Batman Shootings and Rape: What Is Sacred and When Is Too Soon?
Anyone with a Facebook and a Twitter is all up in arms today, because everyone’s feeds seem to rest solely in between people joking about the Batman shootings, to people mourning the Batman shootings. And it seems some of this posts have started the great debate as to when is it “too soon” to joke about something, and what is sacred and should not be joked about, ever. And if you think there is a “right or wrong” answer to this, it really isn’t that cut and dry.
To first understand this issue, we need to actually take it back to one week before the tragic shootings that took place last night at the Batman premier in Colorado. You see, a week or so ago Tosh got into some heat for making some rape jokes at a club that some deemed a little bit over the line. And once that had happened, it brought the question back to the mainstream, especially with comics like Louis C.K. The main question is, what is OK to joke about and what is not?
Let’s be real here, Tosh doesn’t necessarily care what you think either way.
So if you want to read the story in question, read the links above. But it basically boils down to Tosh making some jokes about rape, to which a female audience member reacted and heckled him, to which he replied to by saying something pretty tasteless. Ok, I will admit, the joke he made was INDEED tasteless, and perhaps crossing some lines. But I also want to ask that female audience member what she was expecting from a Tosh show. This is a guy who shows people popping back boils and taking craps on his TV show. I am not siding with him either way, but I am curious who she thought she was going to see do standup?
Pretty sure his sweaters were anti-rape devices, actually.
What people need to understand, inherently, is that we don’t all process things the same way. We don’t all cope with things that same way. Some people, God forbid, like to laugh at things. Taboo things, to boot. And my question is, does that make their method of mourning or coping any less effective or do have any less right do cope that way than you? What you will see is I am not defending Tosh’s joke. Much like many people before me, who said it far better, I am simply defending his RIGHT to make that joke.
Is rape funny? No, and anyone who would need to ask that is obviously trying to get a reaction. No one thinks the ACT of rape is funny. But if some people deal with the issue by joking and laughing, why is that wrong? It is like the religious discussion, when people with different Gods battle. “My God is better than y ours, because mine thinks THIS way and yours thinks THAT way!” How self-righteous have we become?
No. There is nothing funny about this. But I also won’t condemn you if you want to discuss it.
The fact of the matter is, nothing in comedy should be safe. Nothing should be sacred. In that sense, comedy should be a lot like life. A crazy ride that sometimes knocks you off your feet by hitting you with the unexpected. Remember, the greatest comedians in history would incite discussion, and to this day, they still do. Guys like Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce and George Carlin could have given zero sh*ts about what your average person thought of the levity of their material. Yet, here we are, in some cases, fifty years later, still talking about them and that very material.
In case I have not made it clear yet, Bill Hicks is one of my heroes.
So racism and rape and sex make you uncomfortable? Well, good. They should. That is what horrible things should make you feel. But in that discomfort, you want to NEVER discuss any of this, and pretend is just doesn’t exist? That means we all have to suffer in silence like a victim, because the subject makes people squirm? Don’t you see, if we all squirmed away from this stuff, NO ONE would ever be able to face it and talk about it. It would be like the big elephant in the room no one ever speaks of.
Which brings us to the shootings at the Dark Knight Rises premier last night. Yes, that was a truly f*cked up moment. The moment we realize our last sanctuary has been taken from us. That from schools to restaurants to movie theaters, there is no place we will ever be safe anymore. But really, were we ever really safe?
You see, in real life, guys like this don’t swoop in and save the day.
The Batman ideal is a wonderful one. But I think the movie premier proved it is also a non-existent one. In real life, the bad guys sometimes win.
So when you took to Twitter and Facebook today, and saw half the people posting “Oh, the horror!” and half the other people posting ” I guess they really WERE dying to see the new Batman!”, don’t you think that is just two sides to the same coin?
Truth is, much like (sorry for the obvious analogy) the Joker, don’t you think we are only laughing because we are scared? Don’t you think the people who makes the jokes may just be mourning in a different way? How do you think it feels when we realize all the worlds heroes are dead? This is some life-altering, world-shattering stuff. And deep down, that doesn’t make this all make sense to anyone else? This society is imploding before out eyes. Oddly enough, I just discussed this moral decline in our society yesterday in this piece, just a few hours before it happened.
Truth is. we are all scared as hell. Some of us just laugh through the tears.
The idea of “too soon” is a system put into place to make people feel guilty for the way they cope. And you also need to understand, nothing is sacred in comedy, or in life. I think we all learned that yesterday night.
And by the way, why is no one talking about the people who brought their four month old baby to see a three hour action movie with extremely dark subject matter at midnight? How about we start holding people accountable? Maybe take their child, so God forbid, the thing has a chance at a normal life? Sorry, that aspect of the whole thing really upset me, too.
So if someone jokes today, pity them like you would if you saw them crying. Because, in some sick and twisted way, it’s the same thing.
I git chills when I was putting this last photo into place just now.
And all kidding aside, a huge moment of silence and sympathy out to the families and friends of the victims of this tragedy. Just remember, there are hundreds of tragedies that happen like this everyday. You just don’t hear about them because they don’t usually involve Batman.
Yeah, the world is just f*cked up like that.
Cry if you need to, laugh if you need to. But just keep coping the way you cope. The world will keep turning, and the world will keep burning, either way.
Atleast it’s been a fun ride…..