Patton Oswalt has written a very long, very measured, and very interesting thought piece that explores several very touchy aspects of comedy, including joke thievery among comedians, the public's dismissive attitude towards humor as intellectual property, the nature of rape jokes, and heckling. Here's an example:
The comedians I’ve known who joke about rape—and genocide, racism, serial killers, drug addiction and everything else in the Dark Subjects Suitcase—tend to be, internally and in action, anti-violence, anti-bigotry, and decidedly anti-rape. It’s their way—at least, it’s definitely my way—of dealing with the fact that all of this shittiness exists in the world. It’s one of the ways I try to reduce the power and horror those subjects hold for me. And since I’ve been a comedian longer than any of the people who blogged or wrote essays or argued about this, I was secure in thinking my point of view was right. That “rape culture” was an illusion, that the examples of comedians telling “rape jokes” in which the victim was the punchline were exceptions that proved the rule. I’ve never wanted to rape anyone. No one I know has ever expressed a desire to rape anyone. My viewpoint must be right. Right?
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