Truth: I am friends with Republicans and Conservatives and people who believe in gods I do not understand. But I cant when people don’t vaccinate their kids. For so so many reasons. Not the least of which is the asshole who claimed autism was caused by vaccines owes the parents of autistic children billions in research money they wasted trying to ban life saving vaccines.
We don’t know each other but we have some internet friends in common who retweet you. So I follow you. Well I did. Then I stopped. Then I started again.
Let’s start from the beginning. A few weeks ago you wrote a piece on Jezebel about comics ending rape jokes. It got a lot of press. People started being mad at you, you didn’t back down. You did a debate on Kamau Bell’s show with Jim Norton that pretty well sums up the two sides of this argument. For those reading who aren’t Lindy, here is the link. She’s great. Jim Norton is great. Kamau is great. Smart people talking about interesting stuff.
Great debate. Interesting. Important stuff. Feminist stuff. I’m a feminist. I like stuff.
Except I have to disagree with you.
Not on the grounds that you don’t have the right to be offended by and insist on the removal of rape jokes from current comedy culture. Insist away, you’re smart, you’ve thought about it, you’ve drawn a line in the sand and you’re sticking to it. Right on.
It is just that the line in the sand you drew is far away from the line a lot of feminists (myself included) started to draw in the post Naomi Wolf era of third wave feminism. I believe in third wave feminism. I believe that porn can be good for women, that we are not delicate flowers that need to be protected from certain things, that we should succeed and fail based on the same set of criteria that men succeed and fail on, and that nothing I do as a writer or director succeeds or fails because of my genitalia.
But that’s not why I have a problem.
I have a problem because I don’t believe that rape jokes contribute to rape culture. And I think protecting rape as a subject from all sorts of conversational modalities (including comedy) makes rape harder to talk about, not easier. Saying jokes about our own rapes, our own assaults causes harm makes it harder for someone who deals with stress via comedy to deal with stress. And being raped is stressful. I don’t know how stressful it is to rape. Probably moderately. I bet being in a frat helps.
I know we have a rape culture. I don’t know how many Stubenvilles we need before everyone catches on. And we need as many ways to talk about these incidents as possible. And comedy is one of them. We need more talk, not less. We need more discussion of the crimes, the victims, the perpetrators and less talk about whether we are allowed to talk about them any way we choose.
So this is my letter to you. I’m glad you are in the world, knocking down obstacles for your fellow ladies. I just don’t know if you’re knocking down the right one.
post script. Lindy and I had a very friendly debate on Twitter. I think where we differ is that I believe that these conversations should happen on stage and off, and I think she would rather we talk to and about comics so they understand how not to be dickheads on stage. A minor difference. A difference nonetheless I worry that the process of that education happening backstage (as it were) takes away some important conversations. There isn’t an answer here. Just methods and mostly smart people trying to wrestle with complex issues. In any case, the above should not be used as fuel for your anger toward someone (Lindy/Jim/Kamau) who is standing up and demanding intelligent debate. If you use it for that, I will come to your house and smack you in the 8-bits.
She was born Jeanne-Louise de Belleville, Dame de Montaigu in 1300. At the age of 12, she was married to 19-year-old Geoffrey de Châteaubriant, by whom she had two children. In 1326, the marriage ended with the death of Châteaubriant. Four years later, in 1330, Jeanne married her second husband,…
Okay, this is bullshit. Kimberly Pierce isn’t a female director. She doesn’t direct with her vagina. She’s a director. She’s not on any side of Kathryn Bigelow because they share the same anatomy. It is shit like this that makes it harder for studios to make hires without considering gender, cause doucheknuckles like Nikki Finke and Mike Fleming get page views from talking about how she’s a brave woman for directing like a director.
For readers interested in learning more about how not to be labeled as registered sex offenders, a good first step is not to rape unconscious women, no matter how good your grades are. Regardless of the strength of your GPA (weighted or unweighted), if you commit rape, there is a possibility you may someday be convicted of a sex crime. This is because of your decision to commit a sex crime instead of going for a walk, or reading a book by Cormac McCarthy. Your ability to perform calculus or play football is generally not taken into consideration in a court of law. Should you prefer to be known as “Good student and excellent football player Trent Mays” rather than “Convicted sex offender Trent Mays,” try stressing the studying and tackling and giving the sex crimes a miss altogether.
—Mallory Ortberg, on Gawker
Mallory Ortberg, laying waste to fools on GAWKER, today, regarding CNN’s offensively lovey-dovey coverage of the two high school football stars who were convicted on Sunday of sexually assaulting a blacked-out drunk 16 year old girl from a neighboring town at a party, and then sharing pictures of her on the internet.
I think it’s reasonable to say that, given the football culture of Steubenville, OH and the notorious difficulty of proving sexual assault even when the victim REMEMBERS WHAT HAPPENED, it is likely that what these jocks did to this other human would have become simply a dark part of Steubenville high school folklore, were it not for the digital trail of photos, tweets, and texts that the bystanders and assaulters themselves put out into the world.
SO THANK YOU, NERDS, FOR INVENTING SOCIAL MEDIA.
And thank you, Mallory and Manhattan snark-media for reminding some people—including CNN, apparently—what personal responsibility actually means.