'De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est'

Dateline: Tue 07 Sep 2010

"Of the dead, nothing unless good," or "speak no ill of the dead," as we usually hear this Latin phrase from Diogenes translated.

Good and ancient advice. This blog via comments did not always heed it after posting the news of the death of Joe Miller Aug. 26.(And in fact, the living took some hits, too).

Mr. Miller, whose obituary has been running in the Indianapolis Star, obviously did a great deal of good in his lifetime. But as my friend said, he ran a company that made poppers; his life was complicated.

Nobody is perfect. We are all a mixture of good inentions and actions, and bad intentions and actions. Even Mother Theresa, canonized a saint, had detractors, thank you Chris Hitchens, and herself expressed serious doubts about her faith in her dark night of the soul.

Will any reliable news source get into the gritty facts about the timing of Mr. Miller's death and questions about his company being under federal investigation? Given the sad state of media today, probably not. Should they? Probably.

But for now, let's concentrate on what we know: a memorial service for Mr. Miller is at 5:30 p.m. today at Iindiana Repertory Theatre. Donations may be made to the Damien Center, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, or the Indiana AIDS Fund.

Peace. And that means -- no snarking.


Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Of course you're right. But I would opine, that snarking sometimes occurs in a news vacuum. Which would be erased if someone--anyone--in the media did their job on this one.

Either media bosses are holding-down reporters, or there's no intellectual curiosity.

Joe's life was full. Lots of good--tons, actually. An untimely death at his own hand only fuels the speculation.

But today, it's appropriate to celebrate the good. His presence, as well as his checks, will be missed by many arts and health organizations.

More will come out. In due time. No thanks to local media. Maybe that's a good thing---?

2010-09-07 12:19:44

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Diogenes Laƫrtius. Not the Diogenes I was expecting. lol

2010-09-07 13:03:56

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

TTT is right. A real obit, written by a real reporter, definitely would have been preferable to the vanity piece that passes for an obituary these days.

Media bosses holding down reporters? Hmmm. Whatever would make you think that?

2010-09-07 13:28:10

hendy [Member] said:

Let's say you were a low-budget newsroom, and somebody under federal investigation shoots him/herself. The investigation probably stops there, although that's not assured.

Do you 1) spend money hunting it down 2) let the dead rest 3) let the competing publications and news outlets do the work and ride their coattails 4) get a cup of coffee and look at more porn 5) chase down other news that is lower hanging fruit?

I think it's likely 3,4, and 5 seem the more slothful, and therefore in character.

2010-09-07 16:01:27

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Ruth, you're the absolute greatest, but I don't get your Mother Theresa analogy.

I'm not Catholic, but I am a great admirer of Mother Theresa. I don't think it was a character flaw that made her go through her extended "dark night of the soul."

I think it was God helping her to see His face in the faces of those sick and poor Indian street people she ministered to for so many decades.

If I could be 1/1000th the person of Mother Theresa, I could go on to the afterlife in peace.

2010-09-07 20:11:29

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Hendy, you're probably right, sadly.

But let's put this into proper perspective:

The Man dies on a Thursday. One day later, a brief story appears in the online Star edition, which briefly quotes former First Lady Maggie Kernan, a close friend of the deceased. Within hours, the story is jerked.

Nothing more appears for a week, and only then, the "story" is the purchased obituary.

The deceased has been a very prolific donor to multiple charities. In the millions. He's been a patron of the arts and the ICLU.

His alleged personal troubles are one thing, and perhaps they're not fair game in an obit. But his 59 years on this earth certainly warranted a news obit. And we got nothing.

In fact, we got less than nothing--we got a posted news obit that was jerked for some reason. So in the information category, we're in a negative status.

From the state's largest newspaper. Or any of the other limp media in this town.

It was a pathetic performance, again, by our local media. By any reasonable measure.

Once again, they redefined our collective news judgment. By doing nothing. Either by choice or by pressure--it really matters not which reason prevailed.

2010-09-08 04:18:27

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

My apologies to all for my previous post.

It was just that the name Chris Hitchens in the same sentence as Mother Teresa set me off (smile). Hitchens is Glenn Beck without the crocodile tears; a song-and-dance man who makes his living being a pit bull.

My comments about Mother Teresa have no relevance/connection at all to the passing of Mr. Miller. I never met Mr. Miller and I had not heard of him prior to his death. My sincere condolences to his family members and friends.

2010-09-08 11:35:46

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Classy walk-back, Whitebeard. I'll save it for future reference. We wise-asses have to have those handy.

2010-09-08 19:13:03

Marycatherine Barton [unverified] said:

Christopher Hitchens who publicly called for the genocide of Iranians, should be shunned.

2010-09-08 22:36:23

Informatics411 [Member] said:

From some reports of the memorial service, it was a difficult affair for those who knew part of JFM's life, but not all; I understand and empathize with friends' shock, and am sorry to have been the messenger; I'm not happy at all about being in that position.

And while I generally agree with Ruth's emphasis on civility, silence does not apply to a dead person who lived a covert life. And if I had not made any of these accusations while JFM was alive, it would be different; I have not said here what has not been said to others in Hoosier political, media and law enforcement starting in 2006-2007.

In Indianapolis, the questions surrounding JFM's suicide have little to do with him, now - and more to do with the alleged investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Does this agency not have the courage of its investigation, to put to rest rumors now residing on bloggers' words? Or is the official silence, now, due to the large law firm behind JFMs businesses, personal life, and estate? Or is it because the current Governor knew four years ago, but did nothing, or not enough?

The Federal agency either had a case, or didn't; and somebody obviously bungled things enough that one of their major arrests (if what is being said, is true - and related to ICE's 27 Aug midwest sweep), escaped the hand of the law. If he had a "head's up" about a Federal investigation, who tipped him off? If he was "interviewed" by ICE about these charges, who vouched for his return to them?

And what of the assets of said alleged criminal? You can't get those without a conviction, can you?

Law enforcement in Indiana was informed of details regarding JFM in 2006-2007; if this didn't include some on Gov. Daniels' staff, I'll eat my hat. Someone should ask why it took four years to end the child trafficking? Perhaps we've heard nothing because the network of people who supported and benefited from JFM's "hidden side" are still in operation; as folks who know me know, I tracked it to Bloomington, Indiana with alarming results. Doing so did wonders for my graduate career, there.

As someone who has worked for his adult life tracking predators, I'll repeat here what I've said to law enforcement for years: if you just get one person in a network of abusers, you've protected a few kids, but not enough. And if you didn't seize the assets of (perhaps) the number one financier of such activities, in the entire USA, you've not accomplished one thing. In a situation fueled by money and drugs, if you leave the money and drugs, what have you changed?

John Michael Vore

2010-09-09 07:32:43

hendy [Member] said:

You imply that Joe was somehow a trafficker or abuser, but we have no information regarding this, no evidence. Is there anything to corroborate what you've said here?

2010-09-09 12:36:31

Informatics411 [Member] said:

So as to move this out of Ruthholladay's way, I've updated and continued to add to my last posting, here:


It is precisely because of what "hendy" writes above that there needs to be a full accounting of the events surrounding JFM's suicide and the closing of his business.

To respond to [hendy]: First, please, let's take this off of Ruth''s blog so as to honor her wishes. Second: There is nothing "official" to corroborate anything anyone has said - and if we want to follow that line of thought, nobody even knows that Mr. Miller is, in fact, dead. I've heard people say as much, and react as if he were - even going to an event related to death. But it's all hearsay to someone no longer living there.

A coroner's report on the cause of death would be helpful; and was supposedly forth-coming after toxicology reports, according to the original 28 August IndyStar.com story...

On the other hand, I stand by what I've said, written and harangued Hoosier politicos and media about since 2006: that Mr. Miller was not a gay man, but a sexual predator who used his "gay identity" as a cover for being a sexual predator. This is my interpretation of a full-out, detailed conversation with someone who claimed to be have been "taken in" by Mr. Miller at 12-14 years of age and taken care of for life, along with his mother. That individual is no longer with us, having died of AIDS.

The information was voluntarily given to me - it was not solicited, for if I had never met that individual I would have never thought twice about Mr. Miller: such were Joe's skills in business, his intelligence and his obvious charm, that one would have difficulty knowing anything about him that he did not want you to know. As I've said, when he realized I did know it was not easy thereafter.

It is precisely because of JFM's skills that so many people were in fact in the dark. And I do think that some of his enormous philanthropy was done with the good of others and our community in mind. Coming to terms with the "hidden" life of JFM is as difficult today as when I first learned of it; and in moments, all the pieces I know of his life do seem to arrange themselves as one big cover, one long attempt at both hiding and finding what he wanted.

That, of course, is not something I can really know. And my casting aspersion on anyone close to him for not knowing was not fair; and I therefor owe some folks I don't know an apology: I am sorry for your loss, sorry for what you didn't know and sorry that you had to learn of it in this way.


2010-09-09 14:37:09

hendy [Member] said:

I've visited the site, along with its embedded links (most of them), and this is what I distill: *possibly* Joe Miller was under investigation for either child pornography or child trafficking. You imply a dual life, one of gay community activism, and another as a predator. I'll imagine that more implicit designations are withheld at the risk of your personal liability. As there are personal discussions between you and an individual, now deceased (who therefore can't corroborate personally claims made) as ostensible evidence.

Did ICE have an investigation? Was this investigation stanched? Was the suicide a correlation==causation for Joe? We may never know. From your inferences, it might be the case.... OTOH, I have doubts that The Star has sufficient depth and resources to cover it or have the stomach for what they may/not discover.

2010-09-09 15:53:23

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