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I just don’t understand why even fairly intelligent comedians (and yes I’m thinking of Louis CK specifically, but I do think that a sense of humor is the first sign of intelligence, so there are dozens more) refuse to back down on rape humor. I don’t see any explanation for it other than deep-seated misogyny. Because they can look at it objectively and say, “Yes, I understand why this is problematic and upsets so many people and can make half my audience feel very immediately and realistically UNSAFE, but I don’t care. Shut up.” Like, yes, I see that I am potentially putting you in danger, but I feel that my art is more important than your safety. You really have to hate women on some level. To think that Tosh standing on stage and singling out a woman and announcing that her getting gang raped would be pretty funny is an okay thing to do, and that anyone who disagrees just has no sense of humor? How do you not see how far a logical leap that is? You are pretty smart. You are! So how do you make that statement and not see that you’re putting women in immediate and real danger and not care? And not see that as harmful?
Yes, being able to separate joke from reality makes you a misogynist (as well as a racist, homophobe, anti-Semite, and so on, though you’d probably agree with that, too).
What Tosh said wasn’t funny. But it wasn’t apologizing for rape or any of that. It was just a poorly handled response to a heckler.
Rapists put women in danger. A joke, however poorly constructed and executed, does not. It can trigger, yes, and those who are triggered should stay away from the comedy club environment. And if you tell a joke in the company of someone who is triggered knowingly and actually enjoy triggering them, yeah, that makes you an asshole. But the general notion that being able to separate joke from reality = misogyny is pure bullshit.
But it’s not about separating joke from reality. It’s about creating a real hostile environment for the real women in the audience. Like I said in another post, I don’t see why so many comedians and fans of comedy (a category in which I include myself) feel like they should just give carte blanche to anything any comedian says as “it was a joke,” or in the case of your response, a failed joke. Does that mean they shouldn’t be held accountable? I shouldn’t condemn Tosh and the things he said because it was a failed joke? I love comedy and I love comedians, but Tosh is a piece of shit and he’s done some shitty things, and I was musing in the above post why so many intelligent comedians are bending over backwards to excuse this guy and his behavior and yeah, I do wonder if there isn’t an element of misogyny there, to not be able to say, “You know what? That’s not okay.”
It’s one thing when they’re defending that particular joke, because yeah, that joke was pretty much just wishing rape on someone. The defense is coming from the connections people are making that if you tell a rape joke EVER, you must actually be a rape apologist and condone rape. It’s that connection that I find illogical. Most of the responses on Tumblr actually have this particular thing that Tosh said as more like a side note, giving way to generalized sweeping claims that “if you laugh at any rape joke ever, you must not think rape is an evil thing.” Those claims are nonsense, and that’s what I think all the defense is coming from.
There are examples of telling a joke about rape that work, and usually it’s a case where the joke isn’t on the victim. Like, Wanda Sykes has done it well, and I can think of one other female comic who did a good job with it whose face I can picture but whose name escapes me. And if I go back into the archives, I’ll bet you five bucks I can find at least one instance of Louis CK doing it right. But there doesn’t seem to be any dialogue amongst comics about the difference between telling a joke that has to do with rape and saying shit on stage that A) isn’t funny, and B) is making every woman in that audience look at the guy she’s on a date with and wonder, “If he thinks this is so funny, what are the odds that he’s going to rape me tonight and think it’s okay?” It’s just this swell of support for that shitty hack Tosh and anyone who questions whether or not joking about rape is okay on any level is a humorless fascist, and that’s really upsetting.
39 notes (via & rodmanstreet)