Skepticism

How About This Quote from Louis CK

Since directly quoting Joe Rogan’s Twitter feed yesterday and adding little to no commentary on what he said, I of course have been on the receiving end of a constant stream of hatred from Rogan’s fans (scroll down past Phil Plait’s terrible puns), who are sending me some combination of gendered slurs, rape “jokes”/threats, and sometimes just head-smacking stupidity.

Some of them have also tried to comment here on Skepchick, though most of them got their comments deleted before they even appeared because, really, dummies, at least try to hide your misogyny? Try? Here’s one that didn’t make it:

How about this quote from Louis CK that represents you quite well.

“No, I called you a cunt. Because you’re a cunt and your mother is one, and she had one. You know, the moment you were being born, there was a guy walking by, and you know what he said? He said, “Hey look, some cunt coming out of some cunt’s cunt!”

This amused me, because I saw Louis CK live last week and I really enjoyed it. I think he’s a brilliant comedian and he can be remarkably astute when he’s commenting on social issues. My friend Ian Murphy was there as well and he wrote a post criticizing one of CK’s atheist jokes:

But it wasn’t C.K.’s claim that some or even most atheists are arrogant. His profoundly disappointing take was that it’s inherently arrogant to not believe in God. “You can only see for two miles!” he shouted, hopefully a metaphor for the limits of human knowledge.

I agreed with Ian that the joke fell flat because I couldn’t get over the fact that it was a misrepresentation of what every atheist I know actually believes, though I was pretty forgiving because the rest of CK’s set made me laugh my ass off. But I do agree with Ian’s larger point that that kind of sentiment does feed into the continued marginalization of atheists, and in a place like Buffalo, bashing an atheist is the easy thing to do, in the same way that bashing feminism is the easy thing to do when your audience is a bunch of ignorant frat boys.

Louis CK Tweeted to Ian to defend the joke, but he kind of only just reinforced Ian’s point that atheists generally don’t believe 100% that there definitely is no god. I think part of Ian’s point is that regardless of CK’s intent, the joke reinforces some shit attitudes about atheists and enables the majority (theists) to get away with being assholes.

The reason why I love Louis CK is because he’s demonstrated an expertise at addressing “sensitive” topics in a way that usually ends up lampooning those in power. He talks about the privilege of being a white man in a way that is hilarious and accessible to people who otherwise wouldn’t be open to that kind of thinking. The problem comes when idiots repurpose his material in a way to suit their particular brand of bigotry, whether it be homophobia, misogyny, or just a general, all-purpose hatred of people who don’t look and behave exactly like them. The commenter above, for instance, took a line from the show Louie, where Louis CK plays a character based on his own life. Louis CK did not, in real life, call the lady from Smash a cunt. His character, who often serves as a way to examine how flawed and pathetic and angry humans can be, called the lady from Smash a cunt. But the idiot above took that as approval from his hero for him to call me a cunt, and to probably throw that slur at any other woman he really wants to shut up.

Is that Louis CK’s fault? I don’t know. A little, I think, and I think Louis CK thinks so, too, judging by this scene from Louie.

Comedians don’t just tell jokes – they have a voice and a perspective and an audience that is influenced by that perspective. Chris Rock learned this lesson the hard way, when racists adopted one of his bits as an excuse to be racist (which they’re still doing today, if you’ve noticed on Reddit and other social networks).

“I think a lot of people were thinking in those terms and hadn’t been able to say it. By the way, I’ve never done that joke again, ever, and I probably never will,” says Rock. “‘Cause some people that were racist thought they had license to say n—–. So, I’m done with that routine.”

For Rock and CK and other progressive comedians, a lot of their jokes are satirizing the status quo, slyly bashing racists and misogynists, and I would never ask them to dumb it down so that the bigots never get anything they can twist to their purposes. I’d only ask that they keep doing what they’ve been doing – critically examining the impact they have and making changes to ensure they remain both hilarious and subversive.

And I hope the same for Joe Rogan, who I always thought of as a funny person. I’ve always been a huge fan of NewsRadio and I always gave him the benefit of the doubt back when Phil Plait was vainly attempting to convince him of the very obvious fact that NASA went to the moon. I know he doesn’t approve of threats and insults being thrown at me on Twitter, but I think he has to work harder to help build an audience that can have a real conversation about women’s rights and rape culture without trying to bully a woman off the Internet.

Anyway, to close, here’s a taste of what’s been happening on Twitter. Consider this a trigger warning for rape and violence and slurs! Also, bear in mind that there have been plenty of positive Tweets sent my way and they’re all awesome. After two years of this kind of treatment, I’m used to this, so it hasn’t gotten me down at all and I’m not about to stop writing about this stuff. If anything, it inspires me to come up with new and interesting ways to mock them. That’s tough, considering how “Ur a cunt” can only be entertaining the first 4,000 times.

(The above two came one right after the other and I literally laughed out loud.)

(Again, one right after the other. Howls of laughter.)

(This one in response to a story about a teenage girl being raped and then killing herself. What is rape culture?)

(Directly quoting someone while correcting others on incorrectly quoting him = defamation, now. Lawyers, heads up.)

(I guess I don’t believe in science now because . . . because . . . I quoted Twitter? I don’t know, confused)

(Never post a famous person’s Tweets, ladies, or you’ll get what’s coming to you! You know, rape threats or whatever.)

(No but seriously, what is rape culture?)

(Reading comprehension. He’s got it.)

(LOL)

All of those were posted after Joe Rogan asked his fans to stop sending me threats and insults:

Since I wasn’t online last night when all this was happening, composing this post is the first I’m actually reading through the feed. I think what happened was that Rogan was angry I “connected him with rape” by mentioning that he doesn’t think rape culture exists. Which, it sure seems like he didn’t believe rape culture exists when he yelled at Jamie Kilstein for a few hours about it. If he’s changed his mind, he should let his fans know as many of them apparently don’t believe in rape culture either. Anyway, here are a few tweets that came before Rogan’s exhortation:

“Joe Rogan doesn’t hate women, but I do!”

I’ll end there, with the classic “your an idiot.”

UPDATE! Joe Rogan Tweeted an apology to me and is showing a good deal of class:

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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64 Comments

  1. I realize that this comment may never see the light of day here, but out of my sense for a better humanity, I wanted to take the chance and write it.

    I perfectly understand your point about rape culture, it is very prevalent in society and it is definitely something that should be addressed. How ever, I think your attacking Joe Rogan was a waste of time. #1 Joe isn’t going to change his mind and #2 all you did was anger his dough-headed fan base.

    Instead of attacking a comedian who makes his living telling stoner jokes, why not focus some of that rage on stories like that of Rehtaeh Parsons, a story that deserves the rage.

    I realize you were just trying to stand up for your beliefs, and for that I commend you. But as a father of a teen-age girl, I’d really like to see her “hero’s” focus on something less trivial than a stoner comedian.

          1. I’m confused…I thought your point was directed at Rebecca Watson, not bcmystery, and I thought you said she was being commendable for standing up for her beliefs. But if I’m not mistaken, now your point is that bcmystery, who is not Rebecca, was “puffing” up and “acting like an ass”? Definitely some subject confusion going on here.

    1. Please answer all of these questions. Thank you.

      1) What sort of litmus test are you using to determine what is Worth Talking About on this site?
      a)What are the requirements that make something worth talking about?
      b)When AND WHY did you decide that this wasn’t worth talking about?

      2) Do you realize that Rehtaeh Parsons has been discussed here before, and that we’ve discussed many, many, many other things besides Joe Rogen?

      3) As a father of a teen-age daughter, does it bother you that he has compared women who dislike children to dogs who eat shit?
      a) Does it bother you, as a father with a teen-age daughter, that he has a fairly large audience, mostly of men, and some of these people probably have or will have teen-age daughters?
      b) Why, again, is this not worth talking about?

      4) WHAT ARE YOU doing to help make the world a better place for your teen-age daughter?
      a) What have you done for Rehtaeh Parsons?

    2. “Instead of attacking a comedian who makes his living telling stoner jokes, why not focus some of that rage on stories like that of Rehtaeh Parsons, a story that deserves the rage.”

      IT IS LITERALLY UNPOSSIBLE TO CARE ABOUT MORE THAN ONE THING AT A TIME!

  2. You know how in early sci-fi someone could logic bomb a robot by saying “This sentence is false” or something similar and the robot would start smoking and shorting out and eventually blow up? Yeah. That’s how I feel after all those “Rape culture doesn’t exist, somebody needs to rape your dead body” tweets. Can’t… compute… makes…no…sense… *boom*

  3. But I agree, though, that you shouldn’t be a count. A count shot my cat dead when I was four. On my mum’s 30th birthday, no less. (Yes, an actual titled member of the aristocracy – the French had it right!)
    Definitely don’t be a count. Counts suck.

    Anyway, keep on keeping on. This kind of shit pretty much proves the necessity of it.

  4. Just to be clear…

    1)Rogan has kinda co-opted “cunt” as a pejorative to label a PERSON (*not* strictly a female) who is insensitive, stupid, & mean.

    2)Sadly, ANYBODY’S fanbase (including Ms. Watson’s) has about a 10% segment of people who are just insensitive, stupid, & mean (Rogan’s may be slightly higher because, you know, aggro young males)…so it’s rich that Rogan’s 1st “rule” is don’t be a cunt…& all these assholes tweeting Ms. Watson are vehemently disobeying that.

    3)So out of Rogan’s close to 1 million followers on Twitter (& the about a million listeners he gets per podcast), the “deluge” of hate isn’t much @ all. Granted, *1* tweet or message of stupid hate is too much, but I’m just pointing out perspective here…

    1. 1)Rogan has kinda co-opted “cunt” as a pejorative to label a PERSON (*not* strictly a female) who is insensitive, stupid, & mean.

      Rogan doesn’t really get to make that decision. At the same time, I’m not sure I’m that worried about the word cunt these days. Still, he could just not be an asshole and use a different term. But he’s not and he won’t. ‘Cuz FREE SPEECH! and POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!! I’m sure. Even though he could just be an empathetic person. But nah, that doesn’t garner hits on his podcast, does it? Nope.

      2) But Joe Rogan is often an insensitive, stupid, and mean asshole. Bltant hypocrites suck.

      3) Ah, yes. All Rebecca does is RE-TWEET something he says, and she ONCE AGAIN gets completely slammed with really disgusting shit, and once again, it’s just “not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.” Maybe it’s “not much at all” to YOU but it’s NOT directed at you. It’s directed at Rebecca. And this is FAR from the first. Maybe you need to gain some perspective.

      1. wait…
        so…you’re gonna let women-hating men make the “cunt” decision? & giving them this power is better? An enlightened macho-ish dude telling the more dickish of his followers that if they keep up that behaviour, then THEY are in facts the cunts…neutering the strict “for women only” abhorrent use of it, & making it actually a threat for a douche-y guy. This to me seems a step in the right direction. Unless you want to keep that “for women only”…

        & blokes use it in England against each other all the time, in a more-lighthearted way…Rogan himself has mentioned this, since believe it or not, the land of Izzard enjoys Rogan’s comedy as well…

        Speaking of perspective…I went into the podcast because behind South Park, NewsRadio’s my favourite show. & I also went in as a sensitive guy with a sporting gene who enjoys mind-expanding spiritual & scientific possibilites…& Rogan inspired me to keep all the good of what I just stated, but to be, frankly, more of a man…more responsible & less wimpy. I’m not sure what perspective you went in with (since you just seem so, so angry @ him, albeit two of your “points” are being mad that he said IN THE CONTEXT OF A FIGHTING RING that a former man shouldn’t be allowed to beat up natural-born women (& doctors are torn on this, please don’t act like there’s a consensus)…& you make the brazenly simple thought that he used what he thought was one woman’s unfortunate thought-process, & in the next sentence used a dog analogy…so you thought that meant “woman = dog”…that was like saying “I don’t understand a kid who doesn’t like sweets…it’s like a dog who doesn’t like meat”, & you hearing “he just called all children dogs!”)…anyway…

        It’s ironic that two women-centric posts—basically since he lives in a household of women, & didn’t understand a woman who hated kids (it just seemed unnatural to him in his current reality)…& then a thought-process that was centered on protecting women from being beaten up in a professional fight by someone with a possible unfair advantage = two women-hating posts in your view.

        Like I said in another post…(& btw, he’s inviting Ms. Watson onto the podcast (& her thoughts were they’d probably get along just swell))—but if someone who attracts a lot of men who pride themselves on being tough & manly…& his general, overriding message is to them is “be responsible…be open-minded…& don’t be mean”…if you just dismiss Rogan out of hand, you’re kinda dismissing what he’s trying to do to the admittedly 10% of his followers (& 30% of men in general…uberdouches). All I’ve heard are reports of how kind-hearted his comedy crowds are (from waitresses, et al), & have a look @ the iTunes comments…post after post saying how many dude’s (people’s?) lives have been changed—so all I’m saying is I’ve heard a lot more of the guy’s thoughts than you obviously (& I’d really consider myself more on the feminist-side of things if I HAD to choose (& why do we have to?))…& I think he’s pointing men generally in the right direction. Just seems you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater (see, in your thought process, I just called Rogan a baby with that analogy)…& the fact that you called him “status quo” (when 90% of his thoughts in the podcast are quite subversive) shows me you just don’t know a whole lot about the guy…

        1. “so…you’re gonna let women-hating men make the “cunt” decision?”

          No. Since it’s a GENDERED insult I was gonna let the GENDER IT IS REFERRING TO make that decision. ALL women.

          Like, you know, me.

          And you do realize he basically considers all feminists to be women-hating-men, right? That would include me. Which is fucking ridiculous since I love men.

          Everything else in your tl;dr paragraph is bullshit and not worth my time.

          “Women hating men” is a fucking red herring. IT IS IRRELEVANT.

        2. you’re wasting your time on that one, mate. i’d consider myself a fan of rogan’s, i don’t think he’s the funniest comedian but his podcast is excellent. admittedly, a good chunk of his fan base are tools who take some of his personal philosophies too literally and try to emulate his persona too much, forgetting that he is a comedian. but he is a very intelligent guy who, i think, has a very good set of morals and rules that he tries to live his life by.

        3. “Rogan has kinda co-opted “cunt” as a pejorative to label a PERSON (*not* strictly a female) who is insensitive, stupid, & mean.”

          I’ve heard people who like using “nigger” and “faggot” make similar claims. It’s not any more convincing from them.

  5. Dear Joe Rogan,
    If you don’t want your fans to be assholes on your behalf, try not to be the kind of comedian who attracts assholes as fans.
    You could start by not being an asshole yourself.
    Thanks much,
    Me

    1. ? Have you heard any comedy of his? Especially in the last 5 years? Have you heard the podcast? The reason Joe attracts assholes is because men love Joe Rogan, & probably 30% of men are just straight assholes. Ask Rebecca how many mean-spirited, truly hateful tweets she got…then weigh that against Rogan’s 1 million followers. Again, Joe’s #1 “rule” in his newfound popularity (top 10 iTunes podcast) is “don’t be a cunt”, I.E., boy or girl, don’t be a whiney, judgmental, vindictive douche…the sliver of his “fans” who are missing out on his constant “peace & love” diatribes on his podcast are the ones who bugged Rebecca, & the ones only a Rogan has a chance to save, because they are just so used to “being cunts”, but since they see themselves as “manly”, they respect Rogan. That why all this uninformed “Rogan is just a prick!” stuff is so silly, because he’s generally on the right side of the issues you fine people here fight for, so why wouldn’t you want him on your side? Because if he’s on your side, & he can get the douchetastic elements of society to clean up their act if only a little…the world would actually be a better place…

      1. Joe,

        I’d like to humbly suggest you stop saying, nasty, sexist, insulting, hurtful things about women. Pretty please with a cherry on top?

        Also, if you don’t mind overmuch, could you stop being ignorant and hateful to trans people?

        You see, you’re an unstoppable force of Love and Light, and would single-handedly convert people from the pseudoscience and supremacy theories embraced by the bigots you’re subtly satirizing with your witty bon mots. I know what you’re really doing, you rapscallion. Never stop being you.

        I just worry that you’re undermining your own message by burying it so deeply in context and character.

        Peace in Solidarity,
        Punchdrunk

        P.S. We landed on the moon, and Obama was born in Hawaii. All that’s beside the point, but I thought you should know, compatriot to compatriot. Word to the wise and all that.

        And we really did land on the moon, and President Obama was born in Hawaii.

          1. The gods of preview and edit were playing funny buggers with my PC there (it was trying to do a big Windows update).
            I wanted to put COTW there! (10000 Internets for keeping a straight face).

      2. The idea that female genetalia = weakness/whininess is a super shitty attitude to spread around. Being a girl is not a flaw, so using girlishness as an insult is weird and doesn’t make sense unless you think girls and women are the worst possible things to be. Simultaneously, the idea that women are a monolith who are nurturing and warm and stoked to reproduce is flat out absurd, in the same way that saying men by nature are not equipped for parenting would be. While additionally, writing off a large swath of men as mostly assholes is equally sexist and certainly isn’t the feeling of the feminists I know contrary to popular fiction.

  6. ahhhhahaha
    “@rebeccawatson @fakeidswede that was a lil funny. No 1 condoms rape. If people joke with the word rape it doesn’t make them rape supporters”

    love a good autocorrect that almost makes sense :D

  7. The longer I’ve been hanging out on Skepchick, the fewer comedians I find funny. Once you start seeing the absolute hatred for women so many of them have, you can’t un-see it. They can be going on saying something really funny one minute, and then the next I am thinking “What an ASSHOLE!” and I totally come out of the moment. The reject pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

  8. “and adding little to no commentary”… Huh? Which was it? A “little” commentary, or you didn’t comment at all? How could you become confused?

    Ok, Ok, we all get the idea of a chatty writing style, myself included, but that little one just doesn’t work, Rebecca! We simply can’t believe you’re actually unsure, so can I suggest you don’t (implicitly or otherwise) claim that you are! Erodes your credibility (yes it does). You can be chatty without sacrificing precision, I’m sure.

    1. Tell me how her criticizing his views in a fairly low-key way warrants rape threats? Let me illustrate what it’s like.

      I’m a fan of Rebecca Watson, and you criticized her. YOU’RE GAY SINCE YOU LIKE SHIRTLESS MMA MEN, AND YOU NEED A GOOD ANAL RAPING & BEATING!!!

    2. ……………You just came off looking like a really obnoxious, pedantic little troll. Good job.

      The fact that you glossed over some really gross rape threats and then decided to comment on THIS? Disgusting. You need some fucking perspective.

      And talk about not having credibility. You clearly have none.

  9. I agree that Rogan should be more aware of how his followers(self proclaimed “savages”) will respond to certain tweets he makes. Some of his followers treat him like he’s infallible. I think the MRA thing seemed the stupidest I don’t understand fully what that is but it looks like the gender equivalent of “white pride. we just proud of being white, why can’t we have white entertainment television ya racists?”

    I just don’t understand the attention given to the word cunt. If anything the word bitch is used more often and casually as a gender specific slur and putdown, although this is in my own experiences and I am not a woman so I can not speak for you only myself(but I do hear what everyone says when you leave the room). I will admit I’m guilty of using both of these words(for both genders) cunt I probably use in a much more gender neutral manner I use it for men more than women. Cunt has always seemed like the same way you would call someone a prick just much harsher because of the way people treat the word. I’ve always viewed “whore” or “slut” as much worse than cunt.

    I acknowledge that I’m pretty ignorant about the history of the word cunt, but from my idiot perspective it looks like you’re giving that word power over you for no reason at all other than that’s the word you chose. Why is cunt considered your “n-word”? You’re just attaching that word to the oppression of women. The n-word was used throughout the history of the US to refer to pretty much every black person in a dehumanizing way but cunt was never used to refer to every woman. It was used like any other gender specific slur the same way “bitch” or “slut” was used. There weren’t signs around saying “no cunts allowed” and there weren’t people telling cunts to go to the back of the bus. I completely acknowledge the oppression of women but how is the word cunt related to that why is it special?

    1. Well, as an OWNER of a cunt, I rather dislike it being used as an insult. As an OWNER of a cunt, I would very much like non-owners to stop using the word as an insult, and to stop whining about it. Your inability to think of a new word is not my problem.

      1. Okay I understand that you don’t want anyone to use the word. I was asking why that word is special amongst all the other words that can be used to degrade people. Why is is it special amongst all of the words for female(and male genitals) that can be used as insults?

        You’re just saying “I OWN this, sucka!” but I’m trying to understand why that word has been chosen as the one that women own.

        1. Actually, I think you’ll find most people around here eschew the usage of genital- and gender-based insults in general, including things like “bitch” and “dick.” It’s not that this word is “special,” it’s that it is particularly hateful because of it’s higher taboo status (at least in North America).

        2. A little argument from authority… It is one of George Carlin’s seven dirty words. I think it is considered much more offensive, and is used much more specifically to apply to women, in North America than in Britain or Australia. Why it’s special is based on how it is used.

          1. Actually, my impression is that Australia lies somewhere between the US and the UK on this one. Why that should be, I don’t know.

  10. I don’t know if your aware of this, Rebecca Watson, but Louis CK actually does use the word cunt quite loosely outside of the comedy stage quite often to describe both men and women. Listen to him on Opie and Anthony you can find their videos on youtube.

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