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February 25, 2013

The Reason I'm Defending the Onion's Joke? Because We Just Went Through This With Limbaugh

Someone on Twitter called The Onion's joke "tasteless."

That's fine, I think: If a joke strikes you as tasteless, call it such.

But we don't tend to do that. The "tasteless" insult doesn't seem to carry enough weight, so people start spinning off all sorts of monstrous theories about the utterer of the statement: that he must secretly hate women or children, for example.

This is exactly what the left did with Limbaugh's joke about Sandra Fluke.

It's a tasteless joke; it was designed to provoke.

And? So, call it tasteless. And then let's move on.

What's this crap with spinning out ever-wilder speculations about the diseased mind that uttered this Forbidden Joke?

How about this: He was speaking off-the-cuff, as people do, and doing what people do when they make jokes (which is to say, finding surprising connections between things), and he tossed out a joke that some didn't like.

Did the media really need to fucking give Sandra Fluke a bishopric for the hardships of having had to endure it?

Tastelessness is an error, not a crime, and we ought to treat it way. And we should also trust that demeaning a joke as "tasteless" is enough of a penalty.

I've noticed this tendency; maybe you have too. But I believe the left has a whole series of things that they insist are Serious You Guys Not Funny.

But all of these objections are rooted in either taste or partisan advantage. And yet, even though they're rooted in subjective, biased perspective, they insist on forcing their own sense of taste on everyone else.

And how they do it is by two tactics:

1. What Does This Joke Say About The Mind of This Monster?

Correct answer: Virtually nothing, especially given that most people will, at one time or another, make a dark or tasteless joke, and they don't hold it against themselves for having done so.

So, how about we all drop this How Dare You act and allow that other people are allowed to do likewise?

The other tactic is...

2. Let Me Spin Out a Wild Series of Indirect Consequences of This Joke, Such as "Encouraging a Mindset In Which Violence Against Women Is Acceptable."

Wait, what? Limbaugh made a joke and you're now claiming that that conditions people to think it's okay to beat or rape women? You're claiming an indirect, but nonetheless real, link between Limbaugh's joke and a rape?


What the F*** are you talking about?

What people do when they can't prove their own sense of taste or sensitivity to some issues is immediately begin postulating a ridiculous string of X leads to Y and Y and leads to Z reasoning to claim that they're not just objecting on grounds of personal, idiosyncratic, biased, and politically-motivated taste, but are in fact attempting to reduce real-world tangible evils like rape and violence against women.

See? I'm not just objecting on grounds of taste that Limbaugh said Sandra Fluke was "like a slut;" what I'm really doing is fighting rape.

So I win: My sensitivities must carry the day.

Or, with this Onion writer: I'm really not objecting on grounds of simple taste; what I'm really doing is fighting the sexualization of children.

Well, no; what you're doing is objecting on grounds of taste (which itself is perfectly fine) but then aggrandizing that into a defense of children.

The fact is, there is no I Win card in matters of taste. De gustibus non est desputandum -- In matters of taste, there is no argument, as it's out of the realm of the intellectual and things that can be proven. And it's In Latin (TM), so you know it's true.

But what people are doing is trying to craft an intellectual argument -- drawing in lots of risible claims of causality -- to "prove" that their taste is not merely taste but An Fact.

Well, it's not An Fact. Never will be An Fact. And all this crap about Limbaugh's Fluke joke leading, somehow, to violence against women is just an absolutely stupid argument offered up by someone who Rilly Rilly Rilly Rilly Wants to Win an Argument Because, Rape.

I have noticed this growing tendency of people to reject the proper language when discussing things. Instead of using the language of taste in discussing matters of taste, we instead begin discussing things like "hostile environment" and "real world effects."

It's a scam. The left created this, of course (as they have created most abuses of language and conceptualization). But we should resist it. Because ultimately this sort of thinking -- that even the most trivial action (or inaction) by a person somehow results in a real world horror which we are duty-bound to avoid, by whatever means necessary -- is ultimately an argument that People Can't Be Trusted With Freedom and We Need Some Sort of Enforcement Mechanism To Make Sure They Think and Say the Right Things.

I seized upon this Onion thing because I've been thinking about this lately -- that I can't seem to see anyone ever saying "That's tasteless" anymore. The left abandoned that 20 years ago, as every Word became a Weapon and they began their disarmament campaign against Assault Language.

But I see a lot of conservatives doing it too. I don't know if we (as a group) are claiming this in order to use this tactic against the left (and, by doing so, get the left to knock it off), or if we're just doing it because we've been conditioned to accept the Left's basic premises on Language Too Dangerous to be Uttered.

It's all so false. There is virtually no action or utterance one can undertake now without someone who disapproves of that action or utterance, whether on the left or right, claiming it will result in some Parade of Horribles which we simply cannot abide.

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posted by Ace at 06:42 PM

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