Editor’s note: This post has nothing to do with lesbians or wedding planning, but after reading the recent news about Daniel Tosh and the way he handled his heckler at a recent show, my feminist sensibilities felt obligated to call him out.
If you haven’t heard by now, Daniel Tosh, an over-the-top comedian who usually verges on almost stepping over the edge and who I don’t find particularly funny, did a stand up comedy routine recently at a club in LA and during one of his sets on rape, why rape is funny and how hilarious it would be to replace his sister’s pepper spray with silly string so she couldn’t defend herself in the case of rape. Eventually a female audience member got fed up and shouted
Actually, rape jokes are never funny!
To which Tosh responded that it would be hilarious to watch the heckler get “raped by like, 5 guys right now.”
It’s not his comedy routine with which I take issue. I don’t find it funny but people have a right to say what they want. What I take offense to is his response to the heckler.
Who thinks it’s okay to actually advocate for the violent violation of anyone, let alone a specific person who is in a public space surrounded by people she doesn’t know who may or may not be waiting for someone to give them the go ahead to commit said violent act?
O wait, rape culture in America is so strong that apparently a lot of people do.
Tranquilbob, a commenter on the Huffington Post article about Tosh’s “apology”, had this to say:
Oversensitive, politically correct, wannabe victim. Seems no one is happy in the USA until they’re “offended”. Free speech is absolute! Now go blow a baby seal.
And then there’s Xacid (italics added):
Yes rape is bad, yes its poor taste to joke about it but whats wrong with turning something negative into something positive in terms of a joke.
Female commenter cashmire 12 said it like this (italics added):
I’m sorry, but it is well known that If you “challenge” any comedian while doing stand up, you are going to get retaliation. She should have known she was going to get “disrespected” by Tosh.
I stopped reading at the first page, but there were 50 more pages of comments just like it.
To me, everyone seems to be missing the point. It’s not that Tosh’s routines are off-color, they are what they are, it’s what he said to one specific woman when he chose to go off-script.
What also gets me is that, just like in a real rape situation, there’s so much victim blaming going around. “She shouldn’t have heckled him and he wouldn’t have advocated a violent gang rape against her” is exactly like saying “She shouldn’t have worn that short skirt on that dark downtown street and she wouldn’t have been (actually) raped.”
And no journalist or blogger seems to be correcting the record that it’s never the victim’s fault.
The journalists all seem to be taking a “just the facts” approach which then leads commenters to believe (and say as much) that if she had just not said anything none of this would have happened. And I haven’t seen any sort of feminist/womanist/rape-culture-in-America-has-got-to-go blog response to it either.
So I’m left trying to understand two things:
- Why do we still tolerate these types of statements at all, but especially when they come from celebrities? and
- Are the feminist/womanist/rape-culture-in-America-has-got-to-go folks so tired of fighting the same battles over and over again that we’re just letting this one slide?
My only hope is that someone is currently constructing an article that I just haven’t read yet. Please, please, please let that be true. Because I can’t deal with reading another article that asks folks comment about whether or not the audience member was “asking for it” when she opened her mouth.