Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Why Don't We Speak Ill of the Dead?

Because they come back to haunt you.

The scathing obituary trend has claimed yet another victim – the late Cornelia June Rogers Miller of Murphy, North Carolina, whose “horrified” family claims they have no idea who wrote the obituary that accuses their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother of drug addiction and years of abuse. The obituary appears to have been plagiarized, with some phrases lifted directly from the obit of Leslie Ray “Popeye” Charping and others lifted from the obituary of Dolores Aguilar, which has been verified real by Snopes. Real or not, Mrs. Miller’s obituary has gone viral, and leaves me wondering, why the traditional proscription against speaking ill of the dead?

I googled the question, hoping to find some information about the history of this custom. Instead I found a brief Wikipedia article explaining the Latin phrase “De mortuis nihil nisi bonum,” but with nothing to put this information in context; some links to websites catering to ESL speakers; and discussion of the matter on multiple forums. Nothing official.
So, as I have done in the past, I turned to Facebook. Responses from Facebook friends included:

  • “I dunno. Sometimes I do.”
  • “Out of respect.”
  • “They aren’t here to defend themselves” or “they can’t reply.”
  • Only God can judge us.
  • “Because they will come back and haunt you.”
  • “To avoid feelings of morbid reflection…celebrate the good times.”
  • So no one will speak ill of us after we’re dead.
  • Because “we want to remember people differently than they were,” and my favorite,
  • “Why not? They’ll never know” – so, best do it while they’re alive, amirite?

My friend Mark responded, “Because of necromancers. You talk ill of the dead and all the sudden skeletons are like sup I heard you talking sh*t.” Another friend claimed, “If you had issues, it was on you to work them out before they passed.” Uh huh, sure. Maybe it was on them. You don’t know my life.

Someone else pointed out that, traditionally, “Folks believed that the dead spoke to either God or the saints and put in a good word for the living.” This kind of makes sense. You don’t want to piss off Great Aunt Jennibeth if she might still be able to exact vengeance. On the other hand, considering what she was like, you’re probably f&cked no matter what you do.

Democratic Underground user starroute claims that not only was it traditionally considered bad luck to speak ill of the dead, but mentioning them by name at all “was all too likely to call them up and could lead to very bad results…if you couldn’t totally avoid mentioning the dead, you should at least say something flattering so they wouldn’t get pissed and come trouble you.” You don’t want creepy uncle Tommert to keep giving you those lingering hugs from beyond the grave.

Of course, there’s a yuge double standard when it comes to speaking ill of the dead, and that’s public figures. No one bats an eye if you call Adolph Hitler the evilest man who ever lived, but point out that Grandpa was an alcoholic and suddenly you’re some kind of an asshole. It hardly seems fair, does it?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Make America Medieval Again

Have you guys heard about those new rape-proof panties they’re making? They lock up your vag belt so that rapists can’t get in. I’m not kidding, they literally have a lock on them. They’re also allegedly tear-proof and resistant to cutting, can’t be pulled down, and have little boyshort legs so, that, presumably, the rapist can’t just sneak in from the side, although I’m skeptical about that. They also contain a “skeletal structure” of wire mesh that covers the genital area. Yes, friends, this is a modern-day chastity belt. Here it is:

So that’s what we’ve come to as a society – asking women to literally lock up their genitals. What is wrong with you people?

Oh, right. Lots.

On the surface, the rape-proof underpants might not seem like such a bad idea. Whilst wearing these panties, a woman can trip merrily, unaccompanied, down the darkest street in town in the middle of the night, while wearing the shortest skirt she owns, and chugging from a handle of Jim Beam, and she’ll be safe from rape. Any would-be rapist would give up and scurry, baffled, back into the night once he encounters the rape-proof panties. Right?

Well, let’s deconstruct this a little bit. Firstly, like murders, most rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. That means you’d have to wear the rape-proof panties 24/7 in order to effectively prevent all rapes. What a pain in the ass. They don’t look that comfortable, and I have a lot of questions. Will the little legs ride up my fat thighs?1 Is that tear- and cut-resistant fabric breathable?2 Are these going to give me the mother of all yeast infections?3 Are they flame-retardant? What if I forget how to open the lock? Is there a customer service number for that? “Hello, yes, I can’t get my underwear off.” Brilliant.

Not to mention, as a friend of mine pointed out on Facebook, the rape-proof panties could complicate having consensual encounters, too. Imagine going out to the bar, safe in the knowledge that you can finally have a few drinks without being sexually violated, only to meet the man of your dreams and end up going back to his place. What are you going to say? “Forsooth, fair knight, hast thou the key to yon chastity belt?” That’ll make a cute story to tell at your wedding, and won’t make you look ridiculous or paranoid at all.

I think it’s also worth noting, as another friend pointed out, that the rape-proof panties don’t protect you from being viciously beaten or even murdered by a violent offender who had his heart set on raping someone but has now been thwarted by a pair of underwear. I think it’s also fair to say that we should really be calling these “rape-resistant” panties, because they really only prevent rapes in two of the three available orifices. Yes, I went there.

Also, if you get into a car accident or something while you’re wearing them, it’s going to take the literal Jaws of Life to get those puppies off. So, good luck with that.

1. [They will.]
2. [Probably not.]
3. [Oh hells yes.]