Why is it taboo to speak ill of the dead?


New member
Aug 4, 2009
I always figured it was born out of respect and fear of the dead. I imagine its got a lot to do with ghosts and religion and that sort of fear has naturally ran off on people despite or because of their believes/views.

Zen Toombs

New member
Nov 7, 2011
DarkRyter said:
Because apparently Ghosts will fuck your shit up.

Ghosts be dead. They have no inhibitions. They'll eat your babies.

All of your babies.

Honestly though, the main taboo seems to be speaking ill of the recently dead.

Boris Goodenough

New member
Jul 15, 2009
For people like Steve Jobs and Hitler you can defame them all you want, but for regular folk who made small mistakes here and there, they don't really deserve getting heat for mistakes past.


New member
Nov 21, 2009
That one guy who died attempting armed robbery in a busy gun store* was kind of a total idiot. And a douche.
(*No really, I got that one from the Darwin Awards.)

Dying doesn't make someone a better person, or even a much different person- just a deader one.
Being dead doesn't make Steve Jobs a better inventor any more than it makes Bin Laden a better humanitarian.

It still bugs me to this day that almost everyone who before said Michael Jackson was a child molester now ignores those claims. I'm not judging here on whether or not they were right, but it's not like his death would've un-molested anyone. Consistency, people.

Now, dying FOR something, I'd get. If someone were to live a lifetime of villainy and scumbaggery only to die taking a bullet for a passerby, I might think twice about them as a person. But mostly dying doesn't do anything to someone except make them less able to do more of whatever they did in life. Dying doesn't make you a hero, or even anything special- lots of people do it all the time.


Regular Member
Sep 18, 2020
This just about sums up my feelings for a good eulogy. No need to respectful at all when you can make'em laugh.



New member
May 19, 2011
I don't know if it's taboo as much as it's if the person had good qualities/times/moments/etc, it feels better for an individual to focus on those and not the negative things. For instance, when MJ died, people basically forgot everything he did bad and focus on his music and the good he did because it made them feel better to do so. As with most actions and reactions to death, it is usually a selfish, self fulfilling thing.


Premium member
Sep 10, 2009
angry_flashlight said:
^Sums up my feelings completely. ALL HAIL THE LORD AND MASTER!
Aw you beat me to him, but yeah I'm with Foamy on this one. If a person in life was a complete dick and just plain unlikeable, then why should I respect them after his/her passing? If you want to be respected in death make sure you're at least respected in life first.


New member
Jul 29, 2011
depends on the dead person, Hitler was a racist maniac, see, I don't care about saying that, but I wouldn't say something bad about Gandhi, and finally some people are a grey area, people who you would insult but some people would beat you to death for it, I could (but I am not and won't) say something just awful about Michael Jackson or Amy Winehouse, or that other singer from the bodyguard (sorry, can't remember the name) but many of you would destroy me.


New member
Jan 16, 2012
Superstition could be part of the reason. Fearing that a spirit or some other supernatural force might do something bad to you if you say something bad about the deceased. There may also be that "too soon" factor. If you say something bad about a person that recently passed, it might make you seem disrespectful or insensitive, even if that person was a jerk.
Personally, I prefer not to speak ill of any deceased person unless I'm just giving the facts when it's called for.


New member
Aug 6, 2010
Saladfork said:
The most likely reason I can think of is because people feel it is in bad taste to insult somebody who can't defend themselves.

What do you guys think?
Thats it really.

Hey everyone, Whitney Houston was a drug addled joke.
She can't exactly come back from the dead and rebuke me, so that is why it is in bad taste.

Extrapolation: is it bad taste to talk badly of someone that is not there to defend themselves? Yep, also bad taste.
You know that TimeLord guy? His profile pic gifs are silly!


New member
Jul 27, 2011
I never really followed that-- my friends and I were making Whitney Houston jokes just today. My favourite burn of all time was when Christopher Hitchens said about Jerry Falwell, within a week of Falwell's death, "If you gave Falwell and enema he could be buried in a matchbox."


New member
Feb 13, 2012
Is it really tabu in our modern society? I never experienced that. Of course a a while after their death if you knew them it might feel wrong (though not necessarily) (or, duh, during the funeral say) but in general?
I know that this is an old Roman custom/saying never to speak ill of the dead but I didn't think that this idea was still alive...

Of course it makes sense in a way 1: people have allot of respect for death as a general issue
2: as mentioned above the dead can't defend themselves (but neither can people if you say bad things about them behind their back)


New member
May 25, 2010
I don't it's taboo to speak ill of the dead. I think it's taboo to speak ill of them shortly after they've died.

I guess there's not much of a difference, but maybe it's 'cause people with a differing opinion of the person might be in mourning still, and it would be like rubbing salt in the wound?