Obviously, this should not have been what prompted me to write again, but so it goes sometimes. Basically, the story goes something like this: Tosh does standup, girl gets offended, girl makes a scene, Tosh acts like a dick, girl complains, Tosh is forced to apologize. You with me? Here are the particulars, and my commentary comes from the same:
So Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”
I did it because, even though being “disruptive” is against my nature, I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman. I don’t sit there while someone tells me how I should feel about something as profound and damaging as rape.
This section in particular is worthy of comment, but we’ll continue for the moment.
After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “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…” and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, immediately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there. It was humiliating, of course, especially as the audience guffawed in response to Tosh, their eyes following us as we made our way out of there. I didn’t hear the rest of what he said about me.
Now in the lobby, I spoke with the girl at the will-call desk, and demanded to see the manager. The manager on duty quickly came out to speak with me, and she was profusely apologetic, and seemed genuinely sorry about what had happened, but of course we received no refund for our tickets, but instead a comped pair of tickets, although she admitted she understood if we never wanted to come back. I can imagine the Laugh Factory doesn’t really have a policy in place for what happens when a woman has to leave in a hurry because the person onstage is hurling violent words about sexual violence at her. Although maybe I’m not the first girl to have that happen to her.
I should probably add that having to basically flee while Tosh was enthusing about how hilarious it would be if I was gang-raped in that small, claustrophic room was pretty viscerally terrifying and threatening all the same, even if the actual scenario was unlikely to take place. The suggestion of it is violent enough and was meant to put me in my place.”
Now, the moment of truth: should Tosh have to apologize?
Honestly? No. And even if I catch flak for saying that, it’s still the truth.
This woman, whoever she is, decided to go to see some standup from Daniel Tosh. It’s his routine. Patrons go to see his routine. Tosh says something this woman doesn’t like, and she decides she’s important enough to interject. Here’s the problem: she isn’t. Nobody is. You don’t like a show, you pick your ass out of your seat and you leave. You don’t like what’s on the television, you change the channel. If it was a forum with the audience, that’s one thing. But it wasn’t.
So now that she’s instigated conflict and broken the patron-performer barrier, Tosh addresses her. Look at his word choice. “Wouldn’t it be funny if…”
And honestly? No, it wouldn’t. Now if he had said, “Boys, rape this bitch and put her in her place,” then he very clearly would have been crossing that line. What he said wasn’t nice. What he said didn’t help. What he said wasn’t even funny. But he’s certainly allowed to say it.
Basically, she created a scene and got in over her head. If you’re going to start a conflict, be prepared for anything. Would you go to a Black Panther rally, get offended, and then yell, “White Power!” and expect people to just…take it? Or expect such a statement to be respected and tolerated? No, you certainly wouldn’t. Or did I miss the part where Tosh’s standup needed to conform to her exact standards and ideals? If that’s the case, then I recant everything I’ve just said, and I’m sorry. If The Right to Not Be Offended was a constitutional right, it would be the undoing of everything we hold dear.
Although…if public appearances are supposed to meet my particular standards, can I expect a personal apology from Mitt Romney anytime soon for advocating policies that fuck tens of millions of Americans sideways? To be clear, I find his policies offensive, and it pisses me off. Plus, the guy isn’t even funny.