Rachel has a good take on the whole Tosh thing. And I read the account of what happened and it seems like the woman genuinely did not know who Tosh was or what his schtick is.
But I’d be surprised if he lead off with the rape “joke.” Which means she sat through some minutes of his stereotypes about black men and Asians and gay guys and on and on. If you’ve seen his show, you can imagine how his stage act goes. He built up to his rape “jokes,” I’m guessing.
And yes, I get why people are disturbed that people in the audience laughed and didn’t also leave when Tosh was all, “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…”
But why doesn’t anyone get up and leave when he says the first racist thing?
I’m not trying to turn this into the Oppression Olympics. In fact, I’m kind of trying to ask the inverse of that–if you want to live in a world where people don’t say bullshit evil things about you as a “joke,” why would you sit there through the parts where he’s saying bullshit evil things about other people as a joke? Why isn’t it worth leaving at the first sign of bullshit?
We need to be better about this kind of stuff. This woman, fine, she didn’t know who he was. (It’s hilarious that she thought he was some kind of terrible amateur). But if you do, just think about how fucked up it is to sit around saying “Oh, I can listen to his racist jokes or his homophobic jokes, because they don’t really affect me and I find some of them funny, you know, in a hipster, ironic way” and then be all “My god! He’s making rape jokes. He must be stopped!”
Rachel has a call to action over at her place. Here’s my call to action. When you are watching something or listening to something or reading something and you kind of think “hey, this is a little fucked up,” don’t just ignore that feeling or think you’re making too much out of nothing. Consider it carefully. Decide if it really is fucked up. And if it is, go ahead and let it be ruined for you. Let it be ruined for you long before someone is standing on stage speculating about how hilarious it’d be if that girl got raped. Let it be ruined for you at the first signs of bullshit.
You don’t have to go through life at the default of “everyone deserves to be punched in the face.” But you can stop giving repeat offenders the benefit of the doubt. When they tell you who they are, believe it.