Celebrity Death Pool - thumbs up or down?

This is a topic that bubbled up on the Tabloid thread (I think) which I find I have strong feelings about.

I've never liked the Death thread, but never felt deeply about it. When it first appeared, if memory serves, there were objections, but Erin weighed in in its favour and it went ahead. While I have very fond memories of Erin, and her kindness to me, I don't think she was always right about everything.

For years I've ignored the thread; having been reminded of its existence I now find I dislike it intensely. On the thread itself I suggested an acceptable change would be to keep it in house. Several of us have cancer, any of us could be hit by a bus. Why not speculate on which Shipmates will die this year?

That idea was not well received, which I expected. But if there is something I wouldn't want others to do to me, or my friends and family, should I do it to strangers? "Celebities will never read the Ship, so can't be harmed by it," seems a weak excuse to me. (And if the Hosts really believed that I don't think they would be as cautious as they are about libel issues.) I'd like to see an end to this "game", in case I haven't been clear.
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Comments

  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    I'm pretty sure it was Erin who started the first Celebrity Death Pool thread on the Ship, lifting it from some other bulletin board. This is not to say that because Erin instituted it, it must continue - just a clarification.
  • There was a "life" thread once, IIRC. You made a list of people you hoped were still alive at the end of the year and got points for those who were. The older they were, the more points you got. IIRC my list included several of the actors in The Archers.
  • @Ruth, you are more likely to be right than I am. There was discussion about the idea originally, which I think came to an end when Erin said emphatically, "I like it, so it's staying". She was great, but she could be scary.
  • I've never been in favor of it. I think it's crass.
  • Those currently involved on the ship and in the topic and on the topic are the only ones who matter about it. I pretty much wince everytime someone who can't contribute is raised to decide something.

    Erin, whoever that is, is not relevant to deciding something today. And I also don't care to be told that I should care about someone I never interacted with.

    The relevant parties to discuss this are those who are involved on the topic, those currently responsible for running things and perhaps other shipmates but the latter, not so much.
  • Those currently involved on the ship and in the topic and on the topic are the only ones who matter about it. I pretty much wince everytime someone who can't contribute is raised to decide something.

    Erin, whoever that is, is not relevant to deciding something today. And I also don't care to be told that I should care about someone I never interacted with.

    The relevant parties to discuss this are those who are involved on the topic, those currently responsible for running things and perhaps other shipmates but the latter, not so much.

    Erin is relevant because her ethos defines much of how the Ship currently works.
  • Most of the time we don't know who Shipmates are. In the past we have had people who were related to celebrities, it is not impossible that a current celeb is lurking because they have an interest in faith.

    However I think the main point is all about loving your neighbour. If we wouldn't be happy if we, or our friends and family, were treated in a certain way, should we treat others in that way? Whether we have met them or not?
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited February 27
    I just think it’s a bit of quirky, edgy fun.

    To do it on the Ship? No - that’s different territory. You don’t play games with the predicted death dates of people you know.

    In my view it’s the same as the difference between comedians performing satire about various politicians and celebrities and doing it about their husband/father/son/friend. The first is acceptable, if often edgy. The second crosses the line to unkind and/or cruel.
  • I don't really have a horse in this race - I have no idea who is, or is not, a 'celebrity', and most of the names on CDP are probably unknown to me. My interest in popular culture is minimal...

    So, I don't go there. I've visited once or twice, found it rather not to my taste, so won't go there again. We all have the same choice, and it's the same with TV programmes you don't like - use the OFF button!
  • Wot BF sez.

    After all, only few of us are celebrities ourselves, and the Ship is 'irreverent' and satiric, as far as I can tell. Look at it as some sort-of-Christian online version of the 'Private Eye' magazine. I don't mind the Celebrities Death Pool at all, although I haven't signed up very often myself. But why shouldn't we poke fun at the rich and famous, and some rather good people as well?

    A tad of subversiveness won't go wrong here, I find.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    You could replace it with 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' (same thing minus the guessing). Since - and before - the days of Dr Donne we have always wanted to hear of the death of anyone we might have heard of.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    The Celebrity Deathpool is a bit crass, but Hell is an entire forum devoted to crassness so obviously there's a place for crass threads on the Ship.

    There is also a death thread in All Saints that no one seems to object to. It doesn't involve prediction or competition though, so I guess those are the main objections, not discussing the deaths of celebrities per se.
    I have no idea who is, or is not, a 'celebrity', . . .

    According to the rules:
    2. The definition of "well-known" is that their deaths will be reported by at least one major news outlet. Examples outlets include (but are not limited to) The Guardian, CNN, IMDB, VeloNews, The Beano, The Austin Chronicle, and the Church Times.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    edited February 27
    Those currently involved on the ship and in the topic and on the topic are the only ones who matter about it. I pretty much wince everytime someone who can't contribute is raised to decide something.

    Erin, whoever that is, is not relevant to deciding something today. And I also don't care to be told that I should care about someone I never interacted with.

    The relevant parties to discuss this are those who are involved on the topic, those currently responsible for running things and perhaps other shipmates but the latter, not so much.

    Your argument makes a lot of sense to me - I process something similar when contemplating organized religion. Which, honestly, makes me admit that much of my thinking about the functioning of the SoF discussion boards all stems from how Erin communicated her vision and how that vision completely won me over¹.

    When most of us refer to Erin, we do so based on the strength of her ideas - which are still relevant. But that does mean we should be able to wrangle based on those ideas, not just appealing to WWED blindly.

    With that in mind, I can understand the Celebrity Death Pool as a mechanism to acknowledge the black humour which functions as a coping mechanism to some people. For [waves arms]... reasons. I would prefer that we do not censor them based on our personal preferences. "Public persons" are recognized as a different class of consideration based on their essential existence in the public sphere (I think even legally), and thus have somewhat less expectation of privacy in many regards.

    ¹ It's why I'm still here. Period.
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    edited February 27
    Some of us who have posted on CDP consider our guesses as the 'kiss of life'. Personally, it feels nice at the end of the year to find out that my thirteen celebrity guesses are still alive. I almost feel as if I had some sort of hand in their remaining on this earth.

    I do have to admit to sometimes posting people I'm not fond of. But, in that case, it's not so much wishing them to die, as to announce to whoever cares that those folks are scoundrels and not very nice.

    I vote thumbs up, and for anyone who is troubled by the thread, just don't click on it. And many blessings to them, especially @Robert Armin who is in my prayers.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Those currently involved on the ship and in the topic and on the topic are the only ones who matter about it. I pretty much wince everytime someone who can't contribute is raised to decide something.

    Erin, whoever that is, is not relevant to deciding something today. And I also don't care to be told that I should care about someone I never interacted with.

    The relevant parties to discuss this are those who are involved on the topic, those currently responsible for running things and perhaps other shipmates but the latter, not so much.

    @Robert Armin and I, who talked about Erin, didn't raise her to decide anything and didn't tell you to care about her. We were both just providing the history of the game's existence on the Ship.

    I share @RooK 's thoughts about how Erin's vision shaped the Ship and how I think about it. I'd add that many of us old-timers knew her, loved her, argued long and hard with her, and were devastated when she died before she was 40. My own sense of humor is dark enough to note that on a Ship's version of the CDP, her death would have yielded 61 points to anyone who had her on their list.
  • SipechSipech Shipmate
    I am a contributor to the Celebrity Death Pool. I would regard it partly as a news thread and partly discovery, particularly if the person may not have been well-known to me, at least. That can then lead to following up on a person's life & work, where otherwise there may have been no prompting.

    The main concern I have at the moment is the user who has headed up this year: Baker. I think the Celebrity Death Pool is their only contribution of the Ship and they've made reference to running other pools on other websites, which makes me wonder at their motivation. I did wonder whether their (over)-keenness may have been a factor in fewer participants this year. There are also regular 'score updates' which I don't recall happening when The Rogue was looking after it and which emphasises too much the 'game' aspect of it.

    I would be in favour of keeping it, but not passionately so. If it is distressing to some Shipmates, then I would far rather be sensitive to their well-being than to ignore their feelings for the sake of something unimportant.
  • Pangolin GuerrePangolin Guerre Shipmate
    edited February 27
    I vote neither yea nor nay on the question. I've posted on CDP only by way of posting information, or looking in to see whether someone has escaped my notice. I don't compete.

    A story, which I've told here before.... In 2003, there had been in very rapid succession a number of high profile celebrity deaths. One Saturday morning I was in my local pub for brunch, and one of the owners sat with me, and we had our usual chat about current affairs, local gossip, etc. He mentioned, not so jokingly, that a pub celebrity death pool would be a fun idea. I thought that he was joking. He wasn't, and when I was in the following day, there was already a grid set up (you'd buy squares) behind the bar. I thought that it was in poor taste, and one of the waitresses and I thought that it was not only in poor taste, but also bad juju, but didn't say anything, and it proved to be quite popular. It went on for a while, and the pot was getting to be quite large. Finally, there was a winner - "Jack", a regular who was a retired obituary editor(!). (For the Canadians here, the winning entry was Robert Stanfield.) "Jack" was quite pleased, graciously bought a round, etc. Jack died within eight weeks.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    I have been involved for most years since it started. I have seen this debate occur sporadically.

    There are death pools in other places. So it is not a completely original idea (doesn't mean it is either good or bad). Should it be in the Ship? Surely we are a place of unrest. That means that ideas that are slightly edgy - like this - should be totally encouraged.

    The fact that some people are uncomfortable with it should not be a reason to close it. Otherwise we would never have had the ship as it is today.

    Whether Baker is the person who should be running it, and whether s-he is running it properly - that is a valid question, and I think there are concerns to be raised on that (as have been mentioned above).
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    I can't say I care much about it either way. I used to join in. But I post here because I wanted to address the assumption that we would all be offended if we were on the list. Probably many people would but my humor is dark enough that if I were famous enough to qualify and someone predicted my death, I'd be mildly amused and nothing more. So don't assume people are not doing something that they don't want done to them.
  • EigonEigon Shipmate
    I watched the Death Pool for a few years, and then joined in.
    My take on it is that it's harmless fun, though I do appreciate that others on the Ship have different views on this.
    I work in a secondhand bookshop, and when Michael Jackson died, we put all the books we had about him on display - we sold 24 books, which we hadn't been able to sell for some years previously. So now we have a "Death Spot" on the front counter, where we display books by or about a famous person who has died. For what it's worth, none of our customers have ever complained.
    The thing about the Death Pool is that nobody is profiting from the death of any of the celebrities, whereas the bookshop is profiting by selling the books.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Regarding one's nearest and dearest, I was flabbergasted to discover that D. had merited an obituary in the Daily Telegraph, and in a spirit of light-heartedness I posted on the CDP thread that it must mean that he was by definition a "celebrity". Maybe just as well I didn't find out he was a celebrity until after he'd died.

    Sadly he would have garnered far too many points (37). :cry:
  • Kind regards re than Piglet.
    Having been surrounded by death of those I love, I've felt being my friend is itself a kiss of death sometimes. The death pool topic, is it mocking death just a bit? And what's the trouble with that again?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    As he did with a wide range of topics, from going to bed with his mistress, to the profundity of this and his Hymn to God, my God, in my sickness.
  • Indeed - my point being that Donne found it possible to mock Death, which @NOprophet_NØprofit finds OK.

    As do I, though I'm ambivalent as regards CDP...
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I'd not call it mocking but can't think of the alternative.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    I'd not call it mocking but can't think of the alternative.

    "having fun with" could work.

    Despite being the person responsible for this topic rearing its head on the tabloid thread, I have no serious opinions on it. As a matter of historical note, I will mention that the first time I ever heard of a death pool was in the Dirty Harry movie appropriately titled The Dead Pool.

    In that film, a group of debauched members of the glitterati participate in a dead pool for money, but things start to go awry when some of the listed celebrities start getting murdered, thus casting suspicion on the players.

    The thing is, the players are all supposed to be understood as morally suspect for playing the pool, with one of them, played by Liam Neeson, justifying himself with a nihilistic speech about how "death is all around us" anyway. Of course, Dirty Harry, representing good old non-eurotrash American values, has to come in and straighten 'em all out.

  • Can't know the motives of the participants unless each person confesses. My take is that people have different reasons. Some celebrate the life, some mock death itself, some mark death, for some it is an extension of celebrity gossip columns and some delight in particular deaths.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited February 28
    Gee D wrote: »
    I'd not call it mocking but can't think of the alternative.

    'Putting Death in his place', maybe?

    Sorry - tangent...

  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    Gwai wrote: »
    I can't say I care much about it either way. I used to join in. But I post here because I wanted to address the assumption that we would all be offended if we were on the list. Probably many people would but my humor is dark enough that if I were famous enough to qualify and someone predicted my death, I'd be mildly amused and nothing more. So don't assume people are not doing something that they don't want done to them.

    With you there. I have sometimes been tempted to add myself to my own list. Except that I wouldn't qualify (not being famous. And I think being famous in death doesn't count).
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    ...For years I've ignored the thread; having been reminded of its existence I now find I dislike it intensely. On the thread itself I suggested an acceptable change would be to keep it in house. Several of us have cancer, any of us could be hit by a bus. Why not speculate on which Shipmates will die this year? ...
    The smart money is on us, Robert!

    I have never cared for it, and have, accordingly, ignored it. It has always made me uncomfortable. (And I loved Erin, too.) That doesn't mean that I'd ban it, but I wouldn't be sorry if it vanished.


  • That's the funny thing @Rossweisse. If my name appeared on a ship list I don't think I'd mind. If yours did I'd be outraged!
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Likewise, @Robert Armin!
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    I'd not call it mocking but can't think of the alternative.

    'Putting Death in his place', maybe?

    Sorry - tangent...

    I think that's better than both "mocking" and "having fun with".
  • "Putting Death in his place..." just made me laugh. Which is, I suppose, the point. "Oh, just fuck off, Mr Death." (Or would that be De'ath?)
  • rhubarbrhubarb Shipmate
    It is one thread in which I choose not to participate as I feel it is in poor taste. Maybe we should have a whole of ship vote on its future.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    "Putting Death in his place..." just made me laugh. Which is, I suppose, the point. "Oh, just fuck off, Mr Death." (Or would that be De'ath?)

    I’d quite like DEATH to contribute to the thread - he’d have plenty to say. Of course only cats and children can see him, so maybe he’s here already - we’d better ask a cat to check.


  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    rhubarb wrote: »
    It is one thread in which I choose not to participate as I feel it is in poor taste. Maybe we should have a whole of ship vote on its future.

    Deciding a list of topics acceptable for discussion by popular vote seems like a sure-fire way to kill any kind of conversation.
  • Indeed. Not a Good Idea.

    Shipmates who do not want to visit CDP need not do so. Pass on by...
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Agreed.
  • AuthorDivaAuthorDiva Shipmate
    rhubarb wrote: »
    It is one thread in which I choose not to participate as I feel it is in poor taste. Maybe we should have a whole of ship vote on its future.

    Well, my vote would be to close the thread and shut down the celebrity death game. I find it terribly insensitive and disrespectful, as well as gross.
  • Although, as I said, I have misgivings about the thread, those are my personal misgivings. I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to censor it, ban it, throw it on a burning pile of politically unacceptable threads, etc. In fact, I think that I might start participating very actively. Just because. I find my interest in corpses suddenly piqued.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    I'll confess to some confusion here. Are we actually talking about deep-sixing a thread because some posters disapprove of it (which is an altogether different issue from avoiding discussions capable of getting the Ship into legal hot water)?

    The thread could be seen as crass, even offensive; I get that and can see why some might object to the existence of the thread itself, but then I can see why people might object to many more threads than this on this site. Thing is, though, participation or skimming or even skipping anything whatever on this site is entirely voluntary and up to individual users, every syllable. What's wrong with leaving things as they are? Those who dislike / disapprove of the thread, its content, its existence (take your pick) are perfectly free, as they've always been, to steer clear of it.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    Crœsos wrote: »
    rhubarb wrote: »
    It is one thread in which I choose not to participate as I feel it is in poor taste. Maybe we should have a whole of ship vote on its future.

    Deciding a list of topics acceptable for discussion by popular vote seems like a sure-fire way to kill any kind of conversation.

    And, in fairness, allowing public votes on things does not have a good reputation at the moment.

    We would end up keeping it if it were renamed Deathy McDeathFace.

    There are threads on the ship I find ridiculous, tasteless, stupid and meaningless. There have been threads I find utterly tasteless. I handle this by Not Opening Those Threads. Or Boards.

    So Suck It Up*. Because some of us like to celebrate the lives of people who have passed, or at least acknowledg them. The game is a way of doing this. The humour might be dark, but at least we are not discussing the right colour or shape of a piece of cloth to wear. That would be sad.

    *This is not an Official Quaker Response. Yet.
  • I remain intrigued by this difference. Why are many of you comfortable with speculating about the deaths of strangers, but not about Shipmates? When does someone stop being my neighbour?

  • We would end up keeping it if it were renamed Deathy McDeathFace.
    .

    Oh please do this.

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited March 1
    I remain intrigued by this difference. Why are many of you comfortable with speculating about the deaths of strangers, but not about Shipmates? When does someone stop being my neighbour?

    The CDP is edgy, dark humour. Thumbing a nose at death.

    Edgy isn’t comfortable.

    Speculating on shipmates time of death tips over from edgy and darkly funny into unkind and thoughtless. It’s a fine line.

    Celebrities may be my neighbours in Jesus’ sense of the word, but they are not my friends or shipmates. In the unlikely event a celebrity did happen on our CDP I imagine they’d file it alongside all the rest of the media attention they get, whether they found it humorous on not would depend on their sense of humour.



  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I tend to find the word 'edgy' a bit meaningless, as it's very overused these days, and often brought out by people as an 'I'm cooler than you' card to defend racist/sexist/ableist jokes (not here on the ship, but elsewhere). Better to define something's purpose. My observations of the 'Celebrity Deathpool' threads in recent years is they are now used more to comment on, and express sadness about, the death of a celebrity - a way of marking their death, and their life. The points thing doesn't seem so much of a focus these days. I sometimes forget the original purpose of the thread, and I will go to this thread when I hear of a celebrity's death, to see what people have written, to feel the shared loss. I do sometimes wonder if it would be better labelled as what it actually is, rather than having the guise of an 'edgy' game.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    It is as edgy as the back of a dulled butter knife.
    Motives vary for participation, there is no "is".
  • PigwidgeonPigwidgeon Shipmate
    fineline wrote: »
    My observations of the 'Celebrity Deathpool' threads in recent years is they are now used more to comment on, and express sadness about, the death of a celebrity - a way of marking their death, and their life. The points thing doesn't seem so much of a focus these days. I sometimes forget the original purpose of the thread, and I will go to this thread when I hear of a celebrity's death, to see what people have written, to feel the shared loss. I do sometimes wonder if it would be better labelled as what it actually is, rather than having the guise of an 'edgy' game.
    We now have the General Good-byes And RIPs thread in All Saints, and I'm trying to remind myself to post there instead of the Death Pool. (Somehow the General Good-byes And RIPs thread has turned into a discussion of some song I've never heard of, so I hope it gets back on track.)
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