Sep 8, 2010

Respecting the Dead

In my last YouTube video dealing with this entire "Mosque at Ground Zero" fiasco, I stated this :

<< Personally , I don’t give a crap about respecting the dead. They’re just … well…dead.. “Respecting” them is a social construct that has no meaning to me and I couldn’t care less about it. >>

Many people misinterpreted what said and were even offended by my words, as I could see from their comments. I don't understand exactly why, since I followed my statement with an explanation that, at the time, I thought it would make my point clear :

<< But I’m not an insensitive asshole and I can acknowledge that most people do see value in it. So, even if I didn’t care about this mosque, I did think it is in poor taste and I could understand why the families of the 9/11 victims would be offended by it . >>

Still, I received a number of comments "disagreeing" with me. What is there to disagree on ? My ...feelings ? I never said I am against people being affected by what happens to their loved ones AFTER they die. It's just that I (as in "me", "myself", right ?) am not. What is so offensive about that ?

I actually thought it was a bit funny how some people were trying to trigger an emotional response from me by insulting the people who (they thought) I loved and passed away. Starting with my "dead grandma" who is still alive, and ending with my dead hypothetical children that I will never have. Some of them went to very "gruesome" and explicit details of what they would do to my dead ones. The strongest emotional response they got out of me was "Ew!".

No, I don't care if someone insults my dead loved ones. I don't believe in any form of life after death and since they are dead, they obviously can't be affected by insults. I also don't care if someone "disrespected" their dead bodies, I have absolutely no emotional attachment to their corpses. I do value the memories I have about them. I cherish the little things I have left from them, sometimes I get nostalgic when I hear a song that my grandfather used to love, sometimes I go through the pictures I have with them, sometimes I even think "what would they say about this" when I do something I know they wouldn't like or they would appreciate. But I never visit their graves, their physical remains hold no importance to me.

If you are offended by this, I would have to ask why ? Are you offended by me thinking this or by me saying it ? And what meaning is there in honesty if you are offended by me simply saying what I think ?

Btw ... it's not like you will see me go around and "insulting" dead people, like my "sensitive" commenters tried to do. I would never do that because I know that most people feel differently than I do, and I can understand and respect THAT. I just personally don't relate to it . That's all.


cornelius said...

This is a very good example of the irrationality and hypocrisy of the minds infected with religion and religious constructs like after-life.
Thanks for sharing.

AntiBullshitMan said...

Why must you be so disrespectful dare?

k-rina said...

AntiBullshitTroll :)

Anonymous said...

good clarification, though extra and unnecessary for people with at least 2 neurons...

SamKam said...

As the old wise one once said "I know you believe you understand what you think I said but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

oojamama said...

well the only thing i disagree with here is the 'in bad taste' bit. for several reason that i wont go into here but have been explained many times by many people on the toobz.

Anonymous said...

I got what you said in the video, and it sort of amuses me that some got their panties in a twist over such an innocent remark. This time around i guess it's because you messed with their main argument "myslims are disrespectfull towards the vigtims families", and they feel a little lost as to how to regain some sort of moral high ground.

To me this whole debate is ridiculus, and same goes for people like Thunderf00t and Pat Condell trying to argue "logical" for the horrors of a muslim center a couple of blocks from GZ. I can't believe how bigoted people act, and they don't even seem to realize that.

I don't know Cris.. Guess you can't avoid offending someone, no matter what you say. Political correctness, especially when dealing with americans, is nuts now a days. Think the best thing is to let those who want to get offended. Fuck'em.

Anonymous said...

You're great Chris. I love your kind of rational approach to everything :)

Jeffrey Phillips said...

When I think about it there were probably a lot of people who were searching YouTube on responses/opinions on this "Ground Zero Mosque" issue and happen to come across yours. Many of these people are probably religious and have this strong belief in life after death (which we both know is rubbish). For a lot of people they see this as a challenge to their belief in an afterlife and being reunited with their loved ones who have since passed, they quite like this idea and for many of them this has probably never been challenged before. They may feel your challenge is cheapening their belief and with that also cheapening their dead loved ones. That being said they're obviously offended, however someone being offended is not an argument and also hardly a reason to keep your mouth closed. But from a certain point of view I can understand this offense even if I don't agree with their beliefs but it also offends me how people seem to give the dead better treatment than the living. If people would discard this notion of life after death perhaps we would all be treating each other better as then we would understand that we all have one life to live on this earth, and it is best to value ourselves and each other in order to get the most out of life.

Anonymous said...

Why are you trying so hard? Noone misunderstood your statement, it was just distasteful and classless. Get a job.

Anonymous said...

Okay, why would people try to insult you with this? (the thingy about your not dead grandma's and such)
don't 'they' know you by now?
you do not give a crap do you? :D

keep on the good work!

12 Knots to Nowhere said...

It is one of those little minefields that everyone might have to keep in mind from time to time. I generally try to avoid mentioning any "disrespect" to the dead. Perhaps it isn't so much that others feel that the dead will be disrespected, but that their (those offended) feel their perceptions about the dead as living people are called into question. That might explain those who knew or were close to the dead.

As for the outsider commentators, the same probably applies, except it is the perception of what those dead people signified. For those who died on September 11th, they were either (1) worthy sacrifices to a radical cause that hijacked a faith or (2) martyrs to the ideals of what some people believe the United States to represent. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that a majority of those commentators were in the (2) camp. So, a perceived lack of respect for the dead would be an attack on their ideological beliefs in what those people and by proxy the United States, etc stood for in their minds.

But, sometimes also, people can be real assholes about it and there isn't much to be done about that. No apology will ever sate their indignation.

And others like to write meandering comments about it. Like me.

James Cates said...

Maybe someone could point out to Anonymous here - the literate one who wrote, "Why are you trying so hard? Noone misunderstood your statement, it was just distasteful and classless. Get a job." - that the English language does not contain a word spelled "noone". If he/she meant to say that no person misinterpreted your statement, then he/she ought to have written "No one misunderstood . . . yada yada".
Anyway, clearly the foaming, red-faced sadists who attacked you had ceased listening to anything you said in your video after they heard the words, " Personally , I don’t give a crap about respecting the dead."
That sort are always waiting for any excuse to unleash all the pent-up bile that's otherwise pooling in their cramped, dismal psyches.
Your videos are thought-provoking, fascinating, and entertaining. Cheers :)

Anonymous said...

"This is a very good example of the irrationality and hypocrisy of the minds infected with religion and religious constructs like after-life.
Thanks for sharing."

Except I bet a lot of the people saying those things to her were atheists who in most cases are equally delusional.

Anonymous said...

@ James Cates
Wow, I hate people like you. Annoying jackasses that feel better than everyone for no apparent reason. That person just missed the space bar by accident; a simple typo. Get a fucking life!

justjustine said...

I know what you mean - to me, it's about honoring the memory the deceased by keeping them in your heart, not about honoring their remains. The whole ritualized process of almost worshipping remains seems wasteful to me, but I guess it might be important to some people.

Anonymous said...

Since my departure from religion I have come to understand that most "believers" seem to worship the dead. Isn't it part of the Christian belief that when you die your soul gleaves the body? "Absent from the body, present with the Lord."

Why, then, are there some half a million cemeteries in the US (an exact number is hard to determine)? Land that could better be used for housing, schools, medical facilities, etc.

I've never understood the need to cling to a dead body. Wouldn't it be better to "respect" the living, instead of the dead?

Bland_Boy said...

Lots of hateful-people in the world that will put their personal beliefs in so high-regard as to physically harm people who disagree with those beliefs...

Darragh said...

"children that I will never have"

how come?

Anonymous said...

cool, this girl doesn't want babies

she is a dream fuck, she will get abortions so obv there is no need for condoms ! =D

just show her an American/British/Canadian passport and she's yours ..

good post btw

Jolo said...

Maybe you should start handing these cards out with a "maybe you should keep it for later"

Nastafavrie said...

Cristina, tu nu crezi in Dumnezeu si in Scaraotschi?

Trebuie sa ne rugam pentru cei morti pentru a-L convinge pe Domnul nostru, carelele desi este atotstiutor, sa nu-si revarse urgia asupra pacatosilor si sa-i trimita in cele ce strasnic se numesc cazane ale Iadului.


Byrnsweord said...

Personally, whilst I understand that the physical presence of the person who has died has moved on, in whichever way you happen to believe, I recognise that a grave site provides a personal communal link between us and our ancestors. If they entrusted us (implicitly or explicitly) with their buildings, their cultural history and record and their intellectual property, it is clear that the purpose of the grave site is to provide a physical manifestation of their continued influence and importance.

There is a good deal of cross-cultural evidence for strong attachments to the location of the dead. See Crazy Horse's quote on the matter.

What perplexes me is why you disregard this particular social construct out-of-hand... a simple dismissal of social constructs seems to ignore the implications of the construct and also the reason why it came about.

godless1859 said...

God is dead. So, should we respect him? Fuck him!

Anonymous said...

I put a number of concepts together again and saw them clearer than I did before just a few days ago. What I realized is that any 'faith based' notion that places some object above one's self interest is the worst kind of evil because it is a negation of self.
My reaction to this upset as similar to yours and I've similarly written in a number of forums on the subject. But it wasn't the 'reverence for the dead' that caught my attention, it was reverence for the place. I mean, what the hell does the place someone died have to do with your memory of them?
I made a number of assertions in my various comments aforementioned, a great number of people argued with me because they didn't understand their combined meaning. I coupled all comments with a question, "other than sentiment, or being offended, can anyone tell me a specific reason why this specific mosque needs to be blocked by government power?"
The implication was, 'and not all other mosques anywhere else?'
My assertions that I still stand by are:
1) Any 'real' reason not to build 'that' mosque likely apply to any mosque or Muslim center unless there is something specifically tied to this Imam or the funding of this building.
2) more than 80% of Muslims worldwide oppose the kinds of 'heinous acts' people are condemning all Muslims for
3) many Muslims worldwide are in fear for their lives of speaking out against organized Islam
4) Islam itself should condemn acts of terror and clearly segregate any that practice such acts if they wish to be seen as the 'religion of peace'
4) those Muslims that aren't in places where they are in fear for their lives should clearly and specifically differentiate themselves from the extremists, and even separate from global Islam if it does not join them in that clear separation.
5) ANY religion should openly denounce and condemn any references in their holy texts that refer to 'killing' in the name of God and permanently remove them with prejudice if ANY religion wishes to be seen as peaceful (there are over 200,000 killings listed in the Old Testament by God, for God or at the command of God and dozens of rules that if broken require death as a penalty, including killing non-believers and anyone trying to speak of other ideas or religions)

Screw em if they don't get dead means dead! And keep the rational thoughts coming! It's nice to see brains and beauty can still exist in a single package!

Anonymous said...

Hah! I just noticed the comment under your name. Here's the one I was using a few weeks back on facebook:
"The really good thing about the voices is, no one else can hear them but me. If everyone else heard them too, then they’d all know that I was nuts."


Are you people serious ?????????????????? Is this some kind of lunatic's bunker meeting??? Snap out!! the 9/11 EVENT is a real landmark from a Collective Consciousness perspective. You are going in circles get over it and stick to ANY SENSE that is to make of the whole 9/11 SITUATION!. If you launch yourselves into the exercise of discussion,at least make some sense and use some coherence of THOUGHT. I've never read so much out of context bullish in my whole life... Cris girl!wake up!

James Cates said...

Sleepstream, perhaps you can give some examples of how you'd like to see the conversation proceed, and of how you'd prefer to see people conducting themselves. I can't make heads or tales of your post; it appears to be much rhetoric, and little real meaning. I'm actually not trying to be harsh, just asking you to clarify your critique.

Anonymous said...

you are awesome ...fucking brilliant, Intelligent and hot girl...

Sorry .. i cant "write right" in English... But i understood all of you said ... pure ,honest and corrects words...

So fucking beautifull and smart... (I love your voice and hair... ok... all piece of you... hahahahahahaha)

how can you do it ? ....

So .. Cristina ... i have a blog : , but i'am from Rio de Janeiro and i speak, write and everything else in Portuguese....

Plan for the future : Study some limba română ..


Rafael ( from Rio de Janeiro )

Um forte e fraternal abraço, um cheirada no Cangote (pescoço) , um beijo no canto da boca e uma flor para você !

Anonymous said...

major fail, criss. stop bleaching your hair, roma gypsy is too apparent.

Dan said...

" . . . even if I didn’t care about this mosque, I did think it is in poor taste and I could understand why the families of the 9/11 victims would be offended by it." You are usually very reasonable and I respect you so I don't undrstand how an entire religion should be punished for builiding a 'mosque' two blocks from ground zero. There are strip clubs that are located two blocks from ground zero and yet they are not shut down. And under the US Constitution the Government is prohibited from forbidding the construction of a religious building based upon the religion. Otherwise - I love your blog and your videos.

James Cates said...

@ Dan: People are endlessly parroting this "strip club" inanity. I may have missed it, but was one of those planes hijacked by a gang of strippers?
I assume the people who bring this up, think they're making some airtight, slam-dunk, unassailable point, however the fact of strip clubs in the vicinity is not only a non-issue, it's a non-sequitur. It has no relation to what people are talking about.

shadowhippie1122 said...

Einstein once said "Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds" I have often found myself at the worse end of the violent opposition he spoke of for discussing this very subject (and as a matter of fact many other subjects you discuss.) It would seem to me that you are currently facing this same opposition. So why are people so offended by our opinions? I'll address that question by finding the root of freedom of speech. Is it granted by a government? a religion? then how is it that before it was "okay" to say what you think, people did anyway? and were met with violent opposition. It's my opinion that freedom of speech is granted by one source - those who make an effort to hear that opinion. So these people who are so insulting and callous have come to speak against your opinion. Did they find their way here as I did? Enthralled by your beauty, intellect, and understanding of the scientific method? Or were they directed here by an fellow enraged member of some organization? Either way, it drew viewers to this page. Whether they like your opinion or not, they read it. Their neurons recorded it. And your words of logic and wisdom will thus live on in their lives. You are amazing cristina. Please, never stop doing what you do.

Gwenny said...

Was the comment in bad taste? Eh, maybe, personally I don't think so though. It's your opinion, and like you said, you made it clearer with the one that followed it. I don't personally see a problem with the Islamic Community Center they want to build. It's a community center... and I highly doubt they're going to be doing "terrorist training" in it like the paranoid idiots think. They'll probably do the same thing all community centers do, but instead of Christian undertones it will be Muslim.

Keep up the good writing and videos. :) And if you check out my blog ignore the link in the newest post... I changed my mind on what the post was going to be and decided to link to something new I had found.


Anonymous said...

The best way to 'honor the dead' is by (cryo)preserving them for potential future revival. Everything else is just sanctimoniousness, masochism, and empty rituals.

GreatBigBore said...

Rest assured that no dead people were offended by your comments.

Dan said...

James Cates:

Are you saying that all Muslims are responsible for 9-11? That sounds like bigotry to me. It would be like protesting a temple being built because of something that Isreal did. It would be wrong.

Anonymous said...

@slipstream: I'd be content with just an objective definition of what constitutes a 'collective consciousness'. Sounds too 'god'ee to me

Anonymous said...

@James: I'd say Muslims are responsible for 9/11, yes. The last time I checked there is only one Islam. The last time I checked, although many 'Muslims' will comment or agree that fundamentalists engaging in terrorist acts are wrong or don't represent their views on Islam, there is still only one Islam.
Historically speaking, there have been similar rifts in other religions, Christianity not excluded. When such rifts have occurred, they have even resulted in outright wars between the disagreeing sects. Idiocy in my opinion, but the end result have been numerous reformations and splits in the Christian church.
Yet there is only one Islam.
I would put the impetus on 'Muslims' to do more to clearly segregate themselves from fundamentalists terrorists, tyrannical state systems and other atrocious versions of Islam. Until they do, (ALL) Muslims are responsible for things like 9/11.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same about respecting the dead. They are gone. Get over it.

Besides... ...When a person who was a bastard when he lived dies it really doesn't change the fact that he was a bastard. No need to sugarcoat life.

I'm sure that most people really think this way. They just don't admit it. Not even to themselves.

Michael Lawson said...

1. it's not a mosque, it's a community center.
2. it's like 5 blocks away.
3. The hijackers weren't the only muslims killed in the towers.
4. there are alot of problems in this country much bigger than this, and the fact that it made news just underscores the point that the news is a worthless stream of superfluous information designed to overload our brains with useless information so we can't think clearly about the shit that matters.

Anonymous said...

<3 i love this

David said...

I don't see any problems with Muslims building a mosque at Ground Zero. We've been building ground zeroes at their mosques for years.

Revellica said...

Okay - I've gotta say it cause no one else has.

As a person with Native American ancestry who used to pass by a towering statue of Andrew Jackson every day on my way to work, I cannot tell you how angry the sight of that damn thing makes me. Or how angry I was to learn that there are FIVE of those goddamn things littered around the country. And don't even get me started on Mt. Rushmore.

The thing is - Natives are expected to suck it up. So why can't the rest of America just shut up about the damn Mosque - which at least serves a purpose unlike those damn statues and monuments? It amazes me how people in this country can't see the hypocrisy in their arguments.

And if your thought is: "Well your a conquered people, so of course YOU just have to deal with being offended - but I am in the majority so I don't have to"... well - your just an asshole. Basically what your saying is that its okay to be offended by the murder of thousands - but once it turns into genocide its all good.

I am for the Mosque. Who gives a damn. Stop whining all of you. Its a community center for people who were just as likely to have lost loved ones on 9/11 as anyone else in New York.

Thank you for all your videos Cris. In a world full of willful ignorance and minds that are apparently incapable of grasping science or learning history - your videos cheer me up and make me feel not so alone on the side of logic.

lindsey said...

"Btw ... it's not like you will see me go around and "insulting" dead people, like my "sensitive" commenters tried to do."

I don't think they realized the irony in what they were doing.

Peter said...

Wow, this is another great piece.

I too lended my voice to the 9/11 Mosque-Community Centre debate. You're right, the power of 9/11's symbolism is powerful; the way that it broadened a cleavage that seperates will forever be a defining point in human history. It is for that reason that I contended that the moderate Muslim community had an opportunity to take the high road, by backing away from the proposed site. The sentiment and wounds from those terrorist attacks are not trivial and so should be treated with sensitivity. I believe that only the Muslim community can start the healing process between the cultures; certainly with regards to America's loss of innocence, as violence was brought spectacularly to their shores. Being the bigger person in a dispute is never easy--notions of weakness often paralize the best of us from realizing the right thing to do. The Mosque site will only help to solidify the mistrust and hatred between the cultures; no good will come from building so close to the WTC location. However, if the site were to be abandoned and another location found, I believe that the act could be a wonderful way for the Muslim community to show their recognition of the pain that is inherent in the site. The gesture would be like an olive branch; suggesting that our like-humanity is the best cause for a better reciprical relationship. In any event, here is a link to a vlog I made regarding the issue.

Excellent blog, I am wasting a gross amount of my day off but I am enjoying it.



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