Monday, 19 December 2011

i'd rather not find that funny

i had an interesting evening on saturday. i went jetboating with a group of people on the waikato river, in the pouring rain. it was fabulous, though the rain did really, really sting on our faces. but the river was lovely, and all the rain caused little waterfalls all along the way, and one reasonable sized one. we got to see fish in the river, and got spun around quite a bit. great fun.

we then got changed at went off to dinner, where the entertainment for the evening was a couple of comedians & an MC. one of the comedians was ben hurley, who we see on our tv screens every now and then, mostly on tv3. i'd like to say the evening was just as much fun as the boating, but no. i'd have to say that the MC was the most appalling of the three we listened to, but none of them was particularly great.

the thing is that the women have to pay the same price as men to get into this event. but it's the women who have to sit there and listen to how we're whiny nagging bitches who won't put out or are too high maintenance, or too ugly or too slutty. and it's relentless, on and on through the evening. some of the women were laughing, some were just waiting for the whole thing to be over.

worst moment for me was mr hurley talking about how he woke his partner up by slapping her face, which brought a loud cheer from the young males in the audience. yes, feel free to call me a humourless feminist. i'd wear that label with pride. because i'd so much rather be one of those than be a person who celebrates and enjoys the thought of hitting a woman to wake her up.

and the thing is that if it's turned around the other way (which it very rarely is - women comdians often tend to denigrate women), the guys aren't laughing & don't seem to be expected to laugh. similar to when it comes to humour around race. it's all very well for white comedians to be "edgy" and "unPC", but when the joke's on white people, even tame ones, they have a tendency to walk out (eg watch the clip i linked to here) or loudly complain about reverse racism. they aren't expected to "get a sense of humour" or not be so "sensitive".

frankly, i don't want to see things turned around the other way. the answer isn't to be nasty about men, to make up for the nastiness about women. the answer is to just stop the nasty stuff about women. i wish i'd had the courage to walk out, or to at least say something to at least one of these guys about how they shouldn't be trying to do comedy to an audience when they basically hate 50% of it. what's the point?

oh, but the women were laughing too? i suppose that makes it all ok then.


LudditeJourno said...

Yep. I went to a cricket event a few years ago, male cricket player/comedian told a racist sexist joke about raping a Japanese woman. It was disgusting. My entire table walked out (mixture of Pakeha and Maori women, most of the team I played with). I don't think we changed anyone's mind there, but I didn't want to be in a space, with men joking about raping women of colour, and pretend it was ok.

stargazer said...

i suppose if we were an all female table we would have walked out. most of the women in our group weren't laughing and a couple of the men weren't either. but hearing of your experience, i wish we had. i think it would have been a powerful statement to the performers, but probably not so much to the audience.

Brett Dale said...

Have ya seen Chris Rock in concert?

No white people walk out on him.

I find all NZ so called comedians to be quite lame,Flights of the Concords are an expectation, maybe because they don't stoop to the lowest common denominator.

As for that cricket event, that is sick.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on. He says he likes to ANNOY his partner by waking her up in the morning by slapping her in the face with his PENIS. Either you were not listening properly and did not get the joke (and weren't watching either, as he mimes the act) or you are too sensitive to complete the joke on your post. Using the word 'hitting' in your post without clarifying the body part used alludes to him having used his hands. The way you present the story sounds as though he is joking about actually physically hurting the woman, which he absolutely is not, he is in fact joking about himself being a bit of a fool.
Suggesting that someone is condoning violence against women when they are not is, in my opinion, far more offensive than the truth in this case.

stargazer said...

wow, dude, talk about lack of reading comprehension. this was a LIVE performance, not a televised one. i was listening, and he did not mention the word penis at all, and even if he did, no i don't find it funny. i don't want to have the kind of sense of humour that finds that kind of shit funny, and it's really sad, in a society with such a problem around violence towards women, that you would.

how about you stop deciding what the truth is when you weren't at the event. if you want to claim that you were, then tell me where it was held - venue and city - then we'll talk about what the truth actually is. i've misrepresented nothing.

Anonymous said...

Saturday 17 December? Ohaupo, Windy Ridge. And there were no reading comprehension issues, I never mentioned a televised event. But he did say that he called the move in question "the alarm cock". 
Now, I'm certainly not suggesting that you are wrong not to find the material funny, comedy is subjective after all and let's be honest, a cock in the face joke is not to everybody's taste, but you are accusing somebody of a very unpleasant thing and doing so based on a joke that you seem to have misunderstood and having by your own admission not discussed your interpretation with him. Which that doesn't seem particularly fair or very nice.
And slapping your beloved in the face with your penis with the intent to annoy them and to wake them up is hardly an act of violence, no matter what state it was in at the time. Childish, definitely. But certainly not violent. 

stargazer said...

so your argument here is that hitting someone on the face with your hand to wake her up would not be ok to joke about but hitting her on the face with a penis is ok to joke about. in other the words, the violence doesn't matter if you a different appendage. that is the weakest, most pathetic excuse for brushing off violence that i've heard of. methinks you need to take a bit of time to read and understand about violence. when you hit someone, there are two aspects of abuse happening: one is the pain that might be inflicted, the other is the humiliation caused. what exactly do you think the young men were cheering about, if not the humiliation of the hypothetical woman getting slapped on the face by a penis to wake her up.

and yes, i know there are some people who get off on violence in relationships. but the people who practice BDSM discuss their likes and dislikes beforehand, decide on safe words for when things get uncomfortable, and don't carry out their activities to "annoy" their partner but to pleasure them. there is none of that aspect of consent in this joke. if annoying your partner is enjoyable activity for you, then it's better that you don't enter into a relationship. perhaps you've not heard of emotional abuse either.

you've really got your wires crossed over who is doing the unpleasant thing here. it's mr hurley, who made light of an inherently violent act (particularly in the way that he communicated it), got some cheers from the boys in support and thereby reinforced the culture of violence that exists in this country. your apologist explanations here are not doing mr hurley any favours, nor yourself. it's really time to stop digging, dude.

Anonymous said...

No, my argument is for this one particular case which we are discussing. You have made the assumption of violent intent (I can assure you there is none) and you have also assumed that the partner feels violated when there is no indication given that she does (I can assure you she does not). You have assumed that myself and my friends have taken the same interpretation of the material as you have and have accused us of laughing at the humiliation you have perceived and at at victims everywhere. We have not and are not.

While I do not presume to speak for everyone there that night, I know that a significant number of people do not read violence and intimidation into this material. We are people who have healthy relationships with ourselves, our partners and the penises we share. And yes, sometimes these penises are shared by way of foolish antics but this does not mean that we require a safe word, a safe house or drama of any sort. We just find penises funny. We find teabagging funny. It does not mean that because we find them funny we expect everybody else to or that nobody has the right to be offended or feel violated if they have an unwelcome interation with one. Some of us also enjoy teasing each other, "annoying" each other in silly ways that are not at all mean-spirited and are enjoyed on both sides. These facts and our differing interpretation of the material does not make us immoral, it does not mean we are ignorant of or turning a blind eye to domestic violence. We do not and are not.

My argument is for myself and the people that I know as opposed to yours against those exact same people whom you do not know - myself included - yet you have judged us against your own measure and accused us. You have assumed that Hurley's partner is a hapless victim, traumatised by his penis yet unable to act against him. Perhaps she is more annoyed by being woken up than by how it's done and would say "get away from my face with that you big silly, I'm trying to sleep" and they'd both laugh.

I hope that this has helped clarify my view a little better, I hope it brings you some relief to know to that rather than monsters laughing at the misfortune of others, most of us are laughing at (non violent) behaviour we recognise in our own lives. And I really hope that you do not decide to find a way of reading further venom and ignorance into my words.

stargazer said...

you start your comment with the notion of intent. i suggest you google the words "intent is not magical" and read some of the entries you find there. if that's too much work here are a couple to start you off:

my issue here is not with intent, it's with effect. this was a one-line joke that was cheered. no other joke was cheered on the night, in that way. there was no two-minute speech in explanation about the intent of the joke, like the long paragraphs you've written here. my issue is with context. the joke was told in a culture which where violence against women is serious problem, and there is a lot of minimisation of the effects of violence as well as victim-blaming of women.

i'd say to you again that if a joke about slapping a woman on the face with your hand would be considered unacceptable (and having young men cheering at it feel rather chilling), then switching "penis" for "hand" doesn't change that in the slightest.

i haven't assumed anything about mr hurley's girlfriend here. i'm looking at how the joke sounded, how the reaction sounded, and how it affected myself and the women around me who were part of the audience. and let's remember that the particular context of that particular night included an MC who was continuously telling incredibly sexist jokes, into which mr hurley dropped this particular one-liner.

mr hurley is clearly free to choose his own material. but as i said in the post, he might want to consider the fact that women pay the same ticket price as the men, and we deserve the same value for money. he may want to think about who is touring with, and how that choice reflects on him. or he may not. but i also have choices, and my choice will definitely be to not waste my money on his shows, unless i know something has substantially changed.