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Speaking Ill of the Dead
stillhouse
dbalthasar
Yes, Antonin Scalia is dead, and his death comes with timing that makes one side-eye the gods' sense of humor. And the usual things are being said on all sides, including people complaining that "speaking ill of the dead" is archaic and doesn't apply to really bad people and anyway those people are dead and can't be offended anyway.

To speak ill of the dead doesn't affect the dead. It affects their already-hurting kin, their friends and families, whose feelings about the deceased may be as complicated as anyone's, but are overlaid by the shock and grief and all the complexities that come with losing someone to an apparently utterly unanticipated death.

We don't speak ill of the dead at least in these first few hours and perhaps even days so as not to hurt people who are already raw and hurting. We don't speak ill of the dead so as not to be cruel ourselves. Surely we can manage that.
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You make good points.

And though not that way inclined most of the time, I too side-eyed the gods on the timing of this.

It's just... There was a good deal of rejoicing on my Twitter feed, couched in moral terms like 'the dead don't need respect" and "bad people must be berated regardless" and - no. I don't agree. I'm not arguing that one can never point out that people who have died have done horrible things that hurt other people, just that the first few hours after an unexpected death many not be the best time to choose. The critiques are more effective later...

And, yeah, the timing! Going to be an interesting year, for sure!

" The critiques are more effective later.."

Exactly! I don't fully subscribe to the whole "...nil nisi bonum" idea, but respect and good manners should at least delay negative comments for a decent interval. (And I betray my age by using old-fashioned concepts like respect, good manners and decency, I know. In the era of Twitter, apparently, all such baggage is tossed overboard in favor of stream-of-consciousness id dumps.)

I'm not saying I was grieved to hear he was gone, but I kept my reaction private, as is fitting.

Yes, all of this. And it's worth noting that Jim Obergefell's public response (via Twitter, per the New Yorker) was that of a gracious winner: "Thank you for your service to our country, Justice Scalia. Condolences to your family and friends."

Ah, now, that's pure class. Lovely.

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