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Are Rape Jokes Funny?
Interesting editorial/article by a comedian, sparked by the recent Daniel Tosh controversy.
It cites Dane Cook, Sarah Silverman, Louis CK and others arguing for the use of the humor in this area.
I don't agree with everything (a perhaps not even a lot) in it, but the piece raises good points for and against humor and touches on free speech issues.
Louis CK's passage (transcribed from a Daily Show appearance) is one of the more provocative parts:
- "If this [controversy about Tosh] is like a fight between comedians and bloggers—hyperbole and garbage comes out of those two places, just uneducated, unfettered—it’s also a fight between comedians and feminists, because they’re natural enemies, because, stereotypically speaking, feminists can’t take a joke, and on the other side, comedians can’t take criticism. Comedians are big pussies. So to one side you say, ‘If you don’t like a joke, stay out of the comedy clubs.’ To the other side you say, ‘If you don’t like criticism, stop Googling yourself every ten seconds, because nobody’s making you read it.’ It’s positive. To me, all dialogue is positive. I think you should listen.
“If somebody has the opposite feeling from me, I wanna hear it so I can add to mine. I don’t wanna obliterate theirs with mine, that’s how I feel. Now, a lot of people don’t feel that way. For me, any joke about anything bad is great, that’s how I feel. Any joke about rape, a Holocaust, the Mets—aarrgghh, whatever—any joke about something bad is a positive thing. But now I’ve read some blogs during this whole that made me enlightened at things I didn’t know. This woman said how rape is something that polices women’s lives, they have a narrow corridor, they can’t go out late, they can’t go to certain neighborhoods, they can’t dress a certain way, because they might—I never—that’s part of me now that wasn’t before, and I can still enjoy the rape jokes.
“But this is also about men and women, because a lot of people are trading blogs with each other, couples are fighting about Daniel Tosh and rape jokes—that’s what I’ve been reading in blogs—but they’re both making a classic gender mistake, because the women are saying, ‘Here’s how I feel about this,’ but they’re also saying, ‘My feelings should be everyone’s primary concern.’ Now the men are making this mistake, they’re saying, ‘Your feelings don’t matter, your feelings are wrong and your feelings are stupid.’ If you’ve ever lived with a woman, you can’t step in shit worse than that, than to tell a woman that her feelings don’t matter. So, to the men I say, ‘Listen to what the women are saying about this.’ To the women I say, “Now that we heard you, shut the fuck up for a minute, and let’s all get back together and kill the Jews.’ That’s all I have to say about it.”