Speaking ill of the dead

it’s a tricky one - there have definitely been a few instances on here over the years where a celebrity has just died and in the subsequent thread about it someone will barge in with something that feels a bit inappropriate and tiresome. often they’re making a fair point but in a fairly crass way and i’m not a fan of the notion often held that “actually you’re forgetting that this person who has just died did a bad thing and therefore should not be mourned or remembered fondly for anything else” as if everything is strictly black and white. i understand the importance of making sure someone’s flaws aren’t erased in death and it obviously depends on the severity of those flaws, but it can often feel like those rushing in to remind everyone are seeking a bit of a “gotcha” moment which feels quite tasteless (these flaws can of course be raised in a tasteful and respectful way as well, just very often aren’t)

in the event of a divisive political figure like this where their very career was based around how they used their power, their positions and actions and opinions etc it’s obviously much harder to separate, and like others the death of Thatcher didn’t have me wishing for a respectful mourning period before sticking the boot in.

in summary i don’t know.

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It’s probably more obvious now with social media I guess. I’m pretty sure in the old days you’d get someone mouthing off in the pub or at work about someone famous who’d died, but back then, only those people in the room would hear it, rather than anyone, including the person’s family, potentially.

Was thinking about this the other day, and I think an important distinction is that McCain chose and profited from a life in politics, whereas the theoretical close relative you mentioned (probably) didn’t.

Public scrutiny and criticism comes with the territory, in life and death. And if that person profited at the expense of others, then its even more justified?


It’s manners mainly. You don’t need to wade in and act like a dick before the body is even cold.

Give it a couple of days and then furnish as many hot takes as you need.

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Trump and May both die in a horrific hand-holding-gone-wrong incident. What’s a respectable time to wait before saying your piece?

  • Go for it…
  • 24 hours
  • A week
  • A month
  • A year
  • Never speak of them again

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Both have done nothing but wrong.


mccain was 81. the people who wanted to criticise him had plenty of time to do it while he was alive, and will have plenty more time once the body is cold. they’re only criticising him now because he’s in the news for having just died, and that’s what i’m objecting to.

(btw just to clarify, the hypothetical in my previous post wasn’t ‘imagine people criticised your recently deceased lovely old nana’ so much as ‘imagine you’re a relative of john mccain’)

Mainly hope he’d realised he’d been a horrible person on his deathbed, but that’s unlikely.

Had the same thoughts about thatcher tbh. Completely stopped when it turned out she’d demanded a state funeral and had lived the last 20 years of her life in an apartment at the Ritz. Sometimes spitting on someone’s grave is all we have.


seems to be more of a kickback against the frankly embarrassing eulogies that people give to the likes of McCain than a willingness to speak ill of the dead generally. these days


a lot of the people criticising him had relatives themselves who suffered because of him/his policies.


then i assume those people had been speaking out against him already and aren’t just taking advantage of his death being in the news?

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sorry incandenza covered this much more eloquently.

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probably, but who’d listen to them

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I’m sure we can all agree he was a shit pilot


i feel like that’s something we aren’t going to be able to demonstrate without taking a large, random sample of comments about him and assessing them for context and sentiment (which i’m not going to do and i don’t expect you want to either!). i’m sure some of them are, some of them aren’t.

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fwiw i don’t care either way. do bad things in life, people will remember them when you die.

yes, i’ve no issue with it from the point of view of the deceased (i mean what do they care, they’re dead). i just don’t think it’s very fair on relatives of high profile people that when their beloved aunt or cousin or whoever passes away lots of people who’ve never spoken about them before particularly choose that moment to develop an opinion on them.

When a public figure passes away you tend to find out things you didn’t know before about them. For people like Ray Wilkins and George Michael this meant finding out they were properly amazing lovely people. For mccain it’s, well, not. Obviously wouldn’t ever say anything to a friend or relative of his and I’m not even on twitter but if someone’s been a dickhead in life that shouldn’t be whitewashed after their death when they are the focus of a lot of attention for the sake of manners


Also have no problem with people bringing balance in when people who’s output I’ve enjoyed have died (Bowie, Mark e Smith etc). Don’t think we need to deify the dead tbh, should be an opportunity to reflect on who that person was, good and bad


When Thatcher died a Facebook ‘friend’ of mine, posting about how cruel it was to revel in her death as her children could see it. Obviously I’m not friends with Carol or Mark, but one is a racist (the other probably is too) and the other is an arms dealer. So fuck them.