so it's open season on fratboys? December 15, 2010 4:14 PM   Subscribe

How is this okay?

I flagged it, but I can't quite move on somehow.

How is it okay to make jokey comments encouraging violence towards someone related to their perceived social status, but NOT OKAY (to the tune of thousand-post MeTa arguments) to make jokey comments about their gender or race or weight?

How do you think that crappy little turd of a comment would have gone differently if Zuckerberg were gay?

Especially when it leads to stuff like this and this.

I guess since this cat is a rich white guy, he's probably never known a day of misfortune in his life, so he's fair game, right?

I just figured the crowd here would have a little more appreciation for the somewhat-socially-awkward and/or unattractive. The comments making fun of his appearance really are kind of... not MeFi's best day.
posted by lonefrontranger to Etiquette/Policy at 4:14 PM (385 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Because it's true?
posted by chillmost at 4:18 PM on December 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


This is one of those times where "I'd hit that" is probably okay.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:19 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you think that comment is "encouraging violence", you have led a very politically sheltered life.
posted by tehloki at 4:19 PM on December 15, 2010 [18 favorites]


Okay here's the thing.. this doesn't matter. Go get mad about something real.
posted by pwally at 4:20 PM on December 15, 2010 [55 favorites]


I flagged it, but I can't quite move on somehow.

Try harder! I believe in you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 4:23 PM on December 15, 2010 [68 favorites]


I just figured the crowd here would have a little more appreciation for the […] unattractive.
I think you just lost the sympathy of your audience.
posted by nowonmai at 4:24 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Stupid, offensive and shameful? Yep.

So stupid, offensive or shameful that it should be deleted? No. Flag it. Call out the author in the thread, even. But don't ask for it to be gone, because that sets a pretty damn low bar.
posted by Etrigan at 4:24 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Linking directly to a comment you want deleted and that may indeed be deleted isn't cool, because once it's deleted, then your link makes not sense and then there's tons of people asking "WHAT WA THE COMMENT"?

I'm going to repost the comment here:
"Oh, puke. Zuckerberg is one of those smirky frat boys you just want to punch in the face, over and over.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:28 AM on December 15 [4 favorites +] [!]"
But I'm not totally sure it's okay to do this. Mods? Community? I'm guessing it's one of those less than optimal situations: A post and link have been made, seems somewhat silly not to include the actual content of the link.
posted by nomadicink at 4:24 PM on December 15, 2010


Since I'm being called out, I'll note that I regularly make word play jokes here.

Sorry if that bothers you. I wasn't being serious about the suggested name for a cartoonish video game, in any case.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:25 PM on December 15, 2010


I guess since this cat is a rich white guy, he's probably never known a day of misfortune in his life, so he's fair game, right?

Pretty much, yep.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:25 PM on December 15, 2010 [17 favorites]


There's a difference between saying that someone is so annoying that you like the thought of inflicting cartoon violence on them and saying hey, you know who we should assault?
posted by prefpara at 4:26 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find this unacceptable as well. I mean if people maintain a quality list of people they would like to hit Zuckerberg wouldn't even make the top 10. Perez Hilton and Phil Helmuth on the other hand....
posted by cjorgensen at 4:26 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want to punch people in the face now and again. Doesn't mean I'm going to act on it. Dude has opinion—let it ride.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:30 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Would you rather hang Paris Hilton with Zuckerberg's intestines, or viceversa?
posted by Dr. Curare at 4:30 PM on December 15, 2010


I guess since this cat is a rich white guy, he's probably never known a day of misfortune in his life, so he's fair game, right?

I think the dynamic you're picking up on there goes more like, "I guess since rich white males haven't been discriminated against by our society for generations, mock threats against them don't carry the same ugliness as threats against women or racial minorities."
posted by prefpara at 4:35 PM on December 15, 2010 [57 favorites]


I just figured the crowd here would have a little more appreciation for [______]

I do not give a fuck what you or any other thin skinned MeTa poster expect of me as a member of this site. The cries of "I used to think this place was great for discussion, but this one comment by one member in one of hundreds of threads offends my delicate sensibilities" are far and away more annoying than some flamebaiting poster looking for a few cheap favorites.

Welcome to the Internet. HTFU.
posted by clearly at 4:38 PM on December 15, 2010 [13 favorites]


When you want to encourage violence against men, use the word "frat." Check.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:42 PM on December 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


It is true that people in fraternities are a protected class like black people. That was why the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution was enacted (the Panhellenic Council was a prime motivating force behind the amendment). Even if you don't want to rely on Constitutional law, it is hard to disagree with the fact that people in fraternities (especially extremely rich people) have historically been discriminated against like women and gay people.
posted by Falconetti at 4:43 PM on December 15, 2010 [17 favorites]


So it's open season on fratboys?
How do you think that crappy little turd of a comment would have gone differently if Zuckerberg were gay?


Well, gay people are members of a disadvantaged class, and "fratboys" aren't. People join fraternities for the advantages thereunto appurtaining, while they attend institutions of higher learning (such education is of course an advantage itself.) So it would have gone differently because if my uncle were plumbed differently, he'd be my aunt. Parallels only work if they're parallel.

Besides, the real reason people want to punch Zuckerberg isn't the fratboy piece - it's the smirking piece. Lots of people want to punch Paris Hilton for precisely the same reason. If you are visibly smug about your wealth, education, and other advantages, you will be slightly less popular than if you can school your face into humbler lines.
posted by gingerest at 4:44 PM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


You met any fratboys recently? I want to punch them all in the face over and over just for the principle of the thing.

Not the black fraternities though. They know how to behave and not be a jackass.
posted by theichibun at 4:47 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think violence against anyone--even threatened violence, even jokey threatened violence--diminishes us all.

Which is not to say that I have any particularly warm feelings toward Mr. Zuckerberg.
posted by box at 4:48 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think that ignorance of the difference between hyperbole and jokey threatened violence - even feigned ignorance, even feigned ignorance to score a sanctimonious point - diminishes us all.

Oh, wait, no, I don't. I think it's sanctimonious handwringing. Yes, that's what I think.
posted by gingerest at 4:56 PM on December 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


Sorry, you have to be a member of a certified whining class - a sort of appellation d’origine contrôlée - before you get to whine about what other people say on the internet. The application process is long and arduous, but basically you get there by aligning yourself with other small factions whining about other small causes.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 4:56 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


The only mistake Old'n'Busted made is in using the pronoun "you" instead of "I." Or perhaps "many of us." Zuckerberg is such a jerk-ass smug bastard, out for himself at the expense of his userbase, that a pop in the nose might be just the remedy for his unpleasant arrogance.

OTOH, he's promised to give up half his fortune to charity on his death. It's not enough (it still leaves his next of kin with an ungodly amount of money) but it's better than any of those assholes on Wall Street.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:00 PM on December 15, 2010


I still can't believe that some obvious jokes (e.g. " Eat the rich!") sometimes get taken literally, or offend people here. Perhaps such statements should only come with disclaimers: No, I'm NOT saying I'm ACTUALLY, literally going to kill and consume the flesh of the rich, wealthy or well to do, etc. Or maybe a long rebuttal about someone's rich uncle being eaten by the poor long, long ago.

Maybe it has come to this. I don't know. Weird world we live in nowadays.
posted by peppito at 5:03 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fratboys annoy me and make me want to punch them in the face, but then again so do hipsters and activist-types and pretty much everybody under thirty-five. That generation has defibnitely not been beaten enough. But once you hit forty you realize that all young people are idiots. If you think I don't mean you, I mean you most of all.

Carry on.
posted by jonmc at 5:03 PM on December 15, 2010 [18 favorites]


HTFU.

Hit That Fucking Unicorn?

Houses (with) Too (many) Fucking Ugly (Christmas Lights)?

I mean, given the context it seems that it should represent, "Don't tell me what offends you because that offends me mightily" but that would be DTMWOYBTOMM, so I am perplexed.
posted by angrycat at 5:07 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Harden the Fuck Up
posted by iconomy at 5:11 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seriously, to those of us who have left school, this all smacks of a rather sad little collegiate clique war, between (to paraphrase Christian Lander) the right and wrong kind of white people.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


It was a douchey comment IMO.
posted by unSane at 5:15 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


How is it okay to make jokey comments encouraging violence towards someone related to their perceived social status

It depends on what you mean by "okay". It's okay in a I-don't-think-it-needs-deleting sense: it may be mildly obnoxious but it really doesn't rise to the level of deletability, something that's true of a lot of stuff.

Being sniffy about "fratboys" is in a social sense seen as a bit more okay than being sniffy about historically oppressed classes for reasons that have to do with the respective long ugly histories of oppression and exploitation and systemic violence. That's a huge topic, obviously, but Billionaire Dotcom Dudebro is I think it should be easy to figure a little bit less of a hot button referent for jokes about violence. Again: doesn't mean such a comment isn't kind of obnoxious, but "what if it were about a fundamentally different social context" isn't a great way to tackle this because it's not.

So: obnoxiousness is obnoxious, definitely, but that's about as far as I think it actually goes in this case. It's not open season, and the comment almost certainly has more to do with Totally Fucking Rich and Responsible For Facebook than with college fraternity systems, is my read.

Hit That Fucking Unicorn?

Go Fuck A Rainbow.

Actually, I presume it means Harden The Fuck Up, but I haven't personally seen it popping around much in full text let alone acronym form.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:16 PM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Although I'm glad to know there's a wrong kind and a right kind of white person. Is there also a wrong kind and a right kind of black person? Yellow person? TIA.
posted by unSane at 5:17 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think violence against anyone--even threatened violence, even jokey threatened violence--diminishes us all.

I agree with this sentiment but that comments really doesn't attain deleteworthy status though it does make the commenter sound like sort of a jerk. It's great if people can express sentiments that are a bit more nuanced than "I'd like to hurt/rape/kill that person or I hope someone else hurts/rapes/kills them" and almost all the time, they do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:24 PM on December 15, 2010


lonefrontranger: How is this okay?

Looks fine to me!

lonefrontranger: so it's open season on fratboys?

A-yeup!
posted by paisley henosis at 5:25 PM on December 15, 2010




I remember you couldnt make jokes about england in the world cup on mefi because it would quite logically lead to people being attacked on the streets of aberdeen.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:31 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


So would it be okay to suggest punching a fratty mefite in the face, or is it only people we don't know?
posted by unSane at 5:33 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


unsane: I never finished college and it's been a few decades since I was even there, so I don't even know what qualifies as 'fratty' anymore. I say we let the kids settle this at recess while we grownups go off and have a beer.
posted by jonmc at 5:35 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


My goodness what would poor Mark Zuckerberg do without you to defend his honor?
posted by dersins at 5:38 PM on December 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


What about gay fratboys?
posted by rtha at 5:40 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


go fuckyourself dersins.
posted by jonmc at 5:41 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not the black fraternities though. They know how to behave and not be a jackass.

Jesus.
posted by proj at 5:42 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


The double standards of MeFi are my least favorite thing about the place. I know that I'm in a minority in this but the idea that certain kinds of insult/violence/cursing are OK because they're about one kind of social stratum of human being when they're not when they're about another is totally obnoxious. I know you folks are all right-on and that makes it COMPLETELY OKAY!!11!! but to me it stinks.

Everyone deserves the same respect.
posted by unSane at 5:44 PM on December 15, 2010 [34 favorites]


I say we let the kids settle this at recess while we grownups go off and have a beer.

Way ahead of ya!
posted by unSane at 5:45 PM on December 15, 2010


*passes unsane bottle of Haitian rum*
posted by jonmc at 5:45 PM on December 15, 2010


go fuckyourself dersins.

I wasn't even talking to you, sweetheart.
posted by dersins at 5:47 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


that's ok. it still applies.
posted by jonmc at 5:48 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


*passes jonmc gin martini*
posted by unSane at 5:51 PM on December 15, 2010


thank you, senor sane. I should mention that this is Rhum Barbancourt. I'm usually not much of a rum guy, but this stuff is amazing.
posted by jonmc at 5:52 PM on December 15, 2010


I know that I'm in a minority in this but the idea that certain kinds of insult/violence/cursing are OK because they're about one kind of social stratum of human being when they're not when they're about another is totally obnoxious.

I'm right there with you.
posted by iconomy at 5:56 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think we should disrespect everyone equally.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:57 PM on December 15, 2010 [42 favorites]


who the hell are you again?
posted by jonmc at 5:58 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately the gin martini is actually straight Tanqueray as we have been snowed in for five days and have drunk everything else in the house, including all the vermouth.

I'm totally not a rum guy, but I will try that.
posted by unSane at 5:58 PM on December 15, 2010


It tastes almost like good brandy. Start with the 3-star. It runs about $25 A fifth.
posted by jonmc at 6:00 PM on December 15, 2010


(I should add that I don't care for Facebook or Zuckerburg, I'm just tired of thi adolescent cliquery. Most of you are old enough to be past this shit)
posted by jonmc at 6:02 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually, I presume it means Harden The Fuck Up, but I haven't personally seen it popping around much in full text let alone acronym form.

It's actually an internal ticket resolution status at a major CRM company.
posted by empath at 6:02 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Talking about hitting somebody is a stupid comment -- slight, without nuance, and useless to conversation. It was a bad comment, and worth flagging. But it seemed likely it was hyperbole, and it didn't represent an actual history of violence, in the way that, say, joking about abusing a woman or lynching a minority might.

You know what else manages to be slight, stupid, nuance-free comments? The endless parade of "Oh, MetaFilter, you're so full of hand-wringing delicate flowers who can't handle a comment or two and it's RUINING EVERYTHING." I swear to god, the "poor little us, not being able to say whatever the fuck we want" brigade are the biggest group of crybabies, and if anybody needs to man up, it is you.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:02 PM on December 15, 2010 [19 favorites]


Everyone deserves the same respect.

That is how I feel and for the most part that's how we moderate this place. There's a bit of a calculus as far as what sort of violence-wishing comments are allowed to stand and which get deleted. We have our own modly opinions and some stuff goes no matter what [wishing prison rape used to be okay for whatever reason and now it's solidly Not Okay] and some stuff is in a state of flux. Telling people to fuck themselves is generally a day off, but there is wiggle room there. Saying "I hope something bad happens to someone" or "that person makes me angry and I'd like to punch them" is pretty borderline ungreat and something we'd like to see less of. If it becomes a theme with that particular user, we'd tell them to cool it. As a one-off comment on a busy day it didn't hit the Delete Me mark.

This may have been because the community outrage factor wasn't there [which can get into the unequal treatment realm in which case hey, welcome to the real world] or because people don't care if frat boys get punched. I don't know.

That said, we can't both have a lightly moderated site and also make sure every shitty comment someone makes about someone else gets the axe. I'm happy this MeTa is here so people can talk about why people decide to make shitty comments and maybe suggest they make less of them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:02 PM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think it's difficult to convey sarcasm over the internet unless you already know the person, or what they're like. I think that has a lot to do with it.
posted by peppito at 6:06 PM on December 15, 2010


I believe in equal-opportunity wanting-to-punch-someone-in-the-face. It's not encouraging violence; it's stating anger. "frat boy" was probably what tipped it over for some, but I don't think frat boys are exempt from the punching-in-the-face urge. Nobody is. It's an angry outburst, not an incitement to do harm. I want to punch people in the face all the time, but I never do, and I *never would*.

Shorter me: oh, for fuck's sake.
posted by tzikeh at 6:06 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


And Barbancourt is indeed an especially good rum. It's made from the first pressings of the sugar cane, rather than the leavings, so has a sweeter quality, and a mellower quality. If you like the sock-in-the-jaw of run, though, I'd go with a blackstrap or dark rum. I had some Kraken a few weeks ago, which is a spiced dark rum, and especially alcoholic, and it was two pirates had a fistfight, and then made love, in my mouth.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:07 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I understand that, Jessamyn, and I know how hard the job you guys do is. I think you guys do a fine job and I do not necessarily think the comment should have been deleted. However I do think it should be roundly condemned and feel the force of community disapproval, rather than having a bunch of people slap the guy's back virtually as several people here have done.

Anyone who has kids knows that you teach them not to use the bad words about anyone, not just the rich white kids at school. There's no exemption for bullying when the victim is an overprivileged prick. It doesn't matter if the kid kicked you, you don't kick back. It makes for hard decisions, sure, but in the end it's the only way that you can actually implement any kind of consistent policy. Otherwise everything becomes a judgement call.

If saying that you want to punch Zuckerberg is OK, but saying that (to pick what I dearly hope is a clearly inappropriate example) you want to punch Jessamyn is not OK, then where is the middle? Aren't they all just not okay?
posted by unSane at 6:12 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would allow for one exemption in the encouraging violence department: those people wearing those gigantic fur hats that are so fashionable lately? It should be OK to shoot them as long as you say "Oh sorry, I thought you were a bear."
posted by jonmc at 6:14 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


it was two pirates had a fistfight, and then made love, in my mouth

Don't think I'm going to be able to drink rum for a while.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:14 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sometimes it's okay to want to punch somebody. But it should be based on their own misbehavior, not some group they belong to. It's okay to want to punch somebody for sneering. Whether or not he was a frat boy (he was, in a Jewish frat; I was too) shouldn't really factor in.

It's rarely advisable to say it aloud, though. Firstly, it's a conversational dead end. Secondly, somebody might hear you and respond poorly. Especially in bars, where "I want to punch this guy" frequently turns into "Oh, great, now I have to punch that guy."
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:16 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't think I'm going to be able to drink rum for a while.

I take it your not a fan of gay pirate porn.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:16 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


It dosen't give him an 'arrrr-don.
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on December 15, 2010 [19 favorites]


All right, I'm going to go ahead and close up this thread.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:18 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would allow for one exemption in the encouraging violence department: those people wearing those gigantic fur hats that are so fashionable lately? It should be OK to shoot them as long as you say "Oh sorry, I thought you were a bear."

If you mean the Russian style things, I have one of those which I wear for blowing the drive while sitting on the tractor in -10 to -20C. It completely rocks. Unfortunately the 'I thought you were a bear excuse' wears a bit thin around here as several people have been shot (dead) by hunters thinking they were turkey or deer (bear are coming back, but not yet hunted).

The human victims were not wearing furry hats as far as I am aware.
posted by unSane at 6:27 PM on December 15, 2010


Dude, this is in New York, and the size of them is getting out of control.
posted by jonmc at 6:28 PM on December 15, 2010


I want to punch lots of people in the face over and over, but I mostly keep that to myself. But you should know that I'm thinking about it.
posted by Justinian at 6:32 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'd fight Lincoln. Skinny guys fight 'til they're burger
posted by Humanzee at 6:37 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want to punch lots of people in the face over and over...

But only if Theodora gives you permission.
posted by NoMich at 6:39 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


The endless parade of "Oh, MetaFilter, you're so full of hand-wringing delicate flowers who can't handle a comment or two and it's RUINING EVERYTHING." I swear to god, the "poor little us, not being able to say whatever the fuck we want" brigade are the biggest group of crybabies, and if anybody needs to man up, it is you.

Give the last 6 or 12 months of Metatalk in particular, this is either an elaborately self-referential strange loop of comedy, or kinda goofy.

Either way, I used to like the funny Astro Zombie. This new, hectoring, holier-than-thou one? Not nearly as much.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:41 PM on December 15, 2010 [15 favorites]


I clicked on this link expecting something pretty bad. Then I read the comment, and scrolled up and down thinking maybe the link to the wrong comment. Then I hit the back button and clicked on the link a few more times, just to make sure I wasn't imagining shit. Wow.
posted by dead cousin ted at 6:45 PM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


I just figured the crowd here would have a little more appreciation for the somewhat-socially-awkward and/or unattractive.

Well, I don't think he's (physically) unattractive by a long shot. Be that as it may, making fun of his appearance may be childish but it has nothing to do with whether he's attractive or not.
posted by blucevalo at 6:45 PM on December 15, 2010


Yeah, in the grand scheme of things, probably not okay behavior. On the other hand, we've had threads about rape and violence and all kinds of stuff in the past and one of the themes that's come up often is the difference between joking about violence towards a frequently abused class, and joking about violence towards someone who's "on top" so to speak.

So, while I think it was a tactless comment, I think it's also a bit tone-deaf to suggest there's no conceptual difference between "privileged self-satisfied twenty-something billionaires" and "women". Argue that both should be extended the same respect, sure. But it seems particularly obtuse to ask, "What's the difference?"
posted by verb at 6:47 PM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


And, for contrast, there is the "athletes perform for the pope" thread. We have your standard lulz, a few "GRAR BABY RAPER" comments and at least one comment by someone offended that people are looking at a YouTube video and making some fun of someone who is arguably one of the most powerful people in the entire world. It's tough to draw lines when people on both ends have compelling arguments for why other people are being toolboxes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:48 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone deserves the same respect

This is the funniest thing I've read on this thread.
posted by vitabellosi at 6:55 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is the funniest thing I've read on this thread.

Awesome. Why?
posted by unSane at 6:58 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Harden the Fuck Up
Mick, a good friend of mine, used to regularly use the full version of this to anyone who dared to complain about pretty much any aspect of their life in his hearing - 'how about you go and eat some concrete and harden the fuck up, princess'. 'Used to' because he's dead now, but we continue to say it as his proxy because we miss him.

The linked comment was clearly hyperbole and I can't see how anyone took it seriously. Yeah, I'm all for stamping out actual hate speech in any form, but this clearly wasn't meant seriously. Mick's advice was well-applied in lots of situations and this is one of them. Of course, it's hard to give such advice without the cheesy grin that told everyone he was just kidding and an emoticon just doesn't cut it.
posted by dg at 6:59 PM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Zuckerberg is such a jerk-ass smug bastard, out for himself at the expense of his userbase, that a pop in the nose might be just the remedy for his unpleasant arrogance.

Luckily for all our tender sensibilities, Zuckerberg is such a bastard that he probably punches himself in the face everyday, just for kicks. Unluckily for us, he probably likes it.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:01 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Either way, I used to like the funny Astro Zombie. This new, hectoring, holier-than-thou one? Not nearly as much.

I do have MeMail if you'd like to address me personally. But I don't really care that much if you don't like when I have on opinion you disagree with, especially when you phrase a content free retort.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:01 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


So it would have been okay if used against a woman, or black guy, you know, unseriously?
posted by unSane at 7:01 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Note: Everyone needs a hug (and a swift kick in the ass).
posted by amyms at 7:04 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also: new?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:06 PM on December 15, 2010

So it would have been okay if used against a woman, or black guy, you know, unseriously?
This is precisely what I'm talking about. Pretending that there isn't an aspect of power differential at play when many people object to that kind of over-the-top joking is terribly disingenuous.

Alternately, you just might not get it.

I agree that it's a bad road to go down, but you're not winning any agreement by arguing that the social dynamics of saying, "I'd like to punch her in the face, over and over" regarding a random woman are different than saying, "I'd like to punch him in the face, over and over" about a smug, privileged, twenty-something billionaire who has made a mystique of being a devil-may-care asshole.

I'm not attempting to defend the statement that kicked this thread off, but frankly anyone who doesn't even attempt to engage with the issue of the social power differential is, as I said earlier, either tone deaf or being obtuse.
posted by verb at 7:09 PM on December 15, 2010 [14 favorites]


I swear to god, the "poor little us, not being able to say whatever the fuck we want" brigade are the biggest group of crybabies, and if anybody needs to man up, it is you.

I sympathize somewhat with the position you've made a caricature of here and as well a little bit with the position you're taking. In fact, what you're saying and what you've quoted are pretty much the exact same sentiment and that might have been the point. Whatever side you're on in that argument the whole thing sucks and I wish people could accept that someone who disagrees with you isn't necessarily a softy, a meanie, a white knight or an evil race/gender/religion/i-dont-even-know-what-the-fuck -hating something-ist.

Or Hitler.

Or McCarthy.

Except when they are.

Or when they disagree with me specifically or something I've said.

Or when I disagree with them or something they've said.

Anyways, some of you Metafilter crybabies needs to man up, and some of you need to be more sensitive and open minded as the case may be because your words are more powerful than you realize. Wait....Fuck. Wait...I shouldn't have said 'Fuck.' Wait...which one of you has the gin and which has the rum? Wait...I'm already drinking beer.
posted by Hoopo at 7:11 PM on December 15, 2010


Astro Zombie: "I do have MeMail if you'd like to address me personally. But I don't really care that much if you don't like when I have on opinion you disagree with, especially when you phrase a content free retort."

It's your relentless fuckin' pounding in every god damn MeTa thread of this nature. You're a smart guy and I appreciate a lot of what you have to say, but you have to see it, man. You have to.
posted by gman at 7:12 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the funniest thing I've read on this thread.

Awesome. Why?


Because it's not true....and although people may espouse the belief, no one enacts it successfully.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:13 PM on December 15, 2010


I wish Zuckerberg would trip on the sidewalk and drop a package he was carrying! And if I was right there I wouldn't try and catch it, even if there was something breakable inside! Jerk!
posted by facetious at 7:13 PM on December 15, 2010 [33 favorites]


I'm not attempting to defend the statement that kicked this thread off, but frankly anyone who doesn't even attempt to engage with the issue of the social power differential is, as I said earlier, either tone deaf or being obtuse.

No, just asking that we treat people equally as opposed to having double standards.

Some right-wing asshole can use the exact same arguments you do to justify hokey-jokey incitement of attacks against women or black people.

That's where special pleading gets you.

When you have to resort to 'tone deaf' or 'obtuse' to characterise a position you disagree with, as opposed to 'wrong', you need to take another look at your assumptions.
posted by unSane at 7:15 PM on December 15, 2010


Again, feel free to MeMail me. But, you know what? I'm not going to let you tell me to shut up. I paid my fee, I get my say, and, if you don't like it, suck it up.

Obviously you have no problem with the people who fucking pound every god damn thread like this with "Oh, I can't staaaaaaand this! Again! Somebody with a complaint! Again!"

Well, guess what. I find them just as fucking obnoxious as you find me, and if they get their say, I get mine.

One goddamn comment in this thread. One. And then jokes from me. It's too much. Fuck you it's too much. MeMail me if you have an issue with me specifically, but you're not going to get a very friendly response.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:17 PM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


Because it's not true....and although people may espouse the belief, no one enacts it successfully.

So people don't deserve the same respect? Why then is it wrong for someone to insist that women or minorities don't deserve the same respect as white people?
posted by unSane at 7:17 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


How is this okay? --- Jealousy, envy, and avarice does bring out the worst in people.
posted by crunchland at 7:18 PM on December 15, 2010


The real irony is that Zuckerberg isn't a very good example of a frat boy at all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:21 PM on December 15, 2010 [9 favorites]


But I don't really care that much if you don't like when I have on opinion you disagree with, especially when you phrase a content free retort.

Okey-doke. The thing is though, I don't necessarily disagree with your (oft-reiterated) opinions, in principle, I don't think. So, see: I'm not retorting, just lamenting.

It's too much. Fuck you it's too much. MeMail me if you have an issue with me specifically, but you're not going to get a very friendly response.


Then I guess I won't! No great loss to anybody concerned.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:22 PM on December 15, 2010


Everyone deserves the same respect

Then what is the worth of respect?
posted by Falconetti at 7:23 PM on December 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


Consider this. For all X where X is a human being, when is it okay to post:

"I'd like to punch X in the face?"?

If the answer you come up with has something to do with how you personally feel about X, I would like to suggest you are doing it wrong.

It is not hard to see the sentence as wrong when you sympathise with X. The real test is when you think it is wrong and don't sympathise with X.
posted by unSane at 7:24 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not retorting, just lamenting.

Well, feel free to spill some of your drink for the awesome me that used to be.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:24 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

No, just asking that we treat people equally as opposed to having double standards.

Some right-wing asshole can use the exact same arguments you do to justify hokey-jokey incitement of attacks against women or black people.
My "argument" was that many people are more outraged when they see someone with less power picked on than when they see someone with more power being picked on. I am discussing the nature of the phenomenon that seems to anger you, because you seem to be confused by it.

And you're right! Right-wing assholes already do use that argument! It's very interesting when they do, because it demonstrates what they truly believe: that rich white people are powerless, while poor black women hold the nation under their thumbs.

That you confuse my discussion of the issue with an argument in favor of the original comment suggests that you're either not paying attention or haven't thought it through carefully.
When you have to resort to 'tone deaf' or 'obtuse' to characterise a position you disagree with, as opposed to 'wrong', you need to take another look at your assumptions.
When you don't understand someone's post, telling them to 'look at their assumptions' won't help. Sorry.
posted by verb at 7:25 PM on December 15, 2010 [8 favorites]


Then what is the worth of respect?

I guess if you don't feel that all human beings have the same rights, not much.
posted by unSane at 7:26 PM on December 15, 2010


I'm not angry. I don't know where you got that from. I do not at all understand your point. You think that is my problem. I think it is yours. Hey ho.
posted by unSane at 7:28 PM on December 15, 2010


Anyone who has kids knows that you teach them not to use the bad words about anyone

Wait, we were supposed to do what?!
posted by nomadicink at 7:32 PM on December 15, 2010


Well, I'll not let this get in the way of our long friendship. I do have a problem. I consider the knee-jerk complaints in this sort of thread to be threadshitting. And this is an instance where I agree that the original comment, while not being an especially good one, wasn't deletable.

But obviously I have made my point, and it's either not understood, not agreed with, or being ignored. That's fine. I'm not the boss of these threads. I'll let the subject rest. The mods are very good at their jobs, and if they are bothered by this sort of instantaneous dismissal of a complaint, and an equally quick move to dismiss the people who raise the complains as being hand-wringers with nothing better to do with their time but ruin everybody's fun with their political correctness, the mods have tools to deal with it.

I'd rather discuss liquor anyway. It's the only thing I really love.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:34 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, we were supposed to do what?!

I know you're trying to be funny, but we teach our kids to respect their classmates, not to make distinctions based on whether the other kids is richer, or whiter, or more privileged than they are. That way lies complete madness.
posted by unSane at 7:35 PM on December 15, 2010

I'm not angry. I don't know where you got that from.
Well, you've said a number of fighty things about lots of people in this thread. You've suggested that people who disagree with you don't think all humans have the same rights, and you've called right-wing people assholes.

if those are things you do casually, just as a matter of course, then okay. That's cool.
I do not at all understand your point.
I know. I've explained it twice and made clear that I'm not condoning the comment, simply explaining why people react differently acerbic comments directed at different people, even if they believe that all people have equal rights. I am sorry the ambiguity confuses you.
posted by verb at 7:36 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Won't somebody think of the smirky fratboys?!
posted by pompomtom at 7:40 PM on December 15, 2010


Well, you've said a number of fighty things about lots of people in this thread. You've suggested that people who disagree with you don't think all humans have the same rights, and you've called right-wing people assholes.

No, I haven't done any of those things. I talked about 'some right wing asshole', which is not the same as calling all right wing people assholes. The rest of it is your projection. Anyone who doubts what I just said should just search on my name in this thread and make up their own minds.
posted by unSane at 7:42 PM on December 15, 2010


I clicked on this link expecting something pretty bad. Then I read the comment, and scrolled up and down thinking maybe the link to the wrong comment. Then I hit the back button and clicked on the link a few more times, just to make sure I wasn't imagining shit. Wow.
Yeah, me too - I first thought the comment must have been deleted, then resorted to hovering my mouse on the comment timestamp to match it with the URL to make sure that, yes, that it the comment causing all the panty-bunching.
posted by dg at 7:44 PM on December 15, 2010

No, I haven't done any of those things. I talked about 'some right wing asshole', which is not the same as calling all right wing people assholes. The rest of it is your projection. Anyone who doubts what I just said should just search on my name in this thread and make up their own minds.
Nor have I said that the original comment was okay behavior. Maybe we should all just take a deep breath, eh?
posted by verb at 7:45 PM on December 15, 2010


I guess if you don't feel that all human beings have the same rights, not much.

"Rights" and "respect" are two different concepts. All human beings should have the same rights, but all human beings are not worthy of the same respect. Perhaps it is just semantics, as I see respect as the worth I give someone for their words and deeds, not commensurate with or as a precursor to their rights (i.e. right to live in freedom, right to not experience unnecessary violence, etc.). For example, the CEO of BP and my father should be entitled to the same rights, but I respect my father a lot more than the CEO of BP.
posted by Falconetti at 7:47 PM on December 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


I see your point, and if you would rather I couched it as a right, then that's fair enough.

However, whatever your personal feelings, I am suggesting that in a public forum like this, people deserve the same respect. The alternative is ultimately mob rule.
posted by unSane at 7:51 PM on December 15, 2010


To put it another way, if we only accord rights to those we respect, we are doomed.

Imagine yourself in another context where you are the enemy. Imagine what rights you would like to have in that situation. Now accord your enemy those rights.
posted by unSane at 7:54 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, we were supposed to do what?!
I know you're trying to be funny, but we teach our kids to respect their classmates, not to make distinctions based on whether the other kids is richer, or whiter, or more privileged than they are. That way lies complete madness.

Well, I try to teach my kids that they shouldn't make distinctions based on any of those (or lots of other) things, but they should make distinctions based on the way people act - kind of the concept that Falconetti puts forward - everyone has the right to be who they are and everyone else has the right to respect them or not based on their actions. Respect must be earned, it's not a right.
posted by dg at 7:55 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


With respect, in that case I personally think you're doing it wrong.
posted by unSane at 7:57 PM on December 15, 2010


I wish Zuckerberg would trip on the sidewalk and drop a package he was carrying! And if I was right there I wouldn't try and catch it, even if there was something breakable inside! Jerk!

See, my version of this fantasy has him walking away without realizing he'd dropped perfectly wrapped bundles of non-sequential hundred dollar bills. And then I spend the weekend trying to figure out how to count a million bank notes.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:57 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, whatever your personal feelings, I am suggesting that in a public forum like this, people deserve the same respect. The alternative is ultimately mob rule.

the alternative is actually being being shits to each other on a message board and occasionally going "fuck you" and/or "counterpoint: fuck you."

to be honest i'm comfortable with the estimated number of hot meals between that and the societal collapse you envision.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:00 PM on December 15, 2010 [14 favorites]


With respect, in that case I personally think you're doing it wrong.

Wait, so everyone deserves the same amount of respect, or some minimum amount of respect, regardless of their actions?
posted by rtha at 8:01 PM on December 15, 2010


I haven't said anything about societal collapse. Awesome straw man, though.
posted by unSane at 8:01 PM on December 15, 2010


Wait, so everyone deserves the same amount of respect, or some minimum amount of respect, regardless of their actions?

Yep.
posted by unSane at 8:02 PM on December 15, 2010


♫ It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! ♪
posted by shakespeherian at 8:03 PM on December 15, 2010 [20 favorites]


to be honest i'm comfortable with the estimated number of hot meals between that and the societal collapse you envision.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:00 PM on December 15 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


Favoriting this so hard.

Also, I have had some wine.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 8:04 PM on December 15, 2010


I haven't said anything about societal collapse. Awesome straw man, though.

okay, then mob rule! my sexy point remains.

look all i'm saying is this is kind of a weird place to take a bunch of moral stands. maybe it's just your tone. it kind of suggests someone who imagines his posts quoted on a monument somewhere. but what do i know.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:04 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


For all X where X is a human being, when is it okay to post: "I'd like to punch X in the face?"?

Basically always. The reason why it is basically always ok to say this is that people want to punch other people in the face anyway, especially on the internet, and when denied direct means to do so they will go through whatever rhetorical circumlocutions required to communicate the desire for face punchy, regardless of the ruleset they are confronted with. What is wrong with that? you are wondering. What is wrong with that is that it makes conversations longer and boringer without removing any of the conveyed malice. For example, the argument between verb and unSane, which I think we can agree has gotten real long and mad boring despite technically conforming to the rules of civility, would have worked a lot better as:

"I'd like to punch unSane in the face! What is permissible to say about someone depends greatly on their social status and power level relative to the speaker!"

"I'd like to punch verb in the face! What is permissible to say about someone should not vary, lest people use those variations to exploit the system of permissibility!"

Ideally people would subsitute "I'd like to punch X in the face!" with something hilarious, but if you can't have that, terse is good. And if people don't get enough out of saying it once, it's easier to identify 'em and kick 'em out of the club for being assholes.
posted by furiousthought at 8:05 PM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm not talking about how much you personally respect them, I'm talking about how much respect you accord them in a public forum. Most democracies have rules about what you say about another person in a parliamentary or a legal situation. You can't, for example accuse another MP in the UK parliament of lying. There is a reason for this. It is not a dumb rule, even when it seems obvious that another MP is, in fact lying. This is foundational in human communities.
posted by unSane at 8:05 PM on December 15, 2010


Basically always.

Okay, but you probably need to talk to the mods about that one.
posted by unSane at 8:06 PM on December 15, 2010


I'D LIKE TO PUNCH YOU IN MY FACE

SOMEHOW
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:07 PM on December 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


*sticks face in the punch*
posted by jonmc at 8:13 PM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


the community outrage factor

Deciding what's ok or not based in large measure on how outraged people are about it doesn't seem like a good idea, in any community.

That said, we can't both have a lightly moderated site and also make sure every shitty comment someone makes about someone else gets the axe.

Personally, given the choice, I'd be happy to have a more heavily moderated site in return for less noise. There isn't exactly a shortage of places on the web for people to vent their anger, or for me to read what people are mad about. If MeFi is worth being a part of, it's worth it in large part because it's somewhat more thoughtful, somewhat more moderated, and a fair bit less spammy than the general run of the net.

From the new user guide, which helped me decide whether to give MeFi a try a few months back...

I trust that you'll act in a civilized manner, that you'll treat others with opposing viewpoints with absolute respect and that you'll contribute in a positive way to the intelligent discussions that take place here every day...

When everyone brings intelligent, thoughtful commentary to a thread, MetaFilter is the best it can possibly be.


I'd love to be part of that community, rather than one where people talk about who they'd love to punch. And where that level of "contribution" is mostly ok with everyone, and people who question it get told "that's just life on the internet, get over it".
posted by philipy at 8:15 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

You can't, for example accuse another MP in the UK parliament of lying. There is a reason for this. It is not a dumb rule, even when it seems obvious that another MP is, in fact lying. This is foundational in human communities.
I could easily be misunderstanding you, but ot sounds like you're arguing that arbitrary, meaningless rules are good because they enforce order. For example, "Bob is lying, but I can't say he's lying because that would be impolite." That doesn't help anyone, and in fact it's a way of ensuring that sociopaths will ultimately dominate society.

I get that you're saying, "people not immediately shouting out their basest thoughts at each other is a basic mark of civilization," but as others have noted, you're taking a stand in a way that forces you into odd and indefensible positions rhetorically speaking. I mean, look at your MeFi profile. Your twitter avatar is a picture of Sarah Palin shooting herself in the head.

Are you saying that you want women to commit suicide?
posted by verb at 8:16 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


what
posted by unSane at 8:17 PM on December 15, 2010


No, he's just saying he wants Sarah Palin to die.
posted by BeerFilter at 8:22 PM on December 15, 2010


I was promised punch and pie.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:24 PM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


Holy crap, I'm out. You fellas have fun now.
posted by unSane at 8:25 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


verb: " Are you saying that you want women to commit suicide?"

WTF?
posted by zarq at 8:26 PM on December 15, 2010


How is it okay to make jokey comments encouraging violence towards someone related to their perceived social status

You're right; the sentence was incorrect. The correct sentence is: "The creator of Facebook needs their head stove in with a hod of bricks." Because if there's any social group I'm biased against, it's creators of Facebooks.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 8:27 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish Zuckerberg would trip on the sidewalk and drop a package he was carrying! And if I was right there I wouldn't try and catch it, even if there was something breakable inside! Jerk!

Yeah, and I totally bet he'd start to cry like the loser that he is!
posted by vincele at 8:30 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


o.O
posted by zarq at 8:34 PM on December 15, 2010


But you see he's saying it respectfully.
posted by dersins at 8:36 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're right; the sentence was incorrect. The correct sentence is: "The creator of Facebook needs their head stove in with a hod of bricks." Because if there's any social group I'm biased against, it's creators of Facebooks.

That's awesome! Because if there's any social group that needs its head stove in with a hod of bricks, it's people who think other people need their head stove in with a hod of bricks!

Oh, hang on...
posted by sweet mister at 8:37 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

WTF?
I apologize if anyone thought that I actually think he wants women to commit suicide. I'm just trying to parse the contradictions that I'm seeing there.

I do agree with unSane that the "I would like to punch Person X over and over and over" construction is not good. But on a number of occasions in this thread, it's been asked, "Why do some people think it's okay, when it's not okay to call for violence against women and blacks?"

When I attempted to engage that question, unSane in particular kept responding that I was justifying the statement or defending it and that -- essentially -- context has no bearing on statements. Two kinds of statements can be different and both be bad.

I'm not trying to be fighty here, I'm trying to engage the question that unSane has specifically brought up a number of times in the thread. When I do, he says that I can't, because somewhere "a right-wing asshole" might use my reasoning to justify their own hatred.

And then I scratch my head and try to figure out if I've missed something and I visit his profile page, and he's got an avatar of Sarah Palin shooting herself in the head. Since he's arguing on the basis of equal respect for all humans, how is that okay? What's different about Sarah Palin and Mark Zuckerberg? What's different about an image of someone about to commit suicide versus "I want to punch them?"

I think there are differences, but unSane keeps saying there aren't, or that saying there are is a slippery slope towards anarchy and violence. And I'm confused.
posted by verb at 8:37 PM on December 15, 2010


Deciding what's ok or not based in large measure on how outraged people are about it doesn't seem like a good idea, in any community.

I don't think jessamyn means to suggest that collective outrage is the defining measure of what is okay or not, just that it drives some of the feedback mechanisms that present themselves, whether overt (people electing to rebuke an obnoxious comment in thread or not) or indirect (people flagging something as problematic). Which, again, is a complicated thing in a lot of ways.

Personally, given the choice, I'd be happy to have a more heavily moderated site in return for less noise.

Which I totally hear. There are also good-faith members of this place who would be happy to have less moderation even if (or in some respects because) it'd lead to more noise and ruckus. These are both valid preferences, and they stand in constant tension to one another; from our perspective the main thing we want to do is keep this place feeling like the place it has always been, where there may be slow shifts and evolution in how things run over time but it more or less remains Metafilter and there are no abrupt changes in direction.

I'd love to be part of that community, rather than one where people talk about who they'd love to punch.

To be clear, people around here don't spend a lot of time as far as I have seen talking about who they'd love to punch or more generally what their violent fantasies are. It's really not a prevailing theme, and as jessamyn noted those odd cases where one or another user seems to want to go into ragey or hyperbolic or vengeful "I wish this terrible violence upon person foo" mode that's the sort of thing that is likely to get deleted.

And I think part of the back-and-forth in this thread, and the sense at times that folks are talking past one another, comes from the disparity between what actually happened (user makes mildly obnoxious "man do I not like Zuckerberg" comment in the form of "punch him in the face") and the stakes being discussed in reaction to it (whether people in general deserve respect, whether advocating violence is okay, whether the sociopolitical context of oppression and power imbalance justifies asymmetrical reactions to references to violence).

This is a community full of imperfect people; we all have our hot button issues, we all have our skepticisms about others' issues, and beyond that we all have our bad days when we're just not putting our best foot forward in conversation. A community where everybody always had the good sense and self-control not to be boorish is a nice idea, but in reality about all we can do is collectively aspire to a flawed approximation of that and try to not tear each other apart when it doesn't go perfectly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:40 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Zuckerberg is a douche and if I could stomach going to a bar in Shallow Alto I would totally pick a fight with him.
posted by special-k at 8:40 PM on December 15, 2010


You can't, for example accuse another MP in the UK parliament of lying.

As congressman whathisface found out, you can't do that to the President of the United States either.

But it's all very cultural, isn't it. I mean, in the UK parliament, from what I've heard and seen, it's okay to boo (or at least make loud sounds of disapproval) at an MP; in Congress, this is a no-no. Parliament seems incredibly unruly and even rude to this American.
posted by rtha at 8:43 PM on December 15, 2010


If saying that you want to punch Zuckerberg is OK, but saying that (to pick what I dearly hope is a clearly inappropriate example) you want to punch Jessamyn is not OK, then where is the middle? Aren't they all just not okay?

There is no middle, because you misconstrue the situation. The first case is hyperbole, an exaggeration used for effect. The second is threat.

The reason "I want to punch Zuckerberg" is hyperbole is that it - the tininess of world geekdom aside - Bayesian inference suggests almost none of us has ever met or will ever meet Zuckerberg, much less have the opportunity to punch him. Jessamyn, though, is someone known to everyone who uses the site. It is not even remotely unheard-of that someone here could punch Jessamyn. (And I profoundly hope no one ever does, because the threat and reality of violence do, in fact, diminish us all.)

Violence in hyperbole is why Wile E. Coyote's antics are funny, and why "Itchy and Scratchy" is such great satire.
posted by gingerest at 8:43 PM on December 15, 2010 [7 favorites]


Listen, being a fratboy trumps all. Yes, it is always ok to punch a fratboy in the face, be he zillionairre, Mefite, black, or gay. Actually, I might have trouble punching a girl fratboy if I ever met one. Punching a Sarah Palin fratboy? No problem.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:44 PM on December 15, 2010


i would like to kill zuckerberg with kindness. cold, hard kindness.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:45 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ok, on preview, cortex's ineffably reasonable comment makes me feel like an ass. Someone punch me square in the face.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:47 PM on December 15, 2010


Oh brother. Did some of you grow up in Mayberry?
posted by IvoShandor at 8:48 PM on December 15, 2010


[ LIKE ]



Psyche!
posted by special-k at 8:50 PM on December 15, 2010


"A Comment Free Retort"

Talking about hitting somebody is a stupid comment
slight, without nuance, and useless to conversation
Sometimes it's okay to want to punch somebody.
It's okay to want to punch somebody for sneering.

I don't really care that much if you don't like
when I have on opinion you disagree with,
especially when you phrase
a content free retort.

The endless parade of "Oh, MetaFilter, you're so full of hand-wringing delicate flowers
who can't handle a comment or two and it's RUINING EVERYTHING."
I swear to god, the "poor little us, not being able to say whatever the fuck we want" brigade
are the biggest group of crybabies, and if anybody needs to man up, it is you.

I don't really care that much if you don't like
when I have on opinion you disagree with,
especially when you phrase
a content free retort.

I'm not going to let you tell me to shut up.
I paid my fee, I get my say, and, if you don't like it, suck it up.
if they get their say, I get mine.

One goddamn comment in this thread. One.
And then jokes from me. It's too much.
Fuck you it's too much.

I don't really care that much if you don't like
when I have on opinion you disagree with,
especially when you phrase
a content free retort.

MeMail me if you have an issue with me specifically,
but you're not going to get a very friendly response.

MeMail me if you have an issue with me specifically,
but you're not going to get a very friendly response.

Well, feel free to spill some of your drink for the awesome me that used to be.
It's the only thing I really love.

- Astro Zombie
posted by stinkycheese at 8:50 PM on December 15, 2010 [12 favorites]


Zuckerberg is a douche and if I could stomach going to a bar in Shallow Alto I would totally pick a fight with him.

You are such a hero. And I totally know what you mean. If only you could get past your physical revulsion for silicon valley, I just KNOW you would beat that billionaire into a squirming pulp. Totally.
posted by sweet mister at 8:53 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks sweet mister. You are now my new hero. *swoons*
posted by special-k at 8:56 PM on December 15, 2010


this hero worship is getting out of hand, guys.
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:02 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


When we're done deciding who we can and cannot puch in the face, I'd like to know what I can and can't smash and/or set on fire.
posted by Hoopo at 9:08 PM on December 15, 2010


Goddamn, cortex, you're just so sensible!
posted by carsonb at 9:13 PM on December 15, 2010


Goddamn, cortex, you're just so sensible!

Say that again and I will hug you in the face, over and over.

I'd like to know what I can and can't smash

TV.

and/or set on fire

Your sex.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:15 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I haven't personally seen it popping around much in full text

Let me introduce you to my wallpaper.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:16 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never understood why so many people say that you should never ever hit a woman. That to me is extremely sexist; it suggests all women are 100% incapable of defending themselves. Or if you call someone a bitch that makes you sexist, what kind of bullshit is that? Just needed to vent that.

As for the subject at hand...Honestly I think OP is just pulling our legs, and doing quite a good job. I mean, like who on earth gives a flying fuck about potentially encouraging violence against frat boys?
posted by MattMangels at 9:19 PM on December 15, 2010


Say that again and I will hug you in the face, over and over.

your mom said the same thing.
posted by special-k at 9:21 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


he's promised to give up half his fortune to charity on his death. It's not enough (it still leaves his next of kin with an ungodly amount of money) but it's better than any of those assholes on Wall Street.

Here are some Wall Street types who have signed up for The Giving Pledge (which was started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who knows his way around Wall Street): Michael Bloomberg, Carl Icahn, Michael Milken, Ronald Perelman, T. Boone Pickens, David Rockefeller, Sandy Weill...
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:22 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


With respect, in that case I personally think you're doing it wrong.
Well, I suspect that we are putting a somewhat different slant on the word 'respect'. Sure, I believe that all humans have basic rights - the right to live life on their terms, the right to be treated with a certain level of tolerance, the right to not be assaulted etc. I suspect that this sort of thing is what you are describing as 'respect'. To me 'respect' is a variable that measures the level of regard I hold a person in, rather than a description of a basic set of what I would call 'rights'.

In any case, I don't think we particularly disagree. I also think I might be speaking to empty space, seeing as you've said goodbye (just from the thread, I hope).
posted by dg at 9:23 PM on December 15, 2010


Wow... Holy shit that's still there, and what a thread this is. But hey, at least now I know what a clique of literate bullies looks like.

lonefrontranger is entirely right to be upset, casually and descriptively advocating violence is disgusting. Those comments did more than just espouse cliquish violence, they declared Zuckerberg to be nothing more than a punching bag to the surprising number of MeFites in support of them, a non-person. Mark Zuckerberg is a thief and, as a result, a billionaire but he is also a human being. He has an intrinsic and inalienable dignity inherent in his humanity that is common to all of us. By declaring him to be "one of those X you just want to punch in the face, over and over" you don't insult him you insult that dignity, my dignity, and the dignity victims of casual violence.

If this really is
the best of the internet,
Maybe I need a book

at least for a while.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:23 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ronald Perelman made a fortune for his roll in Hellboy 2
posted by Hoopo at 9:24 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not your usual fratboy, but I was in a frat once. It was a long time ago, but I figured it'd help with networking and advancing my career.

Goddamnit those bathrooms were hard to clean.
posted by loquacious at 9:25 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb, you seem very concerned about the plight of this extremely wealthy and privliged person. Have you considered applying to the New York Times as a reporter?
posted by MattMangels at 9:27 PM on December 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


But I would give in and sign up for Facebook with an alt account if I could play ZuckerPunch. Seriously, someone needs to make that game and see how long it'll live on Facebook.
posted by loquacious at 9:28 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


he's promised to give up half his fortune to charity on his death.
I'd be much more impressed if he was to do that while he was still using it.
posted by dg at 9:31 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mark Zuckerberg assures The New Yorker that he never wanted to become a smirky frat boy:

Zuckerberg says that many of the details he has read about the film are just wrong. (He had, for example, no interest in joining any of the final clubs.) When pressed about the movie and what it means for his public persona, he responded coolly: “I know the real story.”
posted by lukemeister at 9:32 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy shit that's still there

In my defense, I only advocate cartoon violence, directed at cartoon characters. Otherwise, I'm a lover, not a fighter.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:32 PM on December 15, 2010


I only advocate cartoon violence, directed at cartoon characters.

meep meep
posted by special-k at 9:37 PM on December 15, 2010


Oh brother. Did some of you grow up in Mayberry?

Mayberry never had this level of vehement outrage over Barney Fife's offhanded sarcastic remarks.
posted by blucevalo at 10:08 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bayesian inference suggests almost none of us has ever met or will ever meet Zuckerberg, much less have the opportunity to punch him

You never know! I work not terribly far from their HQ, and it's not inconceivable that I could run into him at the Stanford Mall or out for a walk at the Dish. Hmmm.
posted by rtha at 10:14 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


In my defense, I'm violent and boorish. I shall endeavor to find myself an appropriately vulgar community elsewhere.
posted by ecurtz at 10:18 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ecurtz, sometimes after reading MetaFilter I have to go read Fark for a little bit just to get the taste of civilized discussion of serious subjects out of my mouth.
posted by MattMangels at 10:29 PM on December 15, 2010


Most democracies have rules about what you say about another person in a parliamentary or a legal situation. You can't, for example accuse another MP in the UK parliament of lying.


MPs also enjoyParlimentary Privilege —  they can't be sued for slander for things they say in Parliament, so it is hardly surprising that they have additional rules to protect themselves. In any case attempting to draw an argument form the former without referring to the latter isn't going to wash, especially if you are attempting to draws inferences as to what standards of behavior should apply in general circumstances.
posted by tallus at 10:32 PM on December 15, 2010


So... does this mean I can't use, "Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure" anymore?

I'm pretty much with verb on this. Context is everything:

1) I'd like to put X in an oven and burn burn burn!
2) I'd like to put those kids in an oven and burn burn burn!
3) I'd like to put some Jews in an oven and burn burn burn!

While the content is basically the same in all three sentences, guess which one plays on a LONG history of violence against a targeted group, and effectively advocates further violence against them? (Hint: The story of Hanzel & Gretel didn't cause a wave of children-pot-pies around the world)

When you remove context from situations, suddenly we can start saying things like, "A five year old child punching an adult is EXACTLY LIKE an adult punching a five year old child" - power differences change things drastically.

As a site that regularly links subjects including war, torture, rape, slavery, genocide, organ theft, non-consented medical testing, etc. I'd like to imagine that we're capable of differentiating between discussion involving real violence and hyperbole violence - unless, you know, there's been a rash of violence against frat boys I haven't heard about outside of self-inflicted trauma via Jackass.
posted by yeloson at 11:03 PM on December 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


In the real universe, gay people get killed for being gay. Frat boys do not get killed for being frat boys.
posted by serazin at 11:10 PM on December 15, 2010 [6 favorites]


If making empty jokey threats for silly and petty reasons against people in privileged positions who due to the power and resources at their disposal will never have to worry about you actually carrying out your empty jokey threats is outlawed, then...

... then I guess I just got way more badass. AWESOME

MAKE THIS HAPPEN MODS OR I WILL PUNCH STEVE MARTIN FOR WRITING DECENT BOOKS WHILE MAKING VILE AND SHITTY MOVIES I NEED THE EGO BOOST
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:20 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


The urge to slap the wealthy and privileged is a symptom of a healthy hatred of the structural violence of class. I'm far more wary of a simple pacifism blind to that (I realise not all is) than the odd intemperate comment almost certainly not containing any genuine threat. Or Old'n'Busted had drink taken; either way it's fine with me.
posted by Abiezer at 11:48 PM on December 15, 2010 [11 favorites]


MAKE THIS HAPPEN MODS OR I WILL PUNCH STEVE MARTIN FOR WRITING DECENT BOOKS WHILE MAKING VILE AND SHITTY MOVIES I NEED THE EGO BOOST

I was going to object, but then I went to IMDB and realized that I had mentally blocked every movie he did after Father of the Bride. Looking at this list makes that what seemed like a gradual decline from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to Cheaper by the Dozen was actually pretty steep. Now I'll go to bed sad.

Maybe he can be on an awesome TV show and totally redeem himself - like Chevy Chase did.
posted by chndrcks at 12:05 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Because it obviously isn't meant literally?

Please try to figure out this whole hyperbole/not-meant-literally/joking thing, some of you. Jesus God.
posted by Decani at 12:24 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just popped in to say that we can avoid this debate neatly by expressing violent sentiments in foreign languages or comics. That way it's A-OK.

I can't draw.

But I do know the German word for "a face in need of a punch."

E.g.

That Zuckerberg fellow, eh? Backpfeifengesicht, I tells ya.

Problem solved.

Mods, you know my paypal details. I accept chocolate coins in any currency.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:59 AM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm concerned about the violence being done to the reputation of Aussie cricket at the WACA.
posted by Abiezer at 2:01 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, no you're not.

Not really.

Also, this thread makes me sad because people are fighting; let's put it down to seasonal stress, hug it out and move on?
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:30 AM on December 16, 2010


No, no you're not.
Busted. I of course meant to write 'delighted'. I'm not really the hugging type but I'm up for a handshake and warm-yet-slightly-creepy smile if that would be any help.
posted by Abiezer at 2:47 AM on December 16, 2010


Astro Zombie: "Again, feel free to MeMail me. But, you know what? I'm not going to let you tell me to shut up. I paid my fee, I get my say, and, if you don't like it, suck it up."

Fair enough. And the next time you feel Joe Beese is ramming his unpopular views of Obama down Metafilter's collective throat, you'll think twice about questioning his mental stability.
posted by gman at 3:41 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


say taht to my face fcuker not online see waht happens
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:04 AM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


You have your own face-fucker? I have to use the public one down the road.
posted by Abiezer at 4:10 AM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I actually do have my own face fmhpther hmpthfer fmthephm hmm.
posted by MuffinMan at 4:14 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So much anger and hatred. These are not the ways of the Force!
posted by nomadicink at 4:14 AM on December 16, 2010


When you expresss a sentiment like 'I'd like to punch person X in the face' or 'gender X' or 'race X' or 'social stratum X' it tells us precisely nothing about X, but a heck of a lot about you.
posted by unSane at 4:42 AM on December 16, 2010


I'd like to punch Gaius Baltar in the face, hard and several times, so hopefully you know a heck of a lot about me now.
posted by nomadicink at 4:45 AM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


LIST OF PEOPLE TO PUNCH IN THE FACE
- Rush Limbaugh
- That kid that filmed at ACORN what the hell is his name
- dieter bohlen
- Marc Zuckerberg
- Dieter Bohlen
- John Boner Bohnr BohnerORANGE FACE
- willy Wonka
- rush limbaugh
- DIETER BOHLEN
- glen beck
- Brainy SMURF
- DIETER BOHLEN!!!!!!asdjkkasdjk&&&7lasfmkld
asdfkl;asd
;sdllsfkaSLFK


posted by cmonkey at 4:54 AM on December 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


Your twitter avatar is a picture of Sarah Palin shooting herself in the head.

Can't...breathe...
posted by Gator at 4:57 AM on December 16, 2010


John Boner Bohnr BohnerORANGE FACE --- Careful, you might make him cry.
posted by crunchland at 4:59 AM on December 16, 2010


How is this okay?

Just because she has money doesn't mean she can WickerMan a whole audience. That's all I'm saying.
posted by Eideteker at 5:18 AM on December 16, 2010 [10 favorites]


In fairness, Oprah only does that if the audience refuses the animal masks and song-and-dance numbers.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:21 AM on December 16, 2010


those complaining about that comment are proof positive that when overexposed to hyperbole one loses the ability to distinguish hyperbole.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:33 AM on December 16, 2010


so is hyperbolic description of violence OK when applied to women/minorities?
posted by unSane at 5:35 AM on December 16, 2010


You know who else I want to punch in the face? Yoda! Him and Kenobi screwed up and let the Sidious come to power, resulting in the death of lots of people. They deserve a swift kick in the bum!
posted by nomadicink at 5:36 AM on December 16, 2010


unSane, you seem to be willfully ignoring the difference between a characteristic which is inherent (gender, sexuality, ethnicity) and one which is a lifestyle choice (fratboy). 'Fratboy' here is being used in a generic way to refer to a set of characteristics associated with that choice rather than saying every single person who joins a fraternity has these characteristics... it is being used in an offhand manner in the same way people use "douchebag" as an identifier for a set of personality characteristics. Is it entirely accurate? No, of course not. I'm sure there are plenty of members of fraternities who are fine upstanding people and who don't pop their collars, drink beer, and walk around with a particular sense of entitlement. But we all know what people are saying when they say "fratboy" or "hipster" or "emo" -- it's a label of a cluster of traits. Is it a stereotype? Yep, of course. But we all know that.

So saying "ugh, I really hate fratboys" is much closer to saying "ugh, I really hate douchebags" than it is to saying "ugh, I really hate men" or "I really hate black people".

If you can't parse the distinction, I don't know what else to tell you.
posted by modernnomad at 6:05 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, let me get this straight, hyperbolic descriptions of violence against stereotypes of people who have made particular lifestyle choices is OK? For example:

What I'm trying to get at is that the list of people you consider it OK to talk about this way is probably not the same as the list somebody else -- a right wing homophobe, say -- would come up with. But if you give yourself or somebody else a pass on the kinds of grounds you are presenting, you completely take the legs out from under yourself when it comes to criticizing, say, someone who says "I'd like to punch those fucking weirdos in the mouth".

Is your response to someone saying "I'd like to punch those queers in the mouth" really to have a debate about whether it's a lifestyle choice? Really?

Why is it so problematic to say that this just isn't OK, even when it's Zuckerberg?
posted by unSane at 6:16 AM on December 16, 2010


Gman, I apologized for that. And trolling through somebody's past comments for a gotcha? Poor form.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:24 AM on December 16, 2010


It's less problematic and more just plain silly to get het up about the comment about Zuckerberg and equate it with OMG WHAT BOUT THE GAYS AND BLACKS.

It was vaguely humorous, mostly childish comment said on a website, not to someone's face. The desire to go to war over is seems like a misdirection of a lot ofenergy, IMO.
posted by nomadicink at 6:25 AM on December 16, 2010


Who's going to war? We're having a discussion. If it's boring you, close the tab.
posted by unSane at 6:33 AM on December 16, 2010


Mods, you know my paypal details. I accept chocolate coins in any currency.

Don't gelt trip me.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:33 AM on December 16, 2010 [13 favorites]


Don't gelt trip me

Woah. The pun force is strong in that one. Nice riposte, sirrah.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:39 AM on December 16, 2010


Would you rather hang Paris Hilton with Zuckerberg's intestines, or viceversa?
posted by Dr. Curare at 4:30 PM on December 15 [+] [!]


Viceversa or vice viscera?

*slinks out of the room, head low*
posted by SugarFreeGum at 6:39 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I recall Homer Simpson saying something about how he'd like to punch that Urkel kid in the face.

Lisa: Forget it, Dad. If I ever become famous, I want it to be for
something worthwhile, not because of some obnoxious fad.
Bart: Obnoxious fad?
Homer: Aw, don't worry, son. You know, they said the same thing about
Urkel, a -- that little snot boy! I'd like to smash that kid!
-- Homer's temper flares, "Bart Gets Famous"


Now if someone had gone out and smashed that Urkel kid because of this statement wouldn't the writers have felt bad? ....or possibly have been sued for incitement to violence? I don't know, I'm not a lawyer.

I'm afraid of people who do not get these types of jokes though.
posted by peppito at 6:41 AM on December 16, 2010


Who's going to war?

You are, by ratcheting up the rhetoric.

We're having a discussion. If it's boring you, close the tab.

I said it was silly, which is something I quite like, so please, continue with the entertainment.
posted by nomadicink at 6:41 AM on December 16, 2010


unSane, you seem to be willfully ignoring the difference between a characteristic which is inherent (gender, sexuality, ethnicity) and one which is a lifestyle choice (fratboy). 'Fratboy' here is being used in a generic way to refer to a set of characteristics associated with that choice rather than saying every single person who joins a fraternity has these characteristics... it is being used in an offhand manner in the same way people use "douchebag" as an identifier for a set of personality characteristics. Is it entirely accurate? No, of course not. I'm sure there are plenty of members of fraternities who are fine upstanding people and who don't pop their collars, drink beer, and walk around with a particular sense of entitlement. But we all know what people are saying when they say "fratboy" or "hipster" or "emo" -- it's a label of a cluster of traits. Is it a stereotype? Yep, of course. But we all know that.

Yet the words 'lifestyle choice' have been further blurred in American society by years of political and religious rhetoric.

Conservatives in this country have spent a lot of time verbally and in some cases physically attacking gay men and women and those who are transgendered as deviants, and justify doing so by saying that their sexual preferences are a lifestyle choice, rather than biologically hardwired.

In addition, conservatives have consistently attacked any behavior they disapproved of, i.e. abortion, single parenthood (Dan Quayle's infamous attack on Murphy Brown specifically used the words "lifestyle choice",) divorce, teen pregnancy, etc., with that same phrase. Since the person behaving in a particular way has chosen to do so, denouncing / vilifying / attacking them is acceptable. By changing the classification of a group, it becomes fair game.

Personally, I think the comment is a silly one to get riled over. It's hyperbolic, jokey sarcasm. But yes, unSane, there is a huge difference between expressed desires by the privileged to inflict violence on the powerless, and a smartass comment from the powerless about their desire to inflict violence on the privileged. Context, context, context. While I'd personally rather not read people joking about punching others I don't think fratboys are anywhere close to needing to be a protected class.
posted by zarq at 6:43 AM on December 16, 2010 [6 favorites]


So, let me get this straight, hyperbolic descriptions of violence against stereotypes of people who have made particular lifestyle choices is OK?

What I'm saying is, it's different.

Is your response to someone saying "I'd like to punch those queers in the mouth" really to have a debate about whether it's a lifestyle choice? Really?

Uh, no. You make two errors there -- first, most people who say "I'd like to pucnh those queers in mouth" are not doing so in a hyperbolic fashion, they ACTUALLY MEAN IT, so you've already abandoned that distinction about hyperbole (I don't think Blaze or whoever it was that made the original comment actually would punch Zuck in the face if given the opportunity -- it was hyperbole). Second, since homosexuality isn't a lifestyle choice, there's no particular reason I would need to engage in that line of debate. I would simply say that advocating actual violence against a group who has experienced an ACTUAL history of violence is problematic.

So once again, for me there is a massive distinction between advocating actual violence against a group that has historically experienced it, and making a jokey comment intended to express dislike of someone who has a cluster of personality characteristics that are commonly associated with a single stereotype. And yes, I already acknowledged that the stereotype is just that, and not representative of anyone who has ever joined a fraternity.

So, me saying that my gay friend needs a slap (a hyperbolic statement, since I would never actually hit him) because he is a whiny fuck is ok -- the whiny fuck being the characteristic of him I like the least. Me saying my gay friend needs a slap b/c he is gay -- not ok. Actually slapping him for whatever reason -- not ok. Me saying Zuck needs a slap b/c he's a typical fratboy = ok, b/c 'fratboy' is used in that context as a placeholder for characteristics like entitlement, not the actual joining of a fraternity. Get it? It's like saying Zuck needs a slap b/c he's a douche. Me saying Zuck needs a slap b/c he's Jewish -- not ok. Actually slapping Zuck for whatever reason -- not ok.

Anyway, that's all I've got for this.
posted by modernnomad at 6:47 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


drink beer
TIL drinking beer is a lifestyle choice. I thought I was just a drunk
posted by Ad hominem at 6:48 AM on December 16, 2010


So is it still cool to wish people catapulted into the sun?

I might need to know this. For science.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:49 AM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


So is it still cool to wish people catapulted into the sun?

Be careful who you say it in front of. The moon worshippers get terribly irritate, preferring to be the sole source of catapulting in this system.
posted by nomadicink at 6:52 AM on December 16, 2010


So is it still cool to wish people catapulted into the sun?

We're gonna need a bigger trebuchet.
posted by zarq at 6:52 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


We're gonna need a bigger trebuchet.

We didn't budget for that.
posted by nomadicink at 7:00 AM on December 16, 2010


What about pie? Is it ok to say "Zuckerberg is one of those smirky frat boys you just want to pie in the face, over and over."
posted by Sailormom at 7:02 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but these are all exactly the same excuses that are trotted out again and again on right wing sites, mutatis mutandi, to defend hate-speech. I wasn't serious, she asked for it, it's a joke, I wouldn't really do it, they're oppressing us.

I'm not comfortable in that company.
posted by unSane at 7:02 AM on December 16, 2010


MetaFilter: The anti-fratboy hate site it's OK to like.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:14 AM on December 16, 2010


unSane: " If saying that you want to punch Zuckerberg is OK, but saying that (to pick what I dearly hope is a clearly inappropriate example) you want to punch Jessamyn is not OK, then where is the middle? Aren't they all just not okay?"

I keep coming back to this example and wanting to say something about it, but am concerned I'm overreacting. I also do realize that you said outright that it was "a clearly inappropriate example."

With that in mind, and at the risk of sounding oversensitive / overly defensive.... next time could you please use a different example? It bugs me that in talking about committing an act of violence, you chose Jessamyn: the only female mod. It bugs me that you chose someone who is a member of our community.

I know this supports your point, but still... it strikes me as extremely uncool.

If I were a woman reading MeFi, and someone used punching me as an example, my first reaction wouldn't be "excellent rhetorical point!" It would be, "some guy on the internet is talking about punching me." Not someone else and not women in general. Me. It makes it personal. I can't imaging that most women would take kindly to it.

Of course, I know Jessamyn can take care of herself. unSane, if you think I'm out of line, or being overly sensitive, that's fine. Feel free to say so. I'll take my lumps, so to speak.

It just... bothers me. I felt like I had to say something.
posted by zarq at 7:17 AM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry, but these are all exactly the same excuses that are trotted out again and again on right wing sites, mutatis mutandi, to defend hate-speech.

That's cool and I can appreciate your stance. I guess we'll just have to respectfully disagree over what we see as the distance one must travel from off-hand, metaphorical comments to hate-speech advocating violence.
posted by modernnomad at 7:21 AM on December 16, 2010


Wait, wait, wait. So you guys have spent 200+ comments arguing with each other about who exactly we should be nice to and "each other" never came up as an option?

Am I the only one who finds this kinda ironic?
posted by sonika at 7:21 AM on December 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


unSane, do you sincerely not realize that they're not equivalent? As cortex said way upthread, "what if it were about a fundamentally different social context" isn't a great way to tackle this because it's not. Several people have been very patiently and charitably trying to point this out to you, and yet you keep coming back with, "Yeah, but what if you said it about blacks?" It's really starting to look like arguing in bad faith on your part. And I really don't like saying that because, like "troll," "arguing in bad faith" is one of those accusations that I think people toss around too casually around here. But you've left dozens of comments in this thread with barely any acknowledgment of what others have been trying to point out to you.
posted by Gator at 7:24 AM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Is it permissible to refrain from counseling violence while simultaneously expressing a desire in the abstract that bad things should happen? That is, is it okay for me to say, "I hope Mark Zuckerberg's head falls off."?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:26 AM on December 16, 2010


We're gonna need a bigger trebuchet.

We didn't budget for that.


Um, well dammit.

How about:

"I am going to send this thing over to his house to shit in his mouth while he sleeps."


Does that work?
posted by louche mustachio at 7:30 AM on December 16, 2010


I'm sorry, but these are all exactly the same excuses that are trotted out again and again on right wing sites, mutatis mutandi, to defend hate-speech.

Thank God we're not a right wing site?
posted by nomadicink at 7:30 AM on December 16, 2010


It bugs me that in talking about committing an act of violence, you chose Jessamyn: the only female mod. It bugs me that you chose someone who is a member of our community.

It sort of highlights, to me, that there's no sort of absolute vacuum of context anyplace. That there are contextual differences that many people have between saying you want to punch one person and/or another. So yeah UnSane probably picked me because I was responding in the thread a lot and am one of the mod team. However, you can't remove the fact that I'm female from the way people will interpret and feel about someone saying they're going to punch me. You can't. Maybe there's some future where everyone is treated equally, but this isn't it. People have associations and they have baggage. I suspect this was UnSane's point and I don't have issues personally with the example but I think its rhetorical impact wound up being different from how it may have been meant precisely because of what modernnomad and Gator [and others] said above.

Saying you want to hit a woman carries a different cultural import than saying you want to hit a man. You may not like this about the world we live in, but denying that it's true is being willfully blind to centuries of unequal treatment of the sexes and how that has affected generations of people. You may want to change this about the world we live in, but again you have to at least acknowledge and understand where other people are coming from if you want to work with them on making things any different.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:46 AM on December 16, 2010 [16 favorites]


If saying that you want to punch Zuckerberg is OK, but saying that (to pick what I dearly hope is a clearly inappropriate example) you want to punch Jessamyn is not OK, then where is the middle? Aren't they all just not okay?

Mods are liked. Frat boys are not.

Many Mefites have either met or interacted positively with the mods. Many people have either met or interacted negatively with frat boys. The mods are respected and admired, to an extremely large degree, based on their actions and words here on the site. Fratboys are hated for the exact opposite.

Many people have met or will meet the mods at some point. Very few will meet Zuckerberg, so he'll be an "other," someone vaguely known only by broad and non nuanced looks at their character. Seriously, if most of us here had interacted with Zuckerberg, discovered he played in a band and loved stats and made up nifty words like "fighty" in between creating and maintaing cool websites, we'd probably love him.

Zuckerberg is the personification of Facebook, something Mefites in general despise and a social and economic circle we tend to loath. Equating a vaguely childish comment about hitting him with attacking someone the community knows, admires and respects just diminishes your point, IMO.

General calls to violence shouldn't be tolerated here, of course. But a one off joke isn't a sign of the end times or that we're in the same league as right wing hate speech.
posted by nomadicink at 8:11 AM on December 16, 2010


I picked Jessamyn because it was most transgressive, inappropriate example I could think of.

I get that contexts are different and different targets trigger different levels of outrage.

That doesn't make any of them acceptable to me. YMMV.
posted by unSane at 8:12 AM on December 16, 2010


Man I wish I still had my private server set up for Melty Blood. We could have settled this argument hours ago.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:16 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


nomadicink, I didn't equate those two comments. I said they lay on either end of a scale, and asked where on the scale the cutoff is.

And my point is not that we're in the same league as hate speech, but that the same justifications are used to justify hate speech, so they are probably not great justifications.

What are you guys so defensive about? Why does it bother you so much that someone might find that post inappropriate? What are you defending here? Those are genuine questions.
posted by unSane at 8:18 AM on December 16, 2010


λ λ λ!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:20 AM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


context is everything.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:21 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hm. Late to the discussion, but I personally would preferred the comment in question to have been:

Oh, puke. Zuckerberg is one of those smirky frat boys you just want to raise Federal taxes on, over and over.
posted by aught at 8:25 AM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


zarq: ...there is a huge difference between expressed desires by the privileged to inflict violence on the powerless, and a smartass comment from the powerless about their desire to inflict violence on the privileged. Context, context, context.

I'm sorry, but this just doesn't wash with me. At all. If it's a bad remark to make in one context, it's a bad remark to make in all contexts. Just because you don't like a certain group, or feel that they are "privileged" doesn't make it ok to threaten or joke about threatening someone. You don't get a by on a nasty comment because you think that you are a good person or a disadvantaged class or whatever.

Double standards aren't ok because those slopes are so very slippery, so easy to slide into casual bigotry and sexism and classism. Reversed prejudice is still prejudice. It's fair, in my view, to call it out.
posted by bonehead at 8:27 AM on December 16, 2010


How about punching Meg Whitman? Was it more or less acceptable once she ran for governor?
posted by Space Coyote at 8:28 AM on December 16, 2010


Hm. Late to the discussion, but I personally would preferred the comment in question to have been:

Oh, puke. Zuckerberg is one of those smirky frat boys you just want to raise Federal taxes on, over and over.


GASP, how DARE you! They raised federal taxes on my great-great-great grand pappy! This will not stand! Joke about frat people if you must, but taxes!!! Nooooo.
posted by peppito at 8:29 AM on December 16, 2010


What are you guys so defensive about?

I think you misread disagreement with your ideas for 'defensiveness'. I mean, people don't agree with you. What do you want them to do, not say that? How can they disagree without being defensive in your view? As far as I can see, there's be plenty of thoughtful disagreement with you here that is not 'defensive' in any particular fashion other than people 'defending' their opinions. Do you see something different? Those are genuine questions.
posted by modernnomad at 8:31 AM on December 16, 2010


What are you guys so defensive about?

Speaking only for myself, I'm not defensive, just trying to answer an interesting question you asked.

Why does it bother you so much that someone might find that post inappropriate?

I'm not bothered by it so much as looking at you sideways, like "Really? This is the important issue you're going on about?" I don't understand why one really care that much. To me, a simple "Could we keep this to a minimum on the site please?" would suffice and then one would move on.

What are you defending here?

Again, speaking only for myself, it isn't defense.

Really, I just don't understand why one would be particularly bothered by that comment and feel the need to equate or compare it with racism or sexism or whatever. It comes across as petty hyperbole.
posted by nomadicink at 8:33 AM on December 16, 2010


I said they lay on either end of a scale, and asked where on the scale the cutoff is.

I think it's impractical to look for a specific cutoff point, as if there's some practical strict binarism where everything on one side is Okay and everything else is Not Okay, for whatever definition of "Okay" we're working with here. Looking at it as a continuum where how Okay Or Not any given thing is depends on its position on that continuum and the answer is more "it's somewhat more/less problematic than contrasting example x for these context-specific reasons" represents a lot more realistically how people tend to react to this stuff.

Which, I hear you that your argument is that the idea of a sharp cutoff is problematic, and I don't disagree. But I think to some extent what's happening here is you're treating it like a false dichotomy, where the choices are Wholeheartedly Approve A Sharp-Cutoff Binarism or Wholly Reject Any Distinction In Kind Between Contrasting Cases, and arguing in favor of the latter. And other folks are saying, no, those aren't the only two choices.

Which is not to say that It's A Continuum And Differing Cases Earn Relatively Different Responses isn't a model with its own difficulties. But it's certainly different and more flexible and a lot more reconcilable with the reality of human experience than the strict binarism model.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:33 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Reversed prejudice" is an oxymoron. You can't oppress the billionaire. Putting that statement on even the same plane, or the other end of the spectrum, or whatever as "racism, classism or sexism" totally ignores all context.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:33 AM on December 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


I hear people say things like "I'd like to punch Paris Hilton" or "I'd like to punch Kanye West". This seems to me to be exactly the same as "I'd like to punch Zuckerberg" despite that it's said about a woman and a black man, respectively.

I see the idea that it's not the greatest thing in the world to say but I think this really comes down to celebrity lines and not racial/sex lines.
posted by josher71 at 8:37 AM on December 16, 2010


The weirdest thing about this debate is that zuckerburg is a not anything close to a frat boy. He's a nerd, a group that certainly has plenty of experience with Ps to the F.

The original comment was shitty, and not because of a double standard. It was just virulently unfunny.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:38 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


cortex : Say that again and I will hug you in the face, over and over.

context is everything.


The kernel of an idea begins to take hold in my head. I'm thinking of a greasemonkey script that replaces all violent words with happy ones, but, and this is the creepy part, it leaves all vulgarities intact.

So you might end up encountering something like:

"I want to hug that bitch ass punk right in the mouth, then when the fucker yodels, I'm going to smile him in the ribs until he starts coughing up god damn rainbows."

And that's my kind of wrong.
posted by quin at 8:40 AM on December 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


so it's open season on fratboys?

Here's the thing: "Fratboy" doesn't really mean "guy in a fraternity." It's really just a catch-all for a particular brand of young, white, male, (formerly) suburban, middle- to upper-class douchebag with a penchant for entitlement, sadism, bigotry, binge drinking, and date-rape. (See also "bro," "jock," "overgrown Zack Morris," etc.)

Yes, this lazy terminology is bad for actual members of actual fraternities. Yes, it should be avoided.

But one chooses to join a frat, knowing full well the popular misconceptions, and fratboys are not, and have never been, an oppressed class (quite the opposite, in fact). Comparing one's voluntary membership in a fraternity to inborn and historically oppressed qualities such as gender, race, weight, or sexual orientation is just a bit, well, for lack of a better word, fratboyish.

And besides, Zuckerberg does have a punchable face. He's no Brandon Flowers in that regard, but still.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:47 AM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


To try and come at this from a different angle:

In some respects I identify with Zuckerberg. I'm not going to go into the reasons why, because they're personal and not important, but when I start hearing about how it's OK to say this stuff about Zuckerberg, a lot of the justifications also apply to me.

And, despite what someone said upthread, this is not abstract. I have been personally, literally, beaten up in the street because a guy saw me as the class enemy. I didn't have to do anything. I just had to be who I was.

So when you say it's okay to say that about Zuckerberg, I get a big old whiff of it being okay to say that about me, because I fall into many of the categories of people about which it's apparently OK to say shit about on Metafilter.
posted by unSane at 8:48 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


It is wrong to punch someone in the face. But I would fight to the death for your right to want to punch someone in the face.

I think the hate crime watch is a little overactive here. I wish I could cruise over to Fox News and find people relishing the thought of punching Obama in the face. Fact is that hate speech and incitement to violence doesn't even get started until after midnight on the morning of "gee I'd like to punch that fellow right in the kisser."
posted by scarabic at 8:48 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


And Cortex, there clearly is in one sense a binary cut-off, since a comment is either deleted or it isn't.
posted by unSane at 8:50 AM on December 16, 2010


The weirdest thing about this debate is that zuckerburg is a not anything close to a frat boy. He's a nerd, a group that certainly has plenty of experience with Ps to the F.

The original comment was shitty, and not because of a double standard. It was just virulently unfunny.


Basically, although I would go with "shitty AND virulently unfunny" and your description is ambiguous between that and "shitty MOSTLY BECAUSE it's virulently unfunny", but that's a hair split. We're just having Exercise Your Social Disorder Time! now.
posted by Kwine at 8:54 AM on December 16, 2010


Sorry that happened to you unSane. It was wrong and shouldn't have.
posted by nomadicink at 8:55 AM on December 16, 2010


And, despite what someone said upthread, this is not abstract. I have been personally, literally, beaten up in the street because a guy saw me as the class enemy. I didn't have to do anything. I just had to be who I was.

if you believe there is only a difference of degrees between someone who says "god, that guy is exactly the kind of smug douchebag i just want to punch in the face" and someone who actually just doesn't like the cut of your jib as you pass by and as such just whales the shit out of you, then hell dude, i don't know.

no one deserves to get their head kicked in due to their appearance but maybe your visceral reaction to this - which is completely understandable, i rush to point out - is the reason that other people aren't seeing this as the slippery slope you appear to be.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:55 AM on December 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


That wasn't the context, FAMOUS MONSTER. The context was very much "That guy is exactly the kind of smug douchebag I just want to punch in the face". Anyway you might want to check the favorites on this post before you assume that nobody else feels the same way I do.

Just because I'm the only one still blathering about it doesn't mean I'm the only one still bothered about it.
posted by unSane at 9:01 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


And Cortex, there clearly is in one sense a binary cut-off, since a comment is either deleted or it isn't.

Generally not disagreeing, but the way we make those determinations is a little... contextual. So yeah we didn't delete this comment but if people making face-punching-wishing comments becomes a thing, we might start looking at them differently. We used to not delete prison-rape-wishing comments from MetaFilter and now we do. Things changed, people's feelings changed, the site got bigger.

We're already not that psyched with the face-punching-wishing sort of thing and have been clear about this. Future face-punching-wishing comments will come from a place on the site where we've already had a discussion about this. The one from yesterday was not. Not saying we'd definitely do anything different, but while each deletion choice is a binary yes/no, the set of yes/no decisions over time describe a line that shifts.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:02 AM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Unsane, that really sucks and I'm sorry you had to go through it. What they did to you is inexcusable and I see perhaps why you're so riled up about this now.

But an unjustified physical assault on the street because you were perceived to be a 'class enemy' is still something fundamentally different than a a jokey comment on a website with no actual threat of violence behind it. If Blaze had said "hey guys, I'm planning to wait outside Zuck's house and beat the shit out of him", that would have been an entirely different matter. But, he didn't.
posted by modernnomad at 9:07 AM on December 16, 2010


How about saying: "I'd like to punch him in the dick"? Would that be OK?
posted by ob at 9:10 AM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thanks, Jessamyn. In that case this has been a fruitful thread as far as I am concerned.
posted by unSane at 9:14 AM on December 16, 2010


How about saying: "I'd like to punch him in the dick"? Would that be OK?

True story, I found that song offensive. Got the joke, but just couldn't enjoy it very much. I'm sorry for being defective.
posted by nomadicink at 9:18 AM on December 16, 2010


The overwrought moral panic in this thread has pushed me so far down the slippery slope that I now want to punch *everyone* in the face.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 AM on December 16, 2010 [18 favorites]


Zuckerberg has called his founding users 'dumb fucks', called himself a 'prophet' in live interviews, and famously used to have 'I'm CEO... bitch.' on his business cards. I'd want to punch him even before you got onto discussions as regards his constant u-turns and ear-covering regarding complaints of loss of privacy, or his waving off concerns about trackers and bots that follow users to external sites as 'hey, every 100 years media changes'.

It's not that he's a frat boy, or that he's rich and white. It's that he's condescendingly insulting and frequently very harmful to his users.
posted by stelas at 9:23 AM on December 16, 2010 [8 favorites]


so is hyperbolic description of violence OK when applied to women/minorities?

Perhaps!

1. That woman needs to be shot with robotic lasers and stomped by unicorns!
2. That woman needs to be sent to the Gulag!
3. That woman needs a swift backhand and sent to the kitchen!

Again, context. While I'm sure many women have been and are sent to prisons based on gender discrimination, guess which one specifically calls up disrespectful framing based on context? Notice which ones are probably hyperbolic and which ones call upon a tradition of oppression?

Yes, everyone deserves equal respect. Part of that is realizing not all turns of phrase have the same context to all people equally. As I said above- specifics of situations and context change things greatly.
posted by yeloson at 9:23 AM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


i...didn't say you were the only one still bothered by it? when i said "other people" i really did only mean "other people," not "everyone."

but to address the rest of it, irrespective of context i believe there is more than a difference of follow-through between saying (or even thinking) "that guy is exactly the kind of smug douchebag i just want to punch in the face," and actually doing it. one is a hyperbolic expression of contempt and the other is psychotic.

the guy who directed the human centipede got the idea from the fact that if someone was being very unpleasant to him - cut him off in traffic or whatever - he'd say, "god, i wish someone would sew their mouth to a fat trucker's asshole."

what i'm saying is that i think the site can survive the odd bit of hyperbolic contempt and that i guess i'm not seeing much in the way of troublesome damage caused by same to the general culture of some people on a message board if it happens. and that maybe this seems like a bigger deal to you because you're hearing echoes of your own experience which the original poster never intended. which isn't right or wrong, but maybe it might occasionally result in reading things into the discussion which were, again, not intended. it's just a thought.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:24 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some right-wing asshole can use the exact same arguments you do to justify hokey-jokey incitement of attacks against women or black people.

Right wing? Never been to an Ann Coulter thread, I take it?
posted by coolguymichael at 9:24 AM on December 16, 2010


And Cortex, there clearly is in one sense a binary cut-off, since a comment is either deleted or it isn't.

Jessamyn just touched on this a bit, but there's a couple things I'll note:

1. Deletion, as the most visible moderation decision we have to make, is by definition binary because there is no method for something to be Kinda Deleted. That is, the enforcement mechanism available to us on that spectrum is binary.

That's different from the interpretive context in which decisions about moderation are made being binary: we have a variety of tools available to us as moderators and deletion is only one of them. Things like leaving notes or requests for folks to stop doing or avoid doing something, exchanging emails with folks, and discussing policy principles in metatalk are all part of a very non-binary process of moderation that involves a tremendous amount of give-and-take and contextual consideration. The binarism of the delete button is one small component of that dynamic, and we've pretty intentionally rejected codifying the guidelines of this site into a strict collection of encompassing automatically-enforcable bylaws specifically because we believe that that kind of bright-line binarism is a poor way to run a place like this.

2. The need to draw some lines (of varying hardness or brightness) for the purposes of enforcement is a problem of organizations with the need to and power to regulate behavior in some capacity with some sort of check for consistency and fairness. A legal system needs to draw a lot of them; as metafilter mods we need, thankfully, to draw far fewer.

But folks in conversation with each other are not bound by that need, and so the application of the idea of binary decision-making to individual and collective discursive interactions is off the mark. This is part of why e.g. "you're either with us or you're against us" is such a frustrating piece of demagoguery: it injects an artificial binarism into complicated, multi-faceted conversations for manipulative purposes that serve the demagogue, not the conversants or the conversation.

And that's what I'm getting at when I argue that the dichotomy of It Is Never Okay vs. It Is Completely Okay Precisely X% Of The Time And Completely Not The Rest Of The Time is not a very useful or apt one. It actually distracts from otherwise valid arguments toward the merits of the It Is Never Okay because the conversation becomes as much about the problems with the false dichotomy as anything.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:28 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


You could make something Kinda Deleted by making it very very small. Oh, and you could screw with the contrast.
posted by adipocere at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


r myb tk t th vwls.
posted by unSane at 10:00 AM on December 16, 2010


This is an interesting thread. If the subject of DADT comes up (again) I have been thinking of saying something along the lines of wanting to filibuster John McCain's continued use of oxygen for as long as it takes. Of course, literally this would be wanting to cause his death, which, if it happened would be no skin off my back but wishing it sorta crosses a line for me and I probably would not have commented in that fashion.
posted by Danf at 10:03 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was 17 when I left for university. Because my parents didn't want me to starve, I went into the university dorms---there are no frats or sororities in most of Canada. I ended up living with a lot of young men, on their own for the first time, with ready access to alcohol.

For several of my floormates, a good friday night was getting pissed then going to a gay bar downtown to look for people, homosexual men, to beat up. They would brag about it after and show their cuts and bruises like tropies.

I was a little scared, socially stupid and just wanted to get by. It was no one I knew, so I kept my mouth shut and avoided them.

No one here is advocating that kind of behaviour. They used to laugh, though, about how someone looked like they wanted a good beating. I can't help but think back to those thugs when I see language like that. It's ugly to see it here.
posted by bonehead at 10:06 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I'm sorry, but these are all exactly the same excuses that are trotted out again and again on right wing sites, mutatis mutandi, to defend hate-speech. I wasn't serious, she asked for it, it's a joke, I wouldn't really do it, they're oppressing us."

And I'm sorry, because equating rhetorical defenses doesn't make them equally valid. It's trivial to come up with a concrete example: Both people who legitimately used force in self-defense and people who did not may claim that they used force in self-defense. This doesn't tell us anything about the claim of self-defense other than it should be scrutinized. You've succumbed to the appeal of the false equivalency.

I was going to leave this alone, but since you seem to be swaying the mods, I'll point out that your argument is privileged nonsense (no matter how much you identify with Mr. Zuckerberg), your attempts to conflate your position and Zuckerberg's with historically victimized classes is at best inane and at worst offensive, and that your hissy fit here should not lead to more comments like the original being deleted — if you want to disagree with the comment, fine, but deletion should not be a way for you to avoid having to see things that you disagree with. It should be for things that are mortally wounding to the site, not some pissant papercut that comes out of your mistaken idealistic view of respect coming from a magic fairy wand.

Your arguments here are fundamentally empty, and I'd hate to see the mods swayed more by your vehemence than by any real cause of action. I'd hate to see a tightening here based on your specious logic and inability to face that people do disagree with you for good reasons, and (in an actual example of equivalency) the fair thing is to refrain from adjudicating and let the comments stand.

I don't respect the Pope, I don't respect most politicians, I don't respect demagogues and moralizers, and I resent being told that I have to.
posted by klangklangston at 10:09 AM on December 16, 2010 [28 favorites]


klangklangston, I did not call for the comment to be deleted. Crazy, eh?
posted by unSane at 10:13 AM on December 16, 2010


all i can say is that one day the powerless will have power and very little will have changed

meet the new boss, same as the old boss

all i see in the argument that "he's privileged, so it's ok to say that about him, but she's not and it's not ok" is one simple thought

"wait til it's OUR turn"

take care that you do not become what you fight against - but if the follies of recorded history are any indication, you probably will
posted by pyramid termite at 10:20 AM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


...privileged nonsense.. inane and at worst offensive... hissy fit ... pissant papercut .. mistaken idealistic view of respect ... magic fairy wand ... fundamentally empty ... specious logic and inability to face that people do disagree with you...

This is not an argument that it's possible to engage with.
posted by unSane at 10:23 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


you seem to be swaying the mods

What?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:28 AM on December 16, 2010


I probably would not have commented in that fashion.

I've used a phrase about wanting someone to be put in a slapping machine and have the controls turned to 11 on this site several times and I got progressively less comfortable with it each time until I finally stopped.
posted by unSane at 10:35 AM on December 16, 2010


Somebody catapult klang, please.
posted by nomadicink at 10:36 AM on December 16, 2010


hi all, OP here. I did not expect the comment(s) in question to be deleted. My issue was more with the sociological aspect of things; let me see if I can explain.

I now realise the wording in the OP up there seems rather petulant, when that's really not my intended tone at all. I posted that in the midst of wrestling with the clusterfuck that is SAP "systems management" software at my workplace and then went off and did some grocery shopping and watched a movie and took maybe 5 or 10 minutes last night to browse the resulting thread and went "oh, shit...".

My goal wasn't to tilt at windmills by suggesting MZ is much of a defensible character(granted, I don't know that for a fact; I've never met the guy so I won't make assumptions about his character). Nor was it to defend the fratboy lifestyle in general - I am female and in my younger days certainly had my fair share of negative fratboy encounters and general bullying and disrespect.

My goal was actually to attempt having a sensible conversation about the general nature of these species of borderline inflammatory and/or disrespectful comments, whether jokey or non.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the world's perfect pacifist; in the past I have been known to apply a Doc Marten to human flesh in a fit of rage. So please be clear: my basic sentiments on the matter would likely be more in line with BitterOldPunk's equal-opportunity facepunching allowance comment way upthread there.

I agree with jonmc as well; sometimes this place feels a trifle cliquey with the who-we're-allowed-to-pick-on deal. So I get it; Facebook and MZ are to MeFi sort of the internet analog to Scientologists or LDS; i.e. threads with those topics probably won't go very smoothly, and in general it was idealistic of me to expect to have an interesting conversation about the effects of social networking on society in that thread. Mea culpa.

But I also wasn't trolling or anything with this post. I did see a comment that seemed pretty marginal to me, and it incited a minor shit show in-thread, hyperbole notwithstanding. I get hyperbole, in fact, I frequently use it myself. I admit still being somewhat socially clueless in some ways WRT the Blue and Grey (I'm mainly an AskMe type, and the guidelines are admittedly a lot tighter there). So I genuinely desired to know, since we've had extremely contentious threads about inflammatory / freighted language in the past, what the guideline was. ESPECIALLY as I'm a bit of a snark myself, and I feel like I could very easily have made a similar sort of jokey misguided statement.

I think my general question's been admirably answered by the discussion here, particularly from the mods' POV (apologies for the callout, mods! I know fighty MeTa threads tend to be a pain in your ass). I favourited some comments that seemed like they clarified or answered my original question, so thanks to those.

In sum, I thought it was appropriate we should have a bit of a think and discussion around the topic. I should have framed and worded the OP a lot better to articulate / clarify that, but what's done is done and lesson learned: don't post potentially-inflammatory MeTas at work when you don't have time to plan / think out your framing.

cheers
posted by lonefrontranger at 10:40 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


cortex : Say that again and I will hug you in the face, over and over.

context is everything.

The kernel of an idea begins to take hold in my head. I'm thinking of a greasemonkey script that replaces all violent words with happy ones, but, and this is the creepy part, it leaves all vulgarities intact.

How about a script that replaces the word context with the word cortex because my brain has been doing that accidentally while reading this entire thread?
posted by joe lisboa at 10:51 AM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


there are no frats or sororities in most of Canada

Except in literal geographical terms, that is completely untrue. There are in fact fraternities at most major Canadian universities, including UofA, Bishops, UofC, Carleton, Concordia, Dal, Guelph, Laurier, Manitoba, McGill, Mount St. Vincent, McMaster, UofO, Ryerson, Simon Fraser, SMU, UofT, UBC, UOIT, UVic, Waterloo, Western, Windsor, UofW, and York.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:55 AM on December 16, 2010


Yep, my father in law was in a McGill frat.
posted by unSane at 11:02 AM on December 16, 2010


Not on campus, not with semiofficial standing, like they are in the US there aren't. In principle you are correct, they do exist as unsupported social clubs at most universities that I've been involved with, but in practice few belong to them. "Greek Clubs" are often prohibited by provinical or university policy from receiving university money like the other official stutent clubs.

I've been full time at a few of those institutions you mention and have on-going relationships with collegues at several others. Most resident students go into dorms, not independent sororities and frats. I've never known anyone (save at Western) who was in a frat at a Canadian university.
posted by bonehead at 11:12 AM on December 16, 2010


Most resident students go into dorms, not independent sororities and frats.
posted by bonehead


To be fair I believe this to be true of every school in the world. Despite how commonplace they are in films, frats and sororities are certainly a tiny minority of all student populations.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:22 AM on December 16, 2010


Unless you are at Northwestern.
posted by proj at 11:26 AM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


If anyone wants to punch a female Metafilter member in the face for argument's sake, feel free to punch me.
posted by vincele at 11:27 AM on December 16, 2010


I'm just glad somebody's standing up for all those unfairly maligned rich white men.
posted by Zozo at 12:10 PM on December 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


This "argument" was over yesterday.
posted by peppito at 12:33 PM on December 16, 2010


IF THIS THREAD HAD A FACE I WOULD PUNCH IT
posted by Sebmojo at 12:36 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


all i see in the argument that "he's privileged, so it's ok to say that about him, but she's not and it's not ok" is one simple thought

And, you'll note, that people are talking about power differences.

So in that far flung future, where the scary disabled gay Muslim mexican women drive forth their herds of white frat boy slaves to build ziggaruts to burn Bibles, American Flags and aborted babies, I'm sure you'll find a group of people talking righteous shit against the abusers of power and defending the abused against words of violence.

And sure enough, I'm sure there'll be some also privileged folks whinging about how much they live in fear.
posted by yeloson at 12:46 PM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


If this thread had a face, I'd divert it to LV-426 and assign it the top priority of recovering a certain life form for the weapons division.
posted by nomadicink at 12:57 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


Heh. Referring to Zuckerman as a fratboy as an excuse to get your hate on seems a bit off of the mark. Some other (famous) members of Alpha Epsilon Pi:
Jerry Lewis
Richard Lewis
Robert Novak
Ron Popeil
Simon and Garfunkel
David Horowitz
James L Brooks
Leonard Goldberg

Seems to me that the only thing that the above cast of characters all share is having been fratboys. Look, if you are going to punch Zuckerman then punch him because Facebook doesn't work anymore - or you could be honest and admit to wanting to punch him for the same reason I want to punch him - I'm jealous of the little prick.
posted by vapidave at 12:58 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


* picks up large flat stick, hits Judy *
posted by everichon at 1:02 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was in Sigma Alpha Mu. Same chapter as Bob Dylan. Neither of us made it through initiation. What do we have in common?

We were both secretly married to Carolyn Dennis, that's what.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:08 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd punch Simon and Garfunkel in the face, but the problem is that their face is a rock, and a rock feels no pain. And even if they did, afterwards they'd never cry.
posted by Drastic at 1:09 PM on December 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't punch Mark E Smith in the face.

Especially not when The Fall are doing a nice Christmas song.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:20 PM on December 16, 2010


I look forward to the day when we finally elect a frat boy president.

...
posted by munchingzombie at 1:25 PM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


People. People. Most fraternity members are over 18.
Henceforth, please refer to them as "frat MEN."
posted by Floydd at 1:33 PM on December 16, 2010


First mefites beat up the fratboys and I did not speak out because I was not a fratboy.
Then mefites beat up the geeks...
posted by TedW at 1:49 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't see how class membership, or race, or gender, or sexuality, is relevant in considering a specific comment concerning a specific violence against a specific person. In fact that's a bit offensive, unless we want to start judging people and their worth based on their class membership, race, gender, or sexuality.

What gets repeatedly brought up in defense is "context", but that's a logical fallacy not too far away from the Fallacy of Small Sample Sizes. You can't extrapolate one rich white heterosexual frat man, or one poor asian homosexual high-school-dropout woman, onto the entirety of their respective peer groups. It's still one person wanting to punch another person in the face. Pretending to divine the reasons why, or assigning varying levels of severity based on "context", reduces and judges everyone.

I am not making the argument that the initial comment shouldn't have been made, but many of the responses here seem to confuse historical and cultural context with one person wanting to punch another person in the face. Wanting to punch someone in the face is not necessarily going to be a treatise on gender roles, class membership, or dominant cultural mores.

A forest is made up of trees, but there will also be a significant number of other non-trees hanging out there as well.
posted by Phyltre at 1:54 PM on December 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


yeloson: " And sure enough, I'm sure there'll be some also privileged folks whinging about how much they live in fear."

I get what you're saying. But it is also perfectly possible to be privileged in one sense and part of an oppressed minority in another.
posted by zarq at 2:00 PM on December 16, 2010


While I know it's a tough argument to make stick, the fact (in my world) is that context is everything in everything we say and even the most innocuous comment could be considered insulting/inflammatory by someone. The context here is MetaFilter, a place where there is some expectation of reasoned and considered discourse, but also a place where (I think) people give some latitude to what are clearly light-hearted comments that might be inappropriate in a different setting. Rightly or wrongly, I tend to act here in the same way that I would at a gathering of friends and acquaintances, rather than I would in a formal work setting. Even there, context matters - I have no hesitation in telling someone I work with to fuck off when I know they (and others within earshot) will take it in the way intended - as a joke. I wouldn't make the same comment to someone I don't know well or when there are people within earshot who wouldn't understand that, for a subset of colleagues, such comments are part of the normal banter. The problem on MeFi, of course, is that you don't know who the audience is because you can't see or control who 'hears' what you say, so such assumptions (no matter how well you think you know the people here) aren't always valid.

Personally, when I see comments here such as the one we are discussing, I always assume the person is joking unless there is contextual information that indicates otherwise. I may not think it's funny or appropriate, but I give them a degree of respect to the extent that I assume they do not make the comment in any seriousness. I may be according people respect they don't deserve, but I'd prefer to do that than the opposite. We all come from different perspectives, but all deserve the assumption that no ill will is intended, no matter how careless the language.

UnSane, I (literally) feel your pain - As a teenager, I regularly got the crap beaten out of me by guys who I associate with similar characteristics displayed by 'frat boys' - overly confident, self-important fuckwits who like nothing better than a session of picking on those they deem to be beneath them in society, knowing that they have strength in numbers. Guess how I stopped the beatings in the end? That's right, I got so angry and frustrated that I punched the ringleader in the face hard enough to knock him flat on his back. I lived in abject terror for months after that that I would get my comeuppance, but it never came - they just left me (and my similarly bullied friends) alone after that.
posted by dg at 2:03 PM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


In fact that's a bit offensive, unless we want to start judging people and their worth based on their class membership, race, gender, or sexuality.

Who said anything about worth? We're talking about context of actions.

Two people punching each other in the street != two people punching each other in a boxing ring.

Sometimes, gender, class, race matters.

Otherwise, we could say the KKK was randomly targeting people who just happened to be black. Gay people just happened to get beat to death a lot. Women just happen to get paid not enough.

I guess frat boys could just happen to get punched in the face.
posted by yeloson at 2:05 PM on December 16, 2010


Folk do sure love their punching talk, don't they?

Someone remind me if HR people are OK or not. I've kind of lost track.
posted by unSane at 2:18 PM on December 16, 2010


Someone remind me if HR people are OK or not.

If you are not trying to be fighty could you please stop acting as if there is some line and groups of people are either on one side of it or the other? At this point it's tough to tell if people are using their "punching talk" just to act out because this thread is bothering them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:20 PM on December 16, 2010


I am not trying to be fighty. I am bothered by this meme and the relish with which people seem to embrace it, in this thread and elsewhere. It's totally unclear to me where the comment I linked lies on the scale of OK to not OK, because I am continually told that it is context-dependent but I clearly haven't got the secret decoder ring.
posted by unSane at 2:26 PM on December 16, 2010


Because there is no secret decoder ring. It's like asking for a decoder ring that tells you when something is funny. What is "appropriate" is notoriously hard to judge, and you asking for clear rules that simply do not exist, and now are complaining that they don't as though the intracies of human interaction are the fault of the mods.

The lack of a decoder ring means that good people tend to try and err on the side of caution. But that means also that sometimes people err on the wrong side of the line, and if people mis-judge that line in your view, it's not always necessary to get all punchy fighty bent out of shape about it.

I think at this point we all understand each other right? Some people here don't think it's ever appropriate to make jokes about punching someone, and others think sometimes there's a time and place where it can be ok. I think we can still all get along.
posted by modernnomad at 2:33 PM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Some of my best friends are frat boys.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2010


Who said anything about worth? We're talking about context of actions.

More specifically, we're talking about whether or not it's okay to say you want to punch someone in the face. I'm being told "Well, that depends on what race, gender, sexual orientation, and social stratum you and the other person possess." That feels an awful lot like a worth determination.

I agree that gender, class, and race matter. They're huge parts of human interaction. I personally try to be as sensitive as possible to how my part in all of those groups influences my interactions with other people. And I hate institutionalized injustice.

However, to say that we can only vocalize desire to hit privileged classes/groups in the face--and that seems like a pretty 1:1 parsing of some of what I'm hearing--takes a very important macroscopic view of our society and tries to jam it down the throat of a very particular moment and sentiment that may have nothing whatsoever to do with repression, privilege, or imbalance.

Now to be clear, I'm pretty strongly anti-violence. I can't think of a time where I have, or would, advocate violent behavior. I don't have a desire to hit anyone in the face, and think such a comment would be in poor taste*. But when someone asks if it's okay to want to punch someone else in the face, I won't answer "Well...are they repressed? Are there any traditional power roles at play?" Because that sounds an awful lot like "Well...are they above or below you?"

*In fact, in all honesty, I almost ended my previous post with "and some of those shrubs need a hug" because presenting arguments back and forth like this is more confrontational than I'd like to be...but I think it's important to express my viewpoint to further discussion. I'm not trying to vilify anyone, and I'm sorry if my tone comes across as argumentative (in the negative sense.)
posted by Phyltre at 2:41 PM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


Someone remind me if HR people are OK or not. I've kind of lost track.
Well, if it's of any use as a data point, after dealing with our HR people, I often feel like punching myself in the face to make the pain go away.
posted by dg at 2:56 PM on December 16, 2010


Someone remind me if HR people are OK or not.

No – best practices for expressing rage vs. HR people include strangulation or koshi guruma and very few people can entertainingly articulate a desire to perform a judo throw on somebody.
posted by furiousthought at 2:58 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank goodness there are no HR people on Metafilter.
posted by unSane at 3:05 PM on December 16, 2010


However, to say that we can only vocalize desire to hit privileged classes/groups in the face

But I don't think that's what anybody is saying. Again, there's no pair of "this is Okay, this is Not Okay" buckets into which any given statement involving the idea of punching and the idea of a face can cleanly and trivially be sorted. There's no rule along those lines that does or doesn't apply to fratboys-as-literal-members-of-fraternities, or to fratboys-as-figurative-class-descriptors, or to HR people or to black people or women or gays or anything else.

The context argument is just this: that any given statement that mentions "punching [x] in the face" is going to be interpreted primarily on aspects of that statement other than the fact that punching and faces is mentioned.

In part that's an issue of tonal context: jokey vs serious makes a difference in how people will receive a statement. Someone obviously being a dingus is different from someone raging out and making apparently credible threats of violence.

In part it's the immediate context of the comment: if someone makes a crack during a silly or low-tension conversation, it's less likely to be interpreted as a call to violence than it would be during a high-tension conversation in which people are apparently legitimately upset. A thread about TIME and Facebook is a very different context from a thread about e.g. video documentation of a recent act of some awful transgression by one person against another.

In part it's, yes, social context: all else aside, a comment about violence apparently directed at a member or generic members of an oppressed group or a group that has been the target historically of organized or systemic violence is likely to read differently than one directed at a more neutral or socially dominant group.

None of those is trump cards. All of those are likely to play into the analysis of a given comment. And the point of talking about how context plays into it is that in the absence of any strict codification of an idea like "never use violent verbs in reference to another person in a Metafilter comment"—and obviously no such codification like that is going to happen—we're left with a process by which, when someone says something, other people are left to react to it. And not everybody is going to agree about what that reaction should be; and it is more useful to try and understand what factors play into those varying reactions than it is to try and draw a line in the sand.

And all this goes for basically any core idea that you can build a comment around. As far as there's an argument that the idea of punching someone in the face is charged from the get go and so is probably not the best thing to toss around lightly, I more or less agree. But, again: it's also not something that we do see people constantly tossing around lightly, and it is not something that we saw in this case: no one was trotting out any kind of plausible statement of intent to actually commit or encourage violence against the referent of the comment.

Now, the point about social context is not even one that folks have been bringing up as if to say "you can't talk about punching gays but it's awesome to talk about punching rich people"; it's been argued largely as a response to the poor footing of a switcheroo of the "punch Zuckerberg" comment to some person or group in a very different social context as some kind of important point. If "punch Zuckerberg" is problematic, it should be problematic on its own merits, not problematic because something significantly contextually different from it is problematic.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:14 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


We punched them all to death.
posted by klangklangston at 3:25 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


cortex, I totally agree with you (and official Metafilter standing) on this. I'm mostly replying to earlier comments. Like this reply:


So it's open season on fratboys?
How do you think that crappy little turd of a comment would have gone differently if Zuckerberg were gay?


Well, gay people are members of a disadvantaged class, and "fratboys" aren't. People join fraternities for the advantages thereunto appurtaining, while they attend institutions of higher learning (such education is of course an advantage itself.) So it would have gone differently because if my uncle were plumbed differently, he'd be my aunt. Parallels only work if they're parallel.

And there were a few others like these. Now I admit to reading into the statements here a bit, but "parallels only work if they're parallel" seems to imply--rather strongly--that it's only okay to go after the privileged ones. Otherwise there wouldn't be a distinction between the examples. I didn't mean to imply, as it might have come across, that I was disagreeing specifically with the mods on this issue (given that I said "can only" instead of "should only," which probably implies control.)

(I probably should have replied a bit more directly to those posts, but I was also trying to incorporate some general advice from previous metatalk threads to make the discussion more general rather than letting it feel like two people talking at each other. I suppose I'm still chasing a happy medium there.)
posted by Phyltre at 3:28 PM on December 16, 2010


A real man would say, "Take a knife, Old'n'Busted, and face Zuckerberg to the death." If they would not say that, they could at least say, "We'll shock both of you with electiricity until Zuckerberg admits his lies." I would accept either decision.
posted by klangklangston at 3:37 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because it's not true....and although people may espouse the belief, no one enacts it successfully.

So people don't deserve the same respect? Why then is it wrong for someone to insist that women or minorities don't deserve the same respect as white people?



He he he. You didn't include any women in with white people.


I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that people in fraternities are a more heterogenous bunch, with more identifiable practices and intentions than "all minorities" or "all women" or even "all white people" by which I am comfortable judging whether or not They are "deserving" of my respect.

Your ideal of extending the same amount of respect to all people obscures people who capitalize on, participate in, perpetuate or benefit from institutionalized injustice.
posted by vitabellosi at 3:39 PM on December 16, 2010


Eh, I dunno, Cortex. Every time you argue that it's all about the context the whole thing gets muddier and muddier for me. I've really no idea what the standards are. What I have been trying to articulate are guidelines which are context-free for exactly this reason. Maybe we could all agree that, whatever the context, that joke stopped being funny a while ago.
posted by unSane at 3:43 PM on December 16, 2010


I have been trying to articulate are guidelines which are context-free for exactly this reason.

And I think the problem is that this site does not operate with nearly any guidelines that are context-free. Once you take the discussion away from "how we do things on MetaFilter" to "how we should treat each other in the larger world" you're going to get a different sort of set of responses from people about what they think is and is not okay. And those responses and feelings aren't applicable here, on a website.

So, you've been clear about where you think the line goes. And we've been clear about where the line goes on the site [i.e. there isn't one and isn't going to be one, it evolves as the community evolves, that's true for a number of reasons which we've explicated] and the things that go into our thought processes as mods and other people have shared their thought processes as site members. What's clear to me is that people don't agree and they aren't going to. And at some level we-as-mods have to be okay with that because that's probably how 75-80% of discussions go here anyhow.

I think most of us think that sort of thing isn't funny, but that's not ALL of us and that's nearly always where these things wind up.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:47 PM on December 16, 2010


Every time you argue that it's all about the context the whole thing gets muddier and muddier for me.

The whole thing is, in fact, muddy. There's not really any getting away from that. The idea of a context-free guideline about when you can and can't say some very specific thing is unrealistic: even for the very few things that folks around here generally agree are among the least-good things to say, slurs essentially, there's no context-free guideline that says "you can not ever use this word in a metafilter comment"; those are the closest we get and even they are the source of contested and conflicting analysis because different people feel differently about how and why and where those specific boundaries should be drawn.

Trying to enforce the idea of a context-free "never do this" guideline to a wide variety of subjects is beyond impractical. Context will always matter.

This is not an attempt to dismiss a concern over whether it's cool for folks to say any given sort of thing. That discussion is fine to have, and I think, amidst a lot of cross talk over what the nature of the argument here is, folks have done a decent job of broaching some of the question of violence-as-hyperbolic-rhetoric thing in here.

But the context-matters thing is important to understand because it's why framing the situations in some stark "so it's always okay to threaten violence against fratboys/HR people/whomever?" terms is not productive. And I think that's why people have been feeling like you're angry or defensive or whatever in this conversation: you seem to keep falling back to unanswerable questions that feel more like rhetorical gotcha-type jabs than attempts to move the subject forward in a workable way.

To be clear, that's totally aside from the merits of your desire to confront the subject in general, which I'm totally down with and Metatalk is the place to do it. But it is sort of frustrating trying to have a practical conversation about what actually happens here in a community when the response is often a hardline "oh yeah well what about THIS" sort of thing that doesn't brook acknowledgement of the complexity of the whole thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:09 PM on December 16, 2010


MetaFilter: More in line with BitterOldPunk's equal-opportunity facepunching allowance
posted by lukemeister at 4:20 PM on December 16, 2010


Well I apologize for prolonging this but they do not appear to be unanswerable questions to me, which is why I brought them up.

Since there clearly are categories of people to whom threats of cartoon violence are clearly and rightly seen as inappropriate, and other categories where according to several people we are not to bat an eye, I don't beleive it's unreasonable to wonder where, say, HR folk -- or indeed white, male, screenwriters who won't let a subject drop -- sit in that continuum.

By context-free, I mean only that -- to me -- it shouldn't matter whether it's Zuckerberg that people want to punch, or [PERSON YOU'D BE MOST OFFENDED BY THE SUGGESTION THAT THEY BE PUNCHED], because the alternative is some kind of implicit metric about who you can take a shot at and who you can't.

It just seems to me that everyone should be afforded equal protection and as I'm sure you can tell I'm genuinely perplexed and having a really hard time understanding why that is problematic.
posted by unSane at 4:39 PM on December 16, 2010


I apologize if you think this has been asked and answered. If so just link to the comment. In any case, I'll shut up after this.
posted by unSane at 4:48 PM on December 16, 2010


^He has an intrinsic and inalienable dignity inherent in his humanity that is common to all of us.
^The double standards of MeFi are my least favorite thing about the place. I know that I'm in a minority in this but the idea that certain kinds of insult/violence/cursing are OK because they're about one kind of social stratum of human being when they're not when they're about another is totally obnoxious. I know you folks are all right-on and that makes it COMPLETELY OKAY!!11!! but to me it stinks.

Everyone deserves the same respect.

^It just seems to me that everyone should be afforded equal protection and as I'm sure you can tell I'm genuinely perplexed and having a really hard time understanding why that is problematic.

Brawl as spectacle, annotation of violent rap lyrics, vigilante murder. If a comment proposing comic violence constitutes MeFi's endorsement of assault on human dignity, irrespective of context, then FPPs about violence, as the Best of the Internet, must be intolerable endorsements of death and mayhem. Yet I do not see you linking those posts, which suggests that you do see a line, unSane.
posted by gingerest at 4:49 PM on December 16, 2010


I give up.

Off to punch myself in the balls for punishment.
posted by modernnomad at 4:50 PM on December 16, 2010


"and other categories where according to several people we are not to bat an eye,"

If you ask an earnest, pleading question in MeTa, don't be surprised if you get a snarky, sarcastic response.

posted by klangklangston at 4:52 PM on December 16, 2010


Zuckerberg is the personification of Facebook, something Mefites in general despise and a social and economic circle we tend to loath

yet, I'm willing to bet that most of them belong to facebook, thus rendering this whole pissing contest even more laughable.
posted by jonmc at 4:56 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a paying customer of Comcast, and have essentially nothing nice to say about them. Life is sort of complicated that way.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:58 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sweet jesus, you'd think that a jerk-ass comment about punching a public figure was gonna immanentize the eschaton. Outrage! Panic! Oh, the humanity! It's the end of MeFi civilization, it's the first step down the slope to ultimate destruction, it's the end of community!

God forbid anyone ever say anything actually outrageous on MeFi. People's heads would fucking explode.

I had best remove this thread from my queue, because at the rate it's going, I'm gonna have to punch a few users.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:03 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have anything nice to say about any telco? I rather think not.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:04 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a paying customer of Comcast, and have essentially nothing nice to say about them. Life is sort of complicated that way.

Yes, but there's no 'paying' customers at Facebook, and having a membership there isn't some kind of neccessity even in the way that broadband internet might seem to be.
posted by jonmc at 5:07 PM on December 16, 2010


Yes, but there's no 'paying' customers at Facebook

Which means the bar to entry is far lower.

and having a membership there isn't some kind of neccessity even in the way that broadband internet might seem to be.

Though with a low bar to entry and a degree of social incentive to try it out if folks you stay in contact with also use it, it's not that weird that a lot of people would have gotten accounts there at some point. And a lot of people who signed up eventually found that they disliked how the place is run. Unless you're arguing that no one should ever complain about something that they ever thought might be a good idea, there's no gotcha here: non-psychics find experience disappointing, react accordingly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:13 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


But when someone asks if it's okay to want to punch someone else in the face, I won't answer "Well...are they repressed? Are there any traditional power roles at play?" Because that sounds an awful lot like "Well...are they above or below you?"

Is anyone talking about whether it's "okay" to want to punch someone else in the face? We're talking about where on the spectrum of "totally okay" to "absolutely not okay" saying on MeFi that you want to punch someone in the face is. Which you say yourself in the same comment, so maybe this is just a typo. But I think it's an important distinction. Because as far as I'm concerned, while any kind of statement about wanting to punch anyone in the face is generally pretty-not-okay, the reason why saying it about someone in a historically oppressed group is worse has little or nothing to do with the wanting to punch, and everything to do with saying it.

When you say you want to punch a particular person, not based on any characteristics of that person, it's not-great because you're talking about violence to that person. It gets more not-okay when their membership in any group (i.e. "smirky frat boys") is a part of it because then it starts to feel uncomfortable/threatening/etc to anyone in that group who has felt targeted because of that identity. And the more likely that someone in a given group has felt targeted for violence because of their membership in that group, the more not-okay it becomes because the chance that comment having a negative effect on folks here at MeFi, and the size of that effect, grows.

It sucks when anyone feels targeted/uncomfortable/threatened/unwelcome/etc because of a statement talking about violence. The "smirky frat boys" comment made unSane feel that way, and I'm really sorry to hear that, and I think that sucks. But in my book, it's even more not-okay to say "I want to punch that woman over and over," not because it's any worse to want to punch a woman versus a man or because it's any worse for a woman to feel threatened/uncomfortable than for unSane to feel that way, but because (unless I am wrong, and maybe I am, in which case I apologize) women on MeFi are more likely to feel more intensely targeted and uncomfortable when reading about threats of violence to a woman (due to the history of violence and oppression towards women for being women) than frat boys are when reading about threats of violence to frat boys (due to the rarer, though clearly not nonexistent, history of violence towards frat boys for being frat boys, as well as said violence probably not generally being connected to keeping frat boys subordinate to their attackers.) The fact that there is any chance of anyone feeling that way at all is (I think) a bad thing period, but I think it's fair for the mods to consider the difference between "probably will be taken personally by many women here" and "maybe will be taken personally by a couple of frat boys here" in weighing all of the reasons to delete vs not delete. You can argue that a line should be drawn so that neither should ever be allowed here, and I think that's a valid position to take, but it doesn't seem fair to suggest that it makes no difference and it's hypocritical to allow one and not the other. The historical context of the group in question affects the extent and intensity of the negative effects on our community that a given comment is going to have-- and so there's nothing wrong with the mods taking that into account in the complicated contextual calculus of mod decision-making.

(The HR example actually is a good way of illustrating this too, I think. Has anyone ever been targeted for violence for being an HR person? I have a really hard time imagining anyone reading "LinkedIn makes me want to punch someone, preferably hard and ideally someone in HR or recruiting" and feeling threatened or uncomfortable or unwelcome here at MetaFilter as a person in HR/recruiting. Unless I am really missing something about the experience of HR/recruiters, this one actually goes past "not-okay" on the spectrum towards "who cares?")

Now I admit to reading into the statements here a bit, but "parallels only work if they're parallel" seems to imply--rather strongly--that it's only okay to go after the privileged ones. Otherwise there wouldn't be a distinction between the examples.

I dunno, "parallels only work if they're parallel" sounds to me like a pretty straightforward "These two situations are not exactly the same," which doesn't necessarily translate into "One is okay and the other is not okay and this is a clear black and white situation."
posted by EmilyClimbs at 5:20 PM on December 16, 2010 [3 favorites]




^Now I admit to reading into the statements here a bit, but "parallels only work if they're parallel" seems to imply--rather strongly--that it's only okay to go after the privileged ones. Otherwise there wouldn't be a distinction between the examples. I didn't mean to imply, as it might have come across, that I was disagreeing specifically with the mods on this issue (given that I said "can only" instead of "should only," which probably implies control.)

Oh, I missed this, and it quotes me so I guess I'll respond. Privilege is a spectrum (in n dimensions). I'm on the high end (in n-x dimensions), although nowhere near Zuckerberg. (I'm white, upper-middle-class, American, overeducated, employed in a comparatively high-status field, yadda yadda.) If only out of self-preservation, I am against inciting violence against privileged people. It's not okay to "go after" anyone.

My point was - as has been stated multiple times by others - that jokes about violence against people on the vulnerable end of the spectrum are inherently different from jokes about violence against people on the privileged end. This difference is especially pronounced because those relative positions on the spectrum have often been achieved and sustained by violence. (Genocide more often than punching, but hey. Whatever.)

Violence itself is violence. The impact of a projectile or a blade on a human body is pretty much the same no matter the socioeconomic position of the body in question. But commentary around violence - jokes, discussion, narrative - depends heavily on context. Commentary around pretty much anything does.
posted by gingerest at 5:51 PM on December 16, 2010


Oh good lord. Really? A callout over an expression of utter disgust with both MZ and Time magazine? You'd think I was advocating armed revolt or something. Just pretend it really said "imho, MZ is a douchebag and a lousy example of a human being and getting POY makes me sick" and let it go.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:31 PM on December 16, 2010


Q: What's the difference between a drum machine and a drummer?
A: With a drum machine, you only have to punch the information in once
posted by klangklangston at 7:04 PM on December 16, 2010 [9 favorites]


I learned that joke from unSane.
posted by klangklangston at 7:04 PM on December 16, 2010


But now I realize it's wrong to advocate violence against drummers.

Bassists, maybe.
posted by klangklangston at 7:05 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


A callout over an expression of utter disgust with both MZ and Time magazine?

Being named Time Person-of-the-Year is not an endorsement, it's a judgement about who had the most impact on the world. Hitler and Stalin have been POTY previously, along with Roosevelt and Churchill in subsequent years.

If you think Zuckerberg is not exactly in that league, I'm inclined to agree. Though most years no one is, and it's an exercise in picking one person somewhat arbitrarily out of a bunch of candidates that had some impact, but none of them earth shattering.

I'm fine with expressions of utter disgust, if they're a bit more articulate than "I want to punch X" or "X is a douche bag". I'd rather hear an actual explanation of why you find them so disgusting. Maybe if you did that, I'd even come around to agree with you, because I haven't gone out of my way to learn anything much about Zuckerberg.

But since according to you his crimes against humanity seemingly include smirking and being a fratboy... well, I was kinda hoping for more thoughtful discussion on Mefi when I joined.

And I still am hoping for that, which is why I bothered to chime in on this thread a couple of times.
posted by philipy at 7:28 PM on December 16, 2010


You know the way you get a better conversation?

Saying something interesting, not grousing about some picayune infraction of what you consider decorum.

Frankly, we've been having pretty good conversations here for years. We've also been saying that we want to punch people for years. You get the whole family when you sit down to dinner.
posted by klangklangston at 8:01 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, just as a note, that drummer bit came across as more dickish than I intended it to. I just think that wanting to punch Zuckerberg in the face is a pretty innocuous joke, much like punching drummers, even though drummers are a historically oppressed class.
posted by klangklangston at 8:02 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nah, that was funny. That was another classic example of posting something I didn't feel great about though.
posted by unSane at 8:14 PM on December 16, 2010


For the record, this is my favorite drummer joke.
What's the last thing a drummer says before you kick him out of the band?

"Guys, I've written a song"
I say this with love, as I drum

posted by unSane at 8:20 PM on December 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


How can you tell you're being punched by a drummer?

The punching speeds up.
posted by klangklangston at 8:20 PM on December 16, 2010 [7 favorites]


And sure enough, I'm sure there'll be some also privileged folks whinging about how much they live in fear.

two words in response to your scenario, yeloson - french revolution
posted by pyramid termite at 9:22 PM on December 16, 2010


Thank goodness there are no HR people on Metafilter.

They're all on Facebook, well, duh, spying on the new hires -- so hasten the Fixall underpants.
posted by y2karl at 10:36 PM on December 16, 2010


I see my earlier claims about the demise of Aussie cricket were a touch premature. Ahem.
posted by Abiezer at 11:07 PM on December 16, 2010


Bassists, maybe.

Violence against blacks is no longer socially acceptable.
posted by nomadicink at 3:24 AM on December 17, 2010


For the record, this is my favorite drummer joke

Dennis Pennis (comedian Paul Kaye) once turned up to a Blur press conference.

Loads of questions got asked. Nearly all of them to singer Damon Albarn. Much less to bassist Alex James and guitarist Graham Coxon. But none to drummer Dave Rowntree.

Towards the end of the conference, Dennis Pennis stepped up. He had a question for the drummer, who looked delighted that he might finally get to say something. The rest of the band went quiet and waited expectantly for Dave to have this say. Dennis Pennis asks:

"What's your name, buddy?"
posted by MuffinMan at 4:19 AM on December 17, 2010


I see my earlier claims about the demise of Aussie cricket were a touch premature. Ahem.

Woah, Mitchell Johnson bounced back with not only the top score (!) of the Australian innings, but also 6 for 38...? After taking none for about two or three thousand in his last match?!??

I'd say some Pakistani bookmakers are calling the shots here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:47 AM on December 17, 2010


I slept in and missed his rampage. Checked the scores expecting us to be level or thereabouts with wickets in hand and was greeted with some very sorry numbers and the dismissal of Bell, which was pretty much curtains for our innings. Life in this series yet!
posted by Abiezer at 5:17 AM on December 17, 2010


Bassists, maybe.

Violence against blacks is no longer socially acceptable.


Not to be obtuse, but I don't get the joke. Can someone explain?
posted by josher71 at 6:23 AM on December 17, 2010


Not to be obtuse, but I don't get the joke. Can someone explain?

South Park explains it.
posted by nomadicink at 6:43 AM on December 17, 2010


I hope no one ever punches poor Butters.
posted by josher71 at 7:30 AM on December 17, 2010


Actually, in response to the title of this post, could someone with more knowledge than me verify exactly when the fratboy punching season is and what kind of license (if any) is required? I like to be in full compliance.
posted by ob at 7:52 AM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Frat boy? That is a straight-up unadulterated nerd, my friends.
posted by electroboy at 7:55 AM on December 17, 2010


Ha! Looks like The Onion reads metafilter. I win five internets!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:47 AM on December 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Am I imagining it, or is that not the first Onion joke that felt lifted from MetaTalk?
posted by Bookhouse at 12:57 PM on December 17, 2010


As a domesticated primate, I have violent urges.

As a (largely unwilling) member of Civilized Society™, I generally suppress those urges.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't love hearing about various public figures ripped to shreds by a roving pack of horny howler-monkeys. And I may even say as much, on occasion.

You can deny your humanity, but you can't deny your ancestry. We "won" by doing what we do the best - Killing everything in our environment that we can't steal or screw.
posted by pla at 6:03 PM on December 17, 2010


Those don't have to be exclusive options. I'm sure many is the time an ancestor both stole and screwed something. Probably at the same time!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:08 PM on December 17, 2010


Does this guy have anything to do with Farmville? Because someone needs to do something about that. I mean, there's no reason to resort to violence most of the time, even against privileged frat boys, but violence in the name of ridding the planet of that parasitic virus is completely acceptable, completing the harmonious circle of life. Otherwise eventually all communication will become Farmville-related, more out of fear than enjoyment.

Zuckerberg is watching. He just wants you to visit your friend's farm and enjoy yourself. So, why don't you just go do that, before we have to start discussing crop rotation, because it's going to get complicated. Nobody wants that.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:46 PM on December 17, 2010


before we have to start discussing crop rotation, because it's going to get complicated.

nothing complicated about it - a decent sized tornado will take care of all your crop rotation needs
posted by pyramid termite at 11:56 PM on December 17, 2010


Last ball of the day - out! England 5-81, chasing about 395.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:03 AM on December 18, 2010


You can deny your humanity, but you can't deny your ancestry.

At some point in the future that idea will drive Kirk Cameron's descendants into a blank void of madness.
posted by vapidave at 5:08 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Last ball of the day - out!
That was a right old punch to the gut. Expect you'll wrap things up in short order today. Still, 3-1 for the series will do me :p
posted by Abiezer at 5:12 PM on December 18, 2010


This won't last until lunch.
posted by Wolof at 6:46 PM on December 18, 2010


You weren't wrong. Right old hammering.
posted by Abiezer at 7:33 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


- John Boner Bohnr Bohner ORANGE FACE
- willy Wonka


cmonkey, you've just revealed the man's secret lineage. HE IS ACTUALLY DESCENDED FROM OOMPA LOOMPAS!!!
posted by fartknocker at 10:50 PM on December 18, 2010


And the pendulum swings again. Nice to see Aus setting new records at the MCG :D
posted by Abiezer at 10:46 PM on December 25, 2010


Yeah, ouch!
posted by Wolof at 10:47 PM on December 25, 2010


Slept in through the morning session and had to look about three times until the score sank in. Think I might be downloading the highlights of this one!
posted by Abiezer at 11:03 PM on December 25, 2010


Enjoy it!
posted by Wolof at 11:20 PM on December 25, 2010


I'm predicting England by an innings & 170, before lunch on Day 4.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:35 PM on December 25, 2010


That reminds me of recent events in a city not a million miles from my own.
posted by Wolof at 11:37 PM on December 25, 2010


This is turning into real butchery.
posted by Wolof at 6:02 AM on December 27, 2010


Yep, brief flicker of hope for you lot with those two quick wickets then back to a grinding. Ricky losing it with the umpire and getting a fine only put the icing on another grim day. Presume they'll crack on tomorrow and put you in for a tricky evening session.
posted by Abiezer at 8:51 AM on December 27, 2010


They probably won't declare until Tremlett gets his century.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:01 AM on December 27, 2010


And there goes Punter.
posted by Wolof at 8:53 PM on December 27, 2010


From the Sydney Morning Herald: "Australia has collapsed after an encouraging start to its unlikely bid to avoid defeat." Heh.

Australia trail by 250 with 5 in hand, down to the middle order now & nobody anchoring the innings.

My prediction from earlier is looking good...
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:27 PM on December 27, 2010


Make that 4 in hand. Smith gone. Not sure who he is, but apparently he pretends to play for Australia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:35 PM on December 27, 2010


Reckon they won't make Harris bat if he's cracked his ankle - risky for no point, so might well only need three more.
posted by Abiezer at 10:49 PM on December 27, 2010


Bit better showing than our last series down your way!
posted by Abiezer at 11:13 PM on December 28, 2010


Jubilation is permitted.

BTW, will see you in Beijing in September.
posted by Wolof at 11:22 PM on December 28, 2010


Did I say an innings & 170 before lunch on day 4? I was only 10% off on the runs. Should become a betting man.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:25 PM on December 28, 2010


That should be sufficient warning for me to tidy the place if you need to stay, Wols.
posted by Abiezer at 11:57 PM on December 28, 2010


Nah, we will be hotelling it. Beer, however, will be involved.
posted by Wolof at 1:08 PM on December 29, 2010


« Older Cut it in.   |   Looking for an AskMe comment about a unique backup... Newer »

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