I swear, on Friday, I thought I was feeling better. I was feeling well enough that I thought maybe we could go to a wine fest this weekend. But yesterday, I realized that I felt tired, and didn’t really want to walk around in the hot sun. We stayed home and hung out. This morning, I woke up early, then fell asleep until 9:00 am, which is unusual for me these days. Remembering that COVID tests can end up being positive a couple of days after a negative test, I took a test this morning. Sure enough, it came up positive. See the featured photo for proof.
Bill has no symptoms of COVID. He has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, so he’s going to test. I’ll be surprised if he’s negative, but he hasn’t been sick. I can think of a few places where I might have picked up this germ, even though we haven’t done much in the past couple of weeks. I probably got it at the wine stand, since we ran into a fellow American who said that COVID had visited their house and her partner was still sick with it.
I’m not very sick. I’m just kind of tired and a little crankier than usual. I have a productive cough, some nasal congestion, and a low grade fever. It honestly feels like the back end of a cold. I think last month’s sickness was a cold, because I had a really runny nose that was so bad that my skin got raw. This time, I didn’t get a runny nose, but I do have a slight fever, which I didn’t get last month. Anyway, I am no longer a “COVID virgin”. I figured this was bound to happen sooner or later, though. I’m glad I got vaccinated, because this isn’t much fun, but it’s nothing deadly. At least not at this point.
Speaking of deadly… I got confirmation this morning that my Uncle Ed, has, in fact, crossed over to the other side. I don’t know the details, other than it happened in the morning. I chatted with my sister yesterday, and she said that Ed had a mass on his lung that he decided not to treat. She said he also had a skin condition, along with pneumonia. The man was 85 years old, so it was probably time for him to go. I don’t feel sad that he died, but I do wish our last conversation hadn’t been the way it was.
I have a lot of good memories of my uncle. When I was about ten years old, he took a bunch of us cousins to the James River and we went fishing with homemade fishing poles and worms. Another time, he took us to Tank Hollow, a swimming hole near my Granny’s house. We all rode in the back of my uncle’s pickup truck… ahh, the things we could get away with in the late 70s and early 80s! I remember jumping off the waterfall into the frigid mountain water, having the time of my life.
In later years, Ed was a lot of fun at our family reunions every Thanksgiving. I remember dancing with him once and cutting a really nasty fart. He laughed at me and said, “YOU FARTED!” And I remember sharing moonshine with him, as he told funny stories about my dad, his older brother. As they got older, my dad and Ed looked like twins. Dad was four years older, though, and died four years younger than Ed has. Both of them died in July… Dad on the 9th, and Ed on the 23rd. Two weeks apart, and Ed’s death is a day after the fifteenth anniversary of Granny’s death.
Unfortunately, Dad and Ed also had alcoholism in common, and they were both abusive when they drank too much. Actually, my dad was usually kind of melancholy when he drank, but sometimes he’d go into violent rages. I don’t know how Ed was on a normal “bender”, but I was once on the receiving end of one of his tirades… in fact, that was the last time we communicated. I can’t abide verbal abuse anymore. I’ve been too saturated with it, and now when someone goes “off” on me, that’s pretty much the death knell for the relationship. I make exceptions for a few people, but I’ve found that people who feel emboldened enough to be verbally abusive don’t tend to learn from their mistakes.
Ed was mostly a lot of fun, though. He was, overall, a great uncle to me. I like to think of him going to his late wife, Nance, who died in 2010 after having had Alzheimer’s Disease and a heart attack. Together, they were boisterous and opinionated, and they had a lot of spirited debates fueled by Wild Turkey and Busch beer. They were both very politically conservative, but I think Nance was more liberal about some things than Ed was.
I remember Nance having a very spirited debate with my late cousin, Karen. Karen was a devout Christian and very pro life. She was wearing a pro-life t-shirt. Nance took her to task over it, because she had been a nurse for Planned Parenthood, and she had seen scared girls who sought abortions. It changed her opinion about abortion. And Nance was the kind of “in your face” person who would get into arguments at the drop of a hat. She confronted Karen about her shirt, and the two of them had a discussion about abortion in my grandmother’s kitchen. Karen was going on about how abortion was an affront to God, and it was wrong to destroy God’s creations. And Nance was all about the practical, having been a nurse, and knowing that sometimes having an abortion is the most responsible and compassionate action a person can take. It was an interesting conversation. I didn’t enjoy getting into arguments with either of them myself, but it was kind of fun being a spectator when they debated.
It’s strange to think that Nance, Karen, and Ed are all gone now, but if there is a Heaven, they’re probably all rejoicing at the reunion. I like to think of them as all healthy, vital, and having spirited debates with all the Wild Turkey they want… although I don’t think Karen was a fan of boozing.
Anyway… I hope Ed is at peace and has reunited with the ones who went before him. And I hope I get over this sickness soon. It’s been cramping my style for six days now. I’m so glad I didn’t go anywhere this week, except for a walk. I guess I’ll keep taking it easy, and hopefully will be on the mend very soon. I’m tired of my style being cramped. I want to make some music again. Guess I’ll have to stick to guitar until all this snot goes away.
Whenever Bill goes away, I’m always soon reminded of how much I miss him when he’s not home. Especially when there’s a heatwave, and I’m sick with a virus.
It got super hot again yesterday and the temperatures were north of 99 degrees. That is historically a rare thing in Germany, but is sadly becoming a more common occurrence, thanks to global climate change. I read in the weather report that we might get a thunderstorm last night. I was actually hoping for that, because I was sweating so much, in spite of the air conditioner and fan we have in our bedroom. Unfortunately, we have portable ACs, and they usually require hot air stoppers.
Thanks to our previous landlady’s total conniption about us trying to be comfortable in her house during previous brutal summers, I haven’t really wanted to install the hot air stoppers in this house. Also, under normal circumstances, we can drop the shutters all the way down and snake the hoses that go with the air conditioners on the floor, and out of the balcony doors. In ex landlady’s house, we didn’t have balconies, so that wouldn’t have worked. The hoses would not have stayed in place. Our current landlord is very cool about us acting like this is our house, within reason, of course. But I’m still kind of traumatized by the behaviors of our former landlady, whom we ended up successfully suing for our deposit.
Even with the shutters down, though, because we don’t have the hot air stoppers, there is nothing to stop hot air from coming in. It usually doesn’t matter too much, since it’s usually not that hot here. At night, if we close the bedroom door, the room gets nice and cool, and Arran isn’t able to sneak downstairs and pee on my rug. But yesterday and the day before were exceptionally hot and sticky days. It was pretty uncomfortable, especially since I’m also not 100% well.
So anyway, there I was sitting in bed when the thunderstorm finally started, at about 8:30pm. I was watching an 80s era made for TV movie on YouTube. Suddenly, at about 8:45, there was a tremendous bang, and there went the power. The room was plunged into darkness, and there was no more air… and I was just sweating like crazy. I put my hair up and even rinsed off in the shower, because it was just so gross. Fortunately, I had just topped up the cell coverage on my iPad, which I don’t usually do unless we’re going on a trip. I did it the other day, because our Internet coverage in this house is pretty unreliable at times, and it’s good to have a cell connection in case it crashes.
The storm dumped some much needed rain and cooled things down a bit, not that I could immediately tell. I was coughing, sneezing, wiping my nose, and getting crankier by the minute. Fortunately, the fire brigade was on the spot, and they responded to the outage very quickly. The lights were back about an hour later. I love that about Germany, because power outages are pretty rare here, and when they do occur, they tend to be very brief.
My two years in Armenia in the 90s, where power outages were very common, have caused me to be a lot less tolerant of them in the “more developed world”. I can remember loving outages when I was a kid. They seemed “cool”. As an adult, I don’t think they’re any fun at all. I guess enduring a six week straight stint, without any power at all, will do that to a person. It turned out my Armenian neighbor hadn’t known I was living there, and cut my power so it would go to his apartment. It seemed that a lot of male Armenians in the 90s were all amateur electricians! Once he realized he had a neighbor, my former neighbor fixed my line for me, and I went back to having power for 2 to 4 hours per day. Not long after that, another neighbor harassed me, and I ended up moving out of that building.
Funny story about that. The harasser lived a level down from me, and one night, as I was coming back from a night out, he was in the hall, messing with the hall light. I tried to pass him, and he grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go. He held my arm in a vise-like grip and kept telling me in Armenian not to scream, but I was petrified, because one of my colleagues was recently sexually assaulted and beaten up in her village, and it landed her in the hospital. Then she had to be medevacked to the States. I had visions of her black eyes, broken nose, fractured teeth, and beaten face in my head, as this guy held my arm and menacingly warned me not to scream. I was so scared that I couldn’t think how to respond in his language, but he could obviously tell I didn’t want to talk to him or be near him. For all I know, he was trying to tell me about the lights, but he had my arm, was telling me not to scream, and wouldn’t let go of me. So draw your own conclusions about what I was thinking at the time.
I informed the powers that be at the Peace Corps office, and they sent one of their drivers to come over to speak to my neighbor. The driver was the husband of the Country Director’s secretary, and he was a big, imposing, Mafia-esque looking guy. He basically told the guy to leave me alone, or there would be big trouble. I was told that my neighbor was pretty terrified, as the Peace Corps driver was quite intimidating, and made it clear that he would beat the ever loving shit out of the guy if he ever bothered me again (or, at least it was strongly implied). I never had any more trouble with him, but I never felt safe in that apartment again. And then my landlady decided to sell it, so I had to move anyway.
Not long after my neighbor imposed six week power outage, Armenia decided to restart Metzamor, a nuclear power plant they had shut down in the late 80s after Chernobyl and a massive earthquake destroyed a good portion of the country and killed tens of thousands of people. When I was living in Armenia, some experts, including a few from the United States, examined the facility and decided it was safe.
The Peace Corps gave all us Volunteers little bottles of iodine pills, in case there was an explosion. They were supposed to protect our thyroid glands. I don’t know… seems to me that if there was a nuclear accident, our thyroid glands would be one of the last things we’d be concerned about. Fortunately, Metzamor was still functional, and during the summer of my second year, we finally got electricity 24/7. That was quite an amazing thing to experience, especially as a privileged American. As far as I know, that’s how things still are in most areas. I’m sure today’s Volunteers will never know the pain groups A1, A2, and A3 endured, back in the early days of Peace Corps/Armenia. 😉
So… as you might be able to understand, I really don’t like power outages, especially when I’m home alone. And that seems to be when they happen the most frequently. Fortunately, I had my two dogs with me to protect me. Even Noyzi, who doesn’t tend to hang around with me in the evenings, stayed in the room with me, even until after the lights came on and I went to sleep. He eventually got up and went into his own room, which required me to open the door for him. Then Arran got me up at 1:30 am for a pee break, and then again at 4:00 am, because he wanted his breakfast. I tried to go to sleep again after that, but was too busy coughing. I’ll probably need another nap today, like I did yesterday.
I’m glad last night’s power outage was short lived, although I did hear that there was a fire caused by the lightening. Again, Germany has excellent firefighters, so the blaze was quickly contained. The weather seems a bit cooler today, so maybe the dogs will finally get their walk. I’ve skipped it twice this week, because of the heat and my sickness. I do feel somewhat better today, except for the coughing and mucous. You know how it is. It seems like it’s always the worst right when I wake up and have to clear all of the crap that settled in my lungs overnight. Again, I don’t know if this is COVID-19. The one test I took said it wasn’t. This virus isn’t like last month’s, though, which also evidently wasn’t COVID. I haven’t had a super runny nose, which is a blessing, since that always causes a wound under my nostrils. I also haven’t had a fever or body aches or any weird symptoms. It really is just like a regular cold, minus the runny nose phase.
Bill is also supposed to come home tonight, after he finishes working today. He’ll probably get home in the evening, and we’ll be grumpy together, as the heat hangs around a bit longer. I told him I want to get out of here… definitely for a vacation somewhere cooler. Maybe we can do something in September, after the Germans have had their holidays in August, but before COVID-19 ramps up again!
On another note, I did manage to catch some of Ivana Trump’s funeral. Or, what was shown outside the church, anyway. I’m not surprised she had a golden casket, or that her rapist ex husband was there.
Those were Bill’s words to me at about 5:00am, as he kissed me goodbye today. He had to drive to Stuttgart again for an overnight business trip. We did a COVID-19 test yesterday, since I’m sick again. It was negative. Bill is feeling alright so far. I don’t know what this bug is. For all I know, my body is catching all the stuff it avoided for the past few years. My sore throat is mostly better now, but I have a stuffy, slightly runny nose, and there’s coughing and occasional sneezing. It’s basically a case of the sniffles.
It’s really hot here in Germany, which makes me glad we have two portable air conditioners. On the other hand, energy prices are going up, so that may mean I’ll regret making myself comfortable when we get the bill. I didn’t walk the dogs yesterday, because it was so hot, and because I’m sick and don’t want to share it with anyone. Of course, Bill is probably going to share it with his friends in Stuttgart, anyway.
It’s crazy that before June, I couldn’t remember the last time I was sick with a cold. Now, I’ve had two bouts within a month. They’re probably both COVID, but the test isn’t showing that… and I’m not going to keep testing until I get a positive result, unless I’m not getting better. People tell me to keep testing, but why would I want to do that? It’s not like it’s fun, or anything. I may try to do a short walk with the boys today, since they love their walks and the fresh air might do me some good. I don’t usually run into people when we take walks, anyway. And it will give me a chance to see the brand new toilet facility that was erected in our village. 😉
On the bright side, if this is COVID, I’m definitely not super ill. It’s really more of a nuisance than anything else. I don’t feel well, but I’m not deathly ill or even moderately sick. I’m just kind of miserable, and it’s made worse by the heat, and the fact that Bill had to go away again. But he was kind enough to leave me coffee in the jug and a couple of fresh German doughnuts.
Last night, as I was reading more about the state of things in the United States, I commented to Bill that I’m starting to hate men. Then I added, I don’t hate all men… just the ones that have no compassion and espouse misogyny. I’ve been so angry about this Supreme Court decision regarding abortion, and I know it’s only the beginning. I started listing things we should do… like avoiding spending money in states that don’t value women’s healthcare. That means no trips to places like godforsaken Texas, even though I am technically a resident. I hope there’s a mass exodus of smart people from those places. I hope the women there REFUSE to do anything sexual with men, unless they’ve either had a vasectomy, or they are in a loving relationship in which a pregnancy would be welcome. I hope women start suing the hell out of doctors who refuse to give them appropriate medical care when they need an abortion for genuine medical reasons. I hope the men who knock up women start getting sued for child and pregnancy support before the babies are born. I want this decision to be PAINFUL… especially for the men who think it’s a good thing that women are now worth less than their unborn fetuses are. And I hope the Supreme Court Justices who made this decision never see another peaceful day in their miserable lifetimes.
But then I looked at Bill, who is such a kind and loving man, and was actually hurt by a woman who took advantage of being female. I realize that I don’t really hate men. I’m just angry, and I feel helpless. What I really want is fairness and privacy for everybody. And I want things to be less surreal and… horrible. I think another season of The Handmaid’s Tale is about to come out. I’m not sure if I can bear to watch it now, because it’s too close to reality.
It probably doesn’t help matters that I’ve been reading a book about Roe v. Wade. The book is really long, and it’s been slow going trying to get through it, because I fall asleep after a few pages, not because it’s a dull book, but because I literally can’t keep my eyes open. I don’t typically sleep seven or eight hours straight, and I often need a nap in the afternoons, especially if I try to read. It may be time to use Audible, at least until I can get a new contact lens prescription. Last night, I couldn’t even read the instructions on the insert that came with the COVID test. Getting older sucks… except for the fact that I know I’ll never be forced to give birth.
I always recommend Rachel Maddow’s show, because she’s sharp and savvy, and she has a quick wit. But if you are as angry about the overturning of Roe v. Wade as I am, I encourage you to watch from 13:45 and see what’s already happening to women, not even ONE MONTH after the ruling was overturned. And then, if you’re still curious about who will be harmed by these new laws springing up, have a look at this unlocked article from The New York Times about what happens to children who are forced to stay pregnant. It’s definitely not a pretty sight. Ten year olds are not physiologically prepared to have babies. Their bodies simply aren’t ready. These are people who still need booster seats in the car, for God’s sake!
So yeah… I am sick, hot, tired, and ANGRY. And fed up… I feel a little like Mommie Dearest… although, I’m obviously not as happy as she is in this scene. I just wish I was “raging mad” with the flu, so I wouldn’t even have to listen.
But since Bill isn’t here, and I’m in no shape to do musical stuff, maybe I’ll get started on that satire that’s been rattling around in my head. Especially since now, there’s no “minder” around to make sure I don’t offend anyone.
This is probably going to be a short post, because I’ve already written a travel post and I have a splitting headache. My nose is running; I’m coughing and sneezing; and I threw up breakfast (due to coughing). I don’t have a fever, body aches, or exhaustion at this point. I can also still smell and taste things. I just feel like I have a bad cold. We did a COVID test last night. It was negative. So far, Bill has no symptoms of whatever’s got me.
I don’t know if this is COVID-19. We’ll probably test again later to see if I have a positive result. If it is COVID-19, I am grateful to be vaccinated. This shit sucks… but it’s not as bad as the last flu I had, in which I felt like I was dropped off a building and run over repeatedly by a truck. I’m also grateful that we made it home before I started feeling sick. If I have to feel like warmed over shit, I prefer to be in my own bed.
I actually slept pretty well last night, and woke up feeling slightly more energetic, except for the headache. The most annoying thing about this is that my nose is running constantly. I feel like I have to hold a tissue to my nose all the time. That, and the coughing fits that make me puke. That’s not unusual for me, though. I normally cough a lot because I have cough variant asthma caused by allergies. If I had itchy eyes, I would almost assume this was allergies.
Even if I do now have COVID, though, I figure it was only a matter of time. Unfortunately, I think COVID is one of those bugs that is going to get everyone at some point. Just like everyone occasionally gets colds and, to a lesser extent, the flu, I think COVID is going to be one of those sicknesses that spreads to the masses.
Anyway… even though I could probably rant about something today, I just don’t feel like it… so I’m just going to leave this post at that, and go enjoy my clean sheets. I’m grateful I had enough spunk to at least freshen those up a bit. And I’m super glad we bought an air conditioner for the bedroom a few years ago. It would really suck if I had to be sick and swelter in the heat… which isn’t so bad today, but the house is holding heat from the past few days.
Maybe I’ll find something crazy or funny enough to blog about… Actually, for now, I would encourage those who enjoy cop bodycam videos to check out this one. It’s classic– and it’s not safe for work, because there’s a lot of yelling and cussing. But I sure laughed watching it, and had to see it twice. I’ll probably watch it again in an attempt to get some endorphins going. These cops are to be commended for not losing their shit on this guy. Seriously… they have to deal with some very disrespectful people!
And just in case I do have ‘rona, I’m going to stay inside and hope Bill can walk the dogs later.
If you’re squeamish about sickness, you might want to skip the first few paragraphs of this post.
So, I think I brought home a souvenir from Belgium. I wasn’t feeling 100 percent yesterday. I had a sore throat and a runny nose. I was sneezing, too. It all culminated last night. I had been really hungry, because we didn’t have much food in the house after our brief trip. I didn’t have much of a lunch. So when Bill made bacon cheeseburgers for dinner, I was all for it.
Just as I finished my burger, my body erupted into a violent coughing fit that nauseated me. I froze, looking horrified, and Bill asked me what was wrong. I said I felt like I was going to vomit. I got up and made a move toward the bathroom.
I didn’t quite make it to the toilet and, let’s just say, it was quite the Technicolor yawn. I spewed puke all over the bathroom and the rug outside the door. It took some time to clean everything up, because everything got doused– the floor, the toilet, the walls, and any items that were in the strike zone. Since this house doesn’t have closets, that meant a few things got sprayed. Bill had to go to the grocery store to buy more sponges and I had to do a sudden load of laundry.
Then, after I got most all of the surfaces cleaned, I got out my steam mop and started to give the floors a once over to get the last residue from my sickness. In the process of doing that, I scalded the fuck out of my toe. Naturally, that led to a lot of cursing and an urge to burst into tears, which I somehow managed to avoid doing.
This morning, I woke up after a reasonably decent sleep, but my nose is running and I’m sneezing… This could be my allergies, or it could be a cold. Either way, I don’t feel well. However, I still have my senses of smell and taste, and I don’t feel overly tired or achy. So whatever this is, I’m sure it will pass. I’m still horrified about last night’s vomit fest, though I know it could have been worse. At least I didn’t also have diarrhea. I just have a very sensitive gag reflex and will hurl at the slightest provocation, just like the Maggie Blackamoor on Little Britain.
And now that I’ve brought up Little Britain, it’s time to move on to today’s topic… because Little Britain offers a fine segue into what’s on my mind this morning.
A little while ago, I ran across an article in The Atlantic about comedy and comedians. The article, titled “When the Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Joke”, was written by Conor Friedersdorf, is partly about the comedian Dave Chappelle. Mr. Chappelle is no stranger to making jokes that sometimes go over like turds in proverbial punch bowls, as my Aunt Gayle would put it. Personally, I think Chappelle is often funny, but I’m not a super fan of his work. I never saw the Netflix special that got him into hot water, during which he made fun of trans people. Chappelle’s special was pulled from Netflix, and many people were talking about how insensitive and “bullying” he was toward a marginalized group. Some people tried to take it even further, attacking his career, trying to ruin him.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m not a fan of “cancel culture”, especially when it comes to comedians. I may not like every joke I hear, but I am a big proponent of free speech and letting people vote with their wallets and consciences. Also, I like provocative content that makes people think. Sometimes so-called “offensive” humor is thought provoking. Even if a joke is cruel, if it gets people talking, it’s not all bad, in my opinion. Moreover, I enjoy being able to make decisions for myself about what is, and what is not, acceptable humor. I don’t need “help” from the masses.
In his article, Conor Friedersdorf begins by writing about Chappelle, and the performing arts theater at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. Mr. Chappelle is a former student at the school and has donated a lot of money to it, so the theater was going to be named after him. But then Chappelle got into trouble for his jokes about trans people. The renaming ceremony was postponed, and Chappelle eventually told everyone “that for now, the venue will be named the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.”
Friedersdorf wrote that his colleague, David Frum, had attended the event and offered an interpretation of what happened.
In sophisticated comedy, comedians play with the tension between formal and informal beliefs, and Chappelle’s is very sophisticated comedy. The function of humor as a release from the forbidden thought explains why some of the most productive sources of jokes are authoritarian societies, because they forbid so much. In the squares of Moscow today, protesters physically reenact an old Soviet joke, demonstrating with blank signs because “Everybody already knows everything I want to say.” That same function of comedy explains why “woke America” is the target of so much satirical humor today, because so much of wokeness aspires to forbid.
When Chappelle deferred adding his name to the theater of the school to which he’d given so much of himself—not only checks, but return appearances—he was not yielding or apologizing. He was challenging the in-school critics: You don’t understand what I do—not my right to do it, but the reason it matters that I exercise that right. Until you do understand, you cannot have my name. Someday you will understand. You may have it then.
The article continued with Friedersdorf’s thoughts on modern comedy and what the role of a comedian is supposed to be. Comedians make jokes and offer humorous positions on any given topic. The great George Carlin once did a bit called “Rape Can Be Funny”. In it, he talked about how comedians run into backlash over “tasteless” jokes all the time, with people who try to tell them what is or isn’t funny, and what can or can’t be joked about. Back in 1990, Carlin said:
I believe you can joke about anything.
It all depends on how you construct the joke. What the exaggeration is. What the exaggeration is.
Because every joke needs one exaggeration. Every joke needs one thing to be way out of proportion.
Now… I want to state right away that, on many occasions, I’ve heard Carlin’s routine about how rape can be funny. I own a copy of the CD it comes from, and have listened to it enough that I can recite it from memory. Personally, I don’t think “Rape Can Be Funny” is Carlin’s best work. He makes some very tone deaf jokes about rape that, to me, just plain miss the mark. Carlin’s rape jokes aren’t funny to me, though, because he seemed to think rape is about sex and sexual attraction. In my view, rape is about people who want to take power over another person. It doesn’t have to be a man who does it, either. Women are capable of raping men. I know this because it happened to my husband during his first marriage. He trusted his ex wife, and she rewarded him by violently assaulting him when he was not capable of defending himself. I don’t think she did it because she was turned on, or wanting to turn him on. She did it because she wanted to hurt him, and show him who was in control. That had nothing to do with love, sex, or bonding. It was an act of violence and, to me, it was definitely NOT funny.
However– even though I don’t agree with Carlin’s opinions about rape, I will admit that he made a very good point in his routine about how anything can be funny to certain people. The most skillful comics can make the most horrifying topics funny. I think Carlin was one of the best comics ever, but sometimes even he flubbed things. I didn’t find his rape routine that funny, but I appreciated the one pearl of wisdom within it, in which his main point is that comedians should be free to tackle all topics. If we don’t like it, we don’t have to laugh. We don’t have to watch the show or buy the album. That would be a fitting consequence of not being funny. Trying to ruin comedians’ careers over one or two bad or offensive jokes may not be a fitting consequence– especially when a certain community presumes to make that decision for everyone.
As is my habit, I went to the Facebook comment section, just to see what people thought of Conor Friedersdorf’s article. As usual, plenty of people who didn’t read it were chiming in. There were also some virtue signalers in there– mostly white guys– trying very hard to prove to everyone how sensitive and “woke” they are, by calling Chappelle a “bully”.
First off, I don’t think that merely joking about someone or something makes them a bully. In my mind, the term “bullying” connotes abuse and harassment that include threats and intimidation, not merely insults or ridicule. When I think of bullies, I think of people who use their positions of power to control or coerce others. Simply joking about a group, tasteless and mean as the joke may be, isn’t really acting like a bully. Now, if Dave was also trying to force trans people to give him money or property, or threatened to beat them up after the show, that would be more like bullying, in my view.
Secondly, the main virtue signaling offender in the comment section was being very insulting himself. Anyone who disagreed with him was labeled an “asshole”, among other derogatory terms. It seems to me that if one believes comedians should be kinder and gentler, one should be the change they want to see. Name calling those who have a differing viewpoint, especially when you’re pushing the view that people should be pressured/forced into being politically correct, is quite hypocritical. Below are just a few comments made by this guy. I thought about pointing it out to him that his habit of name calling isn’t very PC, but decided I’d rather frost my bush than argue with him.
…life would be better people were nicer to each other and didn’t try to fill the empty voids in their miserable lives by punching down at people more vulnerable than themselves. And it’s okay to call people who do that assholes and say you don’t want to be associated with them.
We’re having that conversation, and a lot of it is “wow, Chapelle really seems to be an asshole who delights in saying hurtful things about marginalized people from atom his giant pile of Netflix money”. But the Atlantic doesn’t like that conversation so they’re trying to shut it down. Fuck that.
…you say “that’s not the world we live in” like this is some divinely ordained state. But it’s a choice. Powerful assholes get away with attacking marginalized communities because others choose to accept it (as long as it’s happening to other people). But we could chose not to just brush off this kind of hate. We could be better.
There was one very sensible woman commenting who brought up that if people in the trans community want to be recognized as “mainstream”, they should be “tough enough” to be made fun of on occasion. One can’t ask to be treated like everyone else, and also demand “special” treatment or membership in a protected class. I totally agree with that notion.
I don’t find all attempts at humor successful, and some jokes really are tasteless, offensive, and too close to the bone, in my opinion. But it’s just MY opinion. Other people have different opinions, and personally I prefer having the right to speak freely over being threatened with being canceled if I express the “wrong” thing or have the “wrong” opinion. And to be clear, I don’t consider refusing to attend a show or buy a DVD to be “canceling” someone. Canceling someone is when a person or group tries to shut someone up or punish them by attempting to ruin their lives. That goes too far, in my view. Especially in a society that is supposed to be “free”, allowing freedom of expression and open exchanges of ideas.
ETA: I had to comment to the virtue signaling guy who was insulting everyone with name calling, as he also called for kindness. I wrote:
“Does it not strike you as slightly hypocritical that you keep labeling people ‘assholes’, as you preach about how we should all be more sensitive and kinder to others? Shouldn’t you start by being the change you want to see? Name calling isn’t the best look if you want to convince people that you’re a good person.”
I just had to do it. This guy seems to think that he should be the one who decides what is– and what is not– appropriate humor, and what jokes we should find acceptable. To quote him, I say “fuck that.” I can make up my own mind about what I find funny, and I can also vote with my wallet, and my feet. Moreover, I don’t respect someone demanding that we treat everyone with kindness and decency as he dehumanizes those who disagree with him by calling them “assholes”. He’ll probably come at me hours from now. Hopefully, I’ll be in an antihistamine induced coma by then.
I will hasten to add that I know I use the word “asshole” a lot myself. The difference is, I try really hard not to presume to “set an example”. I try not to tell people what they should be saying, thinking, or finding funny… or, at least I hope I don’t. I definitely don’t think anyone should necessarily look up to me, or value my opinions… I just like to express myself sometimes. I usually confine my expression to this blog, though, because otherwise, I’ll find myself engaged in a dialogue with someone preaching about being kind to the marginalized, as he calls me an “asshole”. Moreover, simply finding a joke funny– even if it’s vulgar, tasteless, or crass– doesn’t equate to “hate”. I can still laugh at Avenue Q or South Park, after all…
As someone who loves humor, I don’t want to see comedians being canceled. I want them to be free to come up with jokes on any topic. I’m smart enough to decide for myself if I think something is funny or not, and I can choose for myself if I want to consume what they’re selling. I don’t need guys like the woke dude above, calling Dave Chappelle an “asshole”, as he condemns his comedy for being too “mean” and marginalizing groups that he deems “at risk”. I want everyone to have a vote, and I want them to be allowed to choose for themselves. That’s freedom, to me. And dammit, I love irreverent humor, even if it sometimes hurts.
Now, if I could only free myself from this runny nose, headache, fatigue, and sneezing, I’d be batting 500…
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