Tag Archives: Comedy

Anthropomorphukupzthanyoucanshakealadystickat

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What my cat taught me about gender… (from medium.com)

Little if anything, it seems… Hee hee.

‘Lolita, my 16 year-old female cat, emerged from her kitty litter box with a penis.’ On the basis of which you assign her male?

Your cat has a penis ∴ your cat is male. ARRGH! Fucking bigot! How do you know this? Have you not stopped to entertain the possibility that this is the fabled lady-penis? Later in your article you clain to have learned that ‘…gender (is) experienced from within — it’s not something you can (or should) identify from the outside…’ And surely you’re aware most MtF trans folks have intact male genitals? Party line says this is a class issue, that the surgery is prohibitively expensive for most. It is a class issue as it happens; more in the sense that the penis is both symbol and instrument of class oppression (and more fun than a stress ball to knead in times of dysphoria, boredom, horniness…).

Hell, you even go on to say ‘Mr. Lolita, as far as we know, doesn’t have a gender identity. He just has a sex: male.’ As far as you know? You’ve not bothered to take evening classes in cat tongue that you might be able to have the conversation? He/She/Zie/Hir/Miaow might identify as a dog, a wombat or a Russian space station for all you know! Good Lord!

‘Others that met Lolita, would use words like “diva” and “bitch” to describe his personality (“bitch” seems harsh, but he could get a bit hissy with strangers; especially female strangers, if that means anything)…’

Yep, it means they’re (and you’re) sexist. Cos only females get ‘hissy’ with females, right? Never males, no Siree. Male divas? What a ridiculous idea. Jeremy Clarkson, Rob Downey Jr and the drum tutor in Whiplash would be falling over themselves to be the first to scoff at such a suggestion. And you realise a bitch is a female DOG, right? How d’you think Lolita feels about being mis-specied? (assuming that he/she/zie/hir/Lord/Lady/Dr/Pope/Emperor does in fact identify as a cat; and let’s not even get started on race: looks kinda like a long-haired Burmese, but that doesn’t mean a thing: might be thinking in Siamese or Sphynx). How damned inconsiderate of his former owners not to dye his fur blue and teach him to carry an identity card…

And you don’t own him. He owns you. If you’d taken that evening class you’d understand ‘Fuck you! Just feed me! And none of that fucking Iams sawdust! No? Iams it is. Another fucking eviscerated, half-dead mouse on your pillow tomorrow morning, sonny boy.’ when you heard it.

And ‘Lolita‘. Lolita?! ‘Nuff said.

Oh, and the barista thing…

‘…Not only was this formerly female classmate of mine now a male, but — by all appearances — he was a gay male working at a gay coffee shop. (I would later see him out with other gay male friends at a gay bar.)…’ So you assumed he was gay because he appeared gay. Like you assumed your cat was female cos ‘her‘ name was ‘princess‘; and now assume he’s male cos he has a penis? Sheesh! Aand a gay coffee shop? WTF does that even mean? That they only serve super-skinny caramel lattes with rainbow sprinkles? Be sure to wipe the seat before you sit down, then; wouldn’t want you to catch anything nasty, now.

And you know, ‘formerly female’ but now a male? Either he was always male (wrong body yada yada, unlike the 99% of cis-sy folks who just love their perfect physiques) or is still (biologically) female but has busted out of the prison of ‘assignment’ in a cloud of rainbow-coloured confetti) and now identifies as male. Even the most batshit crazy MRA transjacktivist types seem to grasp that a person can’t actually change sex. Though to be fair, any kind of concensus amongst professionals and lobbyists looks to be a ways off.

You got one thing right, though; about gender and sexuality being socially constructed. Who knew?

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Ali Bee: “New World’s Dawning”

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Ha ha! Oh no that’s awful – kill her!! Ha ha!!! Damn, am I allowed to laugh at this? Kaveney, please give me a sign…

Bllleurrrghthhmmmthgrrtg. My brain just melted, please find me a soft cell (with others who share my gender identity, of course)…

GenderTrender

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Thank You Hater! This one’s for you…

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Another nugget of genius that fell into my inbox via upworthy.com, one that ought to bring a smile to the face of anyone who’s been on the receiving end of the kind of aggressive, spiteful and often embarrassingly-inarticulate messages that deluge Twitter, Tumblr and Youtube. It’s been up awhile, and unsurprisingly, a fair proportion of the 5,571 comments on YT come from exactly the kind of morons that Clever Pie and Isabel Fay were taking aim at. Anyone for irony?

Thank You Hater! song is now available:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/than…

All profits will go to http://www.beatbullying.org/

Online aggression and cyber-bullying/harassment have been increasingly problematic in recent years: Osbourne/Gaga; Anita Sarkeesian; Moore/Burchill; Carolina Criado-Perez are just some of the more high-profile cases that spring to mind. 18 months on, Fay’s satire remains as timely and pertinent as ever, sadly. It’s as serious as it is funny, sending out a clear message to stay strong in the face of the bullies, and for that she is to be much commended…

On a related note, here’s a link to a recent study reported in the New Yorker: The Psychology of Online Comments. Social networking platforms are too often portrayed as the boogeyman, enabling, if not actually encouraging harmful group psychologies and feeding cultures of sexism, racism and general negativity and aggression. As so often, the truth is a little more nuanced than that: interesting reading.

A penetrating insight into farcical attitudes to rape

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Along with Operation Yewtree’s exposure of sexual violence perpetrated by once-loved showbiz institutions come the predictable bad-taste jokes…

‘My wife wanted me to spice up our sex life and meke her feel young again – the white wig and cigar didn’t go down too well…’

‘I hear Rolf Harris has dropped “Two Little Boys” from his set for the upcoming tour…’

…and so on…

The ‘rape joke’ is arguably comedy’s most contentious trope. Racist and homophobic jokes pretty much disappeared from comedy routines back in the ’90s, even if they’ve made a belated comeback appended with an ironic wink. It’s the nature of comedy to push the boundaries of decency and acceptability but it’s telling that concessions to the sensibilities of minority groups so often don’t extend to women. Comics don’t really know – and the best of them will admit, as Henning Wehn did at a gig at a gig in in Lewes recently – whether their routine is actually funny or just offensive until the crowd laughs: the other side of the coin is that the audience really doen’t know what it finds funny until the comic points it up with his ironic aside; her barbed observation. Actually, what’s really funny falls broadly into two interconnected categories: the truth, and the lies and misdirection we deploy to skirt uncomfortably around it.

You know the guy’s onto something when he can riff on sexual violence and feminists praise him for it. In fact, he has received some harsh criticism and abuse, via Twitter and Youtube, and mostly from those he refers to as ‘the rapey man brigade’. Because he tells a truth that they and many others don’t want to hear; a truth that is – in  this case, literally – laughable.

There was nothing funny about the reaction of certain elements within the gaming community when feminist (and avid video game fan) Anita Sarkeesian launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a study of the portrayal of gender within video games… except… well isn’t it funny, deeply ironic , that the mere prospect of such study being prompted an outpouring of exactly the kind of hostile, misogynistic sentiments that her project sought to expose: an irony one suspects, that said gamers were blissfully oblivious to. But the backlash to the backlash is the real story: in the same way that Mark Williams-ThomasExposed… documentary enabled so many of Savile‘s victims to come forward with their stories and seek catharsis, even justice, of a kind; so Sarkeesian‘s campaign, or rather the backlash against it, emboldened others equally discomfited by the culture of sexism within gaming to make their voices heard. Games may be ficticious, much as pornography and Hollywood are ficticious (and at least game producers don’t have to grapple with the ethics of employing real actors and actresses – though on reflection that might be a problem in itself) but if the end user is oblivious to the fiction then the distinction  (between it and truth) is arguably moot.

You have to stir the waters to bring the detritus, and the treasure, to the surface.

Like Sarkeesian, Kilstein dares to tell the truth. making said distintion clear. Like Sarkeesian, he brings down a shitstorm onto his head; from conservatives – that means people who want things to stay as they are; people who fear change: which specifically means men – and admittedly, some women too – who want to keep on raping, keep on getting away with raping and/or enjoy for themselves the dubious benefits of a society in which rape and the nebulous threat of rape (amonst other violences) provides them with political, social and economic capital. And like Sarkeesian, Kilstein is brave enough to go public and face down his critics; albeit thru the medium of satire.

‘… They would call me some kind of homophobic slur (a frequent conservative trope, to conflate disparate, albeit commonly politically-subversive positions: homosexuality, liberalism, feminism, leftism etc…) or they would be like “I hope you get raped”, “I’m raping someone you know” (and ludicrously) “I’m gonna rape a steak” (but note the parity in content and tone with the Sarkeesian backlash). My favorite were, there were like some homophobes that combined their homophobia and rape so they’d be like “I’m gonna rape you, queer!” And I mean that’s kind of progressive, sorta liberal of the guy like “Oh I hate gay people so much but I hate you more I’m gonna get over my fucking fear of gay people when I rape the shit out of you.” I was like “I’ll take one for the team on that…’

From a critical standpoint it’s crucial that Kilstein is satirizing misogynistic attitudes, not mocking or belittling rape victims, in contrast to the kind of rape ‘jokes’ that rightly draw much feminisic ire: from a comedic standpoint, less so: that  ‘jokes’ may superficially reinforce predjudice doesn’t necessarily render them unfunny. In much the same way that it’s not fair or reasonable to project the responsibilty for violence onto its victim – or indeed, media, guns or ‘society’ at large – nor is it fair or reasonable to project the responsibility for verbal offence onto the ‘offender’. This might at first glance appear contradictory but it highlights an intrinsic difference between verbal and physical offence:  one can learn from and combat a sexist/racist/homophobic ‘joke’ or comment  in real time – and via the internet, forever more – in a way that a victim of rape or shooting can’t. We have a shared responsibility to engage in a public discourse where the violent underbelly of our so-called civilised society is concerned. (Kilsten’s) comedy has a valid role to play here:i

‘Men always say women have it so easy because they can get laid whenever they want. Why, a woman can just walk down the street, point to a dick and, before she can count her lucky stars, that dick will be inside of her. I wish I had women chasing me at every turn! I could just walk down the street by myself at 3 in the morning and be like “Which one of these ladies is gonna take me to street-fuck land?” Sometimes they wanna fuck me so bad, they are literally chasing me in a frantic, horny, serial-killer-like state! Sometimes, with a weapon, probably to show me he has other talents than chasing! Some girls may say this is assault, but the onus is on the girl, for being out at A PLACE and WEARING THINGS! The world is your orgy!’

(my emphases)

The tragedy – and which gives Kilstein‘s satire its edge – is that too many men and women buy into exactly this kind of hype. Victim-blaming is endemic in our culture and nowhere more so than where violence against women is concerned; in her 1988 essay M’learned Friends (British feminist) Joan Smith wrote, ‘Some of the assumptions that USED TO [?] apply routinely in the area of coercive sexuality immediately come to light: most strikingly, the idea that men live their lives on a hair trigger and can be provoked to violence by the most insignificant stimulus, a notion which parallels the old proposition that women must behave with circumspection at all times because of men’s uncontrollable sexual urges.’ (my emphasis). But not everyone accepts this cynical reading of  human relations. Earlier in the same polemic, Smith quotes one Justice Rougier in his summing up of a 1988 case of indecent assault and GBH over which he presided: ‘Women … are entitled to dress attractively, even provocatively if you like, be friendly with casual acquaintances and still say no at the end of the evening without being brutally assaulted … you broke her jaw just because she wasn’t prepared to go to bed with you.’ Even in 1988, a man more representative than most of male privilege and power was able to recognize the existence and pervasiveness of a rape culture. By this time Savile had been getting away with enacting his violence for over two decades. To date, admittedly scanty reports on the progress of Yewtree nonetheless suggest he was a far-from-isolated case. The price of denying said rape-enabling culture is exemplified by 500+ belated reports of devastating violence and intimidation perpetrated by Savile, his colleagues, colluders, apologists and deniers in the media; and there’s every reason to believe that that’s the tip of a very large iceberg. And here’s the thing: rape works. It intimidates and silences people. It’s taken 40 years for Savile‘s crimes to be openly discussed and taken seriously:  which is why media players such as Sarkeesian and Kilstein, as well as survivors of Savile ought to be deserving of our praise.

Aside

If you liked Kill List, or just British, black comedy in general, this is definitely one to watch…

Land of Sunshine

We don’t often do movie reviews in the Land of Sunshine but seeing that the good people at Den of Geek were kind enough to furnish me with a ticket to an exclusive screening it seemed rude not to.

Ben Wheatley’s last film  ‘Kill List’, was a bleak, gruesome and violent affair that delved into the dark world of contract killers. Sightseers is a bleak, gruesome and violent affair that delves into the dark world of, well, caravan holidays. Yes Sightseers is a comedy, albeit a very dark one.

It tells the tale of Chris and Tina. A new couple who are off on a caravaning holiday so Chris can show Tina ‘his world’. Tina is simply happy to get away from her overbearing mother who likes to keep Tina in a permanent state of guilt over a past incident. To explain much more would be to ruin it somewhat but anyone…

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…From the mouth of Gervais

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God bless Ricky Gervais. No, really.

Derogatory language targeting  disability and the disabled is the last bastion of true invective.

It’s part of an entrenched stigma attatched to low ‘ability’, both physical and mental. Witness that ‘thinking’ jobs are ever held in higher esteem and better paid than ‘doing’ ones. Those requiring support from society, whether ‘slower-developing’ children, single mothers claiming childcare allowance or an elderly person needing medical care are oft- regarded as a burden by many who are able to ‘stand on their own two feet’; and those supplying said support – teachers, medical staff, benefits agencies – are equally derided, and poorly paid to boot. The stigma of being dependent or ‘unintelligent’ and the sting of the words attached to such conditions will only lessen when we are able to confront and overcome our dysfunctional attitudes and where we start is in the words we use and how we use them.

Detractors of Hip-Hop, R’n’B and sub genres thereof  will no doubt miss the point that n****r (or more properly, n***a) has become an infinitely richer and more nuanced word since being freed from the shackles of separatist oppression. Listen to much black music with an open mind and ears and you’ll hear it used affectionately, aggressively and various shades in between. Love it or hate it – and the jury’s out on that one both within black circles and without – it’s become, or at least is on its way to becoming, a full and legitimate word.

Likewise, it’s remarkable that terms like ‘poof’ and ‘fag-hag’ can now be routinely heard without hint of malice. Racism and homophobia haven’t gone away, of course but they’re no longer our supposedly civilised society’s dirty little secret and language is evolving along with attitutes. Some people’s attitudes, anyway. That’s down to hard work and commitment on the part of Gay Rights lobbyists like Peter Tatchell, shouting terms like ‘gay’ and ‘poof’ with pride;  not whispering them with ill-disguised contempt.

There are those still bemoaning the fact that ‘you can’t say “gay” anymore’ (even though you clearly can). It would anyway require a once extraordinary degree of idiocy to infer homosexuality in most contexts where one was referring to happiness. Come to think of it, ‘Idiot’ used to be recognised medical terminology (for a mental retardation or low intelligence) as recently as the early twentieth century. Likewise Gervais wasn’t being derogatory by referring to his fans as ‘Mongs’ any more than Dr Dre was by referring to DJ Muggs as ‘my n***a’ (and if you can remember that song and the album it was on then you maybe remember the bad old days when racism was barely talked about in public at all). It must be equally clear to most that Mel Gibson is, incontrovertibly bigoted. Hopefully, we’ll reach a point where n***a will become common currency among all, regardless of ethnicity (or not, simply based on it’s value and popularity as a word) because either way, we’ll know that race has ceased to be the big divide it used to, and too often still is.

The point is that words and their meanings are not set in stone; they only become that way when we clasp them to our breast in fear. We need to share them; fight over them; play with them; pull them apart and stick them back together in new and imaginative ways.  What is wonderful about our age is that the debate about what means what and to who is happening live before our very eyes (and ears).

We’re clearly not comfortable with disability. Let’s talk about that.

That’s why people like Gervais are important: they confront our expectations; they make us squirm with discomfort, and then what can you do? You just have to laugh.