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America's Least Funny People Ecstatically Cry 'Comedy Is Back!' As Shane Gillis Drops Slurs On SNL

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Shane Gillis, YouTube screenshot

This weekend, comedian Shane Gillis — whom I admit I was only nominally aware of to begin with — hosted “Saturday Night Live.” Gillis was previously cast on SNL in 2019 but fired before he ever made an appearance, after racist and homophobic clips came to light. Apparently they have different standards for actually hosting the show.

Did I actually watch the show? I did not. I can’t actually remember the last time I actually watched “Saturday Night Live” live. What I did catch, however, were the tweets from weird people overjoyed by the fact that Gillis “used gay and ret*rd” in his opening monologue, declaring that “comedy is back.”


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Shane Gillis said Gay, Retard and Cracker all within 17 seconds on his SNL monologue a comedy is back
Comedian Shane Gillis goes on SNL after getting fired from the show in 2019 for "racist and homophobic jokes" and then says "gay", "ret*rd" and "cracker" in his opening monologue. Comedy is back.

I was not terribly surprised by the reaction or the “relief.” I actually think there are a lot of people who just never “learned” how to be funny beyond that and who would see the return of those words becoming acceptable to use as slurs again as something that would bring back the social power they once enjoyed. You know, in middle school. When it was still cool to make fun of people for being weird or different.

After all, nothing says “No one has laughed at anything I’ve said since middle school” quite like thinking these words are the height of comedy.

I would argue that the first shot fired in today’s current culture war was in 2012, when comedian Daniel Tosh told a rape joke during an appearance at the Laugh Factory. A woman in the audience at the show responded “Rape jokes are never funny!” and Tosh responded with “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now?”

The shot wasn’t fired by Tosh. It was fired by feminists who did not, in fact, think that would be funny and publicly said as much. The real anger, the real fury, however, came from those who were horrified by the idea of a world without rape jokes.

It was really the first time in a long while that a feminist discourse had gone that public. It pushed a button that unleashed a certain flavor of male rage that, I believe, ultimately found form in Gamergate, the rise of incels, Red Pill theory and other flavors of online misogyny — and, ultimately, Trumpism.

And it came from finding out that everyone didn’t think a certain kind of joke was funny.

I also fully believe that a lot of anger over trans people existing and being treated like people was due to the loss of their very precious “That’s a man, baby!” jokes. It’s certainly a large part (if not all) of the rage people get over fat acceptance or, godforbid, being told that a person being an asshole does not give anyone a special free pass to make fun of their weight without also being an asshole themselves.

Because you can tell, you know? When “good people” have been biting their tongue on the fat jokes for a certain amount of time and are just so relieved to have a bad fat person to unleash them all on.

I’m trying to figure out a way to say this that does not suggest that anyone should have empathy or pity for the poor douchebags who don’t know how to be “funny” without using gay as a slur or saying ret*rd or by punching down in general. Obviously I do not think this. But I do think that people have a lot more abject terror over social interactions and social rejection than we realize. And there is a possibility that being told, “These things you used as a crutch, these things you said to fit in, to get laughs, to ensure that people were laughing at someone or some group of people other than you, not only can you not have them anymore, but if you do use them, you will experience the rejection you were using them to ward off in the first place” — that actually does send a lot of them right off the deep end.

This does not mean that we should stop pushing for the kind of social change that makes that kind of punching down obsolete — just as the fact that men frequently go on killing sprees because their romantic advances were rejected doesn’t mean that women should have to date with men they are not interested in. But I do think we probably need to do more to help people with social interactions and processing social rejection in a healthy way than we do currently.

Of course, it’s not just about being funny and getting laughs. It’s also about a perceived loss of social power. The kids who made these jokes in middle school weren’t actually funny, people were just scared of them. They were bullies. People laughed and went along so they wouldn’t be next, and that’s a kind of power that certain kinds of people find intoxicating. A lot of men, especially, love the idea of being the guy about whom people say “Oh, he’s an asshole at first, but once you get to know him he’s a great guy,” because it’s a pretty big compliment if people will put up with abuse in hopes of getting to the Tootsie Roll center.

If you’re an asshole and people put up with your shit and laugh at your bad jokes, you win. If they don’t … well, then you’re just an asshole, aren’t you?


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All of this being said, if these people think that this one guy saying these words in one monologue on “Saturday Night Live” is the permission slip to start using them themselves (without risking people thinking they are assholes or punching them in the face) that they’ve been waiting for, it’s definitely not.

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hannahdraper
3 days ago
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I’m trying to figure out a way to say this that does not suggest that anyone should have empathy or pity for the poor douchebags who don’t know how to be “funny” without using gay as a slur or saying ret*rd or by punching down in general. Obviously I do not think this. But I do think that people have a lot more abject terror over social interactions and social rejection than we realize. And there is a possibility that being told, “These things you used as a crutch, these things you said to fit in, to get laughs, to ensure that people were laughing at someone or some group of people other than you, not only can you not have them anymore, but if you do use them, you will experience the rejection you were using them to ward off in the first place” — that actually does send a lot of them right off the deep end.

This does not mean that we should stop pushing for the kind of social change that makes that kind of punching down obsolete — just as the fact that men frequently go on killing sprees because their romantic advances were rejected doesn’t mean that women should have to date with men they are not interested in. But I do think we probably need to do more to help people with social interactions and processing social rejection in a healthy way than we do currently.
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PaulPritchard
3 days ago
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‘Get the Tories out’ will carry the election, but it won’t fix the faultlines of a broken politics | Rafael Behr

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The duopoly at the centre of our electoral system promises stability, yet delivers anything but. Labour must be ready for that

A reliable test of a party’s campaign readiness is the pub justification question. Imagine friends having a drink on the eve of polling. Like most people in the country, they usually avoid talking politics. They don’t want their preferences interrogated. The more efficiently they can justify a choice to themselves and their mates, the better.

Why vote Tory in 2019? Get Brexit done. Three words. The Labour offer was trickier to summarise. Many of the party’s own MPs couldn’t explain why Jeremy Corbyn should be prime minister.

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PaulPritchard
9 days ago
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"You can have multiparty rule with explicit deals to share power or, as we have now, submerged coalition politics with warring factions vying for supremacy within one party. The latter model is not obviously more democratic."
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Neuralink patient masters mind-mouse maneuvers – if Musk is to be believed

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Brain-computer interface trial continues to display troubling lack of transparency

Founder Elon Musk has announced that the first human to receive a Neuralink brain-computer interface has fully recovered and can control a computer mouse pointer with their thoughts.…

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PaulPritchard
10 days ago
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"Sharing information about clinical trials is vital in the development of treatments since it allows investigators to learn what does and does not work. It also ensures that results receive proper scrutiny. Science by tweet is, in comparison, a poor substitute."
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The Philosophy Of Magic

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kyleniemeyer
14 days ago
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some strong HPMOR (https://hpmor.com) vibes here
Corvallis, OR
popular
15 days ago
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PaulPritchard
15 days ago
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Belgium
greggrossmeier
17 days ago
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Ojai, CA, US
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Retreat from the Green New Deal

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Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to abandon Labour’s policy of spending £28bn a year on a Green New Deal is shameful.  However the shame applies not to Sir Keir  or the Labour party – for them it is almost certainly prudent.

 The shame applies to the quality of Britain’s public debate, in which the Conservative-leaning print media can be relied upon to sully decent policy emanating from an opposition party and the public broadcasters are cowed into soft-pedalling any enthusiasm for  non-Conservative proposals for fear of  further attacks on their funding.

Given such dominance and subservience the Tories have succeed in demonising “sensitivity to racial and social discrimination”* as “woke”, protection of consumers, including children, as “the nanny state,” defenders of vulnerable people as “lefty lawyers” and enforcers of international law as “enemies of the people.”

Over a very long period our media have somehow managed to convince most of our electorate that Conservative governments are pillars of financial rectitude, whereas Labour governments are recklessly profligate.

The reverse is nearer the truth.

 It was the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher which squandered the revenues from North Sea Oil on current expenditure rather than set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund.  That same government introduced the financial deregulation which eventually led to the crash in 2008.  It was under John Major’s government that we were ignominiously ejected from the ERM, the Johnson Conservatives presided over the VIP line for the procurement racket during the COVID pandemic, and Liz Truss’s shortest government on record sent interest rates rocketing and shook what remained of Britain’s reputation for financial stability.

By contrast Attlee’s post-war Labour government built up our welfare state, including the NHS “free at the point of use,” introduced family allowances, and brought the public utilities  under public ownership despite that fact that the debt/GDP ratio when they took office in 1945 was well over 200% - more than double what it is today.  Under Tony Blair’s government that ratio was brought down to 40%, substantially below the accepted norm of 60%.  And it was Gordon Brown’s leadership that saved the world’s financial system after the 2008 crash.

So the historical record shows that the Labour party is perfectly capable of introducing its highly necessary, ambitious and relevant Green New Deal, the like of which we need both to restore our economic prosperity and avoid further trashing our planet, and financing it prudently

Rather than debate this and other issues in a reasoned, informed and constructive way,  it is clear that our election will be fought on sound-bites and slogans. 

Labour will be accused of being split, with the Leader not in harmony with the Shadow Chancellor.  True they are, but at least on two “rights”: financial stability v sustainable green growth.  

 By contrast the Tories squabble over wrongs: whether to bribe the electorate by  unaffordable tax cuts, further neglect of the public realm, and further opportunities to feather their own nest.

Among the  questions we should be asking the parties are:

·       What proposals have you to make the UK fairer;

·       How will you improve our public services;

·       Will you repair our democracy;

·       Will you play a constructive and law-abiding role in international affairs;

·       What proposals have you to stimulate the economy for sustainable economic growth?

A responsible media would help us understand the answers.

 That is the definition given in a clue in this-morning’s Guardian Quick   Crossword 16 773

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Tories fret about a nanny state – but with decay all around, voters want politicians who step in | Rafael Behr

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The prime minister’s anti-smoking crusade is panicking his party, even as it meets with enthusiasm among the public

Nicotine is a brilliantly malevolent molecule. It stimulates reward receptors in the brain that light up with satisfaction at a job well done. The addict registers its absence as an agony of incompletion. The next dose bathes the aching brain in a glow of bogus accomplishment. This makes tobacco great business. The customer can’t stop coming back for the product.

As an ex-smoker, I can testify that many of those purchases feel rational. Cravings are unpleasant. Making them go away by the most efficient means available seems like an obvious, necessary course of action. While that choice has been made without external compulsion, it is conditioned by addiction, which promotes short-term, impulsive behaviour and mutes the cognitive processes required for more analytical judgment.

Rafael Behr is a Guardian columnist

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PaulPritchard
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