truism mad libs,cognitive pruning and standup comedy
“people excuse the foulest shit in themselves and one another, and i feel like its because we’re all testing eachother to see whether we can feel emotionally safe and intellectually compatible enough to be real—i see white people test one another’s ‘too serious’-ness with casual racism, i see anarchopunks test one another’s rejectingthesystem-ness by being asshole snobs of the kind who keep people from adopting antisystem values, i see males test the safeness of females by being sexist and misogynistic (safeness here = unwillingness to speak out in cases of hateful or unaccepting talk toward women, which could mean unwillingness to speak out in cases of sexual abuse OR possible willingness to demonstrate acceptability to douches via sex).”
I love how Alex puts this.
I’ve been wondering to myself about the progress of standup comedy in North America, particularly in regards to the comic’s use of all subject matter presented in any form.
Debacles like the Tosh thing, where he illustrated a rape scenario using a member of his audience who then felt so unsafe that she had to leave, exposes the mandate of individuals like Dan Tosh, Joe Rogan and other comics: a comedy club is an environment where the comic can perform anything, pushing to the limit of what the clubs will allow.
Some standup comics feel they are treating the pain of society by generating laughter through the concept of misogyny, say, or being raped, as if it constituted a healing gesture. One thing tumblr has made very clear to me is that even the invocation of the concept can be triggering and deeply unpleasant for those who have been; the laughter, the moment of joy as a hurtful concept is excised quickly from reality and made hilarious or absurd, seems more-or-less reserved for those who share a mentality of communal safety and reflexivity. These feelings of community and comfort are something individuals feeling oppression may be unable to activate.
Only certain folk are really capable of rendering the reality of rape invisible while the intellectual concept of rape is being discussed and remixed for entertainment. This is something I can do. It’s clear to me that my privilege of “getting the joke” comes directly from my lack of real rape experience. Also, as I listen closer to the experiences others have shared with me I can feel my own laughter dying out.
Anyway, I have found a new joke. One wherein a devout clergy read aloud each and all of its sacred words and did not understand them.
Joe Feagin (via): “Being black in U.S. society means always having to be prepared for antiblack actions by whites—in most places and at many times of the day, week, month, or year. Being black means living with various types of racial discrimination from cradle to grave. This lifetime reality is also true for most other Americans of color. Until whites quit thinking, feeling, imaging, and acting in racist ways—and thereby maintaining their racial privilege and power—the centuries-old system of racial oppression will persist.”
“Being _(dwarfed/punk/female/trans/queer/autistic/blind/hearing impared/etc)_ in _(your nation/local area)_ society means always having to be prepared for _(antidwarf/antipunk/misogynistic/transphobic/etc)_ actions by _(nondwarfs/rednecks et al*/ males and sympathisers/the cisgendered/etc)_—in most places and at many times of the day, week, month, or year. Being _(dwarfed/punk/female/trans/etc) means living with various types of _(antidwarf/antipunk/misogynistic/transphobic/etc)_ discrimination from cradle to grave. This lifetime reality is also true for most other _(similar groups in your nation/local area)_. Until _(nondwarfs/rednecks et al/ males/the cisgendered/etc)_ quit thinking, feeling, imaging, and acting in _(antidwarf/antipunk/misogynistic/transphobic/etc)_ ways—and thereby maintaining their _(nondwarf/redneck et al/male/cis/etc)_ privilege and power—the centuries-old system of _(nondwarf/redneck et al/male/cis/etc)_ oppression will persist.”
not aimed at deflating the message of the original—it’s a succinct and multipurpose way to describe to people who dont deal with a particular kind of discrimination how all-encompassing oppression is, and how inescapable-feeling oppression can be. if someone is going to demonstrate that theyre aware of this, they have to expect and respond with sensitivity to defensiveness on the part of the oppressed. failing to manage this at all times is something i’d expect, and failing it on the regular while feeling like the attempt is a good idea is poor allyship.
also related: ive encountered people who feel that cognitive pruning of the kind described above (‘until whites quit thinking, feeling, imagining, and acting in racist ways’) is like, not something they can consciously harness their brains to do. eff that!
cognitive pruning how-to for those sitting atop the privilege pyramid in my society, a cross-applicable yet non-threateningly everyday (everywhite/cis/maletcetraday) analogy:
you work somewhere that requires you to address people by Mr/Mrs/Miss Lastname rather than their firstname. you work with someone who just got married and adopted their spouses name. your coworker makes people aware of the name change and everyone begins to use the new name. you slip up a few times, because you really liked the old name and took special joy in using it—but you are told by your coworker that, rather than it not being a big deal, it is upsetting because the marriage, spouse, and affiliated new name are treasured. you dont want to seem like an asshole after such a specific and heartfelt request, so you think the name in your head multiple times, extra assertively every time you see your coworker, as well as taking care to specifically use the name when addressing or referring to your coworker. if you felt particularly abashed that you had put your desire to hear the old name above their desire to have the new one respected, you might even apply yourself to thinking more about your coworker than usual, using their new name with inane frequency in your own thoughts in order to really nail that sucker down. very little time elapses before you fail to slip up either outloud or in your own head, and after a year or so you actually dont remember the old name unless you think for a minute or two.
well, there ygo. either try it or remember that youve literally already done it, then stop making excuses for the times you didnt care enough to do it, like when you just WONT stop the fat negativity because you feel your reaction is instictive, or the female negativity because you hate all the things that society tries to condition females to do and you hate seeing females do them.
maybe its actually truly easier for me, so maybe fuck me. but seriously, fuck this shit. people excuse the foulest shit in themselves and one another, and i feel like its because we’re all testing eachother to see whether we can feel emotionally safe and intellectually compatible enough to be real—i see white people test one another’s ‘too serious’-ness with casual racism, i see anarchopunks test one another’s rejectingthesystem-ness by being asshole snobs of the kind who keep people from adopting antisystem values, i see males test the safeness of females by being sexist and misogynistic (safeness here = unwillingness to speak out in cases of hateful or unaccepting talk toward women, which could mean unwillingness to speak out in cases of sexual abuse OR possible willingness to demonstrate acceptability to douches via sex).
ive seen a lot of the first one; the bar for tooserious-ness has been set too seriously fucking low. people refuse to respect objections to cruel behaviour—they blame the person raising the objection because they were made to feel small and that seems, to them, cruel in its own right. to this i say, GET THE FUCK OUT. WE ARE NOT ON THE SAME TEAM.
on my dash right now a woc is calling out a vegan for being elitist and comparing human-forced copulation of other species/human penetration of other species to rape. its speciesist to assume pro forma that these actions are not rape (construed as unwanted in the minds of the nonhumans involved). this is like white feminists failing to give a damn about the plight of the black woman. NOT MY OPPRESSION, DONT CARE HOW RELATED.
*redneck et al is an slc punk riff, im not targeting rednecks as im sure some are fine people—natural enemy of the punk though they be