Hooray! Metafilter's full of ignorant fuckwads! GO TEAM! September 25, 2003 3:03 PM   Subscribe

In Japan, don't they use the Lichter Scale?
posted by dhoyt at 2:52 PM PST on September 25 (earthquake thead)

rook! I can see my house from here!
posted by jonson at 11:59 AM PST on September 25(Chinese space program thread)

Hooray! Metafilter's full of ignorant fuckwads! GO TEAM!
posted by cCranium to Etiquette/Policy at 3:03 PM (206 comments total)

It's full of easily offended people who have nothing better to do than start MetaTalk threads, too.
posted by keswick at 3:06 PM on September 25, 2003


cCranium, what do you want done?
posted by stonerose at 3:07 PM on September 25, 2003


That's why it's called free speech.
posted by Mwongozi at 3:08 PM on September 25, 2003


GO TEAM!
I am on the other team. I think there are more of us, so a slaughter rule should end this quick.
posted by thirteen at 3:09 PM on September 25, 2003


Hey, I'm with cCranium on this one, that was insensitive and not well done, dhoyt and jonson.
posted by Lynsey at 3:10 PM on September 25, 2003


It's full of easily offended people who have nothing better to do than start MetaTalk threads, too.

Actually, it's spelled decent humans beings with respect for their fellow man.
posted by j.edwards at 3:11 PM on September 25, 2003


If it's free speech when people make comments then surely it's also free speech when people complain about them.
posted by timeistight at 3:11 PM on September 25, 2003


I doubt Mr. cCranium wants anything done, other than to call attention to what he considers rude behavior. That is why he filed it under etiquette/policy. Does anyone here consider those examples of stellar metafiltering?
posted by thirteen at 3:13 PM on September 25, 2003


cCranium, what do you want done?

Nothing, really. Just wondering if others are "easily offended" too. I strongly dislike the nature of those posts, so I began a discussion about them.

I certainly don't expect Matt to delete them, I'd much rather let dhoyt's and jonson's racism speak for itself. I don't think MetaFilter's the place for such ignorance, and as such I'm making my opinion about the matter known.

I'll defend 'til the day my account is deleted their right to spew idiocy, but I'll also defend my right to point and laugh at them.

(upon preview, what 13 said)
posted by cCranium at 3:15 PM on September 25, 2003


Hey keswick, both comments that cC linked are egregiously offensive, and MeTa is exactly the right place to point that out. Could we please retire the moronic "if you don't like it, don't read it" meme?

Stonerose: I don't know about cC, but I'd like to see both ignorant fuckwads banned.
posted by sennoma at 3:15 PM on September 25, 2003


I don't know, discussing racist humor in a MeTa etiquette thread seems quite appropriate to me

but maybe kenswick is right and we're just easily offended.
maybe those intolerant liberals are MetaFilter's real problem, and cracking racist jokes in a earthquake-in-Japan thread is cool

if that is the case, I'm eagerly waiting for black-people-are-lazy, jews-are-evil jokes, too in future threads -- all good funny stuff that makes MetaFilter look tolerant and interesting, I suppose
posted by matteo at 3:19 PM on September 25, 2003


If we work hard enough, we can maybe one day become as funny as these guys -- they're totally not easily offended, a fine victory for free speech
posted by matteo at 3:24 PM on September 25, 2003


Popular speech doesn't need to be protected.

My beef is with the people that feel the need to impose their standards on everyone else.

cCranium, are you Asian? Do you know if jonson is? What about dhoyt? Would you feel differently if they were?
posted by keswick at 3:33 PM on September 25, 2003


I think the word racist should be reserved for egregious offenses.
I don't think dhoyt and jonson are racists.
posted by y2karl at 3:39 PM on September 25, 2003


people that feel the need to impose their standards on everyone else.

There's no imposition going on here. He's bring their reprehensible statements to the attention of the community so proper action can be taken. It's called self-policing.

Would you feel differently if they were?

There is no excuse for racism, keswick.

On preview:

Very well, y2karl. Dangerous ethnic stereotyping meant to induce humor at the expense of civility.
posted by j.edwards at 3:41 PM on September 25, 2003


Fair enough, cCranium. I may be somewhat thick-skinned, but - as a gay man - when someone cracks a "lisping" remark, jokingly referring to the gay stereotype, I consider the context and what I know about the poster... not just the remark per se. Frequently, I find the remark funny. I try to save my outrage for clearly inappropriate, self-evidently offensive remarks, such as 111 intimating that my family doesn't count because it's not a traditional, procreative, nuclear unit. But that sort of thing doesn't end up in MeTa, for some reason.
posted by stonerose at 3:42 PM on September 25, 2003


Metafilter's full of ignorant fuckwads!

You'll have to pardon me, guys. I'd just read CNN's report about Japan ( ...there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage...), which sounded bad but mercifully good casualty-wise, and was quite relieved.

And so, as I've observed others do in the past many times here at MeFi, I took part in the traditional "dark" joke as a sort of ironic way to alleviate the...load...of anxiety...which...was...

C'mon, does this really need explaining? Apologies to those who were genuinely offended. Seriously. But I'm kind of amazed the phrase 'racist' was thrown around--not that that's a rarity here at MeFi/MeTa.
posted by dhoyt at 3:47 PM on September 25, 2003


feel the need to impose their standards

Your standards are different than mine, and yet you're trying to impose them on me by suggesting I shouldn't care? No, neither of those potentially witty off-the-cuff comments are true. We disagree, that's cool.

I am not Asian, nor do I have any idea what colour of skin most other MeFi members have. I don't particularily enjoy second-generation stand-up comedians who mock their grandparents for having funny accents, so I don't suspect I'd react much differently if we were face-to-face.

stonerose: But that sort of thing doesn't end up in MeTa, for some reason.

Have you started a MeTa thread about it? The worth of his opinion has certainly been discussed in many threads, and if it means anything I think he's an ignorant fuckwad too, but just because one issue isn't raised doesn't make another illegitimate.
posted by cCranium at 3:49 PM on September 25, 2003


I'd like to note that I hate japs.

See, when I do it's hilarity.
posted by Stan Chin at 3:49 PM on September 25, 2003


BTW:

1) It was big of Karl to stick up for two people who've given him flack. I'm kinda touched by that. And essentially he was pointing out something obvious. Neither Jonson nor I are 'racists'.

2) It's always nice when someone alerts everyone else within the original thread that they are starting a MeTa post. You know--so the vilified aren't too late to the party.
posted by dhoyt at 3:50 PM on September 25, 2003


And actually, I'm inclined to agree that it's not an inherently racist comment. Anyone of any race raised in Japan speaking Japanese as their primary language is going to have a similar accent if they switch to english. The language differences are cultural, not racial.

But I strongly doubt either dhoyt or jonson were laughing at the white man speaking the funny english.
posted by cCranium at 3:51 PM on September 25, 2003


BTW x 2 (Full Disclosure):

My "joke" was of a riff from the Simpsons episode where they're driving through Chinatown and they spot a toystore called "Toys L' Us".

I'm wondering how many of you wrote complaint letters to Fox Broadcasting.
posted by dhoyt at 3:54 PM on September 25, 2003


Have you started a MeTa thread about it? The worth of his opinion has certainly been discussed in many threads, and if it means anything I think he's an ignorant fuckwad too, but just because one issue isn't raised doesn't make another illegitimate.

I didn't mean to imply that your raising of the issue was illegitimate. And no, I haven't started a MeTa thread about it, because I've been content to debate 111 (or ignore him (if it is a him), or insult him) in the Blue - as you say, I let his remarks do the work for him. I was just raising the issue for the purposes of contrast.

(You really don't think Margaret Cho is funny? I think she does a brilliant job of reclaiming slurs, twisting them into something loving and subversive and hilarious. But honest people can disagree, of course.)
posted by stonerose at 3:56 PM on September 25, 2003


Popular speech doesn't need to be protected.

Neither does arrant racist nonsense. Why would you protect those comments -- and from what? Censure is not censorship.

the people that feel the need to impose their standards on everyone else

My call for banning dhoyt was premature, and I retract it. Jonson has a history of being an asshat though, and I stand by my assertion that the site would be better off without him. Besides my overheated remark, who here is imposing anything? If jonson and dhoyt are just exercising their right to free speech, then so are their detractors in this thread.

On preview: 1. dhoyt's apology/apologia makes me even more embarrassed about my hotheadedness. (Jonson, you still suck.) 2. I consider both statements racist: heavy-handed attempts at humour based on offensive racial stereotypes are racist. Anyone who makes such a remark does, IMO, have to defend themselves from a charge of racism.
posted by sennoma at 3:57 PM on September 25, 2003


j.edwards, I agree. That Margaret Cho is a filthy racist.

So when do we go after the people who crack fat jokes?

for the record: racism is bad, mmmkay?
posted by keswick at 3:58 PM on September 25, 2003


If what they said bothered you, my advice, don't go see LOST IN TRANSLATION.
posted by crunchland at 3:59 PM on September 25, 2003


I don't think dhoyt is a racist.

I think he is an asshole with poor social skills.

But of course I have no sense of humor about people dying in earthquakes. Guess I'm uptight.
posted by sic at 4:07 PM on September 25, 2003


The thing that has been overlooked is that native speakers of Japanese do have problems differentiating between /r/ and /l/ (here's one link... there are many more).

The worst that could be said was that they were "unfunny" or perhaps "in poor taste" (in the case of the earthquake thread). I don't think the comments are racist, and I don't think it reflects poorly on the individuals or us as a group.
posted by cadastral at 4:07 PM on September 25, 2003


You really don't think Margaret Cho is funny?

To be honest not really, but my exposure to her's been quite limited. Mostly her sitcom, and I was young enough at the time that if I didn't find something immediately entertaining I went somewhere else.

That being said, what I have seen of her work has been primarily directed at people who make assumptions about her ability to speak and comprehend english because of her appearance.

I don't think either comment was intended to reclaim slurs (which I think is admirable).
posted by cCranium at 4:09 PM on September 25, 2003


Where the fuck are you guys when people make fun of rednecks for saying Y'all, listening to country music, or fucking their sisters?
posted by angry modem at 4:09 PM on September 25, 2003


How about when we make fun of how hillbillies talk? Is that okay? Because we do that here. Or is that perpetuating a stereotype?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:10 PM on September 25, 2003


It's full of easily offended people who have nothing better to do than start MetaTalk threads, too.

Apparently it's also full of easily offended people who have nothing better to do than to make snotty replies to MetaTalk threads too.
posted by sic at 4:10 PM on September 25, 2003


Oh, well, Mr. Angry Modem beat me to it.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:11 PM on September 25, 2003


Jonson has a history of being an asshat though, and I stand by my assertion that the site would be better off without him.

jonson *can* be an asshat, that's for sure, but in spite of that I think he adds a lot. He's funny, for one thing.
posted by timeistight at 4:11 PM on September 25, 2003


Jonson has a history of being an asshat though, and I stand by my assertion that the site would be better off without him.

I think the Mefi scholarship should go to any schoolchild who creates a shoebox diorama with the theme "Asshats Throughout History."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:14 PM on September 25, 2003


So, it's not OK to make a joke about how someone talks or looks different from you, but it's perfectly OK to rake someone over the coals because they cope with tragedy differently?

Check.
posted by Cyrano at 4:15 PM on September 25, 2003


The thing that has been overlooked is that native speakers of Japanese do have problems differentiating between /r/ and /l/

As true as this is, I fail to understand what makes it worthy of mockery.

I have to run off now, thanks for the discussion.
posted by cCranium at 4:16 PM on September 25, 2003


j.edwards, I agree. That Margaret Cho is a filthy racist.

I'm glad we're in agreement.

dhoyt, I'm sorry I was so accusative -- however, I still don't condone your remark (I never noticed that Simpsons gag, which ep. was it?), but I'll stop attacking people.

Except Sennoma. *stab*
posted by j.edwards at 4:17 PM on September 25, 2003


Look, as one of those Funny Yellow People, it's not that big of a deal. The Simpsons, Margaret Cho, Lost in Translation, et. al, it's all good. As long as it's funny and not intentionally malicious/perjorative and all that. The Japanese language is different, and some people think it's funny/odd. What's wrong with taking an occasional laugh at ourselves?

I think the worst that dhoyt is guilty of is having really inappropriate shitty timing.
posted by DaShiv at 4:18 PM on September 25, 2003


So, it's not OK to make a joke about how someone talks or looks different from you, but it's perfectly OK to rake someone over the coals because they cope with tragedy differently?

Check.


Of course he's coping with somebody else's tragedy, isn't he. I would like to hear all of the gags he used to cope with September 11 or like when his grandmother died, or something. If he was cracking jokes on those occasions I take back calling him an asshole. Instead I'll just call him a freak.

Check.
posted by sic at 4:25 PM on September 25, 2003


There's nothing to say here but..

You be solly or we make you pay long time!
posted by wackybrit at 4:42 PM on September 25, 2003


Actually, it's spelled decent humans beings with respect for their fellow man.

Or humorless self-congratulatory twits.

I'd actually believe that if I believed for one moment that your indignation came from a deep concern for the dignity of the asian people, and not from a chance to show the world how enlightened and morally advanced you are. That may get you laid by the hippie chicks on campus, but here it just makes you sound tedious. And to the person who linked to the racists newsgroup--nice conflation and scarlet letter routine, but it's a long way from (admittedly puerile) dialect humor to rejoicing in racist violence.

I also think it's telling that the only two asians in this thread don't seem offended at all.

And lay offa dhoyt, fer chrissake.
posted by jonmc at 4:47 PM on September 25, 2003


Common, doyts wrong was clearly seen in the thread, no talking to him is necessary just Klick him. Honestly the joke did not "fully" register until this post, yet I knew he had made a poor/unfriendly post.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:57 PM on September 25, 2003


Accents are funny. French accents, Scottish accents, Texas accents, Kennedy accents, all are time-honored comedy GOLD. Because, you know, they don't talk like me.

So why not Japanese?
posted by Guy Smiley at 5:00 PM on September 25, 2003


Or humorless self-congratulatory twits.

Here we go again.
posted by jpoulos at 5:03 PM on September 25, 2003


jpoulos-no offense, you're my friend, but I call it like I see it, and that's how I see this.
posted by jonmc at 5:05 PM on September 25, 2003


If he was cracking jokes on those occasions I take back calling him an asshole. Instead I'll just call him a freak.

Well, I can't speak for dhoyt, but a friend of mine was murdered last week. On the drive from the funeral home to the grave a friend and me started making fun of the gaudier headstones and some of the funkier names. It wasn't a good day. We'd just seen our buddy lying pasty and still in a box and we were on our way to see them throw dirt over said box. But we still had to spend a couple of minutes when we got to the gravesite collecting ourselves lest we roll up to the grave with a bad case of the giggles. We weren't any less sad for the loss of our friend than the folks who could barely hold back their tears. We just dealt with it differently.

So, yeah, it is possible to crack wise in the face of terrible tragedy that affects you personally. I only know dhoyt as A Mefi User Who's Handle I See Fairly Often. If you know him better then I eagerly await your thesis entitled, "How Dhoyt Copes."
posted by Cyrano at 5:07 PM on September 25, 2003


And, also, what jonmc said.
posted by Cyrano at 5:08 PM on September 25, 2003


I'd actually believe that if I believed for one moment that your indignation came from a deep concern for the dignity of the asian people, and not from a chance to show the world how enlightened and morally advanced you are

So now everyone who takes issue with offensive comments is insincere and cynical, and only out to score PC points? I'll certainly remember that the next time you pipe up about something you consider inappropriate.
posted by sennoma at 5:13 PM on September 25, 2003


Or humorless self-congratulatory twits.

Yay me!

I'd actually believe that if I believed for one moment that your indignation came from a deep concern for the dignity of the asian people

I have no concern for any race as a unit. I have concern for the differentiation of population by race in any form.

and not from a chance to show the world how enlightened and morally advanced you are

Yeah, it'll be communicated from MetaTalk to the world at large. Tune in at six.

That may get you laid by the hippie chicks on campus, but here it just makes you sound tedious.

In summary: You have no idea who I am -- and moreover, your constant acrimony is what makes this a tedious place to be (among other things). Pre-emptive response: I am bothing to comment because I was pointed to this thread by someone else.
posted by j.edwards at 5:18 PM on September 25, 2003


So now everyone who takes issue with offensive comments is insincere and cynical, and only out to score PC points?

No, but people who make federal cases out of harmless ethic humor(yes, there is such a thing) must be. In the immortal words of Jim Goad, "Trying to offend these people would be like trying to make them breathe."

Like Guy Smiley said, we crack accent jokes around here plenty,(does "Amurrica" and "furriners" sound familiar?) why should asian accents be exempt. Are our Asiatic brothers so delicate that they can't take a joke? I don't think so. Hell, most of the best ethnic jokes I've heard have come from members of the ethnic group being mocked.

Look my immigrant grandparents speak english in an impenetetrable northern italian accent and foul up words and phrases all the time and family and friends joke about it all the time. At the same time, I'd happily take a bullet for either of them.

So, yes, when there's plenty of real racist speech (NTM actions) going on in the world, I think it is a bit self-important to get huffy about a dumb joke.

On preview: You have no idea who I am -- and moreover, your constant acrimony is what makes this a tedious place to be (among other things).

And you have no idea about me either. But if you think all there is to me is acrimony, well you haven't been following closely.
posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on September 25, 2003


they were tasteless jokes in bad taste--there's a difference between that and spouting hate, i think. It was very 3rd grade, i thought.

and stonerose, i tried, believe me.
posted by amberglow at 5:24 PM on September 25, 2003


Sorry, it's not really 'constant'. My bad.
posted by j.edwards at 5:24 PM on September 25, 2003


they were tasteless jokes in bad taste

Those are the very worst kind of tasteless jokes. Actually, this being the second MetaTalk thread I've been yanked into over the stupid "rook" gag is funnier than the fairly humorless joke in the first place.

sennoma, cCranium et al, I feel genuinely bad that I'm ruining your metafilter experience, and I hereby extend the offer to repay your membership fee for the past two years.*

Also, additional props to y2karl for sticking up for me when I've been such a prick to him in the past.

>*this offer not valid, anywhere, under any circumstances
posted by jonson at 5:41 PM on September 25, 2003


Storm in green-tea cup.

In other racially-related gross-insensitivity/cock-ups/innocent & harmless-but-a-little-stupid, news; New Zealand's leading current affairs broadcaster calls someone a "cheeky darkie."

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, of all people.
posted by Blue Stone at 5:45 PM on September 25, 2003


Ok, after a little further reading, I take back the lack of distaste in my previous post, at this NZ person.

But you see, there's something a little more worthy of being riled about.
posted by Blue Stone at 5:51 PM on September 25, 2003


In comedy, like life, timing is everything. Dhoyt was guilty of bad timing, but not of being a racist.
I've said it before, I'll say it again, the sound the Japanese make is (R+L+D)/3
posted by vito90 at 5:55 PM on September 25, 2003


"ow, eh.. stop it ya' hosers" -- not racist.

"lichter scale" -- also not racist.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:58 PM on September 25, 2003


"ow, eh.. stop it ya' hosers" <-- internalized Canuckophobia.
posted by stonerose at 6:07 PM on September 25, 2003


Can't we get back to generalizing about lefties and poking fun at their expense? It's safe, see, cuz they have different skin colors....
posted by rushmc at 6:16 PM on September 25, 2003


As I said before, directing this at the Righteously Indignant crowd:

You must surely have carpal-tunnel by now from all the letter-writing you're surely doing every time The Daily Show, Strangers with Candy, South Park, the Simpsons, Futurama, Adult Swim, et al, come on television and commit the aforementioned hate-crimes. After all, they're disseminated to a much wider audience, making their offenses 10x more insidious than mine or jonson's. Are you doing your part to silence all these moments of levity that personally offend you?

If you'd indulge me, I like you to copy-paste these letters-of-concern you've sent just so I can keep tabs of what passes for "edgy" anymore, and what has Gone Too Far--you have complained commensurately at each television show, movie and book, correct? I mean, these comedy writers are clearly "freaks" and "racists" and "assholes". Why bother to try and understand their perspective when it's so much easier to hurl epithets and be reactionary & repressive?

(And, sic, btw: Do you know me well enough at all to make the statements you have?)

So, final disclosure--I was raised in Okinawa (military family)! Step mother is Japanese (I'm not)! Know what else? My Japanese friends and family could give a sweet zombie fuck about stuff like this because they're too busy laughing at Mike Meyer's send-up of the Scottish in Austin Powers, or Apu's accent on the Simpsons, and so on, and so on.

I don't think either comment was intended to reclaim slurs

My "joke", in a way, was. The flubbed Asian->English translation has been a gag long before you and I were around. And last I was in Japan, there was plenty of laughter at my father's botched pronunciations. And surprise, surprise--no one gave a shit! "Reclaiming" a hoary old cliche or slur really deflates its power, and my "joke" was admittedly so trite, so beat, so-tired-it-was-nearly-vaudevillian, as to be totally inert. And yet you could crush diamonds in the sphincters of people like cCranium and sic--

why?
posted by dhoyt at 6:48 PM on September 25, 2003


*Checks Inbox for angry emails from Asian MeFites*

*Closes Inbox*
posted by dhoyt at 6:51 PM on September 25, 2003


why?
They need to get laid more?
posted by dg at 6:52 PM on September 25, 2003


So, final disclosure--I was raised in Okinawa

And for my part, let me remind you all once again that I:

1) Own two Chinese pugs
2) Love the yellow man

Both of these facts are well documented here on Mefi, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's completely impossible for me to be a racist of any kind.
posted by jonson at 6:55 PM on September 25, 2003


why?

Again, it's a need to show the world how terrific they are aka moral narcissism, even though it has very little to do with actual morals a lot of the time. When you point this out, they tend to get agitated.
posted by jonmc at 6:57 PM on September 25, 2003


(I never noticed that Simpsons gag, which ep. was it?),

Google
posted by dhoyt at 6:58 PM on September 25, 2003


My "asshole" comment to dhoyt was made partly b/c of what he said, but more so b/c we didn't know what the status in the country was (at least there was nothing posted in the thread and the CNN story that I had just read reached no conclusions about the extent of the damage). It looked like he was spitting on someone that had just been mugged. Simple as that.

I wouldn't have given jonson's comment a second thought (and didn't until it was posted here) unless he hadn't done it twice before, been slapped down by Matt for it, and then rescinded only to do it again.
posted by Ufez Jones at 6:59 PM on September 25, 2003


Admittedly the joke felt a bit *wrong* when I posted it, but then again it's pretty stressful to see a post about a big-ass earthquake! When you find out it's not as bad as you thought, you relieve a little stress sometimes in the strangest ways.

And to be honest, most of the best and most razor-sharp comedy I've ever loved has been quite *wrong* in a number of ways--do you know what I mean?
posted by dhoyt at 7:01 PM on September 25, 2003


hey, dhoyt, not everyone shares your sense of humor, and this is not a tv comedy, or movie, but real people who were discussing a real tragedy. And if people were upset by what you said they have every right to voice that without you then insulting or deriding them.

We're actually in mixed company here, and that's one of the things that makes metafilter so good. (something to keep in mind when making stereotype jokes i think)
posted by amberglow at 7:01 PM on September 25, 2003


I'd just like to take this moment to say to all of you that I love you.

Long time.
posted by ColdChef at 7:12 PM on September 25, 2003


So they're allowed to deride him without him deriding them back?

(last time I checked 'fuckwad' was derisive)
posted by Space Coyote at 7:18 PM on September 25, 2003


I *heart* the Chef
posted by jonmc at 7:19 PM on September 25, 2003


At the rate you're going, dhoyt, you've almost completely made the transition from "sorry for the dumb-ass ethnic joke" to "you all owe me an apology for questioning my highly nuanced and humorous post." By all means keep going.

jonmc: Or humorless self-congratulatory twits. I'd actually believe that if I believed for one moment that your indignation came from a deep concern for the dignity of the asian people, and not from a chance to show the world how enlightened and morally advanced you are.

According to you, no one ever's motivated by anything other than self-regard. If we earned a dollar every time you used the words "self-important" or "self-congratulatory" to question someone's motives, rather than responding to their actual comments, this place would be fully funded for the next decade.
posted by rcade at 7:25 PM on September 25, 2003


Comedy gold ColdChef.
posted by dness2 at 7:28 PM on September 25, 2003


Long time.

Wrong time.

Or is that Wong time?
posted by DaShiv at 7:29 PM on September 25, 2003


You all are so far beneath me, I won't even bother to comment in this thread.
posted by Stynxno at 7:32 PM on September 25, 2003


you can all riss my rass.
posted by quonsar at 7:34 PM on September 25, 2003


So they're allowed to deride him without him deriding them back?
(last time I checked 'fuckwad' was derisive)


you're right, space...i guess you can only hope that people who are upset about something can express it without insulting the people who upset them--i find it really hard myself (especially if i'm really pissed). Maybe tho, that shows, in a weird way, that it is serious?
posted by amberglow at 7:36 PM on September 25, 2003


rcade; no often people are motivated by honest anger, but here I think it is self-regard or simply by dislike for the poster.

As dhoyt says if he was offended enough by his comment to start a MeTa thread, then he should be dashing of letters to all the major networks for similar jokes we made. Hell, "All Your Base Are belong To Us" was all over this place for a while and nobody said shit about it? I s one bit of accent humor okay and another not? I don't get it.

I am responding to their comments. I'm calling bullshit on them. saying that it's a harmless fart of joke not worth getting all huffy about.

And experience has taught me that people are generally motivated by self-interest of one form or another, even if it's just to feed their ego. People motivated by altruism tend to not make such spectacles of themselves.

Now, rcade, even though we got into a minor argument about 2 years ago, i've generally speaking, always respected you. But for the past couple months you've made it your mission to jump all over me in meta. You may not like what I have to say, that dosen't make it any less valid.
posted by jonmc at 7:37 PM on September 25, 2003


No one who makes a big show of their supposed concern while plastering the offending coment onto the front page of MeTa and naming names at the same time is demonstrating much real concern.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:40 PM on September 25, 2003


I know someone who persists in saying "A Chinese dental appointment!" whenever he hears someone say "Two thirty."

It's kind of funny. But not *really*.
posted by davidmsc at 7:55 PM on September 25, 2003


cCranium has been on MetaFilter for three years, jonmc. You don't need to speak in generalities; he has a track record you can use to judge whether he's being self-important or is genuinely offended by wacky racial quips in response to a natural disaster.
posted by rcade at 7:57 PM on September 25, 2003


I don't think the manner in which someone expresses their concern negates that concern.
posted by amberglow at 7:57 PM on September 25, 2003


My "joke" was of a riff from the Simpsons episode where they're driving through Chinatown and they spot a toystore called "Toys L' Us".

Yeah, you said that the last time too. Does this mean that every time the subject of East Asia comes up we can look forward to a reprise of this comedy gold?

Obviously this is not a matter of racism. What this is is the unthinking repetition of dumb jokes, the dumber the better, which has become far more of a problem in MeFi (as far as I'm concerned) than all the NewsFilter posts put together. I for one welcome! Vibrates! Rook! I'd almost rather have a genuinely funny racist joke than all this... how did dhoyt put it? Ah yes, "so trite, so beat, so-tired-it-was-nearly-vaudevillian, as to be totally inert." Yeah, that about covers it. Can we get some new material, people?
posted by languagehat at 8:03 PM on September 25, 2003


"....to be honest, most of the best and most razor-sharp comedy I've ever loved has been quite *wrong* in a number of ways--do you know what I mean?" - So is humour inherently mean? Good humour is often off-color and even vicious or cruel. Brilliant humour tries to work with this innate tendency to impart the sublime.

* gets off soapbox, takes piss on side of pulpit *

It didn't even occur to me, initially, that dhoyt was making such a bad joke....yeah, it was really bad by my lights. Well guess what - there IS no non-subjective standard of humour. Racist?

No - maybe culturalist. But maybe not. dhoyt knows Japanese culture, it seems. And every culture mocks itself, at times. Is dhoyt barred from some light mocking because he's not Japanese? Hmmmmm. grrrr.... In any case - dramatically worse statements are aired in public every day. Save your ammunition, folks.

And watch your tongue (and your brain too.) Remember: The humour police are always watching....




Meanwhile......my dog got hit by a car once. Not badly injured, but his "fuck you!! I'm the baddest 20 pound dog who ever lived" attitude was knocked down a peg. So, when my wife (whom he had actually pissed on once, in a power struggle for my attention) and I watched him sulking over his scraped-up (but not broken) leg, we started to laugh.

And the dog started to growl. Not just a light growl either, but a "if you keep that up, I'll bite you" growl.

We stopped laughing.

Humour. Cruelty. Hmmmmm.
posted by troutfishing at 8:12 PM on September 25, 2003


Has anybody mentioned Engrish.com yet? That's sort of funny, isn't it?
posted by elvissinatra at 8:17 PM on September 25, 2003


I don't think the manner in which someone expresses their concern negates that concern.

really. for example, i remember a certain day in study hall, (which at that time was the cafeteria's second purpose) which illustrates this. study hall was proctored dutifully by ret. col. robert kirschmann, usaf, who spent the time avidly reading aviation magazines and dozing. colonel bob, as he was derisively known amongst the student body, fancied himself a strict and militaristic disciplinarian. it was vietnam time, nixon was president, national guardsmen were using college students for target practice, and there was nothing that could enrage the colonel like a mouthy hippie. except perhaps, a mouthy hippie who was smarter than him. because, for all his military bearing and patina or past dogfighting glory, poor colonel bob was a dolt. mouthy hippies smarter than colonel bob were, at that time, a dime a dozen even though it was a pretty small high school. mouthy hippies like randy noom, for instance. when one day randy noom expressed his concern over the possibility of dying out of sheer boredom by removing his shoes, climbing atop the cafeteria table and walking from one end of the room to the other atop the tables in his stocking feet, the ensuing snickers and muffled guffaws roused the good colonel from his aerial daydreams. the colonel spung into action, leaping from his chair and tottering down the aisle as fast as he could wobble, bellowing and sputtering with rage and lunging repeatedly at noom, who by this time was hopping up and down, flapping his arms and making shrill, birdlike squawks as if he were Big Bird on mescaline. um, now what were we talking about?
posted by quonsar at 9:06 PM on September 25, 2003


: >
posted by amberglow at 9:12 PM on September 25, 2003


if dhoyt had just apologized or something this thread would have been a whole lot shorter. I don't think I buy the just-referencing-the-simpsons thing and nor the latest coping-mechanism thing (although the historical revision happenin' reminds me of another right-leaning fellow).

it was simply a stupid thing to say, but apparently everyone thats taking issue with it is either a self-righteous asshole for caring or a colossal hypocrite for not stopping the presses everytime something is rubbed wrong. we could've avoided all this blame passing and responsibility ducking with one word.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:25 PM on September 25, 2003


There's way funnier ways to make fun of Asian people than the whole /r/ and /l/ thing.

Me, I'm offended by people who use the really obvious jokes. Low-hanging-fruit pickin' bastards.

(or, what languagehat said)

Look, on a board (one specific to Korea) that I frequent, I recently had to go toe-to-toe with a real racist, one who said things like 'all those people from 3rd world countries are stupid, and greedy, and genetically inferior' and tried to back up his hateful (but well-phrased, for the most part) shit with link to debunked crypto-racist crap like The Bell Curve and so on. It ended in him threatening to track me down and put a hurting on me, the likes of which I had never endured, with his Aryan Nations friends, because I spend literally days debunking his stupidity, while others stood back and took potshots. He remains unbanned by the mods there.

This little tempest, although I do understand and respect what cC was trying to do in starting this thread, is nowhere near being in the same league.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:26 PM on September 25, 2003


we could've avoided all this blame passing and responsibility ducking with one word.

and that word is... monkey!
posted by jonson at 9:30 PM on September 25, 2003


if dhoyt had just apologized or something this thread

Apologize--you mean like here, in my first comment?

Me, I'm offended by people who use the really obvious jokes.

That's really rich, stavros, coming from someone who has made plenty of obvious jibes on MeFi. Oh, right--they're only super-obvious and lame when someone else makes them. It's interesting, I notice very few of you jumping in when, say, quonsar makes a button-pushing quip, which is not infrequent. Is it acceptable with some people/some ethinicities/some threads, and not with others?

I'd be interested to know how the lot of you deal with this stuff IRL--seriously, do you send an angry emails to the Onion? Do you call and complain? Still no answer.

Some of you do a real injustice to the word "sensitivity" as you redefine the concept of "hypocrisy".
posted by dhoyt at 10:02 PM on September 25, 2003


Jeez, dhoyt, get back in your doghouse. I was joking, boo-boo. Guess it wasn't obvious enough for you, eh?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:09 PM on September 25, 2003


my b.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:14 PM on September 25, 2003


Come on, dhoyt hates Nips and isn't afraid to say so.

Now back to bashing Bush, you homo lefties.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:15 PM on September 25, 2003


...Now let's all get back in our riced-out Hondas and go back to our overbearing mother's house for some shlimp flied lies and ping-pong, eh?
posted by dhoyt at 10:25 PM on September 25, 2003


I don't think I buy the just-referencing-the-simpsons thing

It's funny, now this whole tempest is reminding me of yet another episode -- "Homer-palooza" -- where Homer hangs out in the mosh pit and tries to blend in.

EP 3F21

Teen4: Hey, we're just trying to have a good time, narc. Why do you want to destroy us?

Teen5: Don't commit your hate crimes here. [yelling] HATE CRIME!
posted by dhoyt at 10:32 PM on September 25, 2003


as a hetrosexual left-handed person, i could be offended by the remarks of mr. crash davis. but see, i already know he doesn't give a fuck so i don't either. and i love fucking nips. [cough.]
posted by quonsar at 10:33 PM on September 25, 2003


Can we get some new material, people?

Done.
posted by homunculus at 11:03 PM on September 25, 2003


I'm a left-handed heterosexual too and I don't give a fuck either.
Is that what you really meant to say about nips, quonsar?
posted by dg at 11:27 PM on September 25, 2003


smock smock smock smock smock!
posted by quonsar at 11:48 PM on September 25, 2003


Mmmmm... Nips...
posted by wendell at 11:53 PM on September 25, 2003


"Isolation/Suicide Cell Smock" from the Bob Barker Company, quonsar?

Specially designed for people who've seen just one too many episodes of The Price Is Right? I just spit several hard-candies (guess which brand) into my monitor. It looks like I just got a drive-by shooting from The Screen Savers...
the whole bobbarker.com catalog is Comedy Gold... for those who thought Hogan's Heroes was funny. Unisex Disposable Mesh Briefs... aaah, comfort AND convenience!
posted by wendell at 12:02 AM on September 26, 2003


One more thing: (geez, q, when you derail a thread, you make sure the caboose lands in a different county, man!)

Er, as I was saying, one more thing:
Based on the words of the original post, "How many ignorant fuckwads does it take to fill a MetaFilter?"
Two? Three?
Damn, I thought I'd ordered the Extra Large...
posted by wendell at 12:06 AM on September 26, 2003


My "joke", in a way, was. The flubbed Asian->English translation has been a gag long before you and I were around. And last I was in Japan, there was plenty of laughter at my father's botched pronunciations. And surprise, surprise--no one gave a shit! "Reclaiming" a hoary old cliche or slur really deflates its power, and my "joke" was admittedly so trite, so beat, so-tired-it-was-nearly-vaudevillian, as to be totally inert. And yet you could crush diamonds in the sphincters of people like cCranium and sic--

Look, I already said I don't think you are a racist, I never said that. I think you are an asshole, a guy who thinks other people's misery is funny. Someone who's reaction to "8.0 earthquake in Japan" is to make an unfunny joke is normally somebody I would just ignore and dismiss as an abrasive dork who desperately wants attention. But today, like you, I felt like expressing my thoughts and as many have pointed out free speech reigns, asshat.

And this situation is not the same as relieving tension after a friend's funeral by making fun of some headstones while you drive home, as somebody suggested. It would be more like seeing a funeral procession drive by with a long line of cars filled with mourners, and being overcome with the desire to shout so that the all the strangers standing along side you on the sidewalk watching can hear something tremendously clever like: "Oh boy, guess that guy's not getting laid tonight!" Of course then if somebody shoots you a dirty look and mutters, "asshole", it would be necessary to indignantly defend your witty remark with something relevant like " oh my god! impotency isn't something we should be ashamed of!"

And yet I'll take a "tight sphincter" over a diarrhetic mouth any day.
.
posted by sic at 1:36 AM on September 26, 2003

So now everyone who takes issue with offensive comments is insincere and cynical, and only out to score PC points?
Hey! It's starting to sink into your thick heads!!! Congratulations!
Someone who's reaction to "8.0 earthquake in Japan" is to make an unfunny joke is normally somebody I would just ignore
So, why are you here? btw, fyi, whose!

You anal types are SOOO easy to troll. ;-P
posted by mischief at 2:59 AM on September 26, 2003


Amurricans are just so stupid...

[Saves 'Down to earth with a bump' for future 9/11 post title]
posted by i_cola at 3:38 AM on September 26, 2003


You be solly or we make you pay long time!

And for my part, let me remind you all once again that I:
1) Own two Chinese pugs
2) Love the yellow man
Both of these facts are well documented here on Mefi, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's completely impossible for me to be a racist of any kind.

you can all riss my rass.

Okay, that's pathetic. Someone got upset at what they considered an ethnic slur. Granted, many could argue it's an over-reaction, and you're allowed to express your opinions on the matter as such.

So your response is to deliberately write something deliberately meant to offend someone who dislikes those kinds of comments? Do any of you really think, especially among those of you who have made intelligent comments in intelligent threads here, that your comments up there were useful to anyone? Or clever?

Sorry for the self-righteousness, but the initial comments by jonson and dhoyt were errors in judgement that could easily have been taken with a modicum of understanding, regardless of disagreement on their severity. (And kudos to dhoyt for acknowledging this issue as such in his first comment in this thread) Those three comments up there are just users taking advantage of the opportunity to make racist comments and be assholes because a few people think someone's being silly and over-reacting. If anything it's disappointing.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:59 AM on September 26, 2003


Then again, if ridiculing foreign accents weren't a valid form of humorous discourse, we'd lose about 25% of our A-material about the California recall.
(I have directly referred to Arianna Huffington as "Greek with a touch of Gabor Sister", and Schwarzenegger "Austrian with a heavy dose of steroids". And if Cruz Bustamante were suppressing every hint of Hispanic dialect any better, he'd be calling himself "Charles Bustmont".)
posted by wendell at 4:11 AM on September 26, 2003


if ridiculing foreign accents weren't a valid form of humorous discourse,


well, it's sad that this community of allegedly smart people has to be reminded of pretty simple things like context is everything when you're dealing with this kind of (already lame) humor. an earthquake (i.e. casualties, houses destroyed, etc) is not a funny context. A Simpson episode (nice spin, btw) is a better context. An earthquake thread here is not.

it's also kind of surprising (but maybe, ultimately, not) to read things like "Asian MeFi members didn't get offended" by the comment -- hence, if a MeFi user in the future uses a racial slur or a watermelon joke, I guess we'll just have to wait for a MeFi poll of African American members to know if these were bad comments or not. (you can't not love the classic "I have lots of Black/Asian/Jewish friends" excuse, just like "I have a Japanese stepmother")

not to mention that, for the "I, unlike those self-important MeFi politically correct lefties, don't have a tight sphincter" contigent (larger than I thought, just another example of the fallacy of the "you're all intolerant commies" argument), here is a link you guys will probably find funny as hell (I don't, but maybe it's just me): WTC jokes from alt.tasteless
posted by matteo at 4:41 AM on September 26, 2003


according to the broad brush being used by matteo right now, if while reading through the jokes on his link he cracked a smile even once then he's as bad as the rest of us.

Come on down here, it's fun not having to worry about your veneer.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:23 AM on September 26, 2003


plo chops anyone?

sorry...
posted by Stauf at 5:25 AM on September 26, 2003


in retrospect, I think my original problem was that I couldn't see the trees for the forest.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:50 AM on September 26, 2003


So was this an argument over form and style, or the underlying substance of the comments in question? Or it is all confused?

Some of the best commenters on MeFi have a commenting style so distinct that I've ID'd them before they finish their first sentences, yet consistently frustrate attempts to fit the substance of the comment into some pre-conceived notion of what they should be saying.

Do people really think jonson and dhoyt are racist? Look, these were jokes. Yes, jonson has a history of ribaldry, and it can get annoying to some, at times. However, I've never doubted that it doesn't go any farther than that. His style is way too light-hearted. True animosity toward others is notably absent from his comments.

So I'll be bringing plenty of cream pies to MeFiVegas should he decide to show. Maybe I'll get bonus points for scoring direct hits on his pugs too.
posted by attackthetaxi at 5:53 AM on September 26, 2003


Could we please retire the moronic "if you don't like it, don't read it" meme?

I have a better suggestion -- could we please retire the "I'm sick of X meme", uh, meme? I think "meme" is the most overused (and incorrectly used) word on MetaFilter. For instance, in this case, I don't think that "If you don't like it, don't read it" is a meme (a propogating idea) so much as an argument. Or am I the clueless one?
posted by pardonyou? at 6:40 AM on September 26, 2003


Welcome aboard, taxi! Glad to see you on the mothership.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:41 AM on September 26, 2003


I have hated the word "meme" since about a week after people started using it. Horribly, I seem to be starting to get used to it. It's like the "proactive" of snooty internet discussion.
posted by furiousthought at 7:50 AM on September 26, 2003


I don't think that "If you don't like it, don't read it" is a meme (a propogating idea) so much as an argument.

I think that's right, I should have said "argument" instead of "meme". Mea culpa.
posted by sennoma at 7:58 AM on September 26, 2003


Meme: the new paradigm.
posted by yhbc at 8:04 AM on September 26, 2003


sennoma, I really didn't mean to single you out -- I apologize. I just needed a ready example, and yours happened to be it.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:18 AM on September 26, 2003



I am on the other team. I think there are more of us, so a slaughter rule should end this quick.


or not...
posted by thirteen at 8:19 AM on September 26, 2003


commish, it takes a lot to drag you into the discussion, I see. And taxi, Vegas is no city for two innocent pugs. Plau.
posted by jonson at 8:22 AM on September 26, 2003


In response to dhoyt's question about real life (sorry for not responding in one of my earlier posts): no I don't send letters to major media when they do make similar jokes. I do, however, call people ignorant fuckwads when they make similar jokes in my presence.
posted by cCranium at 8:30 AM on September 26, 2003


"I, unlike those self-important MeFi politically correct lefties"

the "you're all intolerant commies" argument


Matteo, that's so fucking off off-topic, off-base and off-kilter it's as though you're posting them to a different thread. "Nice spin", btw.

I do, however, call people ignorant fuckwads when they make similar jokes in my presence.

And when people are making narcissistic, disingenuous arguements over comments admittedly not meant to harm, I laugh at those who call me an "ignorant fuckwad" for it.

As I said in the email you didn't respond to, feel free to contact me and hash it out personally, unless you'd prefer sinking to sic's level and simply willy-nilly throw around words like "asshole" and "fuckwad" to make yourself feel superior.
posted by dhoyt at 8:45 AM on September 26, 2003


sennoma, I really didn't mean to single you out -- I apologize.

No need, I was not offended at all. I got sloppy -- I have been known to complain about misuse of the same word!
posted by sennoma at 8:51 AM on September 26, 2003


As I said in the email you didn't respond to

Sorry for the delay, that account is a spam trap, it usually takes me a while to filter through it for legit emails and I often let it sit for days at a time. I'll stop neglecting it and dig around for your message this weekend.
posted by cCranium at 8:58 AM on September 26, 2003


Something to keep in mind is that it's possible to, you know, drive a bus without being a bus driver. It's clear enough to many of us that those comments are racist. It's not really productive to argue about whether the posters themselves are.

The idea here is to define the bounds of acceptable behavior on MetaFilter. If certain users persist in acting in ways which are well known to offend other users, that's just fucking rude any way you look at it.

I'd also like to agree with jonmc:
I also think it's telling that the only two asians in this thread don't seem offended at all.

It's extremely telling. It tells me that:

a) there are probably disproportionately few Asian contributors on MetaFilter.

b) Asian members who were offended are not interested in making themselves further vulnerable by discussing it here.
posted by sudama at 9:02 AM on September 26, 2003


if ridiculing foreign accents weren't a valid form of humorous discourse, we'd lose about 25% of our A-material about the California recall.

And 95% of the B-, C- and D-list material.
posted by timeistight at 9:02 AM on September 26, 2003


Matteo, that's so fucking off off-topic, off-base and off-kilter it's as though you're posting them to a different thread

No, it's bang on, just like the rest of that comment by matteo. You just don't have an adequate answer. You started out right, but then your need to excuse your own poor form overwhelmed you.

narcissistic, disingenuous arguements

What this sort of comment tells me is that when jonmc, dhoyt et al. express any kind of liberal (for want of a better word) idea, they are only trying to make themselves look good. Why else would this offensive and unnecessary assumption even come to mind? It would be more logical, if you really thought jonson and dhoyt's remarks excusable (note: they're not), to posit overzealous good intentions (OK, and perhaps a slightly sqeaky sphincter) on the part of the people objecting to those remarks.
posted by sennoma at 9:08 AM on September 26, 2003


Good of you to speak presumptuously for all the Asian MeFi members, sudama. I'm sure they'd appreciate it.
posted by dhoyt at 9:08 AM on September 26, 2003


No, it's bang on,

Really? Because I don't remember posting anything about "lefties" or "commies" in the entire thread, or even now do I see its relevance. It's amazing what passes for "bang-on" these days.
posted by dhoyt at 9:12 AM on September 26, 2003


Good of you to speak presumptuously for all the Asian MeFi members, sudama.

Back off. You could learn a lot from this thread if you'd calm down.
posted by sudama at 9:15 AM on September 26, 2003


Ditto.

Go back and note how many posts actually defended what I said. Indeed, there's lots to learn on both sides.

And sorry for losing my cool, but it's not every day I get called evil incarnate by a dozen people *after* I apologize for something.
posted by dhoyt at 9:20 AM on September 26, 2003


........ and so national eczema awareness week comes to an ignominous end.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:21 AM on September 26, 2003


*scratches absently*
posted by quonsar at 9:30 AM on September 26, 2003



Really?


Yes, really. Matteo's point was that the "unclench, fucko" contingent have no substantive argument, and the illustrative aside about "commies" is just a convenient red herring for you. Also, you have yet to explain why we need to wait for Asian mefites to comment before we can complain about your remarks (or respond to sudama's point with more than a content-free sneer), and you have not defended your use of the specious "but I have lots of Asian friends" argument. And were you not "speaking presumptively for Asian members" when you claimed that, because they have not posted in this thread, they must be in agreement with you?

Sudama's point is well taken; we will get nowhere with arguments about whether jonson and dhoyt are racists, but they have made racist remarks and then remained unapologetic and defensive in the face of criticism.

On preview: Go back and note how many posts actually defended what I said.

You know, five -- or five hundred -- asshats can be wrong. Volume is no measure of validity.
posted by sennoma at 9:33 AM on September 26, 2003


Go back and note how many posts actually defended what I said. Indeed, there's lots to learn on both sides.

Sure, but we're not counting votes. I would like it if you didn't continue to make jokes at the expense of people whose English doesn't sound like a native speaker.
posted by sudama at 9:33 AM on September 26, 2003


Go back and note how many posts actually defended what I said.

Goddamnit, I can't believe that I am commenting after a year's silence, but I have to say something.

The number of responses "supporting" your position is not proportional to the rightness of your argument any more than the comments of Asian MeFites in this thread is indicative of what other Asian MeFites think, any more than the votes on [pick your favorite news site] in any poll is representative of the opinion of the population as a whole. So save your "note how many people agree with me" blather for someone who is less intellectually vigorous.

And as a human being (and yes, as an Asian) you and jonson offend me. Now shut the hell up for your own sake.
posted by Avogadro at 9:45 AM on September 26, 2003


...and relax.
posted by Blue Stone at 9:53 AM on September 26, 2003


Goddamnit, I can't believe that I am commenting after a year's silence, but I have to say something.

you waited a whole year just to say that?
posted by quonsar at 9:54 AM on September 26, 2003


Storm in green-tea cup.

Indeed.

Were the comments by dhoyt and jonson funny? No. Puerile? Yes. Did they give a strong impression that the authors actively dislike Asians as a whole and believe that they are somehow inferior? No.

We all have different tastes in humor, and that's as it should be. I'm generally considered as PC as they come, and I thought some of the WTC jokes in matteo's link were very funny. If you don't find someone else's sense of humor funny, that's one thing. But calling someone racist because of it shouldn't be the immediate grass straw.
posted by widdershins at 9:54 AM on September 26, 2003


You'll all be deeply offended when you realize that I've been writing in this hilarious White Man accent just to amuse all my ethnic buddies.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:58 AM on September 26, 2003


The number of responses "supporting" your position is not proportional to the rightness of your argument

In a way, it is, though, because ultimately the question is one of community standards, and that's going to be decided by the vocal members of the community.

Gauntlets like these, in which tolerance, sensitivity and compassion are trashed in the name of freedom of expression of the majority's often ignorant and offensive views, demonstrate time and again that diversity, and its associated cost of self-reflection, is not valued by the mefi community.
posted by sudama at 10:05 AM on September 26, 2003


you waited a whole year just to say that?
posted by quonsar at 9:54 AM PST on September 26


If only we could all live up to your shining example. Smock smock smock.
posted by Skot at 10:05 AM on September 26, 2003


And as a human being (and yes, as an Asian) you and jonson offend me.

If poking fun (out of context) at someone's English-pronunciation offends you as a human, I guess I have no choice but to stop. Now what are we to do about this young turk? I propose ripping out his toenails, hanging him from a tree and setting him on fire. Any takers?
posted by dhoyt at 10:05 AM on September 26, 2003


Gauntlets like these

And further, I would venture that they are actively destructive of diversity. Each time shit like this comes up and each time we play "rally round the racism", if you listen closely you can hear the site turning whiter.
posted by sudama at 10:11 AM on September 26, 2003


Did they give a(n) strong impression that the authors actively dislike Asians as a whole and believe that they are somehow inferior?

Yes. That's the core of my objection to racist "humour": it propagates the idea of the group in question as Other, Different, and a somehow acceptable target of abuse. Whether the comment is risible or genuinely witty, it is still marking a territory and doing damage thereby. There are contexts in which wit can take racial or other stereotypes as a subject, but they are relatively rare and the MetaFilter threads in question did not qualify.
posted by sennoma at 10:13 AM on September 26, 2003


if you listen closely you can hear the site turning whiter.

It's an internet discussion board -- can it really get any whiter?*






*it's ok to laugh at that
posted by dhoyt at 10:22 AM on September 26, 2003


Can't we all just get arong?
posted by keswick at 10:25 AM on September 26, 2003


This thread was pretty interesting. Bravo!
posted by Akuinnen at 10:30 AM on September 26, 2003




...I've been writing in this hilarious White Man accent...

That's funny, all of my posts have been written in a hilarious French accent. They don't necessarily read any different, but man you should hear them in my head!

For example, when I wrote earlier today:

This is just a procedural tactic. The government wants these issues heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, but that won't happen until the lower judge makes her final decision.

It actually sounded something like this:

Zees is jus a proseedural tacteek. Ze governmant wants zees issues hard by ze U.S. Court of Appeals for ze farth circat, but zat won appen unteel ze lowair judge makes hair final dezishon.

French accents are funny.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:13 AM on September 26, 2003


fyi, dhoyt: the reason you don't have the same license and lattitude as the Simpsons writers is that they are funny 7 days a week. They work long and hard to develop a rollicking lather of knee-slapping entertainment before they sprinkle in a risque comment. That's why they get away with it. Don't make the mistake of thinking that because great comics push the envelope, you can behave as if it's not there.

It was no crime against humanity, anyway. Nor is this thread a caning. Big deal. You got called out. Put the shovel down and call it a day.
posted by scarabic at 11:16 AM on September 26, 2003


My "joke" was of a riff from the Simpsons episode where they're driving through Chinatown and they spot a toystore called "Toys L' Us".

I know it's late to tackle this, but no one else did. On preview: scarabic just gave an additional rationale.

There's a quantum difference between the two jokes. What makes "Toys 'L' Us" funny is that it's doing the L-for-R shtick on an artificial usage of R. It's incongruous and therefore amusing because in this usage the L makes absolutely no sense.

The equivalent joke would be if the Simpsons had an Asian newscaster reporting on an earthquake and said something about the "Lichter scale." I assert that you would never see that joke on The Simpsons. Most likely, the only time you would hear someone say something like "In Japan, don't they use the Lichter Scale?" would be if Homer said it - nuff said.

In short, dhoyt's analogy is false. Therefore, I call bullshit on the whole "why do you put up with it on The Simpsons" meme.

However, I also wouldn't call the comment 'racist.'
posted by soyjoy at 11:22 AM on September 26, 2003


A) I downloaded/saw the episode (.mpg) in question yesterday

B) It sprang to mind for some bizarre reason when I posted my "joke" yesterday afternoon

C) I could give two shits that any of you dispute this

D) Save your ire next time for actual racists and perhaps then will it be admirable to insult, chastise and scorn.
posted by dhoyt at 11:28 AM on September 26, 2003


I noted both comments, but it didn't occur to me that a MeTa thread would be started. Unless those accusing the jokers of racism have complained to their senators, governers and congressman about continued racist drug enforcement policy such as mandatory minimums; to MTV for only airing black artists who portraying a sexist, pro-violence thug stereotype; then I find the accusation of racism pretty offensive. Drop the quest to seize the intellectual and moral high ground and get real for a minute...
posted by nthdegx at 11:31 AM on September 26, 2003


Unless those accusing the jokers of racism have complained to their senators, governers and congressman about continued racist drug enforcement policy such as mandatory minimums; to MTV for only airing black artists who portraying a sexist, pro-violence thug stereotype; then I find the accusation of racism pretty offensive.

Fair enough, I'm sorry to have offended you.
posted by cCranium at 11:45 AM on September 26, 2003


I find the accusation of racism pretty offensive.

Just because my head hasn't been shot off doesn't mean I don't put a bandaid over a cut on my finger. The issue isn't racism in the media or racism in drug enforcement but racism on MetaFilter.
posted by sudama at 11:48 AM on September 26, 2003


The funniest thing about all this, to me, isn't dhoyt's joke, but the juxtaposition of the joke and the thread in which it appears. Most Westerners can't properly pronounce "tsunami"...
posted by vorfeed at 11:50 AM on September 26, 2003


C) I could give two shits that any of you dispute this

Then shut the hell up and leave this thread. You continuously defend yourself and proceed to claim apathy, which makes you look completely hypocritical. If you feel justified in your actions, fine...just don't try to rationalize it to the rest of us. You make yourself look like a pseudo-racist ass to those who actually care, and you appear to be a loudmouth to the rest of us who don't find your words particularly offensive. Just stop.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:51 AM on September 26, 2003


Dhoyt, you made a stupid and, yes, racist comment, and then crapped all over your own apology for same. You. Were. In. The. Wrong. Suck that up and grow a little.

Unless those accusing the jokers of racism [blather] Drop the quest to seize the intellectual and moral high ground

Both arguments are empty: there is no onus on MeFi members to do anything offsite in order to justify or validate their posts here, and you are showing your own colours with the accusations of disingenuousness.
posted by sennoma at 11:52 AM on September 26, 2003


Axe me if I care.
posted by Witty at 11:52 AM on September 26, 2003


I hereby propose a solution to this: Stereotype Roulette!

Every week, we drop all the ethnic stereotypes in a big pile on the floor, pick 'em up and reassign them to somebody different. From here on in:

- White people are shiftless and lazy. ('s a fair cop, gov!)
- Albanians are penny pinching, so much so they have their own international banking conspiracy
- The Inuit get the "r"/"l" thing. But it's okay, 'cause they also make great electronics and martial arts flicks.
- Indonesians are the other kind of penny pinching--the kind that eats haggis and deep fried Mars bars.
- Bantu tribesmen think they're the drunkest and laziest people in all of Europe, and have statistics to back that up, but everyone else still sees 'em as cigar smoking, Hemingway-era-cocktail-drinking, cult novel writing bon vivants.
- Contrary to popular belief, people from Bangladesh *do* exist. It's just that they're not so confident in their English (even though it's pretty good), so they get the Bantus to edit their front page posts for them.
- Minnesotans are insanely rude and will mug you in an instant
- New Yorkers have a moonshine still in their backyard, and drive a Dodge Charger with the doors welded shut. One day the skyscraper might get 'em but the law never will.
- Indonesians are known mainly for their wacky new age beliefs, silicone implants and suntans. And their goofy electoral circus.
- In Soviet Russia, they say "Eh, pass the back bacon, ya hoser."
- Titled, Oxford-educated Brits love you long time, ten dollar (Royals, not so long time)
- And of course, Albino Australian Aborigines with Autism invaded Iraq without provocation, the imperialist hangdogs.
posted by arto at 11:57 AM on September 26, 2003


This is awesome. I'm gonna go get some popcorn.
posted by Samsonov14 at 11:58 AM on September 26, 2003


...the reason you don't have the same license and lattitude as the Simpsons writers is that they are funny 7 days a week.

That's the point I was making above. And the same goes for quonsar and Stan Chin—they get away with shit because they're genuinely funny; nobody bats 1.000, but they have as good an average as the Simpsons writers. "In Japan, don't they use the Lichter Scale?" is something your kid brother would say to get attention, and he'd react the same way when people told him to sit down and shut up. (dhoyt, I'm not calling you infantile or anything, and you've posted some great stuff, but you really aren't doing yourself any favors in this one.)
posted by languagehat at 12:16 PM on September 26, 2003


I have been tempted to post to this thread, but kept stopping myself for a lack of something worth saying--something that might make a difference to the conversation and the attitudes being expressed. I mentioned this controversy and my dilemma to a friend of mine who's also a Metafilter user. His wise response? "I can't muster the energy to care about a stupid joke by a stupid poster on a site largely populated by people who think stupidity is the height of wit."
posted by daveadams at 12:16 PM on September 26, 2003


"there is no onus on MeFi members to do anything offsite in order to justify or validate their posts here"

Sorry, but one can't cry "racist!" when it suits, and when it invades one's own comfortable space, so with respect, I think your point is bullshit.
posted by nthdegx at 12:27 PM on September 26, 2003


FWIW, I’m a minority. My family has experienced great amounts of racism in the US and it pains me. Dhoyt and jonson’s specific comments weren’t personally hurtful, but I can feel the pain of those offended. Minorities in this country simply want a better life. They don’t want to be singled out. They don’t want “special” treatment. They simply want to live their lives, like anyone else. So when people create stereotypes against minorities, they (the minorities) spend a lifetime trying to defend themselves against these wrongs. Stereotypes originate from half-truths. As such, most minorities don’t want to be associated with them.

Personal example: I detest Apu from the Simpsons. He was the only “brown person” people knew when I was growing up, and as such, I became a quickie-shop owner who worships elephants and doesn’t understand America. If those stereotypes aren’t eliminated when people are young, adults begin to use those stereotypes to commit acts of covert racism. For instance, I’m applying for a job whose office consists primarily of white people. The boss doesn’t hire me because I may not “fit in”.

dhoyt, I’m not calling you a racist. But stupid, insensitive remarks like yours are why forms of covert racism exist in this country. I’m not suggesting that you’re the problem. I’m suggesting that your speech is unnecessary and not funny. Especially in a public forum like this where you have no idea who’s reading your words.
posted by BlueTrain at 12:30 PM on September 26, 2003


Unless those accusing the jokers of racism have complained to their senators, governers and congressman about continued racist drug enforcement policy such as mandatory minimums; to MTV for only airing black artists who portraying a sexist, pro-violence thug stereotype; then I find the accusation of racism pretty offensive.

Sudama addressed this a bit earlier, but if the best defense you can muster for an action is that its critics aren't complaining about more egregious examples of similar actions, you don't have much of a defense. That's a fairly common (around here, anyway) example of misdirection. A particular item of speech is either racist or its not. The fact that the speaker isn't (much of) a racist doesn't excuse the item of speech. Nor does the fact that you can find more egregious examples of racist speech.

The l/r jokes are offensive and, please note, without humor. How much cleverness does it take to switch an l and an r? None.
posted by anapestic at 12:30 PM on September 26, 2003


That's the core of my objection to racist "humour": it propagates the idea of the group in question as Other, Different, and a somehow acceptable target of abuse.

But pronouncing L's like R's IS different from 'regular' English (you know what I mean). Non-English speakers are, by definition, different from English speakers. Does that make them somehow less? No, of course not. Much as I believe that we are all one, we are not (thankfully) all the same. And 'abuse'? Come on. Chalk it up to idiocy if you want, not racism.
posted by widdershins at 12:31 PM on September 26, 2003


"The fact that the speaker isn't (much of) a racist doesn't excuse the item of speech. Nor does the fact that you can find more egregious examples of racist speech."

That's precisely my point - I wasn't defending the comment by any means, but I think it's way off to call someone racist. My point being, I think it's a very big deal to accuse someone of something so heinous - and I truly believe its not an issue you can fight as and when. By all means call the comments out. By all means lets have the discussion. People commented on the inappropriate use of the word "fuckwad" - I think they have a point, but I'd much rather be called a fuckwad than mistakenly be called racist, or have my character *assassinated*, which essentially has been going on here, for one poorly-conceived throw-away remark. I think racist is an incredibly serious thing to accuse someone of being.

And as for my argument being a strategy of some kind, or an attempt at misdirection, I'm really not that smart. I simply believe, from a moral stand-point, that the issue of racism isn't something you can be apathetic toward until it turns up on metafilter and can be something else to snark at.
posted by nthdegx at 12:45 PM on September 26, 2003


Hey, here's a question: Is it funny or offensive (or both?) when a black comedian does one of those "white guy" impressions? I've always found them funny (albeit a little redundant after the 15th comedian was basically imitating Eddie Murphy), but should I actually have been offended? Are the comedians being racist?
posted by pardonyou? at 1:02 PM on September 26, 2003


In Soviet Russia, they say "Eh, pass the back bacon, ya hoser."

In Soviet Russia, the back bacon passes you -- hoser!
posted by kindall at 1:04 PM on September 26, 2003


pardonyou? : it's funny 'cos it's true! we're so lame!
posted by keswick at 1:16 PM on September 26, 2003


...demonstrate time and again that diversity, and its associated cost of self-reflection, is not valued by the mefi community.

No, we do value diversity: diversity of opinion. Not this pablum where the world is dressed up to look like a carefully planned demographic pie-chart, but everyone holds the same blandly inoffensive ideas.

You may encounter alien ideas here, including those you may find offensive. No one has a right to go through life unoffended. Deal.

and to those of you tied in knots over this: Billions of Asain people are sleeping soundly tonight because of your vigilance. Godspeed.
posted by jonmc at 1:33 PM on September 26, 2003


who will think of the caucasians?
posted by quonsar at 1:53 PM on September 26, 2003


Sorry for the self-righteousness, but the initial comments by jonson and dhoyt were errors in judgement that could easily have been taken with a modicum of understanding, regardless of disagreement on their severity.

False. Let's keep this straight: dhoyt's comment may well have been an error of judgement; jonson's comment was at least the third in a series of recent "jokes" (as admitted to and linked above) about Asian English mispronunciations, and as such was a deliberate provocation. Be offended by it or not, but recognize it for what it was—an effort to stir things up in a manner calculated for effect.

the same goes for quonsar and Stan Chin—they get away with shit because they're genuinely funny; nobody bats 1.000, but they have as good an average as the Simpsons writers.

That is the most outrageous and preposterous claim I've seen on Metafilter in months!
posted by rushmc at 2:58 PM on September 26, 2003


rushmc : have you watched the last few seasons? even when you factor in the stellar seasons 3-8, their average ain't that good.
posted by keswick at 3:12 PM on September 26, 2003


Simpsons is still hands down the best thing on TV. The writers can't compete with nostalgia, though, so it suffers from the inevitable criticisms that it's going down hill. As counter evidence, I submit the title of a fake reality show in one episode last season: "Tied to a bear". That one sign made up for any lack of quality, real or imagined.

That still makes me laugh.

Oh, and why are we still talking in this thread? Me no like



y
posted by Space Coyote at 3:27 PM on September 26, 2003


'cos some of us are not-so-easily offended people who have nothing better to do (on a friday afternoon) than contribute to a metatalk thread?
posted by keswick at 3:39 PM on September 26, 2003


dhoyt:
My "joke" was of a riff from the Simpsons episode where they're driving through Chinatown and they spot a toystore called "Toys L' Us".

So your "joke" which you are obviously implying was not a joke, is based on something which obviously is a joke?

way to go. talk about tying yourself in fucking knots.

I guess it's the Mefi discrimation policy at work. make a joke about the Jews and you get banned, but bah, who the fuck cares about the Japs eh? It's not like any japanese use Mefi, they have their own community blogs.
posted by carfilhiot at 6:23 PM on September 26, 2003


WOW! I can't believe I read the WHOLE thing!
posted by sharpener at 6:29 PM on September 26, 2003


Simpsons is still hands down the best thing on TV. The writers can't compete with nostalgia, though, so it suffers from the inevitable criticisms that it's going down hill.

That is my view as well, sorry.
posted by rushmc at 7:36 PM on September 26, 2003


Americans are all dorito-munching, Jerry-Springer-watching, inbred hicks.
posted by angry modem at 8:32 PM on September 26, 2003


And the same goes for quonsar and Stan Chin—they get away with shit because they're genuinely funny; nobody bats 1.000, but they have as good an average as the Simpsons writers.

Everybody on MeFi is funny, some like Simpsons writers, others like Simpsons characters...

Americans are all dorito-munching, Jerry-Springer-watching, inbred hicks.

America needs two stereotypes, one for the "red" states, one for the "blue". (Actually, we have some pretty good state-by-state stereotypes; it makes it easier to dismiss New Yorkers and Texans... but for us Californians, tan-maintenance is a pain.)
posted by wendell at 9:29 PM on September 26, 2003


Is there a stereotype of Virginians?
posted by sudama at 10:07 PM on September 26, 2003


Virginians? They had secret gay love affairs with Clint Eastwood: spot the photograph!.

P.S. Ha ha, arto! Spot on!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:15 PM on September 26, 2003


Virginians? Those savin'-it-for-marriage, no-fun-on-a-Saturday-night, church-goin', chastity-belt-wearin', no-account....

What?




Oh, sorry.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:43 PM on September 26, 2003


Seriously, stereotypes are only funny if they emerge and are understood from a standpoint of deep knowledge of the cultures being mocked. When used in ignorance - as is almost always the case - they're just "funny" in the way stupidity is "funny", i.e., not really. If allied to aggression and intimations of inferiority then they're downright pernicious, even dangerous.

As a foreigner, it amuses me no end that English-speakers make so many jokes about our use of the language when they are notoriously crap at foreign languages and, frequently, at their own. English is a foreign language to so many English-speakers it's a wonder we foreigners ever learn it properly. I think this explains a lot.

That said, foreigners are always funny but it's good to remember that, in this wide world of ours, we're all foreigners more often than not. If we got out more, for example.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:07 AM on September 27, 2003


No, Miguel, you're spot on. I'm just being a smart ass as per usual.

(And I'm heavily offended at my stereotyping myself like that.)
posted by arto at 2:44 AM on September 27, 2003


now that we've wrapped this one up, I was hoping somebody could help me with a problem with my eyes.

for as long as I could remember, whenever I closed my right eye and looked through my left, my vision seemed to clouded with a blue tint. and when I close my left and look through my right, everything has a faint red tint. (visual aid)

I've talked to a few eye doctors about it and I pretty much consistently get "I don't knows" but one said that perhaps it was a the result of the yellowing of my lenses, which of course makes no sense.

anyways, I told my psychology professor about it and she's pledged to give 2 points on the next test to the person that can come up with a cause and even though I don't think I'm eligible to claim the bonus, I could almost certainly auction off the information as there are some serious low watts in that class.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:21 AM on September 27, 2003


S'il y a un amour pur et exempt du mélange de nos autres passions, c'est celui qui est caché au fond du coeur, et que nous ignorons nous-mêmes... eh oh!
posted by y2karl at 9:10 AM on September 27, 2003


mcsweetie: my eyes do that too. The colors in my right eye are slightly "richer" than those in my left eye, and have a reddish cast. I believe some variation between eyes in the quantity and location of cones causes this. Most people's bodies have variations from left to right: one leg slightly longer than the other, one foot slightly larger than the other, etc. Not surprising it could affect eyes too.
posted by kindall at 9:52 AM on September 27, 2003


Is it random image time now?


posted by tss at 9:55 AM on September 27, 2003


make a joke about the Jews and you get banned

A Jewish equivalent of the "Licther Scale" gag would be (off the top of my head) something like saying an earthquake that hit a heavily Jewish area was an "Oy" on the Richter Scale. I don't see that getting anyone banned.
posted by kindall at 10:02 AM on September 27, 2003


that makes sense. thanks, kindall!
posted by mcsweetie at 10:11 AM on September 27, 2003


I closed my right eye and looked through my left, my vision seemed to clouded with a blue tint. and when I close my left and look through my right, everything has a faint red tint.

Dude! That means you can watch 3-D movies without specs!
posted by Stan Chin at 10:17 AM on September 27, 2003


Now there's a guy who can really appreciate the famous Russian beauties of olden days.
posted by y2karl at 11:56 AM on September 27, 2003



posted by quonsar at 12:40 PM on September 27, 2003


The equivalent joke would be if the Simpsons had an Asian newscaster reporting on an earthquake and said something about the "Lichter scale."

Lichter? I hardly knew her.
posted by nath at 2:41 PM on September 27, 2003


Now, THAT is funny!
posted by jonson at 3:32 PM on September 27, 2003


That is funny, nath. Almost redeems the whole thread, which, as I think everybody knows, arto already won. If I had been drinking coffee, and were in the habit of doing so directly over my keyboard, well...
posted by soyjoy at 6:35 PM on September 27, 2003


MONKEY MAGIC!
posted by wackybrit at 8:38 PM on September 27, 2003


Isn't anybody going to question the fact that the Liberal MediaTM decided to designate the "Red" states for the Republicans? Or was this just an extension of arto's Stereotype Roulette?
posted by wendell at 3:10 AM on September 28, 2003


Thanks, thanks. I'll be here all week. Try the veal.
posted by nath at 9:10 PM on September 28, 2003


http://www.pitt.edu/~mem21/acousticsimilaritylandr.pdf

from a lecture given by professor curtin; not mine directly.
posted by ifjuly at 12:14 PM on September 29, 2003


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