Skip to main content

View Diary: This week in the War on Women: Wanna hear a joke? You should be raped! Hahaha! (322 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Once upon a time, maybe, standup (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    awsdirector, One Opinion, wishingwell

    was a special place people could "say whatever they want"--but now, with the internet and social networks, everybody is a fucking "comedian." You don't have to take to the stage to make tasteless jokes and broadcast them far and wide.

    It's worth noting here that Tosh's main claim to fame is a show on Comedy Central composed of YouTube clips of people doing (for the most part) stupid things, often things which result in serious injury. Other people put that stuff out there...Tosh just puts in on TV embellished with wise-ass commentary.

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:27:45 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I just don't see how that matters (4+ / 0-)

      I don't see how freedom of speech should only be respected for things that we like. That we define as tasteful.

      Our taste is not objectively right. There are many who find jokes in support of gay marriage or abortion rights to be horribly tasteless. Should those jokes be forbidden because they might be offended?

      If the answer is no, then why is our "right to not be offended" more valid than theirs?

      "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton |

      by jbeach on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:43:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't quite get this "freedom of speech" thing (14+ / 0-)

        do you?

        Tosh has a right to say whatever he wants.

        I have an equal right to call him a sick cretin.

        Criticism is speech.

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 09:56:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, I get all that. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Americantrueandblue, Dbug, tommymet

          Consider my criticism of these criticisms of Tosh as free speech also.

          But within all this, what I think is being lost is also that this woman, no matter how right she thinks she is, or even objectively right she may be - is a heckler interrupting someone else's exercise of their free speech as a performer.

          So to me it breaks down like this:

          - Tosh has a right to say whatever he wants. But when Tosh is on the stage, in an audience of people who paid to see him, he is the performer.

          - Anyone else has a right to say whatever they want about that performance. But they don't have the ethical right to disrupt that performance.

          That is heckling. The people have paid to see him, not the heckler. The heckler has chosen to be a part of that audience, and is free to leave if they don't like it or don't approve.

          - Tosh, as the performer on the stage engaged in his art - and remember it doesn't have to be good art to still be art - has the right to say anything he wants in order to keep hecklers from hijacking his show and making it about them.

          So, yes, this is all free speech. And I am disagreeing with others statements about how a) it's good he was interrupted for saying something someone was offended by, and b) it's horrible that he said something else that this person found ever more offensive, during the exercise of his own free speech which she sought to interrupt because it wasn't to her standards.

          "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton |

          by jbeach on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:34:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right.... (4+ / 0-)

            ...and when the audience booed Michael Richards for his "nigger" bit, they were being disrespectful hecklers who failed to show the appropriate deference to the genius of a comedian who's performing his ART.  


            •  Audience =/= hecklers (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The audience had the right to do that - that's not interrupting. That's their reaction - that's not trying to insert themselves into his act because they disagree.

              Thanks for bringing this up tho. Because no one actually thought Richards was threatening those guys either.

              Bad art is still art, and deserves all the same protection as good art. If this woman were to go on and do a performance, Tosh would be just as wrong to interrupt her.

              You can see that, can't you?

              "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton |

              by jbeach on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 01:44:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Art? (3+ / 0-)

                I'm getting a bit tired of nastiness against others being justified under the label "art."

                You talk about how funny it would be for a woman to be raped by five men and I think your right to express your art crashes right into my right to challenge the sickness of the idea that gang-rape is a big joke.

                No one should stuff a sock in Tosh's mouth. No one should call for him to be jailed.  But if he's going to dish it, he'd better be ready for someone to cry "Foul!"

                Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

                by Sirenus on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 04:39:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  And the woman at the Tosh show was... (0+ / 0-)

                ...having an honest reaction to his art.  She blurted out "Rape jokes are never funny!"  She didn't engage in extended lecturing.  Why is it that when it's a woman involved, there's all kinds of contortions to explain how she's specially different, because we all know women are killjoys with no senses of humor.  

            •  Amen! n/t (0+ / 0-)

              Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

              by Sirenus on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 04:36:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, heckling has a looooong tradition... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Syd of the Funny Hat

            I mean, I'm no expert, but I'd bet it goes all the way back to cavemen sitting around the fire telling jokes about cavewomen getting dragged off by the hair.

            And if you're a standup, especially of the Tosh variety, you better be prepared. Maybe he was or maybe wasn't, but his "joke" evidently crossed the line between Funny and Fail. How do I know? Well the supposed nopoligy (I haven't seen or read it and I don't think there's video of the offending joke, and I'm not impressed with tosh in general and this incident in particular) is a tell.

            So the whole "she was rude" thing? meh.

            I really don't appreciate your incivility and rudeness. Armando 7/23/11

            by liberte on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 03:12:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  tosh asked the audience for suggestions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            he invited the call and response, he broke the wall. but he threw a fit and threatened the audience member with gang rape when someone disagreed with him.

            heckling is disrupting, repeatedly, a performance out of context. when the comedian is interacting with the audience, and someone doesn't agree with the comedian during said interaction, it's not heckling. it's a michael richards thin skin meltdown using "humor" as a fig leaf for their fail.

      •  It's not about what's tasteful. (6+ / 0-)

        It's about what's damaging vs. what calls attention to a problem in a constructive way.

        If free speech excludes someone yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater, on the grounds that doing so may cause damage and/or injury to innocent bystanders, then why should it be okay to perpetuate a culture that makes a joke out of rape, which is incredibly damaging on both a personal and societal level?

        And his "I'm sorry if people were offended" not-pology is about as sincere as Limbaugh's was re: Ms. Fluke.  That makes him a hypocrite into the bargain.

        It seems to me that the point of kaili's post, and of the linked article by Lynda West, is that there are ways to tell jokes about rape that actually are (a) funny while (b) attempting to shed light rather than heat on the topic--and Tosh's way isn't one of them.

        •  The two are entirely different (2+ / 0-)

          "I do not respect women/black people/atheists/etc" is a completely constitutionally defensible position regardless of whether having that opinion has negative effects on these groups (and trust me, being an atheist I feel this pain on a regular basis).

          But I would never suggest that other people don't have a right to say it. Because they do.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:04:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's still a difference (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            between saying, for example, "I don't respect your opinion that my rape joke (or comment) wasn't funny" and "I think it would be funny if you got gang-raped right now."

            Just as there's a difference between "I don't respect black people" and "I think it would be funny if that black person who was offended got lynched right now."

            In both examples, the first is an opinion; the second, even if the person making it "intended" it to be funny, can be interpreted as advocating violence because whatever group is on the receiving end isn't worth treating as well as the in-group is treated.  That's the part I have the problem with: even if Tosh in "real life" is completely against rape, would stop an attempted rape if he witnessed one, etc., saying on stage that so-and-so should be subjected to [act of violence] gives that act of violence at least a gloss of respectability.

            Plus, it just wasn't funny.

            •  Don't think it passes the First Amendment test (0+ / 0-)

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:22:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What are you talking about the First Amendment for (0+ / 0-)

                ?  Nobody's talking about throwing people in jail for telling rape jokes or fining them or anything.  Obviously people have the right to say what they want.  But you don't have a god-given right to say things that hurt people in major live venues and international television.  That's what's being talked about here.  

        •  "damaging vs. constructive' = value judgement (3+ / 0-)

          That's a subjective judgement. It is not objective truth. NO ONE's value judgements are objective truth, ever.

          There was NO DANGER that this woman was going to be raped in that crowd. I mean, come on. Really. Any more than genocide became a danger any time Benny Hill made a Hitler joke.

          Maybe there are ways to tell rape jokes that Lynda West and others like. How does that become objective truth?

          And if Tosh didn't apologize, he would be hated also. There's no winning in this situation, so he apologized to move on. What else do you want? Do you want him to accept your subjective values as his own, even if he doesn't agree?

          If so, I find that pretty offensive. Why don't you change your subjective values to suit mine, because I declare myself the objective judge of what is and isn't funny?

          Do you see what I'm saying here?

          "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton |

          by jbeach on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:41:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  women have been gang raped in crowded rooms (4+ / 0-)

            the threat was made because there is that lurking fear of it actually going down. that's why tosh made it, to bully the women into shutting her fucking piehole. it would make no sense if it was not a threat, or at least plausible enough to make the woman's blood run cold.

            saying "wouldn't it by funny if 5 guys raped this woman?" isn't a joke in any meaningful sense of the word. any more than "wouldn't it be funny if five white guys lynched this black guy?" is a joke, or "wouldn't it be funny if a bunch of us beat this gay guy to death?"

            it is exceptionally revealing to see people defend this as humor.

            •  Re (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              the threat was made because there is that lurking fear of it actually going down. that's why tosh made it, to bully the women into shutting her fucking piehole. it would make no sense if it was not a threat, or at least plausible enough to make the woman's blood run cold.
              This is patently ridiculous. I can't believe that nominally intelligent people believe this tripe.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 10:32:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Which means your subjective values (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LSophia, Ahianne

            are no more valid than mine, so why don't you change yours to match mine?  I mean, it seems obvious that, in this particular instance at least, my subjective opinion (that making jokes about rape is at least potentially damaging) is less likely to inspire an overall negative atmosphere than your subjective opinion that anybody should be allowed to say any damn thing they want without regard to how anyone feels.

            After all, if one has been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, such verbalizations of subjective opinion ("You/this other person should suffer what you've already experienced--wouldn't that be a hoot!") can easily trigger additional trauma...unless you don't think emotional trauma counts.  In which case, I probably don't want to ask your opinion on PTSD.

            In my highly subjective opinion, free speech requires responsibility (back to the crowded theater example).  Considering the rape stats in this country, I don't think Tosh was showing it.  His apology ("I'm sorry if people were offended" vs. "I'm sorry I said something stupid") bears rather a lot of resemblance to victim-blaming--he's not taking responsibility for what he said.

            •  Why change our subjective values at all? (0+ / 0-)

              It's not like one person's set of values has to 'win' over the other. That's the whole point of a free society.

              That's why neither of us get to impose our subjective values on the other - and that's why no one should impose their subjective values on Tosh OR Louis CK or Jon Stewart or anyone else.

              The 'crowded theatre' example is for physical danger. Not people being offended.

              Tosh may not apologize to your standards - and you don't have to apologize to Rick Santorum's standards. That's how it works.

              "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton |

              by jbeach on Sun Jul 15, 2012 at 01:18:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Who is talking about censoring Tosh? (3+ / 0-)

        Not a single poster here has suggested that the government censor him for his words. Even if we wanted to, the First Amendment wouldn't all for it. Repeat with me: freedom of speech does not equal freedom from criticism.

        •  Exactly. I won't silence AHs but I won't be forced (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to listen to them. Geesh, sounds like freedom of religion issue meaning to some that you have to listen to them spread thier gospel even if it nauseates you and makes you want to add them to a list of never deal with the jerk ever again.

          How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

          by boophus on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:39:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm talking about respect for freedom of speech (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          No Exit, Americantrueandblue

          You'll note that I didn't say "censoring" either.

          Basically, we on the Left look like hypocrites every time we get all loaded up and righteous when someone says something that offends us - while we laugh and celebrate every time someone says something that offends the Right that we agree with.

          I'm arguing for having a respect for a culture where people can say what they want and be disagreed with - not shut down when they're saying something we don't like.

          This was Tosh's performance on stage. This woman didn't like what he said, and tried to interrupt him and shut him down. So he shut her down.

          If it was wrong for Tosh to shut her down, then it was wrong for this woman to interrupt Tosh in the first place. She could and did comment afterwards. She can and maybe should take to the stage herself - and if Tosh interrupted her during her performance, then he would be in the wrong and she would be justified in saying anything she wanted to shut him down.

          Do you see the situation that I'm talking about?

          I wish everyone would look past the content and just see the mechanics of this situation. I know content is inflammatory and emotional. But just as the ACLU defends the rights of Nazis to march because it's right in the larger sense, so we should respect the rights of performers to say things that offend us and not be interrupted while in the exercise of their free speech.

          "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton |

          by jbeach on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 12:47:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We are criticizing Tosh.... (4+ / 0-)

            ....for essentially threatening a woman with gang rape or at the very least, finding it hysterically funny. I don't give a shit if she was a heckler. What he did was, morally, NOT OKAY. He should be criticized, period, end of story.

            •  OK, we disagree. (5+ / 0-)

              I think a performer on a stage has a right to say anything they want. And I think they have the further right to say anything they want to someone who is interrupting that performance - whatever their reason is.

              Since your name is "metal prophet", I'm going to make the leap that you like metal bands. I do too. So, let's say Black Sabbath is performing somewhere. Does some Christian fundie who is offended by their lyrics, have the moral right to go to the show and jam the speakers so no one else can hear it? I'd say no.

              Does this rule now change if the band sucks? I still say no.

              Does the band now have the right to play a song the Christian fundie finds even more offensive, if that's what it takes to drive him out and regain control of the show? I say yes.

              Now that same Christian fundie has the right to hate on Black Sabbath or any other band, for any reason or no reason, forever. That criticism is different than interrupting the performance.

              Do you see the analogy?

              "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton |

              by jbeach on Sat Jul 14, 2012 at 01:24:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  But... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LSophia, Ahianne

            If Tosh asked for ideas from the audience re: the subject(s) he should now be funny on (so to speak), and one audience member called out "rape!" while another (who happened to be female) called out "rape isn't funny!", why are we even calling the second person a heckler?

            Second Person was simply registering an opinion (protected by the First Amendment, by your own argument) on First Person's suggestion, and Tosh's response was to "shut down a heckler"--who was responding to another audience member, not to Tosh's routine--by suggesting the audience member, a woman, be gang-raped.

            Do you REALLY think if it had been a man who shouted that rape jokes aren't funny, that Tosh would have shouted back that the male "heckler" ought to be gang-raped?  Really and truly?

            Because if you don't--if you think for even a fraction of a second that Tosh would NOT suggest that a male "heckler" objecting to rape jokes should himself be raped--then you're exhibiting the very double standard presently at issue: that it's okay to make jokes at the expense of minorities because their position as minorities interferes with their ability to fight back and be taken seriously.

            If we're talking about humor, it wasn't funny.  If we're talking about the displayed attitudes of the society, it really isn't funny.

        •  Actually, it's insinuated above by (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "Syd of the Funny Hat," who likens jokes about rape to the yelling "fire" in a crowded theater analogy.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (132)
  • Community (62)
  • Elections (39)
  • 2016 (37)
  • Environment (36)
  • Bernie Sanders (35)
  • Hillary Clinton (30)
  • Culture (30)
  • Republicans (29)
  • Media (29)
  • Climate Change (27)
  • Spam (24)
  • Congress (23)
  • Education (23)
  • Civil Rights (22)
  • Barack Obama (21)
  • Labor (21)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (21)
  • Texas (20)
  • Law (20)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site