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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:06 AM
Original message
Would this joke be considered offensive to gay people?
My Dad who is a flaming liberal who ALWAYS sticks up for gays once told this joke. Is it offensive to gay people and if so why? I am not saying my Dad was correct in telling this joke but I will say that I am 100% sure my Dad meant it ONLY as a cut toward the Religious right and meant ZERO harm toward gay people. I am not saying the joke is OK but I do think gays and those of us who tell these kinds of jokes need to try to understand one another. I want to understand if and why a joke like this is offensive to gays but I also hope gay people will understand no disrespect was meant toward gays when it was told.

I hope we can all strive to understand one another in this thread. I am thinking much of the friction here on DU is a lack of understanding on both sides.


Here is the joke my Dad told. This was back in the 70's I believe:


What do you call two gays named Rob?


Pause


Oral Roberts

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BlueJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm not Gay (not that there's anything wrong with that) But I really don't...
see anything in the joke that is a big deal or a put-down.

On the other hand...I suppose it would be who was telling the joke and who was receiving it...
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Based on some of the threads on DU today
I get the impression the reference of a Religious person being Gay (as an insult) is offensive to some gay people here on DU. That perhaps the joke is saying that being Gay is even worse than being a fundamentalist Christian. I don't think that was the intent of the joke but I can see how it could be taken that way by a gay person.
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Tyo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
3. I am gay
And that joke is pretty groan inducing. Sounds like something my father would tell my boyfriend. :P

This whole sensitivity thing gets awfully complicated. I guess my feeling is that if you have any doubts about how appropriate something like this might be, why take the chance?
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kid a Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
4. i'm straight and like oral sex, not named rob - though
I think it perpetuates the idea of oral sex being less than moral and equates homosexuality with whet many would consider a lewd act.
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. It was meant to be a stab at Oral Roberts who was like the Pat Robertson
of the 70's.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
5. I don't like "victim humor" - using any minority as grist for the humor mill.
When I (sometimes) attend a comedy club, I usually walk out on 'comedians' who rely on stereotypes of ethnic or cultural minorities for humor. I like George Carlin. I like A. Whitney Brown. Until Richard Pryor came back from Afirca, I avoided him. (I don't think targeting one's own minority is an exemption.)

While it may be difficult for some to see, I regard it as the "objectification" (exploitation) of people - often people already marginalized in our society. It's a "kick 'em while they're down" thing ... and puts a bad taste in my mouth.
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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #5
15. Nut, Let Me Ask You This!
When is it victim humor? Case in point:

In all this controversy here at DU, stirred up originally by the stupid Snickers ad, there was a thread about an initiative to nullify all marriages in which children weren't produced.

Now, it was a satiric thing meant to advance the logic about the validity of gay marriage, and i get it. However, my wife and i (married 27 years) wanted children but couldn't have them. So, to me, that joke isn't funny.

Am i a victim of an offensive joke, or should i "just get over it"?
The Professor
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. Personally, I "got it" but don't find it funny in the least.
I don't focus as much on the 'victim' as I do the 'victimizer.' It's in my huge aversion to being a 'victimizer' that I abhor such humor. I do not challenge ANYONE's choice to feel offended or victimized - whether or not I agree. I have my hands full with charting my own moral course without judging others.

I see such 'humor' as an invitation (seduction?) to share a viewpoint - and I find such viewpoints inconsistent with my own morality and integrity. Thus, I choose to regard it as not humorous.


I've been married twice - the last time for over 12 years. I'm not a father - and I regard that as something I've missed. It's disappointing to me, to say the least. (Nonetheless, I'm not inclined to take strike three.)

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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Well, I Was Offended By It, And I Didn't Find It Funny
My wife miscarried four times. Once after the 6 month. We found it pretty traumatic, but yet i don't find myself a victim of anything but poor luck.

My curiosity is, however, piqued by the constant arguments about "get over it" and what's offensive or isn't. In this particular case, it appears that the offended party thought it humorous to be offensive to someone else to make a point.

Which leads me to my concern over whether intent is part of the offensiveness equation. If the author of that satire wasn't trying to offend the childless couples like us, was it really offensive? In some of these discussion, it appears that intent isn't important. If someone finds it offensive that's enough. But, in this case, it appears that intent was everything, because an awful lot of DU'ers supported that "satire".

Like i asked before, am i supposed to "get over it"?
GAC
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. I think of it like "collateral damage."
Edited on Fri Feb-16-07 12:18 PM by TahitiNut
It's like the innocent civilians (women and children) of Iraq are told to "get over it" when the U.S. drops bombs on Fallujah. After all, they "shouldn't take it personally," right?

Clearly, the authors of that 'satire' lumped straight childless couples in with "the enemy" - perhaps not considering they were bombing their allies along with their opponents - but it's hard to regard the infliction of "collateral damage" as an innocent act. It's not.

It's hard for me to say anyone 'should' (or shouldn't) "get over it."


As a Viet Nam veteran who was spat at, should I "get over it"? (Actually, I pretty much had ... until I was called a liar for even saying it happened.) Am I supposed to "not take offense" when so many people on DU resurrect this 3-4 times each year and tell me (outright!) that I'm a liar? I dunno. Should I lash out at all those who passively accept such assaults on my integrity - demeaning my experience? Should I say "if you're not with me then you're against me"?? That's not an "old wound" - calling me a liar is a "new wound" and I don't know how I CAN'T be offended by something so clearly intended to be offensive.

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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Interesting Response, Nut!
Since you did "get over" a obvious, intentional and malicious affont. So, if an insult is not intended does that make it easier to "get over"?

This is strictly a philosophical question and not one to compare slights and affronts or the degrees of same.

It's also rhetorical. No response is required.
GAC
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. I'll say one more thing ... personally.
Nobody can really "know" someone else, particularly on the Internet. But it should probably be obvious that I have a great deal of respect for you and the positions you've taken. I think character and integrity show through - if we look. That said, I think it's a crying shame you're not a Daddy. With the combined attributes of intelligence, conscience, integrity and a good sense of humor, a child would be lucky to call you 'Dad.' At the same time, you're also blessed to have a strong marital relationship so do me a favor? Give her a hug for me, paisan.
:hug:
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #20
42. That whole spitting on vietnam vets thing gets me too
I did a google government search one time on it and found testimony saying it occurred - but people only believe what they want to.

How many vets were there anyway? And to say that not one ever had that happen to them seems to me a bit insane. But then, there are people on DU who don't believe a plane hit either WTC either....
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swimboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. There are a couple of layers to this one.
First, I'm profoundly sorry that you and your wife weren't able to have the children you wanted to have.

The point of the initiative I think you were referring to is to point out the ridiculous aspect of the Washington Supreme Court stating that marriages are valid only for the purpose of pro-creation. That is patently absurd, but it is what they said. The initiative is an effort to call attention to how crazy a position that is. The purpose of the initiative is not to trivialize marriages that did not produce children, but actually to make the point that your marriage is undeniable valid, important, and true. See, opponents of marriage equality for gays have tried to make the point that because we cannot have biological children as a couple (sorry, this is strange terminology to approach) we should not have the right to marry. This overlooks the fact that society has no interest in denying marriage to couples past child-bearing age or in invalidating marriages that do not produce offspring.

If the initiative succeeds in bringing ridicule and retraction of the Court Ruling, it will have robbed opponents of marriage equality of one of their shaky planks.

I hope this helped explain the intent of the initiative, and please accept my best wishes to you and your wife.
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ProfessorGAC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. I Honestly Understood All That
And, i agree with the absurdity of the court decision. It's stupid. My wife & i have been married 27 years and are happy. So, the point of marriage is obviously NOT just making babies. You're right. The decision is stupid.

My underlying question though, is one of intent. Is it ok for someone to offend me, since being a childless married couple is not a protected or oppressed class, to make a point about being oppressed?

I'm curious to see if those who are offended by their perceptions think it ok for me to be offended, or if they think i'm being ridiculous.
GAC
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swimboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. It is ok for you to be offended.
You own that. Someone could attempt to explain why they thought you were mistaken to be offended, but when you say you are offended and offer why, they should listen. You may come to agreement, you may not. It doesn't mean you can't be or aren't offended just because someone thinks you should not be.

Is it ok for someone to offend you? Not one-on-one and repeatedly. If someone understands you are offended by it, it would be wrong for them to bring this issue up every time you posted in a thread. However, because some people see this as an opportunity to achieve a greater measure of human rights, and because the intent is not to cause pain to married couples who do not have children, but in fact, to speak up for marriage in the face of a ridiculous court ruling, you could reasonably expect that discussion of this issue will not cease due to your being offended.

On this particular issue, it would be possible for a person to think it is okay for you to be offended andthat you're being ridiculous. I think it would be wrong to cause you individual pain, but there have always been people who have been offended at the advancement of civil rights and I believe those advances should not have been tabled to spare them offense.
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Touchdown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
7. Not offensive, just very OLD!
I'd be more offended for the pertrified comedy than the gay angle. :D

Now, most of my gay friends love to tell this joke, but I don't know how we'd react if we heard a straight guy say it...

Q: What's the difference between a swimmer and a diver?

A: Mark Spitz...and Greg swallows.
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I once told it to my Unitarian friends who are very gay friendly
They thought it was a cut toward gays because they didn't know who Oral Roberts was. The Joke no longer works because I believe Oral Roberts is dead and forgotten. :shrug:
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CBGLuthier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. not dead yet
Forgotten thankfully but he and his imagery of a 900 foot Jesus live on.

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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Old Oral is still alive and lickin'.
From Wikipedia ---

"Roberts eventually made his way onto television and attracted a vast viewership."


Seems like everybody likes porn.
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MamaBear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
11. I think a good idea is to only tell jokes that apply to yourself.
Edited on Fri Feb-16-07 11:16 AM by MamaBear
There's so much in one's own life that is funny -- embarrassingly so sometimes -- why pick on somebody else? I would only repeat the Oral Roberts joke with people I was sure would take it as word play and nothing more.

It's like Totie Fields, a comic from the 70s who was famously fat, telling the story of insisting on trying on a size 9 dress to aggravate the snotty sales person. It would not have been funny if a thin woman (or man) had told the story about her, but her version was funny even for me, a fat woman who had had it with fat jokes before I reached first grade.

I think the Oral Roberts joke would have been ok on Garrison Keillor's annual bad joke program, where word play reigns supreme.

With the RW and Christian Fascist attack on gay people getting more belligerent every day, I think it might be a good time to forget telling jokes about gay people. As long as * is in office, what more material do we need?

Edited for a typo. :silly:
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Hosnon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
12. I don't get the joke...
What is "Oral Roberts"?
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. He was like the Pat Robertson religious right fundy of the 70's
nt
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Hosnon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Oh ok. Unfortunately I don't think I can find it funny now.
Due to the dissection of the joke and all... :(

Offensive? Perhaps in that it perpetuates the idea that homosexual males are promiscuous. But I'm staying out of these fights...
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. Good for you in staying out of the fights
I am going to stay out as well. I was hoping this thread would be an opportunity for each side to discuss their feelings and for the other side to try to see the other sides points. I think the conflict is more about misunderstanding on both sides than real prejudice. The country is changing and sill has many cultural aspects that create conflict between the two groups.

I think both sides have good points.
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crappyjazz Donating Member (886 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
19. My own "gay" joke that so far I haven't offended anyone with
Q: What did one lesbian frog say to the other lesbian frog?

A: Hey, we really do taste like chicken!

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swimboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
21. Robb is a dingbat
Seriously, the joke certainly can't be said to be told in support of the gay population and I truly think it is a stretch to say that it is an effective "cut toward the religious right" In fact, the only reason it involves Oral Roberts is that his name can be stretched to fit this groaning pun.

I will cut your Dad slack for telling it in the '70s. I think the joke has reached its shelf-date in absolute terms and it wouldn't be believable today for someone to tell it and say that it's not a gay joke, it's a religious joke.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
25. i remember my dad having a similar joke about two gay irishmen...
Edited on Fri Feb-16-07 01:21 PM by QuestionAll
patrick fitzgerald and gerald fitzpatrick.
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BuyingThyme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
26. It's offensive because it implies/assumes that homosexuals are defined by
their (assumed) sex acts, not by the way they read stories to their children during thunderstorms.
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Fleshdancer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. I agree n/t
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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #26
31. Huh?
Not all gay couples have children, does this mean those who don't won't be defined properly, because they don't read to their children?

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BuyingThyme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. I don't think you will be getting this one.
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Kingshakabobo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. * - insert everyday routine non-sex related action of a gay person here - *
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mockmonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-16-07 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
28. As a gay man
I would tell your father not to quit his day job. :-)
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
34. as a straight man
I find it offensive

it is a lame pun that MIGHT have been vaguely amusing in the context of a conversation or something, if someone came up with it spontaneously, referring to two actual people named robert - you might think the speaker mildly clever.

but as a stand-alone joke it is nothing more than a not-so-veiled way of identifying "them" as differing from "us".




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Bronyraurus Donating Member (871 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
35. It's far lamer
than it is offensive.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
36. Well, I'm not gay...
but I'd argue that it's not homophobic.

1. The butt of the joke is Oral Roberts, not gay people.

2. The pun requires two guys named Robert, doing something oral. Oral sex seems an obvious choice, given oral sex, and sex in general, is often the subject of jokes. The joke offers no moral judgement on either oral sex or homosexuality.

3. It's certainly in bad taste. Worse, it's a bad pun.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
37. are you gay?
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Zuiderelle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
38. I find it offensive that jokes about gays are always about sex.
Do straight people not have oral sex? How fucking boring that would be.

Seriously though, yes, it's offensive.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Well, duh
Being gay is solely about sex, don't you know? :sarcasm:
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
40. It's just so stupid. As if straight folks don't dig oral sex?
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donco6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
41. It's just too lame to even bother remembering.
And that's all I have to say about that.
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Oeditpus Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-19-07 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
43. Reminds me of this one
which, incidentally, was also in Playboy's Party Jokes "back in the day":


Our Unabashed Dictionary defines "male prostitutes" as Peter Sellers.


Offensive? Depends. Just plain bad? Yup.

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