I've written more than I'd like to about the battles between Comedy and Professionally Outraged Feminists (which are different from actual feminists who actually do shit, for example Amy Poehler, whose Smart Girls at the Party works to do everything from raise young American girls's self esteem to find those kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls).

Looks like now Professionally Outraged Insert Race Here's want to get in on the party.  The last big kerfuffle was the ridiculous #CancelColbert where some lady got a bunch of people to completely misconstrue a satirical bit on The Colbert Report.  But this latest one is even dumber -  Somebody listened to Leslie Jones's desk piece on SNL this weekend and completely fabricated that it had something to do with rape and then got offended at that. Do you understand what I just said?  This person is offended by something that wasn't even in the joke.

Now, just as comedy is a legitimate form of holding a lens up to society, comedy itself should be scrutinized.  But if your goal is to enlighten and educate people about something that is sensitive or offensive YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

Yelling "Shut that guy up!" in no way helps people learn that for many victims of rape and assault, just the mere mention of the act, even in passing in a joke, is a trigger for basically PTSD. Yelling "Cancel that satirical news program because they were talking about my group for once!" does not open the door to a useful conversation on the actual types of racism you face every day. And just completely making up that a joke is about rape... I don't even know what you're trying to accomplish besides clickbait pageviews.  In which case, congratulations, you win.

Here's some interesting things we could have a discussion about thanks to Leslie Jones's bit:

  • The beauty standard and how it has changed over time
  • How the American caucasian-centered beauty ideal affects women of color
  • How slaves were "bred" like animals and isn't that pretty horrifying? 
  • Misogyny and expectations of women within the black community

Not on that list or in the joke? Rape.

[Update: I was pointed to ForHarriet, which discusses basically all of these topics, but hasn't been as widely shared as the more superficial blog posts I slogged through on Sunday and Monday]

[Update 2: Here's a great pro-Leslie article that takes the ForHarriet writer to task for missing the context]

Oh well, at least I'm glad the country knows who Leslie Jones is now.

AuthorAmy Hawthorne