–We kick off the show by remembering some of the great entertainers who have passed away recently. Included: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Lemmy.
–Does this prove that “celebrity deaths come in threes,” as so many seem to believe? Not at all. It all comes down to who you consider a celebrity, and what timeframe you decide the deaths have to fall in.
–Steven Avery’s mother believes that murder victim Teresa Halbach is actually still alive, telling DJs during a radio interview that she thinks it is possible that Teresa was working with the police to frame her son. Do we think that’s possible? Hell no! But we also talk about why we feel sorry for her, and offer our criticisms of the interviewers.
–Ricky Gervais told a joke about Caitlyn Jenner at the Golden Globes that many found distasteful and transphobic, and are calling on him to apologize for it. Gervais has refused, of course, and we absolutely agree with him. Besides, was it really transphobic at all?
–There has been a lot of talk that Ted Cruz, who is currently running for President, is actually not permitted to hold the office under the Constitution because he is not a “natural born citizen.” We discuss the merits of this argument, but also wonder if it is time to make any American citizen eligible to run, and do away with the “natural born” stuff.
–Jason had a dispute with his father recently over fluoride, and whether or not it is poison. Somehow that leads to both Bobby and Jason expressing our frustration with “Big Pharma” cancer conspiracy theories. Listen to see how it unfolds.
–Who killed Teresa Halbach? We gave our thoughts behind the crime at the center of Making A Murderer last week, but received emails from some listeners who had follow-up questions. We do our best to clarify our opinions, while also sharing more information that was left out from our previous episode.
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I kind of disagree with you about comedians getting a pass when they’re offensive. I mean, there are studies that show bigoted jokes reassure people with those stances that their views are normal and totally okay. Eg, When men joke about rape and sexual assault instead of openly condemning it, rapists seriously take this as proof that all men are rapists and what they do is fine and normal.
I don’t think this particular joke was taking things too far- I mean, it was true. But I’m not trans- I don’t want to be offended FOR people. But when trans people are saying they are hurt by that joke, I think we at least need to listen.
I do think comedians in general need to be brought into check. I’ve seen bigotry laughed off as harmless comedy or (ugh) satire when it really isn’t way too often. It’s just not funny when rapists and bigots are encouraged and when victims of bigotry and violence are turned into a punchline. For instance, as somebody who experienced child sex abuse, I only found the “joke” Amy Poehler approved for her show about Blue Ivy being assaulted by R. Kelly disturbing and horrifying, not even remotely funny. Like, it seriously put me in an unpleasant headspace for days, complete with intrusive memories that would barge into my mind at all hours of the day. And I’d like to think I’m extremely well adjusted; I generally have no lasting fear, distress, PTSD, what have you. But a lot of people do, and those sorts of “jokes” will do a lot more to them than bring up bad memories. Call me dour, but I believe the mental health of countless victims is more important than whatever cheap laughs that “joke” generated and that the constant dismissal of “it’s just a joke” is at best the twist of the knife.
Comedy cannot be held up as a shield. I don’t care if you’re the nicest person in the world off the stage- if you say horrible things on the stage (and they KNOW it’s offensive), you need to live with the consequences and be prepared to accept criticism and grow from it instead of just ignoring it and acting like everyone is just too sensitive. If you don’t want to risk disenfranchising people, be funny without joking at the expense of victims of very serious abuse. It can be done. There are ways of speaking about real world problems like this in comedy without making light of them, but I don’t see it happen very often, especially when the comedian in question is a white man.
tl;dr- People need to stay in their own lane and not get offended on other people’s behalf but we can’t ignore people who are actually being hurt by cruel, unfunny comedy, and comedians need to be more mindful and willing to apologize and grow and/or they need to understand they might lose their job if they keep being injurious.
Anyway, re: the necessity to be born in the US to be president- I feel like anybody who is a US citizen should be eligible. They are US citizens, they feel strongly enough about this country to immigrate here… we aren’t fighting the Revolutionary War anymore. There’s no risk of a Brit becoming president and handing us back over to Queen and Country. I would have no concerns in having an immigrant for president.
I’d love Bernie for prez. I haven’t written him off yet! I mean, a lot of Democrats don’t like Hilary. Blue states might swing in favor of Bernie just because they don’t trust Hilary. That’s what I’m hoping, anyway.
I think if you find a joke funny, you should laugh and enjoy it. If you don’t find something funny, you should not. Then, each person can decide for themselves which comedians they may or may not want to listen to. For instance, I don’t find things funny that are mean-spirited just for the sake of being mean-spirited. I don’t have time for comedians like that. Nor do most people, I would hope. Comedians that don’t make many people laugh don’t tend to last. That, in my opinion, is the best way for comedians to be “brought into check,” as you put it.
For instance, since I worked in a comedy club for a while, I’ve seen comics work out potentially offensive material onstage, some of which got groans instead of laughs at the early show, and they either reworked it or cut that joke from their acts altogether for the late show. I don’t personally know comics that found a regular spot at my club by telling racist, sexist jokes, or laughing at the expense of rape victims. But, that’s just a personal anecdote based on my own experiences.
The problem, of course, is that everyone has their own lines that they have drawn. I can’t speak to your particular experience with child sex abuse, but I certainly have had my own terrible experiences, have my own hangups, and dealt with my own share of mental health issues. Personally, humor has always helped me deal with things, either joking about it myself, or hearing comedians develop material around it. I know many other people like me who use comedy to get over bad things. It seems to me that is what comedy is for. I don’t need jokes to get over good stuff. But I also know people who think bad things (or, at least, very specific bad things) should never be joked about, because it offends them and offends others. I don’t know how we rectify that. If a joke makes one set of victims feel better and less alone, but offends another set of victims, what do we do? If a rape victim talks about their rape in a humorous way onstage (as I’ve seen comedians do) because it helps them overcome their trauma (which I’ve seen comedians say) do we tell them to stop? I don’t have the answers.
In regards to the R. Kelly/Blue Ivy joke specifically, I was wondering if you watched the episode of the show in question? From what I remember, the character, who is desperate for any kind of approval, tweets the joke, gets vilified, tries repeatedly to convince people it’s funny, fails, and ultimately deletes it from her Twitter. I don’t think it is treated as great humor in the episode. The opposite, actually. I don’t know if that makes it any more palatable for you, or for anyone else who was horrified, though. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. I think the episode was probably influenced in part by a joke the Onion tweeted about a child actress during the Oscars a couple years ago. If I remember correctly, they deleted the joke, too, and apologized. Maybe that is progress.
I know this isn’t a complete answer to your concerns, and I’m sorry. I just wanted to type out a few thoughts while I had a little time. Please understand I’m not saying people should never be offended, or should not criticize jokes when they feel they are in poor taste. After all, I have drawn my own lines, too. In fact, I much prefer hearing criticism of jokes as opposed to watching public shamings or seeing calls for a specific entertainer to be fired simply because one thing they said offended a small group of people. But I do appreciate diversity of viewpoints, and think more discussion of these topics is a good thing, and for that I thank you.