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Thread: Speaking ill of the dead

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    Administrator CatInASuit's avatar
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    Default Speaking ill of the dead

    Its a topic that has come up quite frequently over the last few days with the death of Margaret Thatcher.

    She was a divisive character and has loomed large on not just the national but international stage. However, there is a section of people who will never forgive her for some of her words and actions.

    Since she died there has been a large outpouring of respect for her, even through disagreement of viewpoint, but there has been a small minority of people celebrating away.

    So, the question is - how soon is too soon? Should people be allowed to cheer the death of people in the public eye who have had an impact on the world, or should there still be a period of time to allow family and friends to grieve before such events should start?
    In the land of the blind, the one-arm man is king.

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    Oliphaunt Rube E. Tewesday's avatar
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    I dunno. I was no fan of Thatcher, but the glee with which certain people have celebrated the death of an old woman has bothered me. I can certainly understand not mourning her, but actually partying? Yuck.

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rube E. Tewesday View post
    I dunno. I was no fan of Thatcher, but the glee with which certain people have celebrated the death of an old woman has bothered me. I can certainly understand not mourning her, but actually partying? Yuck.
    I had a similar reaction. She certainly was highly divisive, picked fights she didn't need to, and showed zero empathy towards those badly affected by her policies. That said, I think overall she did more good than harm for the UK, given the problems she was reacting to when she came into office. Her reaction to the Falklands invasion was IMHO absolutely the right one.

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    Member Elendil's Heir's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rube E. Tewesday View post
    I dunno. I was no fan of Thatcher, but the glee with which certain people have celebrated the death of an old woman has bothered me. I can certainly understand not mourning her, but actually partying? Yuck.
    I had a similar reaction. She certainly was highly divisive, picked fights she didn't need to, and showed zero empathy towards those badly affected by her policies. That said, I think overall she did more good than harm for the UK, given the problems she was reacting to when she came into office. Her reaction to the Falklands invasion was IMHO absolutely the right one.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    I actually am a fan of the Iron Lady but I was also a fan of Reagan. While I don't share it therefore, I understand the attitude of these people with too much glee. I believe I will feel about the same way when one recent American politician finally dies. Though honestly I cannot think of another current example, I imagine I would have celebrated the death of Joseph McCarthy.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    I think the Falklands was one of the few issues on which she was 100% right. Most other things, bleh.

    Anyway I don't see what the big problem is. I was happy she died. She was a rotter, a rotten woman who held huge swathes of Britain and Ireland's weakest, poorest people in utter contempt. Speaking ill of the dead makes sense when you're talking about your neighbour or someone in your community but a public figure who wielded such power and wielded it so callously, I'm all for it. I am actually surprised there wasn't more of a public display of celebration. I only heard of actual celebrating in Brixton, Glasgow, and West Belfast. Britain's rightwing elite would like to be able to claim with impunity that Thatcher was an amazing leader, a great leader for Britain. All these dissenting voices show that she was probably quite far off that mark.

    Again not speaking ill of the dead is a fine piece of etiquette in the personal sphere but with politicians, well known public figures who have a negative track record? It's a silly analogy in a way but would you be making a thread like this in May 1945 with the news from Berlin? Many people in Britain feel Thatcher DESTROYED their lives, their hopes.

    What were your feelings when Bin Laden was killed? Some people were shocked by some of the US reaction. I wasn't.

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    Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo What Exit?'s avatar
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    On Bin Ladan, I thought the overall reaction of "Excellent! He is dead!" was fine and I was one them, but the yahoos that went outside to fire off guns and fireworks were embarrassing to me as an American. I'm not sure why though. I guess if it actually ended the war and troops were coming home I would have agreed with it more.

    But I don't think Thatcher and Bin Laden are really on the same level. One was a disagreeable to many political leader with policies that will be argued about for rest of our lifetimes and the other was the leader of a terrorist organization. I seems uneven to equate the two. If anything we probably have more to complain about with Bush/Cheney/Blair and the basically illegal manufactured was vs. Iraq then Thatcher (even if I was a Liberal and I am not). From the outside Thatcher appeared to have rescued the UK from itself. The trade unions were wrecking the country. I understand how it would look different from the inside but it still does not compare to terrorist leader or starting a war on made up grounds to line the pockets of cronies and business partners.

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    Oliphaunt The Original An Gadaí's avatar
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    It really doesn't matter about the finer points of who was the most evil with regard to the question as posed in the OP. They were both hated, one quite clearly rightly and the other one arguably so, by a significant contingent of the public. My point is, there are plenty of public figures that people have no problem with celebrating their deaths, for whom the notion of not speaking ill of the dead seems laughable. I picked Bin Laden because I doubt many Americans (or anyone else for that matter) observed it after his demise. I can imagine too that when Bush/Cheney/Blair die there will be some element of the public who celebrates it. I, personally, have no problem with this. I'm sure the dead have none either. They're dead.

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