Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dear Daniel Tosh

This letter contains references to the rape culture.  The quotation and link include threats of rape.
After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”
Dear Daniel Tosh,

This is completely fucking atrocious.  What the hell is wrong with you?  Are you genuinely so entrenched in the patriarchy's beloved rape culture that you find the prospect of publicly humiliating and sexually threatening a woman funny?  Or were you so embarrassed to have the repulsiveness of your "jokes" pointed out that you were eager to turn on her in the most vicious way you could think of, and are only hiding behind the veneer of "humor" as a means of defense?

Did it not occur to you that there could be rapists in your audience?  That there could be survivors of rape in your audience?  Do you think that these people are mythical creatures or that they never come to comedy shows?

Actually, that's an interesting point.  You see, rapists might be more likely to come to your shows in particular, since you're so rape-friendly.  And rape survivors, well, comedians in general are so hostile to them that you'd think they'd all have learned to stay far, far away, right?  But rape survivors, like anyone else, enjoy a good laugh, a fun night out.  So there they are, in the audience, ready to enjoy a great time and some happy chuckles.  And then you come onstage.

Melissa McEwan says it well:
And while I'm bothered by the fact that the jokes normalize and effectively minimize the severity of rape and thus perpetuate the rape culture, I'm more bothered by the thought of a woman who's recently been raped, who's just experienced what may be the worst thing that will ever happen to her, and goes to the site of her favorite webcomic, or turns on the telly, or goes to the cinema, or a comedy club, to have a much-needed laugh—only to see that horrible, life-changing thing used as the butt of a joke.

I don't understand—and I don't believe I ever will—why anyone wants to be the person who sends that shiver down her spine, who makes her eyes burn hot with tears at an unwanted memory while everyone else laughs and laughs.
So, yeah.  You're an asshole.  And rape jokes aren't funny.  Rape threats that rapists can laugh along with?  Repeat after me: not funny.  Besides which, from a professional standpoint, rape jokes all very tired and very old and have been done a million times before.  Falling back onto rape jokes only proves how uncreative and unfunny you truly are.

Too bad you humiliated yourself like that.

Public apologies, a donation to a survivors' group, and a commitment to better comedy would be great.  Barring that, at least please stop being such an asshole.

With love,
Frank Lee

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