Confronting Comedians On Rape Jokes Incites Rape Threats, Apparently



There is a really interesting conversation to be had here, and one that Jezebel writer Lindy West has previously taken to task in her interesting (and poignant) article on how to tell a rape joke. (West's suggestion is not to have de facto "off-limit" topics, but to consider the way in which we use language/blame victims and then make them the butt of the joke.) Her piece caught the attention of TV-host Kamau Bell on his show Totally Biased, where she discussed misogyny and rape culture in comedy, and if comic speech should ever have boundaries.

The resulting show was rife with interesting talking points, from whether or not language contributes to specific cultural zeitgeists to asking whether Joan Rivers talking about AIDS is horrific, or if she's just taking "everything that hurts us, everything that's sad, and everything that's miserable, and then turning it over and looking at it." Both West and her fellow speaker Jim Norton brought up amazing and interesting points — not just about what is funny, but also on the way words shape our world.

However, it was after the show when things got totally horrific. Apparently, in order to convince Lindy West to quiet her indictment of victim-blaming comics, hundreds of Twitter users have jumped on West to tell her how her problem with people celebrating rape culture in comedy is somehow her fault, and her opinions are a result of the way she looks. Check out the video on Jezebel which features her reading the Tweets she has been inundated with since the show aired.

Jezebel commenters have pointed out a lot of these are trolls and, as such, they should not be "fed", but West closes her piece with a particularly moving thought: "If anyone's still worried about comedians being 'silenced': This is what silencing looks like. Sorry, boys, but it's not going to work." Lindy, we stand with you. (Jezebel)