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Where is the line on humour? --Daniel Tosh controversy --

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#91
chatnoir

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she wasn't familiar with his work, and just went along on a whim with a friend.

for the record, i think rape jokes are acceptable when the butt of the joke is a rapist or rape culture itself. the joke daniel tosh made originally was awful, and his comeback was, essentially, a threat. fucking disgusted.

Rape jokes are all the same, in the sense they all follow the same formula: imply rape can be funny, bait a response from someone who is offended, and the humor is supposed to be that a predictable response was successfully forced. For example, there is the often quoted "rape isn't funny unless there is a clown involved", which of course there is nothing inherently humorous about that statement unless one finds humor in the absurdity of it, but the actual point of that "joke" is to cause some to react to it.

Of course the problem is that you can trigger people, and some people are callous and are not capable or not willing to distinguish between things that it is unreasonable to be bothered by and things that are reasonable. I would say though, humor about rape can be distinguished and separated from other forms of black humor, because rape is so prevelant and in some ways is an epidemic, where if you make a joke about serial killers, there is only a very, very small part of the population that have personal experiences with their loved ones being victims of serial killers. On the other hand, in any given room full of people, there is a very good chance that at least one has been a victim of some form of sexual assault, and an equally good chance they still have traumatic symptoms because of it that.

In some ways, a very similar thing would have not resulted in a controversy at all, for example, if the person in the audience was a man and Tosh said "Wouldn't it be funny if 5 people in the audience just beat this guy to death right now?", I don't think anyone would say anything. I suppose though, that is the difference, that shock comedy is more acceptable if it is unrealistic or past the border of realism, for example George Carlin saying to a heckler "If you have kids I hope they die in a car fire", these scenarios are deliberately ridiculous, whereas people are raped every day and it is not hard to imagine a rape victim would feel extremely uncomfortable after such a threat as actually happened here.

If that (the part I bolded) is true, and I tend to think it is, then we should really worry about this intention and why so many people have no problem with these kind of jokes, on the contrary, why they find them funny.

Humour so often is used to call out the powerful (politicians, celebrities etc.) and "own" them in a way, they can't defend themselves against, since it is rightfully protected by the freedom of speech. The power and dominance that comes with being able to control people in such a way, is something, most of us aren't so aware of, although we see the examples everyday. Humour can be used to get ahead of someone, and like I said "own" them. If you're doing the right comeback, you can control not only the reaction of the person attacked, but, if done publicly, you're also controlling the reactions of the rest of the audience.

"It's only words, people shouldn't get so upset about words" - that's the worst bullshit ever. Why are you laughing then, if it isn't able to cause an emotion? Why do you feel hurt, when your loved one tells you, you are an ugly and dumb person and they don't love you anymore in a fight? They didn't get physically violent, it's only words, stop being such a pussy! Are we in control of this? I don't think so. If you laugh about a joke, it's because it triggered an emotion in you and sure, you could suppress laughing, but not the emotion itself, at least not as easily. Same goes for someone, who has to deal with a uncomfortable emotion being triggered, sure they can shut up about it, but the hurt feeling is still there.

And apparently this guy did well, he not only triggered someone to stand up and give the expected response, he even made her leave the room. That's from the link, Lili posted:

"I should probably add that having to basically flee while Tosh was enthusing about how hilarious it would be if I was gang-raped in that small, claustrophic room was pretty viscerally terrifying and threatening all the same, even if the actual scenario was unlikely to take place. The suggestion of it is violent enough and was meant to put me in my place.”

He put her into place. With humorous words, that shut her up and even made her give a physical response, by leaving the scene and basically signalizing, that she gives up. Which would have been awesome, if she deserved it, like, for instance George W. Bush deserved it to be made fun of. Or for that matter anyone in a position of power, that they chose to be in, so yeah, they should be prepared to take the heat and should not get whiny about it. Not awesome, if it's someone who has to deal with oppression because of race, gender or whatever they didn't choose to be in.

Not only is it not awesome, it's scary. What's the point in jokes like that? Why is this a good feeling, if it's owning people, who are already weak? In my opinion, this kind of humour only serves the purpose of making you feel better about yourself. And if that's on the cost of someone, who has done nothing to deserve the humiliation, than that's just low and despicable. Yeah, stay put with being privileged, with being not aware, it's alright, this is all only to call out the overly politically correct, you're absolutely fine with changing nothing about yourself.

I don't know what's wrong these days. Our world is going to shit and we are spending our free time with comfortably snuggling ourselves into blankets of completely generic and dumb humour, that wasn't even funny in the 1950's where a lot of these jokes seem to come from. It only has to be a bit crasser and more shocking today, so that our blankets get even fluffier, because for some minutes we feel the joy of not being the confused and overchallenged loser we actually are, but being part of generation badass and that's, uhm, so badass. Or what?
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#92
captainperoxide

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John, I'd argue the humor of some rape jokes comes from the sheer absurdity of the described situation, like that one with the clown, or Louis CK's joke about how you should never rape someone, unless you want to have sex with them and they won't let you (points out the absurd mentality of a rapist). It's not all about "lol I got you guys to gasp in horror, that's funny, right?"

Anna, while I agree with you about the state of comedy today, there are still some great standups who can tackle tricky material in a subtle way, rather than just making blatantly racist / sexist jokes and saying "look how edgy I am, guys!" There's a big difference between racist jokes and jokes about race, I'll put it that way.

I watch a lot (a LOT) of stand up comedy, and the crassness and lack of creativity in the modern scene is one of the things that bugs me the most, but you have to remember it's like music. There was bad shit back in the days of Pryor and Carlin, we just don't remember it. 30 years from now, no one will give a fuck about Daniel Tosh, but we will remember Chris Rock, Louis CK, Jerry Seinfeld, etc. That doesn't excuse what Tosh said, but I can assure you there's plenty of people out there who don't enjoy that kind of crassness.

#93
xJackx

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That is...not a good analogy. Just because something isn't censored doesn't mean everyone has to see it. It just means it CAN be seen if you choose to.


Okay, that's fair. Maybe a better example is do we allow Nigga What Nigga Who to be played uncensored on the radio or ban all gangsta rap?

#94
Trotsky

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Okay, that's fair. Maybe a better example is do we allow Nigga What Nigga Who to be played uncensored on the radio or ban all gangsta rap?


That should be able to play uncensored because that is a black artist using the word in a non-racist way. I am sorry, we're not trying to nitpick all your analogies to be dicks, we get the idea.

#95
xJackx

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^No, I understand, I don't mind them being nitpicked anyway. It makes me review my own statements and make completely sure that what I say is what I mean.

Though in my defense, I meant lines in that like "motherfuckers wanna act loco, hit 'em with numerous shots with the fo' fo'". Not only does that particular line use profanity generally deemed unsuitable for radio airplay, it also suggests homicide as a way of solving problems. I'm not saying that Jay-Z shouldn't be able to release it, just that when it's played on a radio station perhaps it oughtn't be uncensored for those reasons. Imagine if you were a parent and you had your kid in the car and suddenly you hear "quit your bullshittin' glock with the full clip, motherfucker better duck when the fool spit".

#96
captainperoxide

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Imagine if you were a parent and you had to take responsibility for what your kid gets exposed to.

What an awful, unfair world that would be.
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#97
xJackx

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Point taken.

Edited by xJackyx, 19 July 2012 - 04:57 PM.




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