Norwegian attacks thread July 22, 2011 2:39 PM   Subscribe

The Norwegian attacks thread is depressing.

I was shocked by the number of jokes early on, five that still stand in-thread (more were apparently deleted by mods). I know I'm emotional about the attack, I have friends and family in Norway, including Oslo, but I feel like I would be appalled if MetaFilter had responded similarly to a bombing of a city center and a shooting of teenagers in a country that I have no links to. It's not beyond us to show restraint.

Besides that there was a lot of unskeptical sharing of rumor and unfounded speculation. I know that it's the standard response on the internet, but it was also hard to read. That's not to mention the various derails expunged by the mods.

Norway is in shock. So are the rest of the Nordic countries and many, many people around the world. There's an Icelandic poem that says that "care should be shown in the presence of a hurt soul." We need to show some care. To quote Jan Larssen of the Norwegian Red Cross who was interviewed by Al Jazeera earlier: "Everyone in Norway needs a friend right now."
posted by Kattullus to Etiquette/Policy at 2:39 PM (237 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

I just flagged the worst comments, surely that works?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:42 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Black humor is controversial but a lot of people just cope that way even when it is a personal tragedy. It's understandable why it upsets people but both sides have to accept the other on this as long as it isn't too out of hand.

Discussion will always have rumors and speculations, it's par for the course on a live discussion thread for a news story in an informal setting. If you want straight reporting, there are plenty of live blogs from news organizations out there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:42 PM on July 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


My personal condolences and sympathies to you and your family and friends. People who make jokes about things like this are sociopaths in my opinion.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:42 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was pretty shocked by the jokes as well, but I was even more shocked that people explained away the lulz by saying that that's how some people deal with grief. That's true, but in that particular thread people were just going for lulz.
posted by sweetkid at 2:43 PM on July 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


but both sides have to accept the other on this as long as it isn't too out of hand.

Nope, we act like adults, express our sympathies, and if we can't do that we keep our mouths shut. There is a such thing as "being an adult". We all have to grow up sometime and remember there are other people out there in the world who have feelings besides us.

If you don't like it, you can go to 2chan.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:45 PM on July 22, 2011 [59 favorites]


People who make jokes about things like this are sociopaths in my opinion.

Well, your opinion about this is wrong. Some people might make jokes because they're sociopaths, but other people make jokes as a way of dealing with something that's too big and tragic for them to respond to in a sensible way. I get why the community might decide that enough people are bothered by the jokes that they should be removed, but just calling everyone who reacts to things differently than you "sociopaths" isn't helping anything.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:46 PM on July 22, 2011 [32 favorites]


furiousxgeorge:Black humor is controversial but a lot of people just cope that way even when it is a personal tragedy. It's understandable why it upsets people but both sides have to accept the other on this as long as it isn't too out of hand.

No furiousxgeorge, it is neither understandable nor acceptable for someone to make a joke about the deaths and tragedy someone else has experienced. No doubt the very same jokesters would have a very difefrent outlook if their own family had been affected.

So no, furiousxgeorge. It is not understandable and no, furiousxgeorge, it is not acceptable. Anyone over the age of 8 should understand this and presumably so should you.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:46 PM on July 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nope, we act like adults, express our sympathies, and if we can't do that we keep our mouths shut. There is a such thing as "being an adult". We all have to grow up sometime and remember there are other people out there in the world who have feelings besides us.

Feelings like, "My coping mechanism for grief is black humor?" Oh no, you don't have that feeling so it doesn't count.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:47 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, I have joked about personal and familial tragedies. I'm not making this up and I'm not a sociopath, get off your high horses.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:48 PM on July 22, 2011 [25 favorites]


I'm personally a little tired of the "people use humor to deal with grief" excuse, because - assuming the people making the jokes were grieving, which might not even be true - it still shows a profound lack of sympathy for those who absolutely do not use humor to deal with grief, but rather grieve by grieving. If you honestly feel that you simply must make a joke to deal with the situation, there's nothing stopping you from doing so in your own home. Bringing your "I deal with other people's tragedies by making jokes about them" method into an environment where you can plainly see others who are clearly upset and not making jokes just shows callousness, or at the very least, a lack of sympathy for the people you're supposedly grieving with.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:48 PM on July 22, 2011 [126 favorites]


I dunno if this adds clarity to the debate, but there's a difference between what's understandable and what's appropriate. One could, for example, do something that hurts others as a means of coping with stress and then apologize for the hurt it caused (and/or try to avoid repeating the hurtful gesture in the future).
posted by LMGM at 2:50 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have no problem with people having a dark sense of humour, or using humour to cope or what have you. I do however find it rude to do so "in mixed company" where you have no idea who is reading your comment. It's not unreasonable to assume that there might be people on a large public site who don't use humour to cope, but are instead waiting to hear back from friends.
posted by Iteki at 2:50 PM on July 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Black humor is controversial but a lot of people just cope that way even when it is a personal tragedy.

And some people use this rationale as an excuse for bad behaviour.
posted by mazola at 2:50 PM on July 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yes, I have joked about personal and familial tragedies. I'm not making this up and I'm not a sociopath

I believe you on both counts - but the broader point is the idea that my personal tragedy isn't yours to joke about.
posted by nickmark at 2:51 PM on July 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm personally a little tired of the "people use humor to deal with grief" excuse, because - assuming the people making the jokes were grieving, which might not even be true - it still shows a profound lack of sympathy for those who absolutely do not use humor to deal with grief, but rather grieve by grieving.

Again, you can't define away how people express grief. There is no fucking rulebook that demands we all have to be caricatures of Italian widows. I agree entirely people have to keep it under control, but I don't think it got out of hand in that thread.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:51 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing wrote: it still shows a profound lack of sympathy for those who absolutely do not use humor to deal with grief, but rather grieve by grieving.

And the grievers show a profound lack of sympathy by grieving. I'd much rather they show a stiff upper lip, like I do. Grievers make me cry. Jokers make me laugh. They're both insensitive.
posted by wierdo at 2:52 PM on July 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I strongly agree with Kattullus on the jokes. It just feels like a double standard to me: I don't intend to compare the events in Norway to 9/11, but I do remember that whatever few jokesters turned up in that thread were absolutely vilified.

As for the speculation, I really dislike it too when unfounded claims are shared (and thus propagated) without criticism; however, I myself do a bit of news/analysis sharing in news threads and I also understand that with fast-moving stories it can be difficult to avoid the fog of war.

Basically I try to limit myself to reputable sources, preferably multiple ones, but sometimes things get reported as fact by even the BBC/Guardian/AP/what have you, and turn out to be bogus. So I hope I'm not myself guilty of the kind of reckless gossip Kattullus is talking about. I try not to be, anyway.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:53 PM on July 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think the closer you are to a crisis, the more right you've earned the right to say whatever the hell you want to get through it.

Distance + lack of connection + jokey comes across as just being a jerk.
posted by mazola at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2011 [29 favorites]


Again, you can't define away how people express grief. There is no fucking rulebook that demands we all have to be caricatures of Italian widows. I agree entirely people have to keep it under control, but I don't think it got out of hand in that thread.

Who said people need to wail and beat their chests? Christ, I'm just talking about a little common courtesy. Don't think it's asking too much.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


No furiousxgeorge, it is neither understandable nor acceptable for someone to make a joke about the deaths and tragedy someone else has experienced. No doubt the very same jokesters would have a very difefrent outlook if their own family had been affected.

"No doubt?" Sorry, I doubt that, I doubt that very, very much. I've known people who deal with very personal grief by joking about, including the death of loved ones. While I don't usually make jokes, I often respond to overwhelmingly emotional situations by laughing, including situations where that is considered wildly inappropriate.

I get that the community doesn't want the jokes, and that's fine, this being the internet we can clean them up and tell people to stop. I also get that other people find them hurtful, and I understand why, but starting from an assumption that other people aren't acting in good faith isn't the way to do that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:55 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


but starting from an assumption that other people aren't acting in good faith isn't the way to do that.

I don't care whether someone is being an asshole in good faith or not. I just want them to do it elsewhere.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:57 PM on July 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I dropped a stupid joke about technoviking in the thread and I immediately regretted it. I wish I had better impulse control - most of the time I do. This time I didn't. Something popped in my head and I just wrote it down and posted. But this isn't like Facebook or something. I don't have the option of deleting a comment that is in poor taste. It'll stay there and people will read it. I'm not a sociopath, just a person who made a mistake. If I had to do it over again I obviously wouldn't have dropped a comment like that. But at the end of the day, it's the internet. Things get twisted. If it happened in real life I would have apologized and said "wow, dumb joke, where did that come from." On the internet, if you do that, you just make a bigger ass of yourself.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2011 [20 favorites]


It's simple: The mods have made it clear that the jokes are not appropriate here.
posted by ambient2 at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a public forum, if a couple posts out of 300+ can derail your grieving process that much, maybe you need to be the one to retire to the comfort of your own home with people who know how you want to grieve.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't care whether someone is being an asshole in good faith or not. I just want them to do it elsewhere.

A person sharing their honest reaction without the intention of offending anyone and without realizing (in a limited time for composing thoughts) that they are going to offend someone are not being asshole, they are being human beings, and for some reason you've decided to hate them and call them names for that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:03 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


If it happened in real life I would have apologized and said "wow, dumb joke, where did that come from." On the internet, if you do that, you just make a bigger ass of yourself.

(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates, I strongly disagree. This is not "the internet", this is Metafilter. People apologize here all the time, and in my view they are better persons for it and it makes for a better site.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:05 PM on July 22, 2011 [20 favorites]


If it happened in real life I would have apologized and said "wow, dumb joke, where did that come from." On the internet, if you do that, you just make a bigger ass of yourself.

How is this not real life? Our comments whether hurtful or wise still have an impact on others, and do have consequences.
posted by Partario at 3:09 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


People who make jokes about things like this are sociopaths in my opinion
Well, your opinion is stupid and simplistic. Especially since your equating the actual sociopath who just killed kids with people who deal with the world in a way not as simply and performatively as you.

This whole idea of "being an adult", the ridiculousness as a measure of worth and belonging aside, connotes a mature understanding of the world. A world that is often dark and terrifyingly absurd. Absurdity is the root of much humor, and so anything beyond a basic and spoon-fed understanding of the world would allow "a [true] adult" to realize that, when faced with horrible and absurd situations, humor is a natural and perhaps even laudable response.

Being "an adult" requires that you recognize that everyone is not just like yourself and learning to co-exist without pillorying them from a place of evident ignorance. So, uh, lets all be adults about this?
posted by Chipmazing at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


furiousxgeorge if anyone there that posted was from that area it would have been a legitimate form of expressing grief and shock. Instead it was some people like AHandWO (good apology sir!) who are from far away and made some bad "here are some things I know about Norway" jokes.

I'm a big believer in offensive jokes, about any situation, don't get me wrong. Just not in that thread, and especially not in that obsequious, kneejerk, hacky way.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:12 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: “This is a public forum, if a couple posts out of 300+ can derail your grieving process that much, maybe you need to be the one to retire to the comfort of your own home with people who know how you want to grieve.”

It seems like there's a difference between joking because you're dealing with grief and with the enormity of a thing, and joking because you're on the internet and it doesn't really matter. Did you really get the impression that the people joking in that thread were making jokes as a way of dealing with their own grief? Respectfully, that was not the impression I got.
posted by koeselitz at 3:12 PM on July 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


The mods have made it clear that the jokes are not appropriate here.

We've made it clear that there are a lot of people who find jokes totally inappropriate in these sorts of situations and we expect people to be mindful about that. I understand some people use humor personally to deal with terrible events. They must also understand that in a large community where that isn't true for everyone, it's worth spending a little bit of time thinking how your words are going to be perceived.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:13 PM on July 22, 2011 [20 favorites]


What's with all the posting of unsubstantiated news bits? We all know where the google news is.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:14 PM on July 22, 2011


You know, I am Norwe9ian, and I don't particularly mind the jokes. They're in poor taste, but ok. But I'm tryin9 to ima9ine a comparable situation where I, a non-American-, came one-linerin9 away in a thread about many Americans bein9 killed, within hours of the initial blast. I'm pretty sure my ability to deal with tra9edy throu9h comedy mi9ht not 9o down all that well.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2011 [21 favorites]


As someone who objected early on in the thread, Arsenio: don't sweat it. I've made the same kind of remarks before, out of some need, and inadvertently hurt some people. Joking serves a lot of functions, some of them kind of odd.

My intention in making a post saying hey, some of us are trying to get news about our loved ones, and hoping to get SOME good information on wtf is happening (from here, and elsewhere), and in flagging a few posts, was to stop what I saw as kind of an early rush of one-liners and stuff, that looked like it was going to build some momentum.

I for one feel satisfied that this goal was accomplished, and I didn't want to make a real big deal out of any one post or person.

As far as the misinformation being reported, etc., to me, it seemed like mostly an aggregation of stuff that was coming out of media sources, and it was actually kind of useful to get a digest of it. Especially since corrections and retractions were coming in just as fast.
posted by thelonius at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2011


You lose your job. Your mother gets cancer. Your dog gets hit by a car. I understand and respect that you and your family may use humour as a coping mechanism for these horrible events at some point. It might not be immediately after a tragedy, but in the days and weeks to come.

I lose my job. My mother gets cancer. My dog gets hit by a car. My family and I may also eventually choose to use humour to cope. But if you make jokes about these events as they're occuring, claiming that you're such a sensitive soul that the only way you can cope is by sharing your jokes in a public place, then no, you don't get my respect and understanding. You're an asshole. Someone who was sufficiently sensitive to be traumatized by someone else's unfolding tragedy would also be sensitive enough not to act on those feelings in public.

Hey, if events that leave me grieving cause a number of dark jokes to flit through your mind: that's fine, you're human. If someone is so sensitive that they can't help but think of these jokes in order to cope, they would also be sensitive enough to recognize that people closer to the tragedy are scared, searching and grieving. A genuinely sensitive person wouldn't rush to make jokes in a public place, then scold anyone who took offense.

Own up to being an asshole, find some community that likes assholes, but don't play the noble victim here because you've chosen to behave like as asshole.

On preview: anyone who made a dumb joke and now regrets it, that's OK. We all fuck up. I'm talking about people desperately rationalizing being assholes because they're just so special, noble and sensitive and we're trampling their freedom of speech, man.
posted by maudlin at 3:15 PM on July 22, 2011 [59 favorites]


And I mean clearly nobody is a sociopath, that is just wrong. The jokesters were just not connected to Oslo and not really using their brains. Most of them should have been deleted but since some weren't, let's ignore them or ask them to think a little bit more before hitting the post button. I think that's a reasonable request for a grown up.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:16 PM on July 22, 2011


I don't care whether someone is being an asshole in good faith or not. I just want them to do it elsewhere.

I believe that your acting in good faith, but we disagree here because I think you should stay.
posted by Chipmazing at 3:17 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


................. [so far; likely to be more '.']
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on July 22, 2011


I don't think, unless the posters in question want to tell us, we can read out their motives, but I definitely think that a public discussion is going to lean towards inclusiveness on all points of view and if one is going to send you off the deep end you should avoid the thread regardless of the motives of the poster.

As I said in my first post ITT, both sides have a responsibility to give and take. No jokes ever is invalid, a thread that is nothing but a string of jokes is the same. I don't think this thread was too far in the direction of the latter.

Were it a matter I was personally grieving over, I would want people to tell me jokes. So you don't get to straight up say anyone who tells jokes like that is an asshole because I would think that of you if you told them to shut up.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:20 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's gonna be a fun weekend around here.
posted by Ardiril at 3:22 PM on July 22, 2011


It's gonna be a fun weekend around here.

Tell me about it.

On the moderation side of things, the couple of jokes I saw that weren't deleted when Jessamyn cleaned some stuff up all had various replies and conversation about them - that usually weighs on the side of keeping something, although it's by no means a rule.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:25 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, there's a few things here that apply to a larger context than just that thread, to the extent that they've come up on mefi and in metatalk before and plenty of other places:

1. Some people are really, really bothered by jokey responses to scary or tragic shit going down that directly affects them.
2. Some people are really bothered by it even for scary/tragic shit that only fairly indirectly affects them.
3. Some people cope with scary or tragic shit going down by making jokes, whether it affects them directly or not.
4. Some people make jokes pretty much regardless of what's going on.
5. Some people makes jokes specifically as a rejection of the idea that people shouldn't make jokes in a given context.
6. Sometimes people don't immediately appreciate that something isn't just sort of an abstract or not-very-big-deal thing but is actually specifically a really awful situation directly impacting people they share a community with.

Everybody's a little different about this stuff, and would check off one or more of those if they had to try and assess themselves. With the exception of (5), there's not really usually any intent to cause others discomfort, and I think it represents a pretty vanishingly narrow slice of what usually goes on around here. Mostly we get a mix of (1-4) where people react differently to bad news, and a wallop of (6) now and then when someone misreads the situation and people react badly to it.

The main thing is that almost none of this is people trying to fuck with each other, but because there's an emotional charge attached to scary or tragic shit going down, and often a fair amount of asymmetry in how close any given user is to the situation compared to other users, it's really easy for people to end up feeling hurt by one another's reactions.

That's a hard problem, and not trivial to fix, but as far as that goes I think probably the very simplest way to reduce the amount of bad atmosphere and hurt feelings is to maybe just skip the jokes when other people are visibly pretty much serious and concerned about the situation. It's not hard to zip it and save it for a couple days down the road or a more likely-to-be-appropriate crowd/venue, and it will both spare (1) and (2) type folks' feelings and help avoid making a thread about something shitty happening out in the world into a thread about arguing with each other about the shittiness or not of grim jokes in the conversation.

Saying that skipping the jokes is the simplest solution isn't saying that jokers are wrong or that humor isn't a valid response to a personal sense of horror; it's just saying that there's a certain amount of common sense accommodation of the discussion of bad news that puts the onus on the joker to maybe take one for the team and not go there, not right now, not right here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:27 PM on July 22, 2011 [37 favorites]


I don't think that people are sociopaths for making jokes in bad situations, I just wonder why one has to make a joke in a thread about a terrible event. I mean, you could type it into the edit window and not hit post. I cannot believe that there's some higher force making people post comments. I know I've wished I didn't hit post a few times...
posted by ob at 3:27 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's the deal -- in person, a joking response to a tragedy can work, since you usually know the people around you, can judge their mood, and you are sharing a moment. My brothers and I were cracking pretty wise at my dad's funeral early this year because a) that's who we are and b) we were the grieving parties. We kept it more under control when outsiders were around because they don't necessarily get a) and because they have their own grieving to do. I would no more have cracked jokes in front of them than I would have gone on a rant about some of the bad things my dad did during his life. It wasn't the place or the time.

On the internet, it's worse, because you don't have any of that -- you don't know who's reading, you can't judge their mood, and you aren't really sharing a moment (they could be reading what you wrote days or weeks later, afterwards, and they may have any kind of background at all).

For what it's worth, a jokey response to one of the comments occurred to me, but I gave it up after a few seconds because it seemed really inappropriate to me -- I know a few people in Norway, but this is not my tragedy, so my method of grieving isn't really the issue.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:33 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I use gallows humor to get thru nasty stuff sometimes. But I use it privately in the presence of people who love me, know me, and get where I am coming from. It's probably wise to refrain from it in a public forum where everyone can see and some folks be deeply hurt and/or deeply offended. Time and place, people.

(To arsenio upthread-good on you for the apology. Good apology and good example to others.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:35 PM on July 22, 2011 [21 favorites]


I completely agree that the jokes didn't belong in the thread and I'm glad they were deleted. That said...

People who make jokes about things like this are sociopaths in my opinion

A great number of folks who do or have done emergency/crisis response work, myself included, engage in some pretty black humor. It's a coping mechanism. If you feel that that the vast majority of these folks are sociopaths, well, for your sake I really hope you never need the assistance of an EMT/firefighter/cop/etc...
posted by rollbiz at 3:36 PM on July 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Because of the way my mind processes bad information, the moment I saw the news, my stupid brain instantly started trying to churn out dumb jokes/ plays on words/ amusing references to drain the tension.

But, I've come to realize that this isn't always the best reaction to have, and have learned that sometimes the best thing to do is tell this part of my brain to shut the fuck up and show some concern for the people who might be hurt, afraid, or worried.

That's what I tried to do in this case, and I'm glad to see that a lot of others had the same reaction.

I get that it's an natural thing for some of us to do, but at the same time, being part of a community means that sometimes we have to suppress that urge for the sake of our friends. There may be time for that sort of thing later, but in the immediacy of the moment, attempts at thoughtfulness and understanding seem to be better tools to bring to the conversation.
posted by quin at 3:36 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Right, what St. Alia just said.
posted by rollbiz at 3:37 PM on July 22, 2011


I think GenjiandProust's comment about being unable to judge your audience is an important one, people used to joking about bad events don't know who will read the thread and how they'll react, so they react the way they're used to doing.

Personally, if I were directly affected by this, I would find the "I am SO angry/sad/outraged" response more troubling than the jokey responses. If I were emperor of the thread I would have deleted them, but I'm not, and I appreciate that the community as a whole seems to think that those reactions are okay, so I have to deal with them.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:38 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


On another topic, what's got hal_c_on so pissed off?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:39 PM on July 22, 2011


It's a coping mechanism.
Been there done that, I used to be a medic in the military. My statement was very general, probably too general. I assumed the context would be obvious. I'm not going to argue the specifics. The post above by maudlin expresses my feelings far more eloquently and in detail than my one reactionary statement.

But I'll say again - people who make fun of tragedies like this (in the context we are taking about, public forum, etc,etc,etc.) are sociopaths and furthermore people who do it on internet forums are cowards. I encourage the most outspoken advocate of such "jokey grieving" b.s. to go to New York City this Sep 11 and do 10 minutes of 9-11 standup about the victims as part of their "grieving process". That won't happen because they know they'll get their asses handed to them on a platter. Cowards.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 3:45 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I feel that the thread is straightening up itself fine, undoubtedly thanks to the heroic intervention of the assorted mods, and the fact that people begin to understand the scope of what happened). So, thanks.
posted by Namlit at 3:47 PM on July 22, 2011


Dumb jokes are par for the course. In bad taste and childish, granted, but a sociopath is something else completely different.

In terms of the issue of speculation. I see nothing wrong with it, it's not as if good faith speculation is going to undo a terrible situation, or even somehow make it worse, if anything, I'd say it's deeply helpful, as what initially seems like a horrible, senseless, abstract act of horror gets clarified and becomes less an unknowable terrifying thing, but something more approachable and down to earth, with a possible logic or motivation attached to it. Not to mention, that it does create a record of how information is disseminated and how a the way something is perceived changes over time.
posted by Skygazer at 3:48 PM on July 22, 2011


In this video, listen for the laughter. It's there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:48 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


On another topic, what's got hal_c_on so pissed off?

Dunno? Ask him??
posted by Namlit at 3:48 PM on July 22, 2011


But I'll say again - people who make fun of tragedies like this...are sociopaths and furthermore people who do it on internet forums are cowards.

That's some pretty inflammatory rhetoric you've got there. Got any in periwinkle blue?
posted by adamdschneider at 3:50 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


The original thread was started after the bombing, but before the bastard attacked the people on the island.

I'm all for gallows humor, but c'mon? I don't see why there's a debate about whether making jokes or not was appropriate at the time?

Ok, admittedly, none of us had a clear picture of what was happening at the time... and the details are only now starting to slowly filter through... but that's precisely why, as my father always said "sometimes you need to put your tongue between your teeth and press gently".
posted by panaceanot at 3:51 PM on July 22, 2011


Look furiouxgeorge, I guess that many people sort of get your point, but just prefer not to be stepped upon their toes nevertheless, alternatively, to be lectured about the workings of the grieving giggling human mind just now. Could you make an effort and laugh it off for this time? I think it might serve the community better.
posted by Namlit at 3:51 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and keep posting if I feel I have something to say but thanks for the feedback.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:52 PM on July 22, 2011


But I'll say again - people who make fun of tragedies like this...are sociopaths and furthermore people who do it on internet forums are cowards.

That's not really what happened though here. Nor was anyone doing a stand up routine on this tragedy.

What you're talking about seems something entirely different and pathological and twisted, and yeah, if someone's going to benefit from it, I guess you could say it's sociopathic.
posted by Skygazer at 3:54 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


People who make jokes about things like this are sociopaths in my opinion

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.
posted by Decani at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


For what it's worth, this thread came to mind the instant I saw this MetaTalk post. I remember at the time I was pretty surprised by the comments. I recognized that I was closer to the tragedy than others and held my tongue. (Ultimately others objected, and I was glad they did.) Obviously this is a single data point from almost four years ago. But it's stuck with me all this time.
posted by donpedro at 4:01 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't care whether someone is being an asshole in good faith or not. I just want them to do it elsewhere.

See, there are plenty of things I want people to do elsewhere and not on Metafilter. But I'm not sitting here calling for them to have their comments deleted.

It isn't the mods job to make sure nobody acts like an asshole unless, like, they're always an asshole and posting their assholishness in unrelated threads and so on. You seem to think the mods should delete comments where people are assholes.
posted by Justinian at 4:02 PM on July 22, 2011


Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and keep posting if I feel I have something to say but thanks for the feedback.

So this is really the hill you want to die on, huh? That your need to post whatever comes to mind takes precedent over community guidelines, even when people are reaching out to you in good faith to ask you to show a little common sense and compassion?

Now, I laugh in the face of tragedy on a regular basis; indeed, literally my very first response to getting my most recent cancer diagnosis was to crack a joke. The difference is, I wouldn't crack a joke as my first response when someone else gets a cancer diagnosis, and I don't consider it some sort of HOW DARE THESE OPPRESSIVE COMMUNITY STANDARDS CENSOR MY INNER SAMUEL BECKETT to moderate my behavior appropriately.
posted by scody at 4:02 PM on July 22, 2011 [48 favorites]


Poet_Lariat: How about this, I'll agree with you that comments making jokes in disaster threads should be deleted and you agree that people who use @username in their replies or post comments consisting of "THIS. THIS THIS THIS OH GOD IM COMING THIS A MILLION TIMES THIS" should be banned. Deal?
posted by Justinian at 4:03 PM on July 22, 2011


I'll agree with you that comments making jokes in disaster threads should be deleted and you agree that people who use @username in their replies or post comments consisting of "THIS. THIS THIS THIS OH GOD IM COMING THIS A MILLION TIMES THIS" should be banned. Deal?

I really hope we're not equating a community sentiment that we don't joke about other people's tragedies with not liking internet memes.
posted by immlass at 4:05 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


might want to do a tactical withdrawl Furious, just saying.
posted by clavdivs at 4:05 PM on July 22, 2011


So this is really the hill you want to die on, huh?

I'm definitely not going to stop posting based on a more wordy than usual use of the phrase, "Shut up."

However, I think you are uncharitably reading my comments if you think I am in favor of all out unrestrained joke warfare. The issue is complex, I just posted a video of a world leader getting a laugh while shouting through a bullhorn while standing on top of a smoldering mass grave...and it's widely considered to be one of the shining moments of his presidency. The issue does not boil down to cowards and assholes, there is more going on than that.

I didn't even post a joke in the thread in question, just a link to a blog discussing the question of gallows humor as we are doing here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:07 PM on July 22, 2011


But I'll say again - people who make fun of tragedies like this (in the context we are taking about, public forum, etc,etc,etc.) are sociopaths and furthermore people who do it on internet forums are cowards. I encourage the most outspoken advocate of such "jokey grieving" b.s. to go to New York City this Sep 11 and do 10 minutes of 9-11 standup about the victims as part of their "grieving process". That won't happen because they know they'll get their asses handed to them on a platter. Cowards.

It has always baffled me that when confronted by momentary and mistaken idiocy, the hardheaded and simple-minded decide to double down. Its not a game of cards, and as (Arsensio) aptly showed, during a conversation its ok to apologize for mistaken rhetoric.

Also, how in the world are the respites of humor in Metafilter threads 10 minutes of standup about victims? You clearly have never encountered the idea of 'humor' as a non-monolitic entity before (nor the idea of being wrong, it seems). And I would agree that jokes about the victims would be as reprehensible as equating the shooter with internet thread commenters that use humor. But show me one instance where the jokes from members of Metafilter were DIRECTED AT or ATTACKING of the victims. If you do, I'll show you someone who ought to have their comment deleted and perhaps their "ass handed to them on the platter". I'd also show you someone who needs to critically consider future comments before posting them, advice I humbly give to you.
posted by Chipmazing at 4:09 PM on July 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


I really hope we're not equating a community sentiment that we don't joke about other people's tragedies with not liking internet memes.

And I hope people can see that a discussion of site policy is a discussion of site policy.
posted by Justinian at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Poet_Lariat: " I encourage the most outspoken advocate of such "jokey grieving" b.s. to go to New York City this Sep 11 and do 10 minutes of 9-11 standup about the victims as part of their "grieving process". That won't happen because they know they'll get their asses handed to them on a platter. Cowards."

I wish I could find a link for you but I think it might have been on All Things Considered where a female comedian, who lost her boyfriend (husband?) on Sept 11 started putting jokes about it in her routine, like less than a year later. They showed video of one of her performances. There was mostly uncomfortable laughter from the audience. I think she said at the time she didn't know what she was doing, that she thought she was just doing new material. It took her a long time to work through her grieving.

Besides her, I can assure you there has been plenty of comedy done about Sept 11.

BTW I'm not saying when and where people ought to joke about things like this. I'm saying they do, and there are many reasons why, and it's not because they're all sociopaths.
posted by danny the boy at 4:13 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


But I'll say again - people who make fun of tragedies like this (in the context we are taking about, public forum, etc,etc,etc.) are sociopaths and furthermore people who do it on internet forums are cowards. I encourage the most outspoken advocate of such "jokey grieving" b.s. to go to New York City this Sep 11 and do 10 minutes of 9-11 standup about the victims as part of their "grieving process". That won't happen because they know they'll get their asses handed to them on a platter. Cowards.

I am really uncomfortable with both this shift in rhetoric and this strawman. Some of us do use uncomfortable jokes as part of the grieving process; when my grandmother died I kept saying things that probably seemed pretty awful to anyone who didn't know how much I loved my grandmother. Context is really important; I know that I can make these jokes to my husband and my father but not to my mother or my brother. I respect that this is the case and don't make these jokes in front of people who aren't up for them. I also think that this is the case in situations where you don't know everyone and aren't sure how they'll react such as the internet; if you're not sure, don't say it out loud. I absolutely believe you need to choose your time and consider your audience.

That said, you can grieve through humor without forcing it on other people, and that's what I (and I believe many others) try to do. I'm not an "advocate" of "jokey grieving", I'm an advocate of managing as best you can to cope with challenging and horrible situations. The idea that those of us who are comfortable choosing contexts are "cowards" because there are some people in front of whom we won't make these types of statements is ludicrous. I don't really understand how you're making the jump from "people react inappropriately on the internet" to "they want to shove grief in people's faces" but wow.

I would also like to say that I find the backpedaling less than graceful; you said "People who make jokes about things like this are sociopaths in my opinion." and then later after being called out qualified it with "people who make fun of tragedies like this (in the context we are taking about, public forum, etc,etc,etc.)". As someone you initially called a sociopath, I find your off-handed and unapologetic revision really distasteful.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 4:14 PM on July 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


As someone you initially called a sociopath, I find your off-handed and unapologetic revision really distasteful.

Imagine how the O.P. of this Meta , who has friends and family in Norway, feels about your making fun of it.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 4:20 PM on July 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I encourage the most outspoken advocate of such "jokey grieving" b.s. to go to New York City this Sep 11 and do 10 minutes of 9-11 standup about the victims as part of their "grieving process". That won't happen because they know they'll get their asses handed to them on a platter. Cowards.

Wow, you're really taking sweeping generalizations of thing you know not, strawmen, and needlessly fiery rhetoric to a new level right now. Which you'd think maybe you'd have learned not to do, given that you got called out for, and admitted, that you had just done exactly that by calling everyone who ever engages in black humor a sociopath.
posted by rollbiz at 4:20 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Imagine how the O.P. of this Meta , who has friends and family in Norway, feels about your making fun of it.

What the fuck are you talking about? When did Mrs. Pterodactyl do any such thing?
posted by rollbiz at 4:22 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know that this is the case, as I thankfully didn't see the jokes before they got deleted, but my friends and I, we've lost friends on Sept 11 and have joked about it in ways which would probably horrify anyone who didn't know us. It's based on an intimacy that I know better than to assume with anyone else, much less The Internet.

But I can see how some people might make a mistake.
posted by danny the boy at 4:23 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Poet_Lariat: Imagine how the O.P. of this Meta , who has friends and family in Norway, feels about your making fun of it.

I called for restraint and care, not further argument. Furthermore, there's no need to stand up for me, I'm quite capable of speaking up for myself.
posted by Kattullus at 4:25 PM on July 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


And I hope people can see that a discussion of site policy is a discussion of site policy.

I will make my comment clearer, then: it's reasonable for Norwegians to ask that we not make jokes about their national tragedy in the immediate wake while we don't even know the death toll. It's good site policy for the mods to enforce that request.

It's crappy and selfish to hijack a discussion of site policy on being polite to shocked, grieving people to grind a personal axe about "@username" and "THIS". And while there's no reason to delete the request, this being MeTa and all, I hope the mods give it all the consideration it's due in this thread, which is none.
posted by immlass at 4:29 PM on July 22, 2011


Imagine how the O.P. of this Meta , who has friends and family in Norway, feels about your making fun of it

Imagine how anyone with friends, family or even feelings about Norway feels about equating the makers of jokes with bombings and massacres of youths?

Funny thing, critical though/empathy. It cuts through most bullshit, not just the BS you disagree with.
posted by Chipmazing at 4:31 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's good site policy for the mods to enforce that request.

No, it isn't. Once again, it shouldn't be the job of a moderator in an open forum to make sure people are never assholes.

Also, it's possible my offer to Poet_Lariat was not completely serious. But I suppose even making a joke in a discussion of site policy about making jokes in disaster threads makes one a sociopath.
posted by Justinian at 4:33 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The jokes weren't great, but the inevitable "OMG Al Queada!!1!!" stuff is lame. Congrats, you've taken the bogeyman bait, hook, line, and sinker.
posted by maxwelton at 4:34 PM on July 22, 2011


hijack a discussion

Also, you appear to be missing the point completely. Different people are annoyed or outraged by different things. That's exactly why it is bad site policy to start policing those outrages except in extreme cases.
posted by Justinian at 4:35 PM on July 22, 2011


> Distance + lack of connection + jokey comes across as just being a jerk.
> posted by mazola at 5:54 PM on July 22 [7 favorites +] [!]

And if your connection is that you've just lost a loved one in the event, or you're actually among the bloody victims being carried out by first responders, then black humor from you gets a pass--even a salute.

Any further away than that, not.
posted by jfuller at 4:38 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


So this is really the hill you want to die on, huh?

I have come to realise that anyone who uses this nasty, snide little "Shut up, that's why" phrase, is an unutterable shit.

It is most regrettable that it has become rather chic on Metafilter. Nevertheless, I feel I can rise above it. Which is nice.
posted by Decani at 4:42 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is that how you're rising above it?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:43 PM on July 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


So that's the hill you wanna rise above, huh?
posted by stavrogin at 4:44 PM on July 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'm actually a big fan of gallows humor, but there's a time a place for everything, y'know. Apolgies to the dumbasses who would consider this a news flash.
posted by jonmc at 4:48 PM on July 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


Imagine how the O.P. of this Meta , who has friends and family in Norway, feels about your making fun of it.

Sorry, I stepped outside for a minute -- I typed and deleted a couple of things in response to this, but I realize that I'm not really sure how to respond (especially as I believe you are accusing me of something I haven't done). I try to be respectful and choose my context when I say things, especially things that might be hurtful or controversial, and I think I'm more or less requesting that you do the same. I don't think that upping the ante by making statements to which there is no legitimate response is helping to create a useful conversation.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 4:52 PM on July 22, 2011


Is that how you're rising above it?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:43 AM on July 23


Yes. Why yes. That is precisely and exactly how I am rising above it. Why? Do you have a problem with the manner of my rising above it? If so, I would very much like to take offence, and to challenge you to a bout of angry penis wrestling. Are you man enough for a bout of angry penis wrestling, "Marisa"?
posted by Decani at 4:58 PM on July 22, 2011


the jokes all sucked, qua humor, too
posted by thelonius at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If so, I would very much like to take offence

*gasp*

whatever shall we do?
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you man enough for a bout of angry penis wrestling, "Marisa"?

Does my penis need to be angry? It's generally a happy fellow.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:01 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


*gasp*

whatever shall we do?
posted by jonmc at 12:59 AM on July 2


For you, I would recommend wearing an unsavoury baseball cap and drinking an excess of inferior liquor. Oh... I see you are ahead of me. Pray forget I spoke.
posted by Decani at 5:03 PM on July 22, 2011


Does my penis need to be angry? It's generally a happy fellow.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:01 AM on July 23


It doesn't need to be angry. Unless it wants to WIN.
posted by Decani at 5:03 PM on July 22, 2011


(and all this tough guy posturing is coming from a man, who when I threw a barbed comment about Christopher Hitchens (who is 1) not dead, and 2) a man who made his living throwing barbed comments at people) pitched a (mercifully deleted, maybe a LoFi user can find it) fit like a 12-year old girl who was mad that somebody made fun of Justin Beiber.

So save the Internet badass posing for the fucking tourists, OK.
posted by jonmc at 5:04 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does my penis need to be angry? It's generally a happy fellow.

lol!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:05 PM on July 22, 2011


Angry penises are loser penises, in my experience.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:05 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh heh. Let the angry penis fight -- BEGIN!!! Keep your heads up, no blows below the shaft.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:05 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


So save the Internet badass posing for the fucking tourists, OK.

Funny to see advice given by the person who, on this entire site, could find it the most useful if he took it.
posted by rollbiz at 5:06 PM on July 22, 2011


Jon, jon, jon. You seem to be confusing "tough guy posturing" for "larking about and having a laugh on a Friday night." Come on, dude. I like the Dictators too, you know. But seriously, baseball caps are fucking terrible.
posted by Decani at 5:06 PM on July 22, 2011


Handsome Dick prefers a toque. Perhaps he agrees?
posted by stinkycheese at 5:08 PM on July 22, 2011


Come on, dude. I like the Dictators too, you know.

I'm actually acquainted with one of them. He wouldn't like you. And I like my ballcaps just fine.
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on July 22, 2011


Handsome Dick has taste. Except for when he did that whole afro thing. But I forgive him because of this.
posted by Decani at 5:10 PM on July 22, 2011


I'm actually acquainted with one of them. He wouldn't like you. And I like my ballcaps just fine.
posted by jonmc at 1:09 AM on July 23 [+] [!]


That's okay, man. I'd still like him. I'm Christian that way.

Lemmy likes me. That eases all pains. I admit it might have something to do with the fact that I let him beat me at pool, but there it is. I'm cheap.
posted by Decani at 5:12 PM on July 22, 2011


Handsome Dick's taste tends to fall on my side of the spectrum. He likes White Castle burgers, garage rock and old girl group records. I can't speak to his taste in booze, since he's clean and sober now.
posted by jonmc at 5:13 PM on July 22, 2011


Actually, he wears the toque because he no longer has the whole Afro thing.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:13 PM on July 22, 2011


(and all this tough guy posturing is coming from a man, who when I threw a barbed comment about Christopher Hitchens (who is 1) not dead, and 2) a man who made his living throwing barbed comments at people) pitched a (mercifully deleted, maybe a LoFi user can find it) fit like a 12-year old girl who was mad that somebody made fun of Justin Beiber.

(Grammar (you (have) (broken).
posted by troll at 5:15 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is true. He's also a yankee fan, but I'll forgive him.
posted by jonmc at 5:15 PM on July 22, 2011


I can't speak to his taste in booze, since he's clean and sober now.
posted by jonmc at 1:13 AM on July 23


Oh fuck. There goes another hero.
posted by Decani at 5:15 PM on July 22, 2011


Jesus Christ, get a room.
posted by rollbiz at 5:18 PM on July 22, 2011 [21 favorites]


What an embarrassment. That thread and this.
posted by Abiezer at 5:19 PM on July 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Distance + lack of connection + jokey comes across as just being a jerk.

This is common sense. Of course, there will be folks who will fight for their right to make jokes, but at the end of the day, they are pathetic.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:19 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


get a room

acxtually since it's atomically fucking hot in New York today, I'm gonna go find some AC.
posted by jonmc at 5:21 PM on July 22, 2011


These angry penises aren't fighting at all. They're... rubbing up against each other.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:22 PM on July 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Congratulations on being from New York and being a Mets fan and knowing someone from The Dictators. Seriously, none of this belongs here and no one fucking cares, go find AC where someone gives a shit about how awesome you are.
posted by rollbiz at 5:24 PM on July 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've only heard of the Dictators on MeFi. Are they any good? I like White Castle but don't care for girl groups. Please advise.
posted by adamdschneider at 5:27 PM on July 22, 2011


Yo, someone just posted a COMIC (a humor comic at that! jokes that use visuals and the medium of text!) in the Norway thread. I thought we all agreed that was what sociopaths do.

And now all grief is devalued and ruined.
posted by Chipmazing at 5:36 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have come to realise that anyone who uses this nasty, snide little "Shut up, that's why" phrase, is an unutterable shit.

That's interesting. I've never used it as a "shut up, that's why" phrase at all. I've always seen it as a rather brisk cue to take more realistic stock of a situation when one's insistence is perhaps getting in the way of one's judgement. I use it to ask myself (because I do actually use it in relation to myself a fair amount of the time) if a particular position is really that immovable, or if there might actually be some room to step back and to consider a different way of looking at something and therefore a different (ideally, a more productive and more positive) way of approaching the situation.

In that way, it's been a useful shortcut to help me notice more clearly those times when I'm coming from a place of stubbornness or vanity or spite, and to (hopefully) nudge myself toward a place of greater flexibility or humility or kindness.

I am fascinated to hear that you think this makes me a nasty, snide, unutterable shit. I don't know how much that says about me vs. how much it says about you, though.
posted by scody at 5:41 PM on July 22, 2011 [28 favorites]


There's a pretty good story about Handsome Dick Manitoba and Wayne County getting into a fight.
posted by Sailormom at 5:41 PM on July 22, 2011


But, as I haven't made a joke in that thread, not a sociopath. Nor, it would seem, a raging hypocrite. [cue Gene Wilder] Good day, sir!
posted by Chipmazing at 5:44 PM on July 22, 2011


They've reconciled.
posted by jonmc at 5:44 PM on July 22, 2011


Different people are annoyed or outraged by different things. That's exactly why it is bad site policy to start policing those outrages except in extreme cases.

If your website is full of assholes, it's your fault. I appreciate the mods making sure this website is not full of assholes, or even just thoughtless folks who didn't think before they made a stupid joke in an inappropriate place.
posted by immlass at 5:45 PM on July 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


if a particular position is really that immovable, or if there might actually be some room to step back and to consider a different way of looking at something and therefore a different (ideally, a more productive and more positive) way of approaching the situation.

Scody, you did not accurately describe my position in your portion of that call-out. My position, if you read the comments, boils down closer to what Jess said.

We've made it clear that there are a lot of people who find jokes totally inappropriate in these sorts of situations and we expect people to be mindful about that. I understand some people use humor personally to deal with terrible events. They must also understand that in a large community where that isn't true for everyone, it's worth spending a little bit of time thinking how your words are going to be perceived.

Be mindful, but not outright ban. I don't favor an outright ban because there are situations in which humor and grief can be appropriately melded even with a general audience. I posted a famous example in support of that idea.

So, my issue isn't with the general idea that you can ask people to cool down (though MeMail is a much better choice for that), but that in this case I don't feel like I have posted any remotely inappropriate comments. In that context, I'm gonna feel like I'm being told to shut up because my view is not the majority view. This has not been a remotely civil thread, but I don't think I contributed to that at all. (this time!)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:52 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I have come to realise that anyone who uses this nasty, snide little "Shut up, that's why" phrase, is an unutterable shit.

It's someone pointing out that the reason you smell like piss is because you are peeing against the wind. If you really want more people to think of you as an asshole and you are fine with that, thats great, you can keep doing what you are doing. But don't be surprised that folks seem more spiky and callous towards you, or just don't interact with you, because you are acting like an asshole.

You can say you are tough and you can act like this because you don't care, or whatever bravado you wish to spout, but at the end of the day, it's just more people are going to ignore what you say, and soon you might find yourself in the corner, arguing with yourself, or the few other folks who don't seem to mind the smell, because they are doing the same thing.
posted by mrzarquon at 5:53 PM on July 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Can we dial this back a bit? Seems like more than one "asshole" in here.
posted by Big_B at 5:56 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


With two angry penises and more than one asshole, well, things are getting kind of
posted by stinkycheese at 6:01 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


*buys a Kattullus a beverage.

Condolences to your family and friends in Norway.

but that in this case I don't feel like I have posted any remotely inappropriate comments.

you don't feel.

see what I did there

I thought we all agreed that was what sociopaths do.

we agreed? is that what sociopaths do?

keep fucking riding.

posted by clavdivs at 6:36 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


As an 'outrage for the humor challenged' thread, I rate this a 6.
posted by Ardiril at 6:38 PM on July 22, 2011


you don't feel.

Do you feel something different?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:39 PM on July 22, 2011


Well, that was fun. Can someone please close this train wreck?
posted by doctor_negative at 6:40 PM on July 22, 2011


Chipmazing: You are a complete asshat.

Oh for fucks sake, you led this thread by calling a bunch of people you've never met "sociopaths" seemingly for no reason other than to prove how fucking outraged you can get, and when literally everyone called you on it, because it was nonsense, you refused to back down. So yeah, you don't get to call anyone an asshat for like a year.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:40 PM on July 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


I can still call people asshats though, right? I'd hate to lose that privilege.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:44 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, could we not just jump all over that post and instead use it as a datapoint for why you don't outright ban humorous postings? There are a lot of reasons for humor in a thread like that. Some people joke out of grief, some out of shock, sometimes to diffuse tension. Sometimes people do it to be an asshole or just for the lulz. Sometimes, as that comic does, they do it to illustrate a hidden truth that is otherwise difficult to put into words. It's fine, we can strive for the middle ground without being absolute in either direction on this and I think the mods do a good job of it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:45 PM on July 22, 2011


I think maybe some people got their perspective knobs broken off today. I hate when that happens to me, there is nothing quite so painful as well deserved self-reproach, except not even knowing when to bow out. Whatever, fuck that guy for killing all those people.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:15 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


jesus fucking christ people, it is too hot for this shit.
posted by elizardbits at 7:18 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


heck no furious, this is about what you feel.
posted by clavdivs at 7:26 PM on July 22, 2011


Is there a comment I should feel bad about, Clavdis?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:27 PM on July 22, 2011


Cut it out with the "die in a fire" shit.

If everybody could just cool it, that would be keen. Walking away from the website or the computer for a while is an okay way to accomplish that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:30 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is an incredibly awful event, with 87 confirmed deaths so far, most of those being youths between 14-18 years of age. Can we avoid having a spat on top of that? This day has been emotionally exhausting enough already. I mean really, if I start tearing up tonight, I don't want it to be because people are being ridiculous on the internet.
posted by Kattullus at 7:32 PM on July 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


I don't know, should you
posted by clavdivs at 7:32 PM on July 22, 2011


I don't know, should you

I certainly don't think so, but you seem to be implying the possibility that this is not the case, which is why I am requesting further clarification on this matter.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:43 PM on July 22, 2011


Bulgaroktonos, no need for defense. Poet_Lariat was right that I was being a complete asshat (which, on the bright side, is far better than an incomplete asshat 'cause thats just sloppy tattooing). I'm sure she's been right about a great many things. I was just trying very...uh...righteously to prove how very wrong, in a very incendiary way, she was in this instance. Rhetoric and wit proved to be of little use, so I dainty placed a fedora a top my shapely hind-regions and pointed out that she herself thought that humor was appropriate in the very thread she was complaining about.

Now, I made no jokes in that thread but have been glued to it all day. I didn't think (perhaps an "of any" applies here) jokes appropriate at the time. And I think that the post I linked was actually wickedly a propos - a wonderful use of explanatory and diffusive humor. A joke, a wonderful and beautiful joke to put some sunshine and perspective on a rationally inexplicable tragedy.

Humor has amazing qualities. It's almost magic. It can be amelioritive, consoling, righteous, or even a channel for anger to flow down away form hatred. Which is why I felt the need to defend it, on principle. Because it wasn't right for me, and it didn't feel right for enough people to keep this thread going, but it did feel right for many. Many that are just as much a part of our community. Many that are respected members of our community. And all I wanted to get across is that we shouldn't elevate some way of feeling or healing or interacting over others. Some sensitive types might get offend by all humor, some boorish by none. We have a great mod team that makes the distinction on what is too extreme according to community standards. And those standards aren't a ban, ought not be a ban, and if you disagree with someone on here they really ought not be labeled a sociopath. Particularly in a thread about the horrific acts of an actual sociopath. I love hyperbole. I want to marry it and bear it multitudes of children, all of them triplets alliteratively named. But hyperbole shouldn't be the primary means or backing of person attacks, especially for a battle that really shouldn't need to be fought in the first place. Let the jokers joke, the mourners mourn, the enraged spittle their screens and call for the death penalty and revenge. If we grieve with more than just a '.', we ought to grieve together and respect those who we wanted to join in conversation with. Flag it, ignore it, or appreciate it as a different point on the spectrum of "human reactions to inhuman actions."

I SAID GOOD DAY, SIR

posted by Chipmazing at 7:46 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I still don't know what we were all trying not to think.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:11 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, that was fun. Can someone please close this train wreck?
I'm thinking let them get it all out in here and then you only have one barrel to seal and bury.

MetaTalk is odd. It's a constant battle between true neutral and neutral good. Both generally neutral, but one is also kind.
Maybe the whole world is this way and I never noticed.
posted by Glinn at 8:20 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of using humor to deal with terror: a friend in Oslo, as a way of letting me know that he was okay, pointed to the NYT comments section, sharing what may well be the single craziest response to the attack in the entire world. WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE WHALES?
posted by RogerB at 8:25 PM on July 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: It mist be nice to live in a world where you can do no wrong and you're the most important special little snowflake in it. Meanwhile, 80 children and many more adults have died. The original poster of this thread started off by saying how terrible he felt because of the off-color joking about people that have been killed in a country where he has friends and family. We went to Meta about it. But none of that was good enough for several people here who turned the thread into a circus in order to prove their point that they could speak their mind in whatever way that they chose and no on could stop them here in this one thread at least. Lovely point {clap.........clap}. 80 Kids dead ...what, another 30 adults as well. I don't know how many injured and some in this thread feel it important to make dick jokes , another makes a mini-essay on his right to be a clown. 80 kids shot dead my a maniac and some special piece of humanity here is outright furious that his right to make a joke about it has been stifled. Lovely. I stand by that sociopath statement now more than ever.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:34 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


fucking Wales
posted by philip-random at 8:38 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stand by that sociopath statement now more than ever.

With respect, calling people sociopaths is really not helping here. I get that people's nerves are raw and that this is a terrible tragedy that a lot of people have a hard time sort of getting their head around or dealing with in an online-website sort of situation. But even if people do things you personally find fairly abhorrent, this is the place where we talk about that stuff and hopefully get to hash things out. It is making it difficult to run this site when people have their entrenched positions and feel the need to reassert them here. The world is complicated and sometimes terrible and people are complicated and sometimes terrible and I'd like to re-request cortex's asking people to cool it as in the opposite of heating it up. Please.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:57 PM on July 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


"Norwegian attacks thread" sounds like something out of Monty Python.
posted by telstar at 9:03 PM on July 22, 2011


jessamyn . understood. it's past time that I backed out of the thread anyway. I will say once that I do not understand why the mods allowed the off-color dick jokes or the very obvious derails. I think it made things a whole lot more awful than my calling a spade a spade. However you're the mod and I have said everything that I needed to say here. I appreciate your tone in your message.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:05 PM on July 22, 2011


I SAID GOOD DAY, SIR

(fuck it charlie, keep the gobstopper)

Is this what you mean by humor, something lighthearted and at your expense?

Do you feel implications furious?

Your still on the hill, the thing is, you feel others have said get off the hill i.e. "shut up". No one said this and most of us would defend you if someone said shut up. (the real shut up, not just a flippant anger deal) or that you don't have a right to speak, you do have that right and you have exercised it liberality with-in this thread.

It used to be different (lawn and porch talk, bear with me) for instance, that fire remark, community would have been ALL over that trust me, the very thing Anil conveyed in his article would have taken place, community would deal with it or matt would. But we have mods for that, nothing new to you. (still is for me) The short stick is my instinct was to trash the fuck out of 2 or 3 people in this thread but that is not my role, never was. The misplaced but wel l intentioned sense of community is still there despite my own history and lack of civility in the community, I know, not hitting the mark but that was not my intention.

I'm quite fond of you furious, so I will conclude this with you and let you proceed.
posted by clavdivs at 9:07 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and keep posting if I feel I have something to say...

Or even if you don't, apparently.
posted by hermitosis at 9:09 PM on July 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sometimes I understand what you are saying and sometimes I don't Clavdis. This is one of those times.

What I mean by humor is stuff like the whales up there, favorited by the OP. Or the comic P_L posted. Or Marisa Stole joining in the dick jokes. I think if everyone drops the fire and brimstone here they are gonna realize you can't blanket condemn this kind of thing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:20 PM on July 22, 2011


There are times when you understand what clavdivs is saying?
posted by rollbiz at 9:22 PM on July 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't know if I have ever seen a MeTa as bizarre as this with people sniping at one another and such an insane clip.

I, and presumably many others, need a hug.
posted by josher71 at 9:30 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Norwegian attacks thread" sounds like something out of Monty Python.

Sociopath! No, I mean, this is the thing. It's Norway, and I, perhaps like others who had comments deleted, had no idea of the terrible gravity of the situation: 'it's Norway, a bad thing can't really have happened there.'
I'd just gotten back into my office after a trip out of town on business, glanced at a headline and a picture of a street with broken glass on the FP of a news site, saw a related thread on MeFi, and with a sandwich in one hand, made a 4 word post in the thread which wasn't so much a quip as a wry observation. Obviously, it bombed.
But contrary to what people have said above it had nothing to do with grief, or dealing with overwhelming tragedy (although I will turn to humour in the bleakest situations - I'm British); at that time it didn't seem to even be a full-fledged tragedy, but an indeterminate number of people injured and some buildings damaged.
Anyway, sorry, we're not sociopaths, really, just dumb people conditioned to cracking wise in places like this. I'm sure nobody is cracking wise now.
posted by Flashman at 9:40 PM on July 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, I don't think anyone demonstrated sociopathy today, either. At the very least, people are keeping the thread on the Blue well updated, and that's appreciated.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:55 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cut it out with the "die in a fire" shit.

But hey, it's just, you know, kidding around. Why would it upset anyone?
posted by rodgerd at 9:57 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think if everyone drops the fire and brimstone here they are gonna realize you can't blanket condemn this kind of thing.

could you walk me through that masterpiece.

(sorry kattullus)

How many more times are you going to reinterate your position furious and to what avail.
Your reiterating the same point using different criteria.

The marked differance in my tone is this- Now, I'm talking at you.

"The [gentleman] doth protest too much, methinks." (sums it up)

"can't blanket" as you say does make it a truth concerning the point you seek to make.
posted by clavdivs at 10:06 PM on July 22, 2011


I fully understand what you are saying now and will take your point of view into consideration.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:12 PM on July 22, 2011


posted by rollbiz at 12:22 AM on July 23 [+] You already made this a favorite. [!]
[X]

to keep it lite, gonna fav that three times.
posted by clavdivs at 10:13 PM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


sorry i was rude.
As a personal note my intial feeling concerning this trajedy was dissipation of the effects my cities violence has upon me, like it was sucked away and I had nothing to complain about, as if evil reared it's head and struck Norway. A madman made me forget murder were I live and I really don't know what thats about.
posted by clavdivs at 10:33 PM on July 22, 2011


Feelings like, "My coping mechanism for grief is black humor?" Oh no, you don't have that feeling so it doesn't count.

A method of dealing with an emotion is not the emotion itself. We all experience emotions- their initial onset is unavoidable- but we can control what method we use to deal with those emotions. Grief is the feeling; it is not something we can choose to have or not have. Using black humor is a method; it is something we can choose to do or not do.

Posting black humor on a public website in a thread where other people are specifically attempting to cope with the object of that humor is not some involuntary product of facing tragedy. There are several choices that factor into such an action:

1) the choice to use black humor as the specific coping mechanism for grief
2) the choice to do your coping in public
3) the choice to post jokes specifically in a thread in which people may have been personally affected by the tragedy in question, as opposed to say /r/jokes or whatever

Personally, I don't think that people ran down that list of choices consciously and checked them off before posting. The remainder of this post is applicable to pretty much every outragey MeTa ever: I think they acted without thinking much at all. But it's hard to accept that we can be accidentally hurtful to others, so after the hurtful nature of the humor was pointed out, for some it became time to dig in rather than face that.

So some people here were accidentally assholes. After people say "Stop doing that; that's asshole behavior", the accidental assholes should STOP AND THINK and choose whether they're going to stop being assholes or whether they will become intentional assholes.

If you defend the asshole choice, then you have chosen to be an intentional asshole, so don't be surprised if people call you an asshole.
posted by Jpfed at 10:33 PM on July 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


In case folks might want to consider what some real online callousness looks like, picture Breivik's photo with a crown superimposed on his head, and text like 80+ BOSS or I'M A COP LOL JK... I had a peep at 4chan and that's what's going on there. I know comparing against 4chan is not how you ascend to the heights of moral behaviour, but a bit of perspective here could be helpful? I may have missed it, but I don't think anyone has commented in either thread with anything approaching that sort of asshole-ish type level.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:37 PM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


A method of dealing with an emotion is not the emotion itself.

I don't think I fully agree with you on that, any reaction to emotion is colored by it. Is a screaming widow being emotional or engaging in a coping exercose? However, I will again point out that my point of view on this is far more complex than "Full speed ahead, joke away."

I've become a punching bag for a cavalcade of insults and a death wish here so one more added to the list is no big deal but I really think you need to re-evaluate if it's being an asshole to disagree with some of the totally black and white points of view expressed here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:43 PM on July 22, 2011


but I really think you need to re-evaluate if it's being an asshole to disagree with some of the totally black and white points of view expressed here.

There should be a word for this, I've encountered it often enough.

I had a friend in high school. He had a horrible girlfriend that was actively harming multiple aspects his life. But here's the worst part. A bunch of prudes kept criticizing them for having lots of sex. NO! I thought. That is NOT the central issue, and harping on it only creates defensiveness. I couldn't say to him "Hey, you're girlfriend is sabotaging your efforts to stop drinking and smoking" because then he'd be like "YOU CAN'T DEAL WITH ALL THE SEX WE'RE HAVING CAN YOU?" Sigh.

I did not say that it's being an asshole to disagree with some of the totally black and white points of view expressed here. Poet_Lariat's sociopath comment is a perfect metaphorical stand-in for those goddamned prudes that inured my high-school friend to reason by consistently harping in the most unreasonable way possible.

I'm saying that anyone will be called an asshole if they keep doing something after people repeatedly say "that hurts". This is not specific to you or this MeTa- it is a general rule that applies to all outragey MeTas.
posted by Jpfed at 11:15 PM on July 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I think I read too much into "If you defend the asshole choice, then you have chosen to be an intentional asshole."

I thought your were describing my comments in this thread with that. Apologies, going to bed now.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:25 PM on July 22, 2011


I saw the early jokes, and just sort of blinked and shook my head. It was obvious to me that the people making funnies weren't dealing with deep grief via dark humor... they just didn't think. It was an abstract to them, a topic, not an event. I'm willing to bet that for most of them that emotional distance has diminished quite a bit after seeing photos, hearing stories, and realizing the scope of the tragedy, and they probably aren't focusing on humor aspects of the situation at this point.

I don't think this is "sociopathic" behavior at all, and to bring that kind of gun to a penknife fight pretty much sucks, Poet_Lariat. It hasn't helped this discussion or anyone's understanding one iota, and has made things much worse and more angry.

To the people who were joking, my advice to you is to stop and think for a minute before making jokes about ongoing tragedies. If you do, and still want to joke, then okay, that's all you then -- but if you make it a practice to take a wee moment before blurting, it will probably become a habit that will serve you well in very many ways.
posted by taz at 11:48 PM on July 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


Yeah, so one of my coworkers lost his wife in this fucking mess today.

I'm really glad that the shitty jokes were deleted before I got to that thread, but watching people defend their right to tell shitty little jokes while others are trying to cope with the terror of not knowing where their loved ones are, or worse yet, coping with the grief of knowing they're gone... I mean, I guess good on you for coming right out and just being the biggest possible asshole you can be. Really, good show. Top notch. I know I'll be thinking of you when I'm ordering up the condolence flowers for my colleague's wife's funeral.
posted by palomar at 12:37 AM on July 23, 2011 [36 favorites]


It was obvious to me that the people making funnies weren't dealing with deep grief via dark humor... they just didn't think. It was an abstract to them, a topic, not an event.

taz, I think you nail it here. I was with that thread pretty much from the beginning and, as I commented in it long ago, actually found myself thinking about throwing down some kind of lighthearted aside (nothing to do with the event itself, just aimed at the way someone had said something). But then, on preview, I noticed the first few one-liners popping up (nothing nasty or mean -- just easy lulz), and they struck me as fundamentally inappropriate, the definition of bad timing, which as any competent comic will tell you, will kill any joke.

So yeah, I censored my initial impulse and instead, requested that people stop with the making light. But I suspect that twenty-five or thirty year younger me (I'm 51 now) would have just stumbled on forward with the lulz; not out of any malice, just dumb, young doofishness and insensitivity. So yeah, not sociopathic behavior -- just immaturity.

Yeah, so one of my coworkers lost his wife in this fucking mess today.

palomar, words fail.
posted by philip-random at 1:38 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm very sorry to hear that Palomar. This has been the most horrible news to wake up to this morning.
posted by Elmore at 2:45 AM on July 23, 2011


90 kids are dead, who cares who made what comment on some thread on some website, get over yourselves.
posted by joannemullen at 3:02 AM on July 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Well, this is where I found out about what happened so actually I do care what people are saying in these threads.
posted by h00py at 4:58 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Norwegian attacks thread is depressing.

How could it be otherwise.
posted by orange swan at 4:59 AM on July 23, 2011


I will say once that I do not understand why the mods allowed the off-color dick jokes or the very obvious derails.

Some of it has to do with the difference between MeFi and MeTa. Some of it has to do with the speed of that thread and the fact that other people were requoting stuff. Some of it has to do with the fact that this is MeTa and different things are expected and allowed. We deleted some comments and left a note, but there is a sense where before we've done that, people are going to do what they do. This is a lightly moderated site and this means even for touchy threads there's just not a lot of pre-filtering and people are going to say what they say. We will usually see that within 5-30 minutes. In a speedily moving thread, this means jokes can get a lot of responses and follow-up sometimes before we see them. Don't get me wrong, I'm firmly on the "Telling jokes in a thread about a tragedy is not that great and most people who do it are doing it badly and/or inconsiderately" but I know this is a position on which lots of reasonable people disagree.

So here we are, and I'm sorry, again, but I think at the point at which we've spent hours trying to untangle this sort of thing is not a great time to dig in and do the "paint everyone with one brush thing" If you really believe that people who tell jokes about a tragedy are sociopaths, you're going to run into some problems here. It's useful to have people from many [all?] sides of this debate, but if you can't be swayed on this position, part of what we-as-mods do is try to set expectations. This also means telling the joke tellers that they're often out of line, or not as funny as they think they are, or contributing to a very negative situation here and asking/telling them to be mindful. But we have a very small quiver and not many arrows and we need everyone to sort of pitch in towards mutual understanding which sometimes means relaxing the 2D view of things here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:11 AM on July 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


Reacting to a situation of grief and fear with anger is just as valid as any other emotional reaction so I can understand where that kind of thing is coming from. Everybody needs to give each other emotional space to, within reason, vent whatever they are feeling, which is why I feel there is a give and take nature to this kind of group situation.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:08 AM on July 23, 2011


I'm so sorry palomar.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:24 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


My thanks go to the mods and to everyone. Yes, there were some inappropriate comments (I flagged a bunch myself) but overall it's going as well as can be expected.

We all need a hug right now.
posted by tommasz at 8:31 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously. Hugs and bacon.

condolences are much appreciated... i'll pass them on to my coworker when he returns to the office. he is with family now, thankfully.
posted by palomar at 8:50 AM on July 23, 2011 [6 favorites]



I am sad to read that some don't value responsibility to others online. But, right now I still feel a bit numb from all this. Perhaps tomorrow I will be better able to contribute to nurturing the community here. God knows the world needs more good communities.

I will learn how to flag.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:43 AM on July 23, 2011


Looks like the snark has found a new target.

I think I'm just going to limit myself to posting SLYT's to some fantastic '60's music. Yeah, I know someone will tell me my favorite band sucks, but at least I wouldn't come away thinking that a huge percentage of members here are just frigging assholes (which is the result of seeing jokes about tragedy and serious threads turned to one-liner contests).
posted by tomswift at 10:15 AM on July 23, 2011


I don't remember if I read this or what, but the story was that a class of kids -- maybe middle school-aged -- were taken to a showing of Shindler's List and some sort of uncontrollable giggling broke out and the teacher gave them a sort of over-the-top lecture about what evil little souls they were.

I guess here one could say that the giggling = whatever lulz there were, I didn't happen to see them. But one does hope that we approach things with a maturity a notch above the middle school level. And the sociopath labelers are equivalent to the teacher, in that a similar mistake -- it's bad behavior that should not be condoned but can be explained, to a certain extent, and is not some completely abnormal manifestation of evil.
posted by angrycat at 10:18 AM on July 23, 2011


Aw shit that was a nasty way to find out Amy Winehouse died.
posted by angrycat at 10:19 AM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm assuming, having not seen the thread pre-deletion, that all the jokes were before the reports came in from the camp. Nobody was joking after that, right? Near-immediate jokes about a bomb going off are pretty iffy, but I've seen them happen before (see also the Challenger disaster). Jokes about 100 children being killed? In an nation of 5 million people? That seems unimaginable.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:46 AM on July 23, 2011


The jokes I saw were early, definitely before Utoya, and they weren't jokes about the news (such as it was at that point), but more like "asides." All that I saw were more thoughtless in the moment than anything else, but I don't know what was deleted that I didn't see. I truly doubt that there were mocking jokes about the tragedy.
posted by taz at 10:58 AM on July 23, 2011


definitely before Utoya = definitely before we understood what was really happening at Utoya.
posted by taz at 11:00 AM on July 23, 2011


but I don't know what was deleted that I didn't see. I truly doubt that there were mocking jokes about the tragedy.

I don't recall seeing anything that was overtly making light about any of the tragedy (the bombing or the events at Utoya). It was just half-baked Viking references and the like. But even so, given how incomplete the picture was and the fact that people were dead and dying, it immediately felt inappropriate.

The particular discussion we're having now seems mostly based on the defensive reaction that some had to the "please shut up" comments (ie: "please don't tell me to shut up, black humor gets me through intense stuff"), and how these defenses eventually inspired poet_lariat's sociopath comment. Interestingly, those doing the defending generally weren't those who had actually tried to make light of the situation.

So what we end up with is a MetaTalk where folks are dishing it out on the moral-outrage-versus-freedom-of-expression tip, while news keeps rolling in on the single most heinous homicide in recorded history.

I think a whole bunch of us need to go out and do some gardening or something.
posted by philip-random at 11:51 AM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


P_L's sociopath comment was inspired by the the thread in the blue, not this discussion. The only shut up I was concerned with were the ones in the grey, not the blue. The thread in the blue was properly moderated.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:06 PM on July 23, 2011



I think a whole bunch of us need to go out and do some gardening or something.


Seriously, it's oppressively hot out for the eastern US seaboard at least, so I'm not surprised people are hanging out here instead of heading outdoors this weekend.
posted by sweetkid at 12:07 PM on July 23, 2011


I do wish people could appreciate the difference between "this shouldn't be banned" and "this is perfectly acceptable." Saying that something shouldn't be automatically deleted isn't the same as saying that something isn't rude or even assholish, nor is arguing that it is usually better to err on the side of light moderation the same as saying that behaving like a jerk isn't behaving like a jerk.
posted by Justinian at 12:19 PM on July 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


About a month ago, here at MetaTalk, I wrote:

As far as politics is concerned, our side is having passionate disagreements amongst ourselves and getting discouraged, while the other side is stockpiling food, buying guns and tons of ammunition, and teaching their children to hate us and how to shoot.

Good luck us.


and was mildly and quite reasonably chided for it by a member I now see to be from Norway.

Breivik used his weapons for the real, conscious or unconscious reason they are being accumulated by the right, just as Loughner did before him.

I don't know what it would take for such spontaneous combustions to ignite a conflagration, but I suspect the Tutsis and the Bosnian Muslims, along with many others including the remaining black residents of New Orleans, would join me in thinking that it's not entirely beyond possibility if we continue to do nothing to prevent it.
posted by jamjam at 12:25 PM on July 23, 2011


P_L's sociopath comment was inspired by the the thread in the blue, not this discussion.

I guess, I'm just seeing the two as very connected, particularly as I was pushing for something long the lines of this META more than five hours before it actually got posted.

Maybe if you can't contain yourself, you could take it to META. I'd start the thread but I already started one this week.

And to be clear, my gardening comment aside (it's actually unseasonably cool here on the Canadian west coast), I'm all in favor of this particular META. It's a discussion that needed to happen.
posted by philip-random at 12:25 PM on July 23, 2011


Breivik used his weapons for the real, conscious or unconscious reason they are being accumulated by the right

I think the need to score political points out of this is more scary than jokes. An act of terrorism, Islamic or Conservative or Leftist, does not reflect on the group. Assigning too much guilt to the group is part of the cycle that perpetuates hate.

There are elements among these groups that need to be shut down and the groups hold some responsibility for that, but I assure you 99.9% of gun owners on the right are not sub-consciously planning to massacare children or blow up government buildings.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:41 PM on July 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


(it's actually unseasonably cool here on the Canadian west coast)

Show off...wait, I mean, directions please?
posted by futz at 12:44 PM on July 23, 2011


I really massacred the spelling there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:45 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the need to score political points out of this is more scary than jokes

Totally agreed. Making a halfhearted viking comment at the very beginning of the thread makes you a "sociopath", but saying that this unconscionable mass murderer "sounds like every Republican politician" is somehow considered acceptable? Ugh.
posted by dialetheia at 12:48 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: I really massacred the spelling there.

Please stop making quips like this.
posted by Kattullus at 12:56 PM on July 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


That was not intended as a quip, apologies.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:00 PM on July 23, 2011


Thanks, I appreciate your apology.
posted by Kattullus at 1:08 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Black humour should be funny.*
Speculation should be informed.
The vast majority of us should just stick to facts, or, failing those, silence.

*Black humour is a precision tool for a few specific purposes: satire, skepticism and pathos among them. But, it's not black humour if it isn't funny. And almost without exception, the "quips" haven't been funny.
posted by nthdegx at 1:58 PM on July 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just received a MeMail accusing me of hypocrisy for favoriting this comment. Let me be absolutely clear: I am not saying that finding humor on the edges of this horrible event is bad or that using humor to cope is inhuman. What I am asking is that people show care around those that were affected by this act of terror. This care should extend to people on MetaFilter. We are an international community. There are many Norwegians here and people otherwise connected. Personally I have a dear friend who lives close enough to the bombsite that the shockwave blew open the windows in her apartment and banged them shut again. Her boyfriend works in one of the buildings which was most heavily damaged by the blast. Thankfully he was not hurt. I have friends in the Icelandic social democratic party, some of whom are friends with people who were on Utøya yesterday. I spent an emotional afternoon with them before, during and after a memorial service for those who died in Oslo and Utøya. For better or for worse I find it hard to let insensitivity pass me by without it affecting me. I am not alone in this. Please, understand that asking people to show restraint is not the same as telling people to shut up. Also I ask that people understand that laughing at something as ridiculous as the Bob Barker non-sequitur that was linked in the comment I favorited does not mean that the insensitivity of others does not affect me. All I ask for and have been asking for in my post and comments in this thread is that people show restraint and care around those affected by this act of terror. I don't understand why there needs to be an argument about that.
posted by Kattullus at 2:02 PM on July 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


I just received a MeMail accusing me of hypocrisy for favoriting this comment.

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear that.
posted by sweetkid at 2:07 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you can crack a joke that actually gives me pleasure as I stare down at the dead face of my good friend who was just killed by a drunk driver (fictional situation) -- well, thanks for that. But if your joke falls flat, then FUCK YOU.

So it's up to you, humorists. Can you pull it off? Are you actually on top of your craft, or are you just mucking about with the lulz? If the latter, then don't bother if the situation is genuinely tense. If the former, then I suspect you're already thinking on this level anyway.
posted by philip-random at 2:42 PM on July 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


So it's up to you, humorists. Can you pull it off?

How do you feel about David Caruso impressions?
posted by stavrogin at 2:59 PM on July 23, 2011


furiousxgeorge: However, I will again point out that my point of view on this is far more complex than "Full speed ahead, joke away" ... I really think you need to re-evaluate if it's being an asshole to disagree with some of the totally black and white points of view expressed here.

> The thread in the blue was properly moderated.

Do you mean you think think the mod policy of deleting some jokes but leaving other less offensive ones is actually warranted, that there is some distinction between jokes to be made? Does this mean you think that Kattulus's initial MeTa post about this actually had some validity, that he wasn't a complete jackass for posting it?

You presented your own view in pretty black-and-white terms. You told people to "shut up," and not only that, that they should get off the site as well, at least temporarily, if they don't like the type of jokes you were defending:

... if a couple posts out of 300+ can derail your grieving process that much, maybe you need to be the one to retire to the comfort of your own home with people who know how you want to grieve.

If you've reconsidered your original position, or what appears to have been your original position, maybe you should retract that as well. Do you now think it's OK for people didn't think some of the jokes were funny, or people who are from or have connections with Norway, who are especially unlikely to think they're funny, to participate in the threads about the subject?

Has it somehow sunk in between your later comments and your earlier ones that people who live in Norway are in fact human beings?
posted by nangar at 3:06 PM on July 23, 2011


But if your joke falls flat, then FUCK YOU.

Well, and that's the point that people have been arguing, right? Humor may be *your* coping mechanism, but, if it is, usually you do it with people who know that about you and get it. A joke I made to one of my brothers at my father's funeral eased the tensions of a rather tense ceremony. It made us feel better, because I was pretty darned sure it would make him laugh. I wouldn't have made that joke around members of my dad's congregation, because I am pretty sure they would have found it disrespectful (and, yeah, I was one of the "primary grievers," but, really, they didn't need me to piss on their shoes (metaphorically speaking)). Now, if that funeral had been held in an internet community, where everyone could read my joke, how the hell could I tell it without hurting some people? So I wouldn't tell it.

Additionally, I lived in Austin, TX for a few years, where Charles Whitman (the tower sniper) jokes are not all that thin on the ground. One of my cousins was shot by Whitman, and, most of the time, I would just laugh it off (or, if I was feeling mean, say "hey, one of my family was shot by Whitman, funny, huh?" to see what social awkwardness would ensue). But, sometimes the joke would be told by someone I didn't like, and it would piss me the hell off. So I try to remember that when I an indulging in black humor -- if I don't know the audience, I edit it out as much as I can, because, really, who wants to dump a big "then FUCK YOU" in the middle of a conversation about grieving?
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:07 PM on July 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


To be clear -- I meant that "*your*" in the sense of a general "you," not philip-random. Sorry about that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:17 PM on July 23, 2011


Do you mean you think think the mod policy of deleting some jokes but leaving other less offensive ones is actually warranted, that there is some distinction between jokes to be made?

Absolutely, as I said in my first post: It's understandable why it upsets people but both sides have to accept the other on this as long as it isn't too out of hand.

Does this mean you think that Kattulus's initial MeTa post about this actually had some validity, that he wasn't a complete jackass for posting it?


Strawman.

You told people to "shut up

Strawman, but yes I definitely did suggest that it might be better for the grieving process to avoid the site if a few comments are too much to handle. In even the best open public forum things will slip through accidentally and no mod team is perfect.

Has it somehow sunk in between your later comments and your earlier ones that people who live in Norway are in fact human beings?

Strawman.

You have not understood what I am trying to say and I can see you are looking for a punching bag, so I will avoid commenting further on your over the top use of rhetoric in that last sentence.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:27 PM on July 23, 2011


Yeah. 24 hours later - Last strawman still standing. Maybe time for a cool beer at Monk's??


Apart from that I am sad that someone would accuse Kattullus of anything, one of the most level-headed members here.
posted by Namlit at 4:09 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just received a MeMail accusing me of hypocrisy

Now that is funny.
posted by homunculus at 4:51 PM on July 23, 2011


I just received a MeMail accusing me of hypocrisy for favoriting this comment.

Hassling people over MeMail is bad form, though not always actionable but if you'd like us to talk to someone, we will.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:52 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: Hassling people over MeMail is bad form, though not always actionable but if you'd like us to talk to someone, we will.

Thank you, but there's no need. The ensuing MeMail conversation has been quite reasonable. On reflection, if I would write that comment again, I would've avoided mentioning the MeMail.
posted by Kattullus at 5:28 PM on July 23, 2011


Hypocrite.
posted by mazola at 6:11 PM on July 23, 2011


Take it to MeMail.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:15 PM on July 23, 2011


I use gallows humor to get thru nasty stuff sometimes. But I use it privately in the presence of people who love me, know me, and get where I am coming from. It's probably wise to refrain from it in a public forum where everyone can see and some folks be deeply hurt and/or deeply offended. Time and place, people.

I agree with this seamlessly in theory, but how can you or I be sure of how much hurt someone is feeling and how much it helps for them to riff some gallows humor publically?

It's kind of like if a widow bursts out laughing at her husband's funeral, or whatever she does-- it's whatever she's expressing on the not-to-pleasant gauntlet of emotions that she's been thrust through..

the gallows humor makes me wince at times, but censoring other people's personal journey through our common shock/grief/discomfort/disbelief/anger/woe/whatever is not thinkable to me.
posted by herbplarfegan at 7:13 PM on July 23, 2011


what you did not consider herbplaregan is the interval of time that has passed between the tragedy and said joke. (your funeral/woman laughing analogy as an example)
posted by clavdivs at 7:34 PM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


again-- I can't put myself in her shoes, and I can't prescribe what she should emote, or when.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:22 AM on July 24, 2011


palomar, my sincerest thoughts go out to your co-worker, and I truly do apologize if my sparring with the "sociopath" condemnation in this thread adversely effected your grieving in any way. My pennies were in the discussion because I thought this would be the proper forum for that discussion, and meant no harm. I intended for my small contributions to the Blue thread to be my interaction with this soul-wrending situation.

I also want to give (extra? beyond favoriting?) props to philip-random's parsing of the thread/issues because I think it was very apt. The observation about timing, the crystallization of the reactive parrying and the fact that this discussion, heated or not, needed to happen. And although I didn't garden, I did paint a mailbox. Maybe that counts for something?

heh and on the side topic of thread-related MeMails, I was informed that as a person I possessed neither "redeeming value" nor "opinion[s] worth my time" and that it was clear that many people must hate and avoid me in real life. For a second, I was afraid my father had made a MeFi account!
posted by Chipmazing at 1:10 AM on July 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hell's bells. The postmistress at the MeFi mailbox must be working her fingers to the bone delivering all these poison pen letters. : (
posted by taz at 7:29 AM on July 24, 2011


To you, taz?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:53 AM on July 24, 2011


Oh sorry, I misread. Carry on.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:53 AM on July 24, 2011


It's kind of like if a widow bursts out laughing at her husband's funeral

I think that falls under the case mazola described:
I think the closer you are to a crisis, the more right you've earned the right to say whatever the hell you want to get through it.
It's hard to get much closer than being the dead person's surviving spouse, so the surviving spouse gets to be as bleakly humorous (or as starkly distraught) as they need to be.

Most of us commenting here on MetaFilter aren't in the position of the surviving spouse. We're not the surviving children, siblings, or seventh cousins twice removed. Most of us aren't even neighbors (literally or allegorically). So for most of us, that doesn't apply and we would do well to think twice or three times before clicking "post" on whatever smart crack comes to mind.
posted by Lexica at 10:26 AM on July 24, 2011


Chipmazing, I really appreciate your apology, that's very kind. Thank you.
posted by palomar at 10:26 AM on July 24, 2011


herbplarfegan, an excellent example and when I read that I should have phrased my reponse to include myself in with your observation, i.e. when i read that it just occurred to me perhaps the contention for the most was about timing. I have seen widows laugh. In Japan pehaps we would cover out mouths. It is interesting as this seems a cultural universal (thats my opine) laughing when the moment does not seem right.
posted by clavdivs at 10:53 AM on July 24, 2011


Hi. I made a quip in the thread about Mayhem early on, when it was just a bombing. For that I apologize. I wasn't thinking. I have since stayed out of the thread, and I haven't made any jokes anywhere else.

Basically, me and Metafilter (and by extension most of the Internet) haven't been getting along. So I'm going to take a vacation from it for a bit. I'm sick of online life, frankly.

Peace and my condolences to all affected by this horrible tragedy.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:27 AM on July 24, 2011


I'm sorry to hear that, spinifex23. I too had some trouble with the joking, but I'd be sad to see you go.

Even though I am not directly or personally affected by the tragedy in Norway, I would like to note that I appreciate your gracious apology.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:00 PM on July 24, 2011


Breivik used his weapons for the real, conscious or unconscious reason they are being accumulated by the right

I think the need to score political points out of this is more scary than jokes. An act of terrorism, Islamic or Conservative or Leftist, does not reflect on the group. Assigning too much guilt to the group is part of the cycle that perpetuates hate.

I wasn't trying to score political points, fxg, or even trying to make one; I was reaching instead for a metapolitical point, to the effect that Breivik is a harbinger of the end of our long era of politics, which began with the end of WWII, and will be followed by an era of "the continuation of [politics] by other means."

This point is made ever so much more eloquently by bookie, in one of the best comments I can remember seeing on Metafilter.
posted by jamjam at 6:43 PM on July 24, 2011


The bookie comment has some insight but is also a political attack.

A tea-party here, a National Socialist Party there, a Wahabbist sect over there.

No, the Tea Party does not belong in the same sentence as the Nazi party. This is a quick and easy way to drive away anyone who might be buying your other points.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:49 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair furious, that quote is taken out of context. Definitely not one of the best metafilter comments ever, but bookie was making a point about how unemployment and cultural malaise lead to anger and that, historically, idle angry folks channel their anger into meaning-providing organzation. The Tea Party does belong in that sentence, as do all outsider-identified political/religious/cultural movements. Perhaps it did score a side-effect political point, but he could have easily replaced tea-party with the SDS. It just wouldn't have been as applicable because the tea-party is a current manifestation of the cultural situation he was diagnosing. Accurate inclusion is neither conflation nor prediction, and any startling Venn overlaps between any groups compared that make them uncomfortable or sensitive should be dealt with by said group, not us.
posted by Chipmazing at 7:50 PM on July 24, 2011


Will ye or nill ye, Loughner is a child of the tea party, suckled on tea party teats and never weaned.
posted by jamjam at 8:03 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Loughner was a child of the international grammer conspiracy, not the tea party.

Look Chip, I could say the Labor movement, like the Nazis, was born out of employment issues. But why would you say that? In the context of a discussion of political violence you can't toss in groups that have not proven violent with the most violent party of all time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:07 PM on July 24, 2011


Context:

Also: nationalism is back. In a big way. An unbelieveable number of innocent people have just been murdered, and that is tragic and they should be mourned: but it is important to realise this was not a lone whacko what drank the koolaid. This was a political assassination. There is a war being fought out there, and we are seeing glimpses.

You cannot have 50 million young men stand idle for a decade as their economies collapse around them. They will find things to do. A tea-party here, a National Socialist Party there, a Wahabbist sect over there. In 1914 an ArchDuke is shot. What follows? In 2011 a right-wing gunman is loosed in a socialist state. Give them a reason, give them something to believe, and they will act. Butterflies flap their wings, and Forces are at play ...


You can't separate the violence from the context here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:11 PM on July 24, 2011


Loughner was a child of the international grammer conspiracy, not the tea party. ....
posted by furiousxgeorge


You think Loughner is the love child of Frasier and some foreign born nanny?

Ohhh.... you mean 'international grammar conspiracy' because you didn't understand "Will ye or nill ye..." and thought it must be some kind of mistake, because you are one of those people who think anything they don't understand must be some kind of mistake.

I used an older form of our 'willy nilly' because I was imagining 'Lock and Load' Palin in the role of Lady MacBeth:

Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief!


and Loughner as one of her "murdering ministers."
posted by jamjam at 8:59 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ummm, right. Spelling and Shakespeare aside, the dude's insanity was not inspired by Palin. It was inspired by, if anything aside from simple insanity, something closer to the Sovereign Citizen movement which is far less mainstream than Palin or the Tea Party.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:08 PM on July 24, 2011


Oh, and no I'm not one of "those people."

Why Is Jared Loughner Obsessed With Grammar?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:11 PM on July 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks for that link, fxg, I owe you an apology. I did actually google 'grammer conspiracy' on the chance you were referring to a real movement, but I guess I foolishly failed to consider the possibility that something I didn't understand might be a maistake until I wanted to use it against you. (accidental typo uncorrected for illustrative purposes)

Miller is truly strange. I think I'm usually able to grasp the methods of madnesses, but grammar insanity has defeated me
posted by jamjam at 10:05 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


No problem, the idea of a grammar conspiracy is not exactly intuitive.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:26 PM on July 24, 2011


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