Civility and politics. October 27, 2004 2:40 PM   Subscribe

Can we please separate political passion from blood lust?
posted by Chanther to Etiquette/Policy at 2:40 PM (75 comments total)

First MeTa callout, and I apologize for cluttering the grey ... c'mon. I desperately want Kerry to win, but I don't want Bush - or Harris - dead, I simply want them out of power.

I can't see what a link to Yahoo News, coupled with an inflammatory FPP text, is going to accomplish beyond simple trolling.

All of us who are hoping for a Kerry win on Tuesday need to chill out, and in particular we need to stop crapping on the blue.
posted by Chanther at 2:44 PM on October 27, 2004


Had you been paying attention, you would realize that (on Metafilter) cheering the death of one's ideological opponents is no big deal. So it follows that lamenting their lives is well within the site's bounds.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:44 PM on October 27, 2004


A-fucking-men.*

*The preceding does not necessarily represent the views of MetaFilter or the majority of users thereof. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:57 PM on October 27, 2004


HIT A REPUBLICAN IN THE FACE WITH A BRICK

posted by quonsar at 3:09 PM CST on October 26
posted by four panels at 2:58 PM on October 27, 2004


I took Missed Opportunity as a bit of sarcasm. But if you've been paying attention, you would realize that (on Metafilter), sarcasm is often mistaken for a ham sandwich.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:59 PM on October 27, 2004


I agree. Very bad choice of post title.
posted by cell divide at 2:59 PM on October 27, 2004


Can we please separate political passion from blood lust?

Agreed. Politics takes all the nobility out of blood lust.
posted by liam at 3:00 PM on October 27, 2004


I don't want Bush - or Harris - dead, I simply want them out of power.

But do you want to take a frikkin' joke? That's the question.

Man. Call it bad taste if you want, but how do you get the balls up to post this kind of thing here? What do you want to get out of this? A chorus of amens and an apology?
posted by scarabic at 3:03 PM on October 27, 2004


But do you want to take a frikkin' joke? That's the question.

I didn't think the front page of Metafilter was the place for frikkin' jokes, unless they have some other redeeming quality - can you honestly tell me that an FPP that's a link to a Yahoo News story that's on every single news site represents the best of the web? I think it takes more balls to post that kind of thing on the front page than it takes for me to call it out.

Look, I knew I'd be flamed and come off as humorless for calling this out, and I can handle it. But the whole "if you don't like it, scroll past it" is only taking me so far, now. I actually haven't minded most of the political posts that have crossed the front page, as long as they've got something thoughtful going on. But the signal to noise ratio is getting ridiculous, and the idea that MetaFilter is self-policing is becoming laughable.
posted by Chanther at 3:18 PM on October 27, 2004


sarcasm is often mistaken for a ham sandwich

as a vegetarian, i'm sick and goddamned tired of the references to meat products on the blue.

best of the web indeed.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:20 PM on October 27, 2004


Ah, c'mon that was a funny post title. Surely there's a more worthy thing to kvetch about.

Of course, I really do want physical harm to come to the woman, but only because she's very ugly.
posted by dong_resin at 3:24 PM on October 27, 2004


When I say ham, I, of course, mean soy-based, ham-like products that are found in natural food stores. I want no harm to come to the Pigs, be they ugly or not.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 3:35 PM on October 27, 2004


Just because it's a Yahoo article means people will already have read it before checking MeFi? I don't get it. And since when did posts start being limited to "the best of the web"? Cause we all know that ain't the case by a long shot...
posted by adamms222 at 3:41 PM on October 27, 2004


...and yes, "Missed Opportunity" was sarcasm. I know we don't see any of that on this site.... Crap, there I go again! Oh lawdy, crucify me now.
posted by adamms222 at 3:45 PM on October 27, 2004


and by the way, Chanther, would you mind explaining to me the difference between a post to Yahoo vs. one to CNN? Ooh, citing precedent...that's gotta hurt.
posted by adamms222 at 3:51 PM on October 27, 2004


I'm reminded of Tom Petty's Runnin' Down A Dream for some inexplicable reason.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:55 PM on October 27, 2004


Can we please quit bitching and moaning in MeTa every goddamned post that comes along?
posted by xmutex at 3:56 PM on October 27, 2004


Chanther - don't resort to pat anti-newsfilter arguments to pad out your position. You clearly called this out because of the Katherine-Harris-needs-to-die angle. Not because it's a Yahoo news article. Postroad just put up another of those, and, incidentally, I hate them all as well.

I'm just completely over posting a Meta thread because you don't agree with someone's sense of humor. You're not humorless. That was in fact a pretty tasteless crack. Fine. But you're now in the business of calling people out in MeTa over matters of taste, judgements of what's funny, and that's bad business. It's clutter, as you put it so well.

All that will come of it is a bunch of people will say "yeah! that was in bad taste!" and a bunch of other people will say "big deal, take a joke!" and that will be that. If, along the way, some of us impugn one anothers' humor or decency, we will have accomplished something - something unecessary and bad.
posted by scarabic at 3:59 PM on October 27, 2004


Lame thread. Lame framing of lame thread. Lame complaint about lame framing of lame thread.
posted by The God Complex at 4:15 PM on October 27, 2004


When Hinckley shot Reagan I was disappointed that Reagan survived. I'd completely bought all the bullshit about how the Reagan election meant World War III was just around the corner.

I'm still ashamed at how stupid and vicious that was.
posted by timeistight at 4:16 PM on October 27, 2004


Don't talk about wishing people dead in mixed company. It makes you look like an asshat.
posted by gwint at 4:21 PM on October 27, 2004


Yeah, timeistight, I'm still ashamed at how stupid and vicious the Cold War was also.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 4:31 PM on October 27, 2004


*sigh*

Can we just have our nice pleasant little civil war and get this shit over with? I hate them, they hate me, I'm locked and loaded and so are they. Lets just get the job done ... M'kay?

(Give me sarcasm or give me death! Do you think that will be remembered 200 years from now? Nahhh, prolly not.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:32 PM on October 27, 2004


another lame comment on the lame complaint of the lame framing of the lame post (in a lame kind of way).
posted by andrew cooke at 5:01 PM on October 27, 2004


Me too. I'm still ashamed at how stupid and vicious the Reagan election was. And I'm not even American.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:06 PM on October 27, 2004


I think andrew_cooke just broke the chain of lameness. Can we go home now?
posted by scarabic at 5:13 PM on October 27, 2004


that's one slick piece of selective editing, four panels. one brick to the face for you.
posted by quonsar at 5:15 PM on October 27, 2004


lame rebuke: pussies!
posted by raysmj at 5:18 PM on October 27, 2004


Can we just have our nice pleasant little civil war and get this shit over with?

Because no one dwells on the last civil war in this country. Yep.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:35 PM on October 27, 2004


wouldn't this coming one be the last one?
posted by amberglow at 5:40 PM on October 27, 2004


Can we get this straight ahead of time, as there seem to be at least two MeTa callouts in the last couple of days that would interfere with my expression, but if Thatcher dies I will genuinely be glad about it. Will this mean censure on MeFi?
posted by biffa at 6:20 PM on October 27, 2004


I like biffas idea.

Arafat is very sick... not gonna miss that guy.

I wish Sharon was just as sick so I could not miss him too.

Cheney could go any second... him, he gets my explicit permission to croak this very moment (note to Secret Service: I in no way intend to faclitate this, I'm just giving him my permission to die).
posted by cedar at 6:34 PM on October 27, 2004


To quote:

In the long run, we are all dead.
posted by konolia at 7:20 PM on October 27, 2004


To quote:

Not....necessarily.
posted by liam at 7:31 PM on October 27, 2004


I don't wish for Katherine Harris to be hit by a car, either. Nor do I wish for her to be made into a ham sandwich. She looks very tough and leathery. I don't think she moisturizes enough.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:57 PM on October 27, 2004


What donger said. It was virtually impossible for me not to chuckle a bit. If the title had read "too bad he missed the opportunity to splatter her brains all over the street," then yes, I'd maybe see your point. But, come on. Clearly, to this individual, it was a missed opportunity.
posted by adampsyche at 5:02 AM on October 28, 2004


It's the unsportsmanlike mismatch that was the real problem here. Caddy vs. pedestrian? Bah. Put him in a segway, at least half of you would have been rooting for him.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:44 AM on October 28, 2004


I assume by this point Matt's read the post, and not found it delete-worthy, in which case I was wrong. I can accept that.

Yes, adamms222, my sole post to Metafilter was a CNN link. I posted that when I was still a newbie and didn't "get" what MetaFilter was supposed to be about. I thought then that it was a discussion website. I didn't get what the Filter in MetaFilter was supposed to mean.

But I'm stunned that people are defending this post, frankly. The link was to a news article that at the time was one of the headlines on all of the major news services. The point of the post wasn't to be the "best of the web" or even to lead to some sort of discussion - but simply to make a joke, and not a very good one, at that. There is nothing that the post could lead to, beyond a "HA-HA, Harris sux" versus a "the Dems are trying to murder Republicans" kind of thing. And that's what we got, in the resulting thread.

Scarabic, I used both the anti-newsfilter and the bad taste arguments initially, and I stand by both of them. Obviously I don't have a leg to stand on, since the post is still there. But I still think it was a bad post, and think that this community has lost that idea of the MetaFilter as a Filter. There is increasingly little to differentiate MetaFilter from Fark, and I think that rests on us and our lowered tolerance for what constitutes a worthy link for an FPP. I hope the situation will improve after November 2nd.
posted by Chanther at 5:56 AM on October 28, 2004


There is increasingly little to differentiate MetaFilter from Fark, and I think that rests on us and our lowered tolerance for what constitutes a worthy link for an FPP. I hope the situation will improve after November 2nd.

Fark? Please. Fark is usually funny. This is more like a photo negative of Free Republic.
posted by jonmc at 6:43 AM on October 28, 2004


Or here's an alternate scenario: Arafat apparently is dying. If someone put up an FPP saying hip-hip-hooray about that, I can only imagine the hue and cry that would erupt in metatalk.

Let's just be up front about it: wishing death and violence upon people the majority of mefites hate=good, wishing death and violence upon people the majority of mefites hate=bad.

You can call it a rose if you want, but I call it hypocrisy. Period.
posted by jonmc at 6:51 AM on October 28, 2004


jonmc: Please chill out. The woman was not killed. The post was clearly a joke. And here's the first post from a thread at Fark, which is so clearly superior, from a moral standpoint:

Oh, heck. He's only four years too late.

The second post was:


" The Cadillac drove up the sidewalk directly at Harris and others before swerving and driving away."

Nobody likes a quitter.


The third post? A "hero" tag. But there's no "farktalk" where everyone can decry that sort of thing there, and get all in touch with their feelings, or whatever.
posted by raysmj at 7:09 AM on October 28, 2004


jonmc: Please chill out.

Ray, I like you, but lemme answer that with a "no."

I said what I believed. I have only the vaguest idea who the woman in question is, since unlike a lot of people here I don't get a woody reading Mother Jones and/or The New Republic, so it's not out of some attachment to her. I'm just getting seriously tired of reading the same fucking threads about the same fucking subjects where the same fucking people say the same fucking shit.

And that includes me, I've caught the fucking predictability bug from the rest of you.
posted by jonmc at 7:17 AM on October 28, 2004


jonmc: Like you too. But anyway, the New Republic isn't particularly liberal these days, hasn't been for a while. Mother Jones? I dunno. But Katherine Harris was all over the news in 2000, and she's still the focus of plenty of anger about what happened down there in the elections. She doesn't have a particularly warm personality either, I don't think most sensible people wish her dead, and would think the guy should be in jail. But she was scared a little? Well, a small price to pay for all that corrupt bullship of 2000. She'll always be an enemy of democracy, in my book, and I'm far from radical.

On the other hand, the Bush bird-flipping post was pretty stupid. And I'd like more Robert Frank photo posts and such, certainly. This, however, was not the big deal it's being made out to be, isn't worth the moral outcry.
posted by raysmj at 7:26 AM on October 28, 2004


I thought the New Republic was, you know, Republican. Like I said, I don't spend my time poring over political minutia. Life's too short.

But the Harris thread and fucking BushFinger thread are not there to provide any elucidation, insight or even amusement. Just more of the same as in any political thread: y2karl will post a 5000 word article in tiny glowing yellow type, matteo will smartoff in some arch way that nobody understands, troutfishing will post something erudite and long that goes right over everybody's heads, nofundy will spew a few poorly written cliches, Paris Paramus will call for the death of all liberals, quonsar will say something gross/violent and I'll lose my temper, then someone will console and chide me.

We need either new people or new subject matter.
posted by jonmc at 7:32 AM on October 28, 2004


The Katherine Harris story was unusual and bizarre in a way similar to that of the "Kenneth, what's the frequency?" thing with Rather. It was weird and random, and nobody was in critical condition afterward. Then it's all mixed with helpless rage at her actions in 2000. It was news I'd already read, frankly, but it was posted all over the Internet universe. That it was posted here, and in a non-PC manner, is not a particularly big thing.
posted by raysmj at 7:44 AM on October 28, 2004


This is more like a photo negative of Free Republic.

Exactly.

Or a warped reflection of LGF. Whatever.

The usual suspects think they're doing a service to MeFi by posting on Bush's every scandalette. His extended middle finger? His alleged prozac abuse? The "wire" in his jacket? They're not doing a service. They're seeking attention, encouraging rigid partisanship and pushing the rest of us closer to the center, not to mention converting the frontpage the kind of loony-politics cesspool you'd be embarassed to recommend to acquaintances with more sober poly-sci interests.

Most of the one-note Bush-fetishists you would rather die than admit it, but they are exactly what they claim to despise. I hope they remember that next time they criticize LGF & FreeRepublic for dealing in intolerance & blind, shallow partisanship. I'm not holding my breath.
posted by dhoyt at 7:58 AM on October 28, 2004


Most of the one-note Bush-fetishists you would rather die than admit it, but they are exactly what they claim to despise.

hear hear!
posted by sciurus at 8:30 AM on October 28, 2004


So ... you want kitty photos?
posted by raysmj at 8:49 AM on October 28, 2004


I ♥ jonmc!
posted by timeistight at 8:55 AM on October 28, 2004


I ? jonmc!

Why do you ? someone who obviously doesn't know what he's talking about, having never read the free republic, which he's so quick to compare to this site, nor having a clue who Katherine Harris is.

There's a difference between "poring over political minutia" and having a fucking clue what you're spouting about, jon.

We need either new people or new subject matter.

Or maybe the problem is with you?
posted by jpoulos at 9:05 AM on October 28, 2004


I never read the New Republic, jpolous. I have been to freep a couple of times and was roundly repelled.
posted by jonmc at 9:15 AM on October 28, 2004


If you've actually read the Free Republic, and can't see the difference between that site and this one, then you're even more deeply entrenched in your own neuroses than I thought you were.
posted by jpoulos at 9:19 AM on October 28, 2004


We may not be completely there yet, poulos, but we're on our way. We've got the me-too-ism, we've got the intolerance of difference, we've got the mean streak. The fact that the poilitics are for the most part different, and for the most part correct, makes no difference.

The sad thing is, it didn't used to be this way here. Yeah, there's always been contentiousness here, but you could have a conversation about those differences without it becoming a bar fight. Plus you could have a pleasant converstion in a non-political thread with someone you'd argued with elsewhere. Dosen't seem to be true anymore.

And you don't know me nearly well enough to diagnose my neuroses, thank you very much.
posted by jonmc at 9:26 AM on October 28, 2004


Well, the Stalin post wasn't a particularly good one - OK, it sucked. And then along comes the guy confusing georgebush.org with the real campaign site. All that was seriously annoying.

However - and it's a big however - the Katherine Harris story was custom built for amusement. But people here get into a heated moral argument about the content of the post itself. At fark, it's insensitive jokes and a smidgen of hand-wringing. Here it's an insenstive joke, followed by moral outrage and way too much hand-wriging, followed by people going, "Yeah, I'd rather her be dead than all the thousands of soldiers."

On the one hand, the fact that you can find more intelligent discussion here sometimes is very refreshing. No one was posting about Derrida's death at fark, I don't believe, and you're not going to see a Robert Frank retrospective there. But fark was more fun to read in re to the Harris episode.
posted by raysmj at 9:31 AM on October 28, 2004


I suppose if I want a not-particularly-sensitive political post, I'm going to have to turn to wonkette. (Granted, I find the bitchy, faux-sophisticated tone of plenty of newer blogs a turn-off. But she pulls this sort of thing off so well.)
posted by raysmj at 9:39 AM on October 28, 2004


100% agreed with Jonmc. It's been getting really really ridiculous on here lately, moreso than just newsfilter or US politics filter. And I see the same people harping about the same things over and over again. And even that wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the asinine me too commentary that inevitably follows the last Bush "revelation". Metafilter is just plain becoming boring, predictable and repetitive. Just like some of the other sites mentioned in this thread.
posted by loquax at 9:56 AM on October 28, 2004


But he's wrong in this instance, I think, if not wrong about the more general big picture. And you're part of the problem too, loquax, in getting upset over the teensiest bit of insensitivity on someone's part. The Kelly call-out was among the lamest things I've ever seen on this site.

I think it's right to ask people to chill out on the Bush threads. The idea that we have to be all uptight about making fun of anyone is another thing entirely.
posted by raysmj at 10:08 AM on October 28, 2004


I used both the anti-newsfilter and the bad taste arguments initially, and I stand by both of them

Well, as for the newsfilter angle, I agree with you. I've put in my time protesting newsfilter. If you want to be passed the torch, here it is, you go. Good luck.

If someone did post a zippity-do-da about Arafat dying, there would be an eruption, but I would simply respond in the thread. I have no doubt that there are people out there who would be happy to see him go. There's nothing in the rules, as I see them, that prevents someone from expressing that here. I'd probably counter, but that would be the discussion.

Most of the one-note Bush-fetishists you would rather die than admit it, but they are exactly what they claim to despise. I hope they remember that next time they criticize LGF & FreeRepublic for dealing in intolerance & blind, shallow partisanship. I'm not holding my breath.

[applause]
posted by scarabic at 10:19 AM on October 28, 2004


I think it's right to ask people to chill out on the Bush threads.

Yet the waaaaahmbulance chasers themselves pay no mind to the concept of ubiquity=monotony and seem to think they need to repeat their precious opinions for the seventieth thousandth time...

The idea that we have to be all uptight about making fun of anyone is another thing entirely.

No shit.
posted by y2karl at 12:15 PM on October 28, 2004


"There is increasingly little to differentiate MetaFilter from Fark"

I never read Fark, so I wouldn't know.
posted by mischief at 12:43 PM on October 28, 2004


I wouldn't say there's a problem with making fun, or being harsh or being inflammatory. The problem these days is that hundreds of people are making these remarks all at the same time. Is it really worth anyone's time to read 50 comments where each person is trying to be wittier in their putdowns of the Bush administration than the last? Especially when the vast majority of the comments are in agreement? And when they're getting more childish, thoughtless and irrelevant?

I think there are many brilliant people who post and write here. I enjoy reading what they have to say even when I don't agree. Maybe there should be less tolerance for thoughtless comments of any stripe that add nothing to the discourse.
posted by loquax at 1:13 PM on October 28, 2004


And the Parade of Wounded Sensibilities continues! Hurray!

Hey, it was a lame post, and a tasteless joke. However, making a joke about an unsuccessful attempt on a public figure's life isn't "blood lust". Can we dial the melodrama way the hell down, please?

And, Chanther, not everyone who reads this site is in the United States of America. This may not have made the headlines in, say, Sweden, but some Swedish MetaFilterian might have gotten a giggle out of the story ("Ridiculous Americans! Trying to run over politicians with their enormous gas-guzzling cars! Pass the smoked fish, Sven!")
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:16 PM on October 28, 2004


Sidhedevil is very wise.
posted by jpoulos at 2:27 PM on October 28, 2004


"each person is trying to be wittier"

I view that as a good thing, therefore you are
WRONG!!!
heheh
posted by mischief at 3:10 PM on October 28, 2004


The problem these days is that hundreds of people are making these remarks all at the same time.

As more than one person has previously noted, it is, in many a member's estimation, less than a week until the most important election in decades. People have expressed opinions on one of the candidates in this very close election. Send for a Waaaahmbulance!
posted by y2karl at 3:35 PM on October 28, 2004


...Is it really worth anyone's time to read 50 comments where each person is trying to be wittier in their putdowns of the Bush administration anything than the last? Especially when the vast majority of the comments are in agreement? And when they're getting more childish, thoughtless and irrelevant?

I think there are many brilliant people who post and write here. I enjoy reading what they have to say even when I don't agree. Maybe there should be less tolerance for thoughtless comments of any stripe that add nothing to the discourse.


Quoted for Infinite Justice, even if I can be painted with the same brush pretty easily. s'truth. The swing towards performative language and away from informative is worth pointing to and lamenting a bit.

*laments*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:43 PM on October 28, 2004


that lament was very performative itself
posted by amberglow at 3:46 PM on October 28, 2004


*is painted*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:55 PM on October 28, 2004


The "waaahmublance" thing is really, really fucking stupid.

Perhaps I should make a new MeTa thread about it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:29 PM on October 28, 2004


mr_c: Waaah! ;-P
posted by mischief at 8:04 PM on October 28, 2004


This may not have made the headlines in, say, Sweden, but some Swedish MetaFilterian might have gotten a giggle out of the story ("Ridiculous Americans! Trying to run over politicians with their enormous gas-guzzling cars! Pass the smoked fish, Sven!")

Sidhevil: I'm going to guess that you're wrong about this one.
posted by coelecanth at 9:23 PM on October 28, 2004


Sorry I got your name wrong.
posted by coelecanth at 9:24 PM on October 28, 2004


I wonder how many times mathowie has mulled over these issues.... and always decides to let things be.

The death of civil discourse on Metafilter is a myth - it's simply a commodity with variable supply and manufacture. All that can be done is join the team that produces more, and let the market take care of the rest.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:58 PM on October 28, 2004


I would like to add my voice to the chorus here.

It's a tremulous baritone and goes quite nicely with most songs. I have my own song books and one of those shiny coloured tabard things that members of choirs wear.

I also play the trumpet.
posted by longbaugh at 3:23 AM on October 29, 2004


let the market take care of the rest.
Except of course that crap is easier to make, cheaper (in time invested), and (apparently) in limitless demand by its own producers..
posted by darukaru at 6:44 AM on October 29, 2004


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