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March 31, 2015


It's hardly the first time that a new technology has had unforeseen consequences. But this time it is kids who are busy shooting themselves in the foot for a long time to come.

Sooner or later, we are going to have to decide that Twitter comments** should be ignored when considering someone for a job or any other serious purpose. And not just commedians! Either that, or we are going to have an entire generation learning the very hard way that actions have consequences. Because unlike juvenlie criminal records, there doesn't seem to be any way to seal them away.

** And maybe Facebook posts as well.

“The most depressing thing about Trevor Noah’s Twitter timeline, other than how bad he is at Twitter, is how often he replies to @UberFacts.”

How sad it is that someone can reach adulthood not knowing how to Twitter. Are they teaching anything of value in our schools?

Sooner or later, we are going to have to decide that Twitter comments** should be ignored when considering someone for a job or any other serious purpose.

Listened to this on NPR this morning: http://www.npr.org/2015/03/31/396413638/publicly-shamed-who-needs-the-pillory-when-weve-got-twitter

I don't know if its fortuitous timing or just the new normal.

I am so bad at Twitter, I don't even have a Twitter account.

Or maybe I do. I'm that bad.

It's like, I do have a Facebook account (I needed it to see something I was interested in).

But I don't have a Facebook listing. (If you look for me, all you find is a page for one of my cousins.)

Been reading some autopsies on the tweets, and now I'm wondering if part of it might arise from the Israel-Apartheid SA connection


Haha, this criticism will go nowhere.

There may be valid criticism to be made of his anti-fat woman and lesbian remarks. (Also I don't know what he's even saying about Bruce Jenner, which often indicates true bigotry - but I don't want to assume that.) However, you can see the critics focused on the silliest argument: 'OMG he said bad things about Israel, Jew-hater!'

Now Comedy Central previously provoked criticism by tweeting one of Colbert's remarks out of context. That didn't seem to do anything except give him control of the account. The network likely feels predisposed to ignore twitter critiques as a result. Stupid examples of the same which resemble criticism of Jon Stewart will definitely do nothing.

Let me also remind you that Jon Stewart mocked the idea of a transsexual Supreme Court Justice on the air after Kucinich said he wouldn't discriminate if elected. Librul Media! (Though I think he did improve after that point.)

I suspect that the comment about Bruce Jenner was that, since these women looked good, that is why Jenner was going in for a sex change operation. (As if that was something that would cause someone to undergo that kind of major surgery.)

Maybe Twitter and the like will have the positive effect of having us all grow up and stop taking nonsense too seriously.

No. Some of the jokes are not funny. I can understand that they might offend people (as indeed, the posted video might offend Germans) but maybe we can let it go.

but maybe we can let it go.

i suspect we won't

Of the list of tweets you posted, I thought only two or three were offensive. By offensive I mean unfair and unkind to the group being mocked.

The other jokes I thought were too lame or two obscure to work on Twitter although they might be funny if delivered aloud. I have only watched one video of a lie performance and I think that his delivery carries a lot of his humor. He's a personality. His words don't stand alone.

That's true of a lot of people, though. That's why people sometimes get offended by emails: without facial expression and tone of voice, the words alone can be misinterpreted.

Patton Oswald offers Noah some help.

My opinion, such as it is, has been shaped by a friend's storify of her tweets about him, including links and examples. Money quote:

It’s true that lots of comedians have woman problems. For the most part, I ignore them. Sometimes, they’re still good.

Louis CK has woman issues. Sometimes this has been demoralizing. But he’s smart enough that he’s worked on it. He wants to be better. I believe, when I watch his work, that despite his issues, he fundamentally does believe that women are people.

It is really, really difficult for me to believe that about Trevor Noah based on the substantial mass of evidence we have as of now.

Frankly, I don't believe that bedrock misogyny can get a comedian fired from late-night TV. On the contrary, I expect that repelling women might be a plus -- it means he's "edgy", and it also means that the demographic he attracts will have a higher proportion of males, which is considered very valuable.

Do I think he's probably also antisemitic? Yeah. But even though I'm Jewish, I'm inclined to cut a black South African some slack on that point -- because the alliance between Israel and apartheid S.A. was *disgusting*, and it's reasonable that it might color a person's attitudes.

But basically, I have no time or energy for *another* male comedian who doesn't think women are people.

Do I think he's probably also antisemitic? Yeah.

Well, maybe he is, but someone has to come up with more - a ton more - than I've seen.

The joke about hitting a Jewish kid with a German car is supposed to be antisemitic? I don't think it is. It's not funny either, but that's irrelevant.

You don't have to be Hitler to qualify as an anti-semite. But it shouldn't be ridiculously easy either.

Surely the Jenner thing was a joke on *how much plastic surgery* the Kardashians have (allegedly) had...?

Surely the Jenner thing was a joke on *how much plastic surgery* the Kardashians have (allegedly) had...?

Bruce himself has had a ton of plastic surgery.

But basically, I have no time or energy for *another* male comedian who doesn't think women are people.

because he made a 'fat chick' joke? is that the basis for Noah thinking women are not people?

what am i missing?

I guess I should wade in, since I put up the post, though it was one of those, as I started to write it, the twitter thing was coming down.

I'm way out of what is the mainstream, so this is just my opinion, but I baffled that I can pull up the Comedy Central Roasts (most recently Justin Bieber) and here really jaw dropping lines, and yet these tweets are the basis for some arguing that Trevor Noah is in no way fit to be John Stewart's successor. Or the fact that Joan Rivers, who brought fat shaming to a new level has been elevated (to be fair, only by some) to be a feminist icon after death.

I also have been taking some time to try and find his performances in South Africa that I link below. Interesting stuff. I'd like to find some performances at smaller venues. I also feel like one has a big chance of being ethnocentric when they try to judge tweets. The last thing is that part of this is built on the notion that we imagine that a comedian on stage is exactly the way that person is in real life, forgetting that it really has to be a stage persona. I don't think this gives comedians a pass, but drawing conclusions that they are their act makes comedy a lot more fraught than just straight acting.




Other "jokes" include:

"Originally when men proposed they went down on one knee so if the women said no they were in the perfect uppercut position."

"The term 'burst your bubble' originated in 1438 from the ancient Trapadude tribe who's women used torn condoms to trap men."

What kind of man thinks these are funny? -- the kind who doesn't think women are really people.

And if it's his comic persona, in a way, it's *worse* -- because that means that the comic persona TDS wants in the chair is one that thinks women are the punchline, not the audience.

What kind of man thinks these are funny? -- the kind who doesn't think women are really people.

that's not true.

those are typical bro-style jokes: immature, insecure and full of bravado: defensive. you don't have to think women are in-human to tell those jokes, you can simply be inexperienced and afraid of the unknown but unwilling to admit it. or, very angry - but i don't get an angry vibe from Noah. i do get the feeling that he's very young.

Either that or his audience is very young.

Funny, I read the first joke as 'they' being the man. since it's pretty tough to throw a punch from one knee.

The second, I was just thinking of Usher's Confessions, so it might be something that is a bit more common among circles we don't frequent.

Being the product of a mixed marriage (albeit very attenuated, certainly not something like the situation of his parents in Apartheid SA), I thought his stuff about that was quite good, but perhaps because it matches up with some things I have experienced.

When Joan Rivers was in her twenties, still living at home with her parents, she got some small but good notices from a few club appearances.

Her parents, proud of their daughter's success, but apparently not fully informed of her act, arranged to host a standup performance for her at their private country club, with all of their friends and relatives in attendance.

Roughly one third of the way through the show, her parents, red-faced, humiliated and scandalized by the stuff coming out of her mouth, stood up and walked out.

Not through the front door either, but hustled through the club's kitchen and out past the dumpster into the parking lot.

When her husband Edgar Rosenberg committed suicide in 1987, believed by some to be the result of FOX firing the two of them, Rivers cracked later that she had him cremated and his ashes scattered at Nieman Marcus, so she could visit him every day.

She want after fat people, particularly fat women, after growing up as a chubby teenager and young adult and feeling that humiliation.

Regarding Bruce Jenner, about whom I know nothing except what I scan out of the corner of my eye at the grocery check out, and that he is member of the biggest bunch of non-reality fakirs and exhibitionist idiots since that guy who started eating a car several decades ago (he'd finished off a hubcap last time I looked 30 years ago) (the Duck Dynasty a*sholes are moving up fast; their beards look like the beards the Three Stooges wore when they were trying to sneak past some higher IQ types), my take on this new transformation is it's his new reality gig, now that the family has offloaded him, and has about as much sincerity behind it as when Milton Berle would appear onstage smeared with lipstick and sporting a babushka, or more topically, like when the Hobby Lobby execs went all righteous and shocked in Court when they found out their company health plan covered birth control even before the Kenyan made them do it.

Even if he goes under the knife, he's doing it for the advertising eyeballs. What else is he going to do, sell protein supplements?

I wouldn't doubt that several years down the road, anti-LGBT Duck Dynasty jagoffs have Jenner on blowing water fowl out of the air while dressed as a Southern belle in hoop skirt with a vapors fan in one hand and a shotgun in the other.

Just to show that the Confederacy can be open-minded too if the dollar value of the spectacle is up to snuff.

I'd cater any of their affairs, however, cake, pizza, squirrel jerky remoulade, you name it, just to get a peek at the lot of them laughing their butts off at the 50 million or more rubes in this country who paid for the meal.

Because that's the kind of person I am.

here's another take, from a different comedian.

the Duck Dynasty a*sholes are moving up fast; their beards look like the beards the Three Stooges wore when they were trying to sneak past some higher IQ types

those guys are the biggest fakirs in the land, IMO. and it's just the guys, their wives didn't adopt the costume like their husbands did.

here is another interesting take on Noah's tweets.

Thanks for posting that, Cleek. In the course of my long life I've never been (or aspired to be) a stand-up comic, but I have at various times tried to be witty, with extremely mixed results. One obvious fact - if you're going for this, especially on the fly (i.e., not written out in advance, but making it up in the moment), you'll screw up sometimes. Actually you'll screw up often, in the sense of simply not being funny, but occasionally also in the sense of being offensive when you stop to think about it which of course you didn't because you were in the moment . . .

Thank goodness, all of this was pre-Twitter, which meant that only those few who were present witnessed/heard these gaffes, and most were (I hope) quickly forgotten. And I've outgrown (I hope) some of the worst of the tropes I fell into. (Tropes in the sense of comic reflex reactions: a nun, a cowboy, a Scotsman, and a pepperoni pizza walk into a bar [and instantly we reach down into the recesses of the mind for Things We Know about nuns, cowboys, Scotsmen, and pepperoni pizzas] . . . )

(No, I don't have a punchline here. Why IS a raven like a writing desk?)

I think what we have here is a useful warning about Noah, things to be alert for if/when we give him a try on the Daily Show. Can he learn? Will he? If so, good luck. If not: here's your hat, what's your hurry, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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