Are these FBriends and FBoFs terrible people?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by DaveC426913, Jun 21, 2023.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    There are maybe a hundred billion dead people on (or in) the planet. Dying is part of life. Talking smack about dead people is part of life. It is not inappropriate (though it might be crass) to objectify a dead person (based on, say, their unethical business practices) and judge them terrible people. Their life can only be looked at as a biography now, and one can examine sections of it at leisure.

    But talking smack about people who are in the process of dying is, as I have declared it, ghoulish. It is inappropriate to objectify a living person who is about to die horribly by judging, say their unethical business practices. Their life is not over yet, so it is terrible to define them by some subset of their wrongdoings. They are (still) human, and deserve our compassion.

    Anyone who mocks the dying has crossed a line and lost their humanity. My former FBriend openly and gleefully mocked these missing people who were dying horribly, and to me that is a form toxicity I don't need to be exposed to. So I've blocked him.

    This thread is my attempt to see if the above logic holds water.
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  3. Bells Staff Member

    Does the situation change for you that your former 'FBfriend' were mocking them after they had already died? Or is it the fact that no one knew if they were alive or not that the jokes were ghoulish and tasteless?

    Because the evidence seems to suggest that the sub had imploded when the signal was lost and may have happened within a couple of hours of their descent to the Titanic. OceanGate waited 8 or so hours before they reported the sub lost to the Coast Guard, but the 5 were long dead by that point.

    I would say mocking people and saying they deserved to die a horrible death is ghoulish as they are dying and after they have died. But there is a somewhat disconcerting aspect of it, as we may believe that someone deserves a horrible death and it can come down to a matter of who the person is and matter of degrees, wouldn't you say? For example, if a child sex offender died a horrible death or was in the process of dying a horrible death, then people may joke about it or make some ghoulish comments, because society as a whole has a belief that some people deserve 'what they get'. Would the same sentiment apply here? Perhaps. The CEO of OceanGate has mocked and derided safety measures that would have seen him and the passengers alive today. Do I think he deserves to have died a horrible death? No. But, and there's a big "but" here, there is a sense of irony. Tragic, yes. Ironic? Also yes.

    But then there is the discomforting part of this particular case. There is something primal about being stuck in a metal tube deep in the ocean, and the thought of oxygen running out makes us feel a sense of horror - which is probably why so much attention was given to this story and continues to be given to this story, as the news now suggests that some human remains were found in the bits of wreckage that was brought up. Is it something to joke about? It depends on the individual. Not everyone responds to that primal horror in the same way. Not everyone grieves the same way. For many, humour is a coping mechanism as it allows them to hide their true horror of what is happening (and let's face the reality here, the thought of suffocating to death in a metal tube in the ocean is a horrible prospect and while their deaths are a tragedy, there is a blessing in that it happened instantly). Blaming these victims, and particularly the CEO and owner of the sub, for their hubris, may also be a coping mechanism.

    I think what is interesting about this sub is what people choose to focus on. A boat full of refugees and asylum seeker sinking, leading to many deaths barely registered. But a 'tourist' sub full of billionaires disappearing in the depths of the Titanic saw wall to wall coverage around the world. In this case, the coverage itself became ghoulish, as news media were counting down the hours of oxygen left, praying on people's primal horror. While that refugee boat barely registered on the media's radar. But I think the media played a lot in the ghoulish aspect of it all and feeding that primal fear of suffocating to death, led many people to respond in ways they probably normally wouldn't have. I'm not going to lie, I did chuckle at a few of the Orca jokes I saw on Twitter when it came to rich people and 'boats'. But I was very cognisant of why I was chuckling or found it funny. I wasn't doing so to laugh at people dying of suffocation. There are many reasons why the people you followed on Facebook may have responded as they did. Maybe it's their way of covering their own terror? Maybe they just decided to pile on because everyone else was? Or maybe, they are just sadistic arseholes.

    I do find your explanation interesting though and much could be said about how we view death or the process of dying, which is not the subject of this thread. But thank you for taking the time to respond.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    It does not change anything, no.

    There's no real time objective truth here; it's about peoples' attitudes. My former FBriend was "giggling with glee" at the prospect of people dying horribly because he had an opinion about their business practices ("oligarchs") and how they had no sympathy for suffering. He's a smart guy; it cannot have escaped him how he has no sympathy for suffering - i.e. he has lowered himself the very thing he despises.

    I'd categorize mocking people who are dead is more crass than ghoulish. The dead are beyond fear and suffering, so there's no "harm" that can be done to them.

    I'm not a complete prude (or whatever the cynicism equivalent of prudeness is). I get mocking dead people. Hitler weas an asshole, and jokes about him are acceptable.

    I think I stop short of anyone "deserving" a horrible death. What I think someone deserves says more about what's in my heart than anything objective about them. I try not to colour my heart with too much blackness. (But that's just me. I have led a privileged life, free from violence and crime, so I may sympathize, but I am unable to empathize with sufferers of calamity. I grant that they may have a VERY different take on what terrible people "deserve").

    (It's also a funny place for an atheist to be in. There's no higher power or ultimate justice to appeal to. So it's not like my FBriend's glee can actually be heard by - let alone hurt - the victims. Realistically, there should be no difference in feeling about before versus after death mockery.)

    I'm perfectly fine with mockery after death. It's the before death that rankles me.

    Indeed. More and more is coming out. And it's looking really bad.

    Nothing that happens after their death though can change how I feel about my former FBriend's gleeful giggling at people who - at the time - we thought were suffering one of the worst possible looming deaths (slow asphyxiation, alone).

    That's the thing I can empathize with. When I transport myself into that capsule for even a second my heartrate and beathing rate speed up in a rising panic. Adrenaline boost is not a good way to try to get to sleep at night. I have to actively turn way from the thought.

    Yep. All of which I'm OK with once their fate is sealed.

    I tried to give my FBriend plenty of warning. I simply said it is bad form to mock people while they are in the process of dying horrible - maybe wait till after they're dead. I even 'snoozed' him to get a break from him.

    But he persisted - in fact, doubled down - with how they're heartless oligarchs that deserve to die horribly. It didn't matter to him that one of them just just a 19-year-old who couldn't have made his living off the backs of slavery and poverty - he was just "the son who's inheriting his fortune made on suffering".

    Yep, That's what happened to me.

    Yes. No trouble laughing at that.

    He is, granted, a troubled soul. Known him since high school. Has Bipolar Disorder (even he didn't know that back then) - and is coping with hating humanity by living alone on a swamp with only enough electricity for an hour of internet trolling a day. It does not seem to be helping.

    But his friends - who chimed in with their own ghoulism - have no such excuse (Jesse and Wesley in OP screen shot).

    Which is why I have to act to protect myself from that particular toxicity. I feel a little bad - he doesn't have a lot of friends.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2023
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Two questions:

    • Do you realize how broad a statement that is?

    • What are the implications of losing one's humanity?​

    Please, understand, compared to the number of people in this world who have lost their humanity, it might be useful if we have some idea what to do about that.

    So, are we supposed to boycott the lost? Just scowl at them? Chuff and mutter amongst ourselves in order to help each other feel validated in our disgust and righteousness?

    And, also: What is the moral difference, as such, between mocking the dying and mocking the living, i.e., we are mocking suffering?

    (Interestingly, wrapped up in all this is a doctrinal argument that nobody ever cites, and I can never figure out if they don't know, or would rather not go there.)
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Yeah. Although this thread provides context for the implicit qualifiers.
    Well, the implications are specifically that I find exposure to that to be toxic. I don't need that level of toxicity in my social media feed where I keep in touch with friends. Ideally, there should not be broader implications than that; it's not like my former FBriend is evil because he's a bit of a jerk.
    Good question, but I am not sure that this scenario is scalable to such inductive logic.

    No, I just wanted to convince myself that my reaction (blocking him) was commensurate with the transgression (ghoulish mockery) and that it was effective in removing my problem - as opposed to was I Knee-Jerk Overreacting to Being Offended at Something I Saw Online.

    In this case, the living and the dying are the same people. They are not yet dead.

    Dunno. I'll leave that to those with doctrines.
  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Consider the general and particular. Because, the thing is—

    —I wouldn't go so far as to tell you that you're wrong. Only you know how you feel; I'm never going to be you.

    But, still, is such a qualified and nonscalable particular circumstance an appropriate—(reasonable, functional, &c.)—basis for such a general result? You might be overreacting, but I couldn't promise that; the point about "oligarchs" still stands out, to me, and also the idea that this outlier is the threshold. Yet, practically speaking, it may not really be a question of what is commensurate, but, rather, the how much toxicity one can accept and endure.

    For me, it was something much more mundane, and I even took the moment on the way out to tell the guy why I was sick of gorilla in high heels jokes about Black women, &c., and, sure, people said stuff about cancel culture, and all that, but it's not like my absence is going to stop those people.

    I am uncertain whether it would be gratuitously aggressive↗ to suggest your response misses the point. Even more so, the suggestion you actually know it does.

    At least you managed to cover both possibilities.

    I think you worry too much about justifying yourself, Dave. It reads more like you were just sick of these people, and this occasion provided you an overdue excuse. And it's not like, no big deal, or nobody's going to blame you; rather, that's all beside the point. You're going to doubt yourself in transition; these decisions can feel momentous for various reasons. And it makes a living, practical difference. It's one less troubled soul to worry about. Sometimes we need to protect ourselves, and sometimes that is the only question that matters because it must be.

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