Worst apology ever? Judge for yourself. Previously.
tosh could learn some valuable comedic tips from laura, imo.
also some how-not-to-be-an-egotistical-asshole tips.
I actually hate dead babies jokes (note: not directed at Laura, who is actually cleverly and succinctly making a point I’ve taken way too long to make before), so it’s a bitterwry moment for me seeing Daniel Tosh trying to use them to justify rape jokes.
“I make other incredibly hurtful jokes as well! Doesn’t that make you feel better about me?”
No, it reinforces how much disdain I have for you.
I have a friend, about a year older than me; we were never besties but our families are very close. She lost her son at eighteen months old. Would you like to tell her a dead baby joke? Would her reaction make you laugh?
I had a friend in high school who was born into a set of twins, but her identical sister died when they were still infants. She confided in me that she often felt like her mother couldn’t look at her, because she was wearing her dead sister’s face. How about you tell them a dead baby joke?
One of my mother’s close church friends recently lost their three year old son, and couldn’t take time off to mourn because they still had to feed their other children. Why not tell them a dead baby joke?
Or why not just tell one to me? When my little brother was born, when I was seven, I started having graphic realistic nightmares that he was dead or hurt. That he was growing gruesome extra eyes on his face, that his skin was peeling off, that he was being injected with hypodermic needles or drowned and no one was there to help. The nightmares lasted for over two years, and I’d wake up shaking and screaming and crying and sweating. Sometimes I would wake up and vomit, other times I couldn’t breathe. During this time and throughout most of the rest of my life, my family has all kinds of stories of me performing amazing feats of heroism where I’d save my little cousin from drowning in our pool, or catch my baby brother just before he fell off the balcony. I cannot remember a single one of them, and I imagine the reason why is because I was blacking out with panic because of those nightmares.
Here’s the thing, or one of many things, about rape jokes and dead baby jokes: They are cruel, inherently. They are about shocking the audience into uncomfortable laughter. And as someone who is prone to laughing when I am nervous or threatened or uncomfortable, let me just say I don’t appreciate being manipulated in this way and I am not having a good time.
Because unlike other jokes meant to shock, there is nothing about the shock of a dead baby joke that is revelatory or insightful. It is not like the funny uncomfortable shock at talking about taboo consensual sex acts or taboo but natural and harmless bodily functions or unjustified social mores. These other kinds of shocking humor can reveal things about what we hold taboo inappropriately, and teach us about our society and ourselves in a way that is entertaining. I can get behind certain kinds of shock. I can get behind laughing at the shock on many parents’ faces when the class president at a recent graduation I attended referenced her “girlfriend”. It was okay to laugh at them, because their shock was misplaced.
But dead baby and rape humor is often based on getting that shocked response and then making fun of it, “Oh, you’re so sensitive, rape and dead babies bother you!”
But these are good sensitivities. These are not impractical social mores, these are actual hurts in actual people’s lives. Laughing at the people who have experienced terrible atrocities for being upset at those terrible atrocities is awful. And that is exactly what all dead baby jokes are about. They are about saying the most hurtful, shocking, upsetting things possible and then being amused that people are (or would be, if they were present) shocked and upset. It is callous and based on actively trying to rid yourself of empathy. It comes from a position of good fortune and ill-consideration, on preying on those whose tragedies you have not had to suffer.
It is not funny or witty or insightful. It is bullying people who have already been through the worst.
It isn’t hilariously oversensitive of people to be shocked and hurt and upset by the thought of gross violence, it is right and moral. And jokes about shaming people for reacting are about shaming those empathetic reactions out of them and teaching them to disassociate themselves with the realities of violence and horror for the sake of privileged people’s good time.
It’s not funny, it’s really old (like, really old), it’s a silencing tactic, and it ruins the fun of people who likely need a laugh more than anyone.
Fuck you, Daniel Tosh.