Aren't we better than this? January 16, 2017 9:34 AM   Subscribe

I've spent the last eight years asking conservatives to refer to President Obama in respectful terms, because like him or not, he's the President of the United States of America. Now I get to ask liberals to refer to President-Elect Trump the same way.

I get that "we" don't like Mr. Trump. I personally find him execrable, abhorrent, and harrowing. But for abominable or worse, he's about to become POTUS. Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?

Off the top of my head, I've seen Mr. Trump referred to as the cheeto, the carrot, the dumpster on fire, and the orange one. I'm sure if I was willing to brave the morass of any of the election threads, I'd find more, and more strongly worded.

MeFi's stated raison d'être: "This website exists to break down the barriers between people..." How can we hope to break down barriers if we're resorting to schoolyard name-calling a man who garnered 46% of the vote?
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess to Etiquette/Policy at 9:34 AM (465 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

As a matter of preference for how conversation goes around here, I basically agree with the general principle: I don't find nickname stuff particularly useful or an improvement on the conversation, and I've got plenty of adjectives I can use to describe the guy as is and am not shy about doing so.

That said, I think it's gonna be hard to get people to agree in general to the idea in this actual context, and I can't really blame those that don't. "Maybe skip the nicknames" is a good general rule but there's a lot here that doesn't collapse neatly to good-for-the-goose, good-for-the-gander and a straight across comparison to more normal past situations doesn't hold up super well, and that's gonna present a challenge to any appeal for normal decorum or whatnot, basically.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:42 AM on January 16 [24 favorites]


I think liberals and progressives have been showing their true colors since at least 2010. At least to me, and I live in one of the most liberal areas in the world. Thankfully there are still decent people in the world, liberals and conservatives.
posted by gt2 at 9:45 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Respect for Trump, those who voted for him, and a nickel will get you a Coke if you've got a time machine to go back to the last time the world was this threatened by fascism.

I think the nicknames are stupid but that's personal preference and has absolutely nothing to do with respect.

(Honestly, people should respect Cheetos MORE; Cheetos are amazing.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:47 AM on January 16 [56 favorites]


Obama didn't physically make fun of disabled people. Obama didn't admit to sexual assault, but then essentially characterize certain women as being too ugly for him to assault. Obama didn't refer to a population of millions of US citizens as rapists, murderers and drug-dealers. I personally don't use any nicknames for Trump, but I don't feel he deserves my respect at all. With Obama, the lack of respect on the part of conservatives came from a place of racism or idiotic conspiracy theories. With Trump, the disrespect comes largely as a result of his own words and actions.
posted by LionIndex at 9:47 AM on January 16 [352 favorites]


I don't view the office of president as automatically deserving of respect. If Trump wants to be treated with respect as president, he needs to show that respect in turn to the office he holds and the people he serves.
posted by amery at 9:48 AM on January 16 [143 favorites]


I don't really care about the level of respect given to Trump, but the nicknames and euphemisms make the conversations in these already VERY LONG threads harder to parse, follow, and search. For that reason I wish people wouldn't use them there.
posted by lalex at 9:50 AM on January 16 [22 favorites]


I also tend to prefer to refer to people by their actual names, and so that's what I do.

On the other hand, we're in a crisis of democracy now caused by a president elect of unprecedented conflicts of interest that he refuses to resolve, who also happens to be a self-confessed sexual criminal and may be being blackmailed by a totalitarian whose interests he naked supports, so if other people need to have a little sport at the man's expense, well, the dignity of the office has already been compromised.
posted by maxsparber at 9:51 AM on January 16 [37 favorites]


Before Obummer there was Dubya, and before Dubya there was Slick Willy.

Political nicknames are a pretty useful way to identify someone who is writing an angry comment just for the sake of hearing the clackity clack of their keyboard keys.
posted by muddgirl at 9:51 AM on January 16 [23 favorites]


Trump has mocked, demeaned, insulted and threatened just about every one of us across multiple axes. I don't have to respect that, and I don't have to respect him. I don't generally use nicknames for him because I don't care, but calls for respect and decorum feel like a deeply ill-considered rhetorical move at the moment that our democracy appears to be in extreme crisis and many people are genuinely terrified for their survival and safety.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 9:59 AM on January 16 [67 favorites]


he's a disgusting racist rapist who deserves nothing but our scorn and loathing, sorry not sorry.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:59 AM on January 16 [177 favorites]


Nicknames aren't my bag, but people are going to people. It depresses me, but that battle feels lost.

That said, I think the issue with some nicknames for Obama and Clinton is that they were fundamentally racist and sexist. "The Cheeto" is dumb, but it's not problematic. "That bitch" is problematic.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:02 AM on January 16 [21 favorites]


i think trump is bad
posted by beerperson at 10:04 AM on January 16 [18 favorites]


I completely understand what you're saying, The Almighty Mommy Goddess. I was respectful of GWBush because he was President even though I thought he was a bit of a fool.. but he conducted himself with dignity for the most part. Obama has also conducted himself with dignity.

I will treat the President-Elect with respect when he has earned it. Convincing the enough people that his hate and bluntness is a worthy quality enough to make him president is not, in my book, "earning it."

He has not yet conducted himself with dignity and thus does not yet have my respect. (and i don't have my hopes high that he will ever conduct himself with such)
posted by INFJ at 10:05 AM on January 16 [15 favorites]


Political nicknames are a pretty useful way to identify someone who is writing an angry comment just for the sake of hearing the clackity clack of their keyboard keys.

Yup. I don't necessarily agree with the whole accord-the-office-the-respect-it-deserves thing, but I do try to avoid the doofy nicknames, just because using them makes me sound like I don't have serious and substantive criticisms to make.

And boy howdy do I have serious and substantive criticisms to make!
posted by the latin mouse at 10:08 AM on January 16 [27 favorites]


But for abominable or worse, he's about to become POTUS. Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?

Do I need to start listing the abhorrent things committed by former US Presidents? "Actively fought for genocide" is in there, so I mean we can start from there if you'd like.

The office of the US President is not inherently deserving of respect any more than the office of the president of the Ford Motor Company.
posted by griphus at 10:09 AM on January 16 [111 favorites]


I don't disagree with the sentiment that nicknames don't help, two wrongs don't make a right, etc. I do think there's frequently an underlying feeling that we get nothing for doing the right thing except a continuous beatdown. I've observed in other forums that there's even a neat two-step the Republicans practice where, say, Fox and Rush Limbaugh heap bullshit on a Democrat, while polite Republicans tut-tut and deplore the incivility, but still reap the rewards of a few more points in the polls.

I don't know how to mitigate this feeling in order to retain a commitment to our higher selves.
posted by fatbird at 10:09 AM on January 16 [7 favorites]


Some of us aren't American but watched as a minority of those who are cheerily elected a white collar criminal to high office. Even as he, and those charged with speaking for him, engaged in speech & actions for which he would have been found criminally liable if (apparently) he hadn't been engaged in running for office.

I am not about to go out of my way to spit out pejoratives to describe this man or the office to which he has been elected but neither do I feel beholden to pay him (or it) any more respect than those who have pledged allegiance apparently have.
posted by mce at 10:10 AM on January 16 [12 favorites]


I've spent the last eight years asking conservatives to refer to President Obama in respectful terms, because like him or not, he's the President of the United States of America.

The concept of respecting a person specifically because they have power over you is itself a very conservative idea.
posted by MillMan at 10:12 AM on January 16 [171 favorites]


The office of the US President is not inherently deserving of respect any more than the office of the president of the Ford Motor Company.

His Eminence Mark Fields expresses his displeasure
posted by beerperson at 10:12 AM on January 16 [10 favorites]


The passive-aggressive snarkiness (much like Obama's infamous press dinner takedown of Trump) is highly annoying and stupid, not because it "disrespects the office", but because it plays right into Trump's hands. Everytime you insult Trump, you're just permitting Trump to do the same thing to you and the things you love.

The best thing to do is to take Trump and his cronies seriously and use facts. It works.
posted by My Dad at 10:13 AM on January 16 [24 favorites]


a white collar criminal to high office

I mean, at best
posted by beerperson at 10:14 AM on January 16 [10 favorites]


General calls for respect and decorum in public discourse are fair enough, but I always thought it was an odd idea to ‘respect the office’. And in the case of Donald Trump, I think that calls to ‘respect the office’ could be actively dangerous if it means behaving as though he’s a normal politician.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 10:14 AM on January 16 [9 favorites]


Here's another thing worth considering that is unique to this election. There has been a rise in a troll army online that specifically targets people who are critical of the president elect.

On Twitter, I almost always refer to Trump as the president elect, rather than Trump, in order not to have my responses fill with antisemitic imagery, physical threats, endless demands for proof of my criticism, and a million other ways that these people harass disagreement online.

In a lot of circumstances, it is actually safer now never to refer to Trump by name. That's a circumstance he created.
posted by maxsparber at 10:14 AM on January 16 [56 favorites]


like voldemort
posted by poffin boffin at 10:18 AM on January 16 [38 favorites]


I was going to say voldesnort but then i remembered he doesn't have a nose and it felt like i crossed a line
posted by beerperson at 10:19 AM on January 16 [28 favorites]


Everytime you insult Trump, you're just permitting Trump to do the same thing to you and the things you love.

Only by your own rules, not by his. This is just it: Trump isn't justifiably retaliating, and he doesn't care that he's not. He's just doing what Trump does. You're bringing rules to a situation where the other parties in question haven't even agreed that rules exist.
posted by fatbird at 10:21 AM on January 16 [53 favorites]


I was going to say voldesnort but then i remembered he doesn't have a nose and it felt like i crossed a line

No, it's okay! Snakes can snort!
posted by maxsparber at 10:22 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


That he might have chopped up his soul and hid them in bobbles might explain a lot of his actions and words...
posted by INFJ at 10:22 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


I've generally refereed to him by name or title (or just, you know, "him") and have rolled my eyes at some of the more out there nicknames, especially when they're used for the purpose of identification rather than as observation to make a point. I'm not, personally, a huge fan of namecalling in general. And I think making this ask is reasonable, but I don't think it's particularly enforceable beyond the level of a polite request, which is what you've done here.
posted by zachlipton at 10:25 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I agree with you. A part (not all) of the reason we got to this place is that he was a punchline for so long that he wasn't taken seriously as a viable candidate until far too late. But it's not going to work here on MetaFilter. Even putting his VERY problematic politics aside, some people are just too heavily-invested in their own punchlines and "witty" retorts.
posted by kimberussell at 10:26 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Dude is literally trying to kill me by taking away my health insurance. No, I won't respect him or any of his party. No, I won't.
posted by xingcat at 10:34 AM on January 16 [86 favorites]


Regular FPP appearer, Anne Helen Petersen had an article out about how Trump should be treated as a celebrity, not a politician to actually grasp him and account for him and so on.

My take on this is that the damage we can do to Trump does come from childish namecalling and getting the entire internet to make piss jokes at his expense for an evening+. He's much, much more hooked into ratings, web and social media commentary, etc. than he is into anything political. If there's one thing that we should learn from Clinton's campaign, it's that sober analysis of the facts brought to the table in a respectful manner doesn't fuckin' work when the other side can just lie and have the lie be transmitted as a statement you have to decide is true or not.

So, no, no respect for Trump and no respect to the office he will be using to do untold damage to millions. More childish nicknames yelled as loudly as possible. More tomatoes thrown at him in public. More shit that burrows into his brain and keeps him awake at night as he realizes that not even becoming the real-life president of the Best Country In The World can gain him the respect of all the people. He's even counting on the Dignity of the Office for that and, well, I sure as hell won't be complicit in letting him have it.

If he's shown one thing to us during that whole piss thing, is that he can be trolled. The toxic environment he created can be turned back on him. Is that the noble thing to do? Probably not. But we did the noble thing and whatever other percent of the country did the thing that would work and here we are.
posted by griphus at 10:36 AM on January 16 [122 favorites]


Fuck Putin.
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


No.
posted by bondcliff at 10:37 AM on January 16 [12 favorites]


Gentlemen, the MI-6 meeting is two threads over. Godspeed.
posted by griphus at 10:39 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


a man who garnered 46% of the vote?

... of the 55% of the voting age population. Which is 70% of the US population.

I won't say his name. I don't actually feel that it's appropriate for me to suggest what other people do, this is a highly irregular situation.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:39 AM on January 16 [79 favorites]


I myself find it hard to his actual name. Most of the time I type "DT". My reaction to his name is visceral and I feel better not using it. That having been said, I have not seen a nickname that feels appropriate either. "Cheetoh" is more light hearted and harmless than he deserves. Neither can I bring myself to use President or Potus or president elect. I'm sticking with "that man" or "He Who Must Not Be Named" (HWMNBN) or if it's unclear, DT.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:39 AM on January 16 [7 favorites]


Nope. I refuse to say his name, and I really reject that "liberals" have been "showing our true colors" since 2010. What a load of absolute horseshit.
posted by bibliogrrl at 10:41 AM on January 16 [91 favorites]


I get that "we" don't like Mr. Trump.

Wee.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on January 16 [19 favorites]


I am not a fan on disparaging nicknames for anyone, in any conversation, because I would prefer we keep the focus on concrete arguments, not taunts. On the other hand, if someone wants to lob some unflattering names at the person who trademarked "Lyin' Ted Cruz," "Little Marco Rubio," "Low Energy Jeb Bush," and "Crooked Hillary Clinton," well...I can't really get worked up about that. Trump himself clearly doesn't think people who hold high office should be accorded basic respect--or really any human, for that matter.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:50 AM on January 16 [53 favorites]


I don't know, I feel like cheeto is a wonderful name for him. Cheetos are high calorie corn puffed full of hot air and coated in fake neon orange cheese.

In the camp of what to call him: "The President-Elect" or soon to be "The President" I think leaves confusion at the door without giving him the high of seeing people talk about him by name. Highlights the office, which has existed before him and shall exist after him. (I have high hopes it will, anyways)
posted by INFJ at 10:51 AM on January 16 [7 favorites]


Mockery of the powerful by the disenfranchised is a very useful tool, and complaints that it is inappropriate are just tone arguments in a different guise.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 10:52 AM on January 16 [87 favorites]


I'm glad of the OP's consistency, but demanding respect for a person because of the office they hold is foolish. It's just deference to power. Really angry, scathing posts on a general-interest forum that isn't all that widely read won't bring about Trump's downfall, but neither will polite, measured disagreement with the forthcoming triumph of American capital over American labor.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:55 AM on January 16 [22 favorites]


I'm not in the US so I resent being told I have to respect the office like it's actually the most important job in the world. I respect people not titles. He deserves absolutely none and I don't give a shit which party he belongs to. Plus his name means fart in UK English and you will pry Butt-Trumpet out of my cold dead hands.
posted by billiebee at 10:56 AM on January 16 [91 favorites]


I like to think that I have a generous view of other people's faults and flaws. (That may not be true, but I like to think it is.) And nobody's flaws disgust me more than my own. BUT. I simply cannot abide a bully, not in any form. I can't think of a worse thing for a person to be. And of all the things DJT may or may not be, we know for a fact that he's a bully. He gets no benefit of the doubt from me. Besides, he himself clearly thinks there's nothing wrong with name-calling, so if he's now to be our CiC then I guess we have to respect that too, right?

If there were any reason not to revile him, any inkling that he is something other than a walking Worst Case Scenario, then I might feel differently. So far there has been no such sign. All the evidence falls on one side, and I can't ignore that.
posted by Flexagon at 10:58 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


I do believe that people who voted for Trump deserve respect and basic human consideration especially those who are disenfranchised. Djt and all other Republican politicians deserve nothing, and will receive only the boot in the coming revolution. 😇
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:58 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Plus his name means fart in UK English...

okay and now I'm all over again confused about Top Trumps
posted by griphus at 10:58 AM on January 16 [10 favorites]


you win if you're the loudest
posted by billiebee at 11:01 AM on January 16 [6 favorites]


Donny
has only got one ball
Bannon
has two but very small
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:01 AM on January 16 [12 favorites]


It seems to me that respecting the office of POTUS and the role it plays in our system is part of supporting our style of government. Without that respect one leg of our system collapses. I also believe that acting like "them" diminishes the differences between us, if such differences can be said to exist.

But I am sometimes wont to act childishly. Also, I don't see Trump as a man who respects the office of POTUS. He seems to have made it clear that he has no interest in conforming to any of our political conventions. Indeed, that was part of his appeal to a certain voting bloc. I think he's an awful person, probably criminal under various notions of criminality, and even more embarrassing a representative of our country than was B-43 (and that clown bus associated with him).

Trump defeated not only the Democrats, but the Republicans: they are joined by the adage "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." It seems like they have much in common, two snakes of the same stripe, as it were, but Trump is a team standing alone.

I can't be a bitter loser of the same cut as the far-right. I truly hope Trump steers us into some sort of avoidance of nuclear war or total financial breakdown. I will give him a nod every time he fails to gross me out. For example, the gentle chastising he gave the GOP with regards to the removal of the ethics committee's teeth was a cool move. I love to see Mitch chewing his lip.

Trump's still a dog, though, and he may even be Putin's running dog. So when the time comes I'm pretty sure I won't hesitate to call an overblown pile of steaming excrement by any of the various euphemisms that come to mind. So, okay, in the meantime I won't refer to him as a blubbering cheeto pussy grabber with tiny hands.

Take away thought: don't confuse the office with the man.
posted by mule98J at 11:02 AM on January 16 [6 favorites]


I do not respect him. I do not respect anyone who supports him. There are not vile enough words to describe him, but I will do my best to find them until this shitstain on history is a faint, nasty dream in hell.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:02 AM on January 16 [55 favorites]


I personally choose not to use the nicknames floating around because I feel they bring levity to a situation that I feel is dire and upsetting. I try not to refer to him by name at all. YMMV--to each their own.
I feel that I need to respect the electoral process that got us here because I can't only believe in the system when it goes my way. But I won't respect the words/actions of the person in the office until that respect is earned.
We are so much better than this. I want to rise above this.
posted by bookmammal at 11:07 AM on January 16 [7 favorites]


This "true colors" rhetoric is just more of the same old tone policing/be better than them/lie back and think of England bullshit that got us where we are today. Oh no, did the mean old liberals start to fight back?? Is that not okay with everyone? Oh, we'll stop then. We'll just be over here being "better than this" until they're done digging the mass graves for us, okay?

I'm proud to wear my true colors, thanks. That includes not calling people racial slurs - which is what Obama's detractors were doing, are still doing, despite your efforts - and so I won't call the president-elect those things, and personally am avoiding referencing the color of his skin though I totally get why that's a thing. If people want to call him things I think are just less than narratively elegant or might hurt the feefees of somebody who - again, let's be clear - wants to genocide a bunch of people including me, I will just deal with it because there are larger issues at hand.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:10 AM on January 16 [57 favorites]


Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?


My suggestion is that people use "President" or "President-elect" and append whatever name they want after that. Have some respect for the office and position, but if you don't like the man, then don't pretend to do.

So President-Elect Asshole it is, and that's the polite honorific. We could get really graphic and long winded with his name, ala Game of Thrones and... LIGHT BULB

President Asshole, Donald of the House Loudness, First of Pettiness, King of Reality TV and Short Commercial Breaks, Lord of Gaslighting and Protector of his Golden Toilet.

Yeah, that's a good start while I finish this burrito and dump a trump.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:10 AM on January 16 [20 favorites]


I read Dead Funny: Telling Jokes in Hitler's Germany by Rudolph Herzog (Werner's son) last year, and I think I might need to re-read it because it has become quite relevant and god forbid it becomes any more relevant.

What I learned from it was that, under authoritarianism, jokes (and, for the purposes of this argument, I'm including yelling "DONNY TROMBONE" in "jokes") and the like, have no absolutel value. Certain ones, even those critical of the regime, can end up being appreciated and adopted by the regime. Other jokes will get you thrown from lockup to the kangaroo court to the stocks to your death with a wave of a hand. Jokes are chaotic; you don't know what you're going to get when you tell one (sometimes they don't laugh!) and an authoritarian regime amplifies that into absurdity.

But in the way that jokes have no absolute value, requesting respect for an authoritarian regime -- even one occupying an otherwise democratic office -- does. The man who occupies the office has done so through graft, outright lying, shit-stirring, trolling and all sorts of other nasty little things that aren't necessarily Crimes. Nothing we can legally repercuss him for, or, if we can, nothing anyone is willing to repercuss him for because the other offices we should be respecting are also held by people driven by craven avarice and hate.

What grounds for respect and dignity does an office acquired by such means have?
posted by griphus at 11:12 AM on January 16 [27 favorites]


is here a good place to mention that Donald Trump is a thin-skinned moronic dumb-ass motherfucker
posted by beerperson at 11:13 AM on January 16 [25 favorites]


When they go low, we go high, which is why I'm glad to sign onto this compromise bill which allocates more money to the F-35 and cuts less money from the new Medicaid block grants
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:13 AM on January 16 [14 favorites]


What grounds for respect and dignity does an office acquired by such means have?

I agree, but would also like to the see the Office itself respected, because presumably someone worthy of respect will be in that position (oh god, I'd take Romey or Bush, ANY BUSH, right now), so let's not tear that down too much. Mitch McConnell and the GOP have already do a fabulous job of that, don't help'em.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:15 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


ANY BUSH

billy
posted by beerperson at 11:15 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


With two day shipping, SOLD
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM on January 16


I think liberals and progressives have been showing their true colors since at least 2010.

Happy to be on the team with the colors, thanks.
posted by phunniemee at 11:18 AM on January 16 [40 favorites]


conservatives have been showing their true whites since at least 2010
posted by beerperson at 11:20 AM on January 16 [22 favorites]


Jokes are a way for people to define who is on the inside and who, by not "getting" the joke, is on the outside. That's helpful if you are in danger of losing heart completely; knowing that others share your perspective is of immense comfort and gives a sense of safety.

However, I think it's important not to overdo it; use it when you need it, but don't make light so much that you don't spend your valuable time dealing seriously with those things that are serious threats. That's probably not a real danger, but:

By using serious language, you _show others_ that you are taking matters seriously, which is also important for not losing heart.

More than that: If I believe that everyone is basically sitting around using cutesy language and making themselves and each other more and more disgusted, it fills me with despair.

If, instead, I see evidence that you people are applying your considerable passion and intellect toward actually solving problems (not just defeating things you don't like, but actually creating things that are of real value), it gives me hope and the strength to make my own effort.

Every snide comment dilutes that. I am sincerely behind people needing to express their bad feelings, and needing the freedom to do that, but please don't put your disgust at the center of everything.
posted by amtho at 11:20 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


Also, if you believe that prisoners deserve compassion even if they have committed horrible crimes, even if they have the capacity to commit horrible crimes in the future, even if they need to be kept from committing horrible crimes -- then you are able to see even "terrible" people as human. And that capacity, to abhor certain acts and attitudes while still seeing people as human beings deserving of empathy, is incredibly valuable. It allows us to solve real problems intelligently, without becoming the thing we hate.
posted by amtho at 11:23 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I don't begrudge anyone to call the man whatever they want. Naming is a tool, and we all use it differently.

Personally, I have referred to him as "President Elect Trump" since he became President Elect. I don't do this because I have any respect for him. In fact, I am working actively to organize against him in my community. And among that crowd I think it's especially important to name him as President Elect because it reiterates the reality of our situation every time I write it out.

We are organizing against the President Elect of the United States of America. Other people who have held this title include historical giants like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, FD Roosevelt, and Barack Obama. There have been some less exemplary names in there too, of course. But when I name him as President Elect, I feel like I am attaching accountability. "Where do you stand, President Elect Trump, against these great men who came before you? Look, this is what we expect from you." Terrible things have been done in the name of the office, but incredible things as well. I can't remove President Elect Trump from that context just because I like the sound of "Short Fingered Vulgarian." And, I think, it is counterproductive to my aims of disrupting and resisting his administration if I remove him from that context.

I also believe that naming him by his full title makes him less of a bogeyman. He is the President Elect of the United States. He is a man and nothing more. He was put into power by other people and his power can be removed by the same mechanism. He is not possessed of anything supernatural. Of course, if I referred to him only as a "cheeto tainted shit gibbon" I wouldn't be deifying him. But I would be making a joke of him. And I don't, personally, believe the threat he poses is a joke.

President Elect Trump is a serious, imminent threat to our democracy. I don't want to lessen the reality of that threat by resorting to name calling.
posted by Tevin at 11:32 AM on January 16 [16 favorites]


Trump is not worthy of empathy.

Prisoners often commit crimes out of either emotion or desperation. Yes, I can empathize with them. The rest are organized crime. I would no more empathize for mobsters then I would Trump. People who make a living off the pain and suffering of others are not worth wasting empathy on.
posted by INFJ at 11:33 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


I am angry, and I am not pretending otherwise. I actually wrestled with this in my FPP this morning, because the nicknames aren't a thing that I normally enjoy much--I view humor as a release valve and tend to be worried about releasing too much energy with silly jokes for me--but at the same time, the phrase "President Trump" without some kind of "that asshole" epithet felt too upsetting to speak. So I excised his name completely, because I felt that calling him PEETOUS didn't set the right tone either. In the same way, I am now apparently incapable of uttering the name of John Cornyn without adding "that son-of-a-bitch" alongside, and Lt. Governor of Texas Dan Patrick's name is incomplete without "that lying, prevaricating shitweasel" appended to it.

I don't respect Trump. I respect the office, and that is part of why I am so angry and afraid at the shitlord currently occupying it. I respect the nation, or I thought I did, and I am afraid for my fellow countryfolk, and it is easier for me to be angry than afraid. If thinking of ever more creative ways to denigrate Trump with every breath makes other angry folks happy and maintains their resolution to resist him, fucking go for it. I am certainly not changing my own language to make him or his adherents more comfy. I'll sit down and listen to someone who wants to listen to me, and we'll reach out and have a chat--but by god, am I not going to pretend that I am not feeling angry, ashamed of my country, and utterly betrayed by the entire concept of honorable opposition. If conservatives can't deal with my emotions, they can fucking suck it up and not talk to me. I am done covering up my rage and my disgust with the aim of having a nice conversation with someone who voted to actively harm me, and I am done pretending that I don't think Trump's supporters should be ashamed of themselves.

Something foul sits on that throne. Far be it from me to pretend otherwise.
posted by sciatrix at 11:34 AM on January 16 [35 favorites]


the phrase "President Trump"

like a knife sliding between my ribs every goddamn time
posted by griphus at 11:35 AM on January 16 [77 favorites]


I personally feel "respect for the office" line is placed far ahead of printable nicknames (like Cheeto, Emperor Orange, annoying orange or whatever). Might be childish, sure, but unless it's a formal setting and someone is refusing to use his birth name or title, calling it disrespectful is a huge stretch.

Also: Jon Stewart calling Obama "Barry Bombs" (re: drone strikes) was funny, while I find some people's insistence on calling his complete name "Barack Hussein Obama" (emphasis not mine, as in "wink wink secret kenyan muslim") far more disrespectful than "Barry Bombs".

But that's me, it's not like I'm the country they were elected in. And it's not like I'm very respectful of politicians here to begin with.
posted by lmfsilva at 11:35 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


without becoming the thing we hate.

Name calling is not becoming the thing we hate. We are not cutting milllions of Americans off from their health insurance or taking away from women to have an abortion. It's not the same as treating millions of innocent American Muslims as criminals. Not the same as stealing the election. For all of those things and more he is a thug not worthy of empathy or respect. I will show my disgust for him and Republican politicians as loudly as i can.
posted by qi at 11:40 AM on January 16 [70 favorites]


> Everytime you insult Trump, you're just permitting Trump to do the same thing to you and the things you love.

Dude, that is just silly. He is a grown man, not a five-year-old. Though you wouldn't know it from how he himself acts most of the time. And I feel like I just insulted five-year-olds.
posted by rtha at 11:43 AM on January 16 [55 favorites]


Nope. Fuck him.
posted by yhbc at 11:43 AM on January 16 [9 favorites]


Noted, but my choice, on a case by case as appropriate basis. I often default to this version, with explanation.

This post reminds of when I was doing election posts back in 2016 and someone repeatedly messaged me (off-site) asking/demanding I include "content and links that were positive about, and respectful to, Donald J. Trump for balance".

I ignored the first few, then had to point out that the only "positive" content/links about Trump seemed to be in Breitbart / Russia Today / Stormfront / a batshit crazy Reddit forum / what looked like a neo-nazi website, and there was no way I was going to include links to those sites as, y'know, standards and common decency and stuff. (And that's before the issue of much of that content being ludicrously false)

Didn't hear from that person again.
posted by Wordshore at 11:45 AM on January 16 [10 favorites]


without becoming the thing we hate.

>Name calling is not becoming the thing we hate.


For serious. This is the kind of argument that used to drive me nuts as a teenager, how my parents would disapprove so super hard of my friends who were tolerant and accepting but said fuck sometimes, and would encourage me to be friends with the horribly mean, classist kids at my school who were all peaches and cream on the surface. It's not the words that matter, it's what you're saying and doing that does. This is a distinction most people learn as children.
posted by phunniemee at 11:46 AM on January 16 [75 favorites]


I agree that Trump or President Trump or maybe DJT are the only respectful ways to refer to him. I usually flag outright meanness.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:46 AM on January 16


a horrible slime creature has crawled out of a swamp and begun devouring the Resolute Desk which means now we have to refer to it with deference!
posted by beerperson at 11:47 AM on January 16 [12 favorites]


I usually flag outright meanness.

By him or by us?
posted by griphus at 11:49 AM on January 16 [7 favorites]


Both.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:50 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


I personally do not have that much respect for US Presidents, maybe because I and my family have been on the receiving end of their actions.

That said, even if I did respect the POTUS in general, there's no force in the world that would make me respect Trump. The man is a clear and present danger to me, my children and their children.
posted by signal at 11:51 AM on January 16 [14 favorites]


Do the mods have banning power over the presidency?
posted by beerperson at 11:51 AM on January 16 [8 favorites]


What I learned from it was that, under authoritarianism, jokes (and, for the purposes of this argument, I'm including yelling “DONNY TROMBONE” in "jokes") and the like, have no absolute value. Certain ones, even those critical of the regime, can end up being appreciated and adopted by the regime. Other jokes will get you thrown from lockup to the kangaroo court to the stocks to your death with a wave of a hand. Jokes are chaotic; you don’t know what you're going to get when you tell one (sometimes they don’t laugh!) and an authoritarian regime amplifies that into absurdity.

As described in Nothing is True and Everything Is Possible, the Putin regime is quite tolerant of jabs pointed at the government as long as they are generic. For instance, there was (is?) a sitcom about the one police officer in Moscow who refuses to take bribes. His wife is always after him about it because he makes less than the other officers.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:52 AM on January 16 [5 favorites]


A lot of people are saying that crooked Donnie is a Russian spy! What a dummy dope! Trump now says Trump should be given respect - just another lie - America is embarrassed by him! Truly weird Trump reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain - he was terrible at DEBATE! Pathetic Trump never made it on TV or in business - America can do better that this low class slob! What a perv sleezebag!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:55 AM on January 16 [19 favorites]


Lol no
posted by ominous_paws at 11:57 AM on January 16 [27 favorites]


Lol no

I feel like we can do better in a Metatalk than that?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:58 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


...the Putin regime is quite tolerant of jabs pointed at the government as long as they are generic.

You can, in part, trace this back to the USSR having a state-approved satirical newspaper that ran for from 1922 to 1991. Jokes should not be underestimated, but also don't overestimate John Oliver's ability to annihilate Trump in this 4-minute video brought to you by HBO.
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


Name calling is not becoming the thing we hate. We are not cutting milllions of Americans off from their health insurance or taking away from women to have an abortion. It's not the same as treating millions of innocent American Muslims as criminals. Not the same as stealing the election. For all of those things and more he is a thug not worthy of empathy or respect. I will show my disgust for him and Republican politicians as loudly as i can.
posted by qi

Quote for motherfucking truth. Fuck that short-fingered vulgarian. I'll call him whatever the hell I want.
posted by msali at 12:07 PM on January 16 [14 favorites]


I'm gonna go ahead an admit I am not better than this. If making fun of Trump makes me a bad person, so be it. I still respect the office of the Presidency, but I think it's next occupant is a fucking corrupt moron and a goddamn dangerous misogynist bigot who is incapable of string together a coherent sentence. I have less respect for him that I do Bush Jr.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:19 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


I feel like I'm so goddamned tired of the handwringing and fingerwagging here telling us what is the "better" way for us to react. How about be your own fine self, and let us worry about how we express ourselves. We aren't breaking site rules, so maybe back off with the nagging that we should meet your personal sense of decorum.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:21 PM on January 16 [86 favorites]


I feel like we can do better in a Metatalk than that?

Nope.
posted by Artw at 12:24 PM on January 16 [23 favorites]


Also, *"dubya"* is a rude political nickname equivalent to "obummer" that should make us dismiss the user? Really? (UK based, may just have no feel for this)
posted by ominous_paws at 12:25 PM on January 16


Before Obummer there was Dubya, and before Dubya there was Slick Willy.

These are not remotely equivalent. "Dubya" was what Bush's friends had called him for 25 years. "Obummer" and "Slick Willy" are clearly intended as pejoratives.
posted by Lexica at 12:25 PM on January 16 [13 favorites]


Pretty sure us liberals were using Dubya as a pejorative, whatever it's orgin. Or at least I was.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


So, I understand the impulse to not want to be language-policed. But to be honest, namecalling of the type discussed here reads as really immature to me.

Plus I agree with the premise: I tend to think that people who weren't OK with "O'bummer," "Barack HUSSEIN Obama" or "Shrillary" but are OK with "Cheeto" might want to turn up their self-hypocrisy detectors a little bit*.

But, on the other hand, I'm kind of ok with "short-fingered vulgarian" because 1.) it is a moniker that the current PEOTUS earned before entering political life, and 2.) it's something that very obviously bothers him. Ditto the toupee jokes.

But, I'd also be ok with "pussy-grabber" even though that's definitely new (and there's no reason to think it bothers him). But maybe that has to do with the fact that it's based on words that actually came out of his mouth.

But even the "ok" name-calling has a time and a place, I think. The dude is already making policy decisions/appointments that will actively make the world a worse place. The fact that he's well-known as an SFV doesn't change the crazy amount of power he is about to wield, and if anything distracts from it.

I like the idea of opting to pull a Voldemort. There's no reason why I, personally, need to refer to him as anything other than the current PEOTUS or the current POTUS for the next 4 years and a few days.

*I know there are plenty of people who are non-partisan in their name calling. I can respect that. I still think it lowers the discourse.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:30 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


Nope. I refuse to say his name, and I really reject that "liberals" have been "showing our true colors" since 2010. What a load of absolute horseshit

Drone warfare, NSA, TPP, secret kill list of enemy combatants, perpetual war, killing Bin Laden without a trial, increase of non stop surveillance. My own personal suffering and experiences in the most liberal region in the world, in a liberal town, in a liberal work environment, in a liberal church, surrounded by liberals. And I'm one of the most left people I know.
posted by gt2 at 12:35 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


what happened in 2010, specifically
posted by griphus at 12:35 PM on January 16 [12 favorites]


what happened in 2010, specifically

i also want to know

posted by lalex at 12:36 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


If nothing else I find this sort of discussion quite pernicious for all this "Voldemort" business encouraging grown adults to discuss Harry Potter in public once again
posted by ominous_paws at 12:37 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


what happened in 2010, specifically

Five paintings worth a combined €100 million were stolen from the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, presumably by liberals
posted by beerperson at 12:38 PM on January 16 [65 favorites]


I feel like any reference to him by name normalizes him and shows a lack of imagination. I don't find showing respect to someone you don't respect to be less hypocritical than holding your tongue for balance. I don't think an office deserves respect if it is not treated with respect by the one who seeks it. I do not consider being polite in dangerous times to be any kind of display of maturity.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:41 PM on January 16 [6 favorites]


> grown adults to discuss Harry Potter in public once again

Harry Potter was a formative work for many children who are now adults and working publicly against an authoritarian strong man. Stories are a helpful way of talking about things that are difficult to talk about.

If you don't like it, don't use it. But don't pretend like it's degrading discourse because it's a source you dislike.
posted by Tevin at 12:41 PM on January 16 [31 favorites]


> So, I understand the impulse [...] Plus I agree with the premise [...] But, on the other hand [...] But, I'd also be ok with [...] But even [...]

If the decision tree for determining which comments are okay and which ones cross the line has this many branches, then perhaps this is just one of those things that we're not going to agree on a concrete set of rules for. Someone who stands to lose more under a DJT presidency is going to have a harder time accepting the need for civility, because the history of oppressors backing off from their oppression when treated with respect and dignity is short, if not nonexistent. Calls for civility are often used as a means of furthering that oppression by zeroing in on the name-calling as a means of ignoring / sidelining the underlying critique. And it's very rare that someone's call for civility isn't being used as a proxy for their support of or at least indifference to the President being attacked (even if it appears that's not the case here.)

Policing what nicknames people use strikes me as lacking a sense of scale. If the worst problem we have in the next four years is that some commenters on MetaFilter make themselves look immature because they used a disparaging cover term to avoid using the man's name, I will consider that a victory.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:44 PM on January 16 [17 favorites]


I don't get what the point of this is. So I can say, without argument, the following and remain respectful:

Trump mocked a disabled reporter
Trump was caught on tape admitting to committing sexual assault
Trump is under scrutiny for being a potential Russian asset
Trump has made bigoted and hateful remarks towards Mexicans
Trump has made bigoted and hateful remarks towards Muslims
Trump has made bigoted and hateful remarks towards black folks
Trump has made bigoted and hateful remarks towards Women
Trump has made bigoted and hateful remarks towards LBGTQ folks
Trump is not reading security briefings
Trump is attempting to repeal the ACA and replace it with a mystery plan he'll let us know about later
Trump spearheaded the birther movement which was a racist attempt to paint our first black president as both illegitimate and "other"
Trump allowed the people attending his rallies to chant "Trump that bitch" without any attempt to silence them
Trump threatened to lock up his political opponent
Trump is threatening to defund Planned Parenthood
Trump attempted to get five innocent black teenagers locked up, and then when they were proven innocent still would not back down
Trump has denigrated our intelligence agencies
Trump has denigrated a civil rights icon (on MLK weekend)
Trump has said to ameliorate the above he would be visiting the African American history museum, which he then immediately backed out of because he is "too busy" (while still finding time to tweet)
Trump has signaled he would like to return to a nuclear arms race
Trump has said NATO and the EU are outdated
Trump is attempting to put a man too racist for the 80s into the attorney general spot in 2017
Trump doesn't think he needs to worry about the One China Policy
Trump still hasn't released his tax returns
Trump may be in breach of the constitution on his first day in office
Trump may be a Russian asset
Trump is allowing his unelected family members to sit in on meetings for which they have not received
security clearance
Trump is allowing a white nationalist to perform the role of his chief advisor
Trump is attempting to install a climate change denier as head of the EPA
Trump is attempting to install a former CEO of ExxonMobil as the Secretary of State
Trump has used his position as PEOTUS to endorse a brand
Trump is attempting to install someone who frequently breaches labor laws as head of the Department of Labor
Trump is attempting to install someone who doesn't believe in the public school system and thinks it should be replaced with a voucher system as the Secretary of Education
Trump has made unfounded claims that millions of votes in the election were fraudulent
Trump's transition team has encouraged, tacitly and overtly, visiting foreign dignitaries to stay at his hotels which directly enriches him
Trump has threatened to build a wall between the United States and Mexico that he has randomly claimed that the USA will not pay for, that Mexico will pay for, no wait the USA will pay for it but we'll get Mexico to pay us back using a mystery plan that he will reveal at a later date
Trump has claimed that he has a mystery plan to defeat ISIS that he is not at liberty to divulge but he will tell us all about in due time
Trump won't stop using twitter, and is so predictably provokable that is is a reliable bet every Sunday morning he will have tweeted at least a few times about Saturday Night Live

What I can't do and remain respectful:

Call Trump names
posted by supercrayon at 12:47 PM on January 16 [152 favorites]


re: Voldemort
I'll just leave this here...
I made this back during the primaries. Oh, the things I could add.

posted by phunniemee at 12:47 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Trump was elected on a platform of shitting on us. We may or may not be able to stop him, but we don't have to curtsy and say 'thank you Sir'.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:49 PM on January 16 [37 favorites]


I reserve the right to make fun of any and all politicians, of any country, using whatever means necessary, be it dorky nicknames, embarrassing puns, double entendres or straight up dissing. If your democracy (or any other format) isn't strong enough to handle it, then it needs a rethink.
posted by chavenet at 12:49 PM on January 16 [17 favorites]


No, thank you.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:50 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


eesh... belated hamburger?
posted by ominous_paws at 12:52 PM on January 16


The whole Voldemort thing makes a lot more sense once you encounter term searching fuckers on Twitter.
posted by Artw at 1:02 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


eesh... belated hamburger?

yeah i was like 95% sure you were joking but everything has been so terrible of late that i think we're all at the place where it's impossible to be sure anymore

being repeatedly told that i should feel bad for people who knowingly voted, with an overwhelmingly open and vicious gleefulness, to take away my health insurance because they were too stupid to realize it was their health insurance too has degraded my sense of reality
posted by poffin boffin at 1:07 PM on January 16 [32 favorites]


I'm not ruling out sympathy for people who voted to kill their own health insurance, but at a minimum they are behind people who didn't vote for it in the pity queue.
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


What I can't do and remain respectful:

Call Trump names


Why some things are considered mature and others are not is beyond me, but those norms of polite society exist.

You may take heart, however, in knowing that failing to obey those norms doesn't make you ineligible for the presidency.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:12 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


I don't understand what "respect for the office" means.

I should only refer to the job of POTUS "nicely" because it's powerful? As practical advice, I get that. Don't want to say the wrong thing, have the wrong person hear you, and end up getting your brains blown out. But as some kind of philosophical stance...? Doesn't make sense to me.

Am I also not supposed to say anything "naughty" about bankers because that's a powerful job? Or policemen? Or doctors? That is the thought process of a little child scared of talking back to her mother. Not a responsible adult with agency and the (civic) duty to participate in society.

I think it's myopic to a galling degree to cast the people referring to "that man" as the Cheeto as the disrespectful ones in this scenario.

It is going to be impossible to discuss Herr Cheeto respectfully, because he himself is not respectful. It is impossible not to discuss him without descending into demeaning absurdity because he himself apparently cannot help being demeaning and absurd.

So I'm really not worried about the nicknames. YMMV.

You can, in part, trace this back to the USSR having a state-approved satirical newspaper that ran for from 1922 to 1991. Jokes should not be underestimated, but also don't overestimate John Oliver's ability to annihilate Trump in this 4-minute video brought to you by HBO.

Yes, a controlled release valve is never going to be "revolutionary." It's always going to ultimately be in the service of retaining the status quo, because it calms people down enough to accept the status quo more easily.
posted by rue72 at 1:13 PM on January 16 [15 favorites]


Belated hamburger won't be covered when they repeal Obamacare.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:13 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


You can, in part, trace this back to the USSR having a state-approved satirical newspaper that ran for from 1922 to 1991. Jokes should not be underestimated, but also don't overestimate John Oliver's ability to annihilate Trump in this 4-minute video brought to you by HBO.

Yes, a controlled release valve is never going to be "revolutionary." It's always going to ultimately be in the service of retaining the status quo, because it calms people down enough to accept the status quo more easily


Sure, but at least part of the point, I think, is that in Russia certain jokes are fine while others get you killed, while in the US all jokes are fine. This distinction, I add, is to the US's advantage. If it changes, I will be concerned.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:18 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


...while in the US all jokes are fine.

well first let's really define what a joke is because this dude got arrested by the NYPD and had his ID illegally confiscated for telling one
posted by griphus at 1:22 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


"He's still not sure who called in the threat, though he says he was speaking so quietly only someone sitting next to him or his friend could have overheard him."
posted by griphus at 1:23 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


There is no more obvious sign of disrespect than demanding respect.
posted by Etrigan at 1:23 PM on January 16 [20 favorites]


I will continue to refer to The Orange Shitgibbon when the urge strikes me. Or the Shrieking Yam. Or the Screeching Sweet Potato With a Thousand Mouths. Etc.

I do not have respect for people simply because they have power over me. That way lies danger.

And we know that Trump simply can't abide by even gentle mockery. Mockery is how he can be destabilized and made to look even more ridiculous and weak than he already looks.
posted by faineg at 1:26 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


Sure, but at least part of the point, I think, is that in Russia certain jokes are fine while others get you killed, while in the US all jokes are fine. This distinction, I add, is to the US's advantage. If it changes, I will be concerned.

The point is that even the jokes can be (and are) used in service of maintaining the power of those in power.

All jokes are also not fine. Jokes that are considered a threat to public safety are not fine. You cannot joke by calling out "fire" in a crowded room, etc. And virtually anything and anyone can be cast as "a threat to public safety" if someone wants it to be.
posted by rue72 at 1:27 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


...while in the US all jokes are fine.

well first let's really define what a joke is because this dude got arrested by the NYPD and had his ID illegally confiscated for telling one


I will concede that joking about killing the President is not always allowed in the US. But then, I'd also add that period on here have been incensed when folks joke about killing Obama, something that has also had repercussions for the jokers at times.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:28 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


There may be some selective enforcement there.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on January 16


Especially since Trump hadn't even been elected at the time and had just a bit earlier egged his supporters into killing his opponent if she won "jokingly".

If you don't think there aren't a lot of cops just hoping to have the excuse to harass you for jokes about Trump, you haven't been to many protests in the last 2 months.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:32 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


There may be some selective enforcement there.

The National Police Union and plenty of local police unions (including NYPD's) has been voicing full-throated support for Trump since they decided to wander into this mess. It's pretty much a guarantee the police will not be on your side if you decide to make a joke about Trump within their earshot, or the earshot of some piece of shit who sells you out to the NYPD for a bad joke.
posted by griphus at 1:38 PM on January 16 [7 favorites]


If you're going to create this kind of pointless 'decorum' post you should at least have the decency to participate in it.
posted by winna at 1:42 PM on January 16 [36 favorites]


I may not respond as carefully here as I perhaps should, because I'm extraordinarily pissed off to be lumped in with some notional group that's in need of condescending rhetoric like "Aren't We Better Than This?"

Bluntly, no. "We" are not anything. If you want to raise the bar, go right ahead. Me personally, I'm going to keep treating the Yam in Chief with all the respect that he actually deserves: exactly fucking zero. I don't extend respect to any of the following: racists, misogynists, xenophobes, bullies, narcissists, people who inherited wealth and think it means they're smart, fragile egos, or proud ignoramuses. Trump is all of the above, and exactly none of that has anything to do with him being a Republican and me being a Democrat. Among all the Presidents to hold office in my lifetime, he is uniquely undeserving of respect, or consideration, or politeness, or the benefit of the doubt. Fuck him, fuck his apologists, and fuck any attempt to normalize his occupancy of the Oval Office, which I remain certain will result in the death of the American Republic.
posted by Ipsifendus at 1:46 PM on January 16 [33 favorites]


I'm so glad this guaranteed trainwreck of a Meta was approved while one on dudes pontificating on their super-creepy justifications for why men sexually assault little girls was spiked with a multiparagaraph dismissal on how hard it would be to moderate.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:47 PM on January 16 [18 favorites]


Well, this thread hasn't been hard to moderate...
posted by Going To Maine at 1:49 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Well, it's early, and I'm just getting started.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:52 PM on January 16 [10 favorites]


...was spiked with a multiparagaraph dismissal on how hard it would be to moderate.

huh?
posted by lalex at 1:54 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Well, this thread hasn't been hard to moderate...

I'd assume the same in a thread about actual children being raped, but there are days when I doubt that.

huh?

It never left the queue.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:59 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I'm not ruling out sympathy for people who voted to kill their own health insurance

i'm talking about the ones who knew it would take away others' but expressed shock and horror and remorse when they found out that the bad thing that they wanted to happen to OTHER people had also happened to them, specifically because they wanted it to happen to others.

they are bad and i hate them.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:00 PM on January 16 [31 favorites]


I'm so glad this guaranteed trainwreck of a Meta was approved

It's actually going...fine? I mean, I've been keeping a close eye on it, but folks seem to be mostly doing some mix of agreeing with qualifications and disagreeing in reasonably measured and context-appropriate ways.

while one on dudes pontificating on their super-creepy justifications for why men sexually assault little girls was spiked with a multiparagaraph dismissal on how hard it would be to moderate.

Like literally the most trainwreck-inducing thing to happen so far in here is you doing this sarcastic railroading "yeah but why didn't you post my MetaTalk" pivot. Send me an email or find some other more productive way to proceed, but don't pull this kind of thing please.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:05 PM on January 16 [14 favorites]


Nah, I've already gone that route.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:08 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


I guess I no longer know what "guaranteed trainwreck" means.
posted by maxsparber at 2:08 PM on January 16


"Traditional, white wedding dress; cabernet; chicken dance."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:13 PM on January 16 [6 favorites]


That's President-Elect Shitgibbon to you.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 2:15 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


I'm probably going to end up referring to Trump as 'Putin's poodle', which has the virtue of being essentially true, and at moments in conversation where I might have said 'do bears shit in the woods?' (I have never said this), I will instead say 'does Putin's poodle poop in the White House?'
posted by jamjam at 2:34 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


> "Traditional, white wedding dress; cabernet; chicken dance."

Don't forget the punch spiked with 151! That's an important ingredient to any decent trainwreck.
posted by rtha at 2:35 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


I get your point and it has its place.
This Trump asshole, this puppet of Putin, though gets none of my respect.
A really pithy slur is worth it, just as a matter of fact, the problem is when pithiness gets in the way of the point.

But seriously, fuck this Trump clown.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:37 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


You don't have to respect Trump to rise above name-calling.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:47 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


You don't have to be in charge of making people not name-call.
posted by rtha at 2:56 PM on January 16 [30 favorites]


You don't have to respect Trump to rise above name-calling.

Maybe bullies would be nicer to us if we expressed ourselves in a more pleasant tone.
posted by qi at 2:56 PM on January 16 [19 favorites]


I will say things about Trump that I have observed to be true, such as describing him as lacking character and honesty. But I won't pass along speculation. He was elected. It sucks. No evidence he asked Putin to help get him elected. So, not eligible for impeachment until he takes impeachable action, after the inauguration. And with a Republican Congress that has demonstrtaed a lack of ethics, there's little likelihood of him fcaing any consequences. I asked people not to get too nuts on the cocaine accusations in a debate thread where his sniffles were pretty suspicious because he's known to not drink or use drugs.

I will give the office of president a modicum of respect. I will give Trump no respect. He has demonstrated that he is racist, sexist, discriminates against people with handicaps. He has demonstrated his inability to tell the truth, or to stop telling lies once the truth has been provided to him. He has demonstrated greed, avarice, unkindness, and smallness of spirit and thinking.

We're pretty much doomed, but I'll show the office a modicum of respect. No need to make stuff up, the facts are plenty damning.
posted by theora55 at 2:58 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


You don't have to respect Trump to rise above name-calling.

I respect the American people enough that name-calling Trump is the bare minimum I can do for them.
posted by beerperson at 2:59 PM on January 16 [11 favorites]


You don't have to be in charge of making people not name-call.

I wasn't. I was discussing the topic of the Meta.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:59 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


You know what? Respect and name recognition and attention are the only things he wants. Denying him of those things seems to be the best way to get him to respond. There's no way I'm going to just give that up.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:00 PM on January 16 [18 favorites]


I've been pondering the idea of respect lately, in my own dealings with (nonliberal) people in my life. Respect is a slippery concept; imagine my dismay when someone close to me said that nobody is intrinsically deserving of respect, etc.; I replied that if that were really true then what was the point of civil rights throughout history, and the fact that she herself is a beneficiary of their struggle for respect? This obviously created a tense moment, but later when we were calm and more open to one another she also related to me that her particular view about respect was something that her own mother told her, as life advice, before going off to college. So while I initially perceived her behavior as patronizing and even uneducated, I could also see it as a very human attempt to convey a deeply held belief that at times helped her survive in this world.

One observation I drew from that is that people don't even necessarily agree on what respect means, with the speculation that it's because a person's conception of respect depends on their and their social group's value systems. And when people operate on such implicit assumptions, conflict happens because we're not clear about one another's assumptions while trying to put something forward. The OP's concern may be valid, but not for reasons that are obvious in the moment. I may be inclined to feel that respect as a quantity to be given or taken conditionally leaves me cold. Or that respect is secondary and subservient to basic, universal dignity. Or that respect is a neoliberal ideological construct that generates its own contradictions. Maybe; nothing is set in stone here.

People are hurting in this current political climate. It's natural for communication to break down. When commenters express themselves, it's not merely coping using jokes/humor, but also behavior that's more like venting, criticizing, and avoidant speech (snark = mixed signals). You could make a case that these behaviors are problematic, or necessary/effective/efficient, or just the way things are because people are at their wits' end. I don't do the name calling thing, but in my comments I am often openly critical of authors and articles whose content that I in the moment judge was poorly thought out. It's only human, and no one is perfect. When we say things that triggers the other person's feelings of identity in a negative way, and vice versa, that causes rapport to harden.

Fortunately, it may be possible that each of us can consider how mindful we are when we act—necessarily, after giving ourselves the chance to calm down (breathing exercises help me do this, just take deep slow breaths and let your body adjust). An interesting idea coming from cognitive behavioral therapy is that being in a stressed state impairs the higher, sophisticated mental resources ordinarily at our disposal. So calming down and deescalating from the stressful situation allows a person to see more options and alternatives in how they can act in a given situation, moving away from the tendency of the more natural fight/flight response which provides only short-term benefits. Some experts think that this is something that can be practiced and learned over time and effort.
posted by polymodus at 3:20 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Allow me to use a metaphor to explain my thoughts on the disconnect here. It's always going to be hard to make people go on the 'high' road instead of the 'low' – or to even suggest they do such a thing – when, frankly, most see absolutely no road ahead.
posted by a good beginning at 3:29 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


That being said, surely most are with me that civility in agreeable politics is a good way forwards. Wake me when that happens.
posted by a good beginning at 3:30 PM on January 16


You don't have to respect Trump to rise above name-calling.

Maybe bullies would be nicer to us if we expressed ourselves in a more pleasant tone.


Calling Trump names doesn't make him out to be a bully; describing him as a bully does.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:31 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, calling Trump names en masse infuriates Trump, the man, personally, where it clearly hurts. And that's not a supposition or hypothesis! God knows he proved that when he dignified all that pee stuff with a response.

The appropriateness or practical purpose of knifefights notwithstanding, I'd rather bring a knife to a knife fight than try to grasp and firmly shake the blade of the one thrust out at me in the name of Fair Play and Noble Opposition.
posted by griphus at 3:37 PM on January 16 [27 favorites]


I think liberals and progressives have been showing their true colors since at least 2010.

Huh, right around the same time Trump asked the first black president for his papers. And after years spent trying to delegitimize him with ACORNs and the Tea Party.

Wonder if it's all related? Hmm.
posted by asteria at 3:38 PM on January 16 [12 favorites]


Since Trump was not just elected king of the world, as a non-American who cares not a jot about the dignity of some office at the other side of the world let me just say what a terrible shitheeled orange clown cheeto carrot dumpster on fire the orange ferret is and any respect for this troutfucker is so far beyond what I'm even capable of putting it into words that... I guess my answer is "no" to OP's question?

Or to put it more mildly: even theoretically and abstractly, nobody outside the US has to have any respect for a particular person who happens to fulfill a political position in a foreign country.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:42 PM on January 16 [22 favorites]


MeFi's stated raison d'être: "This website exists to break down the barriers between people..." How can we hope to break down barriers if we're resorting to schoolyard name-calling a man who garnered 46% of the vote?

Easy: this website doesn't exist to break down all barriers between all people. If some non-president-elect was getting a ton of flack for doing everything that Trump has done, no one would start a MetaTalk about how we weren't being respectful enough towards a person who [list of everything awful Trump has done].

Plus, accurately shining a light on everything awful that is happening as a result of his upcoming presidency actually might break down barriers between 1) the group of people who can tell that his presidency will royally fuck up a bunch of stuff, and 2) the group of people who want to politely ignore anything negative about Trump, because manners.

The barrier that exists between Group 1 and Group 2 isn't going to be broken down with politeness.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:42 PM on January 16 [13 favorites]


I don't think any position is worth respect. Competent people in that job are.
I can't imagine demanding that my students respect me because I'm THE teacher.
That just seems strange.
posted by wester at 4:01 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


For what it's worth, my feelings on this are that it's decidedly true that Trump himself deserves no respect as he shows none for others and is an unmitigatedly appalling individual even outside of soon being the President. The office needs no protection from ridicule as it is quite possibly the most powerful position any one could hold, so in that it has a built in bulwark against any comments the many citizens could offer, and as a representative of those citizens, the President should not be seen as being above the beliefs of those he is elected to represent.

Nonetheless, I find the many names Trump is being called largely disappointing as a reader and one involved in conversations. They strike me as largely empty of meaning, juvenile, and often elitist. They remind me of the way Limbaugh supporters respond to things, all using the same "amusing" and "clever" nicknames and talking points any time a subject comes up that even vaguely might allow for it.

It isn't conversational, it's automatic and repetitive, which empties the words of their intended meaning or insult and renders them bland and sterile. That so many of the insults are based on appearance is just an added little annoyance, as it both suggests superiority of aesthetic, which in judging people is troubling, especially as it is in opposition to many who don't share the same level of educational refinement afforded to many here, and because his appearance has little to do with the real threat he represents and thus it seems childish and petty as if one has to resort to name calling to point out his faults.

So, as someone involved in these conversations, I'll just say I don't have any interest in telling others what they should or shouldn't say about Trump, but I do tend to find the name calling tiresome personally and tend to take comments that go that route a lot less seriously than ones that seem to be less calculated or showy, where the issues being commented on are treated with perspective of involvement rather than repeated talking points.

I'd read all of the elections since the primaries, but last week started cutting back due to the sheer amount of repetition in posts and how rote so much of the discussion seemed to have become, with the same horrific speculations, arguments and name calling and decreasing amounts of new perspectives being raised. That isn't to say there aren't any redeeming qualities to the threads, there are still plenty of great links and some good comments, but I'm starting to feel like the value of them overall is lessening greatly. That ties in to the name calling since that seems representative of so much of the tone of the conversation, a lot of it based on one-upping each other over insults and apocalyptic scenarios.

If that's what people want, then, fine, have at it. My view need not hold for others, but I figured I'd mention it to give reason why at least one of us has stepped back from the conversation and is bothered by the name substitution insults.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:01 PM on January 16 [18 favorites]


I fully support the right of all concerned to truthfully describe serial bankrupt sex assailant bully president-elect Donald Trump.

But: I think it's an unreasonable burden on your reader to decode nicknames which don't explicitly use one of: the surname Trump, or the title President-Elect.

Especially for me, when I read something that uses his physical grotesqueness as the main noun in a phrase describing him, I call his image to mind, and it's a picture which is vivid enough I have to mentally override my instinct to empathise & give him the benefit of the doubt like I would with any other person standing in front of me. If he's described head-on as Trump, or the President-Elect, then I know exactly who he is immediately, and I know exactly the right context to take in his hate.

I understand the urge not to humanise him, but nearly everyone here's learned the skills to deal with vile humans, and mostly we can deploy those skills pretty quickly. If people are going to refer to him using words like bile-croûton, then quite a lot of us are going to end up croûton-petting him by accident, and we'll feel gross because we did it. Honestly, it's true, and it's a big deal.
posted by ambrosen at 4:18 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


MeFi's stated raison d'être: "This website exists to break down the barriers between people..."

In complete and utter seriousness, stated where?


You don't have to respect Trump to rise above name-calling.

Also in complete and utter seriousness, THIS is the only "Rise Above" that's gonna be relevant for the next four years.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:32 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


The "break down the barriers" thing is a phrase from the About page; it's Matt's description from a long time ago explaining why this community blog is different from a regular one-person blog.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:35 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Hunh. Clearly it's been a few years since I checked the "About" page . . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 4:39 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Nonetheless, I find the many names Trump is being called largely disappointing as a reader and one involved in conversations. They strike me as largely empty of meaning, juvenile, and often elitist. They remind me of the way Limbaugh supporters respond to things, all using the same "amusing" and "clever" nicknames and talking points any time a subject comes up that even vaguely might allow for it.

Yep, this. Honestly, the funny thing to me about the thread is that it says framed in terms of how name calling is bad for outreach to others. But at least to me name calling just seems fundamentally rude. It has nothing to do with whether or not it makes my arguments look good. It just seems trashy.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:41 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


soundguy99: Also in complete and utter seriousness, THIS yt is the only "Rise Above" that's gonna be relevant for the next four years.

Fully agree, but would add this version.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:00 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I want to talk about what you are doing to make the world better. I get that people need to express their outrage; I feel pretty bad sometimes too. I'm not interested in your casual, crude comedy about these things. I will tolerate it, and when I hear or see it I will reach out to you to share comfort if that's possible, but I will not participate in it and I really don't enjoy it. Even when I agree with you, weep with you, rage with you, and will defend your right to your words.

I will just keep wishing, secretly and quietly, that you'll discover a truly effective way to direct that energy sooner rather than later (which, I realize, most people don't have right now).

Again, I will defend your right to call any person in authority whatever you want to. I'm only talking about me and my feeling of helplessness and personal weariness of words of hate and anger.
posted by amtho at 5:03 PM on January 16 [11 favorites]


Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?

I will continue to refer to the office of the President of the United States of America with respect, yes.

But Trump is a narcissistic, genuinely unstable, filthy liar and I cannot demonstrate any respect for that piece of shit.

And I don't appreciate hearing I should somehow be better than this. Better than what? Calling it what it is?
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:09 PM on January 16 [14 favorites]


From amtho, above--
"I will defend your right to call any person in authority whatever you want to. I'm only talking about me and my feeling of helplessness and personal weariness of words of hate and anger."
--Yes. Favorite x 100.
posted by bookmammal at 5:24 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


If we justify name-calling based on what we think we know about people, then it should be allowed for all instances in which other people think they know someone bad about someone. That's a bar that lets all kind of things happen under the umbrella of justified name-calling simply based on what people are certain that they know, even if it ends up they are right or wrong. I'm not saying name-calling isn't justified in certain cases, or even in these cases, it's simply not enforceable consistently, unless we have an ideological filter against which we determine people to be "right that they know" and "wrong that they know." I'm in favor of just no name-calling at all, as it's wreaks of hubris to suggest a moral highroad to justify it one way, and not another.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:34 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I'm not a huge fan of political nicknames myself but complaining about people resorting to schoolyard name-calling a man who spent the entire campaign insulting every person he came across with schoolyard name-calling seems like an uphill battle around here. Lying Ted. Crooked Hillary. Crazy Bernie. Little Marco. I get that you are talking about the office of the POTUS rather than the man who occupies it, but Trump himself has not been particularly respectful of President Obama and he's not treating the office that he is about to occupy with any apparent modicum of respect. That can certainly be a rationalization for not great behavior but it can also be a case of "you reap what you sow." Trump would not have much of a leg to stand on if he had made this Meta.

I find some of the Cheeto jokes amusing, but I don't make them myself. Personally I prefer accurate statements over drive-by insults. Short-fingered millionaire sex-criminal Donald Trump is my favorite, but even that may cross the line. I suppose to be fair that should be shortened to Millionaire sex-criminal Donald Trump, but honestly at this point I don't think that he has earned the benefit of the doubt.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:39 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


I don't understand how this request can be serious. (Are you serious?)

He's a piece of shit. Objectively awful. Completely unsuited to this position, and with no party opposition will undoubtedly worsen things in unimaginable and undemocratic ways. We know this because of how he does things and because of how the people he's affiliated with have done things.

The aim shouldn't be "breaking down (or bridging) barriers", at this point, it should be holding on to whatever sense of civility or hope you've got. Paradoxically, this means calling a piece of shit, a piece of shit.

It's like the house is on fire, and you're expecting people to worry about shoes on or off... honestly, a focus on this kind of pedantry, at this point in time, not only misses the mark but is offensive.
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:40 PM on January 16 [39 favorites]


I'm in the camp of people who can't bring myself to speak his name (i still have the browser add on that changes his name to Smith enabled) and who also feels that most of the nicknames are too silly or gentle for such a malignant, damaging creature. The office cannot confer respect upon a person who shows no such respect to the office nor the people he is intended to serve.

That said, I don't think there's the same need to suggest people refrain from calling him Cheeto In Chief in the same way that we would suggest people refrain from referring to Obama with a racial epithet or in a manner intended to demonize Muslims. It's a terribly false equivalence.
posted by crush-onastick at 5:42 PM on January 16 [13 favorites]


As mentioned above (by, uh, everyone), Trump lacks the capacity for respect towards others. He has built his public career (I won't say his fortune, that was given to him) on a series of actions and words that lack all possible respect for many people and every group that, essentially, isn't his.

"Us liberals" were asking people to be respectful of Obama because people were using coded language, dog whistles, and outright racist terms to refer to him, Michelle Obama, and their children, and many of those people were emboldened by Trump's birtherism, which is pretty much the main thing that allowed him to transition from reality tv celebrity to (sorry, just threw up in my mouth a bit) political entity. His entire political career is built on being the most public face of a racist campaign to delegitimize the president. So no, asking for "us liberals" to show some respect isn't likely to work.

The man is, to me, a pigfucker, and I apologize to any out there who engage in relations with pigs, I don't mean to make you look bad by association. Trump is a pigfucker, and whatever his most recent reprehensible action is will fit elegantly in front of the word I've chosen for him: racist pigfucker, sexist pigfucker, anti-labor pigfucker, the list goes on. The sad part is that in a couple days, he'll be President Pigfucker, and some people will think it's more important to discuss the nasty names we use to describe him instead on focusing on the damage he does to the fiber of the country.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:44 PM on January 16 [37 favorites]


There are scientific reasons to be careful of name calling. Social scientists might say that it increases polarization. Psychologists might say that's committing fundamental attribution error and related issues around that. Cognitive behavioralists might add that using heated language clouds our processing and damages ourselves, let alone relationships with others.

So go ahead and call other people bad names. But let's do so with the same scientific awareness that we would with, say, climate change.
posted by polymodus at 5:59 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


I don't understand how this request can be serious. (Are you serious?)

Plenty of people in this thread are serious about it. The name calling IS juvenile and just as bad as Trump himself We're allowed to have that opinion.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:02 PM on January 16 [5 favorites]


just as bad as Trump himself

No. It really isn't. Pretending it is is what's offensive.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:05 PM on January 16 [58 favorites]


what's wrong with fucking pigs
posted by beerperson at 6:07 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


asking for a friend
posted by beerperson at 6:07 PM on January 16 [12 favorites]


Only if the pig is at least an 8, Ghidorah. You have to give him that much, at least...he's got taste...the classiest taste.
posted by uosuaq at 6:08 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


and just as bad as Trump himself

I think that's the sticking point the largest number of folks are going to come to on this. I understand and in a limited way (see up top) agree with the anti-nickname sentiment as part of how I think about what I like on MetaFilter in a general sense, but calling the man by an unaffectionate nickname is only "as bad as Trump" in a rubric where nothing Trump has done over the last 18 months, or the longer stretch of his public life, is worse than name-calling.

Which, no: he's a reprehensible person, a genuinely awful motherfucker. He's a far outlier even among the pretty fraught world of politics, a vile and venal and uniquely shameless dose of humanity at its worst.

You can still think name-calling is juvenile and prefer to say "Donald Trump is a reprehensible racist and sexist" instead of "the Yam is a reprehensible racist and sexist" and I can basically feel you there, but nothing in the realm of an unflattering nickname comes within miles of "as bad".
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:09 PM on January 16 [80 favorites]


Sorry, I didn't mean that. I meant the name calling is as bad as his name calling. I didn't want to edit for content.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:12 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


Having commented earlier, and coming back to read another 150 comments or so, I would like to offer a note on the usage here of the word respect:
  1. : a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation
  2. : an act of giving particular attention : consideration
    1. : high or special regard : esteem
    2. : the quality or state of being esteemed
    3. respects plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference
  3. : particular, detail
I think the original tone argument used the word respect when it was actually arguing for deference:
  1. : respect and esteem due a superior or an elder; also : affected or ingratiating regard for another's wishes
Respect is earned, deference is demanded. I shan't be taking a knee for a villainous cheeto anytime soon.
I might rise to debate a policy or contest an ideal but, thus far, he's displayed precious little of either leaving only his questionable public character to engage with. I really don't know how anyone could expect to cajole more deferential treatment for a man who has sought, won & ignored such a wide and deep ocean of responsibilities.
posted by mce at 6:13 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I just find this to be 100% butt-ass backwards. Criticism of, nicknaming of, cartooning of US presidents all go back to the beginning of the presidency. The right to criticize the president is pretty much built in to the ideas the country was founded on. It isn't that we here, or them out there, shouldn't be referring to the president by nicknames. It's that the person in that office ought to be adult enough and competent enough (Trump is neither) to be able to serve in that office despite being called names, like most who have gone before him, not spitting back at his critics on fucking Twitter like the whiny spoiled brat that he is.

I mean, just glance at the many, many, many threats and challenges we collectively and individually will begin facing as soon as a week from now (and who knows for how long) because the Sexual Assault President is about be sworn into office, and then tell me that the most important issue of the day is that people on this website rise above the impulse to refer to (I can hardly say it) the President Elect as a fucking snack food. Let's keep things in perspective instead of derailing the righteous and justifiable anger that is our only possible ticket out of this.

Also, "Dubya" is literally how the letter W is pronounced in Texas. I say this sheepishly rather than pedantically.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:14 PM on January 16 [25 favorites]


Don't let them make you less of a serious person than you are. You demand respect. We need you to be a force who insists on making facts, feelings, and complete arguments heard seriously.

Be silly when you need to, and a little more than that, but don't let circumstances make you communicate like a word-poor churl any more than you really want to.
posted by amtho at 6:19 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I also don't/won't say/write his name. Closest I get are #tr*mp and #fucktr*mp. Because twitter.
posted by deadcrow at 6:23 PM on January 16


"Us liberals" were asking people to be respectful of Obama because people were using coded language, dog whistles, and outright racist terms to refer to him, Michelle Obama, and their children, and many of those people were emboldened by Trump's birtherism, which is pretty much the main thing that allowed him to transition from reality tv celebrity to (sorry, just threw up in my mouth a bit) political entity. His entire political career is built on being the most public face of a racist campaign to delegitimize the president. So no, asking for "us liberals" to show some respect isn't likely to work.

Pretty much this, a thousand times. While I'm not a big fan of the nicknames, I'm not going to begrudge anyone using them, and I feel like almost any effort going into complaining about how it's disrespectful is at best misguided and quite often borders on vaguely concern-trolling. Trump is an awful person, who wants to do awful things to a lot of people who do not deserve such things being done to them. You're going to have to go pretty far into insults and rhetoric before the person who I'm concerned about being disrespected is that motherfucker.

And as far as respecting the office even if you don't respect the man: fuck that.
posted by tocts at 6:28 PM on January 16 [12 favorites]


I hear what you're asking, so how about a compromise: only people who identify with groups that have been directly insulted by the President-Elect can insult him in return. That should totally ease tensions.
posted by eamondaly at 6:32 PM on January 16 [10 favorites]


> a word-poor churl

Some of the nicknames for Trump that people have come up with are anything but word-poor. Some are just dumb but an awful lot of them are pretty clever and funny.
posted by rtha at 6:34 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


You know who else was--like him or not--lawfully elected to the highest executive office of his country?
posted by drlith at 6:37 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Supercut of all of Samantha Bee's names for the president-elect. I aspire to this level of word-poor-ness.
posted by rtha at 6:38 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


I also don't/won't say/write his name. Closest I get are #tr*mp and #fucktr*mp. Because twitter.

You do realize that putting the asterisk in the middle breaks the hashtag, so what the system registers is #tr and #fucktr?
posted by Lexica at 6:44 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


I meant the name calling is as bad as his name calling.

Really? How many of us have the power or reach he's got? You're familiar with "punching up" vs. "punching down"?

Referring to his office demeans the office (see, people choke on it). As for polarization, good, it's necessary at this point. Obama's failures were down to overestimating the good faith of his opponents, appeasing those abusers of democracy. Flukes of the American system (not the people) led to the rejection of your last hope for compromise as usual. Things are going to have to be different from here on out. People need to stay angry and on target.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:47 PM on January 16 [21 favorites]


I dare say that his name may become the most powerful insult itself. No one needs to remember the names they called Hitler.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:48 PM on January 16 [16 favorites]


Supercut of all of Samantha Bee's names for the president-elect. I aspire to this level of word-poor-ness.

Can I amend the portion of my previous statement where I said I'm not a huge fan of political nicknames? Because it is conflicting with my love of Samantha Bee. I am officially whitelisting Sentient Caps Lock Button, Natvist Foghorn and Orange Supremacist. I am large, I contain multitudes.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 6:57 PM on January 16 [6 favorites]


Nope, I guess I'm not better than that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:57 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


#tr and #fucktr

for the love of god one argument about a president with low impulse control at a time, please

friggin TeddyBoys
posted by griphus at 6:59 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


Don't let them make you less of a serious person than you are. You demand respect. We need you to be a force who insists on making facts, feelings, and complete arguments heard seriously.

Be silly when you need to, and a little more than that, but don't let circumstances make you communicate like a word-poor churl any more than you really want to.


There is much more room for substantive criticism - I mean, miles and miles of elbow room.

But satire and ridicule aren't misplaced, oh no. Two words: Tammany Hall.

“A Group of Vultures Waiting for the Storm to ‘Blow Over’—‘Let Us Prey”

I would like to say that it gets weird as shit when people inject Trump into non-political threads just because it literally sometimes has nothing to do with the subject matter at hand. Look, America, some of us are traumatized by his election as much as you are. But for fuck's sake, the world will keep turning despite whatever the fuck you inflict on the world. Unless you nuke it, but you knew that already.

So keep in mind there are other billions on the planet, some of whom may be totally horrified by what's transpired, and who may fear for themselves - along with US friends and family - but also remember it's not the be-all-and-end-all of everything happening everywhere right now.

Everyone gets it, he's terrible, and I have no objection to insults directed his way. Some of them are hilarious. At the same time, a comment or post like "On X Day, Trump gave a press conference in which..." doesn't need much lead-in. Trust me on this.

So maybe as a default assume it's axiomatic with most of the audience on this site that he's horrific - but at the same time, smart satire is the enemy of fascism, so let loose with something interesting and funny if the spirit moves you.

Because my bedtime reading these days is not the most pleasant, I quote at length from page 400 of Volker Ullrich's Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939:
Hitler's unpredictabilty and contempt for rules constantly tried the patience of his subordinates. Schirach would later claim he had never seen Hitler work at a desk, either at his Munich apartment or at the Nazi Party headquarters. "For him, desks were mere pieces of decoration," the Nazi youth leader wrote. Otto Wagener also noted that Hitler's desk at party headquarters was always empty. Sometimes, when others were talking, Hitler would doodle with a pencil or colouring pens, but Wagener never saw his boss write anything down. "He created by speaking," Wagener concluded. "He thought things through while he was talking." It was up to his subordinates to identify the core of Hitler's digressive flights of fancy and translate it into practical instructions. That was not always easy, even for his closest associate Goebbels. In March 1932, the future propaganda minister noted in his diary: "Too erratic. Big plans, but difficult to realise and overcome opposition."
So given how on the nose that is...oppose in whatever way you see fit. This can include insults.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:59 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


I'll admit that I'm a person who sometimes cringes at the ubiquitousness of nicknames + initials + name-avoidance + Voldemort references around here, for reasons close to what amtho & tevin voiced upthread. It can be disheartening, when in the midst of despair but still hoping for serious resistance action, to grapple with the fact that smart people who I consider my people are sitting around making juvenile comments when it feels like nothing else substantive is happening to stop the impending clusterfuck. It feels shitty, feeling like orange cheeto-ing in the dark and adding senators to our phone contacts are all we've got, and that goes double if you personally feel like the nicknames feel sad/tired/hypocritical as opposed to humorous. I get that. It can amplify the feeling of hopelessness, for some. But as you can see in this thread, nicknames make other people feel better. People I care about and respect a hell of a lot more than the PEOTUS. So sure, there are tactical considerations for when to deploy disparaging nicknames (probably don't do it in your call to your Republican senator, for instance), but on Metafilter, to each their own, IMO.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:00 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


You do realize that putting the asterisk in the middle breaks the hashtag, so what the system registers is #tr and #fucktr?

Yep! It's also joke about taking twitter less serously than Tr*mp.

(I didn't promise a funny joke.)
posted by deadcrow at 7:00 PM on January 16


smart people who I consider my people are sitting around making juvenile comments when it feels like nothing else substantive is happening to stop the impending clusterfuck.

And to clarify, because I could have phrased this better: I'm not at all suggesting that people are choosing name-calling instead of action (many of the people who refuse to call Trump Trump here have done a shitton of organizing work), just that I can understand depression and despair and hopelessness making it feel that way.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:04 PM on January 16


I like Trumpacabra, myself, and I'm not giving it up. I feel it sums up his basic, hmm, freakishly unbelievable yet dangerous persona? I try to stay away from the orange related stuff just in case he has some kinda weirdass medical condition he cannot help (but then he can haz health care, unlike millions and millions of the rest of us, so what the fuck ever) but in general, I say use the names you want and mock. Mock hard, mock early, mock late, mock often and fight as hard and yes as dirty as you can. Battles are not by nature decorous and pretty. I do not give a flying shit about respecting an office when the about to be holder of that office has repeatedly made it plain that he has no respect for it at all. And while I'm at it, fuck the going high thing. Sometimes you have to suck it up and wrestle the pig.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:15 PM on January 16 [7 favorites]


I've spent the last eight years asking conservatives to refer to President Obama in respectful terms, because like him or not, he's the President of the United States of America. Now I get to ask liberals to refer to President-Elect Trump the same way.

Everyone needs a hobby.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:21 PM on January 16 [18 favorites]


I know I'm coming late to this, but, no lie, when I read this, a huge grin crept across my face at how shockingly, earth-shakingly fucking stupid this Metatalk thread was
posted by Greg Nog at 7:24 PM on January 16 [72 favorites]


Look,Greg, every community brings something different to the table. Our something just happen to be litigating the ridiculous.

And we're really good at it.
posted by Tevin at 7:32 PM on January 16 [12 favorites]


I didn't grin (at all), Greg, but yeah. Just.....yeah.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:48 PM on January 16


I always thought Doonesbury was being meaner than necessary with the portrayal of the elder Bush as a non-entity, but that kind of treatment is really needed now with that fuckin' thing about to take office.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:04 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?

I think the epithets are silly, but anyone who believes that holding a government office is a de facto grant of respectability, especially an office that has been used to wage injustice on the scale that the presidency of the USA has, is a pathetic moral cretin IMO. Fuck this notion into next week.
posted by invitapriore at 8:12 PM on January 16 [13 favorites]


Also if anything is a candidate for making us just as bad as Trump, it's claiming that using insulting epithets makes us just as bad as Trump, considering how much it minimizes the sort of actual systemic injustice he and his cohort has and will perpetrate on people by putting it on the same level as calling someone a Cheeto. Jesus, get a sense of perspective.
posted by invitapriore at 8:14 PM on January 16 [17 favorites]


Candied Yams

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2) Place sweet potatoes in a medium baking dish. Distribute butter pieces evenly over the sweet potatoes.

3) Sprinkle with brown sugar. Layer with miniature marshmallows.

4) Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender and marshmallows have melted.

5) Await fascism’s arrival
posted by lalochezia at 8:15 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


FRITOS CHEETOS Chili Pie

1 large bag of FRITOS CHEETOS
1 15-ounce can of chili with beef (with or without beans plated beans, heated)

1 8-ounce bag of shredded cheese
Optional: chopped onion, tomatoes, lettuce, jalapeños and/or sour cream

In an oven-safe serving dish, pour in FRITOS CHEETOS Original Corn Chips and spread evenly.

Heat chili and pour evenly over corn chips.

Add additional ingredients like onion, tomato, lettuce, and jalapeño as desired.

Sprinkle cheese all over and pop into the oven at 350 degrees till the cheese is a little melted.

Serve immediately, preferably before the knock on the door.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:24 PM on January 16 [4 favorites]


His face at the bottom of every Frito Pie. A puckered lipped drain beneath.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 PM on January 16


I'm going to have enough GI problems after a Frito pie. No need to make it worse.
posted by ghost phoneme at 8:36 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


FRITOS CHEETOS Chili Pie

Okay now, that right there is just sacrilege.

*begins to type a new Metatalk thread into the queue*
posted by mudpuppie at 8:47 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


smart people who I consider my people are sitting around making juvenile comments when it feels like nothing else substantive is happening to stop the impending clusterfuck.


It has been implied a couple times in this thread now that if you are a name caller then you are not doing Something Serious to resist. With tact and respect, please fuck that notion. Certain people have been resisting a goddamn long time, to great financial disadvantage and threat to certain people's physical and mental health. Certain people may be drinking way more bourbon than is a good idea.

Just wanted to be clear that certain people's ability to be civil and sincere may have very little to do with the depth of commitment to fighting these people. People may choose to use language in all sorts of ways and resist in ways that make sense to them.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:48 PM on January 16 [36 favorites]


Lord I hope nobody ever asks me this favor in real life. I'm starting to get seriously worried about making it through the next few years without losing my temper and getting shot.
posted by equalpants at 9:00 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


SB, since that's my comment you're quoting, please note that I agree with you 100%, and clarified two comments down after rereading that sentence i wrote. I really think this is probably a bit of an everyone processes grief and despair in their own way kinda thing, so while I may understand a tiny bit where the OP is coming from, in the sense that sometimes all the nicknamey stuff can be one more thing that makes me feel extra gloomy and irrationally hopeless about our collective situation, I intellectually know that ability to whistle in the dark is totally unrelated (or perhaps even positively correlated!) with action.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:13 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


^^^so you did. Like I said, bourbon.

I'm going to try to resist the urge to judge people for only typing out screeds on Facebook, etc. I'm assuming good faith in people's understanding that this time around, bodies are needed in the streets, many of us will be arrested, and families and friendships will be torn apart. In addition to the occasional flame wars and name calling on the internet.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:22 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I feel you.

Anyway, this seems like a good place to mention that I made these chocolate roll-out cookies yesterday and they were easy and delicious and go well with bourbon.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:31 PM on January 16


No, the request is not reasonable.

A few things:
* Maintaining decorum is emotional labor.

Seriously, when people are being attacked - and a great many of us are in literal danger, ranging from death by easily treatable illness to hate crime - keeping cool bears an emotional cost. It's appropriate and necessary that we show *each other* respect, and I'll always be on board with calls for the community to treat each other better.

However, it's not reasonable to ask any of us to spare one tiny iota of thought or energy on Donald Trump. Every last little scrap of effort that anyone here has can be better spent on literally anything else.

tl;dr: having hate doesn't expend energy. Bottling it up does. Ask me how I know.

* Decorum is useless strategically, at this point.

The usual argument in favor of maintaining social norms is that defection leads to tit-for-tat responses: we behave poorly, so the other side behaves poorly, leading to the eventual disintegration of everything.

The GOP has been openly in favor of complete societal collapse since we put a black guy in the White House. We're past this. Treating the office with respect holds no practical benefit to us.

* Manners aren't what separate us from the bad guys.

This has been talked about above, and I want to reiterate it: our manners don't make us better than right-wingers. Our principles do. At the end of the day, we want rights for *everyone*. We're not trying to take away the vote from anybody. We're not trying to figure out how to make our enemies die en masse of the goddamn flu. These are the literal plans of our opposition that they are expending energy to achieve. Right now.

No matter how we use language, we're not doing what they're doing. That cuts both ways: I don't honestly give a fuck if they adhere to proper etiquette while trying to disenfranchise and kill the rest of us, either - whether they come with smiles and decorum or Trump-y insults, they're still horrible.

So no, I see no reason to support this, and plenty of cause not to.
posted by mordax at 9:35 PM on January 16 [69 favorites]


These are not remotely equivalent. "Dubya" was what Bush's friends had called him for 25 years. "Obummer" and "Slick Willy" are clearly intended as pejoratives.

But "Shrub" was a pejorative about Bush.

I have no interest in telling anyone else on Metafilter how much they should respect or disrespect President Trump. My comment isn't going to change your views on that, and it's a free country — you're not required to respect the president.

But I do want to push back against the comments arguing that Trump is not normal for various reasons, and he shouldn't be normalized.

Is he really that abnormal? We've had presidents who've deliberately destroyed cities, put American citizens in "camps" based on their ethnicity, or "drafted" (enslaved) citizens to fight in wars. And they're not even considered particularly bad presidents!

As to the point that Trump has committed sexual assault ... would the same thing apply to Bill Clinton? It's inexcusable, but I don't know any Democrat who thought it made Bill Clinton an illegitimate president.

As for characterizing illegal immigrants from Mexico as murderers/rapists, well, back in the '90s, the Democratic party platform said: "We cannot tolerate illegal immigration and we must stop it. For years ... Washington talked tough but failed to act… . [O]ur borders might as well not have existed.... Drugs flowed freely. Illegal immigration was rampant. Criminal immigrants, deported after committing crimes in America, returned the very next day to commit crimes again." (You know, crimes like rape and murder.)

Oh, and FDR deported millions of Mexicans — including American citizens. (WaPo link)

Some of the other points about Trump are just myths; for instance, he didn't really mock a reporter's disability. He mocked a reporter who happens to be disabled, but in the same way he's mocked non-disabled people like Ted Cruz — by imitating a flustered fool. That's not very nice, but it's not bigoted against people with disabilities.

Anyway, calling him goofy names doesn't help your side. I didn't vote for Trump, but when I see a comment referring to him by things that aren't his real name I react the same way I react to seeing people calling Obama "Obummer": I move on to another comment. It's like a flashing neon sign that says: "This isn't serious."

Another thought. There seem to be at least two different things the word "respect" could mean in this discussion, and I don't know if the distinction has been clarified. This WaPo article delves into it and concludes: "Constitutionalism allows [protesters] to hate and oppose Trump as much as they want, as long as they recognize that he is president. It is precisely because everyone is required to respect the rules of the game that no one is required to respect the winner."
posted by John Cohen at 11:24 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


I'd agree with the WaPo quote if I thought for a second that Republicans or Trump actually respected the rules of the game. It's becoming pretty clear that they -don't-.
posted by Archelaus at 11:32 PM on January 16 [9 favorites]


Is he really that abnormal?

Vastly.
posted by Artw at 11:38 PM on January 16 [16 favorites]


Some of the other points about Trump are just myths; for instance, he didn't really mock a reporter's disability. He mocked a reporter who happens to be disabled, but in the same way he's mocked non-disabled people like Ted Cruz — by imitating a flustered fool. That's not very nice, but it's not bigoted against people with disabilities.

He literally imitated the movement patterns of the reporter. But more importantly…

But I do want to push back against the comments arguing that Trump is not normal for various reasons, and he shouldn't be normalized.

First off, Trump’s massive collision with the emoluments clause and his unpopularity before even taking office both, without a doubt, make him exceptional. There are other grounds by which one might argue for his essentially being typical, but these are at least two metrics that make him a de-facto freak.

But second: why do you want to do this? What exactly is gained by attempting to apologize for Trump’s numerous sins (ref. supercrayon above) by scaling them against the past acts of other presidents at different historical moments and claiming that they aren’t out of line? Is it shocking that the Democratic lines on treatment of women and illegal/undocumented aliens could have changed over twenty years? Should I be shocked that slaveholders, in a slave-holding country, were presidents and did good things? Time changes. We change. The fact that Trump hasn’t is itself telling.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:40 PM on January 16 [29 favorites]


Oh also - as little an impact as it had on the election returns (alas) - surely the near unified opprobrium expressed about Trump by every academic source, by newspaper editorial staff, by senior members of the bureaucracy, and by many (-and damn the rest as hypocrites) members of his own party should at least imply his unique unfitness for the job much more than the weak correlation between some of his opinions and those of others who have held the office.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:43 PM on January 16 [10 favorites]


> As to the point that Trump has committed sexual assault ... would the same thing apply to Bill Clinton?

Bill Clinton was impeached. Rightly or wrongly, the legislative body of our country said "This is not okay."

Right now, the legislative body of our nation is either (depending on party) building barricades or trying to figure out how to curry favor with Trump. What even the fuck is this.
posted by rtha at 11:45 PM on January 16 [10 favorites]


As to the point that Trump has committed sexual assault ... would the same thing apply to Bill Clinton?

Bill Clinton was impeached. Rightly or wrongly, the legislative body of our country said “This is not okay”

Pedantry! Clinton was impeached for lying under oath and obstructing justice. That might have been in spirit over his affair with Lewinski, but when they talk about him as someone committing assault the story pointed to is usually Juanita Broaddrick. The point being that while the legislative body said something wasn’t okay, it wasn’t exactly his sexual assault - it was cheating on his wife. Hence the rage on the left as we learned about Trent Lott, Denny Hastert, Newt Gingrich, & so on.

posted by Going To Maine at 11:51 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


To tack on to what Going to Maine is saying, trying to excuse Trump's lechery by comparing him to Clinton, or even to JFK, or trying to excuse his gleeful use of racist dogwhistles and the racists who support him by saying Nixon did it, or that Humphrey or Harding were corrupt misses the point. We were supposed to have grown as a country. We were founded by people in an era we now see as backwards, and we reject many things they held to be self-evident (that slavery was okay, that women shouldn't be allowed to vote). We're supposed to have moved towards the better version of ourselves. Trump's refusal to divest, or even act like he's heard of ethical behavior would've fit right in in the 1880s. His sexist, chauvinistic behavior fits right into the 1980s. His racist actions and use of racist allies fits right in with the 1950s and 60s. The problem is that this is 2017, and the basest levels of progress that we've made as a nation show this man to be a revolting dinosaur, a figure of every ugly skeleton in our national closet, something we had hoped and prayed that we had finally overcome. That we haven't, that we have a President who echoes the worst of past Presidents doesn't make it okay that he does similar things, it's that we are living with the most vivid, Technicolor orange reminder that those that don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

Saying that Trump should be allowed to get away with things that our society finds obscene just because society didn't condemn the same things thirty, sixty, a hundred years ago fails to show any belief in the idea that societal progress is a possibility, much less a goal.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:22 AM on January 17 [45 favorites]


Back to the original Meta topic-- I may not use nicknames or rude words, but I will *never* respectfully use the word "president" anywhere near the word "trump". And I think it's not your place to judge what I call him.
posted by frumiousb at 1:22 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


I found the supreme respect for the office kind of appealing on The West Wing, but it still struck me as bloody strange. I'm Australian, more often than not we refer to our PM by their first name. If I met him, I might scrape up a "'Mr Turnbull", just to be polite since we aren't already acquainted but "Prime Minister Turnbull", heh, no. He's just another person, he's not any better than me. Though he does get a better pension.
posted by kitten magic at 1:23 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


And since your President Elect is a terrible person, I'm going to call him whatever I want. Thankfully, I'll never be called upon to be polite in person (life is pretty casual here, it's not out of the realm of possibility to just bump into our PM. No motorcade & dozens of armed secret service people making people feel all special).
posted by kitten magic at 1:27 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Look. I want to agree with the whole "let's not call him names" thing. I truly do think it's a good idea in theory.

However, this bellend has done nothing to earn my respect and he's pretty much done a bunch of bullshit to earn derision. In short, the cheeto can kiss my ass.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:34 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


There's something comforting in noticing that I missed a MeTa popping up as it happened, seeing what the request was, and seeing the responses play out basically exactly as I imagined. And entirely justified, as well. I can respect the office, for as much as taking the office basically comes with what would otherwise be described as war crimes as a de facto requirement. But the person? As noted above, there's plenty of room to insult him just by being 100% wholly accurate about his past behavior. And that's not even touching the potential things involved with him, much less the effects his proposed policies will have to people I know & care about.

There's a point to be had about obfuscation, since it can sometimes be tricky unraveling a particularly oblique reference in the way which causes one to have to read back over and figure out who someone is talking about, but that's entirely separate.

That said, he's a serial sexual predator who basically serves as a manifestation of base ego & id, with such a shaky grasp of honesty that his best defense against his many noted lies is that he's proven incapable of understanding what truth is, and who will either prove his entire campaign a lie or lead to the accelerated deaths of millions. By that point, "Orange Mussolini" sounds positively mild by comparison.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:39 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


OK this is somewhat frustrating to write, but after reading the Politifact entry "Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton is 'wrong' to say he mocked a disabled reporter", I slightly disagree with the authors' final explanation even though they're technically correct.

> He literally imitated the movement patterns of the reporter.

Based on Politifact, no Trump didn't necessarily do that. The basic idea is that whether he imitated depends on his intent. And if you read what the article says about Ted Cruz, you cannot conclude for sure that Trump did it because he harbors hatred of the disabled. The article's authors explicitly characterize Trump as an "equal opportunity offender"; they're quite clear that he used the same movement patterns when criticizing Cruz, who doesn't have physical disability.

From the perspective of a disabled person, this would still be damaging as an example of implicit discrimination. I happen to think this is the best explanation of the harm that was done, but nobody really explains it this way. It is a more accurate explanation, and perhaps stronger because some social scientists argue that implicit discrimination can be more pernicious than overt, explicit discrimination.

However, what the Hillary campaign did was to take that incident and re-frame it as evidence for Trump being discriminatory, kind of like a bullet point argument without a bigger context.

Meanwhile, what Trump said, when he denied their accusation, was explainable but in a different way. When he said "Wrong" I think it's reasonable to suppose he was concerned about the optics and the framing issue, but in doing so his immediate reaction caused him to deny the literal, concrete truth of the matter. Politifact's final analysis can only attend to that, and that's why the authors concluded that Trump said a falsehood, since it is literally, concretely true that he mocked a disabled reporter. What makes this complex is the interpretation, the intentions, and the ways that evidence can be used to create a narrative. This is unfortunate but prevalent in media.

Of course given the above, it just shows how inarticulate how Trump was and how unskilled he is at navigating and resolving these social and interpersonal conflicts. On the other hand, the article at Politifact goes over the details which tends to get oversimplified into a narrative that Hillary's negative campaign was able to use and propagate.

And to John Cohen's credit, him pointing this out is what caused me to go and learn about this. And again I think this kind of clarification and going into one another's concerns and developing nuances is only possible when separating ourselves from that feeling of crisis and making the space for that. That's important.
posted by polymodus at 1:48 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Ok but you can write that comment exactly as it is and just replace "rump" with "urdweasel" every time and we'll still know who you mean.
posted by billiebee at 1:54 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Trump is such an ignorant silly childish tosser that when accused of disablism his supporters defence is but he does [immensely stupid childish thing] to everyone. That's the level the President Elect has set.

And an "equal opportunities offender"? Seriously?

I've been watching a load of the fascist-tinged corners of the Internet. Pre and just post- election, they used these sooper-sekrit little codes for people they hated and what they'd like to do to them. They've mostly dropped that now. They are entirely straight about their intentions. They don't need to hide any more.

That's who Trump is. He's the enabler of unabashed scum. So you'll excuse me if I don't give a shit if people call Trump daft names if they feel like it.
posted by threetwentytwo at 2:19 AM on January 17 [24 favorites]


But threetwentytwo, the programme won the Pulitzer in 2009 and was started by a journalism professor from Duke. It would help to look through the article, if you haven't already. My comment depends on that context and might not make sense on its own.
posted by polymodus at 2:24 AM on January 17


"rump"

I'd call him that, for sure.
posted by cotton dress sock at 2:29 AM on January 17


I'm not really sure a deep dive into the old question of "how much does Trump's mocking of a reporter who has a disability resemble Trump's mocking of some other non-disabled people?" particularly advances a debate on what terms should be used to describe him.
posted by zachlipton at 2:30 AM on January 17 [16 favorites]


I was thinking about this in bed last night.

It seems to me that the job of President is a profoundly serious thing. It is an awful, terrifying responsibility, where nearly every decision has enormous consequences on other people’s lives.

And anyone who goes into that job with their eyes open, understanding what it means and sincerely trying their hardest to do their best for the country and the world: yes, they deserve respect. But Donald Trump has already forfeited that respect.

Whether any of us ‘respect the office’? Really, who gives a fuck. What I would like to see, more than anything, is any evidence that Donald Trump respects the office of the President.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:45 AM on January 17 [39 favorites]


I don't mock his name because I don't want people mocking mine.

I also think it looks really puerile to come up with silly names for notable figures, but then again I'm an uptight southern protestant virgo so that's just my aesthetic.
posted by Annika Cicada at 3:19 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Somehow, the more people start talking about how we need to "respect the office" and the like, the more I start feeling like I should be reading up on modern anarchism or something. Because... no. I don't make up funny names for Trump because that's more mental effort and creativity than I feel he warrants, on my part, and I feel like a lot of them have gotten kind of trite at this point, but I don't care what anybody else does. I don't respect the office of the president. I respect some of the people who have held it, to some degree or another. There are several hundred million people in this country, and I respect the ones who do good, not the ones who happen to be in positions of authority. I use basic manners towards everybody because that's what I'm accustomed to doing, but I'm not respecting the significators of authority, and I'm especially not going to respect them when they're being held by someone who is just flat out not a good human being.

I don't respect the millions of people who are trying to be good people by offering respect to the person who is trying to hurt all those people. I don't respect the women in this country who've been through sexual assault if I respect rapists. I don't respect people of color if I respect racists. The trappings of authority are, like many things, a tool, and if they're being used for evil, they need to be called out as evil. I can respect the government only insofar as the government is not being used as a tool of the wealthy against the public. I can't and won't respect the office of the president when held by Donald Trump or anyone else who does not meet my standards for human decency.
posted by Sequence at 3:58 AM on January 17 [11 favorites]


I respect the Office of the President, even though I am disenfranchised (as in "not entitled to vote in the US elections") but must still suffer the effects of his actions.

You know who doesn't respect the Office of the President?

That guy whose name I really would prefer not to state directly because you know he will Google and find it. Or have one of the young ladies in his office who are tremendous Google it.
posted by tel3path at 4:19 AM on January 17


Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?

Gotta be honest with ya, I doubt this is going to happen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:55 AM on January 17


Oh, good fucking god, the hand movements Trump made were popular among school kids at least 30 years ago to mock the mentally disabled. That he was using it to go after Cruz meant that he was trying to paint him as such, not that he's an "equal-oppurtunity offender." Politifact should have known better than to write that article and John should have known better to try and defend it.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:59 AM on January 17 [45 favorites]


he didn't really mock a reporter's disability. He mocked a reporter who happens to be disabled

"He didn't throw a dart at the guy's eye. He just threw a dart at random and it happened to take that guy's eye out."
posted by Etrigan at 5:20 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


[Please drop the argument about whether mocking the reporter was intentional or not and focus on the actual purpose of the post. Also, one deleted. I can't believe I need to say this, but don't attack people by going after their family. Next time it's a ban.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:32 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


I am not an american but someone who is an American put my own thoughts into words:

"One Trump Tweet I Am Prepared To Say Does Matter"

I want to talk for a moment about the infamous Trump Happy New Year tweet. We’re all familiar with it. It went like this:

“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”

The general reaction could best be summed up as, “What an asshole!” But I’m glad he tweeted this, because it really clarifies things. Trump views everyone who didn’t and/or doesn’t support him as a conquered enemy. This ought to put to rest any talk of Trump “uniting the country” or “giving him a chance.” In fact, you know what, Donald?

If you are going to treat me like a conquered enemy, then I have to assume I am now living in an occupied country. And that means that from me, you get:

* no benefit of the doubt
* no cooperation
* no respect
and
* no legitimacy.

That tweet frees us all from any remaining scruples any of us might have had about rejecting his legitimacy and authority. You can’t be someone’s “enemy” and be their president at the same time.


Drumpf doesn't value the personhood of those he deems lesser than him. He is also an alarmingly vain person. This is one of the main reasons that I shall continue using derogatory terms to describe that waste of skin.

Also because not using his actual name means I'm less likely to be hounded off the internet by those who support him in a militant way.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:40 AM on January 17 [33 favorites]


"The Almighty Mommy Goddess" felt it important that we not mock the president-elect but still has not showed up to defend their position.

Is there any doubt this was a troll post designed to do exactly what it has done? Bring a grin to the face of Greg Nog, I guess, but also to get everyone all het up.
posted by winna at 5:46 AM on January 17 [16 favorites]


I mean, the answer is, "You're probably right, we lower ourselves when we do that." But at the same time, I feel like we have more Mefites who are actively on the verge of suicide than ever before. I can't even count how many times I've heard people talk about or hint around suicidal ideation in the election threads. So I'm not sure that it's really a priority to make sure they don't have whatever release valve helps them get through the day. If it's weird replacings of his name, sure, it makes the threads harder to read, but what value is it to the person who has no other option than talking on Metafilter to release their rage?
posted by corb at 5:49 AM on January 17 [22 favorites]


Though I will say I am generally pretty bothered by "Drumpf" - a lot of immigrants anglicize their names, and though I know that's not what anyone means by it, it always strikes me like "Ha-ha! We know your secret immigrant name! You've been revealed as not really one of us!"
posted by corb at 5:51 AM on January 17 [23 favorites]


oh my god that cryptonativist Drumpf shit brought to you by pasty Englishman John Normalname Oliver
posted by griphus at 6:06 AM on January 17 [15 favorites]


focus on the actual purpose of the post.

It isn't clear to me what is the actual purpose of this post. (Except, yeah, to yank everyone's chain, probably.) Wanna call Trump names, knock yourself out; don't wanna call Trump names, knock yourself out. And it isn't as if I actually give much of a damn either way, but if it were up to me, I'd probably—just on the belief that we're all better than this—end the charade here.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:06 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Political satire. Centuries old, a form of catharsis, and sometimes spot on.
Currently, I'm having a pleasant read of Shakespearean putdowns: "cream-faced loon," "loathsome as a toad," "the son and heir of a mongrel bitch."
And while none of us are Shakespeare, there is an element of release, the meeting of like minds, and the pooling of energy toward a better outcome in an uncertain and quite possibly ruinous time.

Personally, I can spell "Vice President Michael R. Pence, even "President Pence."
And Donny. Or Donald. Or the former 45th president.
I am enjoying your creativity, but he does not deserve that much effort from me.
posted by TrishaU at 6:13 AM on January 17


> Somehow, the more people start talking about how we need to "respect the office" and the like, the more I start feeling like I should be reading up on modern anarchism or something.

Thank you! As an anarchist of almost half a century's standing, I find the very idea of "respecting the office" laughable... but not as laughable as the idea of asking MeFites to do so in this particular case. I have my issues with the habits of this site, but its propensity for mocking politicians is not one of them.
posted by languagehat at 6:14 AM on January 17 [9 favorites]


I've taken to calling him "Mister Trump". Pronounced ['mee stah] because he thinks of all of us as the help.
posted by notsnot at 6:18 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?


Nah, Trump is just a dick.
posted by fixedgear at 6:25 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I have no objection to schoolyard name calling as long as it's clever. Cheeto is just artless (as, to be fair, was Obummer). Drumpf is somewhat clever in that it plays off the double meaning of his last name, but I think we can do better. Tweeter-in-chief! Tsar Trumpkin. Or just Corrupt Trump. Stick to things that are short, simple, and play to people's preconceived notions of his faults. If we all work together we can win this thing.

(The internet wars, of course. We don't have a prayer for the senate in 2018, look at the map.)
posted by miyabo at 6:48 AM on January 17


Off the top of my head, I've seen Mr. Trump referred to as the cheeto, the carrot, the dumpster on fire, and the orange one.

And I don't think it can be emphasized enough that comparing conservatives' derogatory nicknames for Obama and Hillary - most of which are some degree of racist or sexist - to liberals' derogatory nicknames for Trump - most of which contain some element of commenting on his orangeness - is pretty much a false equivalence because Trump can fucking well choose not to be orange anytime he wants to.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:59 AM on January 17 [16 favorites]


I say have at it.

For just me personally, the nicknames are fine but I find an insistence on making fun of the name specifically, a la Obummer or Juliar or those angry nerds who would insist on calling it Micro$oft, as lame and juvenile. In part because it's lazy, in part because there's so many, many better ways to insult someone like Trump, and in part because the truly rotten deserve their name itself to be the derisive term, and altering it gets in the way.

But whatever. It was always the Republicans who banged on about respecting the office when GWB was ruling anyway, something they just somehow couldn't manage to do when it was no longer their guy in power - funny, that.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:14 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


If I ever seem like I'm showing respect to Trump, call me out. Showing respect to a conman bigot is morally wrong, and I should correct that if I do it.
posted by ignignokt at 7:14 AM on January 17 [19 favorites]


Currently, I'm having a pleasant read of Shakespearean putdowns: "cream-faced loon," "loathsome as a toad," "the son and heir of a mongrel bitch"...

And don't forget cuck! Horns for everyone! 🤘
posted by deludingmyself at 7:24 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


"The Almighty Mommy Goddess" felt it important that we not mock the president-elect but still has not showed up to defend their position.

Is there any doubt this was a troll post designed to do exactly what it has done?


Yes, there's plenty of doubt there, as the person who had to make the call on approving it, and I'd really rather this not go in the direction of lasering in on the poster when the post is more zeitgeisty than personal. And it is something in the zeitgeist: we've had a lot of bits and snatches of running conversation over Trump and nicknames in the last many months and having a clarifying community discussion about it in MetaTalk is an okay way to go from there, even if the poster's perspective on it turns out to be different from that of most of the folks responding. A MetaTalk raising the topic from the opposite perspective, discomfort with pushback on nicknames in context, would have been okay too.

My goal with MeTa posts is not to filter them to only those things on which I expect the userbase to broadly agree, and sometimes people post "hey, can folks maybe do x?" requests where the answer is, broadly, nope! Having a poster come back in in the face of that to say "no but you have to do x because..." is not an unalloyed good; if someone floats an idea and then doesn't participate, that's okay, and I'm not comfortable with making a show-up-or-prove-you-guilt dynamic out of it. It's okay to just disagree, state your case, and leave it there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:28 AM on January 17 [29 favorites]


A MetaTalk raising the topic from the opposite perspective, discomfort with pushback on nicknames in context, would have been okay too.

Can I start one of those next? (Dear Meta, I am uncomfortable with how few truly foul names the commentariat has found to refer to the Great Orange Traitor. I feel like this is an instance where we could all do better. Thx bye!)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:41 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


[Please drop the argument about whether mocking the reporter was intentional or not and focus on the actual purpose of the post.]

That is focusing on it. Trump made fun of a disabled man in public who he knew and who had interviewed him before. He attacked the Khan parents who's son was a military hero and he attacks civil rights icon John Lewis. He lies about his nonexistant donations to charities. He gropes women. It is a pattern of punching down. The Almighty Mommy Goddess wants us to talk nicely about a bully. This is why we say no.
posted by qi at 7:46 AM on January 17 [19 favorites]


I use perjorative nicknames for him not because he deserves it (which he does), but because I see his name approximately five thousand times a day and occassionally replacing it with something, anything helps alleviate the monotony.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:50 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


This is a perfectly thoughtful and principled question and request and seems to being made in good faith. But think about it this way:

We as individuals have minuscule power to combat this man who controls the nuclear codes and our national climate policy, so therefore has the power not just to kill us as individuals, but to annihilate all of human culture and a good deal of the animal and plant kingdoms while he's at it. There is an immeasurable unbalance of power between me and Donald Trump. So for that reason, we must use every possible tool in our toolbox to attack and resist him.

I would never name-call someone for being a Trump voter. The great majority of Trump voters also have very little power - and while most are white so therefore do have relative privilege in our society, we have other tools in our toolbox to work with people who voted for him.

For Trump, we need to use every single strategy, angle, idea possible to fight him. Yes, I call senators. Yes, I march in protests. Yes, I vote in every election. Yes, I give money to the people doing long term movement-building and community organizing and campaigning and activism. But this shithead has showed himself to be vulnerable to being insulted on the internet, so yes, I will insult this garbage can on the internet. My life, and your life, actually depends on it.

We should always combat power in any way we can, because we are small and power is big. We don't have equal arsenals here. Having said that, much of the name-calling of Obama and Hillary Clinton was very easily unpacked as rooted in racism and misogyny, or was worded to perpetrate a factual inaccuracy (Crooked Hillary), so should be resisted because it is causing harm to our society as a whole, not just to politicians with enormous power and wealth.
posted by latkes at 7:51 AM on January 17 [8 favorites]


Oh, ffs. I didn't realize refraining from commenting when I was being dumped on was a sign I was trolling. I was not. I was absolutely sincere in asking this question. 100%.

Defend my position? Why? I've already been called stupid about a dozen different ways. I'm not a supporter of Mr. Trump. Never will be. But I've been accused of that, too.

I've been accused of nagging. All I did was ask the question.

I've been accused of not having the decency to participate in this post. I'd been asleep three hours when that comment was made, and slept three more after it. When I logged back in, it was evident that the vast majority of y'all disagreed with my position. What would have been the point of wading into the fray?

When "a huge grin crept across my face at how shockingly, earth-shakingly fucking stupid this Metatalk thread was" got 37 favorites, what on earth made you think I'd be back to fight with you?

My purpose in asking the question was to ask the question. People talk about "the best of the internet" around here; I don't feel it's the best of anything to resort to name-calling in the face of actual danger. Do you call the guy with a gun in your face, demanding your wallet, a pigfucker? No, you show a little bit of respect for the fact that your life is in his hands.

Look, I'm in the "under attack" category, too. I have a vagina, 23 doctors, 27 prescription medications, a wheelchair, and arms that actually do that thing he did. So do my legs, for that matter, and most of the other muscles in my body. I'm applying for disability, and if not for a good friend, I'd be homeless. I practice a minority religion. I'm scared as fuck about the next four years. To the point that I called my therapist for an appointment, because yeah, I understand the suicidal ideation far too well.

Swear to the gods, I was asking an honest question. Thank you to those who answered it as such.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 7:58 AM on January 17 [41 favorites]


Do you call the guy with a gun in your face, demanding your wallet, a pigfucker? No, you show a little bit of respect for the fact that your life is in his hands.

I must say, "Be nice to the President or he'll kill you," doesn't exactly scream "respect for the Office."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:07 AM on January 17 [38 favorites]


Yes, when will those awful liberals show some respect to the man holding a gun in their faces?
posted by ominous_paws at 8:17 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Hey fellow mefites: the OP just came in to say they feel attacked and express emotional vulnerability. Maybe don't ramp up the derision. If you have a point to make about the original post, you can do so in a kind and respectful way. We don't have a rule against dumping on Trump here, but we do have a rule that we show respect to other posters here.
posted by latkes at 8:23 AM on January 17 [40 favorites]


With respect, but as the person who is being referred to when pigfucker is brought up, I reject the idea that we should equate the president with a gun wielding mugger, or, at the very least, if that's the obvious equivalency (aside from barely literate rage thug, which seems to fit better), we should be jumping up and down and lighting signal fires to show that this, at long last, is how far we've fallen.

The name calling, as distasteful as you might see it is cathartic for many of us. And I agree with the hope and belief in a better world behind "when they go low, we go high" but I also live in this world, the one where they went low, we went high, and everyone lost.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:31 AM on January 17 [10 favorites]


In a real way, that's the language of someone living with an abuser. And while I'm sympathetic to the mindset that tells the abused that maybe, just maybe, if they're quiet and nice they might not get hit again, it does not work and it takes away the abuser's culpability for their own actions. Are nicknames juvenile? Sure, maybe. Anyone remember "Shrub"? But I don't think avoiding poking at the President in the hopes that maybe he won't kill people is the way to go.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:33 AM on January 17 [14 favorites]


Shrub was popularized by Molly Ivins. If we had 10 Molly Ivins, we could change the world.
posted by maxsparber at 8:39 AM on January 17 [13 favorites]


Hey, if we had one, I'd feel a lot better.
posted by maxsparber at 8:40 AM on January 17 [17 favorites]


The Almighty Mommy Goddess, I appreciate that you took the time to thoughtfully convey your feelings on this. I understand that it was difficult to see the level of outrage that some of us have expressed. For me, at least, and I'm sure for several others, the outrage wasn't directed at *you* personally. It was directed at the sentiment; it's a fine line but a line nonetheless.

What you're asking us to do represents a huge amount of emotional labor. For some of us, me included, it's also akin to asking us to be nice to our abusers. My father is basically Donald Trump without the millions of dollars and the Twitter account. He's abusive, he's mean, he's racist, he's a misogynist, etc. etc. Sometimes calling someone names is as close as we can get to cutting them out of our lives. I have to be nice to my dad if I want to maintain a relationship with my mother, which I do (she's just as abused but she won't leave). What I can do is call him names (not to his face, oh god, never to his face) and not take anything he says seriously. I respect that because of him I am alive, but I will never, ever respect him as my father. Just as I respect the office of the President, but I will never, ever respect Donald Trump.

We can't cut Donald Trump out of our lives but we can call him names and refuse to respect him. Sometimes it feels like that's literally all we can do.
posted by cooker girl at 8:41 AM on January 17 [35 favorites]


Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?

No.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:43 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Well, I think I'm going to close this one up.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:45 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


"Respect" that comes from fear isn't respect as most people understand it. It's just a manifestation of fear, and is necessary in some situations, but not (in most senses) this one.

That kind of kowtowing is actually destructive, because as soon as the threat is less immediate, the behavior and words of the threatened change, and that leads to a further breakdown in trust and a belief that "those people" are just lying fakes who can't be trusted to tell you what they really think. Which is rational behavior in a horrible system, but the goal here is to keep the system at least _honest_.

If you have other people to protect, that's more excusable.

Making sure others know about your views is solidarity.
posted by amtho at 8:50 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


I've been accused of not having the decency to participate in this post. I'd been asleep three hours when that comment was made, and slept three more after it. When I logged back in, it was evident that the vast majority of y'all disagreed with my position. What would have been the point of wading into the fray?

I just wanted to say I hear you, and I'm sorry you feel that way. I think this is a subject where a lot of mefites have strong emotions, and anyone who wasn't a super-prolific poster would have probably come in for the same questions. That doesn't make it right, and I'm sorry - I think everyone is stressed and scared and not at their best self right now, but I'm sure no one actually wants to hurt you and make you feel like you can't participate in the MeTa you posted. It's completely a reasonable question and you are not a bad person for asking it.
posted by corb at 9:13 AM on January 17 [26 favorites]


If somebody shows no interest in governing in good faith or respecting the dignity of the office, should the governed be compelled to show good faith in return for, at best, benign neglect?

This is not an academic question for you, or, say, the people of Atlantic City, or even the many contractors Trump ripped off. The facts we have on record. Trump caused me to agree with Ted Cruz, of all people, when he warned a Trump supporter that Trump was playing him for a chump.

As has been mentioned up thread, the insults seem...tame? I haven't seen a single insult that even compares to the known facts one could recite about things Trump said and did.

Going back to good faith, where was the good faith for Obama? By comparison, the guy was practically incorruptible. Government doesn't work when large chunks of the legislature will not act in good faith, as democrats and liberals have learned.

Should people pay bad faith efforts back with good faith? Doesn't that sound like giving your abuser another chance?
posted by Strudel at 10:00 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


The issue with name-calling, as with any joke that some find funny and others might find hurtful, is: What community is it building?

Some who object to the names don't want to be part of a community that insults people based on their physical attributes; no matter how mild "cheeto" is, it's saying "his skin color is worthy of mockery." This is, I think, a valid point. (I have, and will continue, to call him "Cheeto Voldemort," in part because I believe it is pointing out his obsession with appearance and identity, not his cultural or ethnic identity. I stopped using "Drumpf" for that reason.)

Others believe that, by using vulgar and demeaning names, we give tacit permission for the "other side" to do the same. That has some validity. (Counterpoint 1: They've been doing that for years, and aren't going to stop regardless of our actions. Counterpoint 2: Meeting them "at their level" may be the only way to defuse them.)

And others want the "we go high" approach - they don't want to use vulgar terminology, regardless of how valuable it might be as a rhetorical tool, and they don't want to have to listen to it from their allies. That, too, is a valid point.

My conclusions: We are fighting against attacks from several directions. We need a diversity of tactics and defenses. Some of that is going to be uncomfortable, and we'll need to keep talking about why we're choosing certain tactics, and why others of us aren't, and what value we get from those choices.

Some of us won't have the energy for talking things through, for analyzing every choice and potential action. That's fine, too; that's the point of having these discussions in public, so that lurkers with limited time and energy can say, "oh yeah, that... that's what I would've said if I had more time and better words."

Gonna be a long painful road ahead; we should brace for some bickering but be willing to support different ways of coping.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:04 AM on January 17 [8 favorites]


Do you call the guy with a gun in your face, demanding your wallet, a pigfucker? No, you show a little bit of respect for the fact that your life is in his hands.

Many people are saying that this is one of the worst arguments of all time.
posted by fixedgear at 10:17 AM on January 17 [14 favorites]


Whenever I see a post or comment elsewhere I usually stop whenever I get to terms like "Obummer", "cuck", "SJW", "snowflake", "MSM", "libtard", "safe space", etc. I don't usually bother reading beyond that since they probably don't have actual ideas or coherent thoughts that would be worth my time to read.

I'm starting to adopt the same policy here when I see "Cheeto", "Drumpf" or even "Nazi" or "Fascist".

I come here for facts, insight, and understanding, not to shout into an echo chamber or watch others do so. Ingesting other people's negativity, anger, and hate isn't good for the soul, no matter what side it comes from.
posted by rocket88 at 10:25 AM on January 17 [8 favorites]


I've been accused of nagging. All I did was ask the question.

Well, first of all, I'd argue that you did far more than just ask a question. You framed this Meta as a scold: "Aren't we better than this?" Sorry, but your preference isn't automagically better. It's just different.

As for use of the term "nagging," which was mine, it was in no way meant to single you out. The tone argument has been aimed at those appalled by Trump for some time now, this being just the latest example. Notice I did not call you a nag, or even call this post a nag. I said that those of us who choose to speak our minds on the matter are tired of being nagged about our manners. I framed that comment very intentionally not to attack you personally.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:31 AM on January 17 [28 favorites]


I LIKED when "pasty Englishman John Normalname Oliver" came up with "that cryptonativist Drumpf shit", partly because my German family did NOT Americanize our name when they arrived, even though it would come back and bite us a couple decades later because it rhymes with Hitler. And the only purchase I EVER made from the HBO Store was the red "Make Donald Drumpf Again" hat. Even though I've never worn it in public, because I do not discuss politics with anyone IRL because it would be so easy to lose what little respect I have for those people I deal with frequently. And it has been easy to remain apolitical, as nobody living near me has put out a political sign or bumper sticker since the '08 election. MetaFilter has become the only place I express my opinions on a lot of things, so if they ever come to take me away, I'll know where they got the incriminating evidence. And I'm glad it's here, because I would NEVER trust Facebook or Twitter.

As for insulting nicknames, I've called Bill Clinton "Bubba" and George W. Bush "Shrub", even though they were potentially obscure references. Also in a comment about my disappointment in Obama's Health Care Reform program after it passed through Congress, I did use the reference "Obummer". (I was more disappointed in Bill & Hillary's bigger failure on that front 16 years earlier, and I think I called her "Mrs. Bubba" then). Coming of voting age during Watergate, I have never shown a particular respect for The Office of The President, and right now that judgement is looking more and more right.

And my disrespect for Donald Trump the (alleged) human being dates back to 1990 when I had my dream comedy writing job for a radio syndicator, and I got to write lyrics for song parodies (just like Weird Al, but for .001% of the income), and I substituted "Trump" for Van Halen's "Jump" ("might as well sell to Trump").

One more related note, I first considered getting my own website back when blogging was so new it didn't have a name, circa 1998. And because of the initials of my writing name, "WW", I registered (at relatively high cost) the domain "Dubbya.com" (with 2 d's). Then "Dubya" for George W. came into use and I dropped that in favor of "OneSwellFoop.Com" (a domain I lost later and had to re-register as a .net). But I have never forgiven Bush for that, and if I ever meet him in person, I'll probably yell in his face "DROP THE MIDDLE INITIAL SHIT. YOU ARE A JUNIOR!!". So, you see my level of respect...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:31 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I respect the office of the President. I don't respect Donald Trump. He's clearly unfit to lead and I will oppose most, if not all, of his agenda. I don't have to stoop to his level to do that.

So I'll refrain from name-calling.
I don't want to provide his supporters with any measure of support. Calling him names gives them reason to dismiss my opinion out of hand. I won't do that.
I'll refer to him as the President, or President Trump or the President-Elect. That's respecting the office, not the man.

Thanks for asking the question. It made me think.
posted by disclaimer at 10:37 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Do you call the guy with a gun in your face, demanding your wallet, a pigfucker? No, you show a little bit of respect for the fact that your life is in his hands.

Honestly, referring to Trump as a pigfucker or rat bastard don't bother me so much. They scan as expressions of anger, not schoolyard taunts.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:42 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Do you call the guy with a gun in your face, demanding your wallet, a pigfucker? No, you show a little bit of respect for the fact that your life is in his hands.

No offense meant to you personally, OP, but I'm having real trouble understanding this reasoning. Even though he acts like a thug, he's not actually a mugger with a gun in your face, he's taking a public office and thus has opened himself up to scrutiny and criticism and yes, deserved derision. There's fear there, I guess? You're wanting things to feel sort of normal? I don't see how they can be.

(Not just for Americans, who will obviously feel this most directly and have my deepest sympathies, but none of us is going to escape the ways this government is going to impact everyone, everywhere, in big and small ways.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:43 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Thanks to Almighty for posting this thread. I agree with the posters who are in the "no names" camp.

I don't think of Metafilter as a political website, but I am disinclined to share Metafilter with anyone who is not strongly liberal. I think that a big part of who I am politically is because of learning and growing here. But I joined before the site got very politicized. Now it feels like I'm pulling up the ladder behind me - because I don't imagine someone who doesn't already think of trump as a pigfucker would be interested in reading a website where that comes up again and again.

Personally I am terrified of the man. I think the two words "President Trump" are a huge flashing warning sign.
posted by rebent at 10:43 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]


I'm starting to adopt the same policy here when I see "Cheeto", "Drumpf" or even "Nazi" or "Fascist".

But Nazi seems like a reasonable descriptor when people are heiling and overtly support white nationalism…

posted by Going To Maine at 10:46 AM on January 17 [13 favorites]


I'm starting to adopt the same policy here when I see "Cheeto", "Drumpf" or even "Nazi" or "Fascist."

*shrug* I've avoided more than a few discussions over the years because I just didn't want to make the effort to engage with the jargon or the axe-grinding or the what have you. Not a big deal. In truth, I find a lot of the attempts to game-out Trump's or the GOP's strategies based on little or no evidence at all unenlightening. 's'OK, I can skip those. I can skip a lot. I might skip even more if every comment was "fascist fascist fascist fascist fascist fascist motherfucking fascist." (Then again I might not because if you say that real fast it kind of grooves.)
posted by octobersurprise at 10:50 AM on January 17


I might skip even more if every comment was "fascist fascist fascist fascist fascist fascist motherfucking fascist." (Then again I might not because if you say that real fast it kind of grooves.)

Hey now, we don't need no fascist groove thang.

well someone had to...
posted by gusottertrout at 11:05 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I've found that simply refusing to capitalize his name suffices for me. Usage tip: It's fine to capitalize when referring to his properties, just not the person.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:22 AM on January 17


The man's a Pisspot Dictator and if America allows him to take the highest office, that office no longer is worthy of respect.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 11:23 AM on January 17 [3 favorites]


[…] that office no longer is worthy of respect.

That we can still have a peaceful transference of power, even to people much of the country despises, is of value to me. The fact that the position wields great authority and responsibility, is daunting. The man holding the office may be a tool, but the office itself is still worthy of respect. To believe otherwise denigrates the country and everyone that actually participated in democracy.

The day I stop respecting the office is the day I've completely given up on the US system of government.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:28 AM on January 17 [6 favorites]


I'm using this to replace just one word when ever it shows up in Chrome. I won't mention what word it is, but, if it shows up as text on a page I'm reading, it is replaced with "orange headed flaming asshole"

You may pick any word or phrase you find most appropriate.

You're welcome.
posted by HuronBob at 11:36 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


To believe otherwise denigrates the country and everyone that actually participated in democracy.

Bullshit. This is identical rhetoric to why we should Respect The Police even though there's a couple, just a few, really, one or two, bad apples in the bunch.
posted by griphus at 11:38 AM on January 17 [26 favorites]


sorry but for the crime of denigrating the fatherland you have been sentenced to 200 lashes and 20 years in a labor and reeducation camp
posted by poffin boffin at 11:44 AM on January 17 [16 favorites]


Calling Trump and his cronies a pile of shit is an insult. Calling them fascists or nazis or racists or kleptocrats or narcissists or liars is an accurate descriptor. It's OK to use accurate descriptors even if you oppose insulting the man.
posted by latkes at 11:56 AM on January 17 [12 favorites]


Name-calling Trump is satisfying and usually accurate. If you get the chance to hold a sign that El Presidente Tiny Hands (Manos Diminutas) will see, by all means, annoy and enrage him. Spread rumors here on MeFi? Why not, we are generally already convinced he's despicable and capable of vile behavior if he can imagine it or a minion can suggest it.

But out in the world, I think it is not effective at swaying anyone's opinion. Genuine thoughtful discourse probably won't either, but it's remotely possible, therefore worth a shot. Me, I'm busy drinking my liver into tears.
posted by theora55 at 12:04 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


That we can still have a peaceful transference of power, even to people much of the country despises, is of value to me. The fact that the position wields great authority and responsibility, is daunting. The man holding the office may be a tool, but the office itself is still worthy of respect. To believe otherwise denigrates the country and everyone that actually participated in democracy.

Bullshit. This is identical rhetoric to why we should Respect The Police even though there's a couple, just a few, really, one or two, bad apples in the bunch.

Not really, no. If there is no peaceful transfer of power, the country -or at least, the Constitution- effectively ceases to exist. (Of course, we might also argue that if Trump isn’t immediately impeached for violations of the emoluments clause it also ceases to exist, but I would argue that certain points are slightly more elastic than others.) By that same token, I would argue that the Constitution is the means through which the police are both empowered and disempowered.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:04 PM on January 17


I respect the office more than Presidential-Loser Trump, the shitbird-elect, does.

And if you want to place blame for a diminished respect for the office, look to traitor and war-criminal Nixon, whose specter shrouds the smirking Visigoth demanding fealty.
posted by klangklangston at 12:04 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


(Manos Diminutas)

The President of Fate!
posted by Going To Maine at 12:05 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


This is identical rhetoric to why we should Respect The Police

This would be more true if the police were elected.

Fwiw, I agree completely with The Almighty Mommy Goddess. My facebook feed is full of childish name-calling of Trump. As soon as I read it I know that actual conversation has been turned off and I skip the thread. Same in metafilter, whose political threads have gone from thoughtful to salon.com partisanship. Because of this, I only pop in on metafilter a couple of times a week, whereas it used to be an all-day, every-day pleasure.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:08 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


"But I joined before the site got very politicized."

Unless that's a new account for you, I got some bad news for your Make Mefi Great Again campaign. Matteo, Amberglow, etc.

MeFi used to be less homogenous in its politics, and more ready to engage in the hurly-burly, but if you think it was less political under the reign of Bush the Unready, you must have had better weed back then.
posted by klangklangston at 12:12 PM on January 17 [23 favorites]


MeFi used to be less homogenous in its politics

This is what I miss about the olden days here.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:14 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


"But I joined before the site got very politicized."

~chuckles~
posted by octobersurprise at 12:15 PM on January 17 [15 favorites]


To believe otherwise denigrates the country and everyone that actually participated in democracy.

Being frustrated by a broken democratic system doesn't denigrate the people who participated in it, nor the country. If anything, it is the opposite: It demonstrates enough of a respect for the country and its voters to want a functioning democratic system, not one in which power is amassed through a combination of wealth, gerrymandering, voter suppression, outside interference, and the head of an intelligence office.
posted by maxsparber at 12:17 PM on January 17 [18 favorites]


Serious question: do you think that politics are more or less likely to homogenize in the presence of an extreme external threat?

Follow-up question: do you think that that they should do that?
posted by sciatrix at 12:18 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


On the subject of homogeneity I have only one comment: single malt Scotch.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:21 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


The day I stop respecting the office is the day I've completely given up on the US system of government.

I'm pretty much there. Trump and his election are emblematic of the problems in our system. Ignoring gerrymandering, voter suppression, and other sketchy behavior, the system repeatedly gives more weight to a smaller subset of voters simply because they live in more sparsely populated areas.

I'm probably going to weather this shit fine, I'm mostly hopeful (perhaps naively) gridlock will persist (never would have imagined hoping for that). I don't begrudge people who personally hold some level of symbolic respect for the system, I generally get the sense it's well intended. But the system hasn't done a lot lately to earn my respect and I certainly don't blame anyone for being more fearful, threatened, or insulted by all of this.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:28 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


This is what I miss about the olden days here.

Even the moderate conservatives of old, the ones who mostly just cared about being mindful of budgets etc., are horrified by this guy (and the Tea Partyism that spawned him). The ones willing to support him on any level are clearly opportunists, mercenaries, or just as off. It's not possible for reasonable people to use older frames of reference to address this mutation that's happened, though longing for them is maybe understandable.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:36 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


The day I stop respecting the office is the day I've completely given up on the US system of government.

Truman authorized the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Mass civilian casualities. Radiation destroyed environment and caused cancer and birth defects. Nixon and Johnson allowed use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Mass civilian casualties. Poisoned food and water, caused cancer and birth defects. Nixon followed Kissinger war plan to drop 4.5 million tons of high explosives on Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Mass civilian casualties. Bush authorized military to violate Geneva Convention, torture prisoners and abolish habeaus corpus. Guantanamo. What does it take?
posted by qi at 12:40 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


MeFi used to be less homogenous in its politics

This is what I miss about the olden days here.


I agree with this. Most people I know are terrified and angry about Trump's victory, but this is no longer a place where I'd direct those folks to participate in the discussion.

The range of acceptable commentary has gotten so narrow that it excludes a ton of folks who are coming at this from within the liberal framework.
posted by lalex at 12:42 PM on January 17 [17 favorites]


yes but that happened to OTHER people who were of course not white blah blah blabbity blah
posted by poffin boffin at 12:42 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


As time continues its inexorable march toward Inauguration Day, pretty much the only thing I can think about is the millions of women who have been raped, especially those who never reported it, and especially those who never reported it because they (we) were told that such a report would ruin the rapist's life, who are now being asked to refer to this man as President-Elect of the United States of America -- after all, that's what he is, in addition to being a rapist.

So that's how it makes me feel to be told that I need to refer to this rapist (any rapist, but this one in particular) with a modicum of respect: Like I'm complicit in my own silencing, and the silencing of other women. Even though I don't actually find the cutesy nicknames to be useful or cathartic personally, I understand the impulse, and acknowledge that pointedly refusing to address him by name can ring out as a tiny squeak of resistance in a hostile climate. What I won't acknowledge is that the office of the POTUS is itself a conduit through which its grossly bigoted occupant-to-be might reasonably be able to demand respect from the very people he will be using his power to denigrate, demean, and impoverish.
posted by amnesia and magnets at 12:47 PM on January 17 [33 favorites]


Even the moderate conservatives of old, ...are horrified by this guy

Right. But that's not the point. I miss the discussions with people who didn't think exactly like me and the majority of my facebook feed. People who disagree with this particular version of mostly-urban liberal end up going elsewhere except for a few stalwarts willing to battle on one particular front or another, e.g., gun control.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:47 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Apropos of something,

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
-- Theodore Roosevelt
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:58 PM on January 17 [28 favorites]


MeFi used to be less homogeneous in its politics

True, but it seems odd to mourn the old politically heterogeneous metafilter while at the same time wishing that there was less name-calling and more civility. The old politically heterogeneous metafilter was fun but it was nothing if not uncivil and the insults that commenters routinely flung at each other were many degrees worse than anything said about commenters (or even Trump voters) today. I was there.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:03 PM on January 17 [27 favorites]


Mass civilian casualties.

You would be amazed at the number of governments that have caused mass civilian casualties at different points in time but have also provided mass benefits to other civilians.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:07 PM on January 17


Really, I recall much more name-calling, wisecracks, trolling, counter-trolling, drama, flame-outs, and assorted shenanigans in the old politically heterogeneous metafilter than I recall meaningful discussions among people who disagreed. I think you may be remembering it as Firing Line when actually it was more like the Buckley/Vidal debates.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:17 PM on January 17 [13 favorites]


MeFi also used to have a lot of "I'd hit it" jokes, used to regularly drive away a significant percentage of its female user base, used to just be awful to trans members, used to have a lot of naked Islamophobia and occasional outright antisemitism, etc.

There has been a pretty significant change, and it is that a percentage of the user base no longer feels the need to mollycoddle privilege when privilege feels threatened. There is now pushback against tone arguments, against people insisting that our primary objective should be to make white voters feel less bad about their racism, etc. Believe it or not, this doesn't actually mean the site has greater homogeneity, but instead that a certain segment of the user base -- myself included -- who used to dominate discussions are now finding themselves slightly less dominant.

I would suggest that what we're actually seeing here is an example of the fact that if women speak in a meeting 25 percent of the time, they are seen as participating equally, and if they speak more than that, they are seen as dominating the discussion. A user base that has a long history of actually being pushed off this site now has a voice on the site, but because it is not the dominant voice, it all sounds the same to the dominant voice, and seems homogeneous when it is anything but.
posted by maxsparber at 1:19 PM on January 17 [58 favorites]


no amount of meaningful discussion between two people of differing political opinions is worth going back to the time when rape apologists and transphobes would viciously double down on their hateful opinions so hard that women and trans members would close their accounts and never return.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:21 PM on January 17 [41 favorites]


I don't mind the higher levels of civility, but I do mind that the standards of civility are much, much higher for those expressing slightly contrarian views. That's what makes it echo-chambery.
posted by lalex at 1:21 PM on January 17 [9 favorites]


I do mind that the standards of civility are much, much higher for those expressing slightly contrarian views.

That's a different complaint, tho. And one, I think, that assumes facts not in evidence. Which comments stay and which comments go doesn't always satisfy me, either, but I'm skeptical that the burden is always on the contrarian side. How would you demonstrate such a thing?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:35 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I miss the discussions with people who didn't think exactly like me and the majority of my facebook feed.

er, hi?
posted by corb at 1:48 PM on January 17 [29 favorites]


I think the echochamber question is actually a good but complicated one.

I mean, clearly, speaking in general terms, the site is very solidly left. I wonder if there is a way to have a discussion website that is welcoming to women, trans people and people of color, and still feels welcoming to people on the right.

Part of the problem is that the ideology of the right is specifically against the measures that I daresay a majority of women, trans people and people of color say allows them to feel safe. So welcoming right wing views means welcoming views that feel in opposition to the very existence of the people we want to welcome to the site.

I genuinely would like to participate in a discussion site where there is civil discourse that feels like it includes a wider-range or people, (and by a wider range of people, I mean including say, Republicans from largely-rural states, but also means including many more women and people of color and immigrants), however, I'm not sure this is possible given the ideology of the right.

I do think it's important not to gang up on, dog-pile, or shout down right wing views. If I see a lot of people already responding to a political opinion I disagree with, I try to stay out of it. If someone says something that I disagree with and I do want to respond, I try to be respectful and assume the person is a rational person whose intent is good. But beyond that... I'm not sure?
posted by latkes at 2:12 PM on January 17 [22 favorites]


You know what else are echo chambers? Ears.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:25 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


except for a few stalwarts willing to battle on one particular front or another, e.g., gun control

corb, I almost namechecked you but it seemed presumptuous.

no amount of meaningful discussion between two people of differing political opinions is worth going back to the time when rape apologists and transphobes would viciously double down on their hateful opinions

The only way I can think of that this comment would be relevant is if you think there is no way to separate to the right (and I hesitate to even limit it this much) from these rape apology and transphobia. Hopefully I'm misinterpreting.

Part of the problem is that the ideology of the right is specifically against the measures that I daresay a majority of women, trans people and people of color say allows them to feel safe.

This is true. But even "feeling safe" should be somewhat up for discussion (see again: gun control. Also, border security. I'm sure there are others I'm not thinking of at this minute.)

Also, just because you have specific problems with a particular political figure shouldn't open you to suggestions that you must hate women, for example. It gets to the point where it starts feeling like any deviation from the political metafilter-norm invites a pile on. Far be it from me defend Trump, but one method of piling on is using belittling nicknames instead of argument. Worse than that, even, is using belittling terms for people who voted for him. The U.S. has enough of that going on. I would even go so far as to say it's become a societal norm. However, I do like to think metafilter is, or can be, better than that.

I'm not saying folks don't have the right to do these things, of course. I am saying it makes metafilter discussions not nearly as useful or interesting.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:27 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there is a way to have a discussion website that is welcoming to women, trans people and people of color, and still feels welcoming to people on the right.

I've always wondered about this issue and I feel like the answer is "Maybe" Which is to say that this site can only be welcoming to people on the right who are okay with an inclusive and diverse environment. There are definitely people on the right--some of whom have been MeFi members over the years--who think this is what they want, but don't actually want this. Or who are supportive of some sorts of inclusion and diversity and not others. So, that's awkward. And as the world has gotten more evolved we're seeing an expansion of what it means to be inclusive. So people who were maybe on board with 2005's version of inclusivity ("Hey there are women on the internet, let's not harass them off the site") may struggle with 2016s version of inclusivity which includes more awareness of trans issues, Islamaphobia and microaggressions.

Being inclusive to people can mean drawing lines about normative community expectation in advance of the majority of the community "getting there" (witness the frequently raised "I'd hit it" issue and how we dealt with it). This is difficult for people. We can argue about whether it should be difficult, but the fact is that it's difficult. So I think this general topic that we're talking about ("Is it ok to name call Trump?") is a great jumping off point for the larger issue of just how inclusive and diverse this site is supposed to be. It's not supposed to be all things to all people.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:31 PM on January 17 [44 favorites]


I feel about political threads the same way I feel about politics in general - I realize that they're neccessary, but I don't actually like them. Although, for some reason, back in the day, I felt compelled to participate in them, which invariably gave me (and probably others) agida. Now I keep my participation in them to a bare minnimum. Less agida for me. I'm sure mileages will vary and all that, but...whatever. I dunno what I'm getting at.
posted by jonmc at 2:48 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I am saying it makes metafilter discussions not nearly as useful or interesting.

It depends on the topic and person. I've seen a number of people note that the changes implemented have helped let some discussions progress farther because they feel more able to share, such as the emotional labor threads, which have been useful to many people.
posted by ghost phoneme at 2:52 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


In preview mode, jessamyn's tag says "Staff." Got my hopes up there for a minute.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:59 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


It depends on the topic and person.

Absolutely. I meant to include the adjective "political."
posted by small_ruminant at 3:01 PM on January 17


poffin boffin: "no amount of meaningful discussion between two people of differing political opinions is worth going back to the time when rape apologists and transphobes would viciously double down on their hateful opinions so hard that women and trans members would close their accounts and never return."

"Going back to"? It's still happening. (And I say that not to disagree with you, but to underline your point.)
posted by capricorn at 3:09 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


er, hi?

A political echo chamber with one outside view smacks of tokenism.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:15 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


"Really, I recall much more name-calling, wisecracks, trolling, counter-trolling, drama, flame-outs, and assorted shenanigans in the old politically heterogeneous metafilter than I recall meaningful discussions among people who disagreed. I think you may be remembering it as Firing Line when actually it was more like the Buckley/Vidal debates."

the crash of MeTa popcorn futures

"There has been a pretty significant change, and it is that a percentage of the user base no longer feels the need to mollycoddle privilege when privilege feels threatened. There is now pushback against tone arguments, against people insisting that our primary objective should be to make white voters feel less bad about their racism, etc. Believe it or not, this doesn't actually mean the site has greater homogeneity, but instead that a certain segment of the user base -- myself included -- who used to dominate discussions are now finding themselves slightly less dominant."

I think it's hard to argue that there isn't more homogeneity of opinion here now, not least because much of MeFi 1.0 membership was drawn from an internet culture that was heavily libertarian and actively valued ostentatious displays of contrarianism. MeFi 2.0 is more left, less liberal, more progressive, more diverse in background and identity, less diverse in political opinion and less diverse in political identity. Mefi 1.0 drew heavily from the Usenet and BBS cultures; MeFi 2.0 echoes the identity-sorting effects of social media.

You've been pretty open about seeing this as an unalloyed good and don't seem really open to talking about the costs; I tend to think it's been good for MeFi on balance, but that being deliberate about changes requires openly talking about the price of those changes.

As an analogy from a dinner party conversation this weekend: For me, I find it easy to never voluntarily see a Woody Allen movie again, and can chalk that up to not wanting to even tacitly support a child molester. But never seeing a Roman Polanski movie again would be harder — I like Chinatown more than anything Allen ever did. I know some people who have dealt with abuse who don't even want to be around when Allen is discussed — a MeFi where Allen was discussed frequently, especially if that discussion included apologia, wouldn't be a place where they would participate.

For a long time, MeFi paid a heavy cost in participation, and that cost was largely invisible to participants, due to the moderation and participation assumptions that members held. In moving to fix that, a cost is being incurred, and because that cost is largely born by people who have embodied the previous norms, that cost is more visible. I tend to think it's also more just, overall, but I think (in part because MeFi identities are most apparent just as screen names), it's something where seeing a lot of benefit to it requires engaging more deeply with MeFi as a community overall. Discouraging some disruptive conservative (or reactionary or revanchist etc.) expression is more visible from a skim than e.g. recognizing that there are more women participating.
posted by klangklangston at 3:17 PM on January 17 [9 favorites]


I joked, but the truth is that like jessamyn said, this stuff is really hard. I sometimes get frustrated myself because people talk broadly and insultingly about "Republicans" and I think "dude, I'm right here." (though sciatrix made a great point in the election thread about how when people say that word, they don't always mean Every Registered Republican, that is sometimes how it comes off.)

But as I said above with regards to the Trump nicknames, people are angry right now, and they really kind of want to metaphorically punch someone responsible for this horrible situation in the stomach. And so it's this weird balance between "you are insulting an awful lot of people, some of them mefites" and "purge it all out, you'll feel better."

I don't really have an answer of what to do, so...eh? But I definitely wouldn't bring smart conservatives here, even if they were my fellow NeverTrumpers. I mean, sure, partially because I wouldn't want to out myself as sometimes being a "squishy liberal", but also partially because I think they'd get tomatoes thrown at them. So it is what it is.
posted by corb at 3:29 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I agree that there is a heightened burden to explain yourself, sometimes to a degree that is unachievable, and yes, be more civil, when your views differ significantly enough from the general consensus in the thread. That's irritating, yes, because it's already hard enough to be in that position without having to meet a higher standard yourself, but it's kind of an inevitable consequence of having differing views that the discussion is not going to work if you're glib or don't put that extra effort into communicating well. That burden does go both ways, yes, but it's easier to use certain shorthands when you're speaking about something most users largely agree with, and that doesn't work the farther away from this positions you go.

I also think, in some cases where people have differing views, we could all stand to do a little more "you've said what you have to say, I've said what I have to say, and we probably should leave it there." That happens now through mod intervention sometimes, but sometimes it's ok to speak your peace and then just let someone sit there in their wrongness and be wrong without the pile on.
posted by zachlipton at 3:31 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


I would say that I'm also one of the people whose politics and understanding of the world has been shaped by this site. I can understand the goal of wanting to offer a place where people can engage without being ridiculed for their positions, but tell me, what would you trade for it? Would you trade this site's acceptance (even if it's not perfect, it has certainly evolved) of trans members (and the trans members who feel comfortable here because the members of the site have listened to them) to welcome members who think it's right to make laws about who can use what bathroom? Would you trade the site's understanding and discussion of LGBT issues so that someone who believes that gay marriage is an abomination?

I can keep going, there are so many aspects of this echo chamber that have been achieved over years of slow evolution, of discussion, of reasoning, emotion, and listening. Wanting to have more difference of opinion is one thing, but wishing this site had more members who disagree with other members' rights to even exist, that's a bridge too far. And before you say that I'm painting with an overly broad brush, the right's platform is built on othering, on scapegoating. Blue lives matter? Bathroom bills? Coded talk about thugs? If conservatives feel uncomfortable talking about this crap, on this site, good. It's not like they clearly don't have any other places to spread that bullshit. Hell, now they get to do it from the White House.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:33 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


I would say that I'm also one of the people whose politics and understanding of the world has been shaped by this site. I can understand the goal of wanting to offer a place where people can engage without being ridiculed for their positions, but tell me, what would you trade for it? Would you trade this site's acceptance (even if it's not perfect, it has certainly evolved) of trans members (and the trans members who feel comfortable here because the members of the site have listened to them) to welcome members who think it's right to make laws about who can use what bathroom? Would you trade the site's understanding and discussion of LGBT issues so that someone who believes that gay marriage is an abomination?

Absolutely not.

But I think the site gone much further than that, and turned into a place where people who are coming from a place of liberal political views but express opinions that deviate from the MeFi consensus (often from the left of the consensus!), come in for all sorts of ridicule and vitriol.

Lots of this is allowed to stand, which would be more tolerable if those with deviating views weren't held to a much higher standard of conduct than those with views in line with the thread consensus. So threads end up being echo chambers where occasionally someone walks in on eggshells to politely disagree, gets treated nastily, and backs away slowly.

But I definitely wouldn't bring smart conservatives here

Oh my gosh I wouldn't even direct my NYC liberal activist friends to this site. I've been here for 10+ years and have a non-trivial investment MetaFilter, both on and offsite, so I'm sure I'll stick around, but if it weren't for that my participation at this point would be minimal.
posted by lalex at 3:54 PM on January 17 [13 favorites]


Ha. From this link in that meTa, we have been complaining about mefi being an echo chamber since at least 2005.
posted by rtha at 4:06 PM on January 17 [17 favorites]


if those with deviating views weren't held to a much higher standard of conduct than those with views in line with the thread consensus

This is at least the second time you've brought this up in this thread, and I genuinely have no idea what kind of "higher standard" you are referring to - they need to present more evidence for their position? Less name-calling? Less snark or sarcasm? I know asking for examples is fraught here in MeTa, but some clarification of what "held to a much higher standard" actually entails would be nice.

Unless you mean an out-numbered "User X vs. Everybody" pile-on where sometimes it's User X who winds up with deleted comments and/or specifically gets told to take a break from the thread. And there the thing is it can happen even in non-political threads, where someone gets a bug up their butt about, I dunno, proper hat etiquette, and the mod team has pointed out more than once that yes, sometimes when User X decides to take on Everyone they get shut down, which is not "fair" in the strictest sense of the word, but is useful for cooling the temper of the thread and allowing room for others to comment.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:46 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


From way upthread:

Donny
has only got one ball
Bannon
has two but very small


Hello. There are testicular cancer survivors in this community. Let's be sure to aim our punches upwards, please? Also ironic hur hur tiny balls toxic masculinity jokes tend to be indistinguishable from the real thing.

I concur with both the sentiments that Trump hasn't earned the respect "due to the office," and that referring to him as Trump for clarity is helpful at a minimum for reading comprehension, but I'm cool with people shittalking him all they want. This is absolutely not synonymous with the racist abuse directed at Obama well before he even took office.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:48 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


Actually, y'know what? Everyone ignore my previous comment - because I re-read zachlipton's comment above and I agree that it explains the "higher burden" idea, and I also agree said burden is largely inevitable.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:56 PM on January 17


where someone gets a bug up their butt about, I dunno, proper hat etiquette

oh god that thread was gr8
posted by poffin boffin at 5:04 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


> From this link in that meTa, we have been complaining about mefi being an echo chamber since at least 2005.

2004!
posted by languagehat at 5:42 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Wow. Forty-six comments in that meTa.
posted by rtha at 5:47 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I never thought of MetaFilter as an Echo Chamber... more like an Echo Canyon.
Hamburger!
Hamburger!
Hamburger!
Hamburger!
Hamburger!

posted by oneswellfoop at 5:49 PM on January 17


This is at least the second time you've brought this up in this thread, and I genuinely have no idea what kind of "higher standard" you are referring to - they need to present more evidence for their position? Less name-calling? Less snark or sarcasm? I know asking for examples is fraught here in MeTa, but some clarification of what "held to a much higher standard" actually entails would be nice.

Without wishing to put words into peoples mouths, I'd say that slick hipshot answers that are in line with the consensus will stay, ones that are not will likely be deleted. Enraged yelling that is on the right side of the consensus will generally stay, if it is not it will likely be deleted.

Metafilter modding is still very good imo, but there are a swag of topics where one reads the FPP and it's clear there's no point actually discussing it unless you want to birth yet another sniffy, endless metatalk, since any questions and answers have already been asked and answered on a consensus level.

However to my mind the great treasure of value-neutral modding is AskMetafilter, and I'm enormously glad that's stayed politically neutral (in the sense that you answer from your standpoint and interplay with the standpoints of others, apart from the asker, is expressly forbidden).
posted by Sebmojo at 6:07 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]


Two thoughts about the good old days of Metafilter.

First, the political dialogue around here was fucking stupid frankly. I've been reading MeFi since 2004 and I invite anyone who is interested to pull up a thread from around that time and actually read the level of discourse. I can assure you it is silly (and often eyerolling) both in tone and content.

Second, as to the improved level of civility. People sometimes like to present the argument that sure MeFi is more tolerant and less boyzony now, but it's come at the expense of the sort of sterling intellectual debates that used to happen in the past (which, cf my first point). I think people don't remember HOW BAD it used to be. As exhibit A., a couple years back I finally got around to watching Sex and the City, and I thought I'd see if there were any threads on Metafilter about the show. Yes there were (from 2008) and they are honestly like a splash of douchey water right in the face. If you don't believe me literally read the first 20 comments, almost none of which would stand today let alone the comments throughout the entire thread.

That's what the good old non-echo chambery Metafilter used to look like 8-9 years ago. Horse jokes. And not only horse jokes, stupid done to death horse jokes. Wow. I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the mods and the community for looking at that shit back in the day and going, whoa, no thanks, then incrementally making life less sucky for the rest of us. The only thing I miss from that era is the ability to post images. I have a gif collection that would make an angel weep.
posted by supercrayon at 6:13 PM on January 17 [43 favorites]


Metafilter: I have a gif collection that would make an angel weep.
posted by amtho at 6:17 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


"cooter timer", jesus christ
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:29 PM on January 17


Wow, supercrayon, uh...

I made it as far as the comment about a post on Sex in the City that claimed it was a "girlzone" post, then went on to explain that only one of the four actresses would be considered worthy of going on a date with.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:30 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


2004!

four panels destroyed quonsar & witty in that one. And high time for that, says I!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:34 PM on January 17


In a democratic nation where something like half the population, or more, doesn't even bother to turn up to the polling booths to elect their government representatives, the idea that whoever winds up in office is automatically worthy of "respect" simply because of their station is frankly ridiculous. If Americans don't care about democracy - and I'm not saying they should - then they shouldn't also have to shoulder the burden of "respecting" its instruments.

In Australia voting is compulsory, so everyone has to do it, and we still don't respect our Prime Ministers or Premiers until they prove themselves worthy of that respect (which, overwhelmingly, they do not). Leadership isn't an edict, it's a series of actions.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:36 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]


four panels destroyed quonsar & witty

Witty ... wasn't ...
posted by octobersurprise at 7:00 PM on January 17


I think at this point, having read the thread, we can easily answer the opening question with "no, we're not." Personally, I don't care for the name-calling, but I feel like asking anyone to stop is going to have the same effect that it did the past eight years. That is to say, none at all.

A lot of it, I think, has to do with the fact that Trump is, quite frankly, a terrible, horrible being. His policies and his actions have cut directly to the core of many people on this site, and the zeal with which his followers have displayed their bigotry, coupled with the potential of seeing many of the gains of the past administration turn to ash? Actions cause reactions. The bile thrown by the right in the past eight years and the glee now is going to cause bile to be thrown back. And it's going to happen the next time the right loses and the left wins.

I don't see a way out of this feedback loop. I don't know why I keep reading those post-election threads, because all it does is feed the white-hot core of reactive hate that formed as the election went on. But I do. And those threads, they bottle up a lot of the wrath and terror and rage and fear into a bouquet of noxious, rotten, over-aged surströmming that got opened in this thread with a simple request.

I'm not better than anyone because I don't use the insults, and I wouldn't be worse than anyone if I did. We've got a terribad being about to take office, and it sucks. Maybe it would be nice if we took the higher road.

Again. Like we always say we do.

But what do I know, I'm still a ball of rage that, at the moment, would refuse to lift a finger to help in any way anyone I knew who voted for Trump. I'm not a good person.
posted by qcubed at 8:49 PM on January 17 [12 favorites]


and they really kind of want to metaphorically punch someone responsible for this horrible situation in the stomach.

For the record, and speaking strictly in a hypothetical way that I have no useful power to act on: Not all that metaphorically.

Admittedly, the aforementioned lack of useful power to act on that (or, indeed, most of the problem) is making it far worse.

I've kinda kept out of this because I'm a relatively low-volume poster, but I -really- agree with Mordax (which is kind of natural, since we talk this stuff over regularly). He and I deal with the anger issue quite differently, but I know for my part that I've learned that trying to keep it bottled and stay 100% respectful on the subject doesn't -end- well for me, somewhere and somehow.

So I keep it light, humorous where I can, and one of the ways I deal with that is things like the stupid name-calling. I'm not unaware that it's a bit juvenile, but it's one of the ways I cope so I don't, y'know, explode into a fiery ball that's visible from space, instead.
posted by Archelaus at 10:18 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


After watching politics for 25+ years (Donaldson's eyebrows, Will's words, Cokie's rather far apart eyes, Jackon's frentic 'up with hope, down with dope', the then 9,000 year old Bob Dole falling off of a cheaply built stage, Perot encouraging the youth of America to save their hearing by getting short hair cuts 'then you won't need a blow dryer in your ears every morning', and Bill telling us 'Don't stop thinking about tomorrow',,); I had no idea who Hilary was. She'd changed A LOT through the years; and seemed like more of a mystery team that really wasn't too digitally savvy or very modern to say the least.

"The Alternative" might be the guy that got elected; and that might be how he got elected.
posted by buzzman at 10:18 PM on January 17


I, too, have opinions derived from watching the news.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:53 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


The vicious cycle of reactionary behavior qcubed connects a bit to the dynamic described in this:

Name calling
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement lists name calling as the lowest type of argument in a disagreement.
Name calling is abusive or insulting language referring to a person or group, a verbal abuse. This phenomenon is studied by a variety of academic disciplines from anthropology, to child psychology, to politics. It is also studied by rhetoricians, and a variety of other disciplines that study propaganda techniques and their causes and effects. The technique is most frequently employed within political discourse and school systems, in an attempt to negatively impact their opponent.

(Contents: 1) As a cognitive bias in propaganda 2) In politics and public opinion 3) Common misconceptions 4) References)

1) As a cognitive bias in propaganda
Name calling is a cognitive bias and a technique to promote propaganda. Propagandists use the name-calling technique to incite fears or arouse positive prejudices with the intent that
[sic] invoked fear (based on fear mongering tactics) or trust will encourage those that read, see or hear propaganda to construct a negative opinion, in respect to the former, or a positive opinion, with respect to the latter, about a person, group, or set of beliefs or ideas that the propagandist would wish the recipients to believe. The method is intended to provoke conclusions and actions about a matter apart from an impartial examinations of the facts of the matter. When this tactic is used instead of an argument,[citation needed] name-calling is thus a substitute for rational, fact-based arguments against an idea or belief, based upon its own merits, and becomes an argumentum ad hominem.[1]

I do think this summary is open to critique in a few different ways; I'm not absolutely endorsing it. Yet it is clearly written, and generally I think Wikipedia is authoritative enough as a source of information that can inform the perspective-taking process. The above may or may not help, but it occurred me to go and look it up, for what it's worth.

Also, there are a few comments about the idea of cartharsis. There's much psychology literature but also pop psychology "information" out there, so it can be difficult terrain. In my very basic readings, the "catharsis model" in psychology has been reexamined and questioned in empirical research, and modern psychologists are moving away from that approach (or revised how catharsis is used in the therapy setting). The "catharsis myth" that has been put forward is the idea that the venting version of catharsis just makes the person even angrier in the long run, and increases cardiovascular disease risk.
posted by polymodus at 10:57 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Without wishing to put words into peoples mouths, I'd say that slick hipshot answers that are in line with the consensus will stay, ones that are not will likely be deleted.

In my experience over the last year, that consensus includes (in all cases, this was explicitly what the post was about).
  1. Britain is irredeemably racist (so let's automatically dismiss this thoughtful article by a black Briton aimed at English football fans)
  2. People with food allergies shouldn't eat out
  3. Men shouldn't complain about being sexually assaulted
All of which are defensible points if you're actually someone affected by these issues, and incredibly rude if they're being shouted from the sidelines, which all these examples were.
posted by ambrosen at 12:18 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


In my experience over the last year, that consensus includes ... People with food allergies shouldn't eat out

I remember that thread well, and it was about as far from any kind of consensus as you can get. There were plenty of *highly* favorited comments making exactly the opposite point.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 12:36 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


There was plenty of debate on both sides in the sexual assault of men thread about whether men were ever really coerced into sex, too. And in both cases, I, as someone affected, would have been very pleased to hear informed points of view on why it's difficult to keep me safe. I don't come here to hear people say "I've never thought about it, so people should just be quiet and deal with it", even though that's the majority opinion.
posted by ambrosen at 1:10 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Is that this thread? Because that thread doesn't have a consensus or majority viewpoint like you describe. Neither "men shouldn't complain about being sexually assaulted" nor "I've never thought about it, so people should just be quiet and deal with it" were the majority opinion. It did have several male sexual assault survivors opening up about their experiences, a couple back-and-forths where it seems agreements were reached, and a lot of pushback from both men and women on the perspectives you mention.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:17 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]


I've been accused of not having the decency to participate in this post. I'd been asleep three hours when that comment was made, and slept three more after it. When I logged back in, it was evident that the vast majority of y'all disagreed with my position. What would have been the point of wading into the fray?

When "a huge grin crept across my face at how shockingly, earth-shakingly fucking stupid this Metatalk thread was" got 37 favorites, what on earth made you think I'd be back to fight with you?


I didn't think you would be back, and don't care a huge amount about whether you decided to or not; I'm somewhat dismayed by the idea a bunch of people in the thread seem to have that OP owes the site more and more comments, whether they want to or not. If one posts a MetaTalk, I think it's perfectly reasonable to keep responding, or to respond not at all. If OP takes the second route, I don't think it should be read as trolling.

Maybe OP is too mad or embarrassed or exasperated or just doesn't have anything to add beyond what they felt was a pretty good original statement of their position. Or maybe they want to think about everyone's responses for a few weeks before addressing them. That's all fine. I don't think anyone should have to apologize or make excuses for not coming back into a thread if they don't want to.

(This comment, of course, is about how we do MetaTalks in general, unrelated to the specific actionable request made in the original post in this particular MetaTalk)
posted by Greg Nog at 4:17 AM on January 18 [9 favorites]


In the old days, I kind of felt like calling out an individual or the site or whatever and then not bothering to stick around and defend your point was kind of a chickenshit move. But the queue really changed that dynamic, because it's not reasonable to expect an OP to stick around when they have no control over when the post will actually go live. Then, after a while of observing threads where the OP didn't stick around to take on all comers, I've come to the conclusion that these threads almost always go better without the OP's follow-up involvement. Basically, I think my old, original impulse was akin to an immature request for additional turds in the punch bowl, whenever there was at least one. Which, yeah. Not useful. And to be perfectly clear, even though I strongly disagree with the premise, I do not consider this Meta to be a turd in the punch bowl. It was clearly made with all good intentions.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:48 AM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Look I know the conversation has drifted and I don't mean to derail (by...re-railing?) but, to the point of the post:

Are you fuh-HUCKING kidding me?

It is because I had such grave respect for the elected office of the Presidency that I call PEOTUS Rancid Squash Tweeter by any nickname I can muster. He's a repugnant stain on a noble institution and he defiles it with every touch of his tiny, tiny hands. I would no sooner speak respectfully of him than I would of a literal pile of shit on my front porch.

I will say that it bothers me when people call him a clown, though. A clown has to put in some fucking effort.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:39 AM on January 18 [11 favorites]


He's like Pennywise. They all float down here. Beep beep!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:12 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


"Then, after a while of observing threads where the OP didn't stick around to take on all comers, I've come to the conclusion that these threads almost always go better without the OP's follow-up involvement."

A voice of moderate experience: When called out or when calling out in MeTa, it is almost always better to keep your participation to a minimum. If you've made a good point, other people will take it up. If you're being called out unfairly, other people will take that up.

But it's a lot easier to give this advice than take it.
posted by klangklangston at 11:48 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


And of course if you do participate, you'll be accused of trying to moderate the post and not letting the conversation breathe. In the past I've tried to post MeTas when I'll be around for a couple hours to clarify, but of course that's not as easy now with the queue.

It's hard to satisfy everyone and calling the OP a "troll" is super-uncharitable.
posted by lalex at 12:00 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


I don't respect Trump and I don't respect his voters and I won't pretend otherwise, though I will attempt to avoid cheesy nicknames. Cheesy. Nicknames.
posted by Justinian at 1:51 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


I hereby promise to follow Mr. Trump's lead and show him as much respect as he did President Obama during his presidency.

Actually, I'm not sure I can live up to his level of malevolent dishonesty, really.
posted by Zalzidrax at 3:16 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


I hereby promise to follow Mr. Trump's lead and show him as much respect as he did President Obama during his presidency.

It's good to set a high bar.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:58 PM on January 18


Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?

Does this rule apply to all national leaders or just the POTUS?
posted by dazed_one at 8:41 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


I had no problem referring to "President Bush," despite real sadness and anger at his actions in office. I have no problem referring to "Vice President Pence" or "Speaker Ryan" despite absolute disgust for many of their policies.

Donald Trump does not deserve my respect and he will not get it, regardless of his official job title, as long as he continues to behave as he has his entire life so far. And as it currently appears to me that he, at a minimum, encouraged a foreign nation seeking to harm our country to meddle in our democratic process, I suspect he'll be called a lot worse than Cheeto at some point not far in the future.
posted by sallybrown at 8:44 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Can we please refer to the holder of that office with some modicum of respect?

Respect is earned. He hasn't. So, no. HTH
posted by MissySedai at 9:09 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


I think referring to the President of the United States (or any head of state) by their real name is the right thing to do, no matter the level of love or hatred.

I always cringe/roll my eyes/etc when I see people refer to "Obummer." It's just...stupid, and says a lot more about the person saying/typing it than it does about Obama.

Same with Trump...although with Trump, I've noticed that an awful lot of the disparaging nicknames are based on his appearance, which...um...aren't anti-Trump people (and the vast majority of Dems and Hillary supporters) all about NOT mocking or insulting people based on their appearance?
posted by davidmsc at 8:06 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Especially because mocking the appearance of our enemies often upholds a strict definition of acceptable appearance that non-white or non-wealthy folks have a difficult time living up to. Metafilter absolutely despises insults based on weight or physical appearance.... unless the person is a republican, I guess.
posted by rebent at 8:21 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Metafilter absolutely despises insults based on weight or physical appearance.... unless the person is a republican, I guess.

If you have specific remarks in mind, then take it to the mods. I've no doubt that they will try to give you the satisfaction you desire. If you don't have specific remarks in mind, then don't come over trying to smear an entire forum with vague accusations, eh, paison?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:46 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Mocking arguably the most powerful man in the free world for a bad spray tan and weird hard-shell trademark comb-over hardly rises to the level of fat shaming. This is how he chooses to present himself to the world. He actually has to go out of his way to look like this. Sorry, but it's totally appropriate to punch up and it's totally appropriate to aim at his trademark look. The tiny hands thing I'm a bit meh about myself, but given how much time he's spent talking shit about other people's physical attributes, I'm thinking he should be able be able to take it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:50 AM on January 19 [11 favorites]


I don't think mockery of Trump's idiosyncratic style affectations is exactly high discourse or anything, but collapsing that into the much broader and far more problematic slurry of sexist, racist, ageist and ableist mockery that folks are predominantly critical of is an embarrassingly convenient reach to make and looks a lot more like picking a fight from aggressively rhetorically gerrymandered ground than like making an actual argument against mockery for its own sake.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:53 AM on January 19 [15 favorites]


I think referring to the President of the United States (or any head of state) by their real name is the right thing to do, no matter the level of love or hatred.

I mean, I don't object to this and if you have managed to live your life with this degree of equanimity, then you are a prince among men. But isn't clear to me on what grounds this is "right"—by which I assume you mean "morally compelling"—other than the grounds of "don't make a fuss." I especially don't understand how every head of state is so entitled. Stalin? Hitler? Pol Pot? It was "wrong" to refer to them by any epithet other than their given name?
posted by octobersurprise at 8:58 AM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I have a hard and fast ethical rule when it comes to mocking appearance, or anything, for that matter, and it is this: Volition. I don't make fun of things people can't help. So most physical appearance things are right off the table. Except ...

Sprays tans and hair cuts. Using tape to hold a tie together. Not knowing how to tie a tie so that it doesn't hang down too far. That sort of thing. It's all volitional on Trump's part, it's all stuff he has control over, and therefore is subject to comic scrutiny.

I haven't actually made fun of those things, except, maybe, the tie, because his weird appearance is the least interesting thing about Trump for me. But I won't take them off them table.
posted by maxsparber at 8:59 AM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I think referring to the President of the United States (or any head of state) by their real name is the right thing to do, no matter the level of love or hatred.

Why? There's a lot of people in here saying stuff like this, that we must respect the office, that this is the right thing to do to be respectful, but no one seems to have articulated why that is the case. I don't mean to sound like a four-year-old, but I really don't think anyone has offered a substantive explanation that doesn't devolve into either arguing in favor of the concept of lèse-majesté or treating our nation's politics as a religion, and the president as the Pope.
posted by griphus at 9:03 AM on January 19 [10 favorites]


They're already off the table. They stuck to the tape on Trump's tie. Made a huge mess. Sad.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:03 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I do think it's remarkable that Donald Trump wears more makeup than Hillary Clinton. I don't object to this, mind you, I just wonder at it.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:03 AM on January 19


Refraining from name-calling doesn't mean refraining from legitimate criticism or even angry screeds or insults. It just means saying:

"Donald Trump is an asshole and is taking the country down a dangerous and destructive path"

instead of

"Drumpf the orange pee-stained cheeto is an asshole and is taking the country down a dangerous and destructive path"

If nothing else, it has the appearance of making the argument that follows more legitimate and reasoned.
posted by rocket88 at 9:05 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Sprays tans and hair cuts. Using tape to hold a tie together. Not knowing how to tie a tie so that it doesn't hang down too far. That sort of thing. It's all volitional on Trump's part, it's all stuff he has control over, and therefore is subject to comic scrutiny.

I really fucking hate Trump, but these kinds of mockery in particular kind of make me deeply uncomfortable. It feels like mockery about class status. Like, "ha-ha, you're not nearly as classy as rich people should be! You do stuff like the poors!" I live with it because fuck him and I don't begrudge people for saying it as many ways as they can, but it always bothers me.
posted by corb at 9:06 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


It feels like mockery about class status.

Well, according to Paul Fussell in his book Class, this sort of general slobbery is actually a mark of extreme wealth, a demonstration that you make too much money to really give a shit about your appearance, so there may be a class element here, but I'm not sure it is as cut and dry as you make it out to be.
posted by maxsparber at 9:18 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


It feels like mockery about class status.

It is mockery about class status. And if Trump were just, say, a rather ambitious used-car salesman, not the most powerful man on Earth, it would be considerate to imagine how hurtful that mockery might be.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:20 AM on January 19


I mean - let me be clear. I don't care if Trump's feelings are hurt. I'm thinking about other people who for example maybe don't know how to tie a tie, because that's not a skill you just magically inherit, and come to work one day and everyone's like "LOL MAN TRUMP IS SO BAD AT TYING TIES" and they kind of quietly put their tie under the table and feel sad.

And it's like - it's not like there's not awful stuff Trump is doing EVERY DAY that's fucking RIPE for mockery. You can go every day without mocking his class status and still never run out of things to make fun of.
posted by corb at 9:30 AM on January 19 [3 favorites]


Certainly worth considering. Not sure the spray tan or haircut should be lumped in with the tie, though. Those aspects seems uniquely, idiosyncratically Trump.
posted by maxsparber at 9:34 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Is making fun of a dude who profits greatly from branded businesses, including a line of ties that all have his name on the back of them for wearing scotch tape on his ill-fitting tie classist?
posted by griphus at 9:36 AM on January 19 [8 favorites]


I dunno, it's really easy to look up how to tie a tie.
posted by qcubed at 9:36 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]


When it comes to comedic mockery, there's punching up and there's punching down. Trump will soon be the most powerful man in the world. Which way will people be punching?
posted by dazed_one at 9:41 AM on January 19


I'm thinking about other people who for example maybe don't know how to tie a tie, because that's not a skill you just magically inherit, and come to work one day and everyone's like "LOL MAN TRUMP IS SO BAD AT TYING TIES" and they kind of quietly put their tie under the table and feel sad.

Generally, I'm not going to spend a lot of time mocking Trump's ties, because, as you say, there are so so many other, riper, targets. But I might. Somewhere. Probably not around people who I think might be bad at tying ties. But I can't categorically rule out mocking his ties on an internet forum one day. Which is why the where and when of such speech is central to this discussion (and similar discussions).
posted by octobersurprise at 9:41 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


It's neither here nor there, but from the personal experience of a guy with decent but not great manual dexterity, it's about a half hour from never having worn anything but a clip-on to learning to do a four-in-hand knot and another fifteen minutes to figure out how to have the back part not be longer than the front. I haven't been able to even get close to mastering any other knot, but a four-in-hand is like three motions.

I have gotten lazy and used scotch tape, though, but the chances of there being press photographers around when I had done it was minimal at best.
posted by griphus at 9:43 AM on January 19


Fuck. All I know is that I spent an evening with friends I haven't seen in a long time, friends that, as I've mentioned in past threads that I'm finding it harder and harder to remain friends with, for a myriad of reasons, most of them having to do with the rankest pre-anything101 kind of decency. I ended up drawn into a debate where a friend of mine, a relationship I've had for long enough that he's not friend, he's family, tried to tell me that trying to, in his words, force people to use non-gender specific pronouns was a form of fascism. And yeah, there was alcohol in this evening, but honestly the last thing I remember clearly before I had to leave to catch the last train is trying and failing not to cry, trying to explain to him, and the group of people there that I utterly and totally feel like a failure because in the twelve years I've known them, drank with them, fought with them, talked with them, and tried to reason with them, I've somehow utterly failed to convince them of the radical idea that people we don't personally know have value, that the lives and experiences of people we've never personally interacted with have just as much meaning and import as our own. I've tried, so damn hard, to try to drag the people I have been friends with for years away from viewpoints I can't, in any conscience be a party to anymore, and I've failed utterly and completely.

And here we are, the people and the place that gave me the strength to stand up to literally my entire social circle and say "this is not okay, and if this is okay to you, then you'll have to be okay without me around" and we're fucking arguing about whether Trump, the arrogant pigfucking pied piper of normalizing racist/sexist/nth-ist-ness, whether it's okay to call him bad names?!

Fuck that. Fuck this. And I doubt I'm alone in this, but the world has gone so fucked that I'm abandoning my career because I can't see any point to it, and struggling to get through the day trying to figure out how to explain to people I care about and love that other people, people we'll never meet are just as worthy and deserving of the care and love we share towards each other.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:44 AM on January 19 [30 favorites]


oh shit I just realized there's a really good chance the time I used scotch tape on my tie it was on a Donald J. Trump Collection tie
posted by griphus at 9:44 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


oh shit I just realized there's a really good chance the time I used scotch tape on my tie it was on a Donald J. Trump Collection tie

House Style
posted by beerperson at 9:53 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Is his fake tan down to class status? Class is complicated, sure, but it's possible to do something people in a given class do for different reasons and have it signify different things. (And plenty of wealthy people use fake tanner [well, celebrities].) His face looks nuclear because he's out of control with it, in measure with his boundless vanity. And yeah, he doesn't feel like he has to even try to make it look like human skin, because he's put himself outside of any norm. He can't accept aging or any other limitation of reality. It's not (just) the look on its own, it's what it indicates, about him, specifically. (Or - most of the big, HUGE, fascists have some affectation like that, that's his class.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:11 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


There is no such thing as being right on the internet. It's why I don't bother to speak up much anymore. For anything of value I'd want to say, there are approximately six or six hundred people waiting in the wings to pounce and berate me for being wrong, depending on the forum/topic. It's exhausting, and I'm over it. I flat-out don't like being told I'm bad if I don't communicate just like X.
posted by heyho at 10:13 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Trump has based all of his public image on an idea of him that doesn't really exist. It's right and proper to call out the emperor for not wearing clothes, not to just keep acting as though he's dressed impeccably. If the emperor didn't care about the fact that he was naked, then pointing it out wouldn't matter. But in this case, he does care about this stuff, and yet he's still doing it badly. Why is that? Because everybody around him is telling him he's doing it right. People need to say that he isn't. People need to publish the pictures where he looks less than perfectly put together. People need to talk about Trump as he really is, not Trump as the image he is attempting to project, of a man in perfect health and the epitome of class and wealth.

If he wasn't trying to project that image, then those comments would be completely different in implication, but many fewer people would be making them. Trump is a man who could easily just not care about his appearance. Or he could easily dress incredibly well, go to personal trainers, get face lifts--he could do everything he expects Melania and Ivanka to do on a daily basis. He does neither because he believes other people shouldn't be allowed to criticize him on his failure to live up to his own standards, and that's exactly why they should. His sin isn't failure to be attractive or stylish; it's hypocrisy. Hypocrisy can't be allowed to pass without comment.
posted by Sequence at 10:44 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]


There is no such thing as being right on the internet (no matter how loudly it's done). It's why I don't bother to speak up much anymore.

I feel for you. I haven't posted to Facebook since 2013, and specifically removed the ability of people to post on my wall on my last birthday. I skip it because I feel that the medium is corrosive to discourse regardless of who's talking. Twitter's worse.

That said, I think that isn't exactly right.

When *two* people have a dispute, arguments between them are unlikely to change either party's mind. This is problematic in face to face disputes, and orders of magnitude harder on the Internet: we lose nonverbal cues, tone and often history with people, so intent is much harder to divine. It's really hard to give someone the benefit of the doubt when all they have is text.

That's why, when I engage in a disagreement online, I'm not expecting to change the mind of the specific individual I'm talking to. I always try, but it's more about trying to sway the six hundred people who are watching and waiting to pounce: I want to convince the audience that my point was better so that they'll back me up.

It does work, too - Metafilter's positions have shifted over the years specifically through that mechanism. People come here with complaints and we hash them out until a critical mass of participants are on board one way or the other. Social norms do move. My own opinions have evolved over time thanks to other posters offering up their experiences when I was in the audience.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: take heart, it's not futile, it's just glacial.

That said, you're fine not to - trying to persuade people of stuff really is exhausting, and the payoffs are pretty small. I only bother here, and I open my mouth maybe a tenth as often as I want to. It's fine if you want to save your energy for better ends. I'm only pointing this out in case you ever feel moved to do so again about something - it's possible that more people will hear you than you think.
posted by mordax at 10:47 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]


If expecting a millionaire who has chosen to become the most photographed man in the world to get a dresser/stylist to make sure his tie looks better than mine usually does makes me classist, I guess I'm Classist McClassist.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:51 AM on January 19 [18 favorites]


Re: the fake tan thing. It's by total choice; it would be different if he was e.g. born with an orange gene, or was tanning to cover some impediment.

But, it's by choice, and follows in an increasingly long path of rich, white (before optional tan), pompous and out-of-touch male politicians who have made this choice, both in his homeland and his ancestral land.
posted by Wordshore at 11:29 AM on January 19


I worry on a deep level that with so much attention paid to his orange fuckface there may be a temptation to focus less on the fact that he has the world's fucking stupidest hair and I really do think there needs to be a balance there is all so I will personally try to call him Tangerine McComb-Over more often.
posted by billiebee at 11:45 AM on January 19 [8 favorites]


Hmm... Reading over the discussion, I am now less inclined to insult Trump based on anything appearance related. I do enjoy calling him a shit-cheeto, but I think I can let that go in favor of calling him a flaming pile of nuclear waste. Seriously, thanks for folks for pointing out the problematic parts of focusing on his appearance in this way.
posted by latkes at 11:47 AM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I don't care about Donald Trump's feelings and would in fact relish seeing them hurt, but I have to say the orange tan thing has a strong whiff of classism for me, possibly because I usually see the criticism in the context of women being called "trashy".
posted by lalex at 12:02 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


there are approximately six or six hundred people waiting in the wings to pounce and berate me for being wrong

I don't find that as bad as being the "wrong kind of right". Sometimes it feels like if anyone asks a question like what numbers can be added to total 4, everyone says "2+2" and the poor sod that says "3+1" is a total moron who doesn't think right.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:14 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


As a side-point to the orange thing and whether it is too crude/simplistic/inaccurate to always refer to it as just orange, a bookmaker is running several books on the inauguration tomorrow, one of which concerns "Trump's skin colour" on the day. More nuanced options currently include Deep Saffron at 6/1, Mango Tango at 7/1, Cinnamon at 8/1 and Pumpkin at 10/1. [screenshot].
posted by Wordshore at 12:19 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


And woe to the idiot who adds negative six to positive two! He gets sent to the office again.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:19 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I don't read the fake tan stuff as specifically classist (YMMV, but for me it's in large part because Trump is the very definition of over-privileged man-toddler), but the election has really caused progressives' classism to flare up bad. To the point where many people are too stuck on "fake news" truthiness mythologies instead of examining the realities of voting, class, race and socioeconomic inequality in the US. A lot of these attitudes implicitly support institutional racism, homophobia, etc. as they explicitly support class divides.

It is really dispiriting.
posted by byanyothername at 1:07 PM on January 19 [10 favorites]


It will be a cold day in hell before I refer to that racist sexist lying fraudulent orange pile of crap as anything respectful. It has nothing to do with the fact that he is a "conservative," and everything to do with his utter lack of worthiness.
posted by bearwife at 2:18 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Anyway, El Chapo has been extradited to the US. Just in time to be vetted for his cabinet position.
posted by Oyéah at 3:24 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Drug Czar
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:05 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Drug Czardine
posted by jonmc at 4:22 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I'm from a military family and grew up with the idea that you respect the office. Some people may not understand that that is an important part of the culture, and has the added benefit of stopping coups.

I didn't disrespect the office. Trump and a majority of Republican voters and politicians have disrespected the office. They have turned it into a sick joke. Out of respect for the office I refuse to ever call him President or refer to the position by that name. He is Trump.

I'm not big on the cheeto type nick naming (though I've probably stooped in the past), for the reasons many have stated here, it seems juvenile and personally rubs me the wrong way.

But it also carries a note of humor and affection. And I have no humor or affection for Trump. Not even the tiniest amount.
posted by bongo_x at 6:27 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


I honestly can't think of a single, solitary thing that would compel me to respect that short-fingered vulgarian. He can fuck right off forever. Does that make me classist? Intolerant? So be it. Respect is earned, and all he has earned is my derision. I'm sure he'll still sleep tonight.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:30 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Might be worth noting that I served 20 years in the military, which does influence my perception and treatment of the President. I was not a fan of Bill Clinton, for instance, but I always referred to him and still do as President Clinton.
posted by davidmsc at 10:45 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


It's completely a reasonable question and you are not a bad person for asking it.

Disagree.

It's not a reasonable question. For like, nearing a hundred reasons, many of which were listed above.

And I think you should feel like a bad person for asking it. There are a lot more people on the list ahead of you that are going to suffer (and actually, literally, not-an-exaggeration die) in the next 4 years, and you don't get to tone police our grief.

The democratic party and the progressives in this country have always bound themselves to rules of decorum that no one else has to play by. In other words, roll over. We are always told to "go high when they go low" and it's going to kill people I care about.

If the last 8 years were about Hope, the only way we get through the next several is Anger.

Stay mad, and resist.
posted by danny the boy at 10:48 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


And I think you should feel like a bad person for asking it. There are a lot more people on the list ahead of you that are going to suffer (and actually, literally, not-an-exaggeration die) in the next 4 years, and you don't get to tone police our grief.

God forbid someone ask a question on the portion of a community website that specifically solicits questions about norms of behavior on the site! What a horrible thing to do!

There are a lot more people on the list ahead of you that are going to suffer (and actually, literally, not-an-exaggeration die) in the next 4 years

And let me just point out that this prove-your-bonafides-or-else-you-can't-make-a-request is some real hot garbage. OP is a member of the MetaFilter community, and their question was asked in good faith and approved by the mods. That’s about all the validation one should require for asking something on a dang tiny community website.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:06 PM on January 19 [14 favorites]


(Clearly that “EVERYONE NEEDS A HUG” isn’t in a big enough font.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:06 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


The name of the incoming White House occupant is a trademark and I choose not to run the risk of violating such legal protections granted upon it. I'm sure that he would appreciate such sentiments.
posted by holgate at 11:57 PM on January 19 [14 favorites]


And let me just point out that this prove-your-bonafides-or-else-you-can't-make-a-request is some real hot garbage.

You know what the worst part is about being told by mefites how I'm feeling/reacting/protesting is incorrect? The complete and willful blindness to how the stakes are not the same for everyone.

When a white cis person who can go anywhere in the US and not look out of place tells me we all don't "like" Mr. Trump but we should treat him with respect... like do you realize the people you might be talking to have been the victims of hate crimes, incited by the man? Or that he has announced plans to deport them because of their race/religion? Or that they might die because they will no longer have health insurance?

What is mere distaste for one person is a life-changing event for another. There's no hyperbole here. This isn't some internet etiquette bullshit argument about who's opinion deserves more weight. Like I truly don't care if I hurt someone's feelings. I'm concerned about how the rest of my life plays out, and if it will be in this country.
posted by danny the boy at 12:17 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


When a white cis person who can go anywhere in the US and not look out of place tells me we all don't "like" Mr. Trump but we should treat him with respect... like do you realize the people you might be talking to have been the victims of hate crimes, incited by the man?

Nobody has been told to do anything. A member of a community has made a request about a community norm. Other community members have said no thanks in a variety of language. That's it. Nobody's posts or comments have been deleted for using invective to describe Trump, and no one's posts are likely to do so. If this meta had gone dramatically differently and cortex were in the mind to overturn some longstanding norms, maybe that would change, but then metafilter would itself be a very different place, with a very different membership.

Many people -including, I note, the OP, if you take the time to look for her comment- will likely suffer negative consequences thanks to the incoming administration. It sucks. But I'd like to have a MetaFilter where members feel okay interrogating community practices because doing so has helped to make this place work. Meta is a tool, and this is one of its intended uses.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:50 AM on January 20 [7 favorites]


Though I will say I am generally pretty bothered by "Drumpf" - a lot of immigrants anglicize their names, and though I know that's not what anyone means by it, it always strikes me like "Ha-ha! We know your secret immigrant name! You've been revealed as not really one of us!"

This is exactly WHY I use this. Because he builds his own identity and brand around nativist othering of "those people", and because of his deep-seated inferiority complex, never being quite good enough for the real elite of Manhattan.

He is a cruel bully, so I see nothing problematic with jamming whatever buttons work to sting him. Especially because of the whole ridiculousness of the "racism" against whatever the fuck wooden shoe-wearing little-handed province his forebears tried to slink away from. Fucking bumpkin provincial cheese-eating Drumpfs, we don't need your kind here, go back to the Palatinate you not quite good enough not quite white people. German? Dutch? Whatever - fake wannabe WASPS and you never get to be in the clubhouse, even when you are POTUS... Fuck you.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:13 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


I know this was not intentional, but opening the inauguration post just now hurt me a lot. The first line contains an intentional reference that substitutes an identity phrase that minority immigrants are intimately familiar with for the subject of the post.

I am posting this comment to inform people in this thread that the emotions that I went through for several minutes was like the stabbed in heart feeling you get due to rejection. It was painful.

Some of the thoughts I had were, how the hell am I supposed to make sense of this rhetoric, since it fits the same patterns of dogwhistling that I've had to fight off in my real life, but people have been saying they're justified in using these tactics, and so am I being wrong in my immediate reaction and judgment; And, did the poster who wrote this construction consider their white privilege or non-immigrant status, are they an ally and did they run this by other immigrant friends who approved? "What. The. Fuck."?

I'm well aware of the rationales different people have given for certain speech. Intellectually, I can imagine what the poster was getting at by doing this. But I feel slightly better recalling that some others have changed their mind, saying they will refrain from certain specific kinds of references.

I'm not going to decide if I am okay with this, because that would be premature. I am leaving this comment here to express and make known that this was what happened, and documenting how it played out for me as a site user, in this particular instance. It took a single phrase. I'm going to get some rest now. The pain is still there, and I must deal with it.
posted by polymodus at 4:21 AM on January 20


First and most importantly, I apologise for hurt and pain that any text I wrote caused you, and may or has caused to any other readers. This was, unambiguously and definitely, not my intention.

The first line contains an intentional reference that substitutes an identity phrase that minority immigrants are intimately familiar with for the subject of the post.

With the post, one of my aims was no Trump name calling, to avoid any controversy; as I wrote it, another aim became not to mention his actual name at all throughout the post as it's become unbearable to write in posts.

The post was structured to focus mainly on the events of inauguration day, but also to finish with a few things that are happening afterwards - the Women's Marches - and a few things before. The linked article from the BBC I wanted to include as it's a good detailed article, I lived in the Hebrides for a while and have put similar links into other posts, and some ancestral connections (I and several other MeFites have MacLeod ancestry).

The (real) Gaelic name for Lewis is a deliberate choice as there's often some rib-tickling between Lewis and Harris people because of the local rivalry. I'm no Gaelic expert - I did write this over a decade ago when putting up the website and my Gaelic knowledge hasn't extended much further - but I usually check in with friends there on phrases and terms used.

Speaking of checking in, I asked two of them this lunchtime (one on Lewis, one on Berneray) what is wrong with the sentence. They both said that they weren't entirely sure but it could be misinterpreted as a play on "son of a b***h". I can see that now. That was definitely not my intention - I haven't heard that phrase in years, from old films - and I apologise that it can come over as a reminder of that.

I passed a screenshot of the post to the mods yesterday with the rationale "Only serious links, no jokes, no name-calling." My intention on this day was not to have a post which in itself triggered any additional grief. Obviously I failed, and I apologise.
posted by Wordshore at 5:54 AM on January 20 [7 favorites]


Beautiful. People need to remember, we are on this ship together and hoping he wrecks the ship spells doom for us all! Support them, debate them, but listen to the other side now. We all are in this together!
posted by pizzakats708 at 8:22 AM on January 20


i'm not going to stop calling neo-nazis and fascists neo-nazis and fascists. this isnt normal and i refuse to normalize it.

thankfully for all concerned, i rarely comment on metafilter these days so this won't affect y'alls.
posted by subbes at 9:12 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


hi all just checking in to point out that donald trump is a pigeonfucking cockweasel and does not deserve even the base dignity of simple human contact
posted by beerperson at 9:45 AM on January 20 [21 favorites]


allegedly
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:02 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


It's today guys. :(
posted by Justinian at 2:25 PM on January 20


where is the meteor
posted by poffin boffin at 2:46 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]


in my heart
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:16 PM on January 20 [6 favorites]


The meteor was inside us all along?
posted by zachlipton at 3:21 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


I am not better than this...Watching Richard Spencer bloviate, and get punched in the side of the head, was refreshing. Here is a gif, over and over.
posted by Oyéah at 4:21 PM on January 20 [7 favorites]


where is the meteor

@smod4real: I have failed all of you. I am so sorry.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:32 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


"I know this was not intentional, but opening the inauguration post just now hurt me a lot. The first line contains an intentional reference that substitutes an identity phrase that minority immigrants are intimately familiar with for the subject of the post. "

Wait, for the "son of a Leòdhas emigrant" bit? Perhaps it's privilege blinding me, but I'm really not getting why that phrase would provoke so much angst. Is it "emigrant" rather than "immigrant"? It's obvious that this hurt you, but I literally do not understand why.
posted by klangklangston at 8:34 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]


.....
posted by Violet Hour at 11:37 PM on January 20


Hi, polymodus. I've woken to a few more emails from Lewis folk, who are baffled/unsure about what is offensive about the first line of the post. They are both people who have absolutely zero problem in telling me in the frankest of terms if I've been offensive, especially to Lewis, its inhabitants or emigrants.

Obviously there is something greatly wrong with the sentence from what you've commented e.g. "intentional reference" (it was not, though I am still unsure as to what it is referencing), and your strong and personal reaction e.g. "dogwhistling", "white privilege", "non-immigrant status", "ally" and "I can imagine what the poster was getting at by doing this" (could you explain that, please?)

I've done several posts on Hebridean matters and people, and many on the election. I usually try and be careful on these issues (though I've done more than my fair share of unwise post content over the years here). I do not, for example, go fully public on my views of the new President of the United States as even though opinions/feelings are decidedly mixed there, he is still a close blood relative of several Lewis inhabitants who are friends and ex-neighbors. For the inauguration day post in question I was trying - though it appears I failed, from your comment - to be super extra careful in not creating any controversy.

It would be very useful if you could state what was wrong with the sentence, so I (and anyone else reading who is thinking of posting similar) do not make the same mistake and cause the same significant offense again when constructing a post.

Thank you.
posted by Wordshore at 12:03 AM on January 21 [9 favorites]


Forgot to say - as soon as I saw your comment yesterday, I did ask the mods to edit, delete or substitute the phrase to whatever they thought best if they thought it appropriate.
posted by Wordshore at 12:30 AM on January 21


I mean:
  • I despise all that the vile fluffy blond haired philandering organised-crime-associating New Yorker who's unaccountably risen to one of the world's most powerful political positions stands for just as much as anyone else does,
  • but I also
  • despise all that the vile fluffy blond haired philandering organised-crime-associating New Yorker who's unaccountably risen to one of the world's most powerful political positions stands for.
is less clear than "I despise all that Donald Trump and Boris Johnson stand for".

So, I'm pro insult, pretty much anti performative anger at the expense of clarity.
posted by ambrosen at 7:15 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I'm not going to criticize anyone else for how they choose to refer to this person. But I'm going to refer to him as "minority president Donald Trump" whenever possible. I think it's a much more powerful statement than insults. And probably gets under his skin a lot more too.
posted by grouse at 9:44 AM on January 21 [4 favorites]


Yeah, when Trump and Johnson retire, or when Trump retires his johnson, or Johnson trumps some dirt, face down, they can do a cheerful towhead, dunderhead, buddy movie; about two brothers separated by the Atlantic, who find each other in their dotage. The dotage has begun, they just have to remember to find anything, anything at all.
posted by Oyéah at 10:03 AM on January 21


He is a cruel bully, so I see nothing problematic with jamming whatever buttons work to sting him.

I hear you, but if those buttons wind up making other people feel insecure in their inclusion in this country, then its kind of not great. I don't think the response to a nativist is to double down on nativism.
posted by corb at 10:47 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I believe that the name calling dulls the critique and discredits the author.
posted by mecran01 at 3:00 PM on January 21


And yet it doesn't, as repeatedly demonstrated by the infinity of web pages celebrating really sharp insults and celebrating the authors. I mean, here's a partial list:

Shakespeare
Mark Twain
Winston Churchill

I could go on and on. History actually really remembers a pointed insult and celebrates its creators, and these claims to the otherwise are just expressions of personal distaste, and, honestly, MetaFilter does not exist to serve people's ahistoric, priggish personal preferences.

You don't like insults, don't insult. But we have a gorilla with a machine gun in charge of the country, and there is nothing to be gained by limiting people's responses to what you personally find acceptable.
posted by maxsparber at 3:18 PM on January 21 [22 favorites]


Your kidding right?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:49 PM on January 21


Are you asking me? If so, no.
posted by maxsparber at 8:43 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I'm really intrigued by mentions in online comments that Trump is displaying behaviors associated with the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's. His facial expressions are all fucked up, the things he says are bizarre, the way he closed his eyes when taking the oath of office looked like he was terrified. The WH press conference with Sean Spicer was bonkers. Trumps speech to the CIA was a jaw dropper - so unprofessional, unpresidential, and just flat out disingenuous. Jaw dropping.

His first two days in office have been unreal. I feel certain he can't be "reigned in" and the next step will be for disparate power interests to terminate Trump's authority (it's possible they already have, hence his shell shocked mannerisms the past two days) or they will remove him from office in whatever way is expedient if he gets too messy. I'm guessing he'll suffer a stroke shortly.

I guess what I'm saying is that what we are seeing is HIGHLY unusual and normalizing it through polite language is unhelpful. Name calling is also unhelpful because it will become its own distraction, eventually, if this situation does not change soon. Right now though, name calling is a more emotionally accurate response to what's going on.

I'm against normalizing this current dangerous bullshit through civility. I realize there are possible negative consequences. This is just too too nutz, though!
posted by jbenben at 8:28 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]


In short, Trump is not really the United States President. He refuses to even fully move in to the White House. No matter what aspect of the Trump situation is highlighted, it's either unprecedented or flat out bonkers.

A collection of interests behind the scenes thought getting him elected would be useful to them, that's how he has found himself shunted into the highest office in the land. They will soon change theirs minds (if they haven't already) and he'll be out soon enough. Worrying about being respectful is a supreme distraction from the fact that this experiment is imploding and will not continue much longer.

It's much more pragmatic to worry what's coming next and how we should react to that change.
posted by jbenben at 8:41 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


I'll afford him that respect when he shows a serious commitment to running the country in a competent manner, and when he apologizes for the race baiting and sexism. There are still a ton of positions that need appointees, and the cabinet he has nominated has people who are unqualified (Devos, Perry), corrupt (Price, Mnuchin) or enemies of the agencies they have been appointed to lead (Zinke.) We need better than this. If he is to be the president of the US, then he needs to act like it and make sure it is run like the people need it to run. Bush did this. Obama did this. Clinton did this. Bush the 1st did this. Reagan did this. And so on down the line.
posted by azpenguin at 12:07 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


“National Day of Patriotic Devotion.” : This is so North Korea in tone, so Manchurian Candidate. The tone of this is pure Orwell, and so needy.
posted by Oyéah at 5:20 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


didn't read this thread, but

no
posted by ludwig_van at 8:31 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


In short, Trump is not really the United States President.

Yes he is. We hate him, he's objectively terrible, we're terrified of what he's going to do, but he was lawfully elected and holds the office. Statements like this don't serve any useful purpose.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:22 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


All these "BUT TWAIN" and "BUT SHAKESPEARE" retorts are fucking hilarious, as if you're Shakespeare or Faulkner or whoever. Hilarious.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:41 PM on January 25


You don't know me, man.
posted by Etrigan at 3:44 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


And you don't know Trump hahaha
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:13 PM on January 25



"In short, Trump is not really the United States President."

Yes he is. We hate him, he's objectively terrible, we're terrified of what he's going to do, but he was lawfully elected and holds the office. Statements like this don't serve any useful purpose.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:22 PM on January 25


I'm sorry I upset you.

This whole experience is highly unusual and never ever in the modern history of Presidential transitions has a new administration or executive behaved as this one is. It's a whole new thing in America, much closer to a coup (it's actually an organized crime war, TBH) and normalizing the situation is not not not appropriate. This person is using Presidential power to do lots, but he is not behaving like any other President of the United States - ultimately I don't think he's doing (or going to do) what the people who voted for him wanted. This experiment will soon turn inside out, guaranteed.

Sure. There is a possibility the outrage won't spread and become heroic, but I don't think so. When I say this guy is not really the President of the United States, I mean it. He's going to do as much short-term damage as possible, it's obvious this is his plan because he is not playing a 4 year game. I don't think he himself expects to hold the title for too long.

Trump is not playing a 4 year game. He's acting more like the leader of a mob during a smash and grab, and much less like a statesman. I don't know what you call that, but it's not "Mr. President."
posted by jbenben at 8:52 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


You don't have a president right now. He's a Trump.
posted by Artw at 8:54 PM on January 25


I'm sorry I upset you.

I hope you are also sorry you made me roll my eyes back so far I can see my bald spot.

He's the president, whatever else he might be.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:55 AM on January 26


He's not the President is as much as he has no real intent to preserve and protect the Constitution? If that's what everybody means when they say this, then yeah, I can get behind that.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:34 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


He may be *the* president, but he's not *a* president. That's certainly Angela Merkel's view.
posted by tel3path at 2:49 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


"He's not the President is as much as he has no real intent to preserve and protect the Constitution? If that's what everybody means when they say this, then yeah, I can get behind that."

This is exactly what I mean.

His administration may once in a while be microscopically within the letter of the law, but often it seems maybe not - folks are tirelessly trying to keep on top of what is and what is not illegal for this administration to do - but there's already almost to much to keep up with. At the very least, it looks like this administration is largely perverting the intents of the laws meant to protect citizens. Legal challenges are slow and there's already cases filed, so many many more in the process of being filed. There's never been anything like this in the US. I pray the general population isn't too stunned to continue to act effectively. Even folks who wanted something "different" in government do not want what they are getting/about to get. Just because they do not have a legal degree or political science degree to help them see what's actually going on, when they voted this is not what they intended.

Thus far, there's no law in the United States that says we the people have to sit down and shut up when criminals get into office and everything goes awry. This isn't "oh, just a few folks disagree!" This instead is wholesale abuse of power. No one said we have to put pretty labels on wholesale abuses of power. Not yet.

All here are aware this person was legally elected and now we must aggressively pursue legal and effective means to undo what's been done. I'm suggesting you hold this beyond black/white/up/down/left/right thinking in your mind, for it's what I intended with all of my statements.

Getting citizens trapped in a binary mindset will help these criminals further their misdeeds. Then, the longer they are in office, the more they can rewrite the law to suit their egregious endeavors. This process has already begun. We here can not get stuck worrying about politeness while they are busy dismantling every law and protection regular folks count on. Flint Michigan has not had safe drinking water since before 2014, this is starting to become "normal" but such a situation was previously unthinkable. Safe municipal drinking water is something I know you are enjoying right now. A binary interpretation of my words is appropriate. There's a third option that includes speaking frankly about what's going on. I'm going to keep doing this.

(Yes, I'm totally implying this process has been "normal" since before Trump, it's just accelerating now and hopefully waking everyone up. Glad you caught that!)
posted by jbenben at 7:31 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


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