we get it, you don't like the pope. April 2, 2005 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Alright, I'm fed up.

Can we please dispense with pissing all over the Blue? [More Inside]
posted by dirtynumbangelboy to Etiquette/Policy at 1:53 PM (185 comments total)

So you don't like the Pope. Ok. We get it. Isn't one of the unwritten community guidelines here that if you don't have something constructive to say, then don't say it? Come on, guys. I'm not Catholic--I'm not even Christian--so this isn't a Papist getting all riled up about his Pontiff getting shat on. This is someone who:

1) Thinks that everyone deserves a moment of respect when they die. Yes, everyone.

2) Is sick of seeing threads getting clogged up by self-important people who have nothing better to do than proclaim their own righteousness by shitting all over a thread.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:53 PM on April 2, 2005


drtynumb, my friend, as good (lapsed) Catholic boy, I feel where your coming from on this one, even though I can understand the anger of some of the pope haters. But the simple truth is that in almost every obit thread on a prominent person there's going to be someone who feels the need to bash the deceased and we all have our "sacred cows." (witness the Reagan, Johnny Cochran, and Arafat threads. Johnny Cash got off scot free, thank God for small favors).

So I just acknowledge and move on.
posted by jonmc at 2:03 PM on April 2, 2005


It's a sad truth though, jonmc, and it doesn't speak much for us as a community.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:06 PM on April 2, 2005


I suppose.

Let's say a novena for them.
posted by jonmc at 2:06 PM on April 2, 2005


dirtynumbangelboy writes "Isn't one of the unwritten community guidelines here that if you don't have something constructive to say, then don't say it?"

Since when???

Look, I don't agree with those opinion either -- as I've made abundantly clear in both dying Pope threads.

But different posters have different opinions, and they're entitled to state them. If you don't agree with their opinions, your best response is not to get them thrown down the memory hole -- which will convince no one of anything other than that you're thin-skinned or intolerant -- but to respond with more and better speech refuting them, which might explain to some readers that the posts you object to are wrong, and why.

The Pope was great man, but we do his memory no honor by alluding to the Church's errors by writing our own Index Librorum Prohibitorum for MetaFilter.
posted by orthogonality at 2:10 PM on April 2, 2005


"1) Thinks that everyone deserves a moment of respect when they die. Yes, everyone."

I don't agree. I think the people bashing JPII are wrong, but if they truly believe that he was an evil man whose death should be celebrated, I'll support their right to take that position publicly.1

If they're doing it just for the thrill of being transgressive, then fuck 'em.

1 Notice how this fits perfectly with my defense of the pope in that thread as a virtuous man deserving praise even if he was wrong because I believe that he sincerely worked very hard to discover what is true and good and just. If these critics sincerely believe that they are being virtuous in celebrating the pope's death, and if they've worked hard to discover what is true, then I support them. If they're self-righteous but lazy, like George W. Bush for example, and some of them are, then fuck 'em.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:13 PM on April 2, 2005


Perhaps I'm missing something, but what would be the kind of comment that is constructive in that thread? Pope-positive only?
posted by advil at 2:13 PM on April 2, 2005


furthermore, some people aren't as witty as they believe they are

on preview ... orthogonality, making "rosebud" jokes about the pope isn't expressing an opinion ... it's being a jerk
posted by pyramid termite at 2:14 PM on April 2, 2005


I'm afraid the only bits of Catholic liturgy I know offhand are the paternoster, the Angelus, and Litany to the Blessed Virgin... not really sure what a novena is. *googles*

Oh. Interesting concept. Compare and contrast with the workings of Abramelin. Similar idea.


orthogonality, there's a difference between respectfully pointing out the man's shortcomings, and shitting on the thread with comments like "I hope he burns in hell" and "who will protect the baby rapists now?"

Stating your opinion is fine. Shitting on a thread is not. I find it hard to believe that you don't see the difference.

advil: see preceding sentences.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:15 PM on April 2, 2005


I think you have misunderstood some of the people in that thread. They are not merely snarking; they are deeply angry over what the pope did and what his church will likely continue to do. quarsan, in particular, articulated (in a later comment that you don't note) compelling reasons for his lack of respect.

Also, didn't you make the same argument about the Schiavo thread? So, we get it: you think the dead deserve respect by virtue of being dead. Others don't. Surely some complaints about the pope could have been predicted by every MeFite, including the person who started the thread.
posted by anapestic at 2:18 PM on April 2, 2005


It's still shitting on a thread, anapestic. For crying out loud, people, grow up.

Would you run into a memorial service yelling "I HOPE J2P2 ROTS IN HELL!!!!!!eleventyone"? Of course not.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:21 PM on April 2, 2005


angelboy, like I said in the blue thread itself, a lot of people have extremely conflicted feelings about Catholicism, especially Catholics of varying degrees of lapsedness like my self.

The preist who baptized my sister was recently ousted as a pedophile. At the seremony, my 3 year old self was acting up. He said "Can't you do something about that child?" I suppose I should be glad he didn't take it upon himself, I guess. Another preist from my parish fell asleep drunk with a cigarette and set the rectory on fire. The whole neighborhood came out to watch and cracked "Holy Smoke," jokes. Nobody was hurt, thank God.

But despite it all, it's still part of who I am, and I'd be lying if I said that anti-Catholic snarks didn't sting on some level. I remeber when I worked as a clerk in a bookstore in avery wealthy, very Protestant town and one fellow clerk mentioned to the boss that a family had 9 children. "Must be Catholic," the boss said. I felt a stab of anger.

And I still courteously say, "Hello, Father/Sister," to passing clergymen on the street. A Catholic raised Wiccan punk rocker freind of mine says she still does the same. For the same reason.

It's part of us, however much we may feel anger or sadness at some of what it does.
posted by jonmc at 2:25 PM on April 2, 2005


making "rosebud" jokes about the pope isn't expressing an opinion ... it's being a jerk

The "rosebud" joke was actually the best thing in the thread.

dirtynumbangelboy, you've not been appointed judge of acceptable taste. The pope made some especially lothesome decrees in his time and people have as much right to relish the end of his shortsighted reign as you do to cry crocodile tears.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:30 PM on April 2, 2005


Would you run into a memorial service yelling "I HOPE J2P2 ROTS IN HELL!!!!!!eleventyone"?

No. Would you equate a MetaFilter thread with a memorial service?
posted by anapestic at 2:31 PM on April 2, 2005


"dirtynumbangelboy, you've not been appointed judge of acceptable taste..."

Neither have you, and you are asserting what is acceptable.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:32 PM on April 2, 2005


Rather hoist by your own petard there, Mayor Curley.

I'd also appreciate you not using an ad hominem attack, ok? I'm not 'shedding crocodile tears,' I am complaining about something which I see as very divisive within our community, and maybe (gasp!) even seeing if there are ways to stop being this divisive.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:36 PM on April 2, 2005


pyramid termite writes "orthogonality, making 'rosebud' jokes about the pope isn't expressing an opinion ... it's being a jerk"

Being a jerk is expressing an opinion: the opinion that the Pope was so bad, he doesn't even deserve the jerk's respect. Not even in death.

I don't agree with that opinion, and, similarly, I'm deeply offended when someone disrespectfully burns an American flag. But is it a form of expression? You bet it is. A deeply impassioned, deeply angry form of expression, a heartfelt expression that should not be censored.

The comedian Lenny Bruce (successfully prosecuted by none other than Johnnie Cochran) once observed that if you outlaw the word "Fuck" you're also making it illegal for someone to say "Fuck the government!"


dirtynumbangelboy writes " Stating your opinion is fine. Shitting on a thread is not. I find it hard to believe that you don't see the difference."

Perhaps if we were all angels, or robots, we could all agree where "stating an opinion" ends and "shitting on" begins. But we're not, and we can't.

When Isaiah said (chapter 57, verses 3-5)
But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.
Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?,
I imagine many Israelites thought he was using unseemly and disrespectful language. And when Jesus threw the moneychangers from the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13)
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves,
no doubt many a money-changer and many an orthodox Jew felt offended.

But both Isaiah and Jesus of Nazareth felt that what they were saying was so important as to forgive, even to encourage, a lack of gentleness or gentility (no pun on Gentile intended).

So too with the posters in that Pope thread: they may have lost friends to AIDS or have seen children starving in over-populated, under contracepted Africa or may know or even be, Catholic alterboys who were raped by Catholic priests afterward given safe harbor by Holy Mother Church. For whatever reason, they feel a righteous anger against John Paul II, and they have a right to that anger and to express it.
posted by orthogonality at 2:39 PM on April 2, 2005


Neither have you, and you are asserting what is acceptable.

Rather hoist by your own petard there, Mayor Curley.


While I can respect the attempt to equate someone telling us that expressing some opinions are unacceptable with someone telling us that expressing all opinions are acceptable in an attempt to score rhetorical points, I fail to see the underlying logic.
posted by anapestic at 2:42 PM on April 2, 2005


Would you equate a MetaFilter thread with a memorial service?

sometimes, yes. most memorial services aren't as glum, though
posted by matteo at 2:47 PM on April 2, 2005


Isn't one of the unwritten community guidelines here that if you don't have something constructive to say, then don't say it?

What on Earth ever gave you that idea?

We discuss links... some people don't like the Pope. So, they discuss. Just wait until that fucker Jerry Falwell finally dies.
posted by cedar at 2:52 PM on April 2, 2005


First it was pissing on the blue, then it's shitting. Which eliminatory function does disparaging the Pope in his spectactularly unnecessary newsfilter thread equate to, dirtynumbangelboy? Will it be "wiping snot on the blue" next? "Discharging a cheesy exudate from I know not where on the blue"? Where will it end? Where oh where?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:54 PM on April 2, 2005




1) Thinks that everyone deserves a moment of respect when they die. Yes, everyone.

I myself was amazed when the jews didn't hold a vigil for Hitler while he was barracaded in his bunker.

I realize that the analogy is poor and I'm not trying to Godwinize, but if you really think someone was an asshole, I can't think of any good reason why they'd be deserving of respect simply because they died. I'm not saying I feel one way or the other about the pope, but people are entitled to that opinion, and he was quite a public figure.

2) Is sick of seeing threads getting clogged up by self-important people who have nothing better to do than proclaim their own righteousness by shitting all over a thread.

I don't find it unreasonable for a major world leader to be eulogized or editorialized after his death. People should step back and do some accounting of what popes and presidents did and didn't do for the world. It's far more useful to try to learn from their mistakes and successes then to fill the thread with punctuation marks, if you ask me.

And while the rosebud joke was in poor taste, I still thought it managed to be pretty damn funny and relevant to one of the church's most recent major failings at the same time.
posted by drpynchon at 2:57 PM on April 2, 2005


Which eliminatory function does disparaging the Pope in his spectactularly unnecessary newsfilter thread equate to, dirtynumbangelboy?

I don't know, but someone took a big white dump in that thread. That's disgusting.
posted by found missing at 3:03 PM on April 2, 2005


Thinks that everyone deserves a moment of respect when they die. Yes, everyone. ... Would you run into a memorial service yelling "I HOPE J2P2 ROTS IN HELL!!!!!!eleventyone"? Of course not.

This is not a funeral home.
posted by rcade at 3:12 PM on April 2, 2005


Being a jerk is expressing an opinion: the opinion that the Pope was so bad, he doesn't even deserve the jerk's respect.

not to mention the opinion that this site exists to see who can be the vilest and wittiest ... that the other members exist to be an outraged or amused audience ... that any real discussion of value should take second place behind snarkyness for the sake of snarkyness ... and ultimately, that this site should cater to jerks instead of intelligent people

eventually people will get tired of seeing stuff like that and go somewhere else ... it's happened elsewhere and it can happen here
posted by pyramid termite at 3:18 PM on April 2, 2005


Are you so sure that it's really "snarkyness for the sake of snarkyness"?

Some of the ppl in that thread are genuinely pissed off at some things the pope did, and have real grievances.
posted by beth at 3:20 PM on April 2, 2005


Just a small point. Saying that someone is being a jerk is in no way saying that they should be "censored." In fact, crying "censorship!" is the new Godwin.

If expressing an opinion like "I think x should rot in hell for eternity" is covered by free speech, so is "I think comments like that are offensive; please don't make them."

The reason this is a call-out in meTa and not a simple case of flag-and-move-on is because dirtynumb isn't asking for deletions, he's asking people to be a little less juvenile.

Not that it'll help, but I support him. People could stand to ease up.
posted by koeselitz at 3:25 PM on April 2, 2005


pyramid termite writes "any real discussion of value should take second place behind snarkyness for the sake of snarkyness"

Screw you!1111!!!1 I love teh quonsar!!!!
posted by orthogonality at 3:26 PM on April 2, 2005


Some people revere the Pope as the ultimate living symbol of their religion, and are surely repulsed by the shameless mockery and excoriation so frequently posted here. I feel sorry for believing Catholics who want to participate in MeFi, just as I feel sorry for Scientologists who wish to do so. One can discuss issues about either religion without being deliberately hurtful to others who feel differently, or making them feel unwelcome. I, a non-Christian, thought the FPP about the feeding tube and 'big hat' to be disgraceful and sorely wish the anti-Catholic bigots among us would take the weekend off.
posted by xowie at 3:34 PM on April 2, 2005


Old Catholic bigot dies.

New Catholic bigot appointed.

Gay ex-catholic sighs.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:39 PM on April 2, 2005


A MetaPoem

Toilets of New Orleans,
Pope John Paul II Has Died,
I Love Shredded Wheat.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:49 PM on April 2, 2005


How anyone can 'celebrate' another human's death is beyond me. But to mourn, in an active sense, the passing of a man who, if he knew me, would consider me of less value than my brother (because HE determines a gay person as 'objectively evil') is impossible.

Having said that, I tip my hat to a man who lived: he is lucky I knew of him. There are many who die, better than him, that I am unaware of.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:49 PM on April 2, 2005


Most of the participation in the obit threads, and 90% of the breakingnewsfilter ones, consists of jerking off all over the blue. Choose your excretion.
posted by liam at 3:57 PM on April 2, 2005


There are much better sites to go to if you want to see complete agreement and respectful comments about the recently deceased.

Metafilter is not that place. I don't think it ever has been.
posted by beth at 3:59 PM on April 2, 2005


koeselitz writes "Just a small point. Saying that someone is being a jerk is in no way saying that they should be 'censored.'"

Sorry, you're right, I assumed he was asking that mathowie delete those comments.

You're sure he wasn't?
posted by orthogonality at 4:00 PM on April 2, 2005


The Pope is dead. The nature of his position, and the character and actions of the man who held that position move this beyond the simple reporting of the death of an 84 year old man. I know that many people will take some pleasure in his death. I am sure that many tonight in my country and round the world are drinking toasts to his death and making sick jokes. The mainstream media, from what I have seen so far, will focus on the positive stories. The negatives will be glossed over or ignored.

Do we want a MetaFilter that apes the mainstream media, in eulogising this man and ignoring his failings, or one that reflects the variety of opinion that real people really feel? I would far rather that people felt able to express their real feelings in MetaFilter, even through sick jokes or whatever. Yes, a man has died, but he was not just any man, he was the Pope. I want to hear peoples hatred, anger, or even indifference. It reflects reality, what I will be hearing from from friends and strangers in the days to come, and hearing that in MetaFilter reaffirms that it is a place where real people talk about what they really feel, not what they think they should feel. A lot of people died today, and for all of them there should be a . This man was the Pope though. More needs to be said. Thats not pissing on a thread. That's communication.
posted by aisforal at 4:11 PM on April 2, 2005


"While I can respect the attempt to equate someone telling us that expressing some opinions are unacceptable with someone telling us that expressing all opinions are acceptable in an attempt to score rhetorical points, I fail to see the underlying logic."

Did Mayor Curley assert the principle that expressing all opinions is acceptable? And even then, the asymmetry is not as great as you think. To be intellectually and morally consistent with the principle that telling other people what to do is wrong, then you have to accept that telling other people not to tell other people what to do is also wrong. The best you can do is stay silent.

But no one really believes this. The mefi culture which is said to be quite liberal, has already communally endorsed the idea that the expression of certain opinions is not okay (racism, sexism, etc.). We are perfectly willing to tell other people what they can't do. In fact, people of all beliefs and political persuasions evidently enjoy telling other people what to do—perhaps the majority.

What people don't like is other people telling them what not to do. That part isn't as fun.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:11 PM on April 2, 2005


Papist Bluetm?
posted by shoepal at 4:19 PM on April 2, 2005


Look, we've all had to live with the pope, for better or for worse, and I think "good riddance" is a fine reaction to his death. That's not shitting in the thread. Did the thread request only respectful replies? Or even say R.I.P.? No. It was a simple statement of fact. The Pope is dead.

If someone had written an AskMe question about how to deal with this, and someone had answered "I dunno ask a child rapist," then that would be a different story. But when something comes up in the Blue, all opinions are pretty much fair game within certain reasonable rules of engagement.

As for the "respect for the dead" horsecrap, that's for ordinary people, not mouth-of-god celebrities whose merest utterances had far-ranging consequences for the entire world. Tell your "moment of respect" routine to someone who couldn't get birth control because of His Papal Assyness and I'm sure it will bring a tear of compassion to her eye. Uh-huh. The same went for Reagan. You give up your claim to an ordinary life when you go big.
posted by scarabic at 4:22 PM on April 2, 2005


What Armitage Shanks said.
posted by mlis at 4:28 PM on April 2, 2005


Let's say a novena for them.

Novena This...
posted by docpops at 4:29 PM on April 2, 2005


Oh yeah, what Scarabic said. In spades.
posted by docpops at 4:34 PM on April 2, 2005


I have a hard time believing that so few people here can draw a distinction between "objecting to the pope's actions" and "being a jerk".

I'm no fan of JPII, and I think there are an _awful_ lot of reasons to be angry with his legacy. I also think his passing is a totally legitimate reason for raising those points. Nevertheless, I haven't seen anyone yet in this thread give _any_ kind of convincing reason why that means it's OK to shit on a dead man.
posted by LairBob at 4:45 PM on April 2, 2005


I am complaining about something which I see as very divisive within our community

Speaking just for me, I would feel far less at home here if that thread had remained a hushed and respectful string of dots.

What aisforal said.

Also, objecting to someone who tries to dictate standards is not the same thing as trying to dictate standards.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:45 PM on April 2, 2005


why that means it's OK to shit on a dead man

Well, I assume the Vatican guards will stop anyone who tries to do that.
posted by boaz at 4:48 PM on April 2, 2005


Just wait until that fucker Jerry Falwell finally dies.

Um, how long do I have to wait? I have some errands to run.
posted by anapestic at 5:00 PM on April 2, 2005


Nevertheless, I haven't seen anyone yet in this thread give _any_ kind of convincing reason why that means it's OK to shit on a dead man.

Alright, I'll bite.

Not only is it OK to shit on a dead man, but it's practically our responsibility to do so under the appropriate circumstances. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility, and if the decisions of a world leader lead to mass death, disease, poverty, or hunger for example, then the least we can do is leave them with a vile and infamous legacy, to be passed on in words and written in history. If you like, consider it postmortem punishment for a life of power misused or abused. It's hardly retribution, and it may not be a very effective deterrent for future potentates, but it's all we have.
posted by drpynchon at 5:11 PM on April 2, 2005


"Also, objecting to someone who tries to dictate standards is not the same thing as trying to dictate standards."

No, it's not.

Here is what Mayor Curley wrote: "dirtynumbangelboy, you've not been appointed judge of acceptable taste. The pope made some especially lothesome decrees in his time and people have as much right to relish the end of his shortsighted reign as you do to cry crocodile tears."

But you cannot take the opposing position without committing the same error, as Mayor Curley does here. An opposing position on a standard which is asserted is not the same thing as opposing the assertion of the standard.

If I argue that it is wrong for you to tell X what to do (or not do), then I am not necessarily arguing that what X is doing is acceptable. Indeed, I should very explicitly not argue such unless I am doing so separately. And if I do, doing so conflicts with the first and thus the contradiction needs to be justified.

Furthermore, independently of the previous, it is also the case that I am similarly attempting to limit your actions as you are X's. This is a contradiction and also needs to be justified (if I am asserting non-interference as a principle). Mayor Curley does not do this.

As it happens, in this case the only authority there is regarding what is acceptable to express on the blue and what is not, is, firstly and definitely, Matt; and secondly and more ambiguously, community consensus. Neither dirtynumbangelboy nor Mayor Curley are the former authority, nor do they have any status to definitely pronounce on the latter.

I argue, independent of my personal moral argument above (which also favors more speech rather than less), that my estimate of community consensus is that honest-though-provocative comments are acceptable (even in obituary threads), but provocative-for-provocation's sake comments are not. I am not authoritative on this, I don't pretend to be authoritative on this. I do assert it as my opinion as my part in a step of the process of attempting to determine what community consensus is consensually, which is what MeTa is for, partly.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:15 PM on April 2, 2005


What, is the Pope infallible or something?


posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 5:17 PM on April 2, 2005


dirtynumbangelboy writes, "[I'm] sick of seeing threads getting clogged up by self-important people who have nothing better to do than proclaim their own righteousness by shitting all over a thread."

Quonsar reminding us that the Catholic Church — run by the recently deceased pontiff — goes out of its way to assist pedophiles within its organization, to facilitate pedophilia, is not the same as "shitting all over a thread." Yes, a religious leader of renown is dead, but even death does not grant one automatic forgiveness for past misdeeds. Raping children and scaring them for life is serious.
posted by AlexReynolds at 5:17 PM on April 2, 2005


dirtnumbangelboy: "'who will protect the baby rapists now?'"

Actually, the quote was child rapists and, given the quote that both I and Armitage Shanks linked to/cited in the thread, I think that question -- "who will protect the child rapists now?" -- is completely valid.

Dirtynumbangel, if you want unquestioning hosannas for the life and times of JPII, free of inconvenient facts like the current occupation of Cardinal Law or the impact of the Church's position on condom use and HIV prevalence, just turn on over to FoxNews.

In other words, if you cannae stand the heat, stay out of the fucking kitchen.
posted by docgonzo at 5:22 PM on April 2, 2005


LairBob : "I haven't seen anyone yet in this thread give _any_ kind of convincing reason why that means it's OK to shit on a dead man."

If you think a person is truly, thoroughly evil, I can't see any reasons why it wouldn't be OK to shit on a dead man. If I had been alive during World War II, and Hitler's death was posted to the (paper-based?) MetaFilter, I would have shat on him. What would make it not OK to do so?

I don't personally think JP2 was all that bad, but that's because I know jack-shit about what he did (except for what I've picked up from the thread, which is that he ended the Cold War, single-handed conquered totalitarianism, raped schools full of children, and wandered around Africa injecting people with AIDS). However, I suspect that your disagreement isn't with the reasoning behind being able to shit on dead men, but with the evaluation of whether this person fit the criteria for being shittable.

I think I needed to use the words "shitty" and "shittily" in there to get the Conjugation Combo Bonus Score, but oh well...
posted by Bugbread at 5:26 PM on April 2, 2005


bugbread writes "(except for what I've picked up from the thread, which is that he ended the Cold War, single-handed conquered totalitarianism, raped schools full of children, and wandered around Africa injecting people with AIDS)."

Hilariously perceptive pin-pricking of the balloons of over-heated rhetorical hot air.

(And I say that as one of the prime proponents in those threads of the "Pope (helped to end) ended the Cold War" meme.)
posted by orthogonality at 5:35 PM on April 2, 2005


He had honest intentions for his life I believe (the pope did). For that, I can respect the man. But the Chuch he helps prop up, I disagree with completly. I am just glad he doesn't have to suffer anymore.

Then again ...
The was also seen as The Totalitarian Pope.
posted by nitroburn at 5:40 PM on April 2, 2005


I am neither happy nor sad that he is dead. He will be replaced, possibly by someone worse than he was.

My only real feeling on the matter is a tinge of regret that because I believe death is the end, I believe the bastard never had to realize that it was really over. He is not going to walk with the man in the sky, he is going to rot in a fucking box. Or fill an urn. Or whatever the hell they do with dead popes. But I would give anything to know that somehow, right at the moment of his death, he realized that. But I have felt that way about several people who have did evil in the name of religion.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 5:41 PM on April 2, 2005


i could have sworn that i axed that "did" but oh well.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 5:43 PM on April 2, 2005


I have very little respect for the papacy. There are many, many times when I feel it is entirely appropriate to attack the institution and the man. I do recognize, however, that JPII affected the lives of many, many people in a way they see as positive. To shit on him now, at this particular time, is needlessly disrespectful and hurtful to those people. That's why I personally won't do it, and why I find such threads ugly to read.

I felt the same way about the thread on Reagan's death.
posted by Galvatron at 5:47 PM on April 2, 2005


Orthogonality wrote, "Hilariously perceptive pin-pricking of the balloons of over-heated rhetorical hot air."

Promulgating secretive pedophilia within the ranks is not the same as "rhetorical hot air," and it belittles victims to call it that. Be more careful with your analogies.
posted by AlexReynolds at 5:51 PM on April 2, 2005


There are much better sites to go to if you want to see complete agreement and respectful comments about the recently deceased.

Metafilter is not that place. I don't think it ever has been.


Just to refine on this and perhaps rephrase a little: if you want only one POV in only one tone of voice, don't come to MetaFilter.

I think the only important thing here is preserving people's right to diverse opinions on MeFi, not to smack dirtynumbangelboy over the head for not understanding the bend of our groupthink. I'm pretty sure that's not what you meant, beth, it just came out a little borderline.
posted by scarabic at 5:53 PM on April 2, 2005


Wasn't it John Donne who said "Not every man's death diminishes me for I am involved in mankind, and some of these blokes were right bastards to the rest of us and no mistake"?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:05 PM on April 2, 2005


Furthermore, independently of the previous, it is also the case that I am similarly attempting to limit your actions as you are X's. This is a contradiction and also needs to be justified (if I am asserting non-interference as a principle). Mayor Curley does not do this.

You really take the "meta" part of MetaFilter seriously, Ethereal Bligh. I'm beginning to prefer your conversation setting the terms of our conversation to the actual discussion.

Wait ... am I allowed to say that?
posted by rcade at 6:21 PM on April 2, 2005


If I argue that it is wrong for you to tell X what to do (or not do), then I am not necessarily arguing that what X is doing is acceptable. Indeed, I should very explicitly not argue such unless I am doing so separately. And if I do, doing so conflicts with the first and thus the contradiction needs to be justified.

See the problem is that you philosophers are brilliant, but you don't have any sense of practical application for the real world. Let's face it, you live in your mom's Ivory Basement and you're out of touch with the common man.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:30 PM on April 2, 2005


angelboy: I don't believe MeFi is the place for you. I am not asking you to leave, mind you, but if you stay, you will have to learn to be much more tolerant and open-minded.

Or risk always being offended. Fuck if I care. ;-P
posted by mischief at 6:35 PM on April 2, 2005


AlexReynolds writes "Promulgating secretive pedophilia within the ranks is not the same as 'rhetorical hot air,' and it belittles victims to call it that. Be more careful with your analogies."

But Bugbread was intentional exaggerated for effect with "raping schools full of children", which the Pope clearly did not do. I was laughing at the exaggeration, which came very close to arguments being made in all seriousness, in the Pope death thread, not at the victims.

And I think you're exaggerating too: the Pope may or may not have allowed, or even participated in, the cover-up, but I sincerely doubt the Pope "[p]romulgat[ed] secretive pedophilia within the ranks".

"Promulgate" means "to officially announce". Are you seriously suggesting that the Pope encouraged his priests to rape little boys? "Yes, our new secret policy of child-rape will be great for the Church, it'll let us all blow off some steam"?
posted by orthogonality at 6:38 PM on April 2, 2005


Seeing that my comment in that thread was one of the called-out ones, I would like to state for the record that it was not intended as a snark or a derail. I was simply stating my genuine reaction to the news.

The mere fact that the callout was made by one of the most sensible and rational posters on MetaFilter shows the extraordinary influence and power that the pope had over the lives an opinions of other people. That he did not use that power to address the abuses and suffering caused by the catholic church is unconscionable, and I stand by my comment.

If moments of silence and eulogies are the only allowable reactions to the news of any death, then so be it; I just hope all the pope-defenders will remember that when Kim Jong Il, OBL or Robert Mugabe dies.
posted by Deepspace at 6:49 PM on April 2, 2005


Orthogonality wrote, "Are you seriously suggesting that the Pope encouraged his priests to rape little boys?"

I'm not "suggesting" anything. The Catholic Church moved pedophiles from one diocese to another. If that isn't facilitating or encouraging behavior, please explain what it is. A decision was made by management to cover this up—and, worse, to blame victims who pursued lawsuits for "bankrupting" the Church. Are you suggesting that that Pope was not aware of these activities, let alone signing off on them?
posted by AlexReynolds at 6:51 PM on April 2, 2005


... I just hope all the pope-defenders will remember that when Kim Jong Il ... dies.

Don't even kid about that.
posted by rcade at 7:02 PM on April 2, 2005


"dirtynumbangelboy, you've not been appointed judge of acceptable taste..."

Neither have you, and you are asserting what is acceptable.


No, he's not, EB; he's refuting what has been called unacceptable. There is a difference.

I don't understand the outrage and surprise I see expressed here. Lots of people despise the Pope and the Catholic Church, which they are entitled to do. What better occasion to air those greivances than upon hearing of his death?

You don't have to agree, but why act surprised? And why is their foul opinion of the Pope any less valid for posting than a positive one?
posted by squirrel at 7:12 PM on April 2, 2005


You don't have to agree, but why act surprised? And why is their foul opinion of the Pope any less valid for posting than a positive one?

The obvious reason would be that many of the loudest people with "foul opinons" of the pope probably have sacred cows of their own that nobody's allowed to criticize and would be the first to drag people into MeTa should such a situation arise.
posted by jonmc at 7:16 PM on April 2, 2005


I don't care if he was a sweet old guy, he could have done a lot of good, and instead, with a few words, he condemned millions of people to lead shitty lives in places on Earth that we might as well call hell. He's right up there on my list of people I don't give a shit about if someone insults them.
posted by Hildago at 7:18 PM on April 2, 2005


The obvious reason would be that many of the loudest people with "foul opinons" of the pope probably have sacred cows of their own that nobody's allowed to criticize and would be the first to drag people into MeTa should such a situation arise.

Hypothetical hypocrisy is a poor reason to dismiss or censor people's opinions. When those people drag someone into MeTa for sending their sacred cow to the abattoir, then you can criticize them.
posted by anapestic at 7:20 PM on April 2, 2005


Hypothetical?

Look back at the threads about Johnny Cochran or Arafat. Or Reagan for that matter. Either everyone's cow is sacred or nobody's is as far as I'm concerned.
posted by jonmc at 7:22 PM on April 2, 2005


Yes, hypothetical. You said that a lot of these people "probably" have issues that "would" lead them to post to MeTa if someone criticized them. You're criticizing them on something that you reckon they'd do.

Look back at the threads about Johnny Cochran or Arafat. Either everyone's cow is sacred or nobody's is as far as I'm concerned.

So you're saying that the people who are slamming the pope were reverential over Reagan or Johnny Cochran? Even if (and I'm not saying it's so) one of the people who posted something critical of the pope started a MeTa thread over the treatment of Cochran or Arafat, that doesn't mean most of them would.
posted by anapestic at 7:26 PM on April 2, 2005


anapestic, I recall a thread where people were chastised for publicly wishing Osama Bin Laden dead. And I sincerely doubt that we have any Al Qaeda supporters here.

But if wishing OBL dead is bad form then metaphorically pissing on the Pope's grave is bad, too. Or both are OK.

I lean toward the latter, but I'm just looking for a depth charge here.
posted by jonmc at 7:35 PM on April 2, 2005


Wishing someone dead is probably different from saying, after they've died, that they weren't the wonderful person everyone else is making them out to be. I doubt, however, that if OBL dies, there's going to be any whining on MeTa about people snarking in the inevitable Osama's dead thread.

Anyway, nobody started threads about snarking at the deaths of Cochran, Arafat, or Reagan, though there was one started about snarking over the death of Ray Charles, though I didn't have the heart to wade into it and see what the specific complaints were.

In any case, no one here is saying that it's okay to criticize the pope and not someone else, so you're apparently arguing against a straw man. Or against hypothetical hypocrisy.
posted by anapestic at 7:40 PM on April 2, 2005


Either everyone's cow is sacred or nobody's is as far as I'm concerned.

Given that choice, I vote nobody's, jonmc.
posted by squirrel at 7:41 PM on April 2, 2005


Me too, squirrel. I just want to see if we apply it that way.
posted by jonmc at 7:42 PM on April 2, 2005


"No, he's not, EB; he's refuting what has been called unacceptable. There is a difference."

Read what he wrote. He first does as you say, then asserts what is acceptable.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:55 PM on April 2, 2005


"Hypothetical hypocrisy is a poor reason to dismiss or censor people's opinions. When those people drag someone into MeTa for sending their sacred cow to the abattoir, then you can criticize them."

Yes, I agree. In fact, almost all of us think this way, including me, but over the last few years I think I've identified it as a chief destructor of productive discourse.

That is, if it's used as an ad hominem. A valid use, but relatively rare and different in tone, is one where someone asks another to consider the possibility that they (or someone else) might take a very different position if the argument were essentially the same but the terms were different. You'll notice that doing so doesn't require any accusation of hypocrisy.

A marginally valid use is to guess at hypothetical hypocrisy and use that as an argument not that people are bad because they're hypocrites, but that they do not clearly understand the implications of their position. An accusation of bad faith is tempting, but it's beyond the pale, I think.

Anyway, note that the aim in the last paragraph is ultimately the same as in the one before it, yet the method is far less questionable. So it seems to me that the latter method is almost never justifiable.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:05 PM on April 2, 2005


Holy smokin' Pope.

I just read this whole thing and haven't a clue what your all going on about. The Pope died, some people care and some don't. Some are sad and some are glad. Some people liked him and some didn't.

But, let there be no mistake, *nobody* is shitting on the Pope. The Vatican Guard would never let that happen.

"A marginally valid use is to guess at hypothetical hypocrisy and use that as an argument not that people are bad because they're hypocrites, but that they do not clearly understand the implications of their position..."

I don't even know what the fuck this means. All I can tell is it sounds pretty damn condescending -- one would almost think that your intention was to state that people who are hypocrites, by your definition, are not really hypocrites but just plain stupid.

Cochran, Arafat, Ronnie Ray-Gun... no sacred cows here. As I recall each of those threads went pretty much the same way this one did. These were all powerful leaders who affected a great many lives for better or worse. As far as I'm concerned, it is my fervent hope, prayer even, that there is a special place in Hell for all three of them and that they're holding a seat for the newly dead Pope.
posted by cedar at 8:37 PM on April 2, 2005


Amen, cedar! Preach!
posted by squirrel at 8:58 PM on April 2, 2005


"I don't even know what the fuck this means. All I can tell is it sounds pretty damn condescending -- one would almost think that your intention was to state that people who are hypocrites, by your definition, are not really hypocrites but just plain stupid."

No, you don't even know what the fuck I meant. It's not because I was unclear. It's not because English isn't your native language. I have no idea why, really.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:00 PM on April 2, 2005


AlexReynolds : "The Catholic Church moved paedophiles from one diocese to another. If that isn't facilitating or encouraging behaviour, please explain what it is."

Hiding?

Besides which, the contention isn't about "facilitating", it's about "encouraging". If I leave my door unlocked, I am facilitating burglary. I'm not encouraging it, though, which is what "promulgation" is about.

Again, I don't know too much about the issue, so feel free to disregard, but from what I can see from this (and the other) discussion, the Catholic Church covered up and facilitated, but did not encourage or promulgate, paedophilia.

cedar : "All I can tell is it sounds pretty damn condescending -- one would almost think that your intention was to state that people who are hypocrites, by your definition, are not really hypocrites but just plain stupid."

I don't see how it's condescending, really. Identifying people as hypocrites or stupid? Possibly condescending (though, in certain cases, hypocrisy and stupidity are obvious enough that "condescension" is warranted, if not perhaps just plain the wrong phrase for "identification of hypocrisy or stupidity"). But saying "Person A doesn't have problem 1, they have problem 2" isn't any more condescending that saying "Person A has problem 1".

Rephrased: Whether or not they're condescending or not, I certainly don't think either of these phrases is more or less condescending than the other:

1) "Bob is a hypocrite"
2) "Bob is stupid"
3) "Bob isn't a hypocrite, but he is stupid"
4) "Bob isn't stupid, but he is a hypocrite"
posted by Bugbread at 9:01 PM on April 2, 2005


On a side issue, I find it cute how many atheists are wishing there were a Hell for the Pope to go to.
posted by Bugbread at 9:03 PM on April 2, 2005


No, you don't even know what the fuck I meant.

So what the fuck did you mean? That whole comment looked like an explosion in a Scrabble factory to me.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:04 PM on April 2, 2005


I don't understand why people with opinions and beliefs feel the need to shoot off their mouth at every opportunity that exists. Atheist or not there is no need to break the codes of human decency and self-respect. I'd never be caught dead telling my mother to rot in hell, or someone else's mother, or an outwardly kind people on the bus, or my professor who may be Mormon, or holy representatives. Piss off to whoever wants to make a public spectacle of their hatefulness. In person I hope these people would get a nice bitch slap.

Silence would have been a better choice even on MF
posted by Viomeda at 9:26 PM on April 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


So the only ones dissing the pope are atheists? You might want to read the thread again, bugbread.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:28 PM on April 2, 2005


"So what the fuck did you mean? That whole comment looked like an explosion in a Scrabble factory to me."

Okay. The issue being discussed was hypothetical hypocrisy, not actual hypocrisy. Particularly, the issue was using hypothetical hypocrisy as a counter-argument. I tried to explain why doing this is a bad thing.

When I said "if used ad hominem", I meant using hypothetical hypocrisy as an attack on someone's character. I believe that this accounts for the bulk of these accusations; it is an assertion that the other person is arguing in bad-faith and secretly believes something different than they are arguing. It is a bad accusation to make for reasons I will explain shortly.

The (very gently implicit) "valid" use of an accusation of hypothetical hypocrisy would be one that does not explicitly assume hypocrisy, does not accuse hypocrisy, but asks the other person if they would come to the same conclusion if the terms were different. An accusation of hypothetical hypocrisy is an accusation of hypocrisy, it takes for granted that the person is inconsistent. What I am saying is "valid" is to take that suspicion and use it constructively. It may be that your suspicion is wrong, and the person would not take a hypocritical position. It may be that they would, it'd no longer be hypothetical, and you could go from there. It may be that the thought exercise persuades them to think about the issue differently, perhaps even persuading them to your point of view.

The third usage, which I said is "marginal" is that where one explicitly accuses someone of hypothetical hypocrisy on the basis that they don't understand what they're talking about. Cedar thinks this is calling them "stupid". But this is only true insofar as merely arguing with them is necessarily calling them "stupid" (or hypocritical). I doubt that cedar thinks that simply trying to assert a contrary position is the equivalent of calling someone stupid.

The reason it is "marginal" as opposed to the ad hominem accusation of hypocritical hypocrisy, is because the former only asserts at least misunderstanding and confusion, something that we all are prone to and certainly isn't a character defect. In contrast, the ad hominem accusation of hypothetical hypocrisy is an accusation of bad-faith, it is an accusation of a vice. Not only is that most likely unfair and careless, it also is very unlikely to do anything but cause the conversation to degenerate into name calling.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:34 PM on April 2, 2005


EB: I understand what you're saying, but you may want to provide some hypotheticals. As it is, it's a bit hard to grasp.

Saucy Intruder : "So the only ones dissing the pope are atheists? You might want to read the thread again, bugbread."

I think you meant to post that in reference to someone else, Saucy Intruder. I never said anything like that.
posted by Bugbread at 9:37 PM on April 2, 2005


Alright, I give up. Apparently you people are unable, en masse, to understand the distinction between "Hey, yeah, clearly it's a good thing to offer dissenting views," and "hey, let's go make stupid offensive comments because we can."

I object to the latter, not the former. That point, however, has sailed over most peoples' heads. I wasn't calling for unabashed hagiography-- I'm as aware of JP2's dismal track record on human rights as the rest of you. My concern is with stupid and juvenile comments, not those which point out the facts in an adult fashion.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:00 PM on April 2, 2005


Bugbear, I'll provide an actual example.

Interestingly enough, here is an example of an accusation of hypothetical hypocrisy I just now encountered. In Greg Mankiw's response to the paper presented this week at the Brookings Institution by Baker, Krugman, and DeLong, he writes:
I would guess that, in their hearts, the authors of this paper agree with me about this. To see if I am right, I would like them to answer the following question: Suppose that next week, the stock market falls by 50 percent, so dividend and earnings yields double. Would Baker, DeLong, and Krugman suddenly be in favor of President Bush’s proposal for Social Security reform? I suspect they would not. If I am right, this suggests that while the paper raises some interesting questions about the future of asset returns, as far as the debate over Social Security goes, it is largely a non sequitur.
What is he doing here? And is his reasoning valid?

Well, his reasoning isn't valid because these economists may have other arguments for opposing privatization—as Mankiw guesses—but this particular objection may play an important role in their overal opposition. As everyone is discussing the projected returns to those in the proposed privatization program, and Mankiw and others are asserting the returns will be relatively good, it makes no sense to claim that BDK's analysis and criticism of these rosy projections is a "non sequitor".

So why is he asserting this? Because he wants to discredit their entire argument by aluding to their hypothetical hypocrisy, specifically by discrediting their entire argument via a subtle, implicit accusation of bad-faith.

A typical reader will read this and go, "Oh, ho! He has a good point". Then, as he goes on to actually answer their arguments, the reader is more positively disposed toward him and more negatively disposed toward BDK. He is also implicitly denying that having this particular argument is important in the first place, so that even if he isn't convincing in his rebuttal, the reader will have less faith in the arguments of his opposition.

Is he doing this deliberately? I don't think so. It's a tactic we all use, partly because we're too quick to assume bad-faith. Things that make sense to us seem so obviously sensible to us, that it is very easy to assume that someone with opposing ideas is either irrational or dishonest and their arguments are self-serving. We model our opponents in our heads, the model is generally a caricature. It's rarely fair to our opponents. Our models of our opponents are frequently hypocritical in character and our arguments are frequently attempts to somehow force them to admit this. Our opponents are assumed to know the truth, they are just resisting it.

If the only people who made these assumptions were the people who were actually right about the people who were actually wrong, that'd be relatively okay. But everyone assumes these things about everyone else.

Assuming that Mankiw is arguing in good faith, and assuming that he honestly suspects that BDK are being hypocritical, could he have raised these concerns in a productive manner? Well, my suggestions above assume a discursive environment, but they still apply.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:01 PM on April 2, 2005


"I object to the latter, not the former. That point, however, has sailed over most peoples' heads."

Not mine. I agree. But a valid dissenting opinion may yet be one that is very offensive to you. They are asking you to consider the possibility that:

A) An angry, extremely critical response to someone's death is appropriate in some cases, possibly some you would agree with; and

B) Your assertion that everyone deserves some respect at their death needs to be supported, not merely asserted.

On the other side of the debate, a hypothetical hypocrtical that has been alluded to here by me and others is one supposing valid, heartfelt opinions that are, say, racist. Would we insist that they be allowed? This point is asking us to consider that "everything goes" is not the rule, and is not a defense of what's been posted in that thread.

How we decide what is allowed and what is not is difficult. A common ground that we probably (hopefully) agree upon is that outrageous (to anyone) comments that are made for no other purpose than to cause outrage are not acceptable. I think that some people in that thread are being gratuitously outrageous. Other people are being honestly, earnestly outrageous. There is a difference.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:13 PM on April 2, 2005


Dirtynumbangelboy:

I think the problem comes from the gap between what you said at first:

dirtynumbangelboy : "Isn't one of the unwritten community guidelines here that if you don't have something constructive to say, then don't say it?"

and what you said later:

dirtynumbangelboy : " Stating your opinion is fine. Shitting on a thread is not. I find it hard to believe that you don't see the difference."

I'm just making a guess, but I think that there would have been less diviseness if you had said the latter first, and omitted the former. Unfortunately, the way it is, there are two issues being discussed: whether it's ok to say anything bad about the dead, and how they should be phrased, and since you're involved in both, you're getting a lot more "dirtynumbangelboy is wrong!" than you would have otherwise.

I, for example, think you're wrong (the former), and right (the latter).

Ethereal Bligh : "Bugbear"

Et tu, Brute?
posted by Bugbread at 10:15 PM on April 2, 2005


An accusation of hypothetical hypocrisy is an accusation of hypocrisy

He he... EB's on a roll..
posted by c13 at 10:22 PM on April 2, 2005


Ethereal Bligh writes "On the other side of the debate, a hypothetical hypocrtical [sic] that has been alluded to here by me and others is one supposing valid, heartfelt opinions that are, say, racist. Would we insist that they be allowed?"

Why the hell not? Speech is speech.

I'd rather know a racist's real views then deal with a crypto-racist. I can't argue against what's hidden, nor can I hope to show the hidden racist how to be more enlightened.

To take this full circle, being "against racism" has become a religion in this country. Three hundred years ago, certain religious opinions were outlawed or at least could not be spoken in polite company; now we allow anyone to assert any religious view he wishes -- even atheism and devil worship --, and would be shocked if anyone suggested we should not; but we say that racist speech can't be tolerated.

Well, outlawing Baptist or Quaker or atheist speech was wrong then, and outlawing racist speech is wrong now.

Speech is speech, and freedom of conscience is our most valuable possession.
posted by orthogonality at 10:23 PM on April 2, 2005


Bugbread wrote, "If I leave my door unlocked, I am facilitating burglary. I'm not encouraging it, though, which is what "promulgation" is about."

If you leave your door unlocked repeatedly after you get burgled repeatedly then you are encouraging it or at least showing complete disrgard for the fact you are being burgled.

Likewise, Roman Catholic management saw fit to move pedophiles around, rape after rape. I just don't a distinction between "hiding" and "facilitating", sorry, and don't think the Pope/boss or his fellow criminals should be let off the hook just because he died.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:24 PM on April 2, 2005


Explosion in a Scrabble factory? This is more like an eruption of Mount St. Bullshit.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:25 PM on April 2, 2005


orthogonality: We're not talking about the law, we're talking about allowing or disallowing things on Metafilter.

AlexReynolds : " If you leave your door unlocked repeatedly after you get burgled repeatedly then you are encouraging it or at least showing complete disrgard for the fact you are being burgled."

I disagree with the former, and agree with the latter.

AlexReynolds : "I just don't a distinction between 'hiding' and 'facilitating', sorry, and don't think the Pope/boss or his fellow criminals should be let off the hook just because he died."

I do see a distinction (if a company employee leaks customer information, for example, you can put him in a position without access to customer data and cover up the scandal. That would be "hiding, but not facilitating". If you publish customer data on your company's web site, and make no bones about it, you are "facilitating, but not hiding"). I suspect what you mean is that you see the distinction, but think in this case it's unimportant?

Regardless, even though I make the distinction, I'm also saying that I think the Church did both, hiding and facilitating. And none of anything I wrote has anything to do with whether or not he should be let off the hook just because he died.
posted by Bugbread at 10:29 PM on April 2, 2005


Krrrlson wrote, "This is more like an eruption of Mount St. Bullshit."

Certainly a unusual amount of rhetoric is being devoted to try to convince people that it is preferable to speak of this dead man in hushed tones, rather than discuss the negative consequences of his time as leader of his organization.

I just hope the new boss is somehow more of a human being than the old boss. I suspect it will get worse before it gets better, though.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:31 PM on April 2, 2005


"Et tu, Brute?"

Sorry! Darnit.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:34 PM on April 2, 2005


here is an excellent essay that has about as much to do with pissing on the pope as anything else said here in the past ~20 comments.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:37 PM on April 2, 2005


Dirtynumbangelboy - while I agree with you, I think that it's a losing battle. Some people have worked themselves into such a towering rage against the Pope and the Church that it's become an utterly black and white issue for them. As someone said upthread, they feel that the Pope was so unforgiveably evil that, as drpynchon and bugbread said, he doesn't even deserve even a moment of respect in death. Given the number of people who do seem to literally hold this view [e.g. ori's comparison of the Pope with Stalin and Mao, or decani's characterization of the church as "one of the most primitive, retrograde, anti-human organisations still extant"], I think it's futile to ask them to tone it down. Unfortunately, their rage seems to extend from their more abstract disrespect for a man they've never met and an institution they despise to anyone who would argue that the reality might be more nuanced. I rather think it's that kind of disrespect for other mefi members that's made the thread such a trainwreck. If people were willing to engage in actual discussion about the positive and negative aspects of John Paul II's papacy, instead of making pedophilia wisecracks and telling mourners that they are simply swept up in inappropriate mass hysteria, the thread would have been much less of a trainwreck. Lack of respect for the dead does not have to translate into a refusal to engage in polite and reasoned discussion with mefites who hold different opinions.
posted by ubersturm at 10:41 PM on April 2, 2005


bugbread: "hiding" rapists is a aiding and abetting; "hiding" rapists in places that they repeatedly have shown to commit more rape is complicity and conspiracy. Jesus Christ would have removed those rapists from his cloth just as he cast out the merchants from his house. PJP2 was not the mouth of God. Whatever respect you have for the church doesn't change the fact that this man committed passive crimes of enormous size. Canceling his birthday subscription doesn't wipe his slate clean. Same with Reagan, same with Spalding Gray, same with me. Taking stock at the time of death is a way of learning from the past.
posted by squirrel at 10:43 PM on April 2, 2005


bugbread writes "orthogonality: We're not talking about the law, we're talking about allowing or disallowing things on Metafilter."

If it's good enough for the United States of America....

Sure, your distinction us correct -- mathowie censoring something isn't the same as the government doing it.

But my feeling is -- even if I can't quite articulate why -- that censoring is almost always bad. Call it my "religion".

One thing I like about Slashdot is that (expect when they've been legally threated by that cult John Travolta's in), they don't remove comments. They may mod them down to negative one, but if you want to read them, they're there, in full racist, insulting, hateful, scatological, or stupid detail.

And the great thing about that is, since you can read them, you occasionally do, and you just re-confirm to yourself how foolish those opinions are. Reading a bit of racist drivel, on infrequent occasions, is actually salubrious, as it reminds you just how stupid and unattractive and wrong those opinions are, and allows you to make sure your own thinking is not falling into that trap.

Like how reading Fred Phelps's crap always reconfirms to me why I'm for gay rights, or seeing a picture of Bull Connor reminds me why Jim Crow was so evil.

So two cheers for racist ranting -- it's a healthy corrective to racist tendencies!
posted by orthogonality at 10:44 PM on April 2, 2005


"If you leave your door unlocked repeatedly after you get burgled repeatedly then you are encouraging it or at least showing complete disrgard for the fact you are being burgled."

Well, that goes in the direction of the debate in the plagiarism thread. It is saying that there are circumstances where you are responsible, partially or wholly, for someone else's harm to you. This is not true. You are never responsible for someone else's actions. You arguably are harming yourself by "inviting" burglary, but that is in addition to the harm caused by the burglar. Morality is not zero-sum. We are, assuming we're competent adults, always responsible for our own actions. Anything else is just a sophisticated version of whining "but, mom, he made me do it!".

And the harm that is arguably caused to oneself when one fails to protect oneself can't be qualitatively the same as harm that one does to others (or others do to one). This is because the determination of a failure to prevent oneself from being harmed depends upon a counterfactual. We can know with certainty when a harm has been inflicted (assuming we can define "harm"), but we cannot know with certainty when a harm could have been prevented. A careless, expansive definition of "harm that could have been prevented" such that the person harmed is said to have responsibility in not preventing it, would allow almost every harm that ever befalls anyone to be the responsibility insofar as they failed to "prevent" it. That's an analysis that no one wants, I suspect.

In practice, for determining any such responsibility, we try to discover some active failure to protect oneself, not a passive failure to protect oneself. That is, we look for provocation. Leaving a door unlocked is not a provocation. Putting a sign in one's front yard saying, "Hey, look! This door is unlocked!" is.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:52 PM on April 2, 2005


Bugbread wrote, "I suspect what you mean is that you see the distinction, but think in this case it's unimportant?"

I'm not sure there really is a distinction, at the end of the day. Another word that puts facilitation together with promulgation might be codependency, if that makes more sense?

When a person actively provides for the conditions that allow a certain behavior (whether it is substance abuse by an addict, or, say, raping children by a pedophile priest) over and again then I consider that individual almost as guilty as the perpetrator of said destructive behavior.

I'd blame churchgoers less than the Pope. At least the guy was in the best position to do something positive about it. Instead, he directed the church to hide the guilty and blame the victims. That's pretty despicable stuff.

Quonsar's original comment was completely apropos.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:55 PM on April 2, 2005


"hiding" rapists is a aiding and abetting; "hiding" rapists in places that they repeatedly have shown to commit more rape is complicity and conspiracy.

Amen to that.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:57 PM on April 2, 2005


squirrel : 'hiding' rapists is a aiding and abetting; 'hiding' rapists in places that they repeatedly have shown to commit more rape is complicity and conspiracy. Jesus Christ would have removed those rapists from his cloth just as he cast out the merchants from his house."

I believe the "abetting" part is in reference to abetting someone's fleeing from the law, not abetting the crime itself (it can, of course, be both, but take, for example, the hypothetical case of Lee Harvey Oswald running to your house and saying "Hide me, man, I just shot the President!". If you hide him, you are "aiding and abetting", but not aiding or abetting the crime itself (after all, you can't help him kill the President, he already did it), you are aiding and abetting his fleeing from the crime. Legally, of course, the aiding and abetting charge may be applied retroactively to the crime, but that is more to ensure that the punishment for aiding and abetting a murderer is greater than aiding and abetting a shoplifter, for example). As such, the Church aided and abetted paedophiles, but that doesn't necessarily translate into "promoting paedophilia".

The same is true for complicity and conspiracy: the crime being the hiding of a criminal, not the criminal act itself.

As for what JC would have done, I wholeheartedly agree.

I think some people are reading a lot of subtext into what I'm saying. Nothing (nothing) I'm saying is in defence of the Church. I'm just pointing out that some of the attacks seem to be for the wrong things. If someone says "John Wayne Gacy should have been imprisoned. He was an arsonist" and I say "Actually, he wasn't an arsonist", that doesn't mean I'm in any way defending him.

orthogonality : " [M]y feeling is -- even if I can't quite articulate why -- that censoring is almost always bad."

No problem. We disagree, but I wanted to make sure you realized that some of the people arguing about having community standards are not people who equate the two, so drawing a comparison based on your own equation of the two isn't too effective.

orthogonality : "One thing I like about Slashdot is that (expect when they've been legally threated by that cult John Travolta's in), they don't remove comments."

Hah! Pussies ^_^ You wanna throw some respect around, throw some at Hiroyuki of 2ch.net (Japan's biggest forum site, bigger than MeFi, Slashdot, and Livejournal combined). He got asked to pull down a post alleging poison in some cosmetic company's products. He refused to pull it down, got sued, lost, and was presented with a fine of something like $2 million dollars. In order to avoid paying it, he quit his job, moved out of his house, and divested himself of all capital. He still runs the site (presumably using money from an income source that's off-the-books), deleting nothing, living in housing and eating food paid for by others (or himself through some kind of crazy money laundering). That's hardcore.

AlexReynolds : "Another word that puts facilitation together with promulgation might be codependency, if that makes more sense?"

I can agree with that.

AlexReynolds : " When a person actively provides for the conditions that allow a certain behavior...over and again then I consider that individual almost as guilty as the perpetrator of said destructive behavior. "

I can agree with that too.
posted by Bugbread at 11:11 PM on April 2, 2005


EB wrote, "You are never responsible for someone else's actions."

If you put a whiskey bottle in front of an alcoholic, then you are certainly encouraging that person to fall off the wagon, if not pouring the drink down his or her throat.

If you relocate a pedophile in an unwitting diocese with access to more victims, then you are encouraging that person to abuse children.

In an abstract, philosophical sense, yes, we're all individuals and therefore responsible for our own behavior.

Nonetheless, in the real world, we can knowingly or unknowingly compel others to behaviors they would otherwise avoid.

That does not absolve their culpability, but it doesn't free us of our responsibility to look at our own actions to determine if we, too, are to blame.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:12 PM on April 2, 2005 [1 favorite]


"But my feeling is -- even if I can't quite articulate why -- that censoring is almost always bad. Call it my 'religion'."

This is common to Americans and hardly anyone else. It is a view difficult to rigorously support.

"Instead, he directed the church to hide the guilty and blame the victims. That's pretty despicable stuff."

This is because he, like many others outside the US, are quite skeptical about the allegations or does not accept an external definition of "wrong" in some of these cases. Were the Pope to have protected priests who violated the laws of certain nations by speaking against their governments, and indeed he did, then you'd likely (but please correct me if I'm wrong: I'm making an accusation of HH!) support that usurpation of local soveriegnity.

I don't have a problem with a complaint against the Catholic Church that says it was wrong to in any way deny that pedophile priests committed a wrong. Because that's simply an accusation that the Pope and the church was wrong. I do have a problem with the complaint that the church tried to protect its priests when it thought they did nothing wrong, because I don't think doing so is necessarily wrong in isolation. Yet many people seemed, to me anyway, to be most angry about the church's violation of local sovereignity.

Given the sorry history of periodic waves of accusations in the US of child sexual abuse by trusted people outside the home, there is good reason to be skeptical of this one. However, in my opinion (which is informed in these matters) this one is more credible than the others. Even so, there's no doubt that innocent people are being accused.

On Preview:

"That does not absolve their culpability, but it doesn't free us of our responsibility to look at our own actions to determine if we, too, are to blame."

Well, of course. I never said otherwise. Our responsibility is in addition to theirs. It is also a different kind of responsibility. Unless a convincing argument for compulsion can be made, a claim of equivalent responsibility or shifted responsibility is, in my opinion, false. This is my reasoning with regard to moral philosophy, not legal reasoning. One of the principles by which I arrive at this conclusion is that I believe that the assumption of this sort of shifted responsibility is a subtle but deep wrong being committed against the person from whom the responsibility was shifted. It very essentially is denying them some of their humanity. It's a particularly damaging thing to do to minds and souls (were I to believe in souls), and it's related to pity and the damage that pity causes. To actually negate someone's ability to be an independent moral agent and transfer it elsewhere is arguably the worse thing you could possibly do to them. To act as if this has been done, or partly done, when it has not is nearly as bad, though much more subtle.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:22 PM on April 2, 2005


AlexReynolds : " If you put a whiskey bottle in front of an alcoholic, then you are certainly encouraging that person to fall off the wagon, if not pouring the drink down his or her throat.

"If you relocate a pedophile in an unwitting diocese with access to more victims, then you are encouraging that person to abuse children."


I don't agree that either of those examples is encouraging anyone.

But I think there's a simple, blood-free way we can end this little derail: the phrase "effectively encouraging". I think putting a bottle in front of an alcoholic is effectively encouraging them to drink, and putting someone in a new diocese with new victims is effectively encouraging acts of paedophilia.
posted by Bugbread at 11:26 PM on April 2, 2005


"If someone says 'John Wayne Gacy should have been imprisoned. He was an arsonist' and I say 'Actually, he wasn't an arsonist', that doesn't mean I'm in any way defending him."

I would add "in general". You are of course defending him from the specific accusation of arson.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:34 PM on April 2, 2005


EB wrote, "This is because he, like many others outside the US, are quite skeptical about the allegations or does not accept an external definition of "wrong" in some of these cases. Were the Pope to have protected priests who violated the laws of certain nations by speaking against their governments, and indeed he did, then you'd likely (but please correct me if I'm wrong: I'm making an accusation of HH!) support that usurpation of local sovereignty."

I'm having a very difficult time parsing your words to glean meaning from them. Hopefully I'm not misunderstanding your point of view.

We're not exactly talking about a few isolated cases here, and raping children (either here or in Europe) hasn't been in fashion since Greece, circa-300 BC, or maybe sea vessels in the 1700s and 1800s, so I'm not so certain I accept that argument, either.

The Pope/RC organization usurped local sovereignty by moving priests around and discouraging the FBI from actively investigating claims. They also discouraged coverage of the issue in many media outlets (including a local paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, which has a very cozy relationship with Cardinal Bevilacqua).

The correlation of suicides and depression in separate victims/accusers to a pool of specific priests seems too strong to ignore, to accept your skepticism.
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:40 PM on April 2, 2005


Isn't one of the unwritten community guidelines here that if you don't have something constructive to say, then don't say it?

Sooo, if a serial killer dies we can't say anything bad about him? The pope was the head of an organization that is responsible for more deaths and more evil then the Nazis and the Communists combined. Not only is it okay to shit on his evil corpse, but it's practically required!
posted by berek at 12:04 AM on April 3, 2005


I think that had I not a lot of familiarity with what have proven to be periodic episodes of almost mass hysteria regarding child sexual abuse in the US, I would be much less skeptical about these claims. As it is, however, and as I said, I'm not that terribly skeptical about these claims relative to the others.

I should also make it clear that typically I am an advocate on the side of the sexually abused, and that is where my familiarity and experience with this subject came from. In fact, that's partly why I speak out about this and feel relatively strongly about it: study after study demonstrates that children are far more likely to be sexually abused by a member of their immediate family than by anyone else. That's not to say that a large number aren't abused by trusted people or strangers. They are. But I believe, as I do similiarly with regard to stranger rape, the disproportionate focus on the external and unfamiliar is a displacement attempting to avoid confronting what we'd rather not confront.

With the addition of the bad track record of waves of claims of abuse in the (somewhat) distant past by caretakers, and their apparent periodicity, this one also attracts suspicion. I am also suspicious that there's not a similar claim of rampant pedophilia among other religious leaders, because although I think there are peculiarities of the Catholic Church and the priesthood that well may accentuate this, the big essentials are there with others: access, authority, and trust. Either abuse in the Catholic Church is being overreported, or abuse in other churches is being undereported. Actually, I think both are true.

If this is the case, even partly, then even if the majority of claims are true, this scandal is nevertheless serving the public's need for displacement and the avoidance of a much larger problem.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:10 AM on April 3, 2005


Citations, please? If you're going to make purposefully provocative statements like that, you owe it to everyone else to back them up with proof. If you can show everyone that the Church has directly killed more tens of millions of people in, say, a few decades than Nazis and Communists did during their few decades of prominence, you'll no doubt enlighten us, and perhaps change a few minds. If, on the other hand, you're resorting to obnoxious hyperbole to justify your dislike for a man and an organization, you're one of the people dirtynumbangelboy was complaining about - the people who aren't just "sharing their opinion" but, rather, are showing as little respect for their fellow mefites as they do for the pope.
posted by ubersturm at 12:11 AM on April 3, 2005


[That was directed at berek, by the way.]
posted by ubersturm at 12:11 AM on April 3, 2005


If people were willing to engage in actual discussion about the positive and negative aspects of John Paul II's papacy, instead of making pedophilia wisecracks and telling mourners that they are simply swept up in inappropriate mass hysteria, the thread would have been much less of a trainwreck.

ubersturm, I think you sum up the matter quite well. But while I don't feel so strongly about the particulars in this case, I still believe that in the immediate discourse following such a person's death this notion of extra-respectful discussion is a shibboleth. If anything, it may be the best time for someone to disrespect (consciously and thoughtfully) such a figure, were they so inclined. But maybe I'm giving some people too much credit. Maybe they are just being crass for its own sake.
posted by drpynchon at 12:16 AM on April 3, 2005


If you can show everyone that the Church has directly killed more tens of millions of people in, say, a few decades than Nazis and Communists did during their few decades of prominence, you'll no doubt enlighten us, and perhaps change a few minds.

Google up crusades and inquisition if you need citations.
They'll probably will not amount to tens of millions though.
posted by c13 at 12:21 AM on April 3, 2005


The Crusades were, though ostensibly religious, more a matter of ambitious regional leaders inclined to seek power and fortune through rape and pillage than they were the result of a directive of the Church. Some were not instigated by the Church at all; some were even condemned.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:32 AM on April 3, 2005


Note also that the Church, under Pope John Paul II, apologized for various things [injustices to the Jews, Crusades, etc] done centuries ago. The modern Church isn't any more likely to go mounting Crusades than Spain is likely to go about expelling all Arabs again. Possibly less likely, given European attitudes towards immigration these days. Saying "the Church committed crimes a thousand years ago" is essentially irrelevant to the discussion of today's Church, just as saying "European nations sent their soldiers on Crusades to the Middle East a thousand years ago, committing terrible crimes against the Arabs" is close to irrelevant in discussion of relations between Middle Eastern and European nations today. This is why I specified "the past few decades." If you're going to argue about crimes gone cold centuries ago, essentially every nation and every organization or government or religion that's endured that long is guilty of a host of crimes.
posted by ubersturm at 12:44 AM on April 3, 2005


The Nazi's are gone.
The Communists are Gone.
Pol pot, gone.
Shining Path, gone.
Catholic church, still here.
That's the difference.
posted by berek at 12:47 AM on April 3, 2005


Drpynchon - agreed. As I said in some comment or other, the mainstream media will be doing its damndest to give us another week or two of Celebrity Haigiography. The effect that the Pope [and the Church] have on the world is far too complex for that kind of treatment to make sense. Still, I'd rather see 'disrespect' in the form of well-argued, well-explained statements, not hyperbolic one-liners. It seems like a much more useful response to a morally complex issue, and heck, it makes for a more interesting discussion here.

And berek - nice little bit of free verse there, but again: If you're going to run around telling us tales about the terrible Secret Catholic Death Camps of the mid '80s, or the ongoing guerilla activity of the Vatican Paramilitary, please give us some citations. "Cath0lix r n4zi's!!!!!1111!" doesn't really do much to convince me of anything. Give me numbers, give me studies, give me anectotes and exposes - give me anything, really, but your unsubstantiated and hyperbolic rhetoric.
posted by ubersturm at 12:55 AM on April 3, 2005


I'm with dirtynumbangelboy. Disagreement is one thing, but I think the bile-spewing, vitriol, rage and hyperbole is repulsive and inappropriate. It doesn't reflect well on us as a community.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:57 AM on April 3, 2005


Relax, berek's an old-school troll (i.e. not the new definition of "someone I strongly agree with", but the old-skool definition of "someone who says something, whether they believe it or not, for the express purpose of winding people up")
posted by Bugbread at 12:59 AM on April 3, 2005


It was about five hundred years ago, ubersturm, not a thousand. And conquest of Americas happened even more recently, and also was carried out essentially in the name of the church. And I suspect the only reason that the modern church isn't likely to mount new crusades is because it is not as powerful as it was before the Enlightment, not because it has fundamentally changed. But of course if you're only considering what church did last week....
posted by c13 at 1:01 AM on April 3, 2005


[Shrugs] As I've said, those comments are pretty much along the lines of what people in the main threads have been saying [albeit generally with fewer apostrophe catastrophes.] The fact that a troll is indistinguishable from erstwhile rational people who are [apparently] deadly serious is, perhaps, a measure of how out of line some of their commentary is.

And I beg to differ, c13 - most of the crusades were between 1100 and 1300 [a handy timeline here]. Crusades were not, in fact, a big feature of the Renaissance. And no, I'd be very shocked if the Church decided to embark on Crusades [had it the secular influence it did during the Middle Ages, which it certainly doesn't, these days.] Particularly given that one of the accomplishments of the much-decried Pope John Paul II was to make as much peace as he could with other religions. Far from planning to kill infidels, he worked at healing schisms and met frequently with leaders of other creeds [not just Christians, mind you]. In 1981 he wrote, "All Christians must be committed to dialogue with believers of all religions, so that mutual understanding and collaboration may grow, so that moral values may be strengthened, and so that God may be praised in all creation." Hardly Crusade-fodder. But I rather suspect that this debate belongs on the main thread, and not in MeTa. If you want to continue it, I'd suggest moving it over there.
posted by ubersturm at 1:15 AM on April 3, 2005


why is their foul opinion of the Pope any less valid for posting than a positive one?

What would really be valid for posting would be some pope@vatican.com email. Bust out, squirrel! From your festering cake hole to our pristine ears!
posted by scarabic at 1:17 AM on April 3, 2005


Well fine, make it 700 years for the Crusades. But after the Crusades came the Inquisition. Then we had Conquistadores bringing the light of christianity to native american savages, with the blessing of the church. And other people on this and the other thread has already mentioned all the victims of the "culture of life" bullshit in the last and current centuries.

Nazis haven't really killed that many people in the last few decades ( say 4-5). So I guess skinheads are all righ then, no?

I'm in no way comparing Catholic church to Nazis, I'm just pointing out the absurdity of only considering "past few decades". And yes, every organization and government and religion that's endured that long is guilty of a host of crimes, you have no argument from me on that point. My point is though: the church is no different.

I'm about to go to bed, so won't be joining you in the blue.
posted by c13 at 1:30 AM on April 3, 2005


...everyone deserves a moment of respect when they die. Yes, everyone.

Really? How about Jeffrey Dahmer? Adolf Hitler? Mohammed Atta? Pol Pot? Timothy McVeigh?
posted by davidmsc at 4:28 AM on April 3, 2005


So, dirtynumbangelboy, what about those of us who:

1) Think that not everyone deserves a moment of respect when they die. Yes, not everyone. Especially people who sucked mightily.

2) Are sick of seeing threads getting clogged up by cloyingly oversentimental and occasionaly almost hypocritical mewling by a lot of the very same people who who would be squealing NEWSFILTER! NEWSFILTER! like the tedious whining asses they are were it not for the fact that aww dear, they like pope and he dead so this newsfilter thread is not only acceptable but deserves special respect.

What about those people?
posted by Decani at 6:01 AM on April 3, 2005


1) "Bob is a hypocrite"
2) "Bob is stupid"
3) "Bob isn't a hypocrite, but he is stupid"
4) "Bob isn't stupid, but he is a hypocrite"


bob fucks goats.
posted by quonsar at 6:08 AM on April 3, 2005


Setting aside what the Catholic church did centuries ago, there is still the matters of their current positions on abortion, birth control, child rape and homosexuality. Plenty to hate them for here and now, folks.

On the child rape matter, EB and others, I find it absurd to split hairs over whether moving an admitted but unrevealed rapist from one community to another is encouraging or essentially encouraging more abuse. The bastards belong in jail for what they did, regardless of what they may do again. That's a no-brainer.
posted by squirrel at 6:33 AM on April 3, 2005


Isn't one of the unwritten community guidelines here that if you don't have something constructive to say, then don't say it?

You must have missed numerous posts by dios and paris.
posted by juiceCake at 7:29 AM on April 3, 2005


My only real feeling on the matter is a tinge of regret that because I believe death is the end, I believe the bastard never had to realize that it was really over. He is not going to walk with the man in the sky, he is going to rot in a fucking box. Or fill an urn. Or whatever the hell they do with dead popes. But I would give anything to know that somehow, right at the moment of his death, he realized that. But I have felt that way about several people who have did evil in the name of religion.

I would rather read some snark about burning in hell or facilitating child rapists than something like this. To believe something different is one thing, and to wish harm on another is another thing, but to find pleasure in the fact that another persons faith would be obliterated at the very point when they need it most, THAT, people, is truly evil.


"hey, let's go make stupid offensive comments because we can."

Welcome to the internet, pal.
posted by boymilo at 7:45 AM on April 3, 2005


I'm going to refer to the expression of any opinion I don't like as "pissing all over the blue" in the future as well! Thanks for the idea dirtynumbangelboy!
posted by clevershark at 7:59 AM on April 3, 2005


"Shitting on threads" means a select group of members decide that a thread is bad or below their standards and take it upon themselves to hijack and derail the thread, ensuring that no meaningful discussion can take place. This is a real problem but it's not what happened in that Pope thread. If you believe that some of those comments fall below some level of discourse then call them out on that, not for insulting your precious Pope and appealing to human decency.
posted by nixerman at 8:02 AM on April 3, 2005


but to find pleasure in the fact that another persons faith would be obliterated at the very point when they need it most, THAT, people, is truly evil

Tell it to the fundies.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:05 AM on April 3, 2005


"It doesn't reflect well on us as a community."

Speak for yourself! Oh, right, you were!

... and to think, Matt axed my request for tsunami jokes, yet he allows these Schiavo/Pope threads to thrive.
No wonder I love this place. ;-P
posted by mischief at 8:41 AM on April 3, 2005


... and to think, Matt axed my request for tsunami jokes, yet he allows these Schiavo/Pope threads to thrive.

Actually, it's just sensible housekeeping: take all that vitriol and channel it into two easily-avoided threads.
posted by 327.ca at 8:43 AM on April 3, 2005


I think the lesson in this pope thread is pretty obvious:

If you care about someone and they die, or you care about something and want to share it, or if you have anything in general that you think might be important or you believe in...

Don't post it. It's really not wanted, and someone probably thinks you're a Nazi for liking it.

Of course, someone who'd been paying attention would probably have learned a long time ago that metafilter isn't for sharing interesting things so much as shouting at other people.
posted by koeselitz at 9:00 AM on April 3, 2005


koeselitz writes "Of course, someone who'd been paying attention would probably have learned a long time ago that metafilter isn't for sharing interesting things so much as shouting at other people."

STFU, lib'rul.

No seriously, you make a good point. There's too much of a tendency, on Mefi, to shout others down or to try to control what they say, and too little a tendency to listen.
posted by orthogonality at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2005


I would just like to applaud anyone with an opinion on this that has an ounce of doubt or subtlety. Big fat shades of grey.
posted by nthdegx at 9:30 AM on April 3, 2005


I am truly evil. Awesome!

To believe something different is one thing, and to wish harm on another is another thing, but to find pleasure in the fact that another persons faith would be obliterated at the very point when they need it most, THAT, people, is truly evil.

It isn't about me finding pleasure.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:32 AM on April 3, 2005


I'm going to refer to the expression of any opinion I don't like as "pissing all over the blue" in the future as well! Thanks for the idea dirtynumbangelboy!
posted by clevershark at 7:59 AM PST on April 3


And I'm never going to accept any criticism for anything I ever say at Metafilter, no matter how offensive it is to someone, because so many people in this thread believe that no comment can be ever beyond the pale! Thanks for the idea clevershark!
posted by pmurray63 at 9:48 AM on April 3, 2005


I'm going to make stupid, sarcastic comments, just because other people are doing it. Thanks for the idea pmurray63!
posted by found missing at 10:00 AM on April 3, 2005


No comment can ever be beyond the pale. I am glad we have all achieved consensus.
posted by exlotuseater at 10:18 AM on April 3, 2005


But I would give anything to know that somehow, right at the moment of his death, he realized that.

It isn't about me finding pleasure.

But you obviously find some value in another persons needless suffering. Don't get me wrong, I belive in justice and retribution, but neither one of these things exsist in the destruction of a persons faith.
posted by boymilo at 10:22 AM on April 3, 2005


To believe something different is one thing, and to wish harm on another is another thing, but to find pleasure in the fact that another persons faith would be obliterated at the very point when they need it most, THAT, people, is truly evil.

So, you find it evil when priests, or other religious types, try to "save" the dying? Oh, wait, I see, its only evil if you try to take someone away from religion when their dying, not take them away from it. The practice of trying to get deathbed conversions, robbing a person of the secular beliefs they have founded their lives on, is an ols and established one in religion. Sounds like yore definition of evil.
posted by berek at 10:56 AM on April 3, 2005


D'oh!

forgive mistypes.

Confuesed by time thing.

Spring ahead?
posted by berek at 10:58 AM on April 3, 2005


Ahhh!

Bad Sunday morning, bad Sunday morning!

Whacks Sunday morning with newspaper.

posted by berek at 10:59 AM on April 3, 2005


And I'm never going to accept any criticism for anything I ever say at Metafilter, no matter how offensive it is to someone, because so many people in this thread believe that no comment can be ever beyond the pale! Thanks for the idea clevershark!

How original! Do you always do all your own material?
posted by clevershark at 11:09 AM on April 3, 2005


Metafilter: responsible for more deaths and more evil then the Nazis and the Communists combined.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:19 AM on April 3, 2005


So, you find it evil when priests, or other religious types, try to "save" the dying? Oh, wait, I see, its only evil if you try to take someone away from religion when their dying, not take them away from it. The practice of trying to get deathbed conversions, robbing a person of the secular beliefs they have founded their lives on, is an ols and established one in religion. Sounds like yore definition of evil.

There is a enormous difference between attempting to convert someone and desiring that their current belief system be destroyed so that they might suffer. This is weretables hypothetical situation, not mine. And I believe evil is in the heart, not the act.
posted by boymilo at 11:26 AM on April 3, 2005


I am also suspicious that there's not a similar claim of rampant pedophilia among other religious leaders, because although I think there are peculiarities of the Catholic Church and the priesthood that well may accentuate this, the big essentials are there with others: access, authority, and trust.

Isn't one of the big essentials the lack of any other sexual outlet for the priesthood? Which conceivably could draw individuals who are concerned they have an unhealthy sexual orientation to start with? It seems that married ministers and rabbis would be no more likely to be child abusers than any parents or teachers...
posted by mdn at 11:58 AM on April 3, 2005


It's called parody, clevershark. Look it up.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:07 PM on April 3, 2005



posted by koeselitz at 12:27 PM on April 3, 2005


Silence would have been a better choice even on MF

Hmmm, interesting. Wouldn't an empty thread be a wonderful way to show contempt for the public figure in question?
posted by deborah at 12:30 PM on April 3, 2005


Koeselitz, your lack of subtlety is ironic given the use of an image with 256 layers of grey.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:41 PM on April 3, 2005


lamest. callout. ever.
posted by shmegegge at 12:44 PM on April 3, 2005


Thanks, Alex. I aim to please. I mostly just really like that picture, anyhow. I've been waiting to use it for a while.

A couple more really cool pictures of train (and other) wrecks here.


posted by koeselitz at 12:56 PM on April 3, 2005


Ah, subtlety is overrated.
posted by jonmc at 1:31 PM on April 3, 2005


Maybe I'll just post this to every thread like this from now on.
posted by sninky-chan at 2:05 PM on April 3, 2005


c'mon everybody, let's just sing. it's a fun song, and we all know it, right?

I asked you to go to the Green Day concert
You said you never heard of them
How cool is that? So I went to your room
And read your diary
""watching Grunge leg-drop New-Jack through a press table..."
and then my heart stopped:
"listenin' to cio cio san;
fall in love all over again..."

By the way, is it okay if a group has only one song that I like? I can just keep singing that one song, can't I?
posted by koeselitz at 2:16 PM on April 3, 2005


lamest. callout. ever.

Not even close.
posted by anapestic at 2:39 PM on April 3, 2005



By the way, is it okay if a group has only one song that I like? I can just keep singing that one song, can't I?


Well, I've always said that most musical artists have one or two good songs in 'em at best, and that there's nothing wrong with that, ultimately, since it's better than having none.
posted by jonmc at 2:49 PM on April 3, 2005


Not even close.

If we start singing Weezer, that should bring this into at least the top two or three all-time lamest callouts ever.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:18 PM on April 3, 2005


Woo-ee-oo, I look just like Buddy Holly.
Oh-Oh, and you're Mary Tyler Moore.
I don't care what they say about us anyway.
I don't care 'bout that.


I'm a giver.
posted by jonmc at 3:22 PM on April 3, 2005


Woohoo, I'm Mary Tyler Moore!
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:39 PM on April 3, 2005


MetaFilter: An Eruption of Mt. St. Bullshit.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:47 PM on April 3, 2005


Put on some capri pants and throw your hat in the air.

And even though I'm full of sin
In the end you'll let me in
You'll let me through, there's nothin' you can do
You need my lovin', don't you know it's true
So if you please get on your knees
There are no bills, there are no fees
Baby, I know what your problem is
The first step of the cure is a kiss
So call me (Dr. Love)
They call me Dr. Love (calling Dr. Love)


...just to drive us deeper into the abyss.
posted by jonmc at 3:47 PM on April 3, 2005


MetaFilter: Put on some capri pants and throw your hat in the air.
posted by AlexReynolds at 4:44 PM on April 3, 2005


In Miami, I actually saw a dude wearing what appeared to be capri pants. Looked like a damn topographical map he did. I'm still recovering.

He wasn't wearing a hat, as I recall.

The same day, in the same place, a woman walked around screaming "America! In Your Face! Up Your Ass!" Then she went outside where another woman caressed her hair gently. The day before I had gone to see High Fidelity with mrs. jonmc. We were in an empty theather until this old guy carrying a bag walked in and immediately began coversing with an invisible companion. We asked the usher what he could do, but he said since the guy hadn't done anything, they couldn't throw him out. They gave us passes to come back another time. I'm guessing the bag contained his mother's head. On the drive home, we saw some guy shadow boxing an opponent who wasn't there. Must've been some kind of outing going on.

I'm glad to be back in New York. It's safer here.
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on April 3, 2005


Welcome to City 17. It's safer here.
posted by agropyron at 6:19 PM on April 3, 2005


But you obviously find some value in another persons needless suffering.

I do not see the last-minute realization that he was wrong as "needless suffering" but if you think my opinion is evil, great. Evil goes good with the whole undead theme anyway.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 8:14 PM on April 3, 2005


By the way, is it okay if a group has only one song that I like? I can just keep singing that one song, can't I?

That's not even their best song, man. The ablue album and pinkerton are both consistently excellent. It's a shame that they focused on painful mediocrity so much after that. I hope the new album doesn't make it even more embarrassing to like them.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:51 AM on April 4, 2005


ludwig_van: "That's not even their best song, man. The ablue album and pinkerton are both consistently excellent. It's a shame that they focused on painful mediocrity so much after that. I hope the new album doesn't make it even more embarrassing to like them."

The blue album is pretty good, isn't it? I just don't go back to it that much; it feels as though the material is a little thin, even if the songs are there. Pinkerton, on the other hand, is certainly "honest," and the indie-rock kids sure dig painful honesty, but after the really sad and juvenile bits of it, it's really no wonder Weezer went on to the stuff they did later. Does anyone want to wallow in rock-star misery for the rest of their lives? This is a parallel case to a lot of musicians, for example David Byrne: the 'fans' all challenge these people, saying "you were better when you were younger." They respond, "yeah, but I was fucking miserable. Now I'm happy." The stuff on Pinkerton sounds pretty damned miserable when you get down to it.

But "El Scorcho" is the shining moment of unalloyed joy on that record. It's witty, it's fun, and nearly everyone wants to sing along. And it's 'honest,' too.
posted by koeselitz at 9:35 AM on April 4, 2005


I once dated a guy who wore capri pants. He called them "three-quarter length pants," but he wasn't fooling anyone. It didn't last very long. He had his good qualities, but, well, he wore capri pants.
posted by anapestic at 10:46 AM on April 4, 2005


Alright, I'm fed up.

Give it up. I agree with you, but there's always going to be a few who crave attention, and acting like an ass is the easiest way.

I promise you when someone is near death several members here write up a hate filled rant with their finger poised above the post button waiting for the moment to happen.

Some of the ppl in that thread are genuinely pissed off at some things the pope did, and have real grievances.
posted by beth


if you want only one POV in only one tone of voice, don't come to MetaFilter.

Both good points, neither one having anything to do with the topic. You can voice any opinion, and you can be pissed off, and still discuss without sounding like you're 14.

lamest. callout. ever.
posted by shmegegge


So you're new, huh?
posted by justgary at 12:33 PM on April 4, 2005


EB, do you realise that the protection of churchmen that abuse children is not restricted to the usa? there's a chilean priest who was moved abroad because he would be arrested if here, and another has been convicted, finally forcing the church to apologise publicly (and this is in chile, where the church has political power - abortion is illegal and divorce, in a restricted form, introduced only last year).

see this pulitzer prize winning report for more details.

there's a pile of other political shit that this pope is more particularly responsible for, and i'm not one to start screaming "who will think of the babies?", but i saw you dancing around on this issue above as if it there were still room for doubt. there's not: it's for real; it's global; and it sucks.

but anyway, thanks to this thread for cheering me up. i'd forgotten that he was dead, what with being on holiday and all (i was mildly concerned that places would be shut saturday evening, but found a good restaurant in valdivia, where i celebrated with a slice of boar, with all the local trimmings, including nuts from the monkey puzzle tree, a tasty local beer, and bad spanish jokes about papas fritos. salud!)
posted by andrew cooke at 4:17 PM on April 4, 2005


So you're new, huh?

ha. yes. new to metatalk. new to posting. but been reading for years. (just haven't been reading metatalk, figuring it was for contributing members only.)

how about this amendment?

lamest. callout. in recent memory.

and if I need to justify my thinking so, here's why:

all over the blue? I didn't realize one thread was all over the blue. do we post that many obits that THEY count as all over the blue? oh, no we don't. so then maybe he means that he's fed up with negative comments about dead people. surely we must do that every day, all day! oh, wait. no we don't. I suppose he just wants every single person on the site to say nothing but nice things about everyone who dies. What a perfectly reasonable request! oh wait, no it's not. Well, then let's just modify the site to suit his individual taste! awesome!

lame. lamest. seriously.
posted by shmegegge at 7:13 PM on April 4, 2005


it's my pope and i'll cry if i want to
posted by angry modem at 7:24 PM on April 4, 2005


The blue album is pretty good, isn't it?

I think it's brilliant, really, as a pop record. Exquisite production, just the right balance of hooks and song development, intelligent arrangements, excellent melodies and vocal harmonies. The second half of Only in Dreams is transcendent.

Pinkerton, on the other hand, is certainly "honest," and the indie-rock kids sure dig painful honesty, but after the really sad and juvenile bits of it, it's really no wonder Weezer went on to the stuff they did later.

Well, speaking as a long-suffering weezer fan, if you haven't really followed the band's story too closely, it's somewhat more complex than that. You have a point, but I don't think there's any reason to expect that a writer shouldn't be able to create intelligent, quality material because he's no longer young and miserable.

But "El Scorcho" is the shining moment of unalloyed joy on that record. It's witty, it's fun, and nearly everyone wants to sing along. And it's 'honest,' too.

It's a little blunt and gimmicky, if you ask me. It's certainly catchy, fun, and a good singalong, but Falling for You and Across the Sea are much more adventurous compositionally, and better pieces of music overall.

P.S. Pope pope pope.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:55 PM on April 4, 2005


I see how it is.
posted by rocketman at 11:55 AM on April 5, 2005


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