Men and ExCKommunication


This past weekend, Louis C.K. returned to his “home stage,” The Comedy Cellar. He’d taken a hiatus from performing since admitting to sexual abuse at the end of last year.

“I understand that some people will be upset with me,” said Noam Dworman, owner of the Comedy Cellar, who described Louis C.K.’s 15-minute standup set as “typical Louis C.K. stuff” including riffs on race and tipping at restaurants. But, he added, “there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong.”

His return has raised the undying question of whether famous sex criminals should be allowed a path to redemption. Was Louis apologetic enough? Should he be welcomed back sooner if he’d donated to RAINN? Would we be more willing to applaud his comedy if he attended sex therapy and spoke on what he’d learned? Is there salvation in him supporting the women he’s traumatized or raising up women he’s never met? These are all weighed and debated by women individually when it comes to forgiveness.

Women are doing their own thing. But men must come to a much simpler conclusion:

If a man is excommunicated, he’s not guaranteed a path back to the limelight. “But that’s not fair,” says Michael Ian Black in more words. I don’t mean to denigrate compassion, and he did seem to eventually get the picture, but he’s also correct: us men had the unfortunate chance to end up living during the first era of retribution exacted by victimized women. Yep, for you, and me, and any man who might have stumbled up our forefathers’ ladder in decades past, to be born now, no longer during a time when pretty much any misogynist aggression, from macro to micro, could be waved away with enough money or clout? Shit timing.

Because if we can admit that Priapus’s sun is setting after mere millennia, we can recognize who suffered for being born sometime during known human history. If it is difficult for men right now, it has been as difficult–at minimum–for billions of women. The majority of those women didn’t survive to see this day, all they knew was a crushing patriarchy. And men can relinquish that in many ways, but shutting up on topics like forgiveness is an easy one. The women of today deserve the choice to hold the reins and the bullhorn and the flaming whip, because, if we’re talking fairness, that’s a stab at it.

The banishments (banishments), permanent or not, are growing pains. There’ll be celeb “casualties” like Louis, those who are no longer given the chance to comfort us with their (still valuable) contributions to culture. There will be art lost, whether immediate (I Love You, Daddy) or potential (any future seasons of Louie). I’ve watched every stand-up special by Louis and marveled to witness a drop-in at Los Angeles’s Comedy Store. For my undergraduate thesis, I situated him in a long line of utopia-seeking comics, from Lenny Bruce to Richard Pryor to Bill Hicks to him, here and now, the promise of shifting the entire comedy paradigm progressively. And yet his loss, like that of Ansari and Hardwick and other cusp-of-comeback kids of this moment, is maybe necessary for an eventual equality, and that goal is worth all the earth-shaking boner jokes in Louis’s head.

So when Noam Dworman states “there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong,” I have to insist that actually there can, it can just happen, the third law of thermodynamics isn’t “the dickflasher must be given stagetime.” It’s “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” and buddy, we’ve still got a hefty dose of reaction before we’ve hit equal.

That said, I don’t figure that the women of today wish to go Amazonian on our asses. It’s not that I think of women as gentler or kinder (imagine if that’s the turn this essay took), but rather the effort required to yonically oppress for just as many years seems too much for any human. Men fell into it, right? Our monkey brains kept “might makes right” at the forefront and only recently have come to understand that there are other things that make right! Even as we reaped the rewards, most humans aren’t evil and so most men aren’t evil. Just bumbling and ignorant, and the tides may be turning on that front too. When it comes to the exiles and re-configuring our gender’s expectations, my mewling men, I’m guessing it’ll take three generations. That’s what I expect. Not for me to decide, but what I expect.

So just chill, my sweet dudes. Our input isn’t wanted or needed. Isn’t that freeing?

But if your pity still swells for Louis, shoving his victims from the frame; if you can’t grasp the damage wrought by asking “what about the men,” then consider perverts and misogynists who don’t possess the comedian’s clout or resources. Louis with his Comedy Cellar and adoring fans, Mario Batali and his restaurants peppered around the globe, Matt Lauer and the bulwarking upper echelon of Manhattan media. Their redemption comes far easier than that of a man from your high school who’s abused women (as we all have to varying degrees) and, upon reflection, dedicates himself to righting it. He can’t make the huge donations, he can’t afford the Beverly Hills therapist or the PR spin-master. Without access to a blacklist, his victims (and bless them for their vindictive power) may bring charges against him, and he may end up irreparably damaged, sexually or otherwise, by a stay in prison himself. To say nothing of the imprisoning outcome of the offender registry, restricting where he may work or live. Oh, and perhaps he’s not white as a bleached harp seal cub. That too.

This nobody-man still deserves his punishment however it unfolds, but if you’re dedicated to your psychopathy and seek for anyone to care about other than the women: why do you give a shit about Louis? He could leave the country today and live in comfort until death. He thinks nothing of you; there are millions of you. Even in your misogyny you can do better.

Perhaps it’d be more worth your time to care about the women.



Hire Me, Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer has found herself pitched aloft on the tides of Twitter after a ringing endorsement of her comedy in The Guardian was topped off with a paragraph about Schumer’s “blind spot around race.”

I respect Schumer! Still respect her!!! I think she’s funny, an important voice in comedy right now, and her show is often brilliant. I think the points leveled against her are somewhat legitimate and others can be (and have been) refuted, but I don’t wanna be here all night. So.

Here’s Amy’s response.

Every. Single. Time.

What is so hard about this, comics? Why can’t you address this sort of shit with some care and aplomb? Is it because comedians are so shitty to each other that you grow this prickliness, porcupine’d forever as a career security blanket? Is it that comedy is all you feel you’ve got, and if it’s attacked in any shape or form your fight-or-flight kicks in? Are you simply serving it up to your main demo, pissy fuccbois who wanna see you be mean to those quee blac femal disabl whiners?

Why do my heroes keep making me think I’m dumb for respecting them? I don’t want to be mean or ranty, but shit, I keep getting burned! Authors don’t do this to me! Musicians? Artists? They don’t give me the same trouble.

AMY! You don’t have to kick this off with an insult! Who opposed to you is going to calm down when you imply they’re setting themselves aflame in their anger? Who has ever received condescension with a refreshed smile, prepared to guzzle all the fluff you’ve wedged into these one-and-a-half screenshots? (He wrote, condescending to a famous comedian.)

But it is. It’s fluff with a capital F-FF, you may as well have written “I’ve synergized my workflow into laughter moving forward.” How do you expect people will read “I’m a devout feminist and lover of all people?” Feminism is intrinsically about not using it as a shield. How does your statement of faith (so “devout”) come across to people who feel marginalized? Who can take you at your word– anyone at their word– when you say that you’re a lover of all people? Are you Jesus? MLK? They’re the last ones who really got away with saying that shit, people believed them so hard they were killed over it. I don’t think you’re reaching martyr levels for your global touchy-feels yet.

How can you, one of our preeminent comic voices, a woman who I REALLY DO TRUST to tackle bitter subjects with grace, still collapse under the lightest scrutiny I’ve seen in a long time? Remember Tosh? Michael Richards? Trevor Noah? (Two of ’em still have lucrative careers, and I’m sure Kramer lives on an island he owns somewhere, snapping through doorframes with only the breeze to join him).

Because Amy, here’s a really obnoxious part: you have SO many white feminists behind you, nodding in assent because they don’t want their TV show stolen by the angry minorities who’re always complaining so much more, making the proper, pure-to-the-point-of-albinism feminists look bad. The whitefems try so hard all the time that, like, can’t they just have this? Ugh- They’re the exact sort of feminists who will take after your example, believing they can ward off criticism by saying “guys. I really do it good. Im the femsisnism,”

Here, Amy, I’m your new PR flack. (Ain’t it just like a dude to assume a gal needs help?)

I read Heisey’s article on me in The Guardian, and appreciated all the great shit she had to say about me. Great shit about me is always welcome, same as bad shit about me. We all know where my compliment box is, but my complaint box is also always open (and it’s not my ass). That said, I have to disagree to a point with Heisey’s claim that I have a ‘shockingly large blind spot around race.’ Her example of my race-based stand-up is out-of-touch. I haven’t had racial material in my act for the past two years because of what I’ve come to learn from my audiences and our society. That said, it was shitty that me and the writing team for the MTV Movie Awards couldn’t come up with anything less hacky & race-based for a bit that combined both Selma Hayek, an incredibly talented Latina actress, and Selma, a film about a moment so crucial to the story of civil rights in America. We’ll have to do better next time, and I understood the criticism that followed. Besides, I pissed off J-Lo. Who would dare cross J-Lo twice? Affleck did. Now he’s dead, I think. I hope.

Ultimately, I do what I can to relate the messages I think are important, and I try to hear everything you guys share with me. I love what we’ve been able to take on with the show, we seem to spark discussion about racism, sexism, & jism all the time, and it sounds like Heisey and most of you agree. I may not hit the mark every sketch or joke, but I want to prove I’m listening. So I’ll keep trying for that, and I’ll apologize now, and apologize again in the future I’m sure. And if you want the show to continue giving us a voice, if you want the episodes to keep coming, I need you to chant it with me now: KEEP COMING INSIDE AMY SCHUMER!! KEEP COMING INSIDE AMY SCHUMER!!

Hit me up on Venmo if you wanna post this, Amy. It won’t come cheap; despite my continued hopes, care is still a rare commodity in the comedy biz.

Emma Sulkowicz, “Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol”

Emma Sulkowicz, recent Columbia grad and performance artist best known for Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), has released her newest project: Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol, “This Is Not A Rape,” an “homage” to the classic Rene Magritte piece. Responses range from pointlessly gross on the conservative side to stunned confusion & muddied messages from feminists.

Upon arriving at the page, visitors are greeted with an artist’s statement in which Sulkowicz requests certain things from her audience– most pointedly, she requests that you “do not watch this video if your motives would upset [her].” The video portrays her and an actor in a staged dorm room sex scene which, we’re told, “is consensual but may resemble rape.” She also provides questions for viewers meant to probe at our own intentions.

I didn’t watch the video. It was described. I can imagine it. It doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy or would learn from.

Especially considering that, as she describes in her very own statement: “it’s about you, not him.”

Before I get at what I think Sulkowicz is trying to relate, I’d ask you: what has she done? I’ve read the transcripts of both parties’ communication, so I’m fully versed in the context, but the question remains. If Sulkowicz is a sinister sociopathic puppetmaster, what damage has her plan wrought? The accused, Paul Nungesser, is likely emotionally distressed by the situation and the attendant struggles that come with suing Columbia University.

And that’s it.

He’s not going to jail. He will have a stigma attached to him for the rest of his life, but that stigma will also draw people to him– his defenders. Same with Sulkowicz: if Nungesser is a lying predator, then she suffers emotional distress from her assault and nothing else happens. Some will hate her, others will protect her, there is a kind of balance between the two forces.

I’m not equalizing their suffering; I’m attempting to illustrate that, through a practical lens, the impact of Sulkowicz’s accusation is all but nil. Nungesser and Sulkowicz walk away from this terrible situation with an emotional mess that can’t be resolved. “What happened” can’t be answered, it’s a moot point now. Everything since has had only one measurable effect on their lives, and, in turn, our lives: visibility.

Emma Sulkowicz is violated. This is all we can know. No way to verify her feelings, same as all feelings. Her violation is public, and she tells us, and we can either trust her or not. Her claim of violation is her one point of influence. That’s not a reduction of her experiences, it’s an assessment of the audience’s perspective. Her claim of violation is the single aspect of her infinite individuality that inspires near every opinion about her.

That’s italicized for emphasis, and I’ll even rephrase it before the onslaught: the vast majority of Sulkowicz’s critics blame her for doing a “bad thing,” and that bad thing is, in essence, her public ownership of her feelings of violation.

And how do people respond to this “bad thing,” her behavior? Here’s a collection of highly-upvoted comments in a thread about the performance in r/TumblrInAction, a subreddit dedicated to mocking radical Tumblrinas. (Full disclosure: I hate both of these communities.)

Owning your feelings is all in the purpose of insane demands for attention. So many claims that her art is “attention-seeking,” as art should not be seen or heard, that’s rule number one of art.

Publicly acknowledging your claim of violation makes you a dumb bitch, doomed to failure in a world that hates you.

It makes people hope that you will experience further suffering at the hands of your suffering’s perceived origin.

Your wishes mean nothing, and people revel in the concept of sexual violence against you.

Rhetorical acts of rape against you will be cheered.

You are a Nazi.

The comment section available at the bottom of Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol is yet another source of vitriol, but those comments are made in a vacuum and further anonymous than Reddit. I don’t wish to draw any conclusions about men, or Redditors, but only Sulkowicz’s critics– the critics are furious, violent, spiteful, and frightened. It’s what she recognized and counted on for the success of this piece. We know this happens when women try to own any part of themselves, men panic and try to stop it, because we’re supposed to own all the parts of women (a preceding conclusion that I’m happy to draw about men).

To that end, she’s created a piece of art that challenges us to take it seriously at every step, provoking all sorts of discredit: the title is a deliberate reference to a legendary painting, forcing the juxtaposition of a recent grad against one of the masters. She includes an artist’s statement that prods at us in many ways, asking self-reflective questions that are certain to get the reactionaries boiling over. It even starts with a trigger warning, current noted blight on free thought. Many viewers seem to think this is footage of her actual rape, a confusion that, despite clarifying in the statement, she seems to have no qualms allowing given the video’s content and relation to her experiences.

“Look, she’s admitting, honestly, that she aspires to change the world– how naive and dumb to feel that way.”

“Ha, demanding consent to view a prurient video that she released amidst intense scrutiny, how dare she? Where does she get the nerve to ask things of us, as if we should respect her? Why would we do that?

Why would you not do that?

These responses are only words on the internet, but those words are governed by feelings, and these feelings are disproportionate. Her critics trumpet that they assess Sulkowicz and Nungesser’s conflict objectively as they allow their aggressive fantasies to run wild, making me wonder what ground they hold over Emma when it comes to not operating on pure feels.

Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol may come across as a shallow statement to those versed in art history. I’m not the guy who knows. What I’m witnessing here is Sulkowicz doing her damnedest to somehow reach those who hate her most, sacrificing her sexual body and, hand-in-hand as always, the respect of the public. Her hope is that one confused man may read her words, watch the video, and maybe, just maybe, that man will wonder “Why?” That scenario could have odds of ten-million-to-one, but I’m sure you can find videos with 10,000,000 hits on Pornhub.

In an interview with ArtNet, Sulkowicz admits that she believes vulnerability is the best way to change the world, and that the media buzz around her life has been, in a word, “terrifying.” Otherwise, she keeps the intent of the piece guarded, afraid of influencing the response.

There was a feature I noticed just before I began writing this. I’m surprised I didn’t catch it before, my eyes simply glazed over its function in the text. I’d like to direct you back to the header of Ceci N’est Pas Un Viol, where “Artist’s Statement” is blanked out, all but its bookends.

I’ve seen no commentary about, no mention of this detail as I’ve scrambled through reactions. In yet another hamhanded-to-the-point-of-deliberate turn, Sulkowicz makes her intentions clear: she knows that her statement is superseded & ignored, her desires are ignored, even her acknowledgement of this ignorance goes ignored. In the face of her one accusation, everything she does next is forfeit. It is rape culture, it is FYGM, it is irrational, and the only option she has left is to keep running into it headlong in hopes she won’t be the first destroyed.

For all the uproar around her request for consent, I have seen no pause at her most direct prescription, found at the end of her statement: “Please, don’t participate in my rape. Watch kindly.” The second phrase is all it takes to honor the first.

I don’t know if this dude is actually friends with my boss, but Steve’s been coincidentally and conveniently unfollowed by my boss’s Twitter account because even if Steve’s jokes weren’t repulsive, they also aren’t jokes because they aren’t funny. KO Comedy doesn’t support hate or boring angry babymen who never learned how to be funny and, as such, will not find success in their chosen field.

I’ve also wanted to make a gif out of these faces for a week now so everyone wins

#YesAllWomen is important because it teaches people things. The fact that there’s a term, “Attention Dress,” that women can share between each other and understand the meaning of while I’m utterly unaware of its existence speaks volumes.

Opponents of the hashtag say it makes the debate “all about them.” It’s not all about them. It just is them. This is what being a woman is, and men, myself included, are blind to so many parts of femininity. How do we presume to tell them anything about their role in society?





God bless.

[gif reading “mission accomplished”]

hahaha you clutch of morons. go to the Telegraph and search for this article since you’re so devoted to facts and stats. you won’t find it. you’re championing the fake words and ideas of someone (probably a feminist) that were designed to make you look bad. It’s totally a honeypot.

the author photo is Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, a character designed as the extreme sociopath. oh my god, please say  “I didn’t actually believe it, I posted it cause it was a funny idea,” save face, save face, hahahaha

To You Internet Misogynists


First of all, fuck you. It’s always been like, you know, an irritating thing that you’d attempted to co-opt the language of feminism and other civil rights struggles to cloak your sexist ideas in bullshit like “Men’s Rights” and calling this sexist garbage “activism.” And for a long time, I think a lot of people like me were down with ignoring this shit because it was juvenile and stupid, but also because it seemed like this tactic was clearly the same as racists whining about why there isn’t White History Month, or homophobes trying to have a Straight Pride Parade, something that anyone with half a brain could see is transparently a way to prop up the bigotry of people who already control the balance of power in this world.

But this Elliot Rodger mess brings up a way that this type of shit can affect people. Because, when you co-opt the rhetoric of revolution and struggle, it’s more than just “trolling” or some bullshit to make, you know, actual decent people angry. It’s language that can make a disturbed person think that defending bigotry is a legitimate struggle, that, in Rodger’s case, that owning and subjugating women is a cause worth killing and dying for. Because that’s what those words mean, you fucking garbage assholes, those words are for people who struggle from real oppression, to inspire people to sacrifice and never give up. The fact that straight white men have taken these words to rally around calcifying the bigotry that’s slipping from their fingers is truly disgusting, and now it’s more clear that it has fucking consequences.

Fuck you, you pieces of shit, fuck you.

Our ideas and words and actions can get people killed and, if my personal journey is any indication, it only takes baby-thought to trace the paths that lead there. It’s why I panic about every aspect of existence, but I really think it’s working out for me and, if not me, then the people around me.

My own efforts to create a voice and a perspective on these failures haven’t really been about chastisement, or a certain set of assumptions about what the articulation that I’m critiquing should have been, or what the failure of it represents in the person, but rather a collective effort to build a feminism that does more of the work that it claims to do.

Kimberlé Crenshaw on intersectionality, the term she coined, quoted in this article.

The system fails and it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, so long as we do what we can to repair it.

On rape culture


she was probably just a drunk whore who was ashamed of the sex she had the next morning

Die in a fire.

(In reference to this previous post about a woman struggling to find any source of authority that believed she was raped. The following post does not mean to address her brusque response, but the motivation behind the above question given the hellish rape-Catch-22 of the original submission.)

It’s not that women never lie, it’s not that men always lie. It’s about how we created a world where any victim is suspect. Why do we suspect victims? When did we become so panicky that we hear about someone in trouble and our first thought is “how can I resolve this for myself” rather than “how can I resolve this for this other person, who either is a victim or is suffering in some other way that she feels the need to represent herself as a victim?”

While all oppressed groups deserve more attention from those in power, these conversations do not have to serve just one person in our own minds. We all hear “feminism” and “rape culture” and presume that the points being scored are for an in-group. Even though those labels are necessary for the movement and clarification’s sake, they scare. And they scare because none of us want to give any ground.

What can be done to reveal the greater good here? How do we keep the end-game in sight as we, day-to-day, make small compromises in our own will to power and survival? What can I do through comedy/writing/culture that overturns this message of fear that continues to avalanche upon us all trying to get by?