Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Feb 11, 2014

Gene's next monthly chat is Tuesday, February 25 at noon. You may submit questions here.

- Want to find out what you're missing? Check out Gene's January live chat to get an idea of how the monthly chat works.

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is sometimes updated between live shows, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

I will be answering some leftover questions from the last chat, but before I do, a quickie poll.

Someone sent me a startling Dear Prudence letter.  On Twitter, I asked women to consider the most awkward situation they could ever imagine.  Then I said, nope, this is it. (The first letter.)  And yes, it is deeply cringeworthy.

The responses I got persuaded me that this issue is even more complex than I thought, and that the answers may well show an interesting gender divide.   So. Here we go.   

Take the poll:
- Male version
- Female version

Sorry, but I saw the joke as implying the women was either 1) Too stupid to realize she was being raped or 2) liked it when men raped her. That is horribly offensive to me. If a woman is only loose when she's drunk, then she's not loose - she's just easily raped.

Well, now we're in this awkward rapey area again, and I don't like it.  

You seem to be arguing that if a woman likes to have sex when she's drunk, she's getting raped each time.   I think that's ridiculous.

Lady goes into the bar.   They give her lots to drink, on the house, then they take her upstairs, and she has sex with someone.   She remembers this incident, and keeps going back to the bar to have the same thing happen.  She tells her brother about it.   Not complaining.  Hey, this is a great place, she tells her brother.

I'm not sure that that is rape in ANY understanding of the word, any jurisdiction, any society.  (I also wouldn't label her "loose," necessarily.  She likes to party a certain way.)  If she felt taken advantage of, she wouldn't keep coming back. 

Actually, I think the commentary about Irish girls being slutbunnies is secondary to the commentary that Irish men are idiots.

I think you're right! 

Would it still be OK if the Dr was outed if the putter met all of her claims, if her background was as she said, etc? Or is it part of the "fraud?" Many transsexuals go from living a lie about who they are to living a lie about who they were. There is a high rate of suicide among the community.

No, I don't think so.   Then it would be a story about a great putter, and how it was developed.  I think it would be reasonable for the doctor to ask the writer not to mention the history of her sexuality, or not to TELL him about the history of her sexuality.  I can tell you that if I were the editor of that story, and the writer came to me and told me he'd discovered that Dr. V was once biologically a man, I would tell him he needed to talk to the doc and get her approval for mentioning it.   Different set of facts, different story, different niceties.  

In Chris Christie's radio interview on Sunday, he actually used the non-word, "knowed," three times. I bet your grammar person would have a fit if he/she had knowed...

"Knowed" is correct in New Jersey.

What do you believe the majority's feelings to be? That's a much harder question to answer factually than it should be. Anti-choice adherents trumpet polls that purport to show that a "majority" of Americans oppose abortion, but those result change pretty dramatically if you ask whether they oppose it in all cases with no exception for rape or incest, or if the mother's health would be compromised. And those exceptions undermine the entire logic for opposing abortion. On the rape/incest question -- either it's a baby who is entitled to be carried over the objections of the mother, in which case the viability of the mother's consent to the act of intercourse should be irrelevant, or it's not, in which case it has no "right to life." On the health of the mother question -- a healthy pregnancy and childbirth irrevocably changes a woman's body, usually in ways that leave her in a less ideal state of "health" than before. Either women have the right to choose not compromise her health/body by having a baby, or she doesn't, in which case the possibility that carrying to term will do anything short of killing her should be irrelevant. If she has the right to decide not to donate the use of her body to someone else, or to withdraw consent, then viability should affect only the method by which her consent can be withdrawn. Most people who oppose abortion don't really care about the "baby," they care about controlling a woman's consensual sex life. I'm guessing that isn't you.

This is in reaction to my saying that I don't really care why a woman aborts early in a pregnancy -- her business, and, in my view, not "killing a child."   I said as the pregnancy progresses, my views get closer to mainstream. 

I probably should elaborate.  I don't think your reasons start to become important until around the time the fetus is viable.   Because we are now talking about, essentially, killing a baby.

So, I don't have a problem with laws against late-term abortion of a healthy, viable fetus.  Where I still differ with many is that (as a semi-eugenicist) I support late-term abortions for significantly compromised fetuses.   I think the majority of late-term abortions, which have right-wing panties in a knot, are terribly sad and wrenching decisions made by couples who are trying to act in the best interests of everyone.   By and large, these are not cases where some ditz has dithered through a normal pregnancy until it is too late.

I can't believe you just dismissed 'yo mama' jokes. What did you yell at your school-yard friends, New Yorker comics?

There are two genres of yo mama jokes.  They are very distinct.

Yo mama so fat when she take a shower, her feet don't get wet.  

That is a funny yo mama joke.

"I need to get into yoga."  "Oh yeah, well I need to get into yo mama."

That's a lazy unfunny yo mama joke.

See?    Two genres.  

Hi Gene, I'm a big fan of Martin Freeman as an actor, especially his work on Sherlock. What is your take on this joke and the reaction to it? Joke: http://metro.co.uk/2013/12/19/martin-freeman-shocks-fans-by-joking-about-date-raping-an-elf-4236498/ Sample reaction: http://www.themarysue.com/martin-freeman-rape-joke/ I'm also curious about your take on the other comments linked in the reaction piece.

Not sure about this.  I was prepared to be horrified, until I watched the clip.  C'mon.  The man is being asked about whether he would rather date an elf or a hobbit or Tinkerbelle, basically.   This is entirely the realm of silliness.  Not fantasy, or desire -- silliness.  The questions are being asked tongue in cheek, laughing, and he is being invited to be naughty and incorrect.  He says it doesn't matter how tall she is because he can use a ladder.  To my mind, this is EXACTLY the situation, proposed by Carlin, where he said, yeah, rape can be funny.  It's funny if Bugs Bunny rapes Elmer Fudd.

That's on the one hand.  On the other, his answer wasn't really funny.   That's problematic, because if it's not really funny, why go there? 

So, I guess I'm not thrilled with what he did there.   

See you next week.


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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

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