Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Feb 20, 2013

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. We'll get started at 2; just posting some food for thought in the meantime.


First: A housekeeping issue. We are moving to Thursday! After an unplanned switch to Thursday a few weeks ago, many of you wrote me privately or in the chat that you liked that day better. Last week I did a casual poll that confirmed those findings. So. We will chat on Wednesday today and next Wednesday to give everyone a chance to get their bearings. But the week after that, it's all Thursday all the time.


Read this thought-provoking and sad article by my colleague Fredrick Kunkle. Synopsis: A Virginia couple's 15-year-old son committed suicide in 2011. Now the couple wants access to his Facebook account, believing that it will help them understand the reasons for his death. Privacy laws currently prohibit this, and the family wants these laws overturned.


What do you think? Should parents be allowed access to their deceased children's social networking pages? What about spouses? Siblings? How much privacy are we allowed after we die?


Read this fascinating article about a Seattle artist who was well-known for his Hitler-themed art. Everyone assumed that the artwork was ironic. But then postings on the artist's Facebook page, and his participation in a White Nationalism podcast, revealed that he actually believes that the Holocaust is, as the author puts it, "a deliberately exaggerated myth."

Should the author's personal beliefs, as he has discussed them online, influence the display and/or purchasing of his artwork?

A) Yes. If the artist is a Holocaust denier, then his work is no longer art, it's racist propoganda and should not be celebrated.

B) No. Art should be viewed seperately from the artist. Even if he intended it seriously, the viewer can still interpret it ironically.

There have to be more choices than just A and B, and I'd love us to articulate some of the nuance.




(Which is actually an addendum to Second and Third): if you're going to send in comments on both of the topics, can you submit them separately? Some of you are sending in your thoughts on both together, and it's going to turn into gargantuan elephant-sized posts).

where is the discussion? there is nothing but the 4 postings from the host

Because, as the postings from the host -- c'est moi -- indicate, this chat does not officially start until 2 pm. I just like to post some discussion topics early so that everyone can have a chance to read the articles and think about things.

Lucky for me -- it's 2 pm now!

I am really torn on this. On the one hand, I advocate having a friend who would disable my facebook account, etc, in the event of my untimely death. On the other, I lost a family member last year, and I see how comforting his electronics have been to his family. Not Facebook per se, but having his ipod and being able to listen to his favorite songs, or see his texts, or watch the movies in his netflix queue has really helped them to feel close to him after their loss. So I can see where seeing all the love someone gets on their birthday, or funny posts between friends could be a comfort to a grieving family. But then I can also see where dumb facebook arguments and real or imagined transgressions could just make things worse.

Thanks so much for this. I think that all of the things you mention are sweet -- and probably healthy -- ways to feel close to someone who has died. Almost nobody would thing that someone else watching movies from their Netflix queue is a violation of privacy. Your family member would probably be pleased to know you were watching every season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in his honor. But would he be pleased if he knew you were digging through his private Facebook messages?

If you subscribe to the "no such thing as bad publicity" theory, than the neonazi angle has been a boon for this artist. The message for up-and-coming artists may be that standing out in a crowd by being outrageous is a way to make a name for oneself. Established artists may opt to keep it superficial and avoid rocking the boat. I know Blake Shelton cost himself some fans, unnecessarily, when he tweeted about running over a turtle last year.

Well. It's one thing to run over a turtle (and I say this as a vegetarian who can't even set mousetraps) and it's another thing to say that the Holocaust was exaggerated and to believe in White Nationalism. That is a whole level of crazy that I can't imagine anyone bandying about, even if it made them a millionaire.

Not really a question, but a thanks. I'm changing jobs and next week's chat will be my last, as I will be much busier at work. I discovered this gem of an hour in the spring of 2012 and has been the highlight of my week at work (I'm SUPER bored at work, hence why I got a new job). So anyway, thanks! I'll try to pop in when I can, but as noted recently, this chat is way more fun when you can follow it live.

Oh, we'll miss you! (I don't just say this generically. The chat software allows me to see your IP addresses, so even though it's anonymous and I don't know you're names, I do "recognize" regular chatters from time to time.) Hope you stop in as your new schedule allows. I mean, your new job has to allow you to grab a sandwich from time to time...

This case seems clear: minor child so of course the parents should have access. In the case of adults, much less so.

I actually don't think it seems completely clear. I struggle with the go-to "because he was a minor" argument. I think it works better if the child is 9 than if the child is 17. At some point, children become just regular people, rather than extensions of their parents. It seems arbitrary for this to happen on an 18th birthday. But where does 15 fall along this continuum? I'm not sure.

As a parent, I can't imagine anything worse than losing a child except losing a child and not having any answers regarding how it came about (I can't really say not having answers why because I think it is actually rare that we can know *why* something of such profound impact happens; even if it is due to sickness or an accident that could have been prevented, we will always wonder *why* this happened to us, to our child, etc.). The privacy laws cannot, in my mind, overshadow the fact that this account was held by a minor who still lived with his parents. With the proof that the child has died, I cannot understand how Facebook can deny his parents access to his account. Even if the account does not shed light on why he committed suicide, it would still hold things that will allow his parents to better know who he was as a person. I think every parent has the right to know their children and respect them for who they are and for whom they have become as they have grown up.

It's interesting that you preface this with, "As a parent," and I'm wondering how many people who feel as you do are parents themselves -- and how many people who disagree are childless.

I think this says more about our society's fascination and elevation of anything "ironic" more than anything else. When did the default response to something many would consider offensive become "oh he must be doing it ironically"? And if you don't get the irony, you are uncool, or not with it, etc. I think the whole ironic culture is just another way to keep some people on the outside, and situations like this are the result.

I've seen more and more examples recently of ironic things people didn't realize were ironic, or real things people didn't realize were real. Truly, I fear we're coming to a place where the world's default setting is irony. We live in confusing times.

Funny that you recognize people. I 'm a regular here, but when you switch to Thursdays, I will have a new IP address because I work at a different location on Thursdays. Who knew that you could "see" us like that?

Would you like to insert a secret code into your first mesage of the Thursday chat? Find a way to use the phrase "dinosaur pajamas," and I'll know it's you.

Couldn't you designate one emergency contact who would be authorized to access your account upon proof of death? It could be a spouse, parent, whomever but this would function like the backup email account that yahoo wants in the event that you forget the answers to your security questions.

Yes, you could, and there are companies that do just that. However, this is something that would be more likely for some people to consider doing than others. It's probably not going to occur to a teenager.

I think it's a no-brainer that parents and guardians should have access to a minor child's Facebook account. As for adults, that's a much trickier issue. Part of me wants to say that if you put it online, you should expect it to go public, but part of me thinks it's like a diary. Isn't there some kind of service that will "burn" your online presence after you die, like if a family member promises to literally burn your paper diary in the fireplace? My personal belief about the Holocaust denier is that, if I had actually ever heard of him before, I would immediately move him to the "racist propaganda" category now that I know. I also don't see Roman Polanski movies or Mel Gibson movies--obviously, I have a lot of trouble separating the art from the person, and I don't go in for that "interpretation" thing, at least once you know the truth. I'm a person who loves to make fun of Hitler (a la Mel Brooks), but with this new light shed on it, it just does not work for me.

I'm glad you bring up Roman Polanski and Mel Gibson. I think those are interesting comparisons, though I would argue they're not exactly the same. Mel Gibson isn't making biopics about Hitler. You can watch Braveheart and think it's a terrible movie or a good movie, but one thing you probably won't think about is whether or not it's Holocaust commentary. It seems a little less fraught than the artist in discussion here. (Passion of the Christ, now, that might be a different story).

I'm wondering if there's some difference in the parents feeling entitled because of the suicide? Like if their son had died in a car accident, would they feel entitled to access his facebook account? I know there's really no privacy online, but I think there's a difference between going through the old letters grandma left behind (knowing that they were there and she could have thrown them away) and going through someone's private online history. I mean, if I were to die, I'm not sure I'd want my parents reading private messages on facebook. I guess I'm coming down that I don't have a problem with their seeing the things he made public (because ostensibly he intentionally made those public), but don't like that they may see his old messages. (Of course, this is also due to the fact that I can't figure out how to delete old personal messages in facebook!)

I'm not sure that "entitled" is the right word, though it's easy to see how they might feel more compelled. They thought their son was happy, and he wasn't, and now they think they might have a key to understanding what happened.

I definitely prefer Thursday to Wednesday (too many good chats, more work on Wednesdays, etc.)...but what about Tuesday? Tuesday is a dead zone to me on wapo chats - I don't even come to the site. Can that be an option?

Sorry, my lovelies. As much as I would like to have a 100% consensus on this issue, I don't think we're going to get it. The thought behind Thursdays was that a lot of people were already used to coming to the site then, because they'd been regular followers of the late Celebritology. It's a more seamless switch than to Tuesdays.

I will tell you that science has confirmed that we aren't really 'adults' til we are more like 25. Which makes my argument that people shouldn't vote til they are at least 30 (or more better, 40) more valid. ----old coot

Does that mean you'll also be paying for all my clothes and food and housing and stuff until I'm 40, too? Sold!

I'm not a parent, but I think the parents should have access to their child's FB account after the child has died -- if the child is 12 or the child is 19. (My feelings about info post-death are: WHO CARES who reads my stuff, my letters, my [boring] diaries, my FB messages after I'm dead? I'M DEAD. Won't matter a whit to me.)

No, it might not matter to you -- but it might matter a great deal to the people who are left behind, who will interpret whatever you've written in ways you might not have intended it to. I think that's what people are concerned about. Not, "I am worried about me, the dead person," but "I am worried about my parents, still on earth."

It's not web specific, but my cable company (FIOS) is givng us Showtime free thorugh the end of May. I also missed my ride this morning watching "Batbabe: The Dark Nightie". (I love a good movie title)

Thank you for this important news.

I'm of two minds about that. As the deceased was a minor, I feel like the parents should be able to gain access to anything of their son's following his passing. I understand Facebook's initial decision since the account did not belong to the parents, but I think further review should allow them access. However, as someone who has lost someone to suicide (before Facebook), I really doubt the parents are going to find anything on their son's Facebook account that will give them what they want. If they find postings that may shed light on his "reasons," those reasons will torment them differently, but constantly, the way not knowing the "reasons" did. I wish them luck in their quest and comfort in their grief, but at the end of the day, I don't think Facebook is really who they are mad at.

Thanks for this perspective. I'm sure you're right, re: the different but equally unbearable kinds of grief that would come with knowing vs. not knowing.


Re: Charles Kraft. I am one who does not judge art or performances according to the life of the artist. I believe it is fine that people find his work ironic, even if he probably sees his work as tributes to Hitler. This reminds me of "The Producers" were the screenwriter wrote a tribute to Hitler that the audience found hilarious. I believe an audience should enjoy a work if they find it enjoyable.

What would really be a mind-bender is if a bunch of art critics got together and said, "Nope, sorry Bub. You might -think- you don't believe in the Holocaust, but the person who made this art -clearly- hates Hitler. Thanks for your contribution."

Last week you asked if we share the same brain as we had the same thoughts on a dog show. Since then, I have thought that would be a fascinating idea. Although it has been done in several science fictions writings, it would be interesting if your brain would take over my body as I slept. Which is fine with me. I am sure my body leads a far more interesting life when you run it than when I get it. Although if you would, please cut back on the Chunky Monkey ice creams, You're making me fat,

We are still sharing the same brain, because the second book of my YA series (I'm still writing it now, literally nobody else has read it) just MIGHT have a plot point similar to this.

I find it difficult to separate the art from the artist when I know something about the artist/author that conflicts with a personal belief. For example, I recently learned that Orson Scott Card is a major homophobe. I read, and loved, 'Ender's Game' but knowing what I know about the author, I can't get excited about the movie and hestitate to recommend the book (or at least provide disclaimers). This doesn't make Ender's Game any less awesome but it changes how I view the artist. I'm not sure if the upshot will be that authors and artists will be more likely to keep their radical beliefs to themselves in order to sell their work and is ignorance of an author's personal beliefs better or worse than finding out something that conflicts with the consumer's beliefs?

I'm really, really glad you brought up Orson Scott Card. Ender's Game is in my top ten favorite books of all time. It also includes some dialogue containing slanderous homophobic put-downs, along the line of, "You're so gay." When I first read the book, I assumed that Card was just mimicking the way that 10-year-old boys talk to each other. But with my new knowledge about his position on gay marriage, I can't help but read those scenes differently.

1. I'll follow you to Thursdays! 2. If you want your Facebook (or email, LinkedIn, etc) to be accessed after you're dead, you need to provide that info to people who will potentially survive you. I'm traveling to some risky places for work and I make sure to have an updated list of passwords to Facebook, etc so they can be disabled in case I die. It's a sad story, but I would like to have privacy, even in death. If I didn't choose to tell my family about something "big" when I was alive to explain it, I don't want them to find out about it without me there to defend or explain myself. 3. A. (If somehow you already bought the stuff thinking it was ironic, I don't think you have to toss it, but I'd have a really hard time displaying it. Maybe you can sell it and give the profits to a charity?)

Sell to charity! Everyone wins! (Except the person who buys the Hitler art. Really, they don't win at all).

Did I give my answer away? A) DO NOT BUY!

Well, now the issue isn't so much about buying, but about what to do with items one has already purchased. Or how museums or galleries should explain his work. Can you still say that Hitler's dead eyes evoke the unwillingness of people to see the horror around them, if that's not what the artist intended?

Over in the Reliable Source chat, there's a lot about Scott Brown's "Bqhatevwr” tweet, whether he meant "Whatever," and what autocorrect will and won't catch. This is an earnest question: why on earth does anyone leave autocorrect on? Surely having your meaning slightly garbled by typos is better than having your phone decide that you really meant something entirely different. But since Web Hostess chatters are a thoughtful and technologically literate bunch, if someone can come up with a good reason for not disabling it, it's someone here.

Here's my perspective: Up until a few months ago, I had a Blackberry. I was one of the last holdouts, solely because I liked how blisteringly fast I could type on it. On my iPhone, my fingers can still move that fast, but the texts come out disastrously. It's more than "slightly garbled," it's "every word is a mess." And I'm a magnificent, 90-word-a-minute typer with very good accuracy. The problem is not me. It's the keyboard. Enabling Autocorrect does mean that I have to make sure to read over every text before sending it, and that I usually have to go back and re-correct one or two things. But without autocorrect, my texts would be in Urdu.

yes, but legal entities have to pick some age. I agree about 9 being different from 17, but the law has to apply at some definite point.

Yes, the law has to apply -- but parents should show some discretion. For example: They could rightfully supervise a play date (and all conversations within the play date) between two five-year-olds. But they would likely not tag along for a trip to the mall between two sixteen year olds. They would recognize that the 16-year-olds get to have some private conversations, private thoughts, etc.


Is there a way to apply this to Facebook?

Alex Petri's feelings are hurt, and so are Gene Robinson's. Please don't switch to Tuesday.

Actually, I learned today that there are as many Thursday chats as there are Wednesday ones. But y'all apparently aren't going to those.

Late last year, my boyfriend's brother died. Another brother has essentially taken his account over and, frankly, I hate it. "Scott" keeps "liking" pages. I don't want his name to constantly pop up and jolt my boyfriend. It's best if they close his profile down. Thoughts?

I agree. They should either close it down, or have Facebook preserve it as a memorial page (Facebook can, and will, do that), which would allow friends to leave thoughts and memories for each other, but would not allow someone else to behave as if they were the deceased brother.

Which is why sometimes we shouldn't know more about people than they show us. I'm thinking more - in today's day and age - about something like facebook. You were friendly with your neighbors and/or kids parents, etc, and you had a nice time and you hung out and all. Then you start reading their facebook postings - which probably for the most part are fine - but some of them might be CRAZY posts, and you just didn't want to know about that. I think for the hitler artist, if he's a denier, well, then probably I wouldn't ever enjoy his art. BUT there are plenty of composers that were supporters of hitlers, but that made beautiful music. it's SO HARD to separate things out, ya know? SOMETIMES we don't need to know more (which in this day and age is - um - impossible). But sometimes we do. Did I totally dodge the question properly?

Excellent dodging. But I think what you were basically saying is, "It's complicated." Which it is.

I quit reading Michael Crichton after "Rising SUn" -- that "epilogue" ranting about how the Japanese are our enemies was so startling and off-putting that I didn't want to give him any more of my time or money.

Wait -- he was ranting in his own voice, as Michael Crichton? It wasn't, like, a character's rant?

Sometime I can, but sometimes I can't. I remember seeing Chris Brown years ago and thought he was incredibly talented. Now I wouldn't watch him cross the street. I can still watch Mel Gibson movies, though. I think Mel's crazy and has some heinous beliefs, but he never beat a woman up that I know of. Or did he? At some point he went so off the deep end I think I lost track.

It is understandable. At some point, there was some nastiness between Gibson and one of his exes, but I can't remember what format it took.

For every slightly embarrassing autocorrect that's sent, there are at least 10-20 more than get fixed to the correct word you meant. Re-reading a text takes seconds and I'd rather fix one word every so often, than fixing multiple words every text/email. Also, I don't send lengthy emails via phone. If it's a long response, I wait until I have a computer.

Yes, this.

Isn't this the point of the show Do No Harm? And I believe it may have been cancelled after only one airing.....although I kinda liked it, clearly as any particpant in this chat should have

It's sooo much better than "Do No Harm." I promise.

But why did there actually have to be real people helming those ship?

We have finally reached a point in our chatting history in which I have no idea what we're talking about. Is this a joke? A previous reference? What am I missing?

I recently went on a few date with a lovely woman, and neither of us really felt a connection. During the course of things I learned her full name, googled her, and the first three or four hits were fairly racy pages with her full name attached to them. Nothing horrible, just adult-themed. She's winding up her final semester at grad school and will soon start job searching. Her/our field is failry reputation-based, and my opinion is that if I had a candidate with similar qualifications and a more Mr. Rogers online presence, I'd choose that candidate over her. Do I let her know what I found by googling her name, or let her go on her way? I imagine it would be an easy fix for her, just removing her last name from the accounts.

Oooh. I'm going to throw this out to the chatters. My first instinct was to say, yes, tell her, in a kind and not creepy way. But then -- she's a grown woman. Surely she must realize what comes up when she's Googled? Surely she thought about this when she elected to allow her full name to be affiliated with these Web sites?

Ack, as a parent to an almost 11 YO, I am thinking I need to be around MORE as he's a teenager! who wants them left to their own devices! I was a teenager once! Really... That's the reason my sister still has a FULL TIME nanny around even though her son is a jr. in high school. She wants someone AROUND.

Your sister is crazy. I think I understand where she's coming from -- but what does she think is going to happen in a year and a half when her son goes off to college by himself? He's going to go berserk, and not know how to set any limits for himself.

What?!! Not cool.

Why? I have no idea what it means, or where you're from.

His incompetence at art will be laughed at years in the future. Or else he's the next Joaquin Phoenix and we'll enjoy his "documentary" in a few years.

I did wonder this. Whether it was all an elaborate piece of performance art. But if that's the case, it's one he's been working on for years, because his friends say he's been like this for a long, long time.

"I remember seeing Chris Brown years ago and thought he was incredibly talented. Now I wouldn't watch him cross the street." Ditto. This also applies to Rihanna. I so wish she'd make different choices so that I could actually enjoy her songs. I just cringe when I listen to them now.


I found out my ex was cheating when she didn't log out of her Gmail one time. I read through scores of messages between her and her paramour, and every possible why/where/how/why/why/why question was answered for me. With each new revelation, I really did feel worlds emptier - and that was a big feat, considering how crappy I already felt. I don't know how I feel about the privacy laws generally - I do think parents should be able to access a minor's account, I suppose - but I agree with the other poster that reading the messages could reveal everything while still satisfying nothing.

"Reveal everything while still satisfying nothing." This.

It's a weird read. At first some jarring statements in the first-person-narrated novel seem like they can be the narrator's personality, but the narrator is so obviously intended to be a hero, that the racist statements are troubling. But the epilogue is written in Crichton's voice and signed with his name.

I am going to have to take a look at this.

Even if she didn't, not getting a job she's applied for and otherwise qualified for is a good way to teach her that actions -- gasp! have actual consequences.

Except that she might not realize that not getting the job was due to her online presence, unless a friend took the time to tell her. Because it's not like a prospective employer is going to call her up and say, "The job was yours until I saw your boobies online."

Me again. None of her usernames contain her full name, and I don't see her name anywhere on the pages. I figure she entered them in the registration process and forgot about it. She also went college -> grad school, so she's never done the job search thing before. For whatever that's worth. And now I feel like a cradle robbing cootie monster.

Hmm. Hmmmmm. Are these photos of her? (Are you sure its her?)

Leave it alone. None of your business, none of your concern. She'll figure it out or she won't. Even if she's open to career advice, I'm guessing she doesn't want to hear it from some guy she met online and didn't feel a connection with.


OK, those reasons make sense, I guess. I, too, clung to a BlackBerry as long as my workplace would let me because typing on that keyboard is so much easier than on a touchscreen. But about the third thing I did with the iPhone is turn the autocorrect off. It's not that I don't make typos, and the phone will still correct them or offer me options, word by word, IF I ASK IT TO. I suppose it's more my control-freakness not wanting my phone to type new things all by itself.

However, you are missing out on the whole world of accidental hijinks that autocorrect opens one up to.

I assume is an Ender's Game reference.

Oh, oh, you're totally right.

It had to be real people because the Buggers would have completely outmatched humans if the contest was all about intelligence and doing the "smart" thing. The humans could only win if they thought through the batter in a non-robotic, human, fallible kind of way.

Did you know that this chat is not listed with the other Wed chats (when you're actually in another chat page)? It is listed on WaPo's page 1, but otherwise it's omitted. This is why I keep missing you, darn it! But I like the move to Thursday.

That's probably my fault. I produce my own chat, and there are things I forget to do every week. It's like a little test. Only the worthy can come to the chat. Only the penitent man shall pass.

Oh, man! I'm the Polanski-hater, and now I find out about Orson Scott Card, boo. Here's an offshoot question: how long do you give an author (artist, politication, whatever), before you chalk up horrific viewpoints to "the times"? I.e., "We should let him off the hook for the racisim/homophobia/general terrible personal behavior--his views were a product of the times."

I think if the author is already dead, and if they died during the era when those hateful views were still considered "normal," than you give them a teeny bit of a pass. But if the author/artist is still alive, then they can still be growing. Don't let anyone off the hook. Teach old dogs new tricks.

Every time my co-worker says "TOTES" instead of "totally" I want to throw a stapler at her head. Is that wrong?

No. This is appropriate. Unless she's being ironic (see? It's so hard to tell.)

We're missing a REALLY important point here: Determining whether a parent should gain access to a deceased child's Facebook correspondence after death isn't just a question of that child's privacy; it's a question of the privacy of everyone with whom the child corresponded. An average teen is the bearer of countless secrets from friends - about sexuality, about drug use, about cheating on tests, about complicated feelings toward classmates and relatives - and who's to say that the parent who goes looking for answers after death won't pass all of those precious secrets on to the like-minded parents of the very much alive children?

Thanks. I kept meaning to bring  this point up, but there wasn't a post that seemed the right venue.

To tell or not to tell? It depends on whether SHE put them there, or someone else did. I'd only tell if someone else put them there with her full name on them. If she posted them, then she knows and has chosen to "own" her decision.


Oh I think he should bring it up but not in the context of a job hunt. They've been on a few dates, I think it's perfectly normal to say, something like "so, I know this is a bit creepy, but I googled you. I was curious. But, a few racy things came up..." and just see how she responds. Maybe she knows and doesn't care, in which case, she can find out how that affects a job hunt. Maybe she doesn't know and is embarrassed and will realize what the consequences could be and take action. Less "you should do this" and more "hey, did you know?"

Update: The OP has written in and informed me that she is a lady as well. Everyone planning to write in on this topic henceforth, change thee your pronouns.

I like this advice, but this assumes that the OP and the gal are still in contact in a friendly way. If they're not -- if, in fact, they went on a few dates, decided it wouldn't go anywhere, and never spoke again, I think it would be odd and creepy to contact her out of the blue to comment on the racy content.



Me too. Did you realize that the 13-year-old whom Roman Polanski infamously raped was the daughter of long-time "Ourisman girl" Susan Gailey, who did TV ads for the automobile dealership in the DC area for decades?

I did know this. I think Reliable Source did something on this.

Wait...you mean there are people out there who have *never* Googled themselves?? Mind blown. I feel like this phenomenon must be studied.

This is my reaction. Even if the gal in question is a grad student, even if she's never been on the job market -- she has definitely Googled herself. Definitely.

In this era, I'd say 90% of Americans have sent an accidental autocorrect. Most people who receive them will either laugh it off, or not care. I don't think it's a big deal, and have no idea why the garbled tweet is making news.

It is a hilarious garbled tweet!

Does it help that I feel guilty for liking his songs? I think the general consensus is he's not a good person. But, some of his songs are my favorites on my running mix and I love when they come up in the shuffle of songs! I do always sort of think about how it's a shame he sucks as a person, but then I'm still happy to hear the song.

Obviously, the solution is for you to illegally download his music so he gets no money for it. <-- IS SOMETHING I WOULD NEVER RECOMMEND.

Do. and tell me what you think of the narrator's saying, "I looked around the classroom" -- of a college like Cal Tech -- "and there wasn't one American face in it. They were all Chinese or Pakistani." A) only white people can be American? B) he can tell Chinese from other Far Easterners, and Pakistanis from Indians or Sri Lankans, at a glance? Etc. He even asks the beautiful brilliant technician why she's not a model instead. Then he sees her deformed arm and "understands" why she went into the tech field. Major ICK.

Oh dear.

Usually just read the comments, but the Facebook and child's death kind of strikes home. While my nephew, who passed away 2 years ago, was not a minor, I know that my brother, sister-in-law and my children took comfort in seeing the messages on his Facebook account. During my daughter's college years, relatively close classmates of hers passed away over the 4 years, and I know that she and her friends updated Facebook accounts and read the memories. Really, this is something that Facebook, as a company that provides this platform is going to have to step up and create a policy that encompasses their business model, while giving great flexibility and consideration to a deceased relative's family members. It's certainly different than a deceased individual's belongings, yet someone should have some sort of decision making prowess in the event of a death

It's difficult to tell from your email whether your relatives were reading public Facebook posts, or whether they were reading private messages in Facebook. Because, as I've mentioned, Facebook does have policies that memorialize public Facebook pages and allow everyone to see the memories. It's the private messages that are under discussion now.

yes. and it was as odd and stupid as Dan Brown's prologue insisting that all of the "facts" stated in "The Da Vinci Code" were true and verifiable -- when almost none of them are, and are easily disproved, like the stuff about the planets lining up.

Truly, it was not until Brown wrote the book set in DC that I realize how incredibly stupid his writing is. He goes on and on about "secret passageways" connecting the LOC and the Capitol. They are not secret. They are highly visible. If Robert Langdon thought he discovered them, he was a fool.

Who doesn't google a potential date? I met a guy and googled him and found out he was married, but props to him, he told me he was recently separated on our first date, even though I didn't ask. But another question - who doesn't google themself every once in a while? It's like a personal credit check.

Waaaaait. But you first found out he was married, and decided to go anyway? Or did you just assume (correctly, it turns out) that he was divorced or separated?

OMG. The fact that you IP address is available to the moderator is no reason to flip out. It's being recorded anyway in system logs. Just like every other web site does. And it's attached to every e-mail you send (and even more info than you realize). Boodedy-boogedy-boo!


I didn't think it was Richard Wagner's fault that Hitler liked his music, but then I found that Wagner did his best to destroy Mendelssohn's career, simply because Mendelssohn was Jewish, so no more Wagner for me. I'm sorry, because I like Wagner. But I liked Cat Stevens, too.

It's easy for me, because I've never liked Wagner anyway.

You tweeted that Matthew's ghost should appear... what did I miss?

Don't start any fires here. You know how to Google.

Oh, I didn't mean no one should tell her.

OP, the consensus is, we have no consensus. Does that help?


Actually, I'm standing by what I wrote in an earlier post. I think that if you're on friendly terms with her, and have kept in contact, then you can say something in the non-creepy language that another poster suggested. If you haven't stayed in touch, then leave it be.


That help?

A couple of things. 1. I see this is a discussion more of property (IP and creative). Read any EULA for an online service and you'll typically be able to interpret ranges of ownership based on who has the best lawyers. Does the conveyance of one's timeline flow with real property or is it simply left to the system owner to inherit? 2. I have lined up (and have been) a "cleaner" or two who, should I die in some unplanned fashion,cleanse/straighten things around my house. Honestly, there really are some aspects of my life that my family doesn't need to stumble upon, even when I'm long gone.


My deceased father's Facebook is still active, and I would consider it invasive of me to delete it or look through it. Then again, he wasn't a minor when he died. That said, there needs to be a way to deal with when a deceased person's social networking account is hacked. A friend of mine's Pinterest account began posting again six months after her death, and it was terribly upsetting for all concerned. We'd just gotten used to her being gone.

Who was controlling the Pinterest account? That does sound distressing.

Perhaps I'm old, but I can't imagine viewing Hitler imagery and deciding it was ok because it was 'ironic'. But replace Hitler supporting with something else - 9/11 denier? birther? - more aligned with their actual views, I'm thinking this wouldn't be a story. People only want to separate art & politics when they don't like the politics but need to justify liking the art. If we like them both, we tend to think the two are inextricably linked

"People only want to separate art & politics when they don't like the politics but need to justify liking the art."


I think this is true.

I am old enough to have been a proofreader for my high school newspaper and would rather see the odd autocorrected word than the frequently misspelled; maybe I have the same disease as people who claim to have perfect pitch. I can spot a single misspelled word on a page of a 10 page paper without blinking. I am often horrified when one of my own typos goes through... (garbling "through" is one of my most frequent). I don't like calculators much either.

Just so long as you aren't one of those people who takes one misspelled word in a 10-page paper as evidence that the writer is stupid and the world is going to hell.

Sorry but I don't see why someone's Facebook or e-mail accounts should be opened up for others, even a parent, after someone has died. From my own experience I had a friend with whom I e-mailed for many years before she died. While what's in those e-mails might bring some comfort and insight about her life to her parents, they would also expose a lot about me, and I'm still alive. We also talked about every aspect of our lives and shared confidences, this would include comments about her parents when she was angry with them. I'm not sure a surviving parent really wants to see every thought their child has had about them.

Thanks for this. I'm posting because it supports the, "It's not just your own child's privacy, it's everyone's" point that someone brought up earlier.

but if you could find it in your heart to suggest to the powers that be that we need another chat or two on Tuesdays (preferably one of the political chats, since there aren't so many on here left) that would be lovely. Thanks!

Ha! I will suggest it.

Heirs should get access, just as they do to bank accounts, etc.

Oh no. No no no no no.

Does it make a difference if the artist is dead and can't benefit from your business? I feel differently about supporting Roman Polanski or Orson Scott Card than I do about Wagner. I can separate the artist from the art (nobody is all good or all bad) but that doesn't mean I want my money to go in their pockets.

Actually, I think this is a very worthwhile point.


Really, we need a whole set of rules around this, with various clauses.  (The Wagner Clause stipulates that you can enjoy someone's art, even if they were wacko, if the someone is already dead.)

Maybe you could pose some version of Question 2 to Stephanie Meyer w/r/t how much of her personal view she chooses to share with the public


This is someone who must follow me on Twitter and know that I'm hanging out with Stephenie Meyer tomorrow, and was trolling around for discussion topics.

You should read his novel about NSA. Hilariously stupid.

Believe it or not, I've actually read all of his novels. My dad and brother and I get them at airports and pass them around to each other.

Gene Weingarten once posted that he did can not tell who is writing in to him. I believe some posters may have assumed that others do not check IP addresses. Of course, that does not necessarily mean that different people in a family or office can be told apart. Some postings I blame on my fake twin.

I don't have to go out of my way to check the IP addresses -- they come attached to the bottom of whatever post you send in, and they would do the same for Gene or any other chat host. Truly, it doesn't mean we know who you are. But it does mean that we know who writes in frequently.

If your emails "would also expose a lot about me, and I'm still alive," just think back to the days of snail-mail, and if the deceased had kept your letters, written or typed on paper. If the survivors found them, they might've read them too.

It's different, I think. Snail mail letters would have revealed a lot (and I recently inherited some of my grandmother's), but in those days, communication was very intentional. You necessarily thought more about what you were going to say, and whether it was worth finding a postage stamp and sending. These days, you have a fight with your mother and you end up dashing off a "Mom is such a [witch]" text message to your sister, even if you don't mean it.

Words are used cavalierly, but they would still sting someone who found them.

I google everything else, but I can't believe that I never googled myself until just now. Thankfully there was nothing embarrassing! This chat is fantastic since I obviously never thought about doing that myself.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we might have found the only pure soul left in the world. And now we have defiled it.

Oh Cupcake, is that why you don't post my comments? I'm verklempt.

Nooooo. But it does mean that if I see someone has written in 20 comments in a row, and I've already published two of theirs in one chat, I might try to find a different person to respond to. I want everyone to feel loved and special.


(Goodness, it's late. I have a call in a few minutes and am going to have to go soon).

I like the fact that you can "bust" someone who has sent in a "Posting early because I can't be in the chat" thing & then see they are posting something else during the chat! Hahahahahaha ... Busted!

My chatters almost never do this, bless them. I have the good chatters.

i kind of like it because it lends some credibility to the "OP" stuff. While I don't think these chats are like the comment section of a blog and chock full o' crazies, it's reassuring that you could check, if you wanted to, and ensure the OP was the OP.

"OP here. I should have added that I'm typing in the nude wearing a parakeet on my head, if that makes a difference."

Does that answer your question?

Oh well. We can't have it all.

We can't even have any more of this chat, since I've already gone 20 minutes over. But! I'll be back here, same time next week. And then the week after that, I'll be back on THURSDAY at 2 pm.


When is the chat moving to, class?




Talk to you next week. GSTQ.

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Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

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