 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


even doing anything that.

EDIT WINDOW PLZ
posted by ook at 6:35 AM on April 14, 2010


Because I feel that my complaint is legitimate, notwithstanding the moderators' seeming contempt of it. Is it too much to ask for people to not engage in the exact same manner of disruption when given a brand new day?

People disagree with you, and have given evidence by links to show why they feel your assumption that St. Alia is disruptive (rather than presenting good faith commentary) is wrong. Take to heart your own wishes: Let yourself bend to that logic. You, too, are showing yourself immune to it. Heed your comment that internet arguments are futile, and decide against going apoplectic in the first place. That's the best way to avoid the big time waste you complained about.

Personally, I like St. Alia. Her name first came to my specific attention when she said something very kind to me just after my daughter's death. I recall she's a florist, and always look forward to comments about that - my husband used to be a florist. I know that she holds opinions that are like gas to a fire for people's opinions around here. But frankly, The Confessor, she speaks with a lot more courtesy than my short acquaintance with you has shown you to use. And you seem as blind to logic, evidence and persuasion as anyone could be. Pot meet kettle, I guess.

Do you have the integrity to admit to the speciousness of your call out?
posted by bunnycup at 6:42 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sometimes it's so hard to tell the sock puppets from the real puppets. it's like you need a scorecard or something.

and eggplant? how about some kale ideas?
posted by Max Power at 6:42 AM on April 14, 2010


Eggplant makes my mouth itch. So, basically, fuck eggplant.

I don't think you've thought about this plan as carefully as you should.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:45 AM on April 14, 2010 [25 favorites]


You're really just not a very pleasant person.

Is this really the best you can do? I know the irony thing has been done to death, but just because you disagree with The Confessor, and find his reasons presented in this thread to be unpleasant, perhaps you should refrain from passing judgement on him as a person when you're asking him to extend that courtesy to someone else.

I agree that this call-out wasn't really necessary, but, as I said above, konolia was no fainting violet unjustly trampled by the big mean liberal bullies on Metafilter. She regularly, persistently, and with malice aforethought spouted vile and hateful garbage about whole categories of people. Brand New Day is a nice idea, but just as you aren't expecting konolia to have magically changed, I'm not sure you can expect everyone who thought her schtick was awful to just forget it.
posted by OmieWise at 6:45 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


but, as I said above, konolia...

konolia was years ago, why are we still beating that dead horse?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:48 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


this has been done too many times for me to bother saying much about it - the people who refuse to let the past go are a bigger problem than st alia is

one day people may learn that ultimate, unambiguous victories only happen in the movies and games - this is neither, and you're not going to get what you want

let it go
posted by pyramid termite at 6:48 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


If this thread shows anything it's that eggplant should be called out, for being so bulbous, weird-feeling, strange-tasting and funny-coloured. And with a deceptive name and all. No WAY, I'm not eating THAT. Anything BUT. You can't make me. Eww, gross; take it away.

Sorry, just flashed back to adolescence. This threadEggplant has that effect on me.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:50 AM on April 14, 2010


but just because you disagree with The Confessor, and find his reasons presented in this thread to be unpleasant, perhaps you should refrain from passing judgement on him as a person when you're asking him to extend that courtesy to someone else.

You're right; I'll amend that.

The Confessor: The virtual construct of a person that you've created through use of your on-site alias presents himself as being, on the whole, extremely unpleasant.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:50 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Brand New Day policy has always stuck me as a remarkably clever way to embrace the fact that it's nearly impossible to keep people out of an online forum. Better to set clear guidelines on how to bring problematic users back and keep the drama down than to wrestle with technology that really doesn't do that well.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:57 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can't we all just get along? And craft?
posted by orange swan at 6:58 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


And, at the risk of making too fine a dice: When someone's behavior is bad, and that's the only problem, then Brand New Day can work fairly well as a method, with a pretty clear expectation that good folks should give the old user with the new name the benefit of the doubt. This case is a bit different.

konolia espoused views, NOT her standard issue Fox-news political views, but her views damning homosexuals to hellfire, that made her participation unacceptable to many users. It is not her fault, but it cannot have escaped even the notice of her defenders, that her views of hate and prejudice-mongering are often associated with her other set of political views in general practice. It was just 2004 when we had an election that turned in part on the association of rightist political candidates with the drive to deny rights to millions of Americans.

Even her defenders have acknowledged that St. Alia has probably not changed her views on these matters, so what’s at issue here is something a bit different then basic bad behavior. It’s a bit much to expect that folks won’t be sensitive to the fear that she’s smuggling her hate-mongering into discussions using different rhetoric. This is particularly true when her rhetorical style as a bigot was predicated on disingenuousness, to whit, claiming to only hate the sin and not the sinner. This is a problem different in kind from the issue of whether or not an inveterate thread-shitter is able to cut it out with a new user name, or someone who gets fighty about every little thing is able to reign that in when they get a Brand New Day.
posted by OmieWise at 7:00 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


site-alias = st. alia

Dude.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:01 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually really like the brand new day policy. I've been posting now for a few months as (A)H and (W)O and so far everybody's been very kind to me and has given me the benefit of the doubt, something I never felt was possible when I was posting as bevets.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:02 AM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


OH NO WHAT HAVE I DONE. MODS, PLEASE HELP????
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:02 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Confessor: “Because I feel that my complaint is legitimate, notwithstanding the moderators' seeming contempt of it. Is it too much to ask for people to not engage in the exact same manner of disruption when given a brand new day? Like I said, people should own their legacy or disavow it; I feel that this third way is dishonest, and the moderators' condoning such use of the policy makes this site dishonest to that extent.”

Er - okay, I know I was a bit harsh to begin with, but honestly, that was because it's apparent that you missed the gigantic shitfest we had here in meta a few months ago about this very topic. And, seriously - you should go over and at least browse it. I know it's been mentioned, but it should be underlined and highlighted.

Why? Because people - lots of people, a good half-dozen at least - raised precisely this same point about St. Alia, in fact with a lot more anger than I think you've got about it. People there expressed exactly the complaint you have - that St. Alia seems disingenuous, that she's not arguing in good faith, that she's abusing the BND policy, etc. And the mods sort of had to deal with that; their answer was something like "well, we've got nothing to go by but these simple rules, she hasn't technically broken any of them, so we're letting it go." But that's really a very truncated version of what went down.

Suffice it to say that there was much heated debate about this very topic. So I don't think the mods have contempt for your complaint, so much as they're familiar with it (quite) and already are pretty sure of the situation. In short: they pay close attention to the whole St. Alia situation, and if nothing has been done I'm pretty sure it means they think she hasn't broken any rules per se. And they're probably right.
posted by koeselitz at 7:04 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


konolia was years ago, why are we still beating that dead horse?

Because that's what this conversation is about?

(And konolia was a year and a half ago.)
posted by OmieWise at 7:04 AM on April 14, 2010


Max Power: "and eggplant? how about some kale ideas"

Fuck kale. It tastes like 1982. Throw it out the airlock.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:04 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


A year and a half in people years is forty years in internet years, OmieWise.

Anyway, I agree that St. Alia should just stop being Christian and presenting a Christian viewpoint at MetaFilter. And all of you who think my favorite band (Dio-era Black Sabbath!!!) sucks should also stop.
posted by Mister_A at 7:08 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


bunnycup: “But frankly, The Confessor, she speaks with a lot more courtesy than my short acquaintance with you has shown you to use.”

Not that this is a point against Alia or anything, but courtesy is overrated. Adults should be able to be honest with each other. And I've been to (evangelical) church enough to know that courtesy can be a powerful and manipulative tool that becomes a weapon in some hands.

Not that St. Alia is doing that, but it shouldn't necessarily be seen as a good thing. Frankly, I've grown to distrust courtesy; it always makes me feel like somebody's trying to get me to do something. I'd prefer it if people just said what they thought.
posted by koeselitz at 7:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck kale.

Oh, Ho, not so fast, my friend. Kale bruschetta is easy, delicious, and fabulous.

Steam some kale until done but chewy. (It should still have some bite.)

Cool and then wring as much water out as possible.

Broil or grill some thick slices of good bread.

Peel a few cloves of garlic.

Rub garlic on bread until the sharp crumbs grab as much garlic flavor as you think you can stand.

Put a heap of kale on top of the slice.

Drizzle with a generous serving of good strong olive oil.

Top with some coarse salt.

EAT!
posted by OmieWise at 7:11 AM on April 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


I don't hate anyone. I do disgree with certain views. And that is all I am going to say.

PS I have friends of all stripes, many of whom espouse views that are anathema to me. Some of these people even like cilantro. But I don't hold it against them.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:14 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Brand New Day is a nice idea, but just as you aren't expecting konolia to have magically changed, I'm not sure you can expect everyone who thought her schtick was awful to just forget it.

At some level this is the real problem. Whether or not StAotB ever says the crappy things she said under previous usernames, people remember what she said, felt hurt by what she said, and that hurt carries over to her new username because, really, they are the same person. Our approach, which is far from perfect, is the Brand New Day thing. So, we fully acknowledge that past behavior was so problematic as to basically not be allowed if that person wants to come back to MeFi [we've used it with a few other users, so this isn't something made specifically for konolia]. But also everyone has to sort of close the door on that whole set of interactions and give people an opportunity to start anew. Which means when the old arguments start up in threads, we shut them down. And people can come here if they want, but the everyone vs. her stuff is over for MetaFilter. No matter who still wants it. I am sorry.

And part of the problem is that I think people think that konolia left because she was banned which iirc was not true [though she had been banned before]. Or that people thought she was banned because she talked about religion a lot or wouldn't respond to arguments. None of that is accurate. There are certain things she can't talk about and actually sort of can't talk about talking about it beyond a certain point. Those are the terms. I'm not totally psyched about it, but there it is. It's a bit of work on our end [mostly dealing with people who think she shouldn't be here under any circumstances] and while I don't think you need to give us a cookie, I want people to realize that we do this because we think overall it's better for the community to not just hound out members they seem to not like, if those people want to be here and can abide by the general rules of the community.

That's the deal and StAotB is sticking to it. And she's still probelmatic as a user here, but so are lots of people. Her most annoying feature, however, is the pack of wolves who follow her around. I'm aware there are people who feel that the responsibility for that lies solely with her, but that is not my personal opinion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:15 AM on April 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


Can't we all just get along? And craft?

Is there an App for that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:15 AM on April 14, 2010


koeselitz, I'm with you that niceness at the expense of honesty is usually a loss. On the other hand, we have The Confessor spouting "What the fuck is wrong with you?" at people who disagree with his complaint that St. Alia's far better faith comments are inappropriate. My complaint is not about the use of "bad words", and not about saying we all have to be nice all the time even if it subverts real discussion, and more about perspective (and The Confessor's lack thereof). There's often a huge area between being a jerk and being honest-even-though-presenting-an-unpleasant-truth.
posted by bunnycup at 7:15 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The BND isn't a new "revolutionary name" assumed when you return from your reeducation, having corrected your wrongthink, disavowed all counter-MeFi opinions, and brought yourself into line with orthodox NeoMeFi Thought.
It's a mechanism to break the cycle of pavlovian fighty responses to posts based on the opinions that people think you have. If folks once again come to the conclusion that the opinions expressed by the person behind the new curtain are also those of a jerk, well, there might be something there.

Eggplant fries are pretty awesome.
posted by zamboni at 7:15 AM on April 14, 2010


Turn the other cheek, people.
posted by gman at 7:17 AM on April 14, 2010


Damn it's turning into CilantroFilter up in this piece.
posted by Mister_A at 7:20 AM on April 14, 2010


I saw some (not all) of the posters in that thread casually spout off opinions about people involved in the Tea Party movement, opinions they have simply because they saw pictures of SOME teapartiers or saw interviews of SOME teapartiers saying stupid stuff.

I just have such a hard time taking St. Alia's point on this, because I have been to like 500 Gay Pride marches in my life and the coverage is always so balanced, thorough, and fair-minded. The media never choose to print only pictures of the most dramatic drag queens, or that one couple in the full-time D/S relationship complete with collar and leash, or cigarette-smoking butches with tattoos of naked women all over their arms, or the two guys wearing NAMBLA t-shirts, to scare people or create controversy.

This is why I feel I can trust media depictions of Tea Party protesters 100% and why I think it's totally fair to have entire websites devoted to pictures of the ones with their signs spelled wrong or the keep-the-government-out-of-medicare logic. Because there's nobody there we might want to engage in conversation, or really listen to about their concerns, and because we know that the best way to change anybody's mind is to denigrate and make fun of them in public.

Actually, if I can mix a sarcastic post with a serious one, St. Alia's point there really did remind me of this. Some years ago I took a workshop on communicating with people who were freaked about gay and lesbian civil rights legislation, and the method was based on really listening to their concerns, responding to what was valid in their concerns, and then trying to offer them some new information that might help them let go of their concerns. A big one at that time was housing rights, and people were all like, "Will my grandmother who rents out her spare room have to let a Leather Daddy move in there and bring a different guy home every night to have loud sex with?" And in conversation with that person, you might respond to the very real concern about a person they perceived as vulnerable having to accommodate someone whose lifestyle made them really uncomfortable, make sure they knew you heard how worried they were for their grandma, and then point out that the proposed law explicitly didn't apply to roommate situations or house shares, but only to rending stand-alone apartments and houses. For instance.

Ever since then, I do try to hear the real concern underlying people's action, when I'm at my best, at least. So when St. Alia says, "I know some Tea Party types, they're working people who have been hurt by the economic downturn and they're frightened they and their loved ones will be hurt worse," well, that's worth listening to, isn't it? Don't liberals have some of the same fears? Couldn't that be a point of connection?

Sure, there are some people you will never be able to have a productive discussion with--we see proof of that here every day. But one first step might be becoming a person who can have a productive discussion about things you disagree with. For instance, when St. Alia mentioned that her husband has gone to Tea Party events, instead of jumping all over her, we might have said, "Oh, really? I haven't been to one. Can you say more about what it was like? What did he think of the mix of people? What kinds of things were said? As a conservative, what does he think of the potential influence of the Tea Party on Republicans?" We might have learned something.

Just like one of the best ways for people to have their minds changed about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals, perhaps liberals could take the opportunity when it presents itself to engage a real live conservative in a conversation about what her life is like, why she believes what she does. Agreement may not be possible; respect may well be, and relationship, and improved understanding, increased sympathy, and growth.
posted by not that girl at 7:20 AM on April 14, 2010 [111 favorites]


And thus the banality of evil reigns triumphant. Those claiming her Saintliness appear to have overlooked — or just don't care about — the abhorrent things she has said about homosexuality and the people who have left MeFi because she has been allowed to say those things.

But, hey, she's at least courteous while she supports hate.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:22 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


imo, i think the deal with St Alia is that a lot of people know a St Alia in real life (a family member, most likely) and she is a convenient punching bag/sparring partner.

She also gives the impression of somebody who is open-minded without actually being open-minded. So a lot of people must think "GODDAMN I've got her in a corner this time-- she'll have to agree with me." But she won't and she never will. She likes her reality and she's gonna stick with it. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
posted by empath at 7:22 AM on April 14, 2010


not that girl: flagged as fantastic comment. I hope to take this - "But one first step might be becoming a person who can have a productive discussion about things you disagree with" - deeply to heart. I wish I could put that sentence right above or below my 'Post Comment' button.
posted by bunnycup at 7:24 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a WEBSITE, people, not thunderdome.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:27 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just like one of the best ways for people to have their minds changed about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals, is to meet one, perhaps liberals...
posted by not that girl at 7:31 AM on April 14, 2010


Just throwing this out here:

a) It's good to have different ideologies, opinions, etc, represented on this site. Hell, in my opinion in the past two years we've done this huge lunge to the "left". Maybe we were already there and it's just all the politic stunt posts, but, honestly -- I'm totally on that side of the political framework, and even I would enjoy a counter (not simply contrarian, mind you) position now and then. Echo chambers are kind of meh.

b) My reading skills must be absolutely abhorrent because that thread had me do a double take. konolia = St. Alia?! What! I had invented a new voice in my head and everything for St. Alia. And I'm going to keep it, because you know what, it's a good voice.
posted by cavalier at 7:32 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]




Sure, there are some people you will never be able to have a productive discussion with--we see proof of that here every day. But one first step might be becoming a person who can have a productive discussion about things you disagree with.

Yeah, this. It wasn't that long ago (more than a year and a half, I guess) that like pretty much everyone on MetaFilter shit their pants with excitement over a guy claiming
It is that fundamental belief -- It is that fundamental belief: I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.

E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us -- the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of "anything goes." Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there’s the United States of America.

The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an "awesome God" in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end -- In the end -- In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?
and yet I'm afraid that a lot of us cheered at this sentiment because we wanted to use it as a weapon against those other folks. What the fuck, guys? Tea Partiers aren't our enemies, they're our countrymen (assuming you're American), no matter how dumb or ugly they are or how much they want to claim that we aren't their countrymen. The Tea Partiers are, to a large extent, a result of the continually fragmenting and polarized nature of politics in the US, aided by 24-hour news networks, the increasing of niche preaching-to-the-choir reading that the internet facilitates, and the fear and uncertainty that always comes when a people are progressing. If our reaction to a bunch of our countrymen saying dumb shit we disagree with is to point at them and laugh, or to dismiss them as evil and idiotic, we are participating in the degradation of the public rhetoric that creates the Tea Parties in the first place. I know this is some hackneyed shit. Love your enemies, blah blah blah. But vilifying and distancing yourself from everyone with whom you disagree, even with whom you violently disagree, doesn't help. And, to be honest, I have to respect St. Alia a fuckton for hanging around MetaFilter when we treat her this way so often, because, despite her disagreement with the vast majority here, she's not disengaging from those with whom she disagrees.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:44 AM on April 14, 2010 [23 favorites]


Can we just once have a referendum on people who needlessly endlessly call out SAotB/konolia every time she says "I like beets"? Because at this point they annoy me far, far more than SAotB.
posted by dw at 7:46 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish to call out dw for posting bork-assed links.
posted by Mister_A at 7:50 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


OhUh oh, now there's a cilantro thread on the blue. That cannot bode well.
posted by amro at 7:50 AM on April 14, 2010


OhUh? Uh oh.
posted by amro at 7:50 AM on April 14, 2010


not that girl: I totally have an internet crush on you right now. Very well said.
posted by JeffK at 7:52 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am experiencing flameout blueballs. Don't make me do it myself, ppl.
posted by everichon at 7:59 AM on April 14, 2010


OhUh? Uh oh.

I think amro just outed himself as a former New Kids on the Block singer. That's right out of The Right Stuff.

No Brand-New Day for you.
posted by Hiker at 7:59 AM on April 14, 2010


I see the female in your profile. LIES.
posted by Hiker at 8:00 AM on April 14, 2010


Why does every thread have to be about dios?
posted by chinston at 8:04 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


this has been done too many times for me to bother saying much about it - the people who refuse to let the past go are a bigger problem than st alia is

one day people may learn that ultimate, unambiguous victories only happen in the movies and games - this is neither, and you're not going to get what you want

let it go
posted by pyramid termite at 9:48 AM on April 14 [+] [!]


although it sometimes bothers me
i quite like
the way
that pyramid termite shuns capitalization,
periods

sometimes it makes his comments seem
a portion of some larger poetry
or zen-like prose
he shares it

with us

his wisdom

"you're not going to get what you want

let it go"



posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 8:05 AM on April 14, 2010


$5 SAIT
posted by blue_beetle at 8:05 AM on April 14, 2010


Maybe this has been addressed, but the "not allowed to talk about SUBJECT X or even talk about why you're not allowed to talk about SUBJECT X" thing seems kind of bizarre to me. Of course you're going to appear nicer if the part that made you contentious has been neutered. I think that if you create an identity here then you should deal with the consequences of your comments and actions; be those consequences defending your views, a mod-banning, disabling your own account or what have you. In general, I'd rather read offensive comments or ideas I disagree with from any member, knowing the full context of where they're coming from, rather than nice comments from a fake, muzzled version of that member.
posted by chococat at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I LIKE BEETS AND I DARE ANYONE TO CALL ME OUT ON IT
posted by nevercalm at 8:11 AM on April 14, 2010


zarq, I hope your son gets well soon.

That's kind of you. Thank you.

He has some sort of ugly-sounding Spring chest cold, coupled with an outbreak of hives and a moderate fever. We're watching it very closely as he was hospitalized for three days last September after a similar chest cold triggered a prolonged, severe asthma attack. But I'm pretty sure he'll be okay this time.
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on April 14, 2010


she's not disengaging from those with whom she disagrees.

While I applaud your general sentiment, your closing begs the question. The repeated, in good faith, criticism of St. Alia et al. is that she is present and talking, but that she's disengaged. By your formula Westboro Baptist Church is "not disengaging."

The problem with your overall sentiment is not that it's wrong, although I take some issue with how you've framed some of your oppositions, but that we're here talking about a specific case rooted in a specific history. You keep dismissing that history as irrelevant, but, again, this begs the question: that history is precisely why some people are upset. I'm not sure it helps matters to dismiss those concerns with history by suggesting that having them makes their bearers less tolerant of dissent or less evolved in their ability to engage in the public sphere.
posted by OmieWise at 8:14 AM on April 14, 2010


But one first step might be becoming a person who can have a productive discussion about things you disagree with.

I won't pretend that I am very good at this. But on the occasions I manage to do so, connections get made and I walk away feeling like I understand the other person a lot better.
posted by Forktine at 8:15 AM on April 14, 2010


not that girl: the method was based on really listening to their concerns, responding to what was valid in their concerns, and then trying to offer them some new information that might help them let go of their concerns.

logged back in just to favorite this. I have to remind myself every day that it's not about winning the argument, it's about living together.

ugh, corny.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:15 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


The repeated, in good faith, criticism of St. Alia et al. is that she is present and talking, but that she's disengaged. By your formula Westboro Baptist Church is "not disengaging."

Then maybe I didn't state myself very clearly. I'm not talking about being engaged by means of yelling slander in peoples' faces, and I certainly don't applaud all of the problematic behavior that St. Alia engaged in under previous guises. My point is that she's here at this particular site, despite disagreeing with the general politics of its members, because she doesn't allow disagreement with people to inform whether she wants to form a community with those people.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:20 AM on April 14, 2010


This reminds me of a cartoon I recently did.
posted by COBRA! at 8:22 AM on April 14, 2010 [13 favorites]


I like that cartoon!
posted by Mister_A at 8:26 AM on April 14, 2010


You keep dismissing that history as irrelevant, but, again, this begs the question: that history is precisely why some people are upset.

The South will rise again!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on April 14, 2010


That is a swell cartoon.

Now I want a veranda.
posted by cavalier at 8:28 AM on April 14, 2010


I'm not exactly sure what people are expecting the mods to do at this point. Whatever feelings you have about letting her come back from the previous banning, it has been done. At this point as St.Alia, she isn't engaging the same sort of behavior that caused trouble before. While people point to her history and say it is valid, it isn't in terms of what the mods can do. Since she isn't actively misbehaving the only reasons the mods could give for banning her would be along the lines of, "Nobody likes you here. Leave." That is a precedent that I imagine they would not want to set.
posted by charred husk at 8:30 AM on April 14, 2010


You keep dismissing that history as irrelevant, but, again, this begs the question: that history is precisely why some people are upset.

Also, this: Precisely the reason why this history is dismissed as irrelevant is because of the Brand New Day policy. People are upset at the articulations of the username konolia; that username is dead.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:32 AM on April 14, 2010


I've got to rub it.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 AM on April 14, 2010


The Confessor: You frequently say things I dislike. I think this callout is particularly stupid and harmful to MeFi. And yet I don't post a callout about you in MetaTalk, I just roll my eyes. You might try not being so sensitive and belligerent. Maybe get a little more sleep? Anyway, best of luck becoming a better MeFite.
posted by languagehat at 8:39 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


thanks, guys
posted by COBRA! at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2010


charred husk

Well, it might help if the moderators would allow posters to simply, dryly, mention her past as konolia in some of the more troublesome threads she participates in; knowledge of that might spare some people the fruitless pursuit of arguing her points.

shakespeherian

I disagree with your assessment of the konolia username as dead; jessamyn mentioned above that she was never banned for her behavior under that name, and it doesn't appear that St. Alia was ever intended as a moderator-endorsed clean slate.
posted by The Confessor at 8:44 AM on April 14, 2010


I was more offended by the well-meaning dude who implied that ditch diggers and welders were typically racist professions than by anything SAotB said in that thread.

I've disagreed with SAotB in the past; I've disagreed and argued with a lot of people, vociferously, for what I felt was shitty behavior, disingenuous nonsense, or general stupidity, and people have served it right back to me when they figured I deserved it. Yet the sheer number of MeTas about a member who, as much as a I disagree with what I understand to be her beliefs and opinions, doesn't come very close at all to getting on my Top Ten List of Disruptive MeFi Jerks*, tells me that there is something else at work here other than a well-intentioned, community-minded objection to someone behaving badly.

*I'm at 7!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:44 AM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Maybe this has been addressed, but the "not allowed to talk about SUBJECT X or even talk about why you're not allowed to talk about SUBJECT X" thing seems kind of bizarre to me.

It seems a little bizarre to us, too, for what it's worth, but it was the "our way or the highway" bright-line rule that she got handed if she wanted to be even allowed to continue spending time on this site. It was an agreement struck up years ago; I don't think I worked here at the time, but in any case it tied back to long history that predated my coming on board. We generally avoid talking about the SUBJECT X and have basically told her not to talk-about-not-talking-about-it because that just takes us right back to the central mess we were trying to put to bed in the first place; we've got zero interest in hearing more from her on the subject directly or indirectly, or in having a whole rehashed circus spring up on the subject.

More generally we've asked people to lay off on hobbyhorse x, y, or z at times over the years when a given user seemed to be stuck in a situation where everything they did here on the near side of the line was reasonably okay baseline mefi behavior but the way they dealt with the small handful of x/y/z stuff was very problematic. Problematic enough that they needed to choose between either continuing to be awful about that subject or continuing to be a member here.

Sometimes they cut the shit. Sometimes they leave. Sometimes they refuse to cut the shit and they get kicked out. It doesn't happen much in any case, and it always sucks when we get stuck in that sort of ultimatum situation with someone, but with a site this big it's a given that it's gonna happen sometimes. St. Alia is one of the high-water marks for the visibility of the build-up to, and the process of working out, that particular shape-up-or-ship-out dance, but she's not unique there.

St. Alia managed to cut the shit when we put it on the line like that. As far as that goes she's holding up her end of the bargain; if she hadn't, she'd have been out of here and I'd have no apology for that at all.

Which leaves us where we are now: a person with a bad reputation in large part because of some distinctly shitty stuff she'd said years ago. The shit we told her to cut out, that she did cut out, is part of why a lot of people dislike/distrust her, and I don't blame them for that, but bringing it up again and again as a justification for being shitty and disruptive and responsive out of proportion with anything she's actually saying currently is not okay. If she ever picks up that old gauntlet again again, let's talk about it then, but otherwise just move on. Pretend she doesn't exist if you have to, but let it go.

That she's a lousy interlocutor, that she often doesn't hold up her end of the conversation in political or religious discussion or engages in selective reading or responds to counter-arguments with lightweight dodges or whatever: not grounds for a freakout. I'd say it's grounds for not bothering to spend time arguing with her, and, again, leave it at that. In the last year we've had to deal with a lot more collective reacting-to-the-specter-of-konolia bullshit from other people than actual St. Alia-being-a-problem stuff, and I wish to hell that would stop.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2010 [12 favorites]


I hated that cartoon because I have a stoop, not a veranda. Why you gotta be so STOOP-IST?

I'm lying. I liked the cartoon a lot. I do in fact have a stoop. I also have a backyard, which is where I sit when I'm tired of arguing with people on the internet. Unless it's raining. Or foggy. Then I sit inside.
posted by rtha at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, it might help if the moderators would allow posters to simply, dryly, mention her past as konolia in some of the more troublesome threads she participates in; knowledge of that might spare some people the fruitless pursuit of arguing her points.

The distinction between a truly germane "for context, you need to understand that St. Alia previously went by the name konolia" and a driveby "oh, yeah, well that's just what I'd expect from konolia!" thing is fuzzy under even the best conditions. The latter sort of thing is something we're pretty much not okay with, regardless of who it is, not because it's some sort of carefully guarded secret that she in particular has had multiple accounts but because that sort of "oh yeah well what about [posting-history spelunking]" stuff is shitty in general and not something we want to see happening.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:50 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Confessor do you have the integrity, the guts, the nerves of steel and the moral fiber to make a good faith reply to all the points brought against your argument in this thread?! WHY NOT, THE INTERNET DEMANDS YOUR REBUTTAL?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


cortex

I wanted to specify in following up that suggestion, that none of the comments deleted by jessamyn in that thread - my own contribution included - were sufficiently dry in their assessment to qualify as the sort of "heads up" I'd appreciate being allowed.

And I hope you'll agree that there is a difference between "spelunking" in profile history and stating obvious points about the nature of her usual manner of participation in threads.
posted by The Confessor at 9:01 AM on April 14, 2010


"I disagree with your assessment of the konolia username as dead; jessamyn mentioned above that she was never banned for her behavior under that name, and it doesn't appear that St. Alia was ever intended as a moderator-endorsed clean slate."

As konolia, she was like the posting-dead.

See: trailing pack of wolves.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:04 AM on April 14, 2010


The distinction between a truly germane "for context, you need to understand that St. Alia previously went by the name konolia" and a driveby "oh, yeah, well that's just what I'd expect from konolia!" thing is fuzzy under even the best conditions.

There's also the complete opposite effect, where people who wouldn't bother to get in a fight with one of the Big Five (or whomever) suddenly find themselves confronting someone who knows how to push all these buttons and isn't wearing an "avoid at all costs" infamous moniker. Which is why I think I was accused recently of axe-grinding with my "internet nemesis"* when, to me, it was just some semi-random MeFite who had said something that really rubbed me the wrong way. That being said, our interaction during and after was civil. Her previous username is just one of about a half dozen I recognize but have no first hand association with. (Though sixcolors? Maybe I was taking a break from the blue during her tenure as I have no memory of her at all)

* Ok, dude she's NOT my nemesis. My nemesis is Captain Hammer.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:07 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


People are upset at the articulations of the username konolia; that username is dead.

Well, I have found myself in a bit of a strange situation throughout this thread. While I don't really support this callout per se, and I think that the Brand New Day policy is a good one, and I’m not that bothered by St. Alia’s continued participation in the site, I also think that some of the reactions to St. Alia are understandable. I’ve tried to explain why above: it’s because when St. Alia doesn’t spew konolia’s hate, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t believe it. People instinctively understand that, and it’s a qualitatively different experience than not having to put up with AlexReynolds’ petulance once he came back with a new user name. In the latter case the behavior had no ramification beyond MetaFilter, in the former they were part and parcel of an attempt to oppress and destroy a group of our fellow citizens.

Now, I don’t really recognize The Confessor. He’s never popped up on my radar as someone to pay attention to, despite the amount of attention I pay to MetaFilter, so I have no preconceived opinion about whether or not he’s a jerk. But while his callout may have been ill-advised, I don’t think that makes him a jerk, and I also, frankly, don’t think he deserves the amount of grief he’s gotten for trying to explore what it means to have a Brand New Day policy on the site that someone like St. Alia gets to take part in. There’s a valid and good conversation to be had about these issues, and my position throughout has been that the mere existence of the Brand New Day policy does not obviate that discussion.

One thing I’m struck by, particularly from you, shakesperian, is that several people in this thread have seemed to suggest that giving St. Alia the benefit of the doubt, and trying to “engage” her, are important exercises. Some of those same people, however, have seemed to want to pillory The Confessor for not only starting this thread, but for repeatedly stating his position in it. I understand what happens when one starts a MeTa thread, but it’s a strange situation when The Confessor is being mocked and called a jerk because he won’t respectfully engage dissent.
posted by OmieWise at 9:09 AM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


REBUTTALS LOL
posted by rtha at 9:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oops, I forgot this part:
All of that said, as usual, I appreciate the forthright statements by the mods, and I agree that folks should not be following St. Alia around and harassing her on the site. My comments about understanding apply to this thread and its existence, not to some larger continual reminder of the relationship between the two user names.
posted by OmieWise at 9:11 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I hope you'll agree that there is a difference between "spelunking" in profile history and stating obvious points about the nature of her usual manner of participation in threads.

This is the sort of "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" territory. A mention of "this user used to be that user" isn't in and of itself an auto-delete from our perspective but there would have to be some damned good reasoning why it was even necessary.

As it was, the deleted comment [besides the "oh this will go well" threadshitting] was a full on copy of someone else's comment from months ago being completely over the top shitty. The comment was on topic and in MeTa so it was barely okay. It was not okay for MeFi which was where it was reposted, complete with attached favorites number for added "fuck you." So it was a speedy delete and comments replying to it and quoting it were likewise excised. So as of now, I'm not in a solid position to know how one might make this sort of mention without it being extremely problmatic, but the comments in the thread were now talking about were not even borderline they were 100% Not Okay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:13 AM on April 14, 2010


And I hope you'll agree that there is a difference between "spelunking" in profile history and stating obvious points about the nature of her usual manner of participation in threads.

What I think is that there's a difference between the rare situations where breaking away from the "don't go pulling old shit into current discussions" expectations actually makes some kind of sense and what habitually happens with, among other people, St. Alia. We see what I think of as an okay/justified version of it very rarely. I have a hard time even nailing down in abstract what that sort of situation would be—its sort of a We Know It When We See It thing, and we see very little of it.

Generally I just see very little need for it, with St. Alia/konolia/bunnyfire or with anyone else. Certainly I see no need to make some sort of explicit positive grant that "sure, you are officially allowed to go into threads where St. Alia is active and talk about her past accounts". We discourage that sort of thing, period, and I don't see a reason to make an exception of it in her case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:14 AM on April 14, 2010


OmieWise, I don't think you have correctly stated my participation in this thread. My reaction to The Confessor is not due to his starting this thread or for repeatedly stating his position in it, it's for the way in which he has willfully assumed the worst of a member of this community and behaved in (to my eyes) exactly the manner that he ascribes to her. I haven't called anyone a jerk; I did say that The Confessor is behaving unpleasantly, and I stand by that description.

I’ve tried to explain why above: it’s because when St. Alia doesn’t spew konolia’s hate, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t believe it. People instinctively understand that

I think this is a pretty big problem here. I understand that people are doing this, but I don't think that's how this community is supposed to function. Under the comment box on every thread on the blue, it says, in tiny letters, Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site. If the reason that people go apoplectic when St. Alia posts something that's reasonably innocuous, then they are not focusing on the issues and topics and facts at hand-- they're focusing on another member of the site, and making assumptions about what she *really* means and thinks about whatever the given topic is. That isn't an attitude conducive to conversation. Yes, we are a community in which we are slowly learning about one another, but I don't think reading konolia's problematic history into every comment that St. Alia makes falls under the category of healthy and respectful.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:22 AM on April 14, 2010


I have a veranda. I should sit on it more. (OK, I call it a porch, but I'm a non-Southerner living in Atlanta, so I claim the name.)

Y'all come. I have a fresh bottle of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka if you'd like to sit and chat.
posted by catlet at 9:27 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


AT this point I am extremely tempted to put on some bunny ears, slap a big pancake on my head, take a picture of myself, and mail it to the mods as some kind of antimascot or something.

This whole thing is ridiculous.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:27 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Y'all come. I have a fresh bottle of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka if you'd like to sit and chat.

I want to go to there.
posted by Think_Long at 9:29 AM on April 14, 2010


I grew up in a religious household, and my parents were very worried about their kids coming into contact with ideas they found objectionable. I am the person I am because I had contact with the ideas they feared so much. Ideas are only scary to people who have reason to doubt their own worldview. If your worldview is so precious to you that you feel the need to avoid opinions that are diametrically opposed to it I would say you've spent to much time cultivating a predetermined worldview and not enough time challenging it or yourself.
posted by nola at 9:33 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


This whole thing is ridiculous.

With respect, lots of people here think it is not at all ridiculous. Unless you are actually trying to start a fight in a thread we are actively trying to keep civil, I'd suggest you either sincerely engage or step away please.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:35 AM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


Having complained of my inability to find an eggplant recipe I like in the cilantro thread, I have now found the best responses ever in this most unlikely of places. This is why I love MetaFilter.
posted by thivaia at 9:38 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, we are a community in which we are slowly learning about one another, but I don't think reading konolia's problematic history into every comment that St. Alia makes falls under the category of healthy and respectful.

Yes, I agree with you. I also see why it might be hard for some people to let it go.

I appreciate this conversation with you, but I have to be honest, I'm pretty perturbed at your rhetorical stance. You keep presenting yourself as eminently reasonable, and in want of honest debate, but you continue to not address how you think people should handle the content of St. Alia's statements under another username. Your prescription is to just pretend like they never occurred, which, as I've said, seems to me to beg the question. I understand that that's your prescription, I just don't think it's an adequate answer to the question posed here. I'd feel better if you explained why it is, not just why you think it would be best.

Also, and this contributes to my pique, when you say this: I haven't called anyone a jerk; I did say that The Confessor is behaving unpleasantly, and I stand by that description, you're being disingenuous. You called him an unpleasant person, and then, in a non-apology, you called his internet persona "extremely unpleasant." In the context of your disagreement with him. If you made a mistake there, fine, that's no big deal. But if your call is for reasonable discourse then you should at least try to aspire to the same yourself.
posted by OmieWise at 9:39 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


How to Fuck an Eggplant
posted by homunculus at 9:43 AM on April 14, 2010


On the eggplant question: Eggplant Parmesan is a thousand times better when made with panko.

On the kale: The current favored preparation here at Casa Klang is to saute onions with New Mexico chiles (California for milder spice), cumin, then to add coarsely chopped kale, with salt and pepper to taste. It's pretty quick. You can also go with garlic and marjoram instead of chile and cumin. But it takes about 20 minutes, maybe a little longer depending on your prep speed.

For a quick three part meal, that chile kale is great with a boil-in-a-bag Indian dish from Minute Korma which I don't happen to have on hand, so I can't tell you the specific name, but it's a North Indian kidney bean dish. We make that, some rice, the kale, and then usually fry up some fake-chicken nuggets to have a global cuisine version of Southern food (with the kale for the collards, the kidney beans for the red beans, and our soy protein for the fried chicken).

You are, of course, welcome to substitute at will, especially since many of you eat real chicken which may be more satisfying for you.
posted by klangklangston at 9:46 AM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


I understand that that's your prescription, I just don't think it's an adequate answer to the question posed here.

It seems to me that this is less shakespeherian's prescription and more site policy. Why would we be trying to "handle the content of St. Alia's statements under another username" except in threads where it's explicitly the topic at hand?
posted by restless_nomad at 9:46 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ideas are only scary to people who have reason to doubt their own worldview.

Well, ideas can also be scary even when they don't threaten your worldview at all, but still form part of an ideology that finds expression in political control that can drastically change your experience of justice as a citizen. That's beside the topic, though.

I think what cortex said about not bothering to engage people who don't argue in good faith is just an excellent policy all around, and has served me well.
posted by Miko at 9:47 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the girlfriend makes a pretty tasty kale and Parmesan polenta, but like all things polenta, when I try to make it I fuck it up inexplicably.
posted by klangklangston at 9:47 AM on April 14, 2010


Jessamyn, it IS ridiculous. Some people are using my persona as a lightning rod and now for the second time-second time! I wake up with someone having emailed me to let me know that again, I am the topic of a thread.

Simply because I had the utter gall to mildly point out that it was not cool to paint a whole group of people with the same negative brush?

I think that needs to stop. Not just for me but for anyone who would like to express an opinion not held by the majority on this site. Or maybe let me rephrase that-the vocal majority. Because in a website this size I know that there have to be tons of divergent opinions and probably many people who may feel intimidated to speak up in places they diverge for fear they get this sort of treatment. That makes the site poorer in many ways. What can and should be a resource for us all to learn and grow or at least gain understanding from folks different than us turns into the proverbial gradeschool playground. I don't particularly like it but I have gotten incredibly used to it for myself-but why should anyone be afraid to post something they think here?

Don't kid yourself if you think this sort of onsite behavior doesn't intimidate others. And that just ain't right.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:48 AM on April 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


i admit to not having read much of this thread because of GRARS but i wanted to say that the Brand New Day policy is one of my favorite aspects of the metafilter community policy.

Having been a mod and been modded in several different ways over the years my understanding is that with Heavily Moderated forums, a lot of rules are going to get broken and posts deleted and users squiggled about. Especially in the case (but not limited to it) where posters get banned often, there needs to be a reset button so that people who totally fuck up at first or suddenly (clueless self-linkers, fighty/drinky ideologues, very bad joke makers, flouncy flameouters and lost 4chan trolls) get a chance to start over without the baggage of their past failures and sins. This is the internet, land of new identities, where not only are there second acts but often several plays onstage at the same time. Given that nothing is entirely real, or else real in a different way than my bald head and bad eyes, the continuity of personality is as illusory as the images we hold of what posters might actually look like based on their avatars and writing styles. As far as I am concerned New Name = New Person, in every sense that is meaningful.

So I'm saying, good on ya, BND Policy. You rock.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:49 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


how you think people should handle the content of St. Alia's statements under another username.

Based on Confessor's and other reactions to Alia in the Tea Party thread, the problem is that they're still arguing about old subjects or what they perceive Alia has done or is thinking rather than actual reality, no matter what Alia says.

At this point it seems as if she could say "Bacon is delicious" and someone would chime in about an old argument. It's distracting, causes thread drift and always seems to end up in a shit storm. Let it go and deal with the things she says and does today.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:50 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I hate eggplant, HATE IT. My mom made Eggplant Parmesan when I was kid and remember thinking "Yum, lasagna!" The pure shock and horror as I slowly realized that the warm mush in my mouth was not the previously known and loved dish has forever scarred me on all things eggplant. Plus it just looks and sounds weird.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:55 AM on April 14, 2010


This thread disgusts me. People questioning the integrity of eggplant and kale for god's sake. (mutter mutter)
posted by ifjuly at 9:56 AM on April 14, 2010


Are you running for mod Brandon Blatcher?
posted by Mister_A at 9:56 AM on April 14, 2010


I suppose I haven't addressed how I think people should handle the content of St. Alia's statements under another username, but I wasn't aware I had been asked to provide such a recommendation (this isn't to say no one has asked me; if they have, I apologize for missing it). My recommendation, if I have to make one, is to adhere to the site guidelines: respond to what she says, and not to what she said several years ago under a defunct account that the mods have declared BND on. If St. Alia says 'All dog owners are going to hell, and we'll see how much they love dogs then!' I will be the first in the thread to call her out. But if St. Alia says 'My husband has been to Tea Party rallies and isn't a racist, so calling all Tea Partiers racists is incorrect,' I don't think it makes any sense to say 'Oh yeah you would say that because of your position on dog owners' or whathaveyou. I'm not suggesting that anyone needs to forget who she is, but they need to stay on-topic in threads, and the topic is never, ever the posting history of another member. To be honest, I don't really see, except in a few specific circumstances, why it would ever be necessary to bring up a user's posting history in order to discuss a given topic with them; for the most part, whenever I see that happening, it's because someone is being ax-grindy. And if St. Alia is talking about a subject to which her problematic posting history is germane, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that that is considered a violation of her BND agreement with the mods, and can be called out as such.

I did call The Confessor an unpleasant person, you are correct. I probably shouldn't have, but at the time the difference between behaving unpleasantly and being unpleasant seemed thin and marginal. I apologize for the snarky follow-up. I make no claims to hold myself up as an example of reasonable discourse.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 AM on April 14, 2010


I cooked this recipe last weekend:

Roasted Eggplant Aubergine Soup

Ingredients
3 medium tomatoes, halved
1 (1 1/2 lb) eggplants, halved lengthwise
1 small onion, halved
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, chopped
4 cups chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth (or more)
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Brush vegetables with oil. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 45 minutes.

3. Remove from oven.

4. Scoop eggplant from skin into heavy large saucepan; discard skin. Add remaining roasted vegetables and thyme to same saucepan.

5. Add 4 cups chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes.

6. Cool slightly.

7. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.

8. Stir in cream. Bring to simmer, thinning with more stock, if desired.

9. Season soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls.

10. Sprinkle with goat cheese; serve.


Notes: I used evaporated milk instead of whipping cream, and left out the cheese. The comments on the recipe suggest using white wine as a cream substitute, but since I had the evaporated milk, I didn't bother. I also included a little bit of zucchini, which didn't seem to affect the final texture. My wife added some feta to her serving, and said it worked well.
posted by zarq at 9:57 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter: This whole thing is ridiculous.
posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on April 14, 2010


Eggplant recipes are the new Treaty of Westphalia!
posted by Mister_A at 9:59 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, ideas can also be scary even when they don't threaten your worldview at all, but still form part of an ideology that finds expression in political control that can drastically change your experience of justice as a citizen. That's beside the topic, though.

As you pointed out at the end of you comment ;That's beside the topic, though.

Right you are, my apologies for getting off topic. But I should say it is somewhat related. I agree ideas that are implemented in world beyond the internet can be very upsetting, I just think here online is the very best place to be sharing them with each other before it ends up in the real world.
posted by nola at 9:59 AM on April 14, 2010


you think these people are racist because they are conservatives

The problem is, that's a reasonably valid inference to make. Conservatives are definitively more likely to harbor racist attitudes.

I was curious, so I downloaded the pooled National Election Studies that have samples of the US adult population from 1948--2004 and ran some numbers. The correlations between self-declared ideology and various statements that combine to an index of racial resentment are high.

That doesn't mean that all conservatives are racist, and nobody said that was the case. But there's not much use in pretending that the strong correlations between conservatism and racist attitudes aren't there. Because they are, and they're easily verified by anyone with an ICPSR login.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:00 AM on April 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


*walks past active thread* Oh hey guys what are you doing in- *opens doors, finds 4 dead monkeys, neon paint on the walls, a bucket of goat blood and a mad-eyed man crushing eggs with his bare feet*

*backs away slowly, runs*
posted by The Whelk at 10:04 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Simply because I had the utter gall to mildly point out that it was not cool to paint a whole group of people with the same negative brush?

The Tea Bag Party is made up of racists and homophobes and denying that fact will result in people calling you on it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


You people suck. I have both Brand New Day and cilantro threads in my recent activity. I expect to be able to tell one from the other. Get yer recipes out of here.

Also: goat cheese, yes; eggplant, NO.

op: ah, but the Tea Party by any other name would smell as sweet.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:08 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Simply because I had the utter gall to mildly point out that it was not cool to paint a whole group of people with the same negative brush?

Heh, ironic.
posted by amro at 10:08 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Based on Confessor's and other reactions to Alia in the Tea Party thread, the problem is that they're still arguing about old subjects or what they perceive Alia has done or is thinking rather than actual reality, no matter what Alia says.

I agree, and I won't use the r-word but I will say I have a strong uneasiness with the idea that we are countenancing a callout and exhumation of past behavior in this context. I don't see an allegation that St. Alia broke site rules (or even just skirted them, or otherwise acted in poor faith or disingenuously) in the Tea Party thread.

By way of background, I am hanging a lot on The Confessor's admission that he was going to go "apoplectic" and I interpret that to mean that he was going to post a scathingly angry, really emotional tirade. That's what "apoplectic" means to me in that context. He wrote it but didn't post. He's angry he wasted his time writing it in the first place.

How does that give rise to an appropriate occasion to exhume konolia and heavily criticize St. Alia today? Why is she under the microscope for this - a really uncomfortable place to be. Why are we doing this again? Unless there's an allegation that (for lack of a better descriptor) konolia-like stuff is going on, why is The Confessors apoplectic anger her fault? She's not beholden to write comments that everyone will agree with.

Yes, I understand, the-same-person-under-a-different name said bad things. We put that behind us. Now, the-same-person-under-a-new-name is not saying bad things. We can talk about why and how we forgive and BND's, but again it makes me uneasy the way we are doing it. Because, as I understand/interpret it, The Confessor's reaction was not triggered by site-guideline-breaking behavior. Although St. Alia is being defended by some, and there is a good faith discussion taking place as well, it just seems a little mob justice in the way it's related back to St. Alia, here.

tl;dr, I wouldn't be made uneasy if this was just a BND discussion. But because it was triggered by, and is set in the context of, a callout (undeserved, imo), I am uneasy.
posted by bunnycup at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2010


MetaFilterTalk: This whole thing is ridiculous.

I think that needs to stop. Not just for me but for anyone who would like to express an opinion not held by the majority on this site.

I gotta agree with this one. The shouting down and pile-ons are getting old.
posted by Big_B at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, this is totally not healthy for you, but is a recent favorite in our house:

Sopapilla Pie

Ingredients
•2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
•1 cup white sugar
•1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
•2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
•3/4 cup white sugar
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 cup butter, room temperature
•1/4 cup honey

Directions
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Beat the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth.
3. Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape each piece into 9x13 inch rectangles. Press one piece into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough. Stir together 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Dot the mixture over the top of the cheesecake.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 squares.
posted by Big_B at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [16 favorites]


Roasted Eggplant Aubergine Soup

What? Eggplants are aubergines, and aubergines are eggplants. So this is Roasted Eggplant Eggplant Soup? Weird.

*follows link*

I see. It's Roasted Eggplant (Aubergine) Soup. Why you gotta be all PARENTHESES-IST, zarq?
posted by rtha at 10:11 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Big_B—That's like the Latino cake that's halfway between pound cake and cheese cake, right?
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 AM on April 14, 2010


I see. It's Roasted Eggplant (Aubergine) Soup. Why you gotta be all PARENTHESES-IST, zarq?

Ze First Parentheses Wuz Eated By Ze Roaming Killer Eggplantz.

Ze Second Parentheses Wuz Eated By Ze Ravenous Auber... Auborr... Aubergee... Auburnjee... uh... PURPLE Beastie of Ze Metafilterz.
posted by zarq at 10:20 AM on April 14, 2010


I had some leftover garlicly lamb from Sunday so I took some sour cream, chopped in mint and cilantro, got out some spinach, and just stuffed everything into a toasted pita. It was like a middle-eastern taco. Yum.
posted by The Whelk at 10:22 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


the deleted comment [besides the "oh this will go well" threadshitting] was a full on copy of someone else's comment from months ago being completely over the top shitty. The comment was on topic and in MeTa so it was barely okay. It was not okay for MeFi which was where it was reposted, complete with attached favorites number for added "fuck you." So it was a speedy delete and comments replying to it and quoting it were likewise excised.

I (re)posted the comment in question. I don't agree with your characterization, jessamyn, of the worth of the comment in its context; I especially don't agree, and don't appreciate, your unwarranted speculation about my intentions in posting it. I have zero history with Alia in any of her incarnations, and negligible history of being a problem in general, I think.

I have a viewpoint about the role that Alia plays in our community, and the way in which she is moderated, that differs from the opinion of the moderators. I don't have an interest in re-hashing that argument. I was watching yet another thread spiral into Alia vs. the world via what is in my opinion extremely effective trolling on the part of Alia; my repost of the old comment, which in my opinion is not shitty and in fact brilliant, powerful, and true, was a ham-fisted attempt to remind people not to engage with her in that way. I think for that purpose it was clumsy, ill-considered, and ineffective.

I agree with you, jessamyn, that the comment should have been deleted. I don't agree with you with regard to almost anything else on this cluster of issues, but I'll resume keeping those opinions to myself, starting now.
posted by Kwine at 10:24 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. Between SAotB and BP related firefests, I think it's about time to invest in some flame retardant screen coverings.
posted by TomMelee at 10:25 AM on April 14, 2010


It was like a middle-eastern taco

Or like shawarma.
posted by amro at 10:26 AM on April 14, 2010


Are you running for mod Brandon Blatcher?

Can't, the loyalty oath stipulates eggplant at least once a year.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:27 AM on April 14, 2010


Or like shawarma.

You people never let me have anything.
posted by The Whelk at 10:29 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can't, the loyalty oath stipulates eggplant at least once a year.

How does an eggplant swear a loyalty oath?






I've had just under two hours of sleep, by the way. :D
posted by zarq at 10:29 AM on April 14, 2010


Not just for me but for anyone who would like to express an opinion not held by the majority on this site.

Having unpopular opinions does not protect you from people complaining about you on MetaTalk, nor should it. We have said that yes is it Official Policy to stop the pile-ons against you and other people. We are moving in our slow motion way to make that real for everyone, not just the people who agree with us. It is hard work. It is made easier by people being civil and not dismissing others' opinions out of hand and sincerely engaging with others on the site. It's important to be able to distinguish between what is legitimate criticism and what is a pile-on. People with both popular and unpopular opinions deal with criticism on this site daily; it's a crabby bunch of people. We try hard, however, to keep the pile-ons and the GRAR down. No bullying and harassment as much as we have that ability.

I'm not saying you have to sit around and listen to it, but that if you're trying to be part of the conversation instead of just adding a drive-by opinion to the thread (as some people have accused you of doing pretty methodically, an opinion that you are welcome to take to heart or ignore) you might want to use your words and not just act like you're not taking this seriously.

I am in an uncomfortable position regarding this whole topic, generally speaking. This is something that would make this easier. We have many people who express a variety of minority opinions on this site regularly who do not seem to have a terrible time of it. Not a ton, but some. It is my opinion that there is something besides holding minority opinions that makes site interactions incredibly difficult for some people. It is possible that I have blinders on about that. But I'm trying to explain my personal and mod feelings and my actions to the best of my ability.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:29 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


The other night, we ordered flan for dessert. When our server asked "How is everything?" I said, "FLAN-TASTIC!" with jazz hands. I was very proud of myself. My wife turned to the server and said, "He's been planning that joke for two weeks."
posted by mattdidthat at 10:31 AM on April 14, 2010 [39 favorites]


"Your prescription is to just pretend like they never occurred, which, as I've said, seems to me to beg the question. I understand that that's your prescription, I just don't think it's an adequate answer to the question posed here."

The thing is, they're really rarely germane to the argument.

Look, much love to y'all, but part of the problem here is that it's a different skill to polemicize or demagogue or even disagree than it is to argue, and a lot of the folks here—even smart, witty folks—are more passionate advocates than good arguers.

To move this out of the MeFi realm and into the personal (well, they've both got accounts, but whatever): My mother is good at some arguing; my father is good at nearly all arguing. My mother is skilled particularly in art theory, where she can fairly dispassionately take either side and make a compelling argument, regardless of what she believes on any given point. While that's not all there is to arguing—it's best when it's tied to a passionate advocacy of a point that you do believe in—it's a pretty decent test of rhetorical skill. That's why everyone had to do those high school exercises where you took the opposite position and tried to make it convincing. But when it starts to get outside of my mother's areas of expertise, she makes arguments that are emotionally satisfying but not tremendously rigorous, which is generally fine because what matters isn't convincing someone else, it's reaffirming her beliefs and positions and she's usually around other people who agree with her that Bush should be prosecuted for war crimes or whatever.

I see a lot of this on Metafilter, where what people really want isn't an argument. A good argument is hard work, and a really good argument is usually more work than I'm willing to put in for Metafilter (because it involves actual research, analysis and synthesis) especially if it's not something I feel passionately about. But I can generally realize when I'm putting up a weak argument, and God, when I reread some of my older comments (before I started italicizing, particularly), a lot of it is more heat than light. Plenty of people agree, but that's not really the standard of a good argument.

What happens on Metafilter is that often when two people get into a spat, neither one of them are particularly skilled rhetorically, and it changes from a clash of ideas to a clash of passions. I do have to say that I don't think St. Alia is good at arguing at all, but I don't think that makes her a bad person. There are plenty of folks on this site who I agree with who I think are terrible at arguing their positions and points (especially because something can be witty and snarky and still a terrible argument, which I tend to believe favorites amplify).

So, then, plenty of folks believe that old positions are germane to arguments because those old positions allow emotional point scoring outside of their rhetorical utility. I've been blunt with St. Alia before, and I'll probably be blunt with her again, but that she used to be Konolia is never really germane except when she's directly contradicting her older views—and since I tend to disagree strongly with a lot of those older views, the only time that I'd care that she'd contradict them is if she claimed she never held them, and even then, that'd still be evidence of persuasion. Otherwise, it's fine to clash with what she said there, immediately, but her old usernames are only a distraction and appeal to emotion.
posted by klangklangston at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2010 [26 favorites]


Just curious, because this word has been mentioned a few times so far in this thread...

Does trolling require intent? Or is it something that happens as a result of (reckless) behavior? In other words, if I say inflammatory things because I'm trying to get a rise out of people vs. saying those things because I don't know how to be civil on the internet or some other such reason, do both of those constitute trolling?

Calling somebody a troll, or accusing them of trolling, means two very different things based on how you define the terms. I suspect that we're not even in agreement about what a troll is, more or less whether somebody is or isn't one.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:33 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, eggplant can be awesome in a good baingan bharta. But those are relatively rare, and often too mushy.
posted by klangklangston at 10:34 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Big_B—That's like the Latino cake that's halfway between pound cake and cheese cake, right?

Hmm I've never heard of that! We got invited to a Mexican themed dinner and said we would bring dessert, with the intention of making sopapillas. Then we realized transporting sopapillas or a frying apparatus was going to be problematic, so I found this recipe online and went with that. It was a hit.
posted by Big_B at 10:35 AM on April 14, 2010


mattdidthat: "232The other night, we ordered flan for dessert. When our server asked "How is everything?" I said, "FLAN-TASTIC!" with jazz hands. I was very proud of myself. My wife turned to the server and said, "He's been planning that joke for two weeks."

HAHA. That made me laugh. Twice.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:35 AM on April 14, 2010


"I had some leftover garlicly lamb from Sunday so I took some sour cream, chopped in mint and cilantro, got out some spinach, and just stuffed everything into a toasted pita. It was like a middle-eastern taco. Yum"

I've pretty much stopped buying sour cream and instead substitute greek yogurt into everything.

And one of the dishes I miss most from my hometown was one that used to be served at Art Fair (the only reason to go down to Art Fair, because otherwise it was just a fucking hellhole of slow, stupid crowds) was pakora with chutneys on a bed of lettuce and biryani in a pita.

Man, I kinda want to get a food truck. I think that'd be awesome.
posted by klangklangston at 10:39 AM on April 14, 2010


I wanted to use greek yogurt but it was the Saturday rush and all they had left where huge tubs or "honey-added" and ugh.
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 AM on April 14, 2010


"Hmm I've never heard of that! We got invited to a Mexican themed dinner and said we would bring dessert, with the intention of making sopapillas. Then we realized transporting sopapillas or a frying apparatus was going to be problematic, so I found this recipe online and went with that. It was a hit."

This is more what I was thinking of. There's a Guatemalan panaceria down the block that makes it fantastically, though I don't know what they call it. They also make some of my favorite huevos rancheros, with a really thin, vinegary chile sauce.
posted by klangklangston at 10:48 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a bad callout and you're a bad person for making it and you should feel bad.
posted by GuyZero at 10:49 AM on April 14, 2010


*walks past active thread* Oh hey guys what are you doing in- *opens doors, finds 4 dead monkeys, neon paint on the walls, a bucket of goat blood and a mad-eyed man crushing eggs with his bare feet*

Warren Elllis is here?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:52 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yesterday, I had a revelation.

I'm kind of weird when it comes to being social. I'm good at talking to people, I love talking to people, but I'm not always good at it for very long. Especially when I'm in any group of people larger than about 3. I just start feeling like my presence in the conversation isn't needed anymore and so I withdraw and go be by myself.

For a while I called myself an introvert. But that word doesn't totally work. It's not that I suck at conversation. It's not that I'm secretly a misanthrope. It's just that frequently I notice that the people I'm talking to don't really need me talking to them, and vice versa. Then it gets really uncomfortable until I leave.

I blamed this on all sorts of things. Sometimes it was political: I couldn't get involved talking to people who were ignorant about X or Y. Other days I blamed insincerity. All these people with masks, hiding their feelings! It's enough to drive a guy crazy. But that wasn't really it. Because I'm fine with talking to people who I disagree with, as long as they're charming about it. And I don't really spill my heart out every time I talk. So it's not like insincerity kills me either.

It took me till yesterday to realize that there's simply more to human interaction than these objective parcels of content. A person is more than what he or she believes, or how he or she acts. Those elements all exist, but in service to a greater whole.

Let's call it empathy, though it's using the word differently than I usually hear it used. An ability to relate to somebody not emotionally but physically. An awareness of what's going on with them beyond just the words they're saying and the emotions they're expressing. Some people can engage you in conversation for hours even when they don't have anything to say, because they've got that sense of you, that balance. They can tell when you're engaged and when you're shifting away and they can respond to it. On the other hand, I have friends who are clever and cheery who I just can't stand to talk to. Five minutes after we meet I have to get out of there and leave.

That aspect of a person's character matters as much as their beliefs and thoughts and feelings. It's what ties it all together. I guess you could disparage it as "small talk", but it's more essential than that suggests. It's the ability to fit in with other people based on context. Maybe that's small talk when you don't have anything to say, but even when you're interacting in some more meaningful way you're forming a balance with all the other contributors.

This matters on MetaFilter, and on the Internet writ large, because there's no way for us to electronically sense that abstract balance. It simply vanishes. So we are left with only these words and thoughts and beliefs without the context of the person behind it.

This is problematic. This also manifests itself in people who've been "raised" on the Internet when you meet them in person. Now, this isn't true for everybody who wastes time on message boards, but there're absolutely some people who in person feel like they're just spewing forum comments. Conversing with them is like wading into a pool of Internet jokes and memes and insults and it's really not pleasant. But it's a reasonable simulation of how conversations online work, where you don't have half of the elements of realpeopletalking.

I'm sure almost all of us here have learned in some way or another that the Internet gets heated like the real world doesn't. But it's not anonymity that does it. I've gotten into heated fights using my real name. I've argued online with some of my best friends, called them up in a fit of anger, and then calmed down the instant I heard their voice on the other end.

We don't have that context of real actual human beings online. None of you are real to me, excepting the one or two members here I've met in person; those people stand out to me when they comment in ways that none of the rest of you do. They're people; you're not. And even those real people aren't as real as they would be if we met to talk in person.

When I started reading MetaFilter two years ago, St. Alia/Konolia was the Bad Guy. She still is. Has any member been called out as often as she has? And two years ago, I agreed with all of the people piling on. Because I don't agree with what she says. And I do hate that she doesn't always get involved in these huge, lengthy debates that I love and that help teach me that I'm wrong on a regular basis. But, two years of reading and thinking and growing up (two years ago I was a diehard Rand fan, for context), I don't mind that I don't agree with her. And I enjoy her contributions almost all of the time. She's an enjoyable voice on the site.

In fact, I like her much more than I like some of the people here with whom I agree much more readily. She comes across as levelheaded and empathic, which when I'm thinking about it now is really remarkable. It's hard to address imaginary Internet people like they're real, but I'm thinking now if I can recall any actively virulent comments from her and I'm drawing a blank. That's more than I can say for myself.

I wonder too if her more egregious comments — the one where she recommended an adoption-ready family in a thread about abortion, for instance — would have come across as egregious had they been made in person and not on a message board. Here, that comment was a derail and an unnecessary interjection. If this had happened in a more communicative environment, it might have still been unnecessary, but I don't know if it would have been offensive per se.

So, where once I loved the hoppitamoppita and the pileonning and the vitriol, now I'm kind of thinking it's just unnecessary. It's possible to be critical of somebody without suggesting they're retarded or spastic or outright evil. There're a handful of very active people on this site who are clearly bright and well-informed who have a really hard time acknowledging they're talking to actual human beings, and while I used to love that they were so willing to spend their time arguing with people and righting wrongs and all, now when I read their comments I feel frustrated. They're just as deluded as the people they're correcting. It's just that their delusions have to do more with empathy than with intellect. It's still delusion and it still ought to be fought.

I'm a n00b here, and almost all of this extended saga happened before I showed up, but for what it's worth I like St. Alia as a member a lot. That's not to say I like her stances or I like arguing with her, but that's okay. There's more to a person than how well they argue their beliefs. I get that now.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:59 AM on April 14, 2010 [24 favorites]


Does trolling require intent? Or is it something that happens as a result of (reckless) behavior?

Pretty much, imo, trolling is defined by making a false statement to provoke an outraged reaction. It's a small step up from poking your sibling until they start cry. Maybe I'm just usenet-oldschool, but to me tollery is dipping into a Star Trek board and posting something like: "Everyone know Star Trek is a joke because scientifically light doesn't travel in a vaccuum!".

Just being uniformed or an asshat is either garden variety ignorance or assholitude. It's still not great, but it's not trolling.

That said, it is pretty trollish to accuse someone arguing in good fail of being a troll, again, imo.
posted by bonehead at 11:00 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


fail faith
posted by bonehead at 11:03 AM on April 14, 2010


Metafilter: Arguing in bad fail.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


We have many people who express a variety of minority opinions on this site regularly who do not seem to have a terrible time of it. Not a ton, but some. It is my opinion that there is something besides holding minority opinions that makes site interactions incredibly difficult for some people. It is possible that I have blinders on about that. But I'm trying to explain my personal and mod feelings and my actions to the best of my ability.

I can't (and won't) speak for others - And I don't mean this as a criticism per se; you guys work hard and do a good job. I have nothing but respect for the mods and their efforts.

But I can tell you that I have curtailed my own commentary and use of this site precisely because of this intimidation and poor behavior from others.

And yeah, I know, so what ? If I don't read or comment on a thread, well maybe we *are* better off. But I don't think so. I think I have a lot to contribute, and I think I miss out on some worthwhile commentary. But the snark and the grar and the general assholishness gets to be a bit much after a while.

I'm sure I am not the only one who feels this way. I've seen far too many very good and worthwhile comments get ripped apart and shouted down for the very crime of being contrary to the "community" conventional wisdom and beliefs. And ultimately, I think it follows that this site and the community are not as anywhere near as open as it likes to think it is.

So, I'm sort of surprised that you don't seem to see this happening, since I feel that it happens a great deal.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:11 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't have a verandah but I have a big ass back patio that we do calisthenics on. You are weak and need to exercise!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:15 AM on April 14, 2010


Rosita: I was thinking later, you could kiss me on the veranda.
Dusty Bottoms: Lips would be fine.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2010


That said, it is pretty trollish to accuse someone arguing in good fail of being a troll, again, imo.

That's pretty uncontentious. But lacking adequate mind-reading capabilities, most people try to discern the author's intent, in part based on past statements when available. Sure, most everyone gets the benefit of the doubt as to the sincerity of their statements, but we've all had experience with trolls who exploit this to reduce every conversation to a recitation of the basic foundational steps of an issue, kicking and biting all the way. Maybe some of what is being observed here is pure axe-grinding, but at least some of it is a suspicion that they're being had, their time and efforts are being wasted, and that their rhetorical opponent has no interest in participating except to take the piss. That's pretty frustrating, and people react accordingly in frustration.

Me, I come for the role playing threads, but stay for the cilantro hate.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:25 AM on April 14, 2010


I've pretty much stopped buying sour cream and instead substitute greek yogurt into everything.

Fuck yes! This weekend, I made about a half-gallon of Greek yogurt, and just last night, I slathered a big-ass burrito in it! It was wonderful!
posted by Greg Nog at 11:25 AM on April 14, 2010


I'm not saying you have to sit around and listen to it, but that if you're trying to be part of the conversation instead of just adding a drive-by opinion to the thread (as some people have accused you of doing pretty methodically, an opinion that you are welcome to take to heart or ignore) you might want to use your words and not just act like you're not taking this seriously.

At this point it's terribly hard to take it seriously anymore. Because it is incredibly easy to accuse people of anything-the "drive by opinion" accusation particularly. Sometimes, I feel like one or two comments are enough to let people know what I am thinking or believing on a topic, and that anything else would simply be major gumflapping. And I honestly don't think that every single topic is worth an argument. Sometimes the better part of wisdom is to drop an argument before one starts, and sometimes if I feel someone is feeling fighty on a subject, I choose to drop it. I feel it would be ridiculous to have to sit in front of a thread I'd like to comment on and feel like I have to choose between posting a comment or two and being accused of being drive by or else hanging out on said thread and accused of trolling. Since I am aware that there are those who hate me or dislike my posts on general principle, I have gotten to the point that it is easier to not engage such people. Which is a shame because I am sure I wind up not commenting to people who simply want to engage in active discussion, which I am glad to have.

But I can tell you that I have curtailed my own commentary and use of this site precisely because of this intimidation and poor behavior from others.

And yeah, I know, so what ? If I don't read or comment on a thread, well maybe we *are* better off. But I don't think so. I think I have a lot to contribute, and I think I miss out on some worthwhile commentary. But the snark and the grar and the general assholishness gets to be a bit much after a while.


This-what Pogo_Fuzzybutt just posted-is what I was referring to. I'm not saying we should never challenge each other or that there will never be grar moments-that's quite unreasonable and we ARE a cranky bunch-but there should be absolutely no need for people on a website on which they paid 5 bucks to participate on should feel intimidated to be themselves on. That is wrong. We aren't a bunch of Myspace teenagers or internet hooligans on here-for the most part this is a very well educated, smart, wellread, welltraveled and intelligent bunch of people here. I think we can do better than we have.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:27 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thank you mods for my BND.
posted by waraw at 11:28 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish to call out dw for posting bork-assed links.

I wish to call out Mister_A for calling me out without filing his Intent To Call Out form with the MetaFilter home office.
posted by dw at 11:29 AM on April 14, 2010


I made a terrific kale dish, and kale is pretty new to me, but I'm really enjoying it.

Boil some short pasta of gnocchi, strain out the pasta, using the water to blanch some favas after the noodles come out, adding them to a skillet with a mix of butter and sunflower oil till crispy and brown on some sides, add red pepper flakes and thinly sliced garlic and favas to the fried noodles, then a cup of stock and a chopped bunch of kale.

Top wth seared scallops.

For eggplant parm, I like to double-dip my eggplant steaks in the egg and crumb process, and get a thick, crunchy crust that way. I'd be down for part panko and part french crumbs, as long as there's fake parm out of a can added in there. I dunno, that's my secret. Lots of garlic, olives and roasted red peppers in the sauce, and canned parm in the crumb.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:31 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


With greens I'm always for wilting them in olive oil and garlic. Sometimes I'll do that then serve them over mashed potatoes.
posted by dw at 11:33 AM on April 14, 2010


I like to peel and dice eggplant, and then fry it in a very hot pan with a little olive oil, some diced plum tomatoes, and a healthy palmful of posting history.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:33 AM on April 14, 2010


pasta or gnocchi. Mods, please add "painting my nails orange" to my ongoing list of shitty excuses for bad typing. Hey, at least I'm commenting. I've been too busy to do that for ages. Hi, mefi. I have no further comment on Alia.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:33 AM on April 14, 2010


We aren't a bunch of Myspace teenagers or internet hooligans on here-for the most part this is a very well educated, smart, wellread, welltraveled and intelligent bunch of people here.

Klang's "clash of passions" fits the bill, though. I've given up disappointment in seeing MeFites I've come to respect as solid rhetorical stalwarts -- in agreement or disagreement -- throw down the ad homs and strawmen because they just don't give a damn this time (or that time, or that other time). And I've got my own no-go topics as a direct result. The only alternative is gwar.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:34 AM on April 14, 2010


%*edit pony@#! grar.

and gnocchi.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:35 AM on April 14, 2010


The only alternative is gwar.

I agree!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:36 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


anyone addressed the issue of the recent paranoia - too lazy to wade through 200 comments on recipes and hoppita moppita st alia konolia

and I need a hug
posted by infini at 11:38 AM on April 14, 2010


Ambrosia you just made my dinner tonight nice and easy TY!
posted by Max Power at 11:40 AM on April 14, 2010


Now to go find some weapons grade scallops!
posted by Max Power at 11:40 AM on April 14, 2010


Anybody got a good romanian eggplant dip recipe? I had it once at a New Year's party and it was incredible.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:41 AM on April 14, 2010


"I've seen far too many very good and worthwhile comments get ripped apart and shouted down for the very crime of being contrary to the "community" conventional wisdom and beliefs. And ultimately, I think it follows that this site and the community are not as anywhere near as open as it likes to think it is."

Yeah, I understand that. On the other hand, at some point, people have to be willing to stand up for their beliefs and argue for them. I know I've been on the minority end of viewpoints, and I try to remember that taking my lumps is just as much a part of the mix here as doling 'em out. I respect people who have a minority position and argue it well—something that I think dios did, but I'm in the minority there, and boy did the general MeFi id hate him something fierce.

The basic problem is that, again, most people aren't good at arguing, so that the poor arguments from the minority face off against a tide of poor arguments from the majority, meaning that the majority wins through popularity rather than quality.

That means that people who have minority views tend to leave, which is sometimes bad, but frankly, if they have minority views and argue them poorly, it might be better to hold their tongue than get involved in a fight they don't have the capability to win. Likewise, there are people who leave because they're so incensed by the minority views that are still expressed here that they can't or won't participate, and it's hard to feel too bad about that—despite my liking some of the people who left—simply because, y'know, that argumentative character is part of Metafilter, and if you can't deal with that, you maybe would be happier somewhere else. The lack of arguments is something that's frequently cited by people who spend most of their time on MeCha, for instance.

I dunno, I remember a recent thread where somebody implied that I had racist views for making fun of Clarence Thomas, and a whole raft of folks stood up to defend me and demand an apology. I appreciated the sentiment, but I kind of felt like one of the prerequisites of being here is to be able to take being insulted on some level and to not let it turn into demanding an apology for soiling your honor, but being able to dismiss it as silliness without taking it personally. I've been called worse and felt vaguely embarrassed by people leaping to my defense over something that I thought was pretty minor in the overall scheme of things.
posted by klangklangston at 11:48 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Alia, I have a feeling it may be Armenian, not Romanian, Eggplant Dip you're looking for... but the stuff I like (from Raffi's in Glendale) doesn't resemble the recipes online for "Amenian Eggplant Dip" a bit, so I'm not sure where to point you. My favorite stuff tastes like roasted peppers, eggplant and fat, and has a rusty color. The googles turn up milk and parm recipes.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:50 AM on April 14, 2010


Anybody got a good romanian eggplant dip recipe?

Recipezaar has one that looks tasty. But you can't eat it. Because if you do, I will have fed the troll. ;)

I'm kidding, I'm kidding!
posted by zarq at 11:51 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fuck yes! This weekend, I made about a half-gallon of Greek yogurt, and just last night, I slathered a big-ass burrito in it! It was wonderful!

This is the ickiest-sounding extended euphemism EVER.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 11:52 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hmm, might it have smoked paprika in it?
posted by rtha at 11:55 AM on April 14, 2010


Hot Hungarian Paprika is a gateway drug. Pretty soon everything looks like a nail and you have a tasty, tasty hammer.
posted by The Whelk at 11:57 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anybody got a good romanian eggplant dip recipe? I had it once at a New Year's party and it was incredible.

If you're going to say that the Tea Bag Party are victims of a smear campaign, you're going to need to provide some evidence, because there's a whole body of fact that suggests the opposite.

Changing the subject only reinforces people's characterization of you as a troll. And I'm writing this as someone who has defended you in the past.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


rtha.... maaaaybe. But could also be a combo of saffron and garlic. I need to eat it again! and again! Definitely a reverse-engineering/Armenian cuisine question derail, but here's what it looks like.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:01 PM on April 14, 2010


I think a lot of people don't show up here with "minority" views because they know they'll get blown out of the water with logic, facts and research. If you're a fan of Santa, you're not coming on here to contradict the majority of people here who will actually bring out equations to disprove Santa's existence. That doesn't make this a hostile site, or mean we need to do better. It means if your ideas can't withstand the rigor of logic, research, facts and context, then you need to come back when they can.

Or you can have the gall to post your ideas, and then learn. Usually one of the two happens - posting and learning, or not posting, and watching and learning.

The problem to me seems to be when someone knows they have no ability to back up their opinion, but posts it anyway, just to rile people up. I have no logic to share that suggests women shouldn't be able to vote, but I go in a thread and say "I have lots of friends, even some women, who feel that women shouldn't be able to vote". And then I dip out and use the excuse of not wanting to have to read the thread, but saying I should be able to voice my opinion and shouldn't be piled on because of it. Come on. You're playing.

I've also seen it time and time again where there's someone who causes problems and stirs shit, and at the end of it looks plaintively at the audience, and inevitably a bunch of people fall for it and proclaim that this person is actually the real victim, and they let their empathy for the person (in imagining what a shitty time it must be to be always doing crappy things or being mean) transform into a defense of the person. The person then resumes their behavior, and the defenders now feel the need to excuse even more of the behavior.

No. It's not a mass delusion. There has been a wealth of playing and a good amount of purposeful ignoring. To me it feels like when I try to have even a beginning discussion with some of my relatives regarding religion. There's that look in their eyes and you know that nothing you say is actually going to be considered, because they aren't taking in and evaluating evidence, they're holding on until you finish talking so they can restate their viewpoint, experience it again and stay with it.

The username thing - yeah who cares - pretty much nobody. But the behavior - the behavior is bogus in my opinion.
posted by cashman at 12:02 PM on April 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


Egglplant has been on topic since 8:40am. And when I do a control-F for it, it has 53 references (the one you complain of being number 48). After 47 prior references to eggplant in the thread over the preceding 6 hours, a 2:41pm reference to it is hardly 'changing the subject' under any analysis.

(Did I miss hamburger? My hamburger radar really sucks.)
posted by bunnycup at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Rory Marinich, you make a lot of great points there, much of which I agree with.

As far as your notion of 'empathy' I think much of what you're referring to can be explained by and contained within paralinguistic and contextualization cues. But these things also exist on the internet! The differences in communication styles and resources available to people involved Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC; internet, texting, chat, etc.) vs. face-to-face interaction, or even driving cars, is one born of channel and modality. With new research coming out on Computer-Mediated Discourse (CMD; a relative of Conversation Analysis) we are seeing how people involved in internet Communities of Practice are finding, creating and using the resources available to them to convey and receive these cues. This goes against many previous notions about the internet being a messy, confusing contextless place rife with miscommunication and flameouts. When you look at the sheer volume of what's exchanged here, you start to see how much goes right. How strong bonds really are formed over teh tubes. And how rich with emotion and meaning this place really is. We take it for granted, because we're viewing it through the lens of what face-to-face interaction provides. But many social scientists are finding new discourse features and communication tactics that are happening in CMC contexts...stuff that isn't even readily available or even possible in face-to-face interaction!

I also think it's real useful to keep in mind that people view the internet very, very differently and give and take different amounts to/from it. To some, it's a bunch of strangers spewing things. To others, it's unique voices sharing perspectives and profound thoughts. Some people vent; others build bonds. These things can be happening all at the same time, for the same group of people, in the same thread. And there's a LOT of processing that is happening unconsciously - who says what, who is inflammatory, who sticks to what sites or topics, how people frame their arguments, what types of posts are favorited/liked/disliked - even when we don't care a whole lot or aren't very enmeshed with the community. We're taking it all in, and it's informing our attitudes and participation here.
"This is problematic. This also manifests itself in people who've been "raised" on the Internet when you meet them in person. Now, this isn't true for everybody who wastes time on message boards, but there're absolutely some people who in person feel like they're just spewing forum comments. Conversing with them is like wading into a pool of Internet jokes and memes and insults and it's really not pleasant. But it's a reasonable simulation of how conversations online work, where you don't have half of the elements of realpeopletalking."
Susan Herring writes a really great article that addresses some of adults' (mis)conceptions about youth 'raised' on the internet: Questioning the generational divide: Technological exoticism and adult construction of online youth identity. (PDF) A quote from the article: "Perhaps more surprising, many of what we consider new technologies (instant messaging, blogs, chat rooms, email, cell phones, search engines, etc.) are "transparent" to young users37—they do not consider them to be technologies, except in the broadest sense. In a recent survey, U.S. undergraduates defined technology as new or customizable; for example, a cell phone with standard features is not technology, but a cell phone with new features is.38 For something to be "technology," in other words, it should be novel, challenging, and fun, not merely useful. (Analogously, in my generation, washing machines and telephones were not considered technology, but anything to do with computers was.)" In the article, she also puts forth a good argument that the 'youth raised on the internet' is yet to come, the reasons why, and where the youth are now.

Ok, that was a lot of internet rambling and links and such...I'm not trying to pick apart what was said upthread...just wanted to share some info for anybody who's interested in pursuing the topic further. I think it's really important to bust open the walls a bit, to allow some new perspectives about what is going unnoticed in internet communication come in and reinform our arguments a bit. Our conceptions about the internet being so limited and lacking of key social elements just aren't entirely accurate anymore.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2010 [13 favorites]


If you're going to say that the Tea Bag Party are victims of a smear campaign, you're going to need to provide some evidence, because there's a whole body of fact that suggests the opposite.

Changing the subject only reinforces people's characterization of you as a troll. And I'm writing this as someone who has defended you in the past.


The original ffp that started all this, let me refer you to it.

As to the eggplant dip, dude, it's just as much a part of this thread now as the other stuff, and that dip I had was GOOD. I think it had mayo in it tho.

And if asking for that recipe makes me a troll....you have GOT to be kidding me.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2010


Changing the subject only reinforces people's characterization of you as a troll.

She's not changing the subject, because the subject of this here meTa is BND and eggplant. And other stuff I've already forgotten.

A former co-worker made the most unbelievably delicious eggplant dip once for some office party thing. I basically cleaned out the bowl because apparently I work with a lot of people who don't like eggplant. I've tried to replicate it without success. The ingredients are simple - it's the technique that's tripping me up. I think I don't salt the eggplant enough, don't wait long enough for it to drain, and try to fry it on a too-high temp, resulting in scorching rather than a kind of smoky dark brown. Must. Try. Again.
posted by rtha at 12:09 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Anybody got a good romanian eggplant dip recipe? I had it once at a New Year's party and it was incredible."

The couple I've seen online look like just regular baba ganoush to me. Which is OK, but I always kind of think of it as a second-place hummus. I just wish that I could find someone who makes a kick-ass mujadra around here. Oh, and I've heard that there's good actual Lebanese and Jordanian falafel up in the valley, but I've been too lazy to check it out yet.

My hunch is that with eggplant, you could use a bit of it, after it's been roasted and pureed, as a thickener in many dips (adding, like, a couple of tablespoons), but it seems like it's something that wouldn't keep well and there's only so much dip a person could eat.
posted by klangklangston at 12:11 PM on April 14, 2010


It could have BEEN baba ganoush, honestly. I seem to recall the eggplant was roasted as a first step, anyway.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:14 PM on April 14, 2010


The original ffp that started all this, let me refer you to it.

Okay, well, people made attempts in good faith to ask you to address the substance of your comment, the one that provoked all of this in the first place, and you won't. That's your choice, but I wouldn't say I'd agree with it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:14 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now this is a MeTa you could set your watch to.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:18 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I tend to think that the secret of baba ganoush is to use more lemon than you think you should, but then, I suppose I like my baba sour.
posted by klangklangston at 12:24 PM on April 14, 2010


roasted eggplant turned into mash baigan bhurta

[gives up and sinks into the hive mind, pouts cos everyone's too busy to give a hug, it says so right here that they are available]
posted by infini at 12:25 PM on April 14, 2010


Okay, well, people made attempts in good faith to ask you to address the substance of your comment, the one that provoked all of this in the first place, and you won't.

You don't think it's just a leeetle bit off to suggest that what started this MeTa was that St. Alia didn't respond to someone's argument?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:27 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I tend to think that the secret of baba ganoush is to use more lemon than you think you should, but then, I suppose I like my baba sour.

Ditto for garlic - use more than you think you should, and then add a bit more.
posted by rtha at 12:29 PM on April 14, 2010


Ok Mr. Pileon, all I can say is my husband is not a racist jerk, the Republican women I know who are part of the teaparty movement are not racist jerks, and in general the same conservatives who I personally know are the same ones who go to these things and they aren't racist jerks.

My point, once again, is that every movement-to include gay pride parades, antiwar protests, antiabortion protests, and yes, the teaparty movement-they all have extremist minorities within the group as a whole, and yes, media loves to gravitate to that.

But it seems too many are too content to write the whole movement off and paint them as racist, which in my mind says-cool, we have a Black president, so now when conservatives complain about the man in office we can call them racists! We couldn't do that with Bill and Hillary! Don't think the accusation of racism isn't a cynical tool for some to use to shut up political discourse. Think about it-Bill Clinton and his wife have been called every thing except a child of God, during the Bush years people kept calling him names and posting his pic besides that of a chimp, among other things...so all of a sudden President Obama is in office and now any criticism of him at all is deflected with cries of "racist!"

Yep, pretty darn convenient.

Again, let me stress I do understand that racism as a national problem has not disappeared, and I do understand that there are racists in the Republican Party-I also know that -at least in the South-there are plenty of racists under the Democrat label as well. I have a vested interest in seeing that racism is done away with-my beautiful grandchildren-but I submit that even if I didn't have them I would still feel that racism is something to be decried and destroyed.

That still doesn't mean you get to call my husband a racist because he has been to Tea Party rallies.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:32 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


BTW all y'all singing the praises of using Greek yogurt on everything, if your purse strings are hurtin' from this new obsession but you're not yet ready to start full on home-yogurt-making, in a pinch for things like topping burritos etc. you can make an ok (not great but ok) facsimile with normal silly store-bought yogurt provided it's still the full-fat stuff. Line a mesh strainer with decently absorbent paper towels and put your sad yogurt in it, let it drain for at least 30 minutes. Now it'll be a lot thicker and tastier, more like the yummy Greek stuff.

Is it sad that one of my fondest food memories on my honeymoon was that at the luxe bed and breakfast in the heart of the old city in Valencia, every morning we woke up to a huge dining room table festooned with flutes of champagne, cheese, fresh fruit, granola, and Iberian ham...and what sealed it for me was the damn cups of Fage yogurt?! Yeah. The stuff I can get here anyway. But still, so good, so crack-like. Sigh.
posted by ifjuly at 12:36 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's been said before but St. Alia has two issues that cause her to be the subject of all of this hoo-hah. The first is her past, with all of the negative icky crap as konolia and what-not. But setting that aside for a moment. The second problem she has is an absolute refusal to engage with people about the real world.

In this most recent thread she says: "Just because you don't care for the people who participate in these protests and just because you don't like their views does not give you the right to paint an entire group as racist." and "PS what a wonderful thing to try to intimidate people into shutting up by throwing the word "racist" at them. Well, it won't work with me, I have biracial grandchildren, let me show you them."

That last comment was followed up by a little headband I put around my throat who asks "Would you or your husband take the grandkids with you to a Tea Party event?"

Now I don't think there is a single person here who doubts that St. A loves her grandkids. But I also don't think there is a single person here who hasn't seen some of the incredibly reprehensible signs carried by teabaggers at their protests. So it's a legitimate question, "would you take your (biracial) grandkids to these protests."

St. A immediately responded with "Sure, why not? They'd have adorable little signs too." Now, c'mon. Let's assume for a minute that she's not kidding. Let's assume that she really actually would take her biracial grandkids to a meeting where people hold up signs with racist slogans or caricatures. I think most of us would wonder how she would feel about children seeing those sorts of things, especially children for whom one of their parents were the intended target of such hate, based solely upon the color of their skin.

And most of the people here are smart enough to know that, were we to say something that was that full of cognitive dissonance, we would probably feel required to expound on why we said such a thing: life isn't black and white. Sometimes things that don't appear to make sense on the surface actually do have some logic to them, but it would be up to the person making such a statement to explain.

But does St. A explain why she would take her grandkids to such a protest? Nope. Does she have some kind of internal logic that makes sense of the whole thing? Maybe, but if she does, she's not telling.

Is she not telling because she's just stupid? Does this cognitive dissonance simply not register with her? I believe some people here think so, but I'm not one of them. St. A is many things, but she's not completely stupid.

And yet, she doesn't explain. And she pulls that sort of thing A LOT. She'll make all kinds of statements that just don't hold up without some sort of further explanation, and she never makes them. This is classic troll behavior.

Does St. A have to explain? Of course not, but that sort of thing certainly doesn't help her reputation.

Instead, what happens is this: people can't stand this dissonance, and they call her out on it, and inevitably one of two things happen. Either the callers-out refer back to some of konolia's past hate-filled screeds and make this about St. A's political leanings, or somebody else accuses callers-out only doing the call-out because of konolia's same screeds. Seriously, half the arguments in this thread against The Confessor claim that he doesn't like her because she's a conservative. Maybe he has said as much and I've just missed it, but really, THIS HAS ALMOST NOTHING TO DO WITH WHY SO MANY PEOPLE GET SO FRUSTRATED BY ST. A.

People are frustrated by the cognitive dissonance and the refusals to back it up. People in the other thread are making fun of teabaggers by suggesting signs such as "Don't steal from Medicaid to pay for socialized medicine." This is funny, and fairly representative of teabaggers signs. It's also what St. A does all the time, in all kinds of threads. She comes in, says something that flies in the face of logic, and never backs it up.

It's trollish behavior, and yeah yeah we can ignore it, and have to I guess, since she's not breaking the rules. But here's the thing, there are rules and there are rules. Some rules are law, and some rules aren't. There are social rules too. If you hang out with a group of people, and one of them stands to close all the time, there are social cues that most people are able to pick up on to let them know to change their behavior.

We have social cues too. It's called long-ass threads every month in metatalk about a person's annoying behavior. It's time to get a clue, St. A.
posted by nushustu at 12:37 PM on April 14, 2010 [17 favorites]


I feel like one or two comments are enough to let people know what I am thinking or believing on a topic

I think this is actually the heart of all the bad-faith, doesn't-engage accusations. See, the thing is, dropping into a thread and just telling people where you stand isn't actually participating - it's just marking territory. Now, there are some places where rhetorical pissing-on-a-fencepost is fine, but the majority of people on Metafilter are here for conversation. That requires people to actually listen to one another - to read each other's posts, consider them, and respond to them directly. If you just want to make a position statement, this isn't a good place to do that.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:39 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


what sealed it for me was the damn cups of Fage yogurt?! Yeah. The stuff I can get here anyway. But still, so good, so crack-like. Sigh.

One morning a when I still worked at Whole Foods, I guy I knew in dairy handed me a little split-cup thing of yogurt and honey, and a spoon, and said "Here. Have some crack."

Truer words etc.
posted by rtha at 12:42 PM on April 14, 2010


I think a lot of people don't show up here with "minority" views because they know they'll get blown out of the water with logic, facts and research.

...which implies, somehow, that only the majority views here have facts and logic on their side.

Look, I get where people are coming from with the whole unpopular views thing. As a religious person (of sorts), I tend to avoid threads that I know will make me throw up my hands in disgust and not talk to any of you people again. (Well, maybe not that strong. I love you all! In a completely platonic way. And as long as you keep sharing good recipes.)

The problems occur when some people see certain types of views (spiritualism vs. atheism is one example, though not the only one) as a matter of different viewpoints/interpretations, and others see it as a clear example of one side being definitely right and one side definitely wrong. The reference to being a "fan of Santa", that kind of thing.

I tend not to post about anything related to my own faith because 1) it's personal to me, and 2) I see it as a matter of sharing interpretations about the world, not argumentation about who is right. By not participating in discussions about religious matters, I'm not being cowardly or backing away because I know my poor, pitiful beliefs will be unable to withstand the cold weight of Rational Logic. There's an attitude here sometimes (and I'm not picking on any poster, just a general thing I've noticed) that religious beliefs are so obviously Wrong that anyone who holds them and doesn't want to debate them to the death is seen as participating in bad faith.

I don't know. I hope some of y'all know what I'm saying here. I've tried to write this same comment multiple times over a couple of different MeTa threads, but I've always ended up deleting it.
posted by Salieri at 12:42 PM on April 14, 2010 [15 favorites]


St. A immediately responded with "Sure, why not? They'd have adorable little signs too." Now, c'mon. Let's assume for a minute that she's not kidding. Let's assume that she really actually would take her biracial grandkids to a meeting where people hold up signs with racist slogans or caricatures.

Um, I think her point was that the racist slogans and caricatures are not very prevalent at Tea Party rallies, which was what she'd been saying from the beginning, and therefore feels no reason not to take biracial kids there. You think that isn't true, but instead of saying so you assume that she also thinks that isn't true. This is called begging the question.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:42 PM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


But it seems too many are too content to write the whole movement off and paint them as racist, which in my mind says-cool, we have a Black president, so now when conservatives complain about the man in office we can call them racists! We couldn't do that with Bill and Hillary!

What a great point. Where were all the cries of racism when the Tea Partiers were protesting government encroachment under previous admins??

Yep, pretty darn convenient.

Isn't it, though.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:42 PM on April 14, 2010


Ok, ok, my bad. Someone explain the appeal of schnitzel to me.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:43 PM on April 14, 2010


You have a problem with breaded veal and or chicken? Dude it's cutlet kinda like chicken-fried steak, it's nice.
posted by The Whelk at 12:45 PM on April 14, 2010


"Ditto for garlic - use more than you think you should, and then add a bit more."

A gay pal o' mine once said that formulation was the secret for butt sex—add more lube than you think you should, then add more.

But it works for garlic too.

(I think that a big part of why people tend to be prejudiced against vegetarian food is that they generally forget to season it properly—they wuss out on the garlic, on the chiles, on the salt and on the butter, because they have this vision of vegetarian being "healthy" and it ends up a bland, drab mess.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:46 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


A gay pal o' mine once said that formulation was the secret for butt sex—add more lube than you think you should, then add more.

But it works for garlic too.


Just ..don't ..mix those up.

trust me.
posted by The Whelk at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think we can all agree that once you've had Fage or similar real yogurt, brands like Yoplait taste like they were made from the milk of garbage dump rats.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:50 PM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


nothing like the milk of human kindness then, I take it?
posted by infini at 12:53 PM on April 14, 2010


I don't know. I hope some of y'all know what I'm saying here. I've tried to write this same comment multiple times over a couple of different MeTa threads, but I've always ended up deleting it.

I'm glad you didn't delete it this time, Salieri. It's a comment I've also thought about making and you did it very well.
posted by not that girl at 12:54 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


"By not participating in discussions about religious matters, I'm not being cowardly or backing away because I know my poor, pitiful beliefs will be unable to withstand the cold weight of Rational Logic. There's an attitude here sometimes (and I'm not picking on any poster, just a general thing I've noticed) that religious beliefs are so obviously Wrong that anyone who holds them and doesn't want to debate them to the death is seen as participating in bad faith."

I totally understand this, and am often annoyed by it. The religion threads here tend to be some of the most repetitive and dumbest overall, and it can be a huge downer to see an interesting article passed over in favor of the facile Santa bullshit again. But then, I have a fairly robust faith that I've defended from sterner arguments—I actually find it harder to defend free will than God—so I don't mind occasionally mixing it up again. There are plenty of people who I think have ignorant beliefs about faith on both sides, but still have delightful opinions on, say, music. So if you don't feel comfortable wading in there, I might, and I don't see that as on-the-whole bad aside from the fact that every single religion thread ends up with the same folks saying the same things because they don't know enough to say anything else.
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


> brands like Yoplait taste like they were made from the milk of garbage dump rats.

a quibble: I definitely detect the boiled cow and tendon in there, too.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:55 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


cashman -- very well said!
posted by ericb at 12:57 PM on April 14, 2010


We've all been to protests, right? I have. I went to an antiwar protest last year because I thought the College Democrats were good fun and threw great parties. One of the big ones in Washington D.C.

There're some weird people at protests. Lots of signs calling Obama a Zionist. Lots of chants against Israel that sometimes verged into territory where I felt really uncomfortable. Lots of ire against the counterprotestors on the side. More than I felt comfortable with, considering we were supposed to be the rational ones.

Then you have the fringe groups. The guys selling weird cult religions. (Have you ever heard of Ecolibrium? Funny/craz shit. I can't find them on Google, though.) The anarchists with their handprinted newspapers who I'm sure are great guys but who are a little bit wacky at the same time. I love the fact that there're opposing gangs of anticorporatists, and that one of the groups' slogans was "We Mean Business", without a hint of irony.

But for all that I wasn't in line with the beliefs presented therein, there wasn't a feeling of danger about it. Nice people! Weird, but generally nice. I'd bring a young kid there without feeling odd. And if they heard or saw somebody saying something strange, I wouldn't feel like they'd be at risk for it. I'd just talk to them that night about why it's silly to think that Jews are in control of the world economy, and tell them that it's possible to think silly things and still be a good person.

I don't have any reason to think the teabaggers are any more harmful than the anarchists. They're also wrong, and also bigoted — possibly more bigoted? — but it's not like seeing a racist sign makes you racist. On the contrary, when a weird person holds up a sign saying something, I'm more likely to distrust their message. Which is why crazy people who say things I think are sane sometimes make me reconsider my worldview.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd also like to say that I have serious misgivings about whether gay pride parades that disrupt city activity are really going to foster in neutral passersby the right reaction; and that when I told a friend that I had these misgivings she and a friend of hers accused me of being part of a heterosexist oppressive conglomerate that was unconsciously destroying American Happiness. I don't talk to her anymore.

Which isn't to say that passionate people with passionate beliefs are bad. But given a choice between an asshole I agree with and a moderate with whom I disagree, I'll take the moderate every time.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:06 PM on April 14, 2010


Metafitler: past history, eggplant and butt sex.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2010


"But it seems too many are too content to write the whole movement off and paint them as racist, which in my mind says-cool, we have a Black president, so now when conservatives complain about the man in office we can call them racists!"

Not everyone in the Teaparty Movement (if there is such a thing) is racist, sure. And there are some legitimate complaints. But Teaparty supporters are more likely to endorse racist views, and certainly charges of hypocrisy over the timing and questions about the legitimacy of the movement are valid.

I tend to believe that the reason why most of the members of the movement didn't protest during Bush was a lot more complex than the simple "team loyalty" hypothesis given above—the majority of the deficit spending that Bush embarked on was military, which tends to be supported as necessary by the right, and Ron Paul really did mobilize and technologically empower a pretty significant sector of the traditional Republican base. The Teaparty Movement has also undoubtedly been exploited by other Republican constituencies seeking to mobilize that base for themselves, as well as partisan media outlets such as Fox, who wish to have a "grassroots" patina to their own political agenda. That "populist" movements tend to be made up of people who are passionate but not necessarily articulate or well-informed—they're more motivated by anger and a desire for belonging—doesn't help. Not only that, but in both form and function the Teaparty protests are substantively different from anti-war protests or even anti-abortion protests, being far more incoherent and inchoate. I'd also argue that they're far smaller, and that one of the things that's become a self-perpetuating cycle is the media treating them like they're a mainstream movement (something that became a meme of late, in large part because of misinterpretations of the survey that my link explicates a bit, where Teaparties are pretty mainstream demographically, but not ideologically), which legitimizes them and makes it seem like they have a coherent form when they don't really.
posted by klangklangston at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


So if you don't feel comfortable wading in there, I might, and I don't see that as on-the-whole bad aside from the fact that every single religion thread ends up with the same folks saying the same things because they don't know enough to say anything else.

You know. Some of us are perfectly happy to move on to new arguments when the old ones are refuted. Mere repetition may be annoying, but an old argument isn't false merely because it is old, or simple. "Don't you have any new arguments?" is the refuge of people who couldn't deal with the previous ones.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:08 PM on April 14, 2010


...which implies, somehow, that only the majority views here have facts and logic on their side.

Not at all. It implies that logic, facts and reason are valued here. Anybody is free to suggest the sun revolves around the earth, that Santa could exist, that the large Hadron collider will kill us all, or that toenails can regrow in a month.

But you have to produce logic and data and links, because that's what this community values.
posted by cashman at 1:11 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think her point was that the racist slogans and caricatures are not very prevalent at Tea Party rallies.

No. Not at all.
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But you have to produce logic and data and links, because that's what this community values.

The community values, by and large, being on the right side of an issue, and when (some/many) MeFites think they are, logic largely goes out the window from what I can see. I get into far more arguments with people whose "side" I'm on than those I'm not because there seems to be a certain point where concessions to opposing evidence/data/arguments are considered too inconvenient to acknowledge.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


That means that people who have minority views tend to leave, which is sometimes bad, but frankly, if they have minority views and argue them poorly, it might be better to hold their tongue than get involved in a fight they don't have the capability to win.

That's kind of bullshit, though. A well argued echo is still an echo. Also, I disagree that making an arguement that has the "capability to win" is the barrier to entry that we want for our community. Let's leave aside basic language issues (ESL, hamburger, etc.) that such rhetoric requires. The choice basically becomes "do I want to spend all day defending this point, all the subfactors related to this point, and everyone else's baggage related to this point" or "fuck it, lets see what's on slashdot/digg/macinsider".

I think we lose more than we gain in that bargain.

And yeah, I'd prefer too that people only made worthwhile comments. There is a lot of noise in the signal here. That said, the community would be well served if responders would try to meet commentators at least half way on their points and stop automatically inferring some sort of malfeasance on the part of people who disagree or hold different views.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's easy to see this as just people engaging in groupthink and too-readily flaming views they disagree with, but I don't think that's really what this is.

"The Godfather is the greatest movie of all time" is a view I disagree with but is justifiable enough that I would be willing to debate it without much emotional investment. "Ghostbusters II was one of the primary causes of the dotcom bubble" is something so false and absurd on its face that I'd feel perfectly happy shaking my head and moving on.

I think many of St. Alia's political views fall in between those examples. They're coherent enough that you think you might be able to have a discussion about them in good faith, but absurd enough to quickly frustrate any real attempt to do so.

That she so often relies on flimsy backing for her arguments (emotional appeals or anecdata about her family, religious fiat, etc) makes the problem worse. That she plops them into threads and then leaves or selectively reads the responses exacerbates it further. That she has an even more abrasive history under another name is simply the cherry on a shit sundae.

I'm not condoning Five Minutes Hate (indeed, as much as she boils my blood I think I've been pretty successful in resisting the urge to pile on and I think it's the best strategy), but I also don't think it's fair to see this solely as a moral failing of the people who do flame her. While she may have Cut The Shit that got her in the most trouble as konolia, she has preserved the debate style that got under people's skin so effectively, despite MeTa thread after MeTa thread itemizing its logical flaws.

Nutshell: both sides have a point here. We could all stand to make more of a good faith effort, not just to be civil, but to give others a reason to be civil in response to us.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:18 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Priest has Fainted; apt for this vindictive post.
posted by adamvasco at 1:18 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


No. Not at all.

Sigh. I'm not interested in having an argument about this, and I wasn't attempting to make any claims about what does or does not go one at Tea Party rallies. I am trying to point out that the simple fact of St. Alia saying something with which you disagree does not disprove the very thing she is saying.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2010


Anybody is free to suggest the sun revolves around the earth, that Santa could exist

Again, my issue is that not everyone considers those concepts equally debate-worthy (using God instead of Santa, which many people do). "The sun orbits the Earth" = demonstrably false, using facts and observational evidence. I simply don't see "There is/is not a God," as the same type of situation at all - I truly, in all good faith (heh) don't think that this is an issue that science can prove or disprove. People are free to disagree with me on that, but that's where I'm coming from, and that's why I don't like getting involved in the tiresome "give me your data!" conversation that starts whenever spirituality or religion is being discussed.

The problem also is that I hate debating. Hate it. I'm not good at it. I don't like confrontation, and I always think of something better to say an hour after the conversation ended. Which is a personal weakness of mine, and not an attempt to influence site policy. :)
posted by Salieri at 1:22 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is there a greater burden on the person who disagrees to back up their claims? If someone agrees, do we require them to be explicit in their agreement?
posted by frecklefaerie at 1:26 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes. :P
posted by restless_nomad at 1:27 PM on April 14, 2010


Boy, I can only imagine what someone who has never visited MetaFilter/Talk/Ask would be thinking, if their first exposure to the website(s) was this thread. It's got teabaggers, eggplant, kale, garlic lube and something called 'Brand New Day.' And butt sex.
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I can tell you that I have curtailed my own commentary and use of this site precisely because of this intimidation and poor behavior from others.
. . .
I think a lot of people don't show up here with "minority" views because they know they'll get blown out of the water with logic, facts and research.


Often the "intimidation and poor behavior" is disguised as a bombardment with "logic, facts, and research" while opposing "logic, facts, and research" are ignored or twisted. There have been a few times that I've posted something that I knew would not be received well and the few obnoxious loudmouths that are on the top of my 'ignore this person for the interest of health' list have never failed to disappoint. When that happens, I have to choose between standing my ground - with research and citations and hours of (most likely pointless) argument that I frankly don't have time for, and ignoring the accusations and arguments (and risk being pegged as someone who "can't" or "won't" back up what she says). So most of the time I keep my "minority views" to myself.

Opinions that fit with the majority can be dropped off in passing. Opinions that don't fit in have to be rigorously defended in a hostile environment and that's more work than I'm interested in doing without getting paid for it.

Also, I love eggplant but it hurts my geographic tongue so this discussion is very depressing to me. But I make my own yogurt and it is delicious. DELICIOUS, I say!!
posted by Dojie at 1:35 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's got teabaggers, eggplant, kale, garlic lube and something called 'Brand New Day.' And butt sex.

Holy crap, kid! What an incredible act! What do you call it?
posted by zarq at 1:36 PM on April 14, 2010 [17 favorites]


I am trying to point out that the simple fact of St. Alia saying something with which you disagree does not disprove the very thing she is saying.

Her claim was that tea parties aren't full of racists.There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of photographic evidence proving that there are in fact lots of racist signs being held at tea parties. This isn't about disagreeing with someone. It's about someone saying something that is just factually wrong. This isn't about whether god exists or the only way to heaven being through Jesus. It's about something that is provable and proven.
posted by nushustu at 1:40 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm having trouble with the assertion that as long as you post data and links, you'll be fine, and that it's only people who are trying to stir up shit that get jumped on. I'm still feeling burned by a question that I made the mistake of responding to. In response to the question "is there anything behind the blood type diet?" I replied that A) my personal experience is that I feel better when I follow its guidelines; B) here's a link to the science section of the dadamo.com web page, where they give information about the scientific basis, and C) I don't bring it up unless asked because of the cries of "quackery!" but that as a layperson it doesn't look to me as though he's misrepresenting the research.

To summarize my response: I gave a link to the science with the disclaimer that although I'm a layperson it doesn't appear to be dishonestly interpreted.

And in response to my posting a link to the scientific references, I get called one of the usual true believers who've been sucked in to the point they don't even care that the science is bunk touting the diet to others (see Lexica above).

So these claims that some people (whether it's atheists, skeptics, liberals, or whoever) are the logical, rational ones who are addressing the facts without descending to emotion and ad hominems and other dishonest argumentation, and that others (religious people, conservatives, people who think there may be something to alternative medicine, whatever) are the illogical, irrational ones who aren't actually trying to have discussions but merely stir up shit and muddy the water... no. Not true.
posted by Lexica at 1:40 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still want to know what The Confessor has against Sting.
posted by charred husk at 1:42 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But you have to produce logic and data and links, because that's what this community values.
posted by cashman at 3:11 PM on April 14 [1 favorite +] [!]


It depends. When one sees a post one already agrees with, logic, data, or links aren't necessary; incisive wit or passionate rhetoric are enough.
posted by Jpfed at 1:44 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You know. Some of us are perfectly happy to move on to new arguments when the old ones are refuted. Mere repetition may be annoying, but an old argument isn't false merely because it is old, or simple. "Don't you have any new arguments?" is the refuge of people who couldn't deal with the previous ones."

Pish tosh. To treat faith, or atheism, as an argument to be refuted misses the point and ignores the several hundred years of people saying that this approach misses the point. That you do or do not believe in God is not necessarily germane nor interesting to every religion or metaphysical thread, and pointing out that the exact same argument has been had for hundred of years without either side convincing each other is far from a refuge of someone who can't "refute," it's placing this discussion in a larger context, one that shows how sophomoric and barren that particular line of discussion is. The problem isn't that you're wrong here, it's that you're not even wrong. Faith is fundamentally so subjective that you might as well be trying to argue someone out of liking cilantro—it similarly wouldn't matter if your arguments that it tastes like soap hadn't been refuted, simply that they're clichéd and unconvincing.

Further, the more galling point of discussions of faith and metaphysics on Metafilter is that there are intelligent, informed and interesting ways of discussing the issue from both sides, and yet every time, some moron comes in and starts spouting off about Santa Claus. I don't have contempt for atheists, given that their atheism is considered (something that I can't say I necessarily feel from the vast majority of atheists who chose to participate in debates of faith in Metafilter), but I do have contempt for a lot of the arguments advanced, and feel that a decent liberal arts education should have knocked a lot of that dumbness out of people prior to ever posting here, hence it feels remedial to have to engage them on it. Imagine if every time philosophical zombies were mentioned in a post, a crowd of folks came to say that everyone who believed in them was dumb and couldn't they just understand that free will doesn't exist anyway.

This is exacerbated by the fact that the most contempt-worth theistic views rarely get aired here, though frequently people respond as if they had, building straw men believers to thump. There are only a handful of posters on Metafilter who are theists and who have put forth wildly ignorant theological views—and I have no problem calling them on it either.

Finally, in the question of whether to move on to new arguments, you should ask yourself: Are these arguments working? Not just are they correct, are they right, but are they persuasive? Do they function as arguments, getting people to change their minds and think about things in new ways? Regardless of their truth, I can't say that they seem to have much utility on Metafilter aside from making people who are passionate about them feel good to have popular support. As they're not working as actual arguments, and rather only as appeals to emotion dressed in the dickey of rationality, then yes, you should change them if you want to prevail in the argument. If you're just trotting them out to make yourself feel good, then fine, but realize that to folks who have any sort of theological learning, you're just making yourself look like an ignorant ass. I'd add that there are a great number of comments in other areas that I find substantively the same, whether on politics or music or art or language, but generally, those tend to be the minority on Metafilter. Whereas with religion, the atheists who are dumb about it post to their hearts content, secure in popularity, the atheists who are smart about it rarely have someone smart enough to argue against, and the theists who wade in tend to get cherry-picked and piled on because of how the group's dynamics operate, and it's pretty predictable.
posted by klangklangston at 1:46 PM on April 14, 2010 [15 favorites]


You know what's the most annoying thing about St. Alia of the Bunnies? Her user name. It's so fucking cool and I wish I had thought of it first.
posted by deborah at 1:46 PM on April 14, 2010


Her claim was that tea parties aren't full of racists.There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of photographic evidence proving that there are in fact lots of racist signs being held at tea parties. This isn't about disagreeing with someone. It's about someone saying something that is just factually wrong. This isn't about whether god exists or the only way to heaven being through Jesus. It's about something that is provable and proven.

Please see this comment and this comment as indications of why hundreds, even thousands, of photographs of events that you have not attended may or may not actually give a clearer indication of the nature of those events than the actual words of someone who has attended. Again, I am not saying that you are wrong or that St. Alia is wrong. However, she made a claim that ran counter to the claims made by other people; your response to that was to assume that she was lying, rather than that you were having a disagreement.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:49 PM on April 14, 2010


Am I the only one who thought, about halfway through this thread, "Y'all need to step back away from the keyboard, go out on your front porch, get some air and sunshine, and take a few deep breaths"?
posted by mrbill at 1:51 PM on April 14, 2010


Her claim was that tea parties aren't full of racists.There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of photographic evidence proving that there are in fact lots of racist signs being held at tea parties.

And there are hundreds, if not thousands of people at tea parties. Very few with white pointed hoods. And not everyone who goes to a tea party is required to carry a missspelled sign.

It's about someone saying something that is just factually wrong.

Yeah she was saying "my husband isn't a racist." I guess we'll have to take her word on that huh?
posted by Max Power at 1:52 PM on April 14, 2010


It's about someone saying something that is just factually wrong.

I think you're arguing something different than Alia's main point:

That still doesn't mean you get to call my husband a racist because he has been to Tea Party rallies.

Until people realize that Alia is taking the "Tea Party is full of racists" meme personally because she knows specific people attending the events and/or are part of the movement and the depiction of them as racists doesn't match her reality, conflict will occur and this sentence will run on. Throw in her past history and all the GRAR GRAR from that and it's like hitting the 'crazy shit storm' button on the blender.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:54 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I think we lose more than we gain in that bargain."

I might disagree. What would we gain? A poorly-articulated argument that will spark ten to twenty replies all mocking it.

"That said, the community would be well served if responders would try to meet commentators at least half way on their points and stop automatically inferring some sort of malfeasance on the part of people who disagree or hold different views."

That's reasonable and I agree, but I don't think that it's unreasonable to know that if you make a comment with a minority opinion, that you're going to have to defend it even against people who are reading unfairly. While it's hard—I certainly struggle with it—something that helps me is to remember that there are neutral and reasonable readers of whatever I write here, and that my goal isn't to necessarily defend myself from every outlandish charge against me, but rather write in a way such that I don't have to—the ridiculousness of the charges becomes its own defense, even if that means that it looks like I'm being piled-on. A good argument is a good argument, and a good argument will convince a neutral, reasonable reader, whereas snark and insults feel good, but they only work on people already on your side.
posted by klangklangston at 1:54 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am trying to point out that the simple fact of St. Alia saying something with which you disagree does not disprove the very thing she is saying.

Her claim was that tea parties aren't full of racists.There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of photographic evidence proving that there are in fact lots of racist signs being held at tea parties. This isn't about disagreeing with someone. It's about someone saying something that is just factually wrong. This isn't about whether god exists or the only way to heaven being through Jesus. It's about something that is provable and proven.
posted by nushustu at 3:40 PM on April 14 [+] [!]


Here we have a plausible-sounding argument, but on deeper examination, it's not valid without precisely relating the "full of" in "tea parties aren't full of racists" to the "lots" in "there are in fact lots of racist signs being held at tea parties". At least, one should be precise if you're trying to say that a claim is "provable and proven".

In case you think that it is self-evident that "lots" implies "full of", I disagree; the terms are imprecise enough that I think that most people would agree with the following assertion: ordinary tap water has lots of nematodes, but ordinary tap water is not full of nematodes.
posted by Jpfed at 1:54 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


posted by charred husk I still want to know what The Confessor has against Sting.

He stood too close to him.
posted by mattdidthat at 1:56 PM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


He offered to set the battlements on fire, but did he follow through?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:59 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


nushustu: “This isn't about disagreeing with someone. It's about someone saying something that is just factually wrong.”

Where does it say that every comment on Metafilter must be factually correct? Where does it say that, if you make a statement that seems to be factually incorrect, you must back it up with a rational argument?

Most importantly, how is it you've been on the internet so long and not noticed that the last person to get offended wins? Yeah, Alia's not known for doing herself any favors. But think about what you're complaining about here: a Tea Party thread, which was buzzing along nicely with one-liners and other people making (justified) fun of Tea Partiers. Then one of those Tea Partiers has the gall to come in and say "oh hey, I'm one of those tea party people, anyway BYE!" - without arguing with you! Heaven forbid! There you all were, ready and spoiling for a fight, and you didn't get it!

Look, I've argued with Tea Party people. It's never in good faith. Hell, "good faith" arguments are pretty goddamned boring, anyway. And even aside from that, I just don't get this idea of trying to guilt someone into having an argument with you by accusing them of "not being in good faith."

At the end of the day, Alia is hardly a troll; if she is, she ought to be the least effective kind. I think people get so vexed about it because they're convinced that they're just not allowed to say "ha ha, I think you're full of shit, anyway whatever" to her. Go ahead and say it if it makes you feel better. You might never get a response, but that's something you should have learned to live with a long time ago.
posted by koeselitz at 2:00 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Priest has Fainted; apt for this vindictive post.

Which it should be noted was what Thomas Keller took for the basis of the ratatouille served at the end of the Pixar film of the same name.

Here's an imagined version of the recipe.
posted by dw at 2:00 PM on April 14, 2010


Growing up we had a lot of fried eggplant -- sliced thin, battered in corn starch and seasoned salt, then deep-fried almost like a soft potato chip. I loved that stuff. But I married an eggplant hater.
posted by dw at 2:02 PM on April 14, 2010


Whereas with religion, the atheists who are dumb about it post to their hearts content, secure in popularity, the atheists who are smart about it rarely have someone smart enough to argue against, and the theists who wade in tend to get cherry-picked and piled on because of how the group's dynamics operate, and it's pretty predictable.

I'm sure we can agree that there can be other goals of an argument than to convince someone of something. That's a rather naive goal for most internet discourse. Sometimes an argument is simply an obvious retort to flawed logic. I don't disagree with you that the popular arguments on MeFi also tend to be the most poorly defended -- I've been saying the same thing. But since you've brought up Santa (or someone has), I seem to recall someone arguing recently "It isn't like that at all; Santa is a cultural myth whose development we can track in history". Or the angry strawman accusation "the Santa argument misses the point that most theists don't believe in a literal bearded old man in the sky! They're attacking a straw man!" Which completely misses the point that the "Santa" refrain depends not at all on any such depiction. The rant was itself a straw man.

So, no, I don't agree that on the subject of religion, the popular/atheist line is particularly poorly defended. Not with rhetorical opponents like these. And in that light, it is absolutely correct to say "That old saw? Sure. Deal with it and we'll move on" and point out where these retorts actually fail to Deal With It. My goal is not to flatter theists by pretending their nonsense answers to indredibly simple propositions means that it is Time To Move On, or that these arguments must be beneath them.

But the last time someone described such arguments as "juvenille", the person was neither able to expand on why they thought these arguments were inadequate, nor were they prepared to deal with anything more complex. In the end, all they had was a pejorative, so it's not surprising they used their only tool to hand.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:11 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


To summarize my response: I gave a link to the science with the disclaimer that although I'm a layperson it doesn't appear to be dishonestly interpreted.

And in response to my posting a link to the scientific references, I get called one of the usual true believers who've been sucked in to the point they don't even care that the science is bunk touting the diet to others (see Lexica above).


Wow, look, in that thread hal_c_on did exactly what I suggested above: asking for more information about Lexica's experience in a friendly and inviting and seemingly open-minded way.

Didn't get an answer though.
posted by not that girl at 2:13 PM on April 14, 2010


That being said, every conversation about religion shouldn't be taken as an invitation to derail into whether or not God is a fairy tale. Someone who proclaims that they are on entirely different footing though, better be ready to defend that assertion.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I need a dickey of rationality to go with my bag of holding and sword of smiting.
posted by Babblesort at 2:18 PM on April 14, 2010


it's like hitting the 'crazy shit storm' button on the blender.

You have to *pulse*. You can't just smash the button down and hold it there. You'll burn out the motor.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:21 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I brought up santa, but not as a strawman - I am trying to say that you can have a range of opinions - just bring some logic and data.

The behavior (which is the problem to me) shows up from others too. I think it is problematic because if we just all go about "making position statements" as someone said, then it's not a discussion, it's just a bunch of signs. It's not a community, it's just a bunch of cliques, or just a bunch of people looking past one another.

For instance, this "discussion" about music ended pretty quick because basically the person got called on it and didn't post anymore. Why? Facts and logic were brought to bear. That's likely a minority opinion overall on this site. The other commentors were pretty nice about engaging the person. I wasn't, because after 20 or so years of it, it kind of gets tired. But others were, and what the community values - logic and links - seemed to crush the person's ability to hold that up as a truth rather than a personal opinion.

Now, if the person was crapping in every thread and going on and on trying to denigrate anybody involved in the music, that would get real old, real quick. This is not about poor ol' minority opinion person. This is about the behavior of playing around, not responding and dropping your crap into a thread without engaging - this has hopefully been made clear by mods. Eh. Whatever. Eggplant.
posted by cashman at 2:26 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still don't know what this call out is about. The problem seems to be that The Confessor "was about to get all apoplectic" rather than anything that St. Alia wrote, and this seems to have even less to do with anything she wrote under a different handle.

St. Alia of the Bunnies is wrong about the so-called Tea Party protests, and further, I disagree with her on nearly every other facet of modern life. And I'm not sure her comments are always in good faith- nonetheless, the person here with the problem is The Confessor.
posted by spaltavian at 2:35 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Didn't get an answer though.

After she was called out as an example of ignorance, do you really blame her for not wanting to participate further? I don't.
posted by zarq at 2:35 PM on April 14, 2010


"I'm sure we can agree that there can be other goals of an argument than to convince someone of something."

Well, no. That's something that's a necessary and distinguishing feature of the rhetorical form of argument. I mean, without trying to convince someone, it's just disagreement. I think we've all seen that sketch. That there are other goals that people hold when they put forth arguments here does not mean that arguments are not inherently about persuasion. And it's not a naive view of the internet—most discourse on the internet doesn't rise to the level of argument, and much of what does is poor argumentation.

"So, no, I don't agree that on the subject of religion, the popular/atheist line is particularly poorly defended. Not with rhetorical opponents like these."

It's fine that you don't agree, but you don't happen to be right either. That the popular atheist line is well defended is not proved by having poor opponents; having poor opponents means that the atheist line does not have to be well defended, so it isn't. Further, to argue that the atheist line needs to be defended is to miss the point twice: nearly always, it is the atheist line that is on the attack, first of all, and second, neither faith nor atheism needs any objective defense at all, being a subjective question. If you start with the axiom of faith, you can then attack or defend different corollaries and propositions as consistent or inconsistent; likewise atheism. However, if you start demanding that someone prove or justify their faith and not the beliefs that stem from that faith, you've already missed the fundamental truth of faith, in that faith is arational and exists in negation to proof—it wouldn't be faith if God appeared and said, Yes, I exist. Likewise, to argue that this is indistinguishable from fairy tales is to be both ignorant and insulting, unless you're explicitly arguing fairy tales as parables and metaphors, which are directly comparable to the histories of faith and accounts of miracles. But the inability to distinguish when someone is making a materialistic claim and when they are not is something that's common both to plenty of atheists and plenty of theists, but that doesn't mean that either of them are making good, informed or persuasive arguments: a claim of an intercessionary saint healing someone is a material claim that everyone (theist or atheist) should rightly be skeptical of. A belief in a uniting plan for the universe is far less a material claim, and should be tackled on a different level. (But even then, atheists on Metafilter tend to get things wrong, simply by not understanding faith—the contradictions inherent in the problem of evil are only contradictions without faith, as faith precedes reason by resorting to mystery.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:36 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


In our culture Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are pseudomyths we teach to children and expect them to figure out are false (I think it's kind of interesting that we do that). Comparing religious belief to belief in the Tooth Fairy is a rhetorical device equating religious believers to little kids still believe in the Tooth Fairy, as opposed to atheists, who are real grown-ups. It's not actually used to convince religious believers that they're wrong about anything - it's not actually an argument. It's usually trotted out to tell a religious person 'if you're so stupid that you believe in some sort of religion I'm not going to take anything you have to say about anything seriously.'

There are, of course, times when the comparison is simply humorous.
posted by nangar at 2:43 PM on April 14, 2010


FWIW, I don't really have a dog in this fight. I will absolutely agree with the assertion that there is a very good chance that St. A is right, that in fact there are many tea parties where no racist signs are shown. But she never claimed that. She just claimed that her husband went to tea parties and he's not racist, therefore it isn't right to call tea partiers racist. Which would be fine, except there's something disingenuous about that when you have scads of photos showing tea parties w/ racist signs.

My point wasn't about the rightness of St. A in this particular instance. It's about a pattern of behavior that obviously irks more than one person and causes these metatalks in the first place. Maybe she's actually right every time. Maybe everything I've ever read about tea parties is wrong, that it's honest-to-god just a fluke related to only 1% of tea parties. But she has this habit of running into threads, saying something that goes contrary to all of this information that many people lay out, and then leaving. As I already said, she absolutely has the right to do it; she doesn't have to provide any reasoning for what she says, but it doesn't exactly make this place better. I come here for reasoned discourse (reasoned compared to most of the rest of the web anyway.) I want her to stay here. She IS a minority opinion in this place and Metafilter needs more of that. But man, that particular behavior is still annoying.
posted by nushustu at 2:45 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


She just claimed that her husband went to tea parties and he's not racist, therefore it isn't right to call tea partiers racist.

She claimed that her husband went to tea parties and he's not racist, and because of that she requested that people employ nuance when using such hefty terms as 'racist.' She requested that sweeping generalizations not be made.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:48 PM on April 14, 2010


That's something that's a necessary and distinguishing feature of the rhetorical form of argument. I mean, without trying to convince someone, it's just disagreement.

One could be trying to make an argument for the sake of the reader, rather than for the sake of convincing the other party.
posted by empath at 2:54 PM on April 14, 2010


Yes, but that's still trying to convince someone. I mentioned that above in my comments about a neutral, reasonable reader.
posted by klangklangston at 3:01 PM on April 14, 2010


One could be trying to make an argument for the sake of the reader ...

Yes. Of course it is, but is a shift to making fun of the person the person you disagree agree with and refusing to engage, rather responding to anything they're saying.
posted by nangar at 3:02 PM on April 14, 2010


Damn.

empath, I thought you were responding to my comment ... because I also used to word "rhetoric." Talk about a non-sequitur. It help to read things first. No, that didn't make any sense. Sorry.
posted by nangar at 3:09 PM on April 14, 2010


If you people MUST KNOW....my husband was asking me, rather pointedly, whether or not I was coming to bed while I was posting on that thread last night. I did NOT post and run, I stayed for a little while and posted, but then-look, in this house real life trumps the Internet. Thankfully I missed most if not all of what the mods had to clean up.

If you really want to call that hit and run posting knock yourself out. But I'd prefer you knock it off and instead think of the point I was trying to make, which shakespehrian is up there reiterating for you.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:11 PM on April 14, 2010


If you people MUST KNOW

Actually we don't.
posted by Big_B at 3:14 PM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


You gotta balance between being the center of the universe and non-being oblivion. You can do it.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


...but then-look, in this house real life trumps the Internet.

I've heard of such things, but never seen one in the wild before, thank you for sharing!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:22 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But even then, atheists on Metafilter tend to get things wrong, simply by not understanding faith.

I agree with this, and I wish atheists argued from a more informed position here, but while Atheists may be a loud majority on metafilter, I think Mefi is the exception, rather than the rule, particularly when you take into account people's 'real world' interactions. I remember going to Catholic school thinking that I was the only atheist in the world and a place like metafilter would have been a lifeline to me. I'd hate to ask atheists to not express their opinions forcefully here for fear of offending believers. And more-over, I think that comparing religious belief to fairy tales is perfectly valid argumentation. While it may not win over true believers, it is effective for people who may be on the fence (and yes, there are people who are on the fence). In fact, comparing Biblical myth to Babylonian and Greek myth is one of the strongest arguments I know against the idea that the bible is literally true.

I think that people should be respected, and I think that we should be honest about their beliefs, and we should make an attempt to understand them, but part of taking people seriously is treating them like intelligent adults. If they can't handle honest but harsh criticism of their professed beliefs, then they shouldn't bring them up.

That's different than wholesale attacks on groups of people for simply being religious or belonging to a church or gratuitous attacks on people's faith when they didn't bring up religion, though. And the badgering, dismissive tone a lot of atheists take here is really obnoxious and I wish they would dial it down.

I'm an atheist, but I find religion of all kinds fascinating, and I wish we could have more respectful dialogue about it. Even when I think people's fundamental beliefs are very wrong, they can still be wrong in interesting ways.
posted by empath at 3:23 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think it's weird that people keep saying athiests are a majority here...does not seem to be the case at all. Maybe more like 50/50, if anything.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:26 PM on April 14, 2010


I think its a combination of A) it being unusual to ever hear from atheists, and B) how outspoken they are here.
posted by empath at 3:29 PM on April 14, 2010


Atheists may or not be a majority of metafilter users, but they certainly appear to be a majority of the subset of metafilter users who are shouty about their personal beliefs.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 3:30 PM on April 14, 2010


I always kind of think of it as a second-place hummus.
This is backwards. Hummus is what I make when I am too lazy to make baba ghannouj.
I tend to think that the secret of baba ganoush is to use more lemon than you think you should...
I start with one-and-a-half lemons per eggplant and adjust from there.
Ditto for garlic - use more than you think you should, and then add a bit more.
No, no, no, no, no.
You know how when you learn to drive a car with a manual transmission, and you practice getting going using only the clutch -- no gas pedal? This is how you should make your first 5 or 6 batches of baba ghannouj -- no garlic at all. And then add maybe a half a clove of finely minced garlic for 3 eggplants. If you just love garlic then maybe a clove.
The trick is to get a nice balance of the sharpness of the lemon, the earthiness of the eggplant, the smoke from the charring, and the smoothness of the tahini. And too much garlic or too much salt can swamp out all of the other flavors really easily.
So: Pierce the eggplants, broil them in the oven, turning them when you remember. If you turn off the smoke detector, you can char them on the stovetop -- I think an electric stove works just as well or better than a gas stove. As they cool, be sure to catch the drippings, which are full of smokey goodness. Cut the eggplants in half and scrape the flesh off the charred skin. Blend the lemon, eggplant, juice, and a little salt. Then add tahini and garlic, tasting often and maybe adding more lemon and salt.

Now go turn the smoke detector back on and turn off the computer. Eat the baba ghannouj on the porch with arabic bread, a cold beer, and maybe some olives.
posted by Killick at 3:36 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Ideas are only scary to people who have reason to doubt their own worldview.

Show me someone who doesn't doubt his own world view and I'll show you an oyster someone who hasn't done enough self-challenging, not by half.


> The second problem she has is an absolute refusal to engage with people about the real world.

Now that's precious. They don't believe in Jebus but they have this childlike faith in the--giggity--real world.


> The original ffp that started all this, let me refer you to it.

Heh. Clever St. Alia is clever. Which, though it hadn't been mentioned (until I did so just now) is actually plenty enough to explain most of the grar all by itself.
posted by jfuller at 3:41 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


That the popular atheist line is well defended is not proved by having poor opponents

Well you're missing a word there in my statement and that word is "particularly". The characterization, that the popular line is less-well-defended (because it doesn't have to be) is I think generally true but religion is, from what I can see, the exception. The repeated assertion that theists have heard -- and thought about -- all these mickey-mouse arguments before is refuted by the very inability of these posters to deal with these arguments as basic as they are. Or even understand them, in some cases.

neither faith nor atheism needs any objective defense at all, being a subjective question

At no point have I demanded anything of a theist. Have I said that a person cannot believe X? No. Have I said that a person should not believe X? No. The same cannot be said of the converse; that is, something is most definitely being demanded of me, and that thing is respect. And yet I'm told that belief X belongs to a special subset (by virtue of characteristics usually unnamable) that makes it so worthy; other beliefs of the same class are so absurd as to make the comparison insulting. Well, distinguish the two or take the perceived insult on the chin. Of course the "Santa" line is a blunt instrument, and intentionally so. If you're going to demand respect for your beliefs, you'd better be able to at least distinguish them non-arbitrarily from those you believe are less worthy of respect. I'm not the one who finds them so.

a claim of an intercessionary saint healing someone is a material claim that everyone (theist or atheist) should rightly be skeptical of. A belief in a uniting plan for the universe is far less a material claim, and should be tackled on a different level.

Well no. You're making the same mistake that the poster made who claimed that the "Santa" snipe is all about a bearded old man sitting on a cloud. It's not. It's about choosing one evidence-less belief over the infinite variety available. It is absolutely not failing to distinguish between materialistic and non-materialistic claims. I assume as a starting point that we are talking about a complete absence of evidence. If we're talking about reports of miracles in the historical record, then I'm sure we can have a fairly level-headed if unsatisfying talk about qualities of evidence. The whole point is that we're talking about privileging certain beliefs over others of the same class. I am assuming as a starting point that we are confining that conversation to claims unproven and unprovable.

It's not exactly tilting at windmills either, given that we're having this whole debate as a society over the degree of respect to be accorded (manifested in accommodation) to religious beliefs. And that's an interesting conversation to be had, but you know we're not even close to getting there if you can't tell me why you think a belief that it was sunny today because God made is so is worthy of respect and a belief that it was sunny today because little green men made it so is not. And down the line, that translates into some interesting (and arbitrary, and often ham-fisted) distinctions made by governments and courts on such issues as tax free status, freedom of expression, freedom of religious practice, persecution as applied to responsibilities toward refugees, and on and on. But you know, we're not going to get there as long as we're stuck at square fucking one. And we're not going to get past that by simply calling it tired, or juvenile, or insulting, instead of dealing with it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:46 PM on April 14, 2010


I kinda disagree with you about the garlic, Killick, but I see where you're coming from. I'll bring some beer and we can sit on your porch (or is it a veranda?) and eat baba ghannouj.
posted by rtha at 3:48 PM on April 14, 2010


And by respect I am not detracting from the "respect the believer if not the belief" line, only insofar as I might respect a theist for their baking or their carpentry, or perhaps -- maybe -- for the reasoned way in which they have arrived at their religious beliefs. But not for a moment do I think that respect is owed not earned, and I don't find most people behave as if they believe it either.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:49 PM on April 14, 2010


She claimed that her husband went to tea parties and he's not racist, and because of that she requested that people employ nuance when using such hefty terms as 'racist.' She requested that sweeping generalizations not be made.

Oh come on. It's not the KKK, no, but at what point do you look around at the race-based hatred that you perhaps do not share and think "these are not my people"?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:52 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Empath—

Part of it is certainly how normative religion, especially Christianity, is here in the West. Nearly every atheist here has had to have a conversion moment, where they realize that they don't believe in God. And, well, you know what they say about the zeal of the converted. Add that to my general suspicion that religion wildly over-encompasses its base of faith—I tend to think that most people who call themselves Christians in America are actually functionally atheist, or at least without faith or a true conception of God, but who keep going to church and even angrily defend their religions out of any number of reasons that aren't theologically justifiable—and you have a group of people who feel pretty justifiably angry about being shammed and about the general hypocrisy of the actions of plenty of nominally religious people who are just as materialistic but without the self-appraisal skills to be honest about it. And then you have the Metafilter religious who, on the whole, don't tend to think of the Bible as literally true, who do tend to have an examined if not fully coherent theology (something that even many brilliant religious scholars really struggle with), and a generally respectful attitude. I know one Mormon on Metafilter, and he's not the type to ever knock on your door—he's the one risking getting drummed out of his community of faith by standing up for the rights of gays. So while I recognize that atheism is, in the broader world, a minority and a tough topic to discuss without being scorned, I don't think that reflects Metafilter on the whole.

I don't have any problem with standing up to harsh criticism; I even mentioned it above to Pogo Fuzzybutt. I do think that atheists often seem to rhetorically conflate "harsh criticism of religion" with what converted them from religion. And I also think that my imaginary neutral, reasonable reader is already familiar with most of the basic arguments—I don't think that comparing the Bible to Greek or Babylonian myths is particularly groundbreaking, but I had a Bible as Literature class as part of my high school education, so maybe I'm out of the mainstream. I do tend to think that simply declaring atheism qua atheism is the least interesting thing that an atheist can do in a discussion of religion or metaphysics, especially given the number of great academics who study religion and who are atheists. I'd like to see more of that, and less glib dismissal, but, well, individuals are intelligent and mobs are stupid.
posted by klangklangston at 3:55 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Cool, rtha. We'll probably get along just fine so long as we stay away from discussing the hot-button issues: religion, declawing, circumcision, cilantro.
posted by Killick at 3:56 PM on April 14, 2010


Oh come on. It's not the KKK, no, but at what point do you look around at the race-based hatred that you perhaps do not share and think "these are not my people"?

Possibly the point is that after looking around Alia didn't see much or any race-based hatred?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 PM on April 14, 2010


It's about choosing one evidence-less belief over the infinite variety available.

It's a rather easily tossed aside argument, because most 'born agains' don't believe that it's evidence-less. They've had 'personal revelation' from Jesus and not from Santa Claus, and no amount of telling them that their personal experience is invalid is going to ever convince them otherwise. It's the kind of argument that works when they are trying to convince you of something else based on their personal faith, but pointless otherwise.
posted by empath at 4:00 PM on April 14, 2010


A note I just sent ...

Hello St. Alia --

I inadvertently clicked on Talk instead of Ask or the Blue and found that thread wherein you have been called out. I've read through maybe fifty comments thus far, or sixty, whatever; time and again people are down on you, your opinions, beliefs, anything else it seems. There are a few who've posted there telling of their admiration of you and saying that they are glad you are here. But not too many.

You have real courage, to keep on coming here, and to keep on putting yourself 'out there' knowing that many are going to punch at you reflexively, often without considering what you've written about in whatever thread you're in. It seems to me that it gets so personal... I do not know what has set this whole thing on fire. But it is on fire.

I get very, very angry at some comments that seem totally cruel or whatever, and I have to guess that you've somehow hit others buttons in this way. But I've not seen it, in the short time I've been here. I've set some people on edge myself, with comments stated cruelly, or stupidly, or both of those, comments not only stated cruelly but which are also at variance with the prevailing weather of this site ...

I know for a fact that you are I differ on many, many beliefs, opinions, whatever else. But I have a sister and brother-in-law with whom I also disagree deeply, on most every topic, yet I know that they care about me, and I damn sure care about them. I'd hate to see someone tear into my sister the way you're torn into, and I know it would happen here.

Maybe it even has to happen here; this site is where so many who've been so badly hurt have come to be safe, and your opinions/beliefs remind them of those who've hurt them. I have some gay running buddies, some of the things they've told me that have been said to them in the course of their lives are just unbelievable to me. Except that they are not unbelievable, all I need do is open my eyes and ears and pay attention, it's right out in public, same as was racism in years past.

And same as someone in that thread pointed out, I've been cut out from the herd more than once or twice due to my having this manic depression thing and it surely hurts when it happens. This place is pretty safe for outcasts, people thrown out by those with beliefs like yours, or so it seems to me. So they strike out at you.

But I'd bet dollars to dimes you'd help me if I needed help, if you came across me in a time of trouble; seems to me that I remember nickyskye, who I sortof see as a goddess, seems I remember her stating at one time that you'd helped her in her hard time, that you supported and loved her -- that's good enough for me. I trust you.

So. I'm writing to support you, what little one person can do, right? I guess I'll post in the thread also, though I am definitely late to the party, and who knows if anyone will see it. But I guess it's important to say it there, also, put my voice in the mix, too.

Support from Austin on a sunny spring afternoon.

Peace.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:01 PM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


I do tend to think that simply declaring atheism qua atheism is the least interesting thing that an atheist can do in a discussion of religion or metaphysics

Part of the problem is that these are more often political discussions, and people acting on political views you disagree with is a lot harder to ignore than religious views, and when people use their religious views as the sole basis for their political views, it gets incredibly frustrating to talk politics with them. You can rationally discuss politics up till the point when someone says 'Because Jesus', then you can either shut up or get into the tired atheism vs christianity debate that everyone is sick to death of on all sides.
posted by empath at 4:07 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think that comparing the Bible to Greek or Babylonian myths is particularly groundbreaking, but I had a Bible as Literature class as part of my high school education, so maybe I'm out of the mainstream.

I'm a little confused by your need for an argument to be groundbreaking. It's like a reporter who never gets an answer to the asked question and moves on nonetheless. "You've thought, I imagine, about the various other faiths and beliefs that exist across the globe and how those other beliefs contrast with your own -- and how we're all relatively on equal ground -- we each have our practices, rituals, sacred texts that (for many) predate your own? " Yes, I've thought about it. "Ok, then. Let's talk about something else."

How do you not wait for a reply to that?

It's a rather easily tossed aside argument, because most 'born agains' don't believe that it's evidence-less. They've had 'personal revelation' from Jesus and not from Santa Claus, and no amount of telling them that their personal experience is invalid is going to ever convince them otherwise.

You're probably right -- I've seen that very argument crop up on MeFi, and it surprises me because I expect more people to be suspicious of the limits of their own knowledge and the fallibility of their perceptions. But hey, that gets us moving forward, talking about the nature of evidence. We're still talking.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:10 PM on April 14, 2010


I think that Obama actually made the best argument in that regard and I especially like it because he doesn't actually question the veracity of anyone's beliefs:
Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason....
...
We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded.

Of course, in the end God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute, and Abraham passes God's test of devotion.

But it's fair to say that if any of us saw a twenty-first century Abraham raising the knife on the roof of his apartment building, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that are possible for all of us to know, be it common laws or basic reason.
Basically, I think the best tact in a political discussion with a religious person is not to argue against their faith directly, but only to argue that faith isn't enough.
posted by empath at 4:26 PM on April 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


"all these mickey-mouse arguments before is refuted by the very inability of these posters to deal with these arguments as basic as they are. Or even understand them, in some cases."

Oh, bullshit. I understand these arguments better than you do, here evidenced by the fact that you're still looking for refutations. You are, as I said, not even wrong.

"At no point have I demanded anything of a theist. Have I said that a person cannot believe X? No. Have I said that a person should not believe X? No. The same cannot be said of the converse; that is, something is most definitely being demanded of me, and that thing is respect."

This is nonsense too. You don't have to respect my beliefs, but by not respecting them, you come across as an ignorant ass. Just as you don't have to respect my beliefs about America, eggplant or socialism. But oh noes, you have to be respectful in your conversation if you don't want to come across like a dick? That's clearly different with regard to religion than every other civil discussion ever in the history of anything.

"And yet I'm told that belief X belongs to a special subset (by virtue of characteristics usually unnamable) that makes it so worthy; other beliefs of the same class are so absurd as to make the comparison insulting."

Well, no, you're told that it's a subjective experience and that respecting others' subjective experiences is generally one of those rules for good conversation, and that not respecting that subjective experience is, in fact, insulting. If I told you that the Poison concert I saw was one of the best events I've been to, or even if I said it was one of the best events ever, and you replied with, "No, it isn't, Poison sucks," that'd be insulting and dickish. This isn't a new mysterious category of discussion at all, and I know that you want some of the sweet martyrdom juice that all the kids have at Christ camp, but pretending that having to not be a dick is some horrible burden pretty much means that I'm not going to respect your opinion either—hence saying you come across as an ignorant ass.

"Well no. You're making the same mistake that the poster made who claimed that the "Santa" snipe is all about a bearded old man sitting on a cloud. It's not. It's about choosing one evidence-less belief over the infinite variety available."

Well, except that it's not. Faith precedes reason—it's not choosing one evidence-free claim, it's having an a priori belief that is annihilated by evidence. Again, if you insist on defending the same old hoary attacks, you must understand that the old hoary defenses already render them irrelevant.

"The whole point is that we're talking about privileging certain beliefs over others of the same class. I am assuming as a starting point that we are confining that conversation to claims unproven and unprovable."

Which doesn't privilege them over beliefs in the same class. And yes, of course faith is unproven and unprovable. It is inherently arational and subjective, essentially internal tautological claims—faith is self-justifying. You have faith because you have faith, not because any action happens or did not happen.

"and that's an interesting conversation to be had, but you know we're not even close to getting there if you can't tell me why you think a belief that it was sunny today because God made is so is worthy of respect and a belief that it was sunny today because little green men made it so is not."

Really? You think that I'm arguing that people need to be respected for making a material claim that God made it sunny today, and that this is the same as a claim that little green men made it sunny? I mean, seriously?

Here's why I don't respect that line of argumentation, and why I think it makes you look like an ignorant ass: First off, remember what I said about material claims? The argument that today is sunny because God made it so is externally tautological, in that it would only make sense in a metaphoric way from my personal beliefs—there may be other folks who believe in an intercessionary God, but I'm not one of them, something I made pretty clear by making the distinction regarding material claims in the first place. If you had given me the basic civility of reading what I wrote and assuming that it represented my position, you would have never held that this is what I'm defending when I've explicitly delineated it. Your conflation of all religious belief shows you to be naive with regard to religion and presumptuous when dealing with me. Second off, even you should be able to distinguish between a metaphysical faith—implied by "God"—and a physical faith, implied by "little green men." But because you were unable or unwilling to deal with what I actually wrote, you constructed a facile analogy with a phrase that has historically been used to disparage beliefs. So, you missed the point and intentionally acted rudely, all while complaining about how unfair it is that you should have to actually engage with someone else instead of scoring snarky points. That's both ignorant and assy.

"And down the line, that translates into some interesting (and arbitrary, and often ham-fisted) distinctions made by governments and courts on such issues as tax free status, freedom of expression, freedom of religious practice, persecution as applied to responsibilities toward refugees, and on and on. But you know, we're not going to get there as long as we're stuck at square fucking one. And we're not going to get past that by simply calling it tired, or juvenile, or insulting, instead of dealing with it."

Maybe you're not, but the rest of us have been able to have intelligent conversations on the role of religion in temporal affairs since, I dunno, The Republic? So, we're already having these conversations, and you're apparently not, because you're stuck on tired, juvenile, insulting bullshit that we've already dealt with. Just because you don't like the answer you've received doesn't mean we haven't dealt with it.
posted by klangklangston at 4:28 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


"I'm a little confused by your need for an argument to be groundbreaking. It's like a reporter who never gets an answer to the asked question and moves on nonetheless. "You've thought, I imagine, about the various other faiths and beliefs that exist across the globe and how those other beliefs contrast with your own -- and how we're all relatively on equal ground -- we each have our practices, rituals, sacred texts that (for many) predate your own? " Yes, I've thought about it. "Ok, then. Let's talk about something else."

How do you not wait for a reply to that?
"

Uh, the reply is that the foundational myths of any religion speak to universal truths, which all people have had access to and articulate in different ways, and that often these myths were intended to be metaphorically true—especially since for most of the history of the Bible, it was an experiential narrative more than a literal text. Hell, most regular people didn't even read it until after a hundred years of religious war.
posted by klangklangston at 4:38 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Part of the problem is that these are more often political discussions, and people acting on political views you disagree with is a lot harder to ignore than religious views, and when people use their religious views as the sole basis for their political views, it gets incredibly frustrating to talk politics with them. You can rationally discuss politics up till the point when someone says 'Because Jesus', then you can either shut up or get into the tired atheism vs christianity debate that everyone is sick to death of on all sides.

Very, very few members here do that. When they have, it's likely they were called on it.

A mutual discussion requires open minds, and a willingness of all parties to listen and perhaps learn from the experience or opinions of others. That's not an easy thing.

Basically, I think the best tact in a political discussion with a religious person is not to argue against their faith directly, but only to argue that faith isn't enough.

We've been down this road before on MeTa. I believe that faith is supposed to be the beginning of one's journey, not its destination. So I think it's okay to ask people why they believe what they do, and then challenge their beliefs without belittling them. For example, I would have no problem asking an hypothetical pro-life, pro-death penalty, religious Christian why an embryo was more important in their philosophy than an adult human being. But listening to and perhaps trying to understand their reasoning is just as important as challenging their convictions.

Does that seem reasonable to you?
posted by zarq at 4:39 PM on April 14, 2010


empath wrote: "They've had 'personal revelation' from Jesus"

When I was 10 or so, I thought God spoke to me through "gut feelings." I not-too-long-after realized that the feeling I was experiencing was a physical manifestation of anxiety. :p
posted by wierdo at 4:40 PM on April 14, 2010


"all these mickey-mouse arguments before is refuted by the very inability of these posters to deal with these arguments as basic as they are. Or even understand them, in some cases."

Oh, bullshit. I understand these arguments better than you do


You know what, klang? I think if we're going to talk about this, you're going to have to do a bit better with reading what I actually write. The "some cases" wasn't in reference to you. The two examples I cited earlier were actual examples, and I called out the poster at the time for railing against an argument he hadn't even bothered to consider long enough to understand, which, basic as it truly was, should have taken about 5 seconds.

You don't have to respect my beliefs, but by not respecting them, you come across as an ignorant ass.

Oh please. The issue isn't what I respect (what does it matter to you?). The issue is that some people can't come up with a decent reason why some beliefs in their estimation are worthy of respect and others are not. I've watched people try. I've watched governments try (if you ever want to see religious belief boiled down to substantive rights from every conceivable angle, start digging through tax law). I've watched at least one human rights org try. So far: theists: 0; ham-fisted arbitrary distinctions: a million.

Well, no, you're told that it's a subjective experience and that respecting others' subjective experiences is generally one of those rules for good conversation, and that not respecting that subjective experience is, in fact, insulting.

I am rarely told that. That, too, would at least get us further into the conversation. Like the homeopathic thread where someone near the end said (paraphrasing) "Fuck you -- I tried it and it worked for me and that's all I need to know". Ok, so you don't care that the results are replicable, only that this worked for you in this case. Why should I treat this any differently than faith healing, or crystals, or magnetism, or the plethora of other cures that sporadically, but not reliably, produce relief? And the issue -- the one you're missing here, klang -- isn't that *I* feel a certain way about them or can or can't draw a line between them, but that *he* simultaneously wanted respect for his subjective experience, but he couldn't draw a line between them either and would be happy disparaging other new-agey beliefs.

First off, remember what I said about material claims? The argument that today is sunny because God made it so is externally tautological, in that it would only make sense in a metaphoric way from my personal beliefs—there may be other folks who believe in an intercessionary God, but I'm not one of them, something I made pretty clear by making the distinction regarding material claims in the first place.

If this is the level you're at, then I'm leaving this here. I have heard this very statement (re: the weather) recently and I know better than to call it a material claim. "God" can be behind any process, any material cause, any effect. It is implicitly a non-material claim. If you're seriously suggesting that a reasonable reply to this person would be to talk about water vapour content and the dew point, you're either disingenuous or a fool.

Second off, even you should be able to distinguish between a metaphysical faith—implied by "God"—and a physical faith, implied by "little green men." But because you were unable or unwilling to deal with what I actually wrote, you constructed a facile analogy with a phrase that has historically been used to disparage beliefs.

A "physical faith". Really. I'm done with you. You are either unwilling or unable to deal with these arguments, and have obviously never had to give them any serious thought in the context of actual rights accorded under the law. I mean this is a bullshit distinction. What does the LGM have to be? Invisible? Ethereal? In the afterlife? Give me a break.

So, we're already having these conversations, and you're apparently not, because you're stuck on tired, juvenile, insulting bullshit that we've already dealt with. Just because you don't like the answer you've received doesn't mean we haven't dealt with it.

That's funny. I've been at the table for some of those discussions, seen the outcome of them in the domestic laws of a few countries, and will continue to pay the bills by hearing and having them. Better minds than you (and I) have tried and failed to make sensible distinctions. As long as you're dealing with religious rhetoric at the level of political speeches (eg: the Obama line above, as good as it is) and you never actually have to determine policy which distinguishes between beliefs substantively (think you can get away without doing that? You can't.), then I'm sure your intro Bible class and coffeehouse bullshit is up for the task.

Now: dinner.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:59 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I had a little thing where I trolled Alia. Later I sincerely regretted it. I sent her a PM apologizing. She was very gracious in accepting my apology. I had, indeed been a dick.

I like her. I don't agree with many of her points or beliefs, but I like her. I think she is a warm and intelligent person.

I dislike the message. Not the message bearer.
posted by Splunge at 5:06 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, the reply is that the foundational myths of any religion speak to universal truths, which all people have had access to and articulate in different ways, and that often these myths were intended to be metaphorically true.

Which, quite frankly, is BS, and most people who devoutly believe in those myths would disagree with you strenuously.
posted by empath at 5:12 PM on April 14, 2010


This thread is way tl;dr but I'm stopping by like to register my disapproval of the BND policy. It's really lame. Konolia is konolia and changing her username hasn't changed her posting habits. I had no idea her username had changed and wasted irreplaceable moments of my life reading her flamebait posts (and let's not split hairs about what they are). I'm not upset with her, because that's just how she rolls, but I'm pretty annoyed with mefi leadership for pulling this on us.

If we're going to let people have username switcheroos, (and I'd prefer that we didn't, ever) can we at least flag them as such in some prominent way?
posted by mullingitover at 5:16 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eggplant Stuffed with Rice: Melanzane Ripiene di Riso Recipe courtesy Mario Batali


Saffron Risotto:
5 to 6 cups chicken or beef stock
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron
1/8 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Eggplants and stuffing:
12 baby eggplants, 4 to 5 inches long and a little over 1 inch thick, with stem
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 bunch basil leaves, chiffonade (reserve some for garnish)
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water


To make the risotto: In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the stock until almost a boil. Turn the heat to very low and stir in the saffron.
In a 10 to 12-inch saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Immediately stir in the rice and cook over medium-high heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir continuously until the rice is coated in the butter and begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to let the rice burn. Keeping the heat at medium-high, begin ladling the hot broth into the rice, about 2 ladles at a time. Constantly stir with the wooden spoon until the rice has almost absorbed all of the broth. Continue adding the broth bit by bit until the rice is al dente or tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the stuffed eggplants: Par-bake eggplants in the oven for 25 minutes. Cool. Leave 1-inch on tops and bottoms of eggplant and cut lengthwise down the middle, making little pockets.

Combine the rice, garlic, mint, basil, cheese and egg yolk together in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined. Stuff an equal amount of the stuffing into each little pocket. Be sure to overstuff the eggplants. Use toothpicks to hold together, if necessary.

In a 12-inch saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Fry the eggplant, in batches, until the skins begin to wrinkle.

In the meantime, heat the tomato sauce in another 12-inch frying pan. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of water.

Transfer the cooked eggplants to the pan with the tomato sauce, and spoon the sauce over the eggplants. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn the eggplants over and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature with extra sauce and basil.

Basic tomato sauce:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

Yield: 4 cups


Baked Eggplant Rolls: Involtini di Melanzane Recipe courtesy Mario Batali

Extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
3 medium eggplants, with the stem ends removed, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch thick slices

Frittata:
4 large eggs
1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups basic tomato sauce



In a 12-inch frying pan, pour olive oil until it sits 1-inch deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is hot, but not smoking.

Add the eggplant slices and fry, in batches, until lightly browned on each side. Remove the eggplant slices to drain on paper towels
To make the frittata: whisk the eggs and the 1/3 cup Parmesan together in a bowl. Add the parsley, and season the mixture, to taste,

with the salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in an 8 to 10-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour in the

egg mixture and cook, swirling the egg mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook until the omelet sets and the bottom turns a

light golden brown. Invert the frittata over a clean plate and then return to the pan, top-side down, golden brown-side up. Cook for

another 1 to 2 minutes until the bottom side is also golden brown. Transfer the frittata to a cutting board and, using a sharp knife,

cut into 1 1/2-inch strips. Cut each strip in half, crosswise.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place a frittata strip in the center of each eggplant piece. A few of the longer eggplant slices will need 2 shorter strips of frittata.

Roll the stuffed eggplant up from 1 end to the other and place, seam side down, in a lightly greased baking pan. The rolls should be

placed side by side, somewhat tightly, together. Spoon the tomato sauce over the eggplant rolls and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Sprinkle lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before

serving.
posted by Splunge at 5:21 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Franciscan Eggplant

1 large eggplant (about 1.5 pounds)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup margarine
1 cup diced ham
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Halve eggplant lengthwise; cut out pulp, leaving 1/4-inch-thick shell. Dice pulp. In skillet saute diced pulp, onion and celery in margarine 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in ham, tomato sauce, olives, salt and pepper. Spoon into eggplant shell. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake in 400 degree oven 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is emted and lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 370 calories, 14 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrate, 29 grams fat, 37 mg. cholesterol.

You could switch the ham with bacon!!!
posted by jgirl at 5:46 PM on April 14, 2010


She claimed that her husband went to tea parties and he's not racist, and because of that she requested that people employ nuance when using such hefty terms as 'racist.' She requested that sweeping generalizations not be made.

But that's not what she said.

She said that we had to stop "calling her husband racist."

But nobody had called her husband racist. Nobody had said "St. Alia's husband attended a tea party affair and is therefore racist." Nobody said "Each and every person who supports the tea party stuff is without exception racist."

The accusation against her husband, or her, exists only in her own head.

What she's actually asking people to do is stop calling the tea party movement racist, in spite of the clear and overwhelming evidence that it actually is disproportionately, but not universally, racist.

I think this immediately gets up in people's grills, though I don't think she meant it to do this, because the religious right has an unfortunate and irksome tactic of immediately turning around and shouting "INTOLERANCE!!" and "WAR ON CHRISTIANITY!" at liberals whenever someone speaks ill of them or their behavior. Viz, the little cartoon of the churchy guy smacking the gay man with the stick and screaming BIGOTRY! when he's asked to stop, or the one with the woman with the halo condemning everyone to hell.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:46 PM on April 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


You know what's the most annoying thing about St. Alia of the Bunnies? Her user name. It's so fucking cool and I wish I had thought of it first.

You could reverse it and be "Fluffy Bunnykins of the Knife."

We joked about giving Swedish Vallhunds names like Olaf Blood-Cuddle or Thorleif the Snuggly-Axe
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:49 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I remain pissed off that we have lost several good members because St. Alia was allowed to say hateful things about homosexuality and gay marriage. I think our community would be much, much better off had she been banned, and they had thus been retained.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:10 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I remain pissed off that we have lost several good members

This is the second time you've mentioned this. I'm sure you have people in mind. I do not think there are any members who were just totally fine here except for the presence of StA/konolia. This is not an actual choice we had available to us: "I will stay if you ban konolia"

We have lost other members who have been disgusted with the pile-ons in MeTa, and members who have gotten too pissed off about any number of things. I am sorry if people feel that this site is in any way not welcoming to people of all sorts of beliefs and backgrounds, but we aim for inclusivity and not "people like us, ok people not like us, not ok." I know some people disagree with this tactic, but that's our tactic and it's unlikely to change. If you can behave decently on the site, even if some people despise you, you get to stay.

I don't expect people to forget things that konolia said. I expect them to see that saying that sort of thing is not at all okay on the site and that people who say things like that moving forward are unwelcome. I'm not okay retroactively making and applying policies that we didn't have at the time (in hindsight, yes, should have been different, wasn't) and honestly I find our "no pile-on" approach works better for general site harmony than "don't talk about your personal relationship with/against god" or some other variant of content filtering.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:29 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmmm. When I was a hippie (and I was) the understanding was that people like me were smelly. "We" had long hair. Beards. Wore cast-off (yet colorful) clothing. Did drugs. And were smelly. Went to protests. And were smelly. Lived like nomads or something. And were smelly.

Well. For a while I was smelly. I was 18 years old. I was MARRIED. And I was doing a lot of LSD and other drugs. I was also living in a corner apartment in Washington Heights. But that's another story.

I was also basically a child. I stopped caring about hygiene and was busy with other stuff. My wife occasionally mentioned that I needed a bath but I brushed it off. that joker!

So one day I was working at Canal Jeans. The Canal Street store, the original one, not the one on Broadway. I was, as usual tripping balls. And a two young ladies were having a pointed conversation about me. Really. One was a totally cool chick named Lainey who did the window displays and ordering. One was a girl named Blank, a new punk. They were talking, REALLY LOUDLY, about this guy they worked with who was totally cute but smelled like shit.

That was me.

That would have been a wake up call if I was just the usual, you know smoking weed and on speed... But on acid it hit me like a napalm strike.

I SMELLED BAD. My wife wasn't kidding. I went into the bathroom and dropped my pants. The wrinkles in my ball-sack had GRIME in them.

I FREAKED OUT.


I went to my boss, Pete Zivick, and told him I was sick and had to go home. The train ride was hell but long and boring story made shorter and boring...

I got in the shower and scrubbed myself RAW.

Then I posted a sign on he bathroom door. It said, Buckle Down Moron! Get RIGHT!

From then on I have been meticulous in my hygiene and grooming.


What's the point?

Some hippies were smelly. And they didn't realize it. But they could change with the proper instruction.

Kind of thin, right?

Sorry.
posted by Splunge at 6:35 PM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: the wrinkles in my ball sac had grime in them
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 PM on April 14, 2010


I really need to make some Saffron Risotto now.
posted by The Whelk at 6:46 PM on April 14, 2010


Make sure that the saffron is fresh. There is saffron sitting around in stores for months. If it has dust on it, don't buy it. Saffron loses its zing real fast.
posted by Splunge at 6:51 PM on April 14, 2010


wrinkles in my ball-sack had GRIME

I'm guessing it was Lady Sov.
posted by cashman at 6:52 PM on April 14, 2010


I've got some actual strands in an air-tight container that's been keeping pretty well. Saffron's a nuclear bomb, you never need more than a few pinches or it'll go from delightful to cardboard.
posted by The Whelk at 6:56 PM on April 14, 2010


Hmm, red pepper flakes and saffron with almond silvers with a side of three-mushroom chicken. Spicy, earthy and warm. Hmmm
posted by The Whelk at 6:57 PM on April 14, 2010


Well where I get it from it's either in a corked vial or a small plastic (WTF?) box. What kind of air-tight container are you talking about? Because I want it. ;)
posted by Splunge at 7:00 PM on April 14, 2010


I got a huuuge tin a while back and then put it in a small mason flip-lid air tight jar. It's either held up amazingly or I'm just used to the taste of skunky saffron.
posted by The Whelk at 7:02 PM on April 14, 2010


Mason jar is cool. There is no skunky saff. There is either saff taste or not. There is no try.

Sorry...
posted by Splunge at 7:07 PM on April 14, 2010


I bought those tins of saffron for EVERYONE I KNEW cause I thought, and I was right, that they would vanish quickly and then never appear again.

So that was a big Christmas gift, but now I worry they just kept them in the tin and have SKUNKY SAFFRON on their spicy shrimp salads. THINK OF THE HORROR>.
posted by The Whelk at 7:16 PM on April 14, 2010


We have lost other members who have been disgusted with the pile-ons in MeTa, and members who have gotten too pissed off about any number of things.

If there is one thing that has ever had my finger hovering over the big red button it would be callouts like this one.
posted by nola at 7:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


wow
Is it too late to say that I don't know WTF is going on?
posted by Drasher at 7:27 PM on April 14, 2010


Have you ever seen the documentary on how saffron is picked? It's fascinating. Saffron.

That's not the one I meant, but it gives you an idea. The one that I remember is a bunch of old Italian ladies with a huge pile of flowers picking out the individual fronds and talking about the village gossip. It was sublime.

After you see how many flowers they go through... After you watch the zen-like concentration. You will never complain about the cost of good, fresh saffron. And remember, every scrap of saffron you use has been touched by the calloused hands of an elder grandmother. They are the best at getting all of the strands.

My own grandmother had the hands of a surgeon. She sewed and cooked and fixed knee scrapes. Anything her hands touched was better for having her touch it.

She was a quantum grandma. Her love still reverberates throughout the world.

Hi, grandma!
posted by Splunge at 7:31 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I enjoy the direction this thread is taking.
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


You should order pizza. Saffron pizza.
posted by Splunge at 7:40 PM on April 14, 2010


I ALREADY ORDERED PIZZA.

Bacon and Pineapple. Sweet and Salty and Tangy.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 PM on April 14, 2010


(MENTAL NOTE, GOURMET PIZZA DELIVERY SERVICE. Black or white truffle oil? yes that'll be 45.50. START SERVICE IN SANA MONICA)
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 PM on April 14, 2010


"You know what, klang? I think if we're going to talk about this, you're going to have to do a bit better with reading what I actually write. The "some cases" wasn't in reference to you. The two examples I cited earlier were actual examples, and I called out the poster at the time for railing against an argument he hadn't even bothered to consider long enough to understand, which, basic as it truly was, should have taken about 5 seconds."

Oh, so each person you deal with has to individually refute each argument you present? Because theists HAVE thought about and responded to these arguments, even if an individual theist hasn't. You wrote that theists haven't, instead of "some theists haven't," which even if that were the case, means that instead of doing the research (or even paying attention here at Metafilter, where these things are pretty frequently discussed) and moving on from those arguments, you go for cheap shots.

"The issue is that some people can't come up with a decent reason why some beliefs in their estimation are worthy of respect and others are not."

Bullshit. "Decent" as weasel-word; relies on your subjective judgment regarding what's a legitimate reason.

"I've watched people try. I've watched governments try (if you ever want to see religious belief boiled down to substantive rights from every conceivable angle, start digging through tax law). I've watched at least one human rights org try. So far: theists: 0; ham-fisted arbitrary distinctions: a million."

Law, and by extension, government, are forced to make arbitrary decisions in myriad forms under the belief that in many cases having some dividing line is better than none. And since American law works from the common law system, precedent matters, precedent that extends through religious wars. The underlying reasoning behind tax exemption is the belief that religion should be free of state interference—the often-forgotten corollary of the separation between church and state. But while many distinctions are arbitrary, they are still valuable: the age of majority is essentially arbitrary, but largely accepted, and any other age would be arbitrary as well. Frankly, given your tone here, I find it unlikely that you would be a good judge of when distinctions are useful and when they aren't, as you haven't demonstrated disinterest or awareness of history. This isn't a defense of all possible tax code absurdities as related to religion, simply a dismissal of your argument, implied by "theists: 0" that they have no rational bases.

"If this is the level you're at, then I'm leaving this here. I have heard this very statement (re: the weather) recently and I know better than to call it a material claim. "God" can be behind any process, any material cause, any effect. It is implicitly a non-material claim. If you're seriously suggesting that a reasonable reply to this person would be to talk about water vapour content and the dew point, you're either disingenuous or a fool."

It's good that you left it there, because you obviously weren't up to the task of reasoning through it. You're not even up to reasoning through your own comment: If "God" can be behind any material process, cause or effect, then claiming that God is behind any material process, clause or effect is a material claim (this is most often seen in the specific). Otherwise, what you term an "implicitly non-material claim" would be a metaphysical or ontological claim, most likely the second. If the second, it's essentially a self-contained, tautological claim, in a way that "little green men" is not. It's easy, especially if you're a deist, to essentially substitute "the universe" for God, and just as the day being sunny because the universe made it so is a colloquial ontological tautology, God is used similarly; "little green men" would be explicitly different, and explicitly mocking. I hope you can work out why without me having to spoon feed you that too.

"A "physical faith". Really. I'm done with you. You are either unwilling or unable to deal with these arguments, and have obviously never had to give them any serious thought in the context of actual rights accorded under the law. I mean this is a bullshit distinction. What does the LGM have to be? Invisible? Ethereal? In the afterlife? Give me a break."

Rights accorded under the law? Yes, you're right, I've never thought about little green men in the context of rights afforded under the law. Immigration has to be a bitch.

But if you're going to seriously play the aggreived party here, let's point to some language cues: You're making obvious physical claims about little green men. You're making them plural, you're giving them an observable color (invisible green men? And you're incensed that I dismiss this as nonsense?) and a size. That's distinct from an ontological or theological claim in this instance, and if you can't parse that, you probably should avoid law that deals with fine distinctions of language. Perhaps traffic court.

I'll also note that you're getting huffy and storming off because I don't respect your opinions here, yet you're unable to see how similar behavior from you might effect people with faith. Suck it up.

That's funny. I've been at the table for some of those discussions, seen the outcome of them in the domestic laws of a few countries, and will continue to pay the bills by hearing and having them. Better minds than you (and I) have tried and failed to make sensible distinctions. As long as you're dealing with religious rhetoric at the level of political speeches (eg: the Obama line above, as good as it is) and you never actually have to determine policy which distinguishes between beliefs substantively (think you can get away without doing that? You can't.), then I'm sure your intro Bible class and coffeehouse bullshit is up for the task."

Really? You've been at the table for discussions involving little green men versus God? I love acid as much as the next guy, but I don't pretend hallucinations are admissible. And no, better minds than you and I have largely succeeded here in the US in terms of religious policy—that plenty of people on either side don't like it, or that you can't grasp their reasoning, doesn't mean they failed. But thanks for trying to whip your law dick out here—it must be really weak if my coffeehouse bullshit is more than able to render it impotent.

I mean, seriously, you can't come up with any philosophical justifications for respecting religious belief? You've never read Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration? Nor practical ones? Now it's you who's either disingenuous or a fool.
posted by klangklangston at 7:43 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


On something completely different: I kind of wish I knew how to make restaurant risotto, because the stuff I make always takes forever. I know that there's some way to make it much faster, to order, but I don't know the secret.
posted by klangklangston at 7:45 PM on April 14, 2010


Okay. Cool. I can go that way. Why does nobody I know understand the true gustatory delight that is the bacon (or ham) pizza?

Perhaps they have had a watery pizza made of (ugh) pressed ham and (feh) canned pineapple.

But a pizza, correctly built and baked in a shell of love, with the right carmelization of pineapple...

A pizza with the bacon (or ham) tossed upon it at the correct time.... This is the true test of the pizza MAKER.

This. And ONLY this. Shows if he (or she) knows their oven like a friend. And not just like a HOT BOX where things are burned.

You. YES YOU. Do you dare to make me think of Hawaii? Or are you a hack?

Make me this pizzza. And MAKE IT SING!
posted by Splunge at 7:50 PM on April 14, 2010


Big Nick's is good at that.
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 PM on April 14, 2010


I know that there's some way to make it much faster, to order, but I don't know the secret.

Restaurants actually make it slower. They let it go all. Day. Long. Just keep adding broth or water; I'm serious, 6, 7 hours just quietly bubbling away. Then you can let it cool. When someone orders it, they slap it into a saute pan with a half cup of boiling broth (and sometimes they throw stuff in at this moment to vary the flavorings), swish it around, and viola - risotto to order. But there's no way to rush it - they just long-cook it, hold it, then reheat.
posted by Miko at 7:56 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've totally done something like that when I wanted to have a risotto but also wanted to actually talk to people before dinner.
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 PM on April 14, 2010


Hmm. They were showing snippets on a Gordon Ramsay joint where he was whipping up risotto without doing prior prep—just broth, some rice, and what looked like really high heat and furious whipping, but I tried it like that and it tasted like ass.
posted by klangklangston at 8:05 PM on April 14, 2010


I think this was it.
posted by klangklangston at 8:06 PM on April 14, 2010


klangklangston: "On something completely different: I kind of wish I knew how to make restaurant risotto, because the stuff I make always takes forever. I know that there's some way to make it much faster, to order, but I don't know the secret"

Well klang, my buddy, my chum. First let me say I'm glad that you are doing better. Hope you got off them painkillers. they are a bitch. Save a couple for when you don't need them. Someday you might need them again.

Anyway.

To answer your question. Some things can't be rushed. Risotto is one of them. It's like homemade pudding or a good sauce, You have to be there for a long time. At the risk of pissing off a bunch of people here, risotto is like sucking the dick of a guy that is drunk or eating the pussy of a girl that tells you, I never came before.

It takes time. And patience. And focus. And you can prove them wrong.

What the fuck?

Anyway. Risotto needs two basic ingredients, toasted rice and a huge pot of hot (almost but not quite), boiling liquid.

Now my brother who made a fine saffron risotto the other day used hot (to me luke warm) liquid to make his riss. And it came out fine.

And he didn't stir it enough. For me. But it was fine.

But as a riss neo, you should first go exactly by the book and then after you have made it a few times, you go crazy. See what I mean?

This is a good start: Gordon's Quick Risotto

Then do a Google for Mario Batali. I love him. Then come to NYC and I'll treat you to Lupa. Their food blows you away.

Sorry. I'm a bit drink.

Love,

Rich
posted by Splunge at 8:09 PM on April 14, 2010


Damn!
posted by Splunge at 8:10 PM on April 14, 2010


I like Splunge. I also am a bit drunk. Also I'm a bit drunk.
posted by nola at 8:12 PM on April 14, 2010


So what are we drinking tonight? I'll go first; Old Grandad on the rocks.
posted by nola at 8:15 PM on April 14, 2010


Dogfish Head IPA. the 60.
posted by Splunge at 8:16 PM on April 14, 2010


Bandit Box wine and other things
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 PM on April 14, 2010


Slunge: Yeah, I'm off the percaoets. I'd give you the reasoning, but it's more information than anyone really wants to know about opioida and my ass.

As far as risotto, I've made it plenty of times—the best tends to be with asparagus stalk leftovers and portabellas. There's actually a mushroom stand at the local farmers market, but I don't know enough about using mushrooms and generally don't like them when they get all slimy (especially in Asian food), and I'd like to incorporate more "exotic" mushrooms into my cooking, but I guess I'd like someone else to do it for me first.
posted by klangklangston at 8:22 PM on April 14, 2010


So far, Simpler Times lager from the Traitor Joe's. Which is really just Huber.

I can drink every other day, since I alternate ibuprofen and acetaminophen days, and can only drink on the former.
posted by klangklangston at 8:23 PM on April 14, 2010


If this keeps up at this blistering pace I'll probably hit the salvia before the night is over.

YMMV. Do NOT do salvia. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
posted by Splunge at 8:27 PM on April 14, 2010


So far, Simpler Times lager from the Traitor Joe's. Which is really just Huber.

Don't you mean Hofer?

(They're clever: by using an H name they get to use the same logo as their corporate stablemates Aldi in Germany.)
posted by dunkadunc at 8:32 PM on April 14, 2010


Nope. Huber.

But I've moved on to a mixed drink, feeling festive. We got a bar squeezer not too long before my crash, and I love it.

So I squeezed a sweet lemon (about a quarter cup of juice) and a tiny lime into a mixer, then added a tablespoon of simple syrup and two shots of Old Overholt rye, and two dashes of Angostura bitters. Over rocks, super tasty.
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 PM on April 14, 2010


My last post was before I saw yours klang. Please don't take it as a comment on your post. BTW I understand. I was a heavy user of chems for a while. You have taken the correct path. But again, as an ex-major injury guy, keep a couple of strong meds. Just in case. Trust me.

Otherwise, glad you're doing better man. Major injuries stay with you. Your best friend is that guy (or gal) that's your therapist. They make you do things that hurt like a mofo. But in the long run, they are right. I guess it's all about flexibility. I was told that if I let my leg just sit there it would never regain full movement. So the tortured me to make me better. ;-)

My favorite part was when they said they were "reducing my fracture". I saw that as making me scream with agony as they taught a newbie to do a fracture reduction.

Risotto is good. No pain is better.
posted by Splunge at 8:38 PM on April 14, 2010


Apropos of nothing (French for, huh?) but because I have a soft spot for all things Tennessee, I give you "To Tennessee (by Samm Bennett)" AKA Flapjax at midnight. Brother knows his when and why and when as it comes round to rhythm.
posted by nola at 8:40 PM on April 14, 2010


Really? You've been at the table for discussions involving little green men versus God?

Yes, yes I have. You see two kinds of religion-context claims in the tax world, serious arguments (usually with $$ at stake) which create a need to distinguish "legitimate" faith from convenient claims to the same (and these typically have all the trappings of a more traditional faith, however new), and efforts to satirize law and policy by use of the most ridicule-inducing garb possible, engineered to thwart whatever compromises were made in the crafting of some sort of distinction or restriction (not necessarily incompatible with an attempt at some $ as well). So I have, in fact, discussed in all seriousness, LGM with an eye to demonstrating that it could not possible be a "legitimate faith". That is not close to being the most ridiculous claim I've seen put forward.

If the second, it's essentially a self-contained, tautological claim, in a way that "little green men" is not.

Not if we're still dealing with claims beyond the reach of evidence (unproven and unprovable). I don't particularly care that you want to argue in the least charitable manner possible (green yet invisible, ok klang, touche), but what it comes down to is our distinctions between legitimate faith and farce is usually resolved according to perceived sincerity, sometimes measured in length of devotion (no comfort for the recently converted), sometimes knowledge of a professed faith (dicey; often used in refugee matters), sometimes mired unfortunately in semblance to mainstream faith (Australia once relied on a tax distinction that required belief in a single God -- how's that for adequately grappling with the problem?).

I'll also note that you're getting huffy and storming off because I don't respect your opinions here

Oh calm down. You brought the attitude. The only claims to respect I've even referenced are those who want their beliefs treated with kid gloves. Maybe I've put honestly held beliefs through the idea wringer one too many times, but end of the day, there is *nothing* separating the absurd from the sacred that isn't at least a little arbitrary, cutting out some legitimate aspect of faith for someone.

I mean, seriously, you can't come up with any philosophical justifications for respecting religious belief?

And I haven't been listening? I respect such beliefs equally. That's not much of a claim; it's trivial for an atheist to respect one myth alongside another. But like the person endorsing the homeopathic remedy, I can't defend his claim to respect for his chosen subjective experience above and beyond that of others -- and if he takes offence at the comparison, because, in that case, those other remedies are the province of charlatans (says he), that's his deal, not mine.

Oh, almost forgot.

I love acid as much as the next guy, but I don't pretend hallucinations are admissible.

My favourite, absolute favourite work in this area has been on constitutional claims to entheogens. I would go back to that subject in an instant if there was more work to do there. Probably the only time I'll be able to browse Erowid on a work computer.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:40 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forgive me cause I'm drunk, and if I'm not getting what you're saying here . . .

But like the person endorsing the homeopathic remedy, I can't defend his claim to respect for his chosen subjective experience above and beyond that of others -- and if he takes offence at the comparison, because, in that case, those other remedies are the province of charlatans (says he), that's his deal, not mine.

Isn't this still within the realm of testable vs untestable? *burp*
posted by nola at 8:48 PM on April 14, 2010


Isn't this still within the realm of testable vs untestable? *burp*

It should be. Except entreaties to consider the lack of replicable experimental results was to no avail -- and I mean asking straight out "What do you think these experimenters missed? What wasn't considered? What wasn't controlled for?" In the end, it was a claim that the subjective experience (it worked for me) was all that mattered. That's fine. I'm glad it helped. But that does put him in the room with all these other subjective experiences he doesn't think are worth a whit, and how offensive it is to even mention them together. *shrug* Ok, then. At that point, it is beyond evidence.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:52 PM on April 14, 2010


Who the hell brought religion into our food and beer thread? Commie!
posted by Splunge at 8:53 PM on April 14, 2010


Anyway, it's been fun; I'll check in tomorrow but it's already late here tonight. Sad to say I'm not a risotto fan (probably just never had a good one). G'night.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:54 PM on April 14, 2010


White Pizza is so worth the pills I have to take before I eat it. Even better if you slightly burn it before hand.
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always thought it was simple. Those with claims must show proof. Those with extraordinary claims must show extraordinary proof.
posted by Splunge at 8:58 PM on April 14, 2010


Those with pizza must share it. Quid pro quo.
posted by Splunge at 8:59 PM on April 14, 2010


THE PIZZA! DIVIDED! WILL NOT BE RE HEATED!
posted by The Whelk at 9:00 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


But that does put him in the room with all these other subjective experiences he doesn't think are worth a whit, and how offensive it is to even mention them together. *shrug* Ok, then. At that point, it is beyond evidence.

Well I'm not much at keeping score but it looks like, to my tired eyes, you're not that far from agreement. I think the nut of the thing is that just because you know someone believes a thing that is pure holy water doesn't mean you have to out and say the person is a clown for it. (oh lord give me strangth to type in my unfortunate state)

Some things are just always going to be subjective, and may never be within the realm of true or false. Some people will be savy to this and others will not. But it is the job of rational people to be rational and kind. To be fully understanding of how people find themselves in a certain perspective, because we are rational. Cause and effect and all that . . . OMG I'm gonna fall out of my chair.
posted by nola at 9:01 PM on April 14, 2010


I will give you a simple answer to the whole question of life, the universe and everything. But I want pizza as a return for my trouble.
posted by Splunge at 9:01 PM on April 14, 2010


I killed a guy. But it's beyond evidence. You'll never get me secular coppers!
posted by Splunge at 9:03 PM on April 14, 2010


Black olive and spinach pizza, the most...seductive of the forms.
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a solipsist I understand that all the alleged voices in this thread are simply manifestations of the me, creating entertainment seeing as there is no actual "outside reality". In fact I'm very surprised that I am even arguing with myself at all.

Wait... What is this self? Oh damn!

::poof::
posted by Splunge at 9:08 PM on April 14, 2010


I will give you a simple answer to the whole question of life, the universe and everything. But I want pizza as a return for my trouble.


Well shit, for 99¢ you can have some pizza and I can have ultimate truth . . . email me at this webzone if you want some pizza rolls . . . who's been fuUUUcking wiTTHH mYYYY medicine.
posted by nola at 9:09 PM on April 14, 2010


the true price of enlightenment is ...much ...higher.
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 PM on April 14, 2010


And then saw the comment box. And said, let there be comments.

AND THERE WERE COMMENTS.

And it was snarky!
posted by Splunge at 9:16 PM on April 14, 2010


and it was good.
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 PM on April 14, 2010


And the two fingers were strong upon the keyboard. And they (slowly) typed, let there be pizza of all kinds. And let the veggies be with the fruit. And let the meat be with the fruit and let us all be upon the circle of crust and live forever here.

Let it be said, let it be done.
posted by Splunge at 9:20 PM on April 14, 2010


Let it be ordered. And it must be here within a fraction of the turn of the Earth that it has risen from. For if it comes cold, unto the frozen North.

Then LET OUR PIZZA BE FREE!
posted by Splunge at 9:22 PM on April 14, 2010


I'm about done with this pretty neat nu disco song I wrote while reading this thread. Mefi Music and stardom, here I come.

Wouldn't it be a riot if I ended up being a musician instead of using one of of these two degrees I'm about to get.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:23 PM on April 14, 2010


"I am the Lord thy Pizza. Have no other cheese and tomato-based flat bread before me"
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 PM on April 14, 2010


You, the whelk. Take off thy Nikes. For thou tread upon holy crust!
posted by Splunge at 9:25 PM on April 14, 2010


These are your rules, taketh them back to thine flock. They have done thee a great disservice!

1. Do not follow a metatalk thread expecting SENSE!

::booshh!!::
posted by Splunge at 9:29 PM on April 14, 2010


2. Do not mess with the mods, thy jessamyn (only the lower case j)

3. cortex is your savior, he of the talented guitar. Mock him not.

4. Other people pb and some guy from well, nevermind
posted by Splunge at 9:31 PM on April 14, 2010


5. Never post drunk! Oops.

I'll stop now. But i was on a roll... Nevermind

night all.
posted by Splunge at 9:33 PM on April 14, 2010


"I was a heavy user of chems for a while. You have taken the correct path. But again, as an ex-major injury guy, keep a couple of strong meds. Just in case. Trust me."

Yeah, I had my tonsils out when I was 22 or so (a calculation I just had to make based on how long I've been in my current relationship), and had percocets then. Back when I had no regard for my liver, a percocet and a glass of red wine, then a warm bath, was just about heaven.

But now I'm such a wuss that when my pal who used to work doing substance abuse counseling calls, I'm all like, "Andrew, Andrew, I feel so warm. I think I've got the junkie sweats!" The opioids are fun, but the up and down was more of a hassle than fun.

The good news is that I'm back about eighty percent. I can walk pretty normally with the crutch; I swing my leg out with a hitch when I'm without it, but I can get around pretty well. The PT said that I should keep using the crutch and that otherwise I could pick up bad habits but I'm at that point where I almost don't need it and it's hard to keep carrying it around. My leg looks pretty funny, at least to me—the left, the one I broke, is about ten percent smaller than the right leg, but it's got crazy definition in the thigh because I'm working such specific muscles.

Almost all of that is glutes and quads—it's been weird looking at muscle diagrams and working out that the side muscles are also quads—mostly done through the backwards leg lifts and side leg lifts. I can do lunges in the pool, but not on land yet. I'm hoping to be able to start doing the old warmups I used to do in judo pretty soon, just to build flexibility.
posted by klangklangston at 9:40 PM on April 14, 2010


Sometimes when I come late to a giant thread, I read the first 50 or so posts then skip to the end to see if there was any kind of resolution or outcome.

This thread changed from St Alia to eggplant and pizza. Okay.
posted by twirlypen at 9:44 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Yes, yes I have. You see two kinds of religion-context claims in the tax world, serious arguments (usually with $$ at stake) which create a need to distinguish "legitimate" faith from convenient claims to the same (and these typically have all the trappings of a more traditional faith, however new), and efforts to satirize law and policy by use of the most ridicule-inducing garb possible, engineered to thwart whatever compromises were made in the crafting of some sort of distinction or restriction (not necessarily incompatible with an attempt at some $ as well). So I have, in fact, discussed in all seriousness, LGM with an eye to demonstrating that it could not possible be a "legitimate faith". That is not close to being the most ridiculous claim I've seen put forward."

Little Green Men could be a legitimate faith, though it's unlikely. Just like how a five-year-old could have the maturity required to vote or drink. I still see it as making physical claims that God does not, and physical claims can be held to standards of evidence. But the law is ultimately concerned with secular affairs and is always merely the map to the territory of morality or metaphysics or even reason (and not always a good map). These decisions will always be arbitrary; arbitrary decisions are not de facto wrong, simply inelegant and undesirable when a non-arbitrary decision is possible.

Further, there is a distinction here that you're missing, and that the American legal system misses—faith is distinct from practice. Often, claims are made saying essentially, "My faith requires that I…" take mescaline, marry multiple women, sacrifice children, whatever. That there is faith isn't something that can be disputed, because there is simply no way to know (though there are plenty of ways to infer). But the practices can always be disputed; we find as a society that it generally makes more sense to let people practice as they wish so long as it doesn't impinge on Mill's principle of liberalism: their right to believe God wants them to swing their arms ends at my nose.

"Not if we're still dealing with claims beyond the reach of evidence (unproven and unprovable). I don't particularly care that you want to argue in the least charitable manner possible (green yet invisible, ok klang, touche), but what it comes down to is our distinctions between legitimate faith and farce is usually resolved according to perceived sincerity, sometimes measured in length of devotion (no comfort for the recently converted), sometimes knowledge of a professed faith (dicey; often used in refugee matters), sometimes mired unfortunately in semblance to mainstream faith (Australia once relied on a tax distinction that required belief in a single God -- how's that for adequately grappling with the problem?)."

But again, as faith itself is not only unproven and unprovable but also unfalsified and unfalsifiable, then the questions are not of faith but of practice, something that should generally be respected but is not unlimited, similar to speech. These are matters of conscience and reasonable people may differ. Unfortunately, the sense I get from you is that you're holding reasonable people may not differ, that reasonable people always conclude atheism, which is simply untrue. But as we have no problem placing the right to religion and free exercise thereof within a hierarchy of respected rights here in America—it certainly does not trump the right to free speech here, in that the government cannot legitimately be petitioned to restrict speech in order to protect a religion—therefore, the exercise can be constrained similarly to free speech. Santeria doesn't necessarily exempt you from animal cruelty laws, but the crux of this isn't the legitimacy of faith, it's the reasonable community restraints on its free exercise (much like how you can't claim that your right to free speech allows you to make death threats against the president). You can believe that animal sacrifices are necessary to your religion, and that faith can be legitimate, but that doesn't mean that society has to allow you that free exercise. That's essentially an arbitrary decision on the legitimacy of practice, but not at all an arbitrary decision regarding societal norms. I'm not going to argue that this is always right or just, simply that we do have mechanisms for sorting this out.

"Maybe I've put honestly held beliefs through the idea wringer one too many times, but end of the day, there is *nothing* separating the absurd from the sacred that isn't at least a little arbitrary, cutting out some legitimate aspect of faith for someone."

Under the law. But that's, again, a systemic problem with law, not with faith. Arbitrary decisions are unfortunate, yet necessary, in law, and so normalized that you probably ignore a thousand of them a day.

"And I haven't been listening? I respect such beliefs equally. That's not much of a claim; it's trivial for an atheist to respect one myth alongside another."

So, the answer is, "No, I can't come up with any philosophical justifications for respecting religious belief." I mean, at least be honest—if you don't respect any of them, then saying that you respect all of them equally is sophistry. And since you don't seem to have been paying attention, simply lumping together all faiths as myths both misses the crux of faith—which is separate from the attendant mythos, just as faith is separate from religion—and makes you come across as an ignorant ass. And if you don't respect any faith, you should really try to get out of an area of law that forces you to deal with them.

"My favourite, absolute favourite work in this area has been on constitutional claims to entheogens. I would go back to that subject in an instant if there was more work to do there. Probably the only time I'll be able to browse Erowid on a work computer."

Legitimate claims of practice requiring entheogens are rare as hen's teeth. That the government has no business denying them through blanket regulation is a separate issue, though God is right in the name and because they are so attractive, a religious dodge is pretty appealing. But again, this isn't a problem with faith—it's a problem with the system of law.
posted by klangklangston at 10:13 PM on April 14, 2010


There really needs to be some sort of check when people comment that warns them that their comment is too long and will be truncated. It could even be baked into the code that renders the preview.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:20 PM on April 14, 2010


Little Green Men could be a legitimate faith, though it's unlikely.

Scientology is still legally considered a religion in the US.
posted by empath at 10:34 PM on April 14, 2010


"The Babel fish," said The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quietly, "is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy not from its carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.

Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindboggingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

The argument goes something like this: 'I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, 'for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'

'But,' says Man, 'The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'

'Oh dear,' says God, 'I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

'Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing."

-- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Not trying to make an argument, just can't get it out of my head after all this talk of God and faith and logic!
posted by EmilyClimbs at 10:53 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping to be able to start doing the old warmups I used to do in judo pretty soon, just to build flexibility.

It's amazing how quickly and how much smaller a leg gets after being in a cast. I had this weird feeling like my leg would float, as it had been held in place for so long. Glad to hear you're on the mend.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 PM on April 14, 2010


cilantro is a powerful little ingredient, worth keeping handy. used subtly, it can do amazing things to food. problem is, it generally gets sold in fairly large clumps (heads?) and people feel compelled to use it all before it goes off. this is always a bad idea. it leads to overdoses and thus all the hate.




... and klang's right. I've always been offended by little green men. if not-God truly didn't want me to not believe in Her, She would've come up with a better ruse.
posted by philip-random at 12:03 AM on April 15, 2010


74432 smores-Val-Hum-Fem-Law turned to stone in The Dungeons of Doom on level 18 [max 24]. Petrified by a cockatrice. 103 [103]

I think it's like knitting or something at this point because I'm not really paying attention.
posted by vapidave at 1:11 AM on April 15, 2010


Re the schnitzel thing: You have a problem with breaded veal and or chicken? Dude it's cutlet kinda like chicken-fried steak, it's nice.

Plus it doesn't have bones. Yay!

And, The Confessor, it seems to me that you're mostly just pissed off because your post got deleted.

The fact that your deleted post was about someone who gives you the shits really doesn't seem to me to be a good enough reason to call this person out again. She ain't gonna change and you ain't gonna change her. She can think whatever she wants.

If she's not expressing the kind of stuff that people are holding a grudge against her about on here any more then you can just let it rest. You don't have to like her and you don't have to feel that you can't express yourself if she does say something that you feel you can refute.

C'mon, come clean. You hated your post being deleted. It made you feel angry. You wanted to mention it but you had to justify it.
posted by h00py at 1:12 AM on April 15, 2010


Black olive and spinach pizza, the most...seductive of the forms.

I see your black olive and spinach, and raise with bacon and avocado. (Preferably, obvs, foodie locally sourced bacon with a thick rim of fat and a perfectly ripe Haas avocado, but hell. I've made it with cheap-ass grocery store bacon and guacamole and it was just as good. although i was kind of hammered at the time)

All of which is to say that I tend to stay out of political and religious threads except for the ones about food.
posted by catlet at 2:42 AM on April 15, 2010


My favourite, absolute favourite work in this area has been on constitutional claims to entheogens.

I would really, really like to hear more about this. Any good war stories you can share?
posted by ook at 4:57 AM on April 15, 2010


Jeez another RisottoFilter trainwreck thread. And you know what I'm having for second breakfast today? Risotto Pizza! With risotto on the side. And also a side order of pizza! With risotto!

Then Tums and percocet. Ita, missa est.
posted by Mister_A at 6:52 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I see your black olive and spinach, and raise with bacon and avocado.

I want to say this sounds delicious, but I am not a fan of hot avocado. Do you add it once the pizza's out of the oven, or does it get cooked with (on) the pizza?
posted by rtha at 7:03 AM on April 15, 2010


That's it, I'm making Saffron Risotto with asparagus tips tonight, side dish for mushroom chicken. Any tips?
posted by The Whelk at 7:18 AM on April 15, 2010


yup, time to take this one off my recent activity... its an outlier
posted by infini at 7:20 AM on April 15, 2010


I want to say this sounds delicious, but I am not a fan of hot avocado. Do you add it once the pizza's out of the oven, or does it get cooked with (on) the pizza?

I realize this wasn't directed at me... but I've done it both ways. If using sliced or chunked avocado, I add it afterwards. (It also turns brown if you cook it.) If spreading an avocado pureé on the dough, then that's done prior to cooking. :)
posted by zarq at 7:21 AM on April 15, 2010


I like pizza and risotto, and I'm really glad klang's back about eighty percent. However, I am not drunk. Am I still allowed to comment?
posted by languagehat at 7:23 AM on April 15, 2010


Only if we can get you drunk.
posted by The Whelk at 7:23 AM on April 15, 2010


*nips downstairs to start getting drunk*
posted by infini at 7:43 AM on April 15, 2010


It's cool, languagehat - you're probably drunk in Bizarro Metafilter, so that's all good.
posted by rtha at 8:34 AM on April 15, 2010


Some of these people even like cilantro. But I don't hold it against them.

What kind of bunny do you think you are, anyway? I thought rabbits ate greens pretty much indiscriminately.

Wait, this isn't about you. This is about me coming to terms with my preconceived notions about rabbits. My bad.
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:51 AM on April 15, 2010


Jalapeño and Pineapple is the one true faith.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:23 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Any time garlic's an opportunity, I take it.
posted by box at 9:32 AM on April 15, 2010


I think that jalapeno would make a fantastic accent to a pineapple cocktail. I think I'd go with about a quarter cup of pineapple pureed, four ounces of soda water, dash of simple syrup, dash of salt, and three ounces of rum, with half a jalapeno rubbed on the lip then tossed in as a garnish.
posted by klangklangston at 9:40 AM on April 15, 2010


Little Green Men could be a legitimate faith, though it's unlikely.

Well, that depends on what your criteria for “legitimacy” are. (I see Scientology already got quick mention) I note that you aren’t saying “unlikely to be determined a legitimate faith”. This makes it appear as if you have a pretty clear idea what is a “legitimate” faith and what is not. Do tell. I’d be quite interested to hear.

faith is distinct from practice

It is, and I agree with you that most (but not all) legal implications bear on practice rather than faith. The results are sometimes contentious (kirpans in school; no niqab) but the considerations -- public safety, equality, the U.S. “war on drugs” – are common ground, if not the various positions taken on them. The reason I brought up the tax example is because it is the one context I can point to where people sit down and seriously try to hash out what is and is not a legitimate faith. That doesn’t substantially alter the underlying issue – what is “legitimate”? How does one separate respect-worthy (at some point this means accommodating) beliefs from ones that are not? The only difference here is that the reality of the situation means people’s feet are held to the fire; calling a given position “juvenile” carries absolutely zero water. Contrast that with a mere conversation – whether you are going to accord a given belief system (a faith, alternative remedy, a method of divination) a respectful tone, then sure that’s down to you at little cost. Why not? Of course it neatly avoids the issue of ever having to discern the “legitimate” from the “absurd”. You need never go there. That’s a different thing from a claim that you can tell which is which.

Despite glib internet pronouncements to the contrary, it’s not such an easy task. One man’s sacred belief is another man’s absurdity. This is why (like internet arguments that devolve into accusations of bad faith) those discussions tend to resolve around indications of sincerity. It’s easier. If I can show that you probably don’t really believe what you say you believe, I don’t have to deal with the fact that I, maybe everyone (else), thinks this given belief is absurd – and how to separate it from beliefs we think are not so absurd despite being equally removed from the realm of evidence.

The obvious problem is, if you are ever forced to come up with some criteria for “legitimacy”, and in all this back and forth I note you haven’t coughed up any, that the more inclusive your definition is, the less exclusive it is. You might suppose that’s a problem, as you say, for law, not faith. Again, in the context of a conversation, debate, what’s the cost to using the most inclusive definition possible? And this is where we come back to the issue of respect – not mine, because these ideas are all alike to me – but to those who would demand greater respect for one belief among a class than others. The weight to be accorded their subjective experience, not others. To retake the previous example, we have the person who found relief through a homeopathic cure and simultaneously wants “respect” for that practice/system of belief and none for other alternative remedies having the same sort of anecdotal support (and nothing more) behind them. He seems to have a problem with the most inclusive definition. You were called earlier (not by me) on your statement about experience of universal truths, that, to the person taking a particular “myth” seriously, the details do matter -- it isn’t just another myth, placed on par with others. I suspect some of those people desire some exclusivity in their definition of "legitimate". And naturally, blunt instrument that it is, those railing against the whole “fairy tale” line certainly want to argue exclusivity – I don’t think it is merely a matter of tone but substance, too. I suspect most people can think of some belief (again, not one subject to verification) that they believe is not worthy of respect. Everyday people indicate the desire to maintain a hierarchy of such beliefs. A reminder that this is artificial – hey, with a challenge to distinguish these things if not – is certainly fair play. Have you yourself anything to offer in this regard other than namecalling and disingenuous restatement of arguments? You seem to have thrown your lot in with the exclusivists – that there are “legitimate” and therefore illegitimate faiths. Care to elaborate?

Legitimate claims of practice requiring entheogens are rare as hen's teeth.

Well, here we are again. I note that you didn’t say “claims found to be legitimate” so you don’t seem to be talking about the mere fact that such claims are rarely upheld. You appear to be arguing that such claims themselves are rarely legitimate, which makes me wonder what kind of measuring stick you have in mind.

Of course, as you note, this is practice, not faith. Sometimes there is an obvious need to restrict a given practice, but that too can make for a convenient dodge of what is not “legitimate”. Again, from the perspective of someone with no particular horse in this race, it isn’t at all clear to me what a “legitimate” claim for entheogen use looks like. In my experience, discussions on this issue usually amount to a cynical reverse engineering from desired ends – what are we willing to permit vs. what do we absolutely want to exclude – and spit out the criteria that gets you there. So you get distinctions like centrality to the belief system, legitimacy of that belief system itself (uh-oh), tradition of use, and sometimes, ties to ethnicity (which involve a whole new set of considerations if involving aboriginal rights, which both simplify and greatly complicate the issues – not in any satisfactory way from my perspective). To me, though, the most compelling case (again, minus aboriginal context) is not far from the least-compelling, which tends to look like: length of practice: since last Tuesday; sacrament: entheogen (it is the only element of practice whatsoever); belief system: something bare – entheogen use is necessary to perceive god’s will. (this is not a fictional example) Barring the usual Drug War nonsense, I can’t see why it makes any sense to deem this less “legitimate” than a far more traditional faith with more familiar trappings.

And there’s my lunch. No eggplant for me.
Also: garlic overkill is its own unique pleasure.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:43 AM on April 15, 2010


You do NOT need simple syrup in a rum and pineapple cocktail. But make that simple syrup the conveyance of your jalapeño flavor, and you've got a damn fine blended pineapple daiquiri. I think I might want to stick with the jalapeño margarita, myself, but strike me dead should I ever turn down free pineapple if you're buyin'.

Waialua pineapple soda is a good mixer for just about every kind of liquor known to man, imp*o. Maybe not brandy.

*pineapplephiliac
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:45 AM on April 15, 2010


I sense -- dare I even mention it? -- grenadine hate in this crowd.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:48 AM on April 15, 2010


Of. Course. not. How could you make a slew of proper drinks without grenadine? Impossible. Go back to Bedlam with your raving delusions good sir.
posted by The Whelk at 9:49 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


But it is the job of rational people to be rational and kind.

Very wise.
posted by Miko at 10:00 AM on April 15, 2010


rtha, I put the avocado on afterward. The cool creamysmoothness is a good foil for the bacon texture. I have never put puree on before baking as zarq suggests - I think I would find the color change a bit offputting. (If I want brown smush on my pizza, I will use roasted garlic as - um, this thread has an atheism track, hm - as a divinity which may or may not be meaningful to me intended.)
posted by catlet at 10:03 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I want brown smush on my pizza, I will use roasted garlic as...

Actually, it's usually been a pureed mix of avocado, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms and garlic, sometimes with a little olive oil added to help smooth consistency. :)
posted by zarq at 10:19 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that catlet and zarq should each prepare a pizza with avocado according to their own methods and recipes and then invite me over to eat them and then I will declare which one is more deliciouser.
posted by rtha at 10:21 AM on April 15, 2010


AVOCONTEST 2010
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 AM on April 15, 2010


"Well, that depends on what your criteria for “legitimacy” are. (I see Scientology already got quick mention) I note that you aren’t saying “unlikely to be determined a legitimate faith”. This makes it appear as if you have a pretty clear idea what is a “legitimate” faith and what is not. Do tell. I’d be quite interested to hear."

Like I said, the legitimacy of the faith is both unprovable and unfalsifiable as a purely subjective experience. But there are plenty of other purely subjective areas that the law has to deal with, for instance, feelings and memories. Now, if someone testifies that they felt angry about something, there's no real way to prove or disprove that they had that feeling. It's neither provable nor falsifiable. But there are plenty of ways to infer the legitimacy of that feeling—did they act in a way that's consistent with anger? Even that has flaws, as people deal with anger in different ways. It's not rare that someone is suspected of a crime because they reacted in an atypical way, even if they are innocent of that crime. Similarly, there's no way to prove that someone saying that they don't recall an incident is lying. You can imply it through questioning, or infer it from further actions, but there's no pure way to legitimize their account of memory. For the most part, we simply accept that if someone says that they don't remember something, they don't remember it. Similarly, if someone says that they truly believe that Little Green Men are the primary movers of the universe, there's no way to prove or disprove the legitimacy of that faith in an absolute way, so we do look at arbitrary things like consistency of belief, even popularity of belief and apparent sincerity.

But despite you focusing on tax law, there are no special deductions so far as I know that come from simply having a legitimate faith—they come from the practice of that faith, specifically the costs required for the practice thereof.

"The obvious problem is, if you are ever forced to come up with some criteria for “legitimacy”, and in all this back and forth I note you haven’t coughed up any, that the more inclusive your definition is, the less exclusive it is."

Because no one can judge whether someone else's faith is itself legitimate. The polite assumption, as in any interaction, is to take someone at their word, and simply to be skeptical about material claims. It's the same as any other subjective experience—no one can judge with certainty whether someone else's emotional reactions are legitimate or whether they're simply acting.

"Again, in the context of a conversation, debate, what’s the cost to using the most inclusive definition possible? And this is where we come back to the issue of respect – not mine, because these ideas are all alike to me – but to those who would demand greater respect for one belief among a class than others. The weight to be accorded their subjective experience, not others. To retake the previous example, we have the person who found relief through a homeopathic cure and simultaneously wants “respect” for that practice/system of belief and none for other alternative remedies having the same sort of anecdotal support (and nothing more) behind them. He seems to have a problem with the most inclusive definition."

Well, two points: First off, as no one can judge the faith of another, there isn't a basis for privileging anyone's faith over anyone else's. It's fine and dandy that people believe in mutually exclusive religions, but that doesn't make exclusionary claims supportable. There is simply no way to adjudicate. And the homeopathy is a canard, as that's explicitly a physical claim, not a metaphysical one, just as faith healing or kung fu being able to stop bullets. Faith doesn't inherently legitimize magical thinking. I'm not sure why you keep wanting me to defend every fallacious spiritual belief, aside from the fact that they're rhetorically handy.

"You were called earlier (not by me) on your statement about experience of universal truths, that, to the person taking a particular “myth” seriously, the details do matter -- it isn’t just another myth, placed on par with others. I suspect some of those people desire some exclusivity in their definition of "legitimate"."

That's fine, but that doesn't mean that they can have it. People are entitled to take their myths seriously, but seriously doesn't mean literally. Even the Catholics cop to that—their claim of legitimacy comes from apostolic succession (Anglicans too). But questions about relative legitimacy mostly come down to the same criteria applied when rating colleges—has it been around a long time? Is it institutionally sound? Do they expand the realm of human experience? (Will they fund me?)

"And naturally, blunt instrument that it is, those railing against the whole “fairy tale” line certainly want to argue exclusivity – I don’t think it is merely a matter of tone but substance, too. I suspect most people can think of some belief (again, not one subject to verification) that they believe is not worthy of respect."

Well, since I called out the "fairy tale" line as bullshit, this is at least directed at me. And no, it's almost purely tone, as there are two types of fairy tales, those of European animism and those explicitly written as moral fiction. I tend to think that when people refer to "fairy tales," they're being dismissive and don't tend to know much about fairy tales in general, and are explicitly referring to the fictions that have been bowdlerized for popular consumption. That's as disrespectful as saying that atheists are amoral because they have entirely artificially constructed morality systems. It's a simple misrepresentation that ridicules the amount of introspection and thought that people do put into their belief systems.

And yes, of course there are beliefs that I don't respect. I don't respect beliefs that make physical claims that are explicitly countered by evidence, and I don't respect unconsidered beliefs. But that has nothing to do with exclusivity—I don't respect unconsidered opinions either, but I would never deny that they are opinions, or that having them is illegitimate.

"Everyday people indicate the desire to maintain a hierarchy of such beliefs. A reminder that this is artificial – hey, with a challenge to distinguish these things if not – is certainly fair play. Have you yourself anything to offer in this regard other than namecalling and disingenuous restatement of arguments? You seem to have thrown your lot in with the exclusivists – that there are “legitimate” and therefore illegitimate faiths. Care to elaborate?"

Are you whining about me saying that you come across as an ignorant ass when you repeatedly act as if you have no knowledge of the history of religion nor any respect for believers? Too bad. Don't act like an ignorant ass.

Because you do seem to need this spoonfed: Are there legitimate faiths? Yes. Are there illegitimate claims to faith? Yes. Is there any objective way to determine with certainty the legitimacy of a claim of faith? No. You may recall, and forgive me treating you with a little bit of condescension here, you may recall that I've repeatedly said that claims of faith are subjective and both unprovable and unfalsifiable, from which you should have already inferred the prior yes and no answers. There are, again, ways to make reasonable inferences regarding the legitimacy of a claim of faith, ways that I've mentioned several times (including in this comment), but there is no way to know with certainty. This is not just a legal position, but an epistemological one. So, yes, there is a hierarchy of legitimacy, sometimes based on reasonable inference, sometimes based on cultural norms and biases. The hierarchy is of course artificial, being man-made; just as artificial as laws and governments. But that the hierarchy is artificial is orthogonal to its legitimacy, and has absolutely no bearing on the legitimacy of any individual claim of faith, except the obvious claims, i.e. more common faiths are more common and faiths seen as more legitimate have their claims treated with more legitimacy.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 AM on April 15, 2010


AVO2010 can be held on my veranda.
posted by catlet at 10:52 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't respect beliefs that make physical claims that are explicitly countered by evidence

You've just excluded 90% of religions, i think.
posted by empath at 10:58 AM on April 15, 2010


"I sense -- dare I even mention it? -- grenadine hate in this crowd."

I'm not such a huge grenadine fan. But in seeing that's it was originally pomegranate and simple syrup, I may try making that and having real grenadine in my tequila sunrises. I can't think of anything else that I drink regularly that has grenadine in it.
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 AM on April 15, 2010


"You've just excluded 90% of religions, i think."

Yeah, though most modern religions forms of Christianity and Judaism are pretty hip to the "Not literally true" position and have been moving moreso since the Enlightenment.
posted by klangklangston at 11:00 AM on April 15, 2010


Grenadine is a critical part of any drink that comes in a coconut and has no less then 3 paper umbrellas in it.
posted by The Whelk at 11:01 AM on April 15, 2010


Without Grenadine we wouldn't have this
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on April 15, 2010


Yeah, though most modern religions forms of Christianity and Judaism are pretty hip to the "Not literally true" position and have been moving moreso since the Enlightenment.

Maaaybe. But I doubt the Catholic Church, for example, is going to dump transubstantiation any time soon or that any Christian denomination is going to admit that divine intercession through prayer doesn't work.
posted by empath at 11:09 AM on April 15, 2010


Also -- 'enlightened' churches bleed members and influence, because people don't want to be enlightened, they want to be saved.
posted by empath at 11:11 AM on April 15, 2010


Without Grenadine we wouldn't have this

Or this.
posted by Sailormom at 11:13 AM on April 15, 2010


or that any Christian denomination is going to admit that divine intercession through prayer doesn't work.

I myself don't personally believe in divine intercession through prayer, but in what possible way can that be a "physical [claim] that [is] explicitly countered by evidence"?

Can you point to this supposed body of evidence that explicitly disproves divine intercession through prayer?
posted by Nothing... and like it at 11:13 AM on April 15, 2010


This thread makes me feel like I'm at a party and one group is laughing and talking quickly and downing grenadine cocktails and hooting and another group, is engaged in a serious, weighty and sober discussion and they both look at each other in mutual "What the hell are they doing here?" stares.
posted by The Whelk at 11:16 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love how in this debate between Klang and Durn each one will go on in a articulate, reasoned manner and then effectively end with with a "... dumbass".
posted by charred husk at 11:33 AM on April 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can you point to this supposed body of evidence that explicitly disproves divine intercession through prayer?

There's the argument that, as with e.g. Randi tackling alleged psychic phenomena, the failure of carefully controlled trials to yield measurable evidence of success is sufficient to explicitly dismiss the claimed efficacy of prayer, etc.

But of course, you can't chase down every prayer, or know the mind of God, or say that intercession didn't prevent something worse that otherwise would have occurred, etc. It's a turtles-all-the-way-down thing once you accept that subjectivity clashes badly with the idea of rigorous testing, and while talking about clinical trials of intercession may make sense in the face of active allegedly objective claims about the power of prayer its a bit more of a jaunt into the weeds when talking about someone's personal, interal beliefs about metaphysics.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:48 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, though most modern religions forms of Christianity and Judaism are pretty hip to the "Not literally true" position and have been moving moreso since the Enlightenment.

In Judaism, most Orthodox sects believe the Torah was literally dictated by G-d. To Conservatives like myself, the official party line is that G-d "divinely inspired" people to write the Tanakh, but it isn't literally . The Reform movement does not, and does not believe it was divinely inspired.

For the Orthodox, the point then becomes not whether the Torah is the literal word of G-d, but rather what the Word means.
posted by zarq at 11:54 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Grrrr. That should be "isn't literally true"
posted by zarq at 11:54 AM on April 15, 2010


I myself don't personally believe in divine intercession through prayer, but in what possible way can that be a "physical [claim] that [is] explicitly countered by evidence"?

Well, its a broad category, but serious research has been done on the topic and has come up empty for every specific claim that has been tested.
posted by empath at 11:57 AM on April 15, 2010


I've heard it said that God responds to all prayers and petitions but seldom as desired, He knowing better than we what we actually NEED ... being all-knowing and all-powerful.

Of course, I've also heard it said that all the winds and storms of the world are caused by God's belly-laughing at at the ridiculousness of our prayers and petitions.

That said, here's hoping that all of Iceland doesn't explode. Too much good music.
posted by philip-random at 12:09 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


> This thread makes me feel like I'm at a party and one group is laughing and talking quickly and downing grenadine cocktails and hooting and another group, is engaged in a serious, weighty and sober discussion and they both look at each other in mutual "What the hell are they doing here?" stares.

I used to throw parties like that back when I lived in Washington Heights, but there were also groups of dancers and people making out, and they were all in different rooms so there were no stares, just good music and drinks and discussions. And those who were still around the next morning went to Wilson's for breakfast (steak-'n'-eggs and grits for me, thanks).

*pours out a drink for Mr. Wilson, killed by a drug dealer years ago*
posted by languagehat at 1:28 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Grits!? I didn't know anyone north of the Mason Dixon ate grits. Next you're gonna tell me you drink sweet tea, languagehat.
posted by nola at 2:07 PM on April 15, 2010


The Whelk: “This thread makes me feel like I'm at a party and one group is laughing and talking quickly and downing grenadine cocktails and hooting and another group, is engaged in a serious, weighty and sober discussion and they both look at each other in mutual "What the hell are they doing here?" stares.”

I feel the same way. Except for the weighty people are wearing top hats.
posted by koeselitz at 2:51 PM on April 15, 2010


Grits are pretty much my favorite southern food. But I cannot abide by sweet tea because it gives me the stupors.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:54 PM on April 15, 2010


You do NOT need simple syrup in a rum and pineapple cocktail.

On that:
We recently acquired a few bottles of Jamaican rum. I haven't really had much rum since it was the only thing you knew what to mix stuff with and drink 'til you barfed in grade 10. I'm more of an Ale/Vodka/Scotch person. Any cocktail ideas? While I love coconut and pineapple, I'm more partial to a sour drink than an (as mentioned above) intensely-sweet Girl Drink Drunk concoction.
posted by chococat at 3:12 PM on April 15, 2010


I made polenta for the MeFi 10th Anniversary Meetup in Philadelphia, and my roommate came home to find me in the kitchen cooking. To this he said, "I always forget that you're southern and then you do something like make grits..."
posted by greekphilosophy at 3:14 PM on April 15, 2010


> I didn't know anyone north of the Mason Dixon ate grits.

I may be north of the line, but half my relatives are south of it. Never got into sweet tea, though. And don't even talk to me about okra or black-eyed peas. I take what I need and leave the rest.
posted by languagehat at 3:49 PM on April 15, 2010


I am officially cooking my saffron risotto with mushrooms topped with thiny fried ham chunks and grilled asparagus NOW.
posted by The Whelk at 3:54 PM on April 15, 2010


"While I love coconut and pineapple, I'm more partial to a sour drink than an (as mentioned above) intensely-sweet Girl Drink Drunk concoction."

Then you pretty much want to start with the classic daiquiri, which is lime juice, sugar and rum. After that, pretty much any of the various grog recipes, like lemon juice, water, rum and cinnamon. You can also go with black tea, lemon juice, nutmeg and rum (though that's not a grog, just tasty). And Dark and Stormies are fun, which is gingerbeer and dark rum. Bumbos are rum, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar and water (sometimes substituting any citrus juice for the water). I leave the proportions off because frankly, I don't much measure for the drinks I make, and I feel like any adult should be able to make a cocktail to their own taste given a set of ingredients.
posted by klangklangston at 5:25 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


i feel as though I should get freaked out that just last night there was a caribbean theme party where the first drink i mixed was a bit of malibu coconut rum, regular bacardi adn pineapple juice and then to wake up and get online and see that in my 'regular activity' thread.... synchronicity?
posted by infini at 11:58 PM on April 15, 2010


Dammit, I was really hoping nola would tell me "But you should never have taken the very best." Once again, MetaFilter lets me down.
posted by languagehat at 7:50 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I will compose a long screed today, possibly even by email. then I will tl;dr it into an executive summary for the aging
posted by infini at 8:10 AM on April 16, 2010


Long story short, infini hates pants.
posted by The Whelk at 8:27 AM on April 16, 2010


*WHAT??!??*
posted by infini at 8:31 AM on April 16, 2010


So, this is the time when we dance! trade dishonest statements? Because in reply to my question about statements of yours such as that something "could be a legitimate faith, though it's unlikely", you write a paragraph on... assessment of sincerity of belief. (Which, first of all, hmm, sounds familiar. Almost as if someone had addressed that topic already, more than once -- remind me about this spoonfeeding again -- was it a request?). Assessments of sincerity have nothing to do whatsoever with explaining why you thought something might not be a legitimate faith. So do me this small favour: if you want to backtrack, just say it. Leave the bullshit misdirection at the coffeeshop.

And yes, of course there are beliefs that I don't respect. I don't respect beliefs that make physical claims that are explicitly countered by evidence

Is this a selective reading problem? You're clearly responding to me, and yet in the very statement this is a reply to, I re-state the (again, and again repeated parenthetical) "(not one subject to verification)". I mean, ok, I attached that reminder to so many sentences I thought it was probably unnecessary at this point, but I guess not. Maybe the blink tag next time? But thanks for covering off that you don't respect beliefs that make falsifiable claims that are, in fact, false. You certainly are mustering responses to some rhetorical opponent... somewhere.

And then an impressive recap. You state: "Are there legitimate faiths? Yes." (not in contention) "Are there illegitimate claims to faith? Yes." (also not in contention) "Is there any objective way to determine with certainty the legitimacy of a claim of faith? No. You may recall, and forgive me treating you with a little bit of condescension here, you may recall that I've repeatedly said that claims of faith are subjective and both unprovable and unfalsifiable, from which you should have already inferred the prior yes and no answers."

Easy kiddo. Your lack of consistency is not a failing of mine. My error was in believing that you'd thought your position through so that there would be some explanation I'd yet to hear from you, rather than you merely dumping less defensible positions mid-debate.

There are, again, ways to make reasonable inferences regarding the legitimacy of a claim of faith, ways that I've mentioned several times (including in this comment), but there is no way to know with certainty.

Well thanks for revisiting the ground I've already trod in earlier posts, regarding evaluations made apart from the substance of belief, but it doesn't change the fact that you've weaseled your way from talking about legitimacy of faith to legitimacy of claims of faith. If you want to think about evaluation of claims of faith, you might want to re-read my earlier posts. Or read them for the first time.

It's a simple misrepresentation that ridicules the amount of introspection and thought that people do put into their belief systems.

Amount of introspection and thought. And this is different from every elaborate new age construction that comes along how exactly?

Are you whining about me saying...

And... bluster. This is your response to me asking a second time for elaboration on your earlier statement re: "legitimate faith", as above, but for my trouble I get first misdirection and now, more bluster, which I've come to expect from you, but is increasingly edging out the substance in your posts. Not that it was a great ratio to begin with.

This is the point in the party where I direct you to the nearest couch, to rail at whomever will listen about Kids Not Respecting Beliefs these days, while I go in search of a drink and more honest conversation. I hear there's grenadine about, and it's been awhile since I've had a decent zombie.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:38 AM on April 16, 2010


i love pants. i live in them.
posted by infini at 8:44 AM on April 16, 2010


SKIRT-IST?
posted by zarq at 8:49 AM on April 16, 2010


off kilter more likely
posted by infini at 8:55 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So the Saffron and mushroom risotto was TO DIE FOR and I added some fried pork cheek cause I didn't add any salt and omg it was like distilled savory-meaty-creamy. Side salad of spinach, radish, and asparagus made me feel less guilty. At least two meals leftover. I know a local bartender who is going to be VERY happy when I show up for an early beer.
posted by The Whelk at 9:03 AM on April 16, 2010


Metafilter: the wrinkles in my ball sac had grime in them
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:44 PM on April 14 [+] [!]


I really need to make some Saffron Risotto now.
posted by The Whelk at 6:46 PM on April 14 [+] [!]


Heh.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:16 AM on April 16, 2010


But I cannot abide by sweet tea because it gives me the stupors.

Enjoying some right now! Are the stupors a bad thing? Or only bad when when operating heavy machinery?
posted by marxchivist at 9:31 AM on April 16, 2010


Wait, how exactly does Sweet Tea gives stupors? Is there a whole lot of bourbon in your Sweet Tea or?
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 AM on April 16, 2010


Last night, mine eyes saw the glory. Risotto Crab Cakes. Goodness.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:38 AM on April 16, 2010


So, this is the time when we dance! trade dishonest statements? Because in reply to my question about statements of yours such as that something "could be a legitimate faith, though it's unlikely", you write a paragraph on... assessment of sincerity of belief. (Which, first of all, hmm, sounds familiar. Almost as if someone had addressed that topic already, more than once -- remind me about this spoonfeeding again -- was it a request?). Assessments of sincerity have nothing to do whatsoever with explaining why you thought something might not be a legitimate faith. So do me this small favour: if you want to backtrack, just say it. Leave the bullshit misdirection at the coffeeshop."

Uh, assessments of sincerity would have everything to do with why I might infer that something was not a legitimate faith. Given that I have no way of knowing the subjective truth of whether someone truly has faith, an epistemological position, I can only make an informed guess based on their behavior. This is analogous to any number of other subjective positions a person may aver. That I've addressed this more than once is because you don't seem to be getting it, despite it being a remarkably simple position.

So, no, not backtracking. Still a consistent position. Did someone at a coffeeshop touch you in your swimsuit area?

Is this a selective reading problem? You're clearly responding to me, and yet in the very statement this is a reply to, I re-state the (again, and again repeated parenthetical) "(not one subject to verification)". I mean, ok, I attached that reminder to so many sentences I thought it was probably unnecessary at this point, but I guess not. Maybe the blink tag next time? But thanks for covering off that you don't respect beliefs that make falsifiable claims that are, in fact, false. You certainly are mustering responses to some rhetorical opponent... somewhere."

Fair enough—That most people can think of faiths not subject to verification that they don't respect is irrelevant and fallacious argumentation, an appeal to some mythic popularity. I am sorry for responding as if your point was not specious nonsense; I should have simply ignored it rather than giving you more words to be apoplectic over.

"Easy kiddo. Your lack of consistency is not a failing of mine. My error was in believing that you'd thought your position through so that there would be some explanation I'd yet to hear from you, rather than you merely dumping less defensible positions mid-debate."

Like this. You think there's a point to what you wrote there, but there really isn't. My position is consistent, and your assertions don't show inconsistency in it. Instead, they show that you flail about when you get angry and that maybe you should have really stepped back when you said you would.

"Well thanks for revisiting the ground I've already trod in earlier posts, regarding evaluations made apart from the substance of belief, but it doesn't change the fact that you've weaseled your way from talking about legitimacy of faith to legitimacy of claims of faith. If you want to think about evaluation of claims of faith, you might want to re-read my earlier posts. Or read them for the first time."

Because faith is wholly subjective, because faith is unprovable and unfalsifiable to an outside observer, faith can't be evaluated objectively. I mean, is the sticking point that I haven't explicitly said that an illegitimate faith is one not actually held? Forgive me for spoon feeding you with too big of a spoon. Illegitimate faiths are faiths that are not actually experienced by the "faithful," but as we have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not the faith is experienced, we have to deal with claims of faith. I mean, duh. Reread your previous posts? Why subject myself to more blather when you haven't even demonstrated an ability to grasp the simplest forms of the argument? Decanting your ignorance hasn't made it more appealing.

Amount of introspection and thought. And this is different from every elaborate new age construction that comes along how exactly?"

What are you on about here? Yes, I tend to respect people's beliefs if they've given them a fair amount of thought, even if I disagree with them. I would probably even respect your beliefs if they weren't presented in such a moronic, belligerent manner.
posted by klangklangston at 9:49 AM on April 16, 2010


Last night, I made roasted heirloom fingerling potatoes with fresh rosemary, marjoram and oregano, and then got lazy and just served some creamy scrambled eggs with it. I like Gordon Ramsay's scrambled eggs method, but use that Greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche because while I like the thickness of the creme, I prefer the sourness of the yogurt, especially with potatoes.

But we ate the seconds and there were no leftovers at all.
posted by klangklangston at 9:55 AM on April 16, 2010


sour cream vs yogurt in scrabbled eggs makes two different dishes. both are good. So glad I can cut chives right off my window ledge now. Chives EVERYWHERE in EVERYTHING.
posted by The Whelk at 9:59 AM on April 16, 2010


I thought about getting chives at the Farmer's Market, but decided against it, since the last couple times they've gone in, like, one dish, and that's just not worth a dollar to me.
posted by klangklangston at 10:15 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Chives find their way into almost every breakfast I make or anytime I want to embiggen an onion-y flavor without using -ugh-onion salt.
posted by The Whelk at 10:32 AM on April 16, 2010


Are the stupors a bad thing?

And are they related to "the vapors"?

I really think so
posted by zamboni at 12:16 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can you feel it? Nothin' can save ya. For this is the season of catchin' the stupors.
posted by box at 6:57 PM on April 16, 2010


scrabbled eggs

    o
g   v
  a u
    m
      e m b r y o
        t
          e
        o o s p h e r e


posted by little e at 7:42 PM on April 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


e the last couple times they've gone in, like, one dish, and that's just not worth a dollar to me.

This is the exact reason why chives are a great thing to grow yourself. They are stupid easy to grow, and are the very first thing that comes back each year in spring. They live happily in a pot or in poor soil, and they're always there for your delectation - at least until they bloom and the stems get bitter, but then, the blooms are awesome in a salad.

To use extra chives, one good idea is to make chive oil. Take a cup or two of olive oil - can be lower-grade oil - and put it in a saucepan over very low heat. Add in large handfuls of fresh chives, snipped into very short sections. After the mixture is heated through, turn off the heat and let it cool naturally for several hours. Strain through cheesecloth to remove the plant material, and you're left with a bright green, very fragrant, chivey olive oil. It will keep a long time in the fridge, makes a great gift in a nice bottle, and has lots of uses. You can use it in vinaigrettte, as a bread-dipping oil, or drizzle it over bruschetta (artichoke is good) or goat cheese to spread on crackers.

Also, nice job on the religion discussion, and thank you for taking up the topic just now.
posted by Miko at 8:16 PM on April 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, I just found out that my white truffle oil is bogus. And in fact most truffle oil is bogus as well.

Truffle oil is a scam! It's usually made the same way as banana flavor. The same way we made it in organic chemistry in school.

I am not a good cook. I have been fooling myself and others.

I am sad.

I... I.... am sorry.

No wonder my risotto was overpowering the other night. No wonder it .... I'm sorry. It's not real truffles.

Fuck. Just fuck.

And if you knew this, why didn't you tell me? Bastards!
posted by Splunge at 10:27 PM on April 17, 2010


Wow, I just found out that my white truffle oil is bogus.

And beware of the real stuff should you come across it. It's rather DEEP. The only time in my adult life that I've had genuine both-sluices-simultaneously-erupting food poisoning there was a lot of genuine (more expensive than cocaine) truffle oil involved.

I prefer horse radish.
posted by philip-random at 10:34 PM on April 17, 2010


The Whelk: So glad I can cut chives right off my window ledge now. Chives EVERYWHERE in EVERYTHING.

In Austria and Germany this time of year, they have something similar to chives called Bärlauch (Bear-leek) that grows in vast swaths of green on the forest floor. When it rains, the whole forest smells like chives.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:36 PM on April 17, 2010


Last night I made pizza with bacon and avocado. It was good, everyone liked it. However, I felt like it wasn't savory enough. I'm not sure why not.
posted by OmieWise at 10:07 AM on April 18, 2010


The bacon needs something to counter how salty it is. Sweetish seems to work well, or something peppery. Ideally you want the taste to go meaty-salty-sweet-tangy. This is why pineapple works well - I'm not sold on avocado tho, only cause the texture of avocado kinda turns me off. I love me some guacamole tho.
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 AM on April 18, 2010


Last night we went to a Persian restaurant recommended by Jonathan Gold (a review in which he mentioned many vegetarian entrees as the best part of the menu). One dish, as my Farsi is too terrible to remember the name, was eggplant, onions, mint, garlic and lemon juice, and amazing. But the main thing, some sort of sour lentil stew with tadig was nasty and I felt bad complaining about it, though the waiter took it off. The safron tadig was like one of those things your mom tells you is nature's candy (or in this case, maybe nature's chips), but just reminds you of all of the great things we've done with food science. I've made tadig before, and perhaps I don't do it authentically, but I thought the point was to have some super crisp rice and some still fluffy rice above it, which would absorb the flavors of whatever. This was like a super hard inch and a half of almost burned rice with some brown sour glop to, I don't know, dip it in or something?
posted by klangklangston at 11:04 AM on April 18, 2010


The bacon needs something to counter how salty it is.

This sounds right to me - both bacon and avocado, though delicious, are more on the unctuous side and probably need some acid and/or sugar to offset that quality. I'm not a bit fan of pineapple on pizza, but caramelized onions could fill the same role.
posted by Miko at 11:12 AM on April 18, 2010


I put a humongous salad together that had a) avocado, not mushy but firm b) shrimps c) lettuce, tomatoes, onions, red radish, a green root vegetable whose english name I don't know d) Musto leima cheese (like an emmental, only finnish) e) seeds f) thousand island dressing, finnish style - and it seemed to work out well. I might throw out the onions the next time, but shrimps these days are turning into my main source of non veg nutrition so I tend to experiment.

bacon is not quite what you'd expect here and vegetables are limited in scope. its been quite interesting to overhaul my entire cooking approach to local foods and/or availabilities

not like popping down to stockton/washington for fresh stir fry ingredients at will
posted by infini at 11:58 AM on April 18, 2010


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