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Re^3: RFC: Acme::BottomsUp

by radiantmatrix (Parson)
on Aug 18, 2006 at 19:55 UTC ( #568253=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^2: RFC: Acme::BottomsUp
in thread RFC: Acme::BottomsUp

Take it from me; among those who honor the name of Jesus, this particular combination of terms is the written equivalent to a slap in the face.

Sigh. See, this is exactly the problem I have with the easily-offended:

  1. The post in question never actually uses the name "Jesus"
  2. The word "christ" is just anglicized Greek for "annointed one"
  3. You've assumed that every person who honors Jesus Christ (that is, every Christian) agrees with you
  4. You've assumed that something offensive isn't still funny

I'm not Christian anymore, but still have a great respect for the religion (after all, I used to be an ordained minister) and for the teachings of Christ. I found the phrase "galloping gay christ" to be hilarious.

A quick informal poll among my friends (many of whom are devout Christians) revealed that 80% thought the phrase was funny; of those who thought it wasn't funny, none cited "offensive" as even part of the reason.

This is now horribly off-topic (sorry, folks), but I think it's important to understand that posting "offensive" material -- especially when it's clearly intended to be humorous, doesn't mean the poster has a "lack of respect for others".

<radiant.matrix>
A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
I haven't found a problem yet that can't be solved by a well-placed trebuchet


Comment on Re^3: RFC: Acme::BottomsUp
Re^4: RFC: Acme::BottomsUp
by ptum (Priest) on Aug 19, 2006 at 06:24 UTC

    There are probably some monks who think, "Oh, for crying out loud, will you just let it go?" But this thread is deep enough that it will likely go unnoticed by any except those few who are still interested in this discussion, so I think I'll persist. Besides, I think it is helpful to the long-term health of this community to delineate the boundary between humor and offensiveness a little more clearly.

    I suppose it is true that I am 'easily' offended, at least with respect to this particular topic. I suspect that nearly everyone is that way on some subject or another -- some care about skin color, others about politics, sexual orientation, the people they love, or whatever else they care deeply about. There may be some who care little or enjoy mockery as a way of life, but by and large I'll bet there is something that could be said that would 'easily' offend you. Is that so bad?

    Granted, an individual cannot expect to take an entire community hostage to his particular worldview. But if I'm 'easily' offended by remarks about my ethnicity, does that mean it is 'open season' on me for verbal abuse? Shouldn't intelligent people possessing a minimal amount of tact, courtesy and decency speak softly on some subjects, out of respect and kindness for the feelings of others?

    There are small logical problems with all four of your criticisms:

    1. I never claimed that the original post directly defamed the name of Jesus -- in fact, I made provision for that possibility:
      " ... and certainly Jesus was not the only person who is claimed to be a 'christ' ".
      Note, however, that the OP has removed any doubt about which 'christ' he meant in his subsequent post.
    2. Same flaw as in #1. In common usage in both the OP's home country and mine, the word 'christ' is frequently used to refer to Jesus. Pretending he wasn't talking about Jesus is just a smokescreen.
    3. Slightly inaccurate again. I used the phrase "among those" which can (and often does) refer to a subset of a larger group. I don't claim to speak for all Christians, but I do speak for some.
    4. I didn't make any judgment about the humor of the post ... indeed, I agree that it not uncommon for something to be funny and offensive. After all, many of the racial or sexual jokes that can be very offensive to some are perceived as quite amusing (at least in the short-term). In some ways, the funnier a slur, the more damaging it can be. I believe it was Roy Hattersley who said, "In politics, being ridiculous is more damaging than being extreme." I think that some of the most underhanded personal attacks are done under the cloak of sarcasm and other forms of humor.

    Here at the monastery, the original 'funny' post stands about even-steven with respect to downvotes vs. upvotes out of the forty-odd folks who have voted. That suggests to me that roughly half of the folks that voted didn't really think it was funny enough to outweigh the offense.

    As to your final point, seeming to defend the OP and his purported "respect for others", I think his subsequent post (perhaps you find it also 'hilarious') demonstrates that his respect for me and at least some Christians is not very high. A person who did have respect for others would be inclined to answer my critical post in a more conciliatory manner (perhaps with a backhanded remark about taking it too seriously, but still basically apologetic). The OP in this case chose a more acerbic path. A little research on his personal blog site suggests this is a pattern of behavior that doesn't start with me, but I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about that.

    "The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything." -- Goethe
      Believe it or not, I actually upvoted ptum's post, as he/she/it makes some valid points while still being hopelessly wrong overall.

      I believe that you're wrong in your analysis about why my post received downvotes though - it's not because some people think the offence outweighed the humour, it's because they're utterly devoid of humour when it comes to matters of their invisible friend and so only saw the imaginary offence. In my opinion - and I used to be a christian myself (I got better, obviously) - their god would disapprove of their small-mindedness.

      You're right about my respect for you. You've done nothing to deserve it, and quite a bit to *not* deserve it. In this you differ from most christians. Most of them, while not having done anything to deserve my respect, have at least not pissed me off.

        I'm sorry I've annoyed you. Personally, I wish I had followed my own recent advice and been less aggressive in rebuking you -- I probably should have just let your remark pass. You seem to be a decent photographer, and as a Settlers of Catan player (as surmised from one of your photos), you can't be all bad.

        I used to be a christian myself (I got better, obviously)

        Thank God!

      I'm not going to get into logical pedantry with you, I tired of that long ago.

      However, you seem to have a very odd conflation regarding race, sex, and religion. Yes, mocking someone because of something so trivial as genetics (race and sex, for example) is pretty small-minded. However, choosing to mock someone's choice, as with religion, is rather not the same thing.

      Further, any set of beliefs that results in one being unable to laugh at oneself a little bit is dangerous. That said, I see no problem with you being offended at the "galloping gay christ" joke -- what I have a problem with is your presumption that since you were offended (and other people might be), that the OP should be sanctioned.

      As an atheist, I put up with all manner of "offensive" jokes about my lack of belief. Most of them are extremely funny. On the occasion someone makes a joke I feel is too inappropriate, I will approach them in private and explain why I felt they went too far. However, I would never suggest that they be sanctioned, or their comments removed from public fora.

      <radiant.matrix>
      A collection of thoughts and links from the minds of geeks
      The Code that can be seen is not the true Code
      I haven't found a problem yet that can't be solved by a well-placed trebuchet

      You don't really get a choice in your ethnicity, sex, &c., the same is not appearently true about religeon, hair color, or culture.

Re^4: RFC: Acme::BottomsUp
by rodion (Chaplain) on Aug 22, 2006 at 11:24 UTC
    Sounds like you're arguing that Dr.Hyde's post should not be read as a causual blasphemy. I don't think that's tenable.

    I'm somewhat puzzled that sexual references are used for swearing, but they are used that way. I don't find them offensive, but some do. If no one found them offensive, they wouldn't be much good for swearing, or for humor. Swearing would have to move on to another topic.

    The power comes from crossing some boundry of courtesy or a suggestion of crossing that bound, as in "Good Gravy!". Once something offends no one, and doesn't even make a weak reference to saying something offensive, it doesn't make much of a swear.

    "Breakfast!, that's hideous!"

    doesn't quite do it, except as a parody.

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