You’re Not Funny, You’re Offensive

There are many people who are easily offended. Their comedy sensibilities are seriously lacking, and instead of seeing the funny element of a joke, they concentrate on the stereotype being presented, and thus categorize the joke as “offensive.” This is not entirely accurate. However, all joking aside (I couldn’t resist the pun), there are some “jokes” that aren’t jokes–they’re just offensive statements.

I’m all about what someone I know once called “equal opportunity offenders.” Think Mel Brooks, Chris Rock, Kat Williams, Dave Chappelle. The greats tend to fall into this category. Equal Opportunity Offenders make jokes about every stereotype in the book; they can laugh at other people and at themselves. They don’t make these jokes to alienate, discriminate, devalue, or otherwise hate on individuals or groups of people. They make fun of everybody for the things we don’t necessarily choose, and some of the things we do: our race, our geographic location, our nationality, our religion, our sexual preferences, our genders, etc. But they do this as a method of moving the conversation toward larger issues, and the humor comes from the stereotype. We don’t laugh because we actually think all such-and-such people do/are this, but because its a stereotype of what that group is or does. Sometimes it’s true, but it’s not meant to be the kind of statement that narrows the possibilities of individuals.

However, there is another category of ‘comedian’–if one would deign to call them such–that doesn’t fall into these bounds. Let me explain with a short anecdote.

I was riding in a car with a large group of people when a country song I was unfamiliar with came on the radio. I found it a little distasteful (it was about “titties and beer”), but not offensive. I could chuckle at it. Yet, one line deeply disturbed me, and as everyone around me laughed it up, I sat stone faced: “Thank God I ain’t queer.” What?! That’s not funny. That’s not saying, ‘Hey, Gay men are like this and Women are like this, yuck yuck ha ha.’ That’s just a mean-spirited cut against anyone who categorizes themselves as queer. It’s a stupid and ignorant statement, not a funny one.

Another example: using language that is racist, unless you’re reclaiming it, is not funny. Ever. Black people can say the N-word in a comedic setting because it’s theirs to reclaim and refashion in meaning. Sorry, white people, it’s not yours in any manner except the racist one. So don’t use it in your comedy. Calling someone a nasty name based on their race or ethnicity often results in a few nervous chuckles, but it’s not funny; it’s racist. Same thing goes for any other nasty words directed towards women, gay people, and other minority groups. It’s not funny when you call someone a bitch or a fish wife or a fairy or a fag. It’s just not.

Being nasty toward people for things they don’t choose isn’t funny. It’s mean, nasty, and often falls into the category of one of the -isms (racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, etc.). Instead, why not focus on the little idiosyncrasies that make people funny in general. And if you’re gonna pick on one group, be prepared to pick on them all, including your own.

Really, Rick?

Forrealz, Rick?

I won’t even deign to respond to your brand of crazy. I’m just going to sit here sullenly for a while. Then I will laugh at your pathetic attempt to regain interest in your utterly failed campaign.

WTF, ear cuffs?

This is an incredibly stupid product. I give you, reader, the “ear cuff.” What is up with this? It’s like a piercing, but it’s not. It’s just awkward and kinda ugly. Especially when it’s a skull next to the kind of earrings that suburban moms wear.

Why? Why not just pierce it like a normal person? There is nothing cool about this weirdness!

And if that wasn’t bad enough, how about an Avatar wannabe… blue and ear-cuffed:

THIS IS NOT PANDORA! DITCH THE EAR CUFF!

6 More Signs You’re Not a “Bad Ass”

Of course, there are more signs.
  1. You’re wearing a blue tooth.  You look crazy, not bad ass.  If you are currently driving a vehicle, then a bluetooth is understandable.  If you’re standing in line somewhere, or walking down the street, maybe just use your cell phone like a normal person.  Bad asses don’t need fancy gadgets.  Fancy gadgets hope bad asses will use them.
  2. You use pick-up lines.  Bad asses don’t need pick-up lines; they just know how to get laid.  And they do.
  3. You think Guinness is yucky, and you have other weak ass drinking habits.  Bad asses drink intense, bad ass drinks.  That means whiskey, gin, heavy beer, and generally German/Irish ales.  There is no light beer.  There is no need for Long Islands, or whatever else comes in a fish bowl.  Bad asses are fine without frills.
  4. You can’t drive stick shift.  Why can’t you?  C’mon.  This one is a given.
  5. Your masculinity is challenged and/or you feel uncomfortable wearing pink, going to the opera, shopping, cleaning yourself, etc…*  Man or woman, you need to be self-assured to be bad ass.  Plus, bad asses can appreciate a beautiful piece of art, taking care of themselves, and high-culture.  They’re not animals!
  6. You think a Hummer is more bad ass than a Prius.  Wrong.  A true bad ass knows that driving a Prius is way more bad ass than driving a Hummer.  Hummer’s are wasteful, and bad asses are economical in all they do.  They don’t want to expend a bunch of useless or unnecessary energy to get something done.  Why would they want to drive something that did?  Also, a bad ass realizes that driving a Hummer tells other people that you are self-conscious about your “size.”  Bad asses are definitely not worried about “size;” they’re good.
Bonus list for dudes only! Read below:
  1. You can’t grow a beard… Um, bad asses are at least able to do so.  Most of them shave twice a day.
  2. Every chick that won’t sleep with you becomes a “bitch.”  Bad asses can handle rejection, though it rarely happens.  Still, when and if it does, a bad ass knows that only little bitches think every woman is a bitch.
  3. You’ve hit a chick.  Sean Connery is the only bad ass who has done this.  It’s still not really okay.
  4. You’re straight, and gay dudes make you nervous.  Again, bad asses aren’t worried about what other people are doing.  Also, gay dudes are not attracted to every other dude.  Deal with it.
 

*This was re-worded for clarity.  We agree that bad asses can maintain their bad ass status whilst attending the opera.  In fact, we think many bad asses can appreciate the opera.  They’re too awesome not to.

Do you want fries with that misleading sentence?

As someone pursuing an advanced degree in English Literature, I often am viewed as a Grammar Nazi or that old bag who stood in front of your fourth grade class and diagrammed sentences. Alas, I am neither of these things, and could generally give two shits less how well-spoken you are.

On the other hand, I assume that you’re using words that make sense. Which is why, when I passed by America’s favorite fa(s)t food joint today I began muttering and slapping my palm against my forehead. Their sign read:

Monopoly is back!

1 & 4 win!

It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but once I realized that what they said was not at all what they meant, it began to become clear. They didn’t mean “one and four,” they meant “one in four.” As in 25%. Instead, the dipshit who put up the plastic letters used the ampersand instead of the word “in,” and consequently made me think (albeit for a brief, fleeting second) that if I went in and ordered my go-to, the Big Mac, the #1, that I’d win something. Thanks for crushing my dreams, asshole.

In lieu of a more structured rant on the death of our language, I will leave you with a comic (that I believe someone sent me after reading one of the blog entries here, but I forget, so my apologies for not crediting you) that says it a lot better than I can.

 

Who came up with Baby Doll Tees, anyway?

Baby Doll Tees. You know, those tiny shirts we all wore when we were fifteen with stupid logos and cartoon characters and ‘sassy’ quips on them? Yeah. The ones that never fit right, and if you ever threw them in a dryer you could forget about wearing them ever again unless showing off your butt crack is your kind of thing. Happily, I grew out of wearing them (pun intended). It baffles me, though, how many I still see around. Who really wants to wear a shirt that obviously was not built for a normal sized teen or adult, but exactly what it describes: a baby? These stupid shirts never quite came down far enough to adequately cover my ever-lengthening teenage torso, which often resulted in the display of back dimples. Really that’s something I should have kept underneath my shirt… if it fit correctly. What continues to baffle me more than the baby doll shirt itself is the annoying idea that it is “made for women.” For example, the NFL recently began selling team merchandise for women, which means–

you guessed it–team baby doll tees. I get that they’re supposed to be cut for women (e.g. not baggy, have some kind of shape), which is great, except for the fact that they aren’t cut for women. They’re cut for pygmies or some other abnormally small race of people (e.g. children) who would be able to wear them without displaying butt crack or back dimples. Give me a shirt that is the right length, damnit!!!

Which, I guess is what we all wished for when the fashion industry blessed us

with those really long-torso style tshirts (which I can only describe as “tunic tees”). Admittedly, I still own a few of these, but they never made sense on my body and still don’t. But I was so tired of the stupid too-short baby doll tees that the ultra-long tee seemed like a viable alternative. What was I thinking?

Maybe wishing for clothes that actually fit instead of make me look like a small child or a hideously long-torsoed monster is too much. Or maybe asking, as a grown woman, to be able to wear something that is not associated with a baby or a doll, two things which I am obviously not, is too much.

One fine day, ladies, we will have clothes that actually fit real bodies. Until then…

Pick Your Punctuation: one is enough!


.

?

!

These are the three acceptable ways to end a sentence.

!!!

???

Only one of these is acceptable. (Can you guess which?) If you’re going to ask a question or exclaim something, only one of the corresponding marks is really necessary. Three might be, sometimes, maybe acceptable. Such as for a drunken text, or if you just won the lottery (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Or if you’re referring to the band known as “!!!”

Mixing punctuation marks is a no, no matter what your situation. .! or !. is not acceptable. Are you exclaiming or stating? I’m confused. I think you’re confused, so maybe you should decide and then PICK ONE. Additionally, although it is feasible to both exclaim and state simultaneously (yet without double punctuation), asking a question and making a statement at once is a paradox. Therefore, these

?. / .?

MAKE NO SENSE! And these

.! /!.

ARE EQUALLY STUPID.

 

So do us all a favor and pick your punctuation like you pick a fine wine. Be decisive and selective, because right now, you only get one.

Red, White, and Screwed

I took the title for this post from one of my favorite stand-up comedians, Lewis Black (are you surprised?). It seemed appropriate for the new attitude I keep seeing on the news and in my community.

Let me begin with this article from the L.A. Times, because everything about it makes me angry. Infuriated, in fact. Called “The Upside to Being ‘Poor'” (yes, poor is in scare quotes there), it highlights what it calls “stereotype-shattering” facts about America’s poor, like the fact that roughly 42% own their own home, most have microwaves and flat screen TVs, and a lot of poor kids have Xboxes. An article from the website good.is gives an interesting counter-perspective to this, in which the writer sought out the prices for many of the goods mentioned in the Times article, and found he could buy them all for roughly $375.

But beyond this, what is more disturbing is the “screw everyone else” attitude that Americans seem to be taking toward each other. Rather than feeling bad for a family of four that somehow scrapes by on $22,000 a year (I make $14,000 as a single person and find living a middle class lifestyle extremely difficult, which is essentially what the Times article is arguing that having a tv, microwave, etc. amounts to–because it’s not ‘being poor’), we say, You’re Not Poor Enough! When asked if a man without insurance should be left to die in a hypothetical situation, audience members at the CNN-Tea Party Republican Debate yell, “YEAH!!!!” We applaud Gov. Rick Perry’s capital punishment of over 250 people in Texas, and virtually say, Die, Fellow Citizens, Die! We have eliminated collective bargaining rights for teachers and other public servants (see Wisconsin); we say, Screw you, greedy teachers, you don’t have real jobs! To the firefighters and police officers who risked their lives to run toward a set of burning, collapsing skyscrapers in the middle of Manhattan and who worked for months at the site of what was perhaps one of the most horrific moments of American history to search for survivors and the remains of the dead, we say, We don’t want to pay for your cancer treatment after you inhaled months’ worth of all kinds of carcinogenic debris to save lives!

This is a non-partisan question that I am raising here: why have we all taken up the attitude of “screw you” toward our fellow citizens? It is a question of American collective pride and support. It’s a question about who we are as a people, a society, a nation, when to our most vulnerable, hardest working, most deserving people, the ones that deserve our pity, our respect, or our help, we instead say “Screw You.”

Just think about it.

And hope you’re not at this point by the time you’re done.

There’s Nothing Funny About Living With Dudes

The New Girl is a television show airing on FOX, starring the adorable and quirky Zooey Deschanel. The main premise of the show, aside from Deschanel’s epic break-up, is the cute-but-totally-weird-and-awkward girl lives with three dudes, and isn’t that hilarious?!? One girl living with a bunch of guys!! AHHAAAA!

I am going to fill you in, America, there is nothing cute or funny about being the one girl living with a bunch of dudes. Take it from someone who did it: Nothing about it is funny and everything about it sucks.

Five Reasons Not to Move in With Your Guy Friends

1. Everything smells like male body odor and Axe.

Dudes smell. There’s just no way around it. Whether it’s dirty socks lurking in the living room or strange smells wafting into your bedroom from the room across the hall, there’s always a smell of dude sweat when you live with guys. Also, now that we have been blessed with Axe (because Old Spice just wasn’t cutting it for awful pseudo-cologne anymore), every bathroom always smells like a strange combination of cinnamon and musk, causing any person with asthma who enters to immediately have a coughing fit. Awesome.

2. If you weren’t bargaining for a parade of whores, you should have.

Guys are focused on one thing when they go out: getting chicks to come home with them. Get ready for a parade of different girls who range in attractiveness from the super hot to the painfully ugly tramping around your house at all hours of the night and awkwardly sneaking by so they don’t have to introduce themselves (or be introduced) to you. They (perhaps rightfully) fear your womanly judgment. Also, you will oftentimes find they’ve used the only girly products in the bathroom after they’ve fucked your roommate and took a shower before they did their walk of shame. Thanks, ladies. Much obliged. Additionally, every friend you ever invite over will not only be treated as a house guest, but will often be invited to be one of your roomies’ bed guest as well, because you no longer have friends: you have potential sex partners for your roommates.

3. You will know every song from every video game and the plot to every bad action flick forward and backward.

Your living room is no longer a living room. It is now what is called a “man cave.” That means the staple decorations are empty beer cans, three week old potato chips hiding beneath the rug, dirty dishes, and the lurking stray sock I mentioned before. The TV will only show the following: sports of all kinds (even those as obscure and stupid as curling), first person shooters and sports video games (if you don’t know that first term, live with dudes and it will become VERY familiar), bad action movies or other manly movies, sci-fi series movies–think Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, and other crappy and generally unfunny TV (e.g. Workaholics). Forget ever watching Grey’s Anatomy or Teen Mom or Say Yes to the Dress or Ghost or any Lifetime movie.

4. Your kitchen will always be sticky, dirty, and smell like something died in it.

Dudes generally suck at cooking and/or know nothing about storing food. This results in a lot of food particles and rotting bananas around your kitchen. Between this, sticky beer/alcohol residue, beer cans, and Chinese take out and pizza boxes, it’s basically impossible to navigate, let alone cook in this room. So, that Coq Au Vin recipe you were going to make for your boyfriend for your anniversary? Yeah, forget about it–go out.

5. They don’t see you as a girlfriend/sex partner, and therefore you fit into the same category as their mother.

You have passed from being drooled over as the sex object or chased after as the girlfriend into the friend zone. You aren’t an accessible vagina, and therefore when you ask for something, it’s nagging. Now you’ve entered the mom zone. Once this happens, all bets are off. Get used to being expected to clean up after your dude roomies, retrieve forks from their bedrooms when they all disappear from the kitchen, pick up those dirty socks in the living room, clean the bathroom fixtures, and take care of all the things their mothers have been doing for them for the last twenty two years.

So instead of living with four dudes, you, in the matter of a few weeks, have suddenly birthed quadruplets. Congratulations on being a New Mom!

Beer Pong and Botox, or Why It’s Okay to Age

There’s always been those people who deny the fact that they’re getting older. Whether that meant patting their wrinkly, old faces with lead-based powder in the 1700’s (and ironically making their appearance go downhill faster–lead does *wonders* for your skin) or injecting botox and getting face lifts and tummy tucks at the dawn of the 21st century, there have always been those who fear aging. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really understand the insatiable desire to stay 18 forever (or 20, or 25, or what-have-you). Sure, everyone wants to be “young and beautiful,” and often what is called beauty is really just youth, but I don’t think I would inject my face with botulism or let someone stretch my skin tighter over my skull in order to make people think I’m younger (and/or made of plastic).

What is it about age, other than pure vanity, that scares everyone so much? We value the wisdom and experience we gain as we age, but it seems to be those pesky wrinkles and grey hairs that throw us for a loop. But really, it’s just aesthetics. You are more than how you look, and the sooner we all realize that, the better off we’ll be. All I’m saying is that cutting/poking/prodding/and spending, spending, spending hasn’t gotten anyone very far when it comes to looking younger. However, we do have a lot more women walking around looking like life-size, discarded barbie dolls.

But maybe it’s more than just looks. Maybe everyone’s trying to get back to looking young because they want to go back to being young; perhaps it’s less about aesthetics than it is about a living memory of being 18, or 20, or 25, and being “carefree” and “innocent” and all the cliche terms associated with youth. But why don’t we value our later years? Is pursuing your career, having a family, finding a partner, travelling, learning, and living as an adult really that lamentable? Sure, getting blitzed on Tuesday nights and having no responsibilities and no job (for some of us) and getting with all the hotties (like I said, for some of us) can be great, but I wouldn’t want that to last forever. What about other interests? What about being productive (or reproductive for more eager folks)? What about establishing a life and relationships outside of party buddies?

I’m just saying, maybe we should stop looking at 18-22 or 16-22 or whatever combination/range of years as “the best time” of our lives. Why not assume the best is yet to come and relish in the moment? Find good in being 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, and 95, and all the ages in between. I mean, just think of it this way: if you stayed 18 forever, beer pong would still be the preeminent subject of conversation, along with awkward teenage sex jokes and petty high school arguments of who-did-what-to-whom-and-don’t-you-think-that’s-just-awful??!!.

Consider this a friendly PSA to stop living in the past and embrace your present.