On Rape: Lindy West, Don’t Speak For Me

Oh, Lindy West…you assumptive, condescending, bitter woman, trying to speak for me.  Stop.

Stop using words like “victim” and “trivializing” in your high-pitched “Oh-Em-Gee” voice. Granted, you’re upset about rape, and the social commentary that goes along with the harsh, stark reality that some men (and some women) cannot control their sexual urges, allow their inner treachery to surface and, in turn, physically harm others. I get it. I get it. I GET IT!

What I also get is that you haven’t spent too much time in what you called “basements full of angry men.” You apparently haven’t watched your peers stumble through material, digging deep into what makes them (and us) tick, figuring out what evokes emotion, turn it around, and talk about things that need to be discussed in the hopes of finding the humor. Thank you, Jim Norton for shedding light on the fact that we need to do this as a people.

I have spent that time, and do so in those basements. I am a comic who has material about rape. I am a woman who is a survivor of sexual assault. Yet, shockingly (maybe to you), I do not let that fact consume me. I am not a victim. And blah, blah, blah, semantics…Don’t speak for a “people” and paint a picture like you are the voice of a “nation,” equating racial inequalities and the air-quoted, “hilarious” jokes that were told about them like it is the same thing.

Speak for yourself; you don't speak for me!No. You are not my voice. My voice is speaking right back at the men who tell those jokes, mock them back in turn, or, if I find them funny enough, figure out how to work out their premise so that the material actually works. I could get on a soap-box and use one word like “dick” as backlash against the male-dominated establishment. Wah wah wah. Or, I could continue working every single day as a comic to mold my voice and represent strength of character.

Yes, words are powerful. Words like rape, victim, and silenced.  Stop trying to silence comedians with your crying that it is unfair to people who have been through terrible, horrific ordeals. Everyone knows rape is horrific. If anyone leaves a comedy club after hearing a rape joke and goes out to rape someone, that person is very ill. Rape jokes are not the catalyst for kids sexually assaulting each other. Violent tendencies, anger, and the inability to control one’s urges are.  Oh, and bath salts.  Scary.

Stop speaking in a manner that boasts the idea that you know anything about what it takes to find humor in the things that hurt.  If we never speak about them, if we all follow your lead and stop talking about the things that matter to us, then all of us comedians (you know, the men and women working on this craft) will have to resort to fart jokes and tripping a lot to make people laugh. And we won’t get very far at all. Thank Jim Norton and the comic who gave you the opportunity to capitalize on their humor. They worked hard to get where they are.

I could take a lesson from you and tell you to shut up. Or I could let you whine for a while and go back to trying to say something of substance…on a stage…with a microphone…by myself…with my own material. And no one else’s.

Don’t worry.  Stand up comedy will survive you.

Cheers.


Christine Meehan is a comedian in New York City and is the producer of Akin To Rape.

 

 

Comments

  1. Uh…did you like, actually listen to anything she said in that conversation with Jim Norton? Cause it kinda sounds like you didn’t listen to it.

  2. Jesus, maybe try listening to the person you’re trying to mock and understanding their arguments. Then if there’s something there to mock, you can mock that, instead of constructing a straw man.

  3. I agree Christine, and yes Comedy will survive her, and all of us.
    Well done.

  4. Wow…you either cannot read or cannot hear very well because almost every single comment you made is completely contradicting what Lindy actually said in the video. She even agreed that nobody is going to turn around and rape someone after hearing a rape joke. And that no one is trying to “silence” anyone. The larger point she was trying to make (which you totally missed, despite it being practically spelled out to you in the video and her articles) is not that rape jokes incite normal individuals to go pick up raping like they might pick up painting, but that these jokes (ones that gain cheap laughs off the victims of rape) contribute (not cause) a relaxed attitude about rape and a tendency to blame the victim rather than the rapist. Lindy is merely suggesting comics accept that this kind of material may alienate SOME of their audience and they need to be willing to take the criticism that comes with that alienation. No one s actively preventing anyone from saying whatever the fuck they wan, but encouraging those people to consider their audiences and accept the consequences of their jokes. This isn’t really an extreme viewpoint on any level. Jokes, like all media and art, are not immune from critics and comedians. If you have a “nothing is sacred” attitude you are bound to offend someone, and that someone is within their freedom of speech to get upset and express this (like Lindy) just as much as comics are within their rights to continue saying offensive things and writing horrible articles.
    Also this site desperately needs a better format for mobile viewing.

  5. Um… Lindy has spent plenty of time in comedy clubs, performing. You’re the one who sounds bitter. I guess it burns that she has 27x more followers than you? That people know her name? That you’re sort of a nobody? I know it’s hard, but try not to lash out.

  6. Ben Clark says:

    Did you even listen to anything she said in the debate with Jim Norton? It sounds like you didn’t.

    By the way, I’ve seen your “comedy acts” and Lindy West is much funnier than you are. And she isn’t even a comic by profession.

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