Why is it taboo to speak ill of the dead?

Muspelheim

New member
Apr 7, 2011
2,023
0
0
They're dead, they won't care. But whoever they leave behind that loves them might care. It's just being nice.

Of course, that rule tend to become irrelevant with time. Caesar was a twit.
 

KiloFox

New member
Aug 16, 2011
291
0
0
i see no problem with it... if they were an asshole in life then there's NO reason they shouldn't be remembered as such... i hat funerals and epitaphs because they lie about so many people... you could go to a funeral of a completely despicable person and there'd be some priest (who most likely didn't know the deceased) talking about "what a wonderful person they were" and blah-de-blah-de-blah... when i'm worm-food i want people to talk about me how i really was... not about just good things or even some shit that's made up...
 

Terminal Blue

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 20, 2020
3,292
899
118
Country
United Kingdom
Firstly, you're right, a dead person cannot speak for themselves and thus it becomes considerably more unfair to defame them than it would be if they had the opportunity to respond. This is why in most countries a dead person cannot be held liable for a criminal offence, for example, because they are not in a position to defend themselves.

Secondly, because human memories are very malleable. It's very easy to put a very different spin on the memories people have of someone's life, for example, simply through convincing rhetoric. Thus, if you defame someone's character when they are dead, you might also be robbing people of their own memories of that person.

Of course, it's not taboo to tell the demonstrable truth about the dead, even if the truth is less than flattering, it's only when it becomes an opinion or a malicious action that it becomes taboo.
 

Lev The Red

New member
Aug 5, 2011
454
0
0
i think that rule is bullshit. i don't care if someone is alive, just died, or been dead for 100 years. if someone was a piece of shit, i'll call them out on it.

i have a friend that goes to penn state who i saw on the news at joe paterno's candlelight vigil. i called him the next day and gave him shit for mourning the death of the piece of human debris that covered for a guy who fucked kids.
same thing with pope john paul. my grandmother wouldn't talk to me for a few days after i said i was glad he died.

 

Thaluikhain

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
15,460
1,151
118
flaming_squirrel said:
This train of thought always brings me back to Jade Goody.

She was a pretty horrible person and the media jumped about in outrage at her blatant racism and lack of any redeeming features, then she gets cancer and suddenly she's seen as the second coming of Jesus, even more so post death.

Wound me up no end.
Argh, yes, some splinter church was literally[footnote]as in literally "literally", not I'm 17 and say "literally" for emphasis literally[/footnote] calling for her to be made a saint.

Presumably she'll be called upon by racist BB stars in time of need. Danielle Lloyd seems to be doing alright for herslef nowdays, Jo O'Meara rather less so.

...

Hang on, if people come back from the dead as ghosts, is it alright to speak ill of them then? If so, I've going to tell off this NZ ghost I know who keeps offering me ghost chips.
 

II2

New member
Mar 13, 2010
1,492
0
0
Mostly because they're restless and hear everything. Do YOU want an omipresent, omniscient hate figure in your life running interference?

For serious though:

I'm no authority on the subject, but I'd guess it's a social behavior with religious origin (to say nothing of what passes for tasteful). Without getting into other major religions, I think for Christianity, it partly stems from the notion that once a person is dead, their judgement in the afterlife IS the penultimate final word on their character and the matter is no longer for the hands of the living.
 

Schtoobs

New member
Feb 8, 2012
73
0
0
Because we don't want to think we'll be ill-thought of after we're dead... so we condemn the act while we're alive. Personally, I'd rather you wait until I'm dead to verbally bash me. I'd die happy if I thought I'd left any kind of legacy that gave people reason to speak of me at all once I'm gone. Not that it matters.

"That Schtoobs guy, what a prick."
 

Xanadu84

New member
Apr 9, 2008
2,946
0
0
Because the cons are possibly hurting those who are grieving. The pros are...umm ...

They're dead. Your criticism won't spark a change in them. You don't achieve anything. Its taboo because its a pointless thing to do unless you are a jerk.
 

BiscuitTrouser

Elite Member
May 19, 2008
2,860
0
41
Aidinthel said:
Because no matter how terrible a person they were, they're dead now. It's over, and there's no point in stirring up bad memories. By continuing whatever feud you had with them after it ceases to have any purpose, you're only making yourself look bad.

Though of course it's really more of a guideline than a completely hard rule, and I think it's mainly intended to apply to personal disputes rather than, say, mass murder. No one cares if you call Hitler an asshole, but stop badmouthing your estranged grandfather, ok?
This is really well said, the first paragraph especially.

When someone is dead there isnt any point insulting them. You arent "getting them back" for anything since they are dead, so you cant even call petty revenge. It just seems like a stupid infantile way of attempting to "even the score" by hurting people who liked X rather than X himself. X is dead now. The bad feelings are gone, and the people who liked X dont need you to tell them everything that was wrong with him. Its unneccessary and it makes you a jerk.

Its cool if you hated X and told him so, but that was between you and them. Dont bring others into this and dont attempt to "win" post humously. Its beneath people.

KiloFox said:
i see no problem with it... if they were an asshole in life then there's NO reason they shouldn't be remembered as such... i hat funerals and epitaphs because they lie about so many people... you could go to a funeral of a completely despicable person and there'd be some priest (who most likely didn't know the deceased) talking about "what a wonderful person they were" and blah-de-blah-de-blah... when i'm worm-food i want people to talk about me how i really was... not about just good things or even some shit that's made up...
No ones stopping you from remembering assholes as assholes, i encourage you to do so. However to voice that opinion is pointless as they are dead, meaning the people you would be targetting wouldnt be the bad person (whos now dead) but everyone else. It looks petty and mean to attempt to change how people think about someone with insults after they are dead. Let everyone remember the person how they felt they should be. You wouldnt want someone to try and tell someone else how they were "meant" to remember you as, they saw you as the person you were to them and remembered accordingly. Leave it at that.
 

Zorg Machine

New member
Jul 28, 2008
1,304
0
0
I think it's bad to speak ill of the dead. Not because of religion or anything but because what's done is done and it is over. We could talk about how Gandhi was incredibly racist but it doesn't really serve a purpose. We could keep complaining about grandpas homophobic beliefs but why spoil the good memories?

Naturally every once in a while a giant asshole wil appear who actually gives so many bad memories that you don't speak of their good parts because people don't want to spoil the villain look.

People like heroes and thinking about people as good without them around to tarnish their good name is therapeutic.
 

Chewster

It's yer man Chewy here!
Apr 24, 2008
1,050
0
0
I guess I'm in the minority here since I've always somewhat understood why people feel that way, but really, it never made that much sense to me. I once made a crack at the (then) freshly kicked Anna Nicole and my roommate told me to not speak ill of the dead. My response: "What, did you know her personally? She was a joke while alive. Why the sudden need to forget this?"

Frankly, people can say whatever the hell they wish about me after I kick it; by that point, I'll have much bigger problems.

Lizardon said:
God I love the Chaser.

Zorg Machine said:
We could talk about how Gandhi was incredibly racist but it doesn't really serve a purpose.
Well, it messes with the accuracy of the history books for one. Frankly, I have no problem remembering that he was a horrible racist at times. That doesn't negate the good things he did. It just paints a more accurate picture of his life.
 

Zorg Machine

New member
Jul 28, 2008
1,304
0
0
chewbacca1010 said:
Zorg Machine said:
We could talk about how Gandhi was incredibly racist but it doesn't really serve a purpose.
Well, it messes with the accuracy of the history books for one. Frankly, I have no problem remembering that he was a horrible racist at times. That doesn't negate the good things he did. It just paints a more accurate picture of his life.
As I said, people like heroes. People also like pretending that the world is white and black and there are many who would brand people like Gandhi as a terrible person if they were told about his racism at the same time that they were taught all the good things he did. People are not very rational most of the time so why shouldn't we indulge the youngsters in a simple world until experience teaches them otherwise?
 

Chewster

It's yer man Chewy here!
Apr 24, 2008
1,050
0
0
Zorg Machine said:
As I said, people like heroes. People also like pretending that the world is white and black and there are many who would brand people like Gandhi as a terrible person if they were told about his racism at the same time that they were taught all the good things he did. People are not very rational most of the time so why shouldn't we indulge the youngsters in a simple world until experience teaches them otherwise?
So? It is up to the individual whether or not they want to brand him as a terrible person. Purposely muddying the past just leads to bitterness and disillusion once the truth comes out. Whitewashing history (for lack of a better term) is dishonest and misleading and, as far as I am concerned, wrong. For example, Mother Theresa still has a positive reputation despite all the hypocrisy and bad she did in her life, and it is thanks to this selective reporting of history that this opinion is allowed to dominate. Sorry, but fuck that.

As I said, explaining the bad one did doesn't negate the good and people should be able to decide for themselves. If anything, exposing the bad one did makes the person seem more human, since it is nigh impossible to find anyone who is 100% perfect anyway.

EDIT: And I don't know what you mean by youngsters. I don't have kids, but if I ever do, I don't intend to lie to them about historical figures. If they want heroes, they can read some Spider-Man comics or something.