Callout: comments in Asian bride spoof going to far? August 4, 2002 5:36 PM   Subscribe

I'll bet that makes her a Sour Kraut... in this episode, Perigee goes all Don Quixote...
posted by Perigee to Etiquette/Policy at 5:36 PM (98 comments total)

I've retired from the fray there, because its gone as far as it can go there. But it does bring up an ethical question to me. ElvisJesus posted a one-liner Completely Innocently without considering the possibility that an asian woman would find the content offensive.

That's not the problem.

The fact that it was disturbing was pretty gently communicated. But what followed - I'm sorry, Skallas, but especially from you - was an encouragement of that sort of comment, without consideration of the offense it may have caused. Further, it was suggested that her offense was not worth notice.

That's a problem.

So - what's it gonna be, folks? What's right and what's wrong here? Or shall I wait for a chance to ask whether 'anybody has a towel I can borrow' in an I/P thread? I got a million of 'em: Hotchachachacha...
posted by Perigee at 5:36 PM on August 4, 2002


if i didn't love pancakes so much, i'd say it's only a website, and everyone knows god kills a kitten everytime you eat chinese.
posted by quonsar at 5:58 PM on August 4, 2002 [1 favorite]


perigee, I think you're making a big deal out of nothing. In principle, though, apologies should have been made, but I think that the joke, tho possibly lame, was made in good spirit. Nor do I think that skallas behaved inappropriately.

I didn't see any encouragement from skallas, just a comment that people are going to bitch, which they usually do, about just about anything, and at any chance.
posted by ashbury at 6:03 PM on August 4, 2002


I think that the comment was, perhaps tasteless, perhaps non-PC (which itself is a good thing IMHO), but what were you expecting when you posted a link to a spoof site making fun of the Asian mail-order bride racket? I thought the joke was mildly funny, in the spirit of the post and nothing to complain about.

If you want serious commentary, post serious links.


posted by dg at 6:23 PM on August 4, 2002


Like I said, I don't have a problem with the comment; in fact, I wrote EJ earlier in the afternoon, welcomed him to the group, and explained why lia would have a sensitivity to it. I saw the humor in what EJ said. But I also see how lia could see that as a disparagement of an Asian woman's... capabilities. Afterwards, he made his clarification.

EJ and I are good.

My concern is in the feeling that lia's sensitivity to this - and consequently anyones personal sensitivity - should be actively discouraged in favor of a joke.

By extension, there shouldn't be a problem with a statement about 'Bin Ladin should throw in the towel', 'Japan's government is slanted', 'Israeli incursions must have the government pinching pennies', as nauseum.

The incident doesn't bother me - the slope does.
posted by Perigee at 6:37 PM on August 4, 2002


perhaps non-PC (which itself is a good thing IMHO)

I can't think of a time or place where prejudicial talk is a good thing.

Though I guess it might be one thing to make comments like the ones that started this thread to your friends - only if you know how they will be received. However, considering one never knows who might be reading the threads posted here, I wouldn't just summarily dismiss these "jokes" as just non-PC, and not a big deal.

At best, the comments were only mildly funny, and at worst, they're offensive and racist, so why bother to take the risk in making them? In any case, they certainly reflect badly on the Metafilter community, and probably shouldn't be tolerated.


posted by crunchland at 6:42 PM on August 4, 2002


I'm very much with Perigee and crunchland here, although I can see that EJ's comment might be more amusing if you didn't have to deal with the effects of sterotyping and outright prejudice every damned day.

This recent conversation is possible germane.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:46 PM on August 4, 2002


I felt that the comments were very much in line with the link. Is this a case of "I can call myself a hot asian mama, but you can't call me that"? It's okay to laugh when the race and gender in question is making the comments but not when somebody else is.

Anyway, the way I read this, is that the problem is not with the comment made, but skallas' reaction to it. Skallas, and others, should have been more sensitive to others' feelings about this subject, right?
posted by ashbury at 6:55 PM on August 4, 2002


by extension...

i'm not sure those examples are equivalent. they're all connected to negative racial stereotypes (towelhead, slanty eyes, penny pinching). i can't see the same direct connection in a comment related to chinese food. have any asian readers has someone shout at the in the street "and you're hungy again an hour after eating a bowl of rice"? (in contast, even in my own very limited experience i've been followed down the road by a bunch of kids pulling "slanty eyes" because i was with a cantonese friend - but comments about rice?!).

this is all very vague, but one additional piece of evidence is that not only did i not find the joke funny when i first read it, i didn't even understand what it was about. and when i was trying to figure it out i actually tried thinking of racial slurs that might be "appropriate"... so even before people started being offended i'd failed to find negative racist overtones.

returning to the thread, this doesn't mean that anyone's offense should be ignored. but EJ made a later post where he explained the joke. it wasn't a complete apology, but then neither was the complaint a complete objection...

maybe it's not for me to make the call - if the general opinion of asian readers is that there is a negative racial connotation in the food related comment (which i have heard before and assumed was because the food was lower fat and therefore more quickly digested) then that has some weight. but so far comments here seem to be pretty angsty without much serious evidence that anything serious has happened.

finally, i should point out that i'm assuming only negative racial connotations are offensive ("racist"). i don't believe it is offensive to refer to race or ethnic background in a neutral way. in other words i don't take racist to mean simply "connected with race", it also implies negative connotations.

(straight white european male)
posted by andrew cooke at 6:56 PM on August 4, 2002


otoh, from a femenist perspective, i think you could read a bunch of implications in that comment about commoditisation of sex and the implicit responsibility for the woman to satisfy the needs of the man....
posted by andrew cooke at 7:01 PM on August 4, 2002


(On a tangent, I think that the tired old saw about 'being hungry an hour later' is mostly because North Americans tend to eat Asian food with the idea that all the yummy delicious little plates and bowls of colourful stuff are the main game, when in fact you're meant to swell your belly with rice (as the mealtime equivalent of filling pasta or potatoes) and the veggies and meat and stuff are the tidbits that go with it.

Or is that patently obvious? I never can tell.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:01 PM on August 4, 2002


I can't think of a time or place where prejudicial talk is a good thing.

Nor can I. I was saying that I applaud the non-PC nature of the comment alone. I know that Lia is by far not the only Asian reading MeFi, yet she was the only one of them who commented that she did not like the joke. I certainly do not agree that it is right to make racist comments to your friends if you would not make them in public. I took the joke made by ElvisJesus as a light-hearted twist on a very old joke that meant no harm.

Just because a joke singles out a particular race does not make it racist or discriminatory.

On preview - what andrew cooke said pretty much covers my opinion too. Also, stavrosthewonderchicken - I think you are right and it is not only Americans that have this view. It should be patently obvious but seems to escape most people. Maybe you need to eat Asian food in Asia to understand the concept.
posted by dg at 7:18 PM on August 4, 2002




*aaaargh: lost long, researched comment in preview by googling*

sinophilia

spoof

many of us make quasi-racist jokes: just make sure your irony (and anti-racist credentials) is/are a given, or defend y'self/ eat humble pie.

posted by dash_slot- at 7:22 PM on August 4, 2002


Actually, the body processes carbs (breads, rice, pasta, potatoes, certain cooking oils, etc) much faster than other nutrients and therefore we feel hungrier sooner. Fact.

and what stavros said.
posted by ashbury at 7:22 PM on August 4, 2002


per: I'm sorry, Skallas, but especially from you

Why? Because I think its inappropriate to insult retarded children? You've found my crazy double standard; the making fun of the defenseless.

You've read into that joke more than just the obvious Chinese food reference. The joke is pretty harmless, what you're projecting onto it obviously isn't as you've more or less derailed that thread and started this one.

Its only a website.
posted by skallas at 7:25 PM on August 4, 2002


Hey hey skallas...

Its only a website.

I demand royalties for that from now on. Screw you briank, I'm taking over this operation.

BTW, on a more relevant note, I oddly agree with skallas. The comment was slightly immature and irreverent, but there have been FAR worse being made by respected (read: old-timers) posters around here. Leave the newbie alone until he's done something worth calling out.
posted by BlueTrain at 7:34 PM on August 4, 2002


'Bin Ladin should throw in the towel', 'Japan's government is slanted', 'Israeli incursions must have the government pinching pennies'
[quonsar, heaving gales of hysterical laughter, falls to the floor, gasping for breath]

...the slope does.
[quonsar runs screaming from the room]
posted by quonsar at 7:35 PM on August 4, 2002


blue: I demand royalties for that from now on. Screw you briank, I'm taking over this operation.

No way. Its only a website is mine.
posted by skallas at 7:44 PM on August 4, 2002


... make sure your irony (and anti-racist credentials) is/are a given ...

I always assume that comments made are not intended as racist slurs unless there is clear evidence that they are, which is not the case here. I have no problem with jokes poking fun at the idiosyncrasies of different races, although there is certainly a fine line between poking fun at and having fun at the expense of someone.

Skallas, I proudly share your "double standard" - in my opinion, anyone is fair game for a bit of joking, provided they have the ability to joke back or defend themselves.
posted by dg at 7:48 PM on August 4, 2002


The problem is that I see a bad standard; I agree with your point in the earlier thread.

But lia was (Accidentally) dead center of the target of that joke. It seems only civilized to recognize her response to it, and acknowledge she had the right to feel bad about it.

But now, there's no reason in the world why someone can't come right behind a 'retard' joke, and say "Hey - I found it hilarious; somebody will always bitch. Screw em."

In other words, "Skallas is just bitching. So what if he had a problem and took umbrage. Good joke. Keep 'em coming."

That's my problem, skallas.
posted by Perigee at 7:57 PM on August 4, 2002


(On the other hand, I could just acknowledge this standard, and quonsar will start my first fan club..~grin~)
posted by Perigee at 8:01 PM on August 4, 2002


But lia was (Accidentally) dead center of the target of that joke.

Unless you know more than is included on lia's user page, there is no indication there that she is even Asian, much less Chinese. Her website confirms that she is female and her appearance suggests Asian origins (I did not delve deeply into the site, though), but that is all. To assume that lia was upset by the joke because she is Chinese is making a huge assumption and, in a way, more racist than the joke itself.
posted by dg at 8:15 PM on August 4, 2002


I know that Lia is by far not the only Asian reading MeFi, yet she was the only one of them who commented that she did not like the joke.

Just because lia is the only one who bothered to post her distaste for the "joke" doesn't mean that she's the only one who was offended by it, and it also doesn't lessen her point.

many of us make quasi-racist jokes: just make sure your irony (and anti-racist credentials) is/are a given, or defend y'self/ eat humble pie.

Exactly. Considering the flood of newbies and the unknown quantities of all of them, it's impossible to gauge the level of racism or light-heartedness in their comments. One would like to think that they'd avoid posting possibly offensive comments at least until they've been around at least a couple of days.
posted by crunchland at 8:18 PM on August 4, 2002


at least.
posted by crunchland at 8:19 PM on August 4, 2002


Check her posting history, under an article about Karaoke murders. I'm usually pretty careful, dg.
posted by Perigee at 8:19 PM on August 4, 2002


I can't think of a time or place where prejudicial talk is a good thing.

Nor can I. I was saying that I applaud the non-PC nature of the comment alone.


what does being PC mean to you? it generally means choosing words that aren't offensive to people and have more clear definitions. to applaud something as non-PC means, to many people, that you're applauding the comment only because you think it could prove offensive to some people.
posted by rhyax at 8:24 PM on August 4, 2002


The post about killing people that sing "My Way" badly? I couldn't see any reference there to her ethnicity, although her comment in the thread about the Asian aptitude test confirmed that she is Asian (not Chinese)

Point taken, though - I should have researched more thoroughly before making snarky comments.

posted by dg at 8:33 PM on August 4, 2002


Sarcasm is extremely difficult to convey via a text format. The subtle nuances that are unconsciously understood by humans, be they given in voice inflection or body language, are simply not available in an online community at this point.

And we haven't even gone into the thought about some of us not understanding the magic of English as well as others conjure it on this board.

If you are making a subtle point, an approx. 40 word post, is open to a world of danger and a less than ten word riposte is a dangerous response (not taking into account any hyperlinks which might expand your point).

Not many of us are the Immortal Wilde or Mesr. Clemens. No one can hear your internal snark. Some will not even attempt to empathize with that Snark.

Even after this post, I know some will not understood my point. I know this but I am too damn tired tonight to make a tome-like SDB post to explain my point. But I trust most of you will.

And if any do not, please ask me to clarify and I will be more than happy to address your points.
posted by Dagobert at 8:34 PM on August 4, 2002


NP, dg. ~smile~ No damage done.
posted by Perigee at 8:34 PM on August 4, 2002


Not to piss on anyone in this thread, because I understand, to a degree at least, the impulses of both those who are offended by remarks that could be construed as casually racist and those who are pissed off by what they perceive as politically-correct killjoys telling them how they can and cannot behave, but I've got to say :

Have you considered that lia's comment may have nothing to do with her ethnicity?

I could be offbase here, as she's wisely chosen not to comment in this thread, and I admit I'm a little uncomfortable talking about her when she hasn't (disclosure : I count her among my inTarWEb-pals), but if this discussion is to continue, I would suggest that the question of the appropriateness of EJ's sally not be based on what lia thought of it. I also thought it was cheesy and unnecessary and indicative of the ease people seem to have have in slurring Asians (as opposed to those of African or Jewish descent, say) that I notice as threads in both North American and Antipodean culture, and I'm neither Asian nor female, last time I checked.

I understand that it was a throwaway joke, and this much discussion is blowing it way out of proportion (we all say things that can be misconstrued sometimes), but I enjoy and often learn from these kinds of discussions here, so I thought I might throw in my two bits.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:46 PM on August 4, 2002


p: That's my problem, skallas'

No, you're problem is that you can't explain why a joke about cuisine is so offensive and on par with making fun of retarded children. I've already pointed out my "double standard."

Also, your problem is mostly about what you're projecting onto this lame joke. You're making a big stink over nothing and well, as amusing as it is, it is reinforcing the humorless PC-thug stereotype many people associate with metafilter.

Lastly, your biggest problem is hypocrisy. You post bigbadchinesemama.com yet when someone makes the same kind of humor in the thread you take offense to it. Sorry, I don't see bbcm.com as some intelligent post-modern dissection of racial stereotypes like I assume you do. I see at as humor on par, tastewise, with what ElvisJesus posted. With the exception that EJ's joke would be much LESS offensive to a person sensitive to race issues as opposed to cuisine issues.

I don't know how many times this needs to be repeated but if you can't handle some good humored ribbing, another persons point of view, or even a little tastlessness then the web board style 'conversations with stangers' may not be for you. There are lots of "Dear John" posts in metatalk and as mean as they are, I believe the last was ended with "Goodbye Assholes" those people are better off in a much more 'gated' community.
posted by skallas at 8:49 PM on August 4, 2002


ARRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Okay. Deap breaths.

As it clearly shows on Lia's website, she lives in Manila which is (at least according to the fairly unreliable CIA) in the Philippines.

As for being a joke... what one person considers a joke (So, a nigger walks into a bar ...) and what one person considers offensive may be the exact same thing. Just because you think it's funny doesn't mean everyone else will... and if you offend someone, recognise the fact, apologise, and move on.
posted by Neale at 9:00 PM on August 4, 2002


what does being PC mean to you? ... to applaud something as non-PC means, to many people, that you're applauding the comment only because you think it could prove offensive to some people.

The term PC (Politically Correct), in my world at least, has degenerated from an honest (and long overdue) attempt to avoid inherent insults in our language into a slur on attempts to do things like re-name manholes "Personal Access Facilities" to make sure they were not discriminating against females or those who object to the term Manager for the same reason, ignoring the real meaning of term because it contains a particular string of characters.

Of course I do not applaud a comment because it could prove offensive, but we should not have to consider every small comment we make in case it may possibly offend any minority group somewhere, if taken in a particular context.

On preview - what skallas said (mainly third paragraph). stavrosthewonderchicken - I have noticed that same trend to slur Asians without thought. Ditto the talking about someone when they have not commented, but are possible reading what we say - sort of like talking behind someone's back knowing they are listening.
posted by dg at 9:02 PM on August 4, 2002


Like I said, stavros - its not about the joke. And lia's concerns may not be based on her regionality.

My problem is simple, straight, and clear - do you discount And Disparage the obvious concerns of others simply because it tickles your funnybone?

If skallas can throw away the concerns of others because he got his jollys, then the 'racing special olympics poster' was absolutely fair game, and he was just whining.

This is a huge gray area, and I'd like to see where the line's supposed to be drawn.

But, on preview, I'm willing to take Skallas' standard - if its funny, its ok, and those who have a problem are out of line. Of course, he has different standards than I have, and unless we adopt the Standard Skallas Scale (as yet to be determined), all manner of fascinating jokes will come in. And you know that I'll be pointing to this metatalk thread when I quote:

"I thought it was very funny. People like to bitch, don't let it get to you."

And you'll see it pretty often.


posted by Perigee at 9:06 PM on August 4, 2002


Gosh. Why let one goofy joke turn the thread into a pc debate about "racism"? I was having a good time, tuxedoed, Casino Royale style, chatting with my martini, and suddenly I found myself on the UCLA Berkeley campus. Spooky.
posted by hama7 at 9:07 PM on August 4, 2002


Or UC Berkeley, or something. You get the point
posted by hama7 at 9:08 PM on August 4, 2002


Neale - that means that she has to be Asian? Are you sure?

"So a nigger walks into a bar" is clearly offensive to many because of the derogatory word "nigger". Agin, my point about the difference between poking fun at and having fun at the expense of applies.
posted by dg at 9:08 PM on August 4, 2002


explain why a joke about cuisine is so offensive

no one is complaining because the joke is mean to asian food, they are complaining because it is mean to asian people. when someone says, "asian food is like asian women, neither satisfy for long" and someone else complains that that the statement is offensive, i think it is clear that they are not thinking that asian food is disparaged in the comparison. i think this is so obvious that to call this a joke about asian food is dishonest.

deja vu
and i agree this has gotten slightly out of hand
posted by rhyax at 9:11 PM on August 4, 2002


it generally means choosing words that aren't offensive to people.

At best, the comments were only mildly funny, and at worst, they're offensive and racist, so why bother to take the risk in making them?


Geez, this sounds like a Clinton cabinet meeting. Best not to say anything, ever, anywhere. Someone might take offense.

Joking. Sort of.

Listen, I've been offended plenty of times on this site, but not usually by jokes or one line snarks. Why be offended at a joke (which this comment obviously was)? I can see if the discussion was a grave, serious one and then someone came in with some lame ass snarky slur, but the site in the link itself was a joke, so what's the dilemma? Do we all have to register our ethnicity (or gender or sexual orientation or religion or...) , then obtain a license to tell jokes that might be construed as offensive? "Oh, but officer, I am a certified African American lesbian, so I have obtained the proper dispensation to tell that watermelon vibrator joke." Maybe the solution is to add a line next to our username stating our race, to ensure that everyone knows that we're being ironic, but that we're not a racist or anything.

Let's get upset when people picket the funerals of those who died of AIDS, or when a black man gets dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in Texas, or when a Chinese woman is denied a managerial position because she's Asian, or when people hold signs at rallies declaring "The Jews must be stopped". But let's have a little perspective about an admittedly funny one line joke on a website.

(fat Anglo-Saxon cocksucker)
posted by evanizer at 9:12 PM on August 4, 2002


Perigree: "I thought it was very funny. People like to bitch, don't let it get to you."

You were pretty good at searching my posting history, you know when you were just about to call me a hypocrite, earlier why don't you see the smart arguments about why the community thought the retarded child image was in very poor taste. I'm sorry to hear that a joke about cuisine is so hard on you.

Whatever you're projecting doesn't seem to be shared with a lot of people. The joke is about cuisine, not sex. Even EJ posted that in the thread to calm you down.
posted by skallas at 9:13 PM on August 4, 2002


Neale - that means that she has to be Asian? Are you sure?

Well, apart from the picture, where she lives, and everythings she's said on Another Site, I really have no clue (disclosure: ~I hate lia and everything she stands for~).

is clearly offensive to many

But not to the person making the joke... which is exactly my point.

Personnally, I hate talking about Lia and second-guessing what her opinions are. Has anyone here had the courtesy of notifying that she's being discussed?
posted by Neale at 9:19 PM on August 4, 2002


In a community of 14,000+, almost every comment in MeFi has the potential to offend someone, depending on their context and the way their life experiences have shaped their perception. Sheesh, talk about making mountains out of molehills. Perhaps we should ALL do what lia did - note that we don't like the comment and move on.

Well said, evaniser.
posted by dg at 9:20 PM on August 4, 2002


Best not to say anything, ever, anywhere. Someone might take offense.

We should only be so lucky to have you follow your own advice, evanizer.

posted by crunchland at 9:21 PM on August 4, 2002


AAAAAAAAUUUUUGH!!

Hello? Is this thing on? Why is everyone obsessed by the joke? I'm asking for some simple stated standards of what is in bounds and out of bounds, and everyone is testing the ball with an air guage.

Lets try this again in bold:

My problem is simple, straight, and clear - do you discount And Disparage the obvious concerns of others simply because it tickles your funnybone?

Like I said - I'm now all for the new revolution. If we don't want to draw a line, there is no line. I'm living on the Skallas Standard Statement, until folks have some more enlightend stated boundry.


posted by Perigee at 9:26 PM on August 4, 2002


apart from the picture, where she lives, and everythings she's said on Another Site, I really have no clue

Mmm hmm ...


that watermelon vibrator joke

I dare you ;-)
posted by dg at 9:28 PM on August 4, 2002


The joke is about cuisine, not sex.

oh for the love of god! the joke is about food and sex, and a funny(?) comparison is made between the two. maybe you missed the joke. if EJ says the joke was about food that is not relevant. i can tell racist jokes about, say fried chicken, and then say the joke is about food too.

perigee, you want some sort of standard spelled out? how about: don't describe a whole class of people in a negative way. where class membership is non-elective and negative is determined by the class. i'm sure loads of people will hate that standard, i think each person should come up with their own really but that's pretty much how i define PC-ness.
posted by rhyax at 9:42 PM on August 4, 2002


I want to thank Evanizer, that fat cocksucker, for cutting through the density of bullshit in this debate. As ever, I'm glad he's an outspoken part of MeFi and MeTa (and I'd love to meet up in NY some day).

Despite what's been said here, the joke struck me as a fairly stock jibe about Chinese food not filling one's belly, ie being physically unsatisfying. Combine that with a joke about sex, and well, it's not exactly James Thurber, but I've heard unfunnier lines. It seems almost embarassing that such a warmed-over joke has warranted so much indignance among the MeFi crowd. The joke itself, and the need to point out that you are "cringing", both strike me as equally corny. Cheers to ElvisJesus.
posted by dhoyt at 9:45 PM on August 4, 2002


dhoyt: It seems almost embarassing that such a warmed-over joke has warranted so much indignance among the MeFi crowd.

Hey, we're talking about a couple vocal critics not the entire site. A few humorless apples does NOT spoil the bunch.
posted by skallas at 9:48 PM on August 4, 2002


Perigree: Why is everyone obsessed by the joke?

Ask yourself that. You've already derailed a thread and starting this one.
posted by skallas at 9:49 PM on August 4, 2002


err started this one.
posted by skallas at 9:50 PM on August 4, 2002


Perigee, what about this:

If you would not make a statement aloud in a group of people whom you do not know well, do not make it. if you make a statement and are taken to task by more than n people, consider that not acceptable to the community, apologise, learn and move on.

If a comment made by another offends you, make your offence known briefly, graciously accept any apology offered and move on.

In other words - LIGHTEN UP!

By the way, dhoyt, evaniser is not a fat cocksucker, he is a fat anglo-saxon cocksucker. If you must be insulting, at least be accurate :-)


posted by dg at 9:51 PM on August 4, 2002


Hey, we're talking about a couple vocal critics not the entire site. A few humorless apples does NOT spoil the bunch.

Agreed, I didn't mean to target all MeFi members, just the few folks on the original thread (I thought mediareport's comments were especially prudish & silly).
posted by dhoyt at 9:52 PM on August 4, 2002


I know that Lia is by far not the only Asian reading MeFi, yet she was the only one of them who commented that she did not like the joke.

wow, I really feel like a member when I'm referred to as "one of them"! you know how those people are. I find it fascinating that people are more interested in dissecting the alleged humor of a boring joke (which I understood in its original context, unprompted) than in trying to be more pleasant to the other members of a community.
posted by anildash at 10:10 PM on August 4, 2002


do you discount And Disparage the obvious concerns of others simply because it tickles your funnybone?


You neither discount nor disparage obvious concerns because something is funny. You do expect a higher tolerance for "concerns" when something is obviously said in jest. The joke was comparing Asian women to Asian food, yes, and what made it funny was how ridiculous that was.

However, we do not have obvious concerns. We have an "It made me cringe, wrong place for it" and a "Me too."

Why is everyone still talking about this?
posted by Nothing at 10:12 PM on August 4, 2002


Umm, evaniser, I don't mean to imply that who or what you are is insulting (no matter what that is), I should have said "if you want to label people" or something similar. My lame attempt at a joke gone wrong :-{
posted by dg at 10:14 PM on August 4, 2002


(And an explanation by way of apology by the poster. I mean really. It's over.)
posted by Nothing at 10:16 PM on August 4, 2002


anildash, words fail me.
posted by dg at 10:18 PM on August 4, 2002


No problem, dg. I got the word. And I have the phrase. I'm now with the new program, and I have no more question or quibbles. The issue is closed, as far as I'm concerned: I'm straightened out.
posted by Perigee at 10:22 PM on August 4, 2002


Good, the more angry grudges here the better!
posted by skallas at 11:22 PM on August 4, 2002


I can't wait until the words you put into my mouth in the previous posts are used against me in the future.
posted by skallas at 11:23 PM on August 4, 2002


"My problem is simple, straight, and clear - do you discount And Disparage the obvious concerns of others simply because it tickles your funnybone?"

Probably. If I feel like it. I often find the obvious concerns of many others emminently disparagable, as they no doubt find mine. If your self-worth is so lacking that you can feel demeaned by something anonymously typed by someone who could be, for all you know --what would offend everyone?-- a Blonde, Retarded, Sexually Incompetent, Fat, Polish, Jewish, Asian Cocksucker, then your skin needs to thicken a little so you can get through life without pestering everyone to death.

posted by umberto at 12:03 AM on August 5, 2002


Metafilter: Jesus, Don't Ever Fucking Possibly Maybe Offend Anyone (Even If Said Offense Is On A Subconscious Level That Only The Offendee Can Understand. Maybe.) ...
posted by owillis at 1:02 AM on August 5, 2002


My problem is simple, straight, and clear - do you discount And Disparage the obvious concerns of others simply because it tickles your funnybone?

What self-indulgent rhetorical nonsense. Avoiding the "disparagement" of the "obvious concerns of others," as ridiculously vague , self-referential, and obtuse as that is, could not possibly be lower on my list of priorities. And I don't think it's very conducive to productive discussion or the uncovering of truth, either.

Also, in my experience, Asian women are good in bed, and Chinese food is filling.
posted by bingo at 1:09 AM on August 5, 2002


I'm confused. First, Perigee posts a link to a site poking fun at stereotypes. Then someone posts an insensitive joke in that thread which causes Perigee to go ballistic and make 4 (5 if you count slope) racist jokes in this thread. Perhaps he did it to prove a point.
posted by euphorb at 3:23 AM on August 5, 2002


This appears to me to be the most pathetic something-out-of-nothing I have seen for a long time.

For the record, I am shit in bed and I always leave women wanting more.

Please feel free to take the piss.
posted by Frasermoo at 3:52 AM on August 5, 2002


re: the original joke - You have sex with somebody, and an hour later you're ready to do it all over again? Is this really a bad thing?
posted by taz at 4:38 AM on August 5, 2002


What a depressing bunch of shit.

Note to users: do not mention, even in passing, that a comment happened to bother you in some way. Instead, why not LIGHTEN UP! I think that bit of sage advice is from Proust.
posted by Skot at 8:35 AM on August 5, 2002


this and the mefi thread which spawned it are the funniest goddam thing i have seen on mefi since kaycee went terminal. if some of you got lives this place would be the boring shits!
posted by quonsar at 9:46 AM on August 5, 2002


Frasermoo:For the record, I am shit in bed and I always leave women wanting more.

Please feel free to take the piss.


I am intrigued (seriously) by your use of articles. I could have easily processed "I am the shit in bed," or "feel free to take a piss," but the way you said it leaves me wondering if there's some idiom that I'm not hip enough to be familiar with here. I looked at your blog to see where you were from, and found "England are out of the world cup." I'm honestly not being critical, but I'm not sure what culture/attitude/locality is being represented in that kind of construction.
posted by bingo at 9:48 AM on August 5, 2002


It's just English slang for "making fun of", Bingo. There's been a lot it around here of late, what with "chuffed", "pants", and "fuckwit".

It's rather nice and gives the place that continental air. I only hope the old cabbage-crates don't start dropping right in the how's-your-father, right Biggles?

Problem with the old banter, I'd say.

But really, not understanding another culture's slang is perhaps one of the problems of internet communication and a good reason why so many little semantic squabbles can spring up.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:58 AM on August 5, 2002


"Take the piss" = "Make fun of" as best as I've deduced it from years of Angophilia. Unless I'm off he meant, "Feel free to make fun of me," which would be inconsistent with someone saying they were "the Shit".

Screw you Kafkaesque. That's what I get for previewing.
posted by yerfatma at 9:59 AM on August 5, 2002


I believe that's "bollocks to you", yerfatma. And "previewing" is "slapping your mickey".
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:01 AM on August 5, 2002


do you discount And Disparage the obvious concerns of others simply because it tickles your funnybone?

Not all concerns can always be accommodated. So it's not a black-and-white issue.
posted by rushmc at 10:26 AM on August 5, 2002


yefatmama: I understand (I think) what he meant. But, incidentally, he said he leaves women wanting more, so I do think that by "shit" he meant "the shit," or a Brit equivalent thereof.

Kafkaesque, you pernicious knid, don't you think that the English wouldn't want to give off a continental air? I mean, "continental" indicates those savages who don't live on the great island, right?
posted by bingo at 10:49 AM on August 5, 2002


That's VERmicious knid, you stoat-fondler.
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:04 AM on August 5, 2002


quonsar: best. post. evar.
posted by jcterminal at 11:21 AM on August 5, 2002


Stop moving the goal posts.
posted by yerfatma at 11:32 AM on August 5, 2002


the joke - was only as inappropriate as the statement that spawned it, imho ('I'm calling for Chinese take-out'). I suppose the potential for offense decreases if you include a funny link. Of course, Perigree didn't make the post about the joke EJ told, but the reactions afterward.

At the risk of sounding sermonious...

The overall moral of the story here, children, is - love your fellow community members. If someone views your admittedly (or even questionably) inappropriate comment and says, "Hey, buddy, I take offense to that," doesn't hurt to apologize and move on.

There are 14k+ people here, all different, and the potential for unintentional offense is rather high. This MeTa post seems kind of frivilous initially, but it covers a good point: this is supposed to be a community, as such, do we behave with tolerance toward others in the community by apologizing for our offenses when we (inevitably) do?

The most frequent reactions - bitching about how someone's always going to be offended, suggesting people grow thicker skins, etc... don't really foster any kind of sense of community, and often ends up adding insult to injury.

</sermon>

Now that that's over . . . y'all so crazy.
posted by precocious at 11:34 AM on August 5, 2002


But, incidentally, he said he leaves women wanting more, so I do think that by "shit" he meant "the shit," or a Brit equivalent thereof.

Well, you think wrong. 'shit in bed' is the same as 'crap in bed', and 'wanting more' implies that he leaves women unsatisfied. But self-deprecation never did cross the Atlantic in high enough volume for it to be easily recognised.
posted by riviera at 12:45 PM on August 5, 2002


Sorry for derailing the thread with the initial "cringe" comment (I did try to include actual content first each time, but that obviously doesn't work). I still see a pretty clear difference between Kristina's humor and EJ's.

I honestly wasn't offended, just embarassed at what I saw as tired racial humor that might drive some smart people away. I'll cop to misjudging community standards on that one, I guess. And am I really the only one who thinks the joke in question was started by Jewish comedians in the Catskills' Borscht Belt? I remember hearing it a lot as a kid, and the implied sexual slam (food unsatisfying/sex unsatisfying) was obvious.
posted by mediareport at 1:16 PM on August 5, 2002


Well, just like knowing your audience is good before telling a joke like that, it's good for your audience to know you, too.

For all we know, SweetJesus is really Buddy Hackett. He can't be Henny Youngman.
posted by crunchland at 2:16 PM on August 5, 2002


riviera: Well, you think wrong. 'shit in bed' is the same as 'crap in bed', and 'wanting more' implies that he leaves women unsatisfied. But self-deprecation never did cross the Atlantic in high enough volume for it to be easily recognised.

For a casual semantic discussion, I think you're being ridiculously hostile. And arrogant, too. speaking of the need for self-deprecation. Your profile page doesn't even say where you're from. On what basis are you teaching me this linguistic lesson, riviera? Self-deprecation from the culture whose foreign policy used to be "make the world England"? Wonderful.

"Leaving her wanting more" is quite a common expression to suggest that the person in question is only unsatisfied in that she enjoyed the experience and wants it to continue. I'd be quite surprised if it meant the opposite in the UK, but I could be wrong.
posted by bingo at 2:38 PM on August 5, 2002


Oh come on now. This is getting silly.

Bingo, Riviera...I'm pretty sure everyone's just goofing around about the slang stuff.

I do agree with Riviera's interpretation of the comment. And the snootiness of his tone, was IMHO tongue in cheek.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:51 PM on August 5, 2002


Hmmm - re-reading the earlier comments after a nights sleep, I can see that we all got a bit hot under the collar for little reason (me included). Funny how, once you get into an argument, the argument itself becomes more important than what you are arguing about.

Not that I am admitting I was wrong or anything :-)
posted by dg at 3:21 PM on August 5, 2002


self-deprecation never did cross the Atlantic in high enough volume for it to be easily recognised

Hmm, that's either biting sarcasm, or ironic self-deprecation, depending in Riviera's nationality. Or possibly sarcastic self-dep... wow!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:11 PM on August 5, 2002


I'd be quite surprised if it meant the opposite in the UK, but I could be wrong.

Please just stop. You're being needlessly thick-headed. Yes, leaving someone "wanting more" means the same thing in every brand of Englishâ„¢ I've ever encountered, as an idiom, but read literally it also means to leave someone "wanting more". What was he supposed to say, "I always leave women wanting more, which is to say, for those of you out there wondering, I'm terrible in the sack. Which is a bed"? Now that's humor. Humour. Sorry.
posted by yerfatma at 7:24 PM on August 5, 2002


Goddamn entity references. That was a trademark.
posted by yerfatma at 7:24 PM on August 5, 2002


Yerfatma - actually, there's an interesting divide here. Bingo is an intelligent guy who's keyed in to modern culture, so his doubts are genuine. If unworldly.

Riviera is quite right, though. American irony is boastful. They say "Nobody's greater than me in bed!" and you correctly interpret it to mean "I wish..." Everybody says it so it means nothing. "British" irony is purer. Self-deprecation is obligatory. To declare you're good at something is the pits, even - no, specially - when it's true.

That's because, in English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish culture, "taking the piss" (taking someone down a notch; taking the Mickey; dressing him/her down) is so pervasive, effective and salutary that, to avoid it, you'd better not blow your own trumpet. So when someone says "I'm not bad" you know he thinks the world of himself.

It's very telling that Bingo, being American, would think that Frasermoo was boasting. On the other hand, Brits fail to see that Americans' boasts are always tongue-in-cheek.

Oh never mind -please excuse my boring analysis!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:55 PM on August 5, 2002


not boring... just wrong. Americans know what self-depricating humor is. Woody Allen? Richard Lewis? Those are just two american comedians off the top of my head.

Granted, americans may not wallow in it to the extent that the brits do, but that's only because the brits have more reason to.
posted by crunchland at 8:04 PM on August 5, 2002


*Zing!*
posted by Optamystic at 8:26 PM on August 5, 2002


Woody Allen is Jewish, crunchland - they invented self-deprecation long before the Romans invaded Britain. Besides, Woody Allen's self-loathing is openly played for laughs. And it's sincere. The British version is far subtler - it's a form of avoiding embarrassment; of not attracting attention; of showing you're as human as the next. Frasermoo's over-dissected comment is merely a way of saying "What does it matter what we're like in bed? Why be offended by a joke that implies a certain nationality is no good at it?" Where else would a silly comedy like "No Sex Please, We're British" play for so many years?

You say the Brits have more reason to hate themselves, apparently deeming them inferior. That's very American humour - you don't really think that. Whereas you can be sure any Brit thinks he or she's vastly superior to any American. British humour is nastier, better hidden, nudge-nudge and wink-wink - and, being less obvious, far funnier. If you only knew what Brits really think of Americans you'd be far less flippant. Hee hee.

Besides anyone who spells it self-depricating has already proved he hasn't the faintest idea of what he's talking about... ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:30 PM on August 5, 2002


Much as one who can't close his italics tags shows how much he knows...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:31 PM on August 5, 2002




Miguel: Bingo is an intelligent guy who's keyed in to modern culture, so his doubts are genuine. If unworldly.

Um, thanks, I guess. In the interests of disclosure that could work against me in this case, I don't claim to be as worldly as Miguel, but I have probably spent more time outside the U.S. than most Americans, and I have been to England, and in fact have a few British friends whom I speak with often. This, of course, does not mean that I am necessarily "worldly," or that I'm an expert on British slang, but my argument, for better or worse, was not based on a sheltered America-is-the-world point of view.

yerfatmama: You're being needlessly thick-headed. Yes, leaving someone "wanting more" means the same thing in every brand of English? I've ever encountered, as an idiom, but read literally it also means to leave someone "wanting more". What was he supposed to say, "I always leave women wanting more, which is to say, for those of you out there wondering, I'm terrible in the sack. Which is a bed"?

The issue was whether or not I accurately read "leaving her wanting more" as meaning that "she" had been enjoying herself. You're talking like he obviously misused an idiom and I'm browbeating him for it, but the question was whether he used it correctly, and I just misunderstood it.

It seems established that by "I'm shit in bed" was means "I'm bad in bed," even when spoken by a Briton, but nobody seems to be arguing that "leaving her wanting more" is slang, even in the UK, for "leaving her thoroughly unhappy with the experience she'd just had."

So, if this is true, then there was a contradiction in the original statement, i.e. it basically meant "I'm bad in bed, and when I'm done, the women I'm with are frustrated that they can't have any more of my bad loving."

I thought this contradiction was there to begin with, which was why I tried to justify it by saying that maybe there was a British thing going on in both phrases that I didn't understand. But apparently, there isn't, and the sentence really doesn't make sense. My original intention was not to be overly critical, but to find out if the weirdness of the sentence was actually due to my failure to understand British slang.


posted by bingo at 9:14 PM on August 5, 2002


Bingo - people should know you're a writer and genuinely interested in what words can be made to mean. That's what I meant. It was a compliment. The "unworldly" was a feeble joke - as if not fathoming Englishness (which you don't) was akin to not understanding the world. As the English (ridiculously) believe. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:28 PM on August 5, 2002


Next Sunday on Fox:

"When English Majors Attack"
posted by Optamystic at 9:39 PM on August 5, 2002


i thought IMHO meant 'in my hog-fucking opinion'.

am i mistaken? christ, i don't even want to tell you what i thought IIRC meant...

;)
posted by jcterminal at 5:56 AM on August 6, 2002


Miguel, thanks for the compliment. I guess I'm no better at comprehending Englishness than Portugesosity.
posted by bingo at 11:43 AM on August 6, 2002


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