I don’t even know why I have a Facebook anymore. I mean, it’s great for promoting this site. And it’s awesome for staying connected to my 4,000 family members that are scattered across the globe. But then there are weeks like this when I just wonder why I bother. Weeks where we discover that Josh Duggar had a secret Ashley Madison account that he used to cheat on his wife – only months after we learned that the family values advocate had a history of sexually abusing his sisters. Where the details of Jared Fogle’s collection of child pornography and sexual encounters with minors are pretty much inescapable. A week where two more women come forward to accuse Bill Cosby of rape.
But it’s not the stories themselves that irritate me so much. It’s everyone’s reactions to them that I cannot stand. The absolute insistence on turning these horrible crimes and scandals into jokes is pretty gross. What I see is a lot of self-righteous defensiveness in regards to comments individuals made about self-righteous individuals trying to defend their actions (your basic douchebag inception scenario). It’s disgusting and clearly people need some help navigating how to discuss these tough topics. Luckily, I’m happy to help.
Poppin’ Molly’s Handy Guide to Discussing Skeevy Pervs
* Particularly helpful for those who think pedophilia jokes are edgy
You Are Not a Beacon of Justice
Look, I get it. When you’ve got an evangelical mouthpiece like Josh Duggar running around preaching family values, it only feels right to be a part of the public shaming when his personal sins come to light. I’m not going to pretend that it’s not satisfying to watch the fall of self-righteous assholes in front of the public eye.
But seriously, let’s not fool ourselves. I continue to see think pieces defending the public shaming of figures such as Josh Duggar, Jared Fogle and Bill Cosby – the argument being that jokes, memes and constant commentary are all a form of justice being served. Yeah, okay, whatever you have to tell yourself to justify posting more scandalous details.
Let’s be clear – justice would be these men serving time for the crimes they have committed. Your shitty comments on social media aren’t really cutting it. If they amuse you, that’s fine. But seriously, get over yourselves.
Cut the Victim-Blaming Bullshit
Honestly, this one is on me. It’s my fault for being friends with people on social media who choose to post horrifying comments that blame victims and defend offenders. My bad.
Bill Cosby’s victims shouldn’t have accepted a drink from him. Anna Duggar knew she married a monster, so she deserves everything that comes to her. The Duggar sisters tempted their brother.
Cut the shit. Blaming the victim accomplishes nothing except to ensure that crimes will continue without justice or accountability.
You’re Not Funny
If you were wondering whether or not pedophilia jokes were a part of your comedy wheelhouse, apparently now is the time to test the waters. Now, I’m in no way endorsing this behavior, just commenting on the apparently very popular trend. Go ahead, throw out a joke about pedophilia. Nobody will even notice because it will just be a drop in the ocean of inappropriate commentary made by people who are desperate to appear edgy and relevant.
I understand that many comedians hold the philosophy that nothing is off limits (I have worked and performed with several of them). To a certain extent, I agree. But everything must be handled with care. When the victim is the butt of the joke or the expected result is that you laugh at the crime that has been committed, you’ve failed at creating successful comedic commentary. So yes, in theory you can make jokes about pedophilia, rape and incest. But in reality, the majority of folks on the Internet just aren’t talented enough to pull it off.
I’ve seen a meme going around with Jared Fogle chasing a toddler, as the toddler runs away screaming, “That wasn’t what I meant when I said I wanted a six inch!” Get it? GET IT?! The joke is that Jared Fogle was having sex with minors and had a collection of child pornography. So when the child ordered a six inch sub, he assumed she was referring to his penis. Get it? GET IT?! Pedophilia is fucking hilarious.
Then there’s the countless memes I’ve seen that splice together images of Ronda Rousey and Bill Cosby – two seemingly unrelated people, but whatever gets the joke, I guess. The caption reads, “Knocked her out faster than a Bill Cosby cocktail.” You know, because Ronda Rousey knocked out her opponent in 38 seconds and Bill Cosby knocked out women with roofies. Hilarious!
If that’s not your style, then let me direct you to the numerous incest jokes regarding Josh Duggar’s Ashley Madison account. “Oh man, all hell’s gonna break loose when his sisters hear about this!” OMG his sisters are going to be so jealous of his affair! You know, because he sexually assaulted them.
Rest assured, there’s a joke suitable for every shitty sense of humor.
Do Something Worthwhile
You know that the crimes committed by these men don’t happen in a vacuum, right? While you’re busy trying to figure out how to best formulate a joke about Jared Fogle getting into pants half his size, there are real people suffering from crimes like the ones these men committed (or even just a no good, cheating spouse). So why not do something productive, rather than pretending you’re serving justice in the form of off-color jokes.
Organizations such as RAINN, SARC and House of Ruth all cater to victims of domestic and sexual abuse. I’d love to live in a world where 10 dollars was automatically deducted from your account and sent to a victims rights organization every time you made a shitty joke about abuse. But since we do not yet have that technology, that responsibility rests on us. I am very much an advocate of open and frank discussion when it comes to important issues. But it doesn’t end there. Donate your time or money and effect positive change.
And if you can’t do that, at least post a link to these organizations. If you have time to constantly shame the Duggars and make jokes about roofies and foot-long subs, I’m pretty sure you have time to link to organizations that actually help victims.
Seriously, it’s fine to discuss these stories. But please, at least attempt to be a decent human being while doing so.
Molly Regan is an improviser and writer in Baltimore. She likes chicken pot pie, Adam Scott’s butt and riot grrl.