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    I think the possibility of hurting or upsetting other people is significant enough to make an easily avoidable pointless activity one I wouldn’t do. If there are 1,000,000 equally good places to picnic and I instead choose 1 location where my activity could potentially hurt/upset a person, with no added value to doing it there…I think it’s a fair application of the rule.

    I think you’ve now added enough new values to the scenario that this has substantially strayed from the original question.



    But when it’s being posed as an ethical hypothetical, I do think it is important to not pander to normative values too much.

    But what if it’s a potential reality? There would be no transgressive benefit in having a picnic on someone’s grave, it wouldn’t benefit anybody, except that the people having the picnic would have a nice cool seat.

    If it is a potential reality then it is variable and personal. the problem with that normative approach is it starts imposing on the personal, emotional aspects of humans, and I would contend in a way that’s not healthy.

    The idea that wanting to picnic on someone’s grave amounts to having a nice cool seat is presumptive. The idea that it is disrespectful to the dead is presumptive. And, while you didn’t seem to mention it, the idea that the family and loved ones of the dead are adversely affected is presumptive. These are all things that situationally may or may not be true, but realistically, I doubt any of us can verify how variable it is because we operate more out of normatively here than actual investigation into how people are impacted.

    Is more harm caused by the act itself, or is more harm caused because our built up sense of propriety leaves us vulnerable to feeling injured by impropriety itself? The latter is disconcerting because we are introducing potential for harm for little to no appreciable reason. In the case of graveyard picnics, it seems very easy to push that aside because it is avoidable and because it is uncommon.

    But let’s use a different example. The customary division between men and women. This is quite variable across cultures. Separate bathrooms, separate change rooms, separate baths/ saunas/ steam rooms, separate clothing options. They also vary across time of course. Here in Canada, it was once common to have separate bars/ pubs or separate entrances and sides to them. Rules on the segregation varied.

    But what purpose to these separations actually serve? While people have answers, what they often don’t have is a lot of actual evidence. What if the biggest violation in altering or removing these separations was to our sense of propriety? In a culture where there was little cause to challenge these norms, that question wasn’t that important. Yeah, there are men’s rooms and women’s rooms and that’s fine. Who cares?

    But over the years, the need to challenge these norms has increased considerably. And this question of whether defending the status quo is a matter of actual need/ value or merely preserving propriety becomes very important, yet extremely difficult to disentangle. And the conflict that arises can be quite significant. In some cases we even end up with cases where people are being assaulted for mere perceived violations of the separation.

    I know I am meandering, but what I am getting at is relying on norms to govern behaviour has some questionable utility. I am sure there are cases where it is valuable, but I can also point to cases where it is causing harm. I would suggest that erring on the side of caution would be to rely on such norms as sparingly as possible, or at the very least to invest more in keeping perspective on what norms prevent actual harms or promote actual good versus those things that are preserved largely because we like how easy it is to navigate familiar customs.



    I would agree with you Kristina. But this is a deontological moral law. So it is always relative to the person to frames the law (even if they will that others also follow that law). In that sense, if you do have a good reason to challenge it then the law wouldn’t follow.

    I guess what I am getting as is I don’t think I could form a rule that specific in this scenario because of the underlying variability. If I were going to ascribe to a deontological system, I’d have to be careful about what rules are actually useful or else I’d run the risk of rules that are excessively arbitrary or are conflicting.

    The rule set you presented, I would question if it even applies in any specific instance of graveyard picnicking.



     are heavily outweighed by the consequences to the bereaved family. In other words it is difficult to imagine how “someone feeling empowered to have a picnic in place x when a million other places are just as convenient at the cost of hurting the bereaved and violating a solemn space” could contribute in any way to the maximising general social happiness and the diminished of suffering.

    The problem is, the suffering of the bereaved and what causes it is variable. It may seem like a simple issue to resolve when we consider that no one is likely offended that people don’t have picnics on their loved one’s grave sites, whereas at least some (many?) people are offended when people do have picnics on their loved one’s grave sites.

    But when we look at it in terms of what we normalize, I think problems do emerge. There is a narrative to grief, bereavement and paying respects embedded in various cultures, but what those things look like for individuals can actually be very different. I would contend the sort of normativity we see surrounding bereavement and paying respects does cause harm. Do we challenge that by having picnics on graves? Perhaps not. But when it’s being posed as an ethical hypothetical, I do think it is important to not pander to normative values too much.


    • This reply was modified 12 hours, 47 minutes ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 12 hours, 46 minutes ago by  Davis.



    So when someone makes a joke, you’re digging around to see if they “consciously identif[y]” as woke or pc? Or perhaps you expect them to identify themselves as such for you? Or is it when you see someone woke or pc and they aren’t making a joke at that moment, you assume they have no sense of humour? What, do you get to know them to figure that out? What a bizarre statement. Do you ever actually listen to yourself?

    What I mean is that on a Venn Diagram, the circle of Wokeness and the circle of Humor have zero points of intersection.

    Yes, I understood the literal meaning of your words. I was trying to give you a chance to back up statements which seemed to be steeped in irrational bias. In light of you response here, your preference is to double down, I take it. That is your prerogative.



    Kristina, I have never seen anyone who consciously identifies as Woke or Politically Correct have an ounce of humor in them whatsoever.  And they certainly couldn’t do a better lambasting on Mr. Cobb than he did on himself with his posturings of purity.

    So when someone makes a joke, you’re digging around to see if they “consciously identif[y]” as woke or pc? Or perhaps you expect them to identify themselves as such for you? Or is it when you see someone woke or pc and they aren’t making a joke at that moment, you assume they have no sense of humour? What, do you get to know them to figure that out?

    What a bizarre statement. Do you ever actually listen to yourself?



    Unseen and Fellow Unbelievers, While any attribution of chosen character traits to immutable traits is bigoted, I say that making bigots the butt of humorous derision is a much better approach to dealing with bigotry than Politically Correct/Woke/Cancel Culture “hate speech” codes and mob violence.

    Making bigots the butt of humorous derision would be labelled as woke and politically correct. What are you, new?



    I don’t know that I’d qualify those as ethnic jokes. The third is the closest. The second is more of a language joke. The first only feels like an ethnic joke to the extent you could hear a Jewish stereotype delivering that punchline as a sort of dry, almost dark humour.

    But even if we include those jokes, I don’t think the issue is that we can’t separate racism from jokes about ethnicity; it’s that we can’t separate the jokes from racism.

    Sometimes a joke is a joke. Sometimes there is a lot more behind it. As humans, we’re sensitive to what’s unspoken, but also as humans, we don’t always read unspoken cues correctly. When the topic at hand happens to be something you’ve faced a lot of legitimate judgment, bigotry and prejudice for, there is a lot of tension in not knowing why a person said something. You can ask them why, but both a person who was just making a joke and a passive-aggressive racist or racists who are trying to feel out how much they can get away with will say similar things much of the time. “It’s just a joke.”

    And sometimes even when the joke itself isn’t that bad or is maybe harmless by its content alone, it calls up things that are painful. Or it calls up a response to patterns of racist behaviour that person has encountered before. Or it feeds into patterns of being singled our or alienated. When you experience that sort of thing over a life time, and it touches on much deeper, much worse issues, it can get into some complex mind fuckery and warped social dynamics.

    I guess what I am getting at is if you want to tell jokes, there isn’t going to be a way to do it by divorcing the subject matter from broader social context.



    I wouldn’t sit on somebody’s tomb and have a picnic, unless it was about 2000 years old.

    Why would you eat from a 2000-year-old picnic? You’d get sick, Simon.



    I don’t think there is a specific answer that works. If my family memorialized that way, I’d prefer people use the space for joyous things.

    Still, cemeteries are for the living, ultimately, and the living are pretty inconsistent in terms of customs, expectations, sense of propriety.

    There is a cemetery near where my mother and brother live. People often use it as a place for walks/runs/bike rides and other things not related to mourning or paying respects. It’s Vancouver, so I really wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been used as a filming location*. It seems to be accepted well enough that people can enjoy the space provided they aren’t being disruptive or disrespectful.

    I was in Guayaquil and a cemetery was marked as a site of interest to see; however, the impression I got was of a far more solemn place with much greater reservations. They said I could go in as long as I didn’t take pictures, but I didn’t do more than look from the entrance because I was dressed like a tourist (more or less) at the time and it seemed out of place.

    I have family in Bavaria and when I was young we visited a cemetery out in the country (where we have family buried, though it’s not like I personally knew any of them). Could be wrong, but despite the heavy ties to Catholicism, I didn’t get a sense of deep sanctity about being there. I feel like having a picnic there would have been more of an affront because why wouldn’t you have a picnic in the places people have picnics? Why be a weirdo?

    *It has:



    Pretty good movie even though Heston is in it. I can’t ever seem to forget he is acting. I don’t know, did he get buried clinging to his musket?

    I’ve mostly forgotten his NRA and political activism legacy. To me, strangely, he’s a sci-fi actor and little more despite probably being more famous for Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments. Everything beyond Planet of the Apes/ Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, and The Omega Man is sort of noise to me. I think these movies were filmed during the time he started making his political flip, but that’s before my time.

    When I am Legend (movie) came out, it made me think about Heston and The Omega Man. I realized I had almost the opposite issue with Will Smith, who will always be first and foremost the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to me despite the fact that he’s actually done a lot of A-list sci-fi films.



    A couple of restaurants in Vancouver have their Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana certification. I’ve been to one and the pizza was quite good, but my understanding is in order to retain their official recognition, they have to rely heavily on imported ingredients. Even with perfect preparation, it’s difficult to believe they could quite match the quality of those who can source fresher ingredients locally. Maybe the difference is only marginal, but I feel like there are other intangibles that just don’t quite cross over.

    The best pizza I have ever eaten comes from a little pizzeria in backwoods Kentucky. It’s not the pizza itself, which was good, but likely wouldn’t win international fame or anything; it’s a set of conditions that add to the experience that I couldn’t possibly hope to replicate. It’s not just about emotional connection or nostalgia. I dunno; it’d take an essay to get at the heart of it. But it does make me think about how and why I enjoy food and dining experiences.




    Totally different from the “Whataboutism” fallacy, even if the words “what about” were used.

    Person A: X is an issue it makes sense to feel guilty about.
    Person B: How can can you highlight X as an issue worthy of guilt when Y and Z are worse?

    That is, approximately, the formulation you are being criticized because one of two things is very likely true:

    1) You’ve established a fallacious connection between X, and Y and Z. Guilt over X is not valid or rational because guilt over Y and Z has not been expressed. That is whataboutism.

    2) You’ve introduced irrelevant considerations to colour the conversation such that X is diminished next to Y and Z. While this isn’t, strictly speaking, a fallacy, it is irrational in this case.

    If it isn’t one of those two scenarios, then it is a bizarre tangent. Frankly, that strains credibility when you ended with “Don’t all of these deserve guilt more than someone saving themselves and others through vaccination?” Who said they didn’t? Who? It’s not even implied.




    There was no Whataboutism there, (especially considering the origin of Whataboutism.) I’m not distracting from pre-existing woo by posting the story on “vaccine guilt.”  I’m saying that both exist and are both dangerous nonsense.

    That’s not how whataboutism works. Obviously you wouldn’t be trying to shift focus from the very claim you yourself are making with ‘What about..?’ diversions.

    The person who wrote that article raised a concern. You made diminutive comparisons in the form of “What about [irrelevant tangents]?” It’s difficult to see that as something other than whataboutism.




    It’s not silly or deadly. It doesn’t reduce the number of vaccines being given at any point in time. It’s just an emotional/ empathic response to a prioritization system that may leave people in greater need exposed to greater risk for longer.

    True, “vaccine guilt” doesn’t decrease the number of vaccines, but neither does it increase them, when increased availability is what’s needed most. Hence, “vaccine guilt” is a silly waste of time and emotional energy.

    This makes no sense. Of course it doesn’t increase them and obviously more vaccines are needed. The article makes no sense if the author assumes either premise to be false.

    It’s not a waste of time to consider how health care is managed and distributed. Even if vaccine distribution plans remain the same for the remainder of this pandemic, there will need to be further preparedness planning and training for possible future pandemics or emergent health crises, and that planning should be informed by what did and did not go well this time around. It’s not a bad thing for people to be tuned into that and thinking about it, or about inequity in general.

    And if “vaccine guilt” intimidates someone from getting the vaccine, then “vaccine guilt” is deadly, both for the person not getting the vaccine and those around them, and above all, those treating the person for the disease.

    There is absolutely no reason to believe this intimidates anyone from getting the vaccine. At most, they might let someone else take higher priority for it, but there’s no evidence of that either. Even the author of the article got the vaccine when it was made available to them.

    My empathy takes the form of self-care that benefits others and the form of outcry against senseless holding up of progress.

    On the first part, perhaps, but on the second point, not in this case. No one is holding up progress here.

    Whether others should feel more guilt or not is largely irrelevant to examining one’s own actions and privileges.

    Very true. I’m not refusing a vaccine and a chance to protect myself and those around me because of someone else’s misplaced guilt. I just hope they get over their guilt, seal up the immunity phalanx, and call for bureaucracy to get out of the way.

    Who is refusing the vaccine in this scenario? The guilt stems from a belief that it’s needed by everyone capable of getting it.

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