Is it OK to (metaphorically) dance on someone's grave?

This thread over in the pit has raised a few eyebrows, including mine, over the concept of “celebrating” a person’s death. Mind you, this was an evil man (or allegedly was, anyway…all I know about the guy is what was posted, but I have no reason to suspect otherwise), so the fact that his evil influence is no longer directly with us should bring relief to everyone.

But the man’s death itself? Something really disturbs me about that. The thread opened with a caveat of “don’t give me that ‘all lives are precious’ crappola,” although I’m taking that to mean that the thread was intended to vent and didn’t want to open a debate on grave dancing. So I thought I’d do it here.

Me, I’m sad when somebody dies. I get upset when ambulances go by my office, which they do at least once a day. I’d like to think that we all start off the same from birth: that each one of us is capable of being either the best or worst of what humanity has to offer. Hence, when a murderer gets the chair or an aging despot finally bites it, I’m upset because of all the potential that person had went to waste. Hell, you have to admit Hitler was a great orator: imagine if he’d put his talents towards rebuilding Europe in the 30’s instead of bringing it to ruin. :frowning: What a waste.

I guess this was driven home for me when I saw Star Wars: Episode I; the merits of the film aside, it was freaky to see Darth Vader portrayed as an 8 year-old kid. Or, to quote Bugs Bunny on Witch Hazel: “She may not be pretty now, but she was somebody’s baby once.”

I guess it’s human to rejoice at somebody’s death, especially where somebody’s been personally hurt by that person’s actions. I don’t think that makes it right, but I understand the inflammation. Although somebody inthis sticky made a good point that hate is hate, even when we’re talking about a dead bigot. Might account for why there’s centuries-old warfare in places like Bosnia, even when the people who caused the original problems turned to dust long ago.

This is really only going to turn into a problem where people have blatantly differing views on the person. Say if President Dubya died in the near future; it wouldn’t surprise me to see at a pit thread appear where someone decided to dance on his grave. There’d inevitably be disagreement over whether that was appropriate: a lot of people genuinely like the President; others might not care for him, but have a problem with someone showing that kind of disrespect to a dead president. Or, not quite the same thing: some people were spitting on Vietnam vets when they came home. (Me, I couldn’t spit on anybody.)

But, I’d like to hear from everyone else: is it ever OK to celebrate a person’s passing? Is it appropriate to express publically? Does it qualify as “hate speech”?

Is the world a better or worse place for the deceased’s:

a. Having lived?

b. Having died?

(yes, I was releived when Nixon died (and LBJ, for that matter) - being a heathen comes in handy in such situations)

and, last I heard, the “spitting on vets” was an U.L.

I’m not particularly anxious to see anyone die, but if people dying is part of God’s intelligent design then Richard Nixon wasn’t a bad choice.

Does it qualify as hate speech? No (well, it does if it would have qualified as hate speech on other grounds of course, but the mere fact that it’s expressing glee at the death of a human being doesn’t make it hate speech).

Is it ever OK to celebrate a person’s passing? Only, I think, if that person was utterly evil or something (I was not, for instance, born when Hitler died, but had I been, I think I would have celebrated it and not felt the beginnings of a twinge of conscience). For the most part, being happy that another human died is crass at best, and expressing it publicly is worse.

If a human being’s existence was a cause for suffering, where is the embarassment in being grateful to the point of happy that that human being, and his or her potential for causing suffering, is dead?

I seemed to be the only person in that Pit thread that expressed any general sense of remorse that a spark of life was now extinguished. I admit that my lack of belief in anything like an immortal soul contributes to my feelings in this regard, but I think most people I meet of all backgrounds usually argue that life is something special no matter whether it’s eternal or temporal.

What disturbs me about lines of reasoning as expressed by happyheathen is that it diminishes a person’s life. Is the value of a life really just measured in how it impacted other people? Can we really say that the only value inherent in a life is how that life affects society? I don’t think most of us treat people that way. People are not just a means to society’s ends. I think there is value in a person’s life beyond simply how that person affected people other than himself or herself. It is intrinsically valuable. This person’s death might have positive and negative consequences for various people, but life is important to the individual, and the individual is the only person that really matters in that regard, IMHO.

As for dancing on someone’s grave…I saw the old SNL sketch last night with an 80-yr-old Belushi dancing on the graves of his former castmates as he was the last one living, according to the premise of the sketch. Darkly ironic indeed. If I believed in new age mysticism like Karma, I’d say there’s none worse than celebrating a death that way, actually or metaphorically. At the very least, I think it speaks to the worst of our characters as human beings to do so.

The problem I see about dancing on another’s grave is that you’re not really proving anything.

We all die sooner or later. Tha fact that this guy is dead doesn’t prove his opinions, values or actions wrong. Not does dancing on his grave make you right.

I guess I’d much rather he got shown up as an ignorant hate-monger while alive. Dying kind of stops you getting the last word on him.

Er, typo. Nor does dancing…


I think most people knew he was an ignorant hate-monger when he was alive, FG. I see nothing wrong with celebrating the fact that he’s no longer around to hate-mong.

My only regret is that it wasn’t Fred Phelps.

Reminded me of Elvis Costello’s take on Margaret Hilda Thatcher: First chorus from ‘Tramp the Dirt Down’ on ‘Spike’:

Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the Lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
long enough to savour
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down

I don’t know if meeting a (deceased) perceived poisoned mind with metaphorical hate gets us very far but I suppose it releases a lot of frustration and anger. Maybe that’s what it’s about – after all, don’t we (all) ‘use’ death to explore our own broader emotional states ?

I was quite please when on of the bullies that tormented and raped me killed himself, clumsily, and probably suffered in the process. I don’t think I am a worse person because I am pleased that this nasty worthless excuse for a human being bettered the world by killing himself. His death also convinced me that suicide is not always wrong. Dennis Miller once said that he thought God welcomes and cheers the rapists of children that chose to kill themselves rather than rape again. Could be. I have no clue what happens after death and care not at all what happens to him, but I am very glad he is not around this world anymore.

I’ll say here what I said in that thread. The difference is that he is wrong and we aren’t. He hates for no reason, we hate because he has given us every reason in the world to hate him.
Moral relativism has gone way too fucking far when you claim that those of us who are glad there is a little less hate and ignorance in the world are as bad as a hateful bigot who preached violence.

I will say that I’d have been far happier if the bigot in question would have lived to renounce his bigotry, quite vocally and for as long as possible, persuading as many budding bigots from following in his earlier hoof-steps as possible.

However, I’m glad that his death was not caused by assassination, and I think everyone to whom the OP makes its appeal will agree.

So I think we can be content with humanity having to endure the presence of one less enemy.

Not being much of a dancer myself i prefer to do cartwheels and belt out a good old Weeee!!!

There is nothing wrong with taking joy from someone’s death. There IS something wrong with expecting others to.

Our reactions to the death of another person are among the most personal and individualized emotions we face.

I was happy when Nixon died. I’ll dance a jig when Clinton dies. I was relieved when Kurt Cobain died. I was sad when Peter Capstick died. I felt nothing at all when Ann Landers died.

In my personal life, I have lost family (both those by blood and by choice), acquaintances and enemies. I’ve felt what I believe to be approrpiate emotions ranging from rage to agonizing sadness and devastation to indifference to relief and joy at those passings. The thing is, I would never expect anyone to share my emotions at any of them.

I guess it boils down to a phrase that I find both stifflingly inadequate and blindingly true: “There is no justice, only death.” It’s a fact of life that death will happen. It’s also a fact of life that every person impacted by a death will feel differently about it. None of those feelings are wrong.

I agree, but considering the kind of monster William Pierce was, I say it’s extremely unlikely he’d have reformed had he lived longer.