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Sun Jul 15, 2012, 05:50 PM

 

Comedic double standards

Last edited Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:31 PM - Edit history (1)

So the news of late has been pretty heavily focused on the comedian Tosh and him making rape jokes against a particular heckler in the audience.

There is a great deal of debate as to whether he should be allowed to say such things and if he should be removed from the air for "taking it too far".

In other words there are some things you just don't joke about.

Ok, I didn't really want to start another Tosh thread. My interest though was in the comparison between that story and this one:


Kind of an old video but I just saw it recently. Anyway it is a clip from The Talk featuring a number of women making repeated and unabashed jokes about a man who had his penis cut off by his deranged wife who then threw it down a disposal (meaning no chance of reattachment).

They laugh about this incident for a good 6 minutes and yet there was hardly any backlash (in fairness Sara Gilbert did have a brief moment of clarity and said this is sexist before being shut down by a joke that the audience seemed to love).

Tosh made an off color joke about a hypothetical attack. He has made the news for many days now and spawned countless debates and at least one petition to see him removed from the air.

A number of female comedians and actresses made a series of jokes about a very real attack that permanently destroyed this mans life and there was virtually no backlash. It was all just good fun.

It would seem that if rape isn't funny then neither is castration. If one is crossing a line that comedians must not cross then so is the other.

So I guess my reason for posting this is to draw attention to this double standard and see if anyone had any theories as to why it exists and what can be done about it.

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Arrow 45 replies Author Time Post
Reply Comedic double standards (Original post)
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 OP
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #1
maddezmom Jul 2012 #2
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #3
uppityperson Jul 2012 #19
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #22
uppityperson Jul 2012 #24
yardwork Jul 2012 #20
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #23
yardwork Jul 2012 #27
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #28
yardwork Jul 2012 #30
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #31
yardwork Jul 2012 #32
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #34
yardwork Jul 2012 #36
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #37
yardwork Jul 2012 #38
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #39
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #4
lumberjack_jeff Jul 2012 #5
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #7
Squinch Jul 2012 #6
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #8
Squinch Jul 2012 #9
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #11
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #12
Squinch Jul 2012 #16
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #17
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #18
uppityperson Jul 2012 #21
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #25
ProudToBeBlueInRhody Jul 2012 #10
MrSlayer Jul 2012 #13
loli phabay Jul 2012 #15
ProudToBeBlueInRhody Jul 2012 #14
caseymoz Jul 2012 #26
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #29
caseymoz Jul 2012 #33
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #35
caseymoz Jul 2012 #40
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #41
caseymoz Jul 2012 #44
Warren DeMontague Jul 2012 #42
4th law of robotics Jul 2012 #43
hifiguy Jul 2012 #45

Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 05:51 PM

1. My first OP here

 

so I'm not sure if this is appropriate in this forum or not. If not no offense meant and I will take it down.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 05:59 PM

2. to be honest, I find both scenarios to be repugnant

as for theories of why....not sure I want to go there but I find it disheartening to see some women engaging in the same behavior we find unacceptable.

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Response to maddezmom (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 06:14 PM

3. I agree with you there. Nt

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Response to maddezmom (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:56 PM

19. I agree with you. Thank you. I would like to ask OP about part of the OP though.

"a hypothetical attack that while devastating at least would not have been permanently debilitating"

Are you saying this about a gang rape? Do you really mean that?

I agree that neither situation is funny or worth joking about. But I also do not think you have much of a clue what rape, especially gang rape, involves if you think it is not "permanently debilitating". Please clarify, OP. Thank you.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #19)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:48 PM

22. My intent

 

with that comment was simply that one involves the permanent removal of fairly important body parts.

The other does not.

You can mentally recover from the trauma associated with rape. Perhaps.

You cannot mentally recover from the complete removal of your genitalia (they aren't growing back). No amount of therapy allows you to regrow body parts.

/but due to a request I have removed that line. It isn't essential to my premise.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #22)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:52 PM

24. Thank you. Rape can and often does result in permanent physical damage as well as psychological

Thanks for removing it as it brought up a whole other issue and you know how Du is with getting sidetracked.

For the OP, they both are wrong, not funny. Why do people laugh at such things? They are insensitive, uncaring, jerks, ignorant, or are trying to deal with something within themselves when the situation causes them fear or anxiety.

Neither is funny though.

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Response to maddezmom (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:11 PM

20. Yeah, I'm not seeing a double standard here. I'm seeing two examples of repugnant behavior.

I must be missing the point of the OP.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:49 PM

23. The double standard would be in the public response to both instances

 

outrage in one. Silence in the other.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #23)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 09:08 AM

27. In that case, the overwhelming guilt is on those who are silent in the face of female oppression.

There is simply no comparison. More than 90% of all property is owned by men, globally. The vast majority of women and girls are systematically oppressed. If you are going to complain about a double standard because DU didn't find out about and complain loudly about something that happened on a talk show, then you need to recognize and acknowledge guilt for not finding out about and complaining loudly for the systematic rape, torture, oppression, and disenfranchisement visited on women all over the world.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #27)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 09:28 AM

28. Not DU

 

people in general.

This is a national outcry, not limited to DU.

And by using the rest of your argument that means no one can ever be upset when an injustice happens to a man because some woman somewhere has it worse . . . probably.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #28)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 09:39 AM

30. That's your argument. You're saying that it's hypocritical of people to disagree with Tosh's words

because somebody else somewhere was insensitive about a crime against a man. You're the one who raised this double standard issue. I didn't say that I agree with it.

In fact, as I said in my earlier post as I agreed with another, both these incidents are repugnant.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #30)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 09:45 AM

31. Ok . . . so where is the petition

 

to get the Talk off the air?

I'm not talking about your individual response.

I'm talking about the national response.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #31)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 09:55 AM

32. When did this episode of The Talk air? How do you know there wasn't a petition at the time?

You've acknowledged that you've dredged up an old episode of a talk show I've never heard of to claim hypocrisy. By your logic, nobody should ever sign any petition against anything because once something just as bad happened and apparently nobody did anything about it.

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Response to yardwork (Reply #32)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 01:32 PM

34. Exactly my point

 

you didn't have to watch Tosh perform to hear of this outrage. It made national news.

But if you didn't actually watch The Talk there's a good chance you would never have heard anything about that.

Consider: you had never heard of the one even though it occurred over a year ago.

You have heard many times about the other even though it is recent.

Double standard?

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #34)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 02:20 PM

36. Whatever. /nt

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Response to yardwork (Reply #36)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 02:22 PM

37. "Something you say when you know you're in the wrong but can't admit it it?"

 

That's the right answer isn't it? What do I win?!?!

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #37)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 02:24 PM

38. Here's something to get outraged over. This is something we can all agree is wrong:

Maybe we can work on some soutions:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101635536

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Response to yardwork (Reply #38)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 02:28 PM

39. O . . . k . . .

 

Not sure where you're going with this?

Male comedians joking about rape leads to parents abusing their kids?

Honestly I'm not sure why you felt the need to send me that link.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 06:19 PM

4. The justification, as with Solanis, is that it is "brilliant, necessary satire"

And when the "satire" argument falls flat, it is, like totally legitimate venting of an oppressed group yaknow and really, apparently theres no horrible violent shit you, apparently, couldnt advocate against men (and, in the case of Solanis, even actually go beyond advocacy to actual violence) because men-as-a-class are so awful, see, they deserve it.

I honestly think all the hate, distorted perception, etc. is a sickness. How anyone rationalizes mass violence, or laughing at someone being maimed- is beyond me.

And yeah, i would put the hateful rape joke comic in there too.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 06:33 PM

5. After reading william's Op (which I'm sorry to see he's deleted)

 

I'm rethinking the concept of "double standard".

Gender stereotypes and biases come in bookends.

Men are aggressive and violent therefore women are passive victims, etc.

So jokes that conventional wisdom hold to be both horrible and unacceptable (yet ubiquitous) are countered by equally horrible jokes in the name of "fairness" or "if it's good for the goose..."

In that way, it's not really a double standard, it's punishment and justice. Lorena Bobbit jokes are the punishment rendered onto men because of... whatever. It's not really that some kinds of things are okay, it's that some kinds of hurtful things are subject to justice rationalizationt, it's justifed because the targets deserve it.

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Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 07:36 PM

7. OT, I was sorry to see him delete the OP, too.

Will, if you're reading this, by all means know that your participation in this group is always welcomed and encouraged, and certainly my points in the thread were not intended to dissuade you from discussing the topic further.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 06:51 PM

6. I think this clip does fall to the same low standard as a rape joke, but

there was something about the Tosh joke that went farther. A woman annoyed him and in response he said to the men around her, "wouldn't it be great if five guys around her raped her right now."

He was not so much making a joke about rape, it was more an act of aggression against the woman using the very terrible concept of rape.

The equivalent on the "The Talk" clip would be if a man in the audience audibly objected to what the panel was saying and the panel said to the women around him, "why don't you all cut THAT guy's penis off."

There's a threat in what Tosh did, and to me it seems more violent and personal than a comedian making an off color joke about rape.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #6)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 07:44 PM

8. I think the rape comments were way out of line, and I would agree, more egregious in many ways.

However, what is interesting also is the reaction the comments get- the comedians comments spur immediate revulsion; in fact, this guy's "shtick" if you can call it that, apparently hinges upon people finding his comments horribly over the top.

Still not okay, but the implied social sanction against saying this shit is clear.

Wheras the comments around the johnson-severing, and it's worth noting this wasn't the only case of this on major tv networks (again, another difference) were almost assumed to be set up to get big, hearty laughs from the mostly-female audience.

I think it's worth examining how those comments would have gone over if it had been a man horribly maiming a woman, for instance? Not well.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #8)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 08:57 PM

9. Could the double standard be because of how often each happens in real life?

Many of us know rape victims because there are a lot of them out there. We think of the person we know when we hear the jokes, and in that context they are reprehensible.

Very few of us actually know a guy who was maimed by a woman, so maybe it doesn't give the same reaction because it doesn't seem likely to happen.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #9)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:29 PM

11. Maybe, but there are a lot of horrible things that happen pretty rarely.

I think it's telling that anyone would hoot and jeer and cheer and applaud this sort of horrible violence. Sadly, as I said, it was not only done on various tv shows, that lady had a virtual cheering section here on DU, even.

I have no problem, however, saying that the rape "jokes" were reprehensible. What I don't get is why equivocation, or excuse, or wink-wink-nudge-nudge, or other dissembling justifications (a la Solanis) are okay when the intended target, real or imaginary, of the violence is a man.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #9)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 10:46 PM

12. A woman being raped by 5 guys in a comedy club is pretty rare . . .

 

Last edited Mon Jul 16, 2012, 11:11 AM - Edit history (1)

For that matter we've only had one (big H) Holocaust.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 02:54 PM

16. But a woman being raped by 5 guys when we don't specify the location is not that rare

And you're right that there was only one Holcaust, but it obviously affected many millions of people very immediately and personally.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 05:57 PM

17. Actually that's still pretty rare.

 

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Response to Squinch (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:16 PM

18. I think, again, you're ignoring the implied or assumed acceptability of the comments

why, do you suppose, some women- both here and on network tv- think it's perfectly okay to hoot, jeer, high five, cheer and applaud over a man being horribly maimed and mutilated?

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:27 PM

21. Because some women, like some men, like some people, are insensitive, or jerks, or not thinking

about what they are jeering about. Because some people are like that, regardless of gender. And they are wrong. It isn't acceptable.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 11:04 PM

25. We agree 100%.

I don't think either example of behavior is okay. Neither is apologizing for the rape comments or otherwise justifying them.

Similarly, wink-wink nudge-nudging over the "delicious satire" in the homicidal rant of a violent gun-wielding psychopath who advocates mass murder, that's not acceptable either.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 09:04 PM

10. Tosh was as out of line as Michael Richards

Comedians, when dealing with hecklers, often go for the fifth most offensive thing they can think of to shut them up. Tosh (and Richards) went for about the second or first.

The Talk women in the clip should be condemned, and to be fair, some feminists would sincerely tell them to wake up, but others here would pull out the old "BUT WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ" shit that they all find so classy.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 11:01 PM

13. Nothing is off the table in comedy.

 

As far as I'm concerned. Joke about everything, it's all fair game.

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #13)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 01:36 PM

15. pretty much my feeling as well. comedy should be cutting ans sometimes offensive

 

It allows us to see the worst and best of us in a way that we can understand. If i find humour not to my liking i just walk away.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:05 AM

14. Hey, I "thought we were done with Tosh"?

But he's still there on the Google.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 03:24 AM

26. Men should complain more.


That would solve any double-standard.

But there is a difference here. What the women did there was just tasteless, and extremely hurtful to at least one guy they didn't know and didn't have any reason to offend.

Tosh made a threat disguised as a joke. I don't think those women made any implied threat, and did not incite an audience against the guy.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #26)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 09:30 AM

29. How was it a threat?

 

There was zero chance of it actually happening.

Tosh wasn't going to summon 5 male audience members to rape that woman in front of hundreds of witnesses and presumably recording devices.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #29)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 10:31 AM

33. If threats were perceived rationally . . .

. . . nobody would bluff, would they?

Try being in a crowded room where somebody begins to scream insults and threats to you. Other people are there. They perceive it. There's zero chance that he's going to be able to rip your eyes out and skull fuck you. Yet, when you hear it, you're body is going to begin to react as though it can happen. The stress hormones are hard on the body and brain.

I'm certain as Tosh made the remark, this woman did not perceive the chance that five guys would get up and rape her. However, I'm also certain her perception of reality was altered when the crowd laughed. How could she have expected that? In the immediate moment, he's shown that he has authority, he's in control. Now why wouldn't possibility of rape, if not right there, then when she left, seem real? And, having watched Tosh, I suspect that's exactly the kind of effect he wanted to have on her.

Not to mention the fact that Tosh showed her that the world is more threatening than she thought. They laugh at the possibility of her being sexually assaulted.

Granted, Tosh was bluffing. For anyone sitting outside that crowd, there's no way he could have meant to carry it out. I guess to be technically correct, I'd have to say it was a bluff not a joke. Nevertheless for a bluff to work, it has to perceived on some psychological level as a threat.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #33)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 01:35 PM

35. "I'm certain as Tosh made the remark, this woman did not perceive the chance that five guys . . . "

 

would get up and rape her. "

So it wasn't a threat then.

She was embarrassed because they were laughing at her.

Embarrassment is not the same thing as feeling your life is in danger.

If someone says "I hope you die" that doesn't mean they are about to murder you. You can't get them for attempted murder on that one.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #35)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 03:14 PM

40. See it your own way, then.

I've presented my opinion.

Though I am surprised that you'd go through my entire post, quote mine it for any sign of ambiguity, rip the ambiguous sentence from its context, then jump on it as though it supported you. I said there was a moment "as Tosh made the remark . . ." As, meaning "at the time of first perception," or "slightly before." That was her starting point. Now read the next sentence, what did I say happened next? That her perception of reality was knocked off balance. I paraphrase it here, because you seem to have misunderstood or rejected what I said the first time.

Believe what you want. But don't twist my words to support your argument. It's your take, put it in your words.

When someone says "I hope you die," you're right, they won't charge you with anything because it's direct opposite of a threat. It says you neither have means or mode to kill somebody. Depending on the context, you're also forswearing motive. You're practically declaring you're not going to kill them.

Document dropping and putting my picture on a website with a bullseye on it is more akin to what Tosh did. And exactly what anti-choicers do. Everyone understands that threat, and lo and behold, doctors do get shot, because there are psychopaths willing to put aside morals and social acceptance and do it. (Now, how does she know there were no psychopaths in the crowd who would think it would make the joke funnier afterward?) It's "I'm too good to kill them, but if one of you out there who's not as holy as me please do it." That's similar to what Tosh did, except he could pass it off as a joke.

It's apparent we're not going to agree on this, so don't look for points of agreement, and even more, don't look for slip-ups in logic. On open mic night, try saying something similar to what Tosh did (not a complete copy, people are alert to it) to a woman there and see what happens to you.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #40)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 03:39 PM

41. On open mic night . . .

 

try telling a male heckler in the audience he will be gang-raped and listen to the howls of laughter.

Chappelle did a show where people laughed when he merely mentioned that was a serial rapist of men in the houston area.

Do you see the double standard now?

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #41)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 08:53 AM

44. I certainly do see one . . .

Last edited Wed Jul 18, 2012, 04:27 PM - Edit history (1)

. . . only not the one you're talking about.

Interesting that after you don't convince me of your point, you take that fail and divert the conversation to what you really want to talk about: the double-standard. So, the subject isn't whether Tosh was bluffing, joking or threatening. It's that society is too touchy about rape on female as opposed to rape on males, and whatever Tosh intended is irrelevant to the higher cause of using this incident to attack the old double-standard.

Okay, I'll go there. Let's talk rape double-standard.

If men themselves want to stop laughing off male rape, as they did in the example you gave, they can. It doesn't become women's double-standard because guys themselves consider showing offense with rape to be beneath a male's concern, or rather that's the posture men take, to hide their own discomfort, I think. It's not society's double standard in favor of females that's at work here, either.

The onus belongs with men, here. It's men who can't cooperate against rape on males, and then blame females for cooperating too well against rape on females. That's the double-standard.

The only time men seriously bring up rape on males is to complain that women ignore the problem. Granted, feminine organizations do, but I also I don't see any of the things women have established against rape for women being established for males by males. Now, unless females actively suppress male efforts to organize against it, that's not the fault of women's organizations. It's the men who can't or won't get their act together about it.

So, if guys want to laugh off rape on males, we can. Don't expect women to ever go along with it regarding females, though. Men laugh because we're even more uncomfortable and ashamed about rape on males than women are on females. The laughter by men hides something women have overcome.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #35)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 04:21 PM

42. I disagree. I think what Tosh dd was borderline incitement.

Either way, it was not cool.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #42)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 04:28 PM

43. I wouldn't say it rises to that level

 

since there is absolutely zero chance anyone in the audience was going to do this on his beckoning.

Yes he was absolutely out of line and as retorts to hecklers go this one was at best lazy.

But I wouldn't say it rises to the level of an actual threat against this person. She was in absolutely no danger due to Toshs words.

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 03:08 PM

45. There was a very interesting article in today's NYT

 

about the Tosh incident and some other attacks on comics by hecklers. I was more than a bit surprised to find female comics sticking up for Tosh. I generally don't find him funny and thought his remarks - they don't qualify as a joke IMO - went well over the line, but the women comics raised some points worth thinking about.

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