Monday, March 29, 2010

The worst, most appalling attempt at a joke EVER

A local anchor on WMUR in New Hampshire said this on a recent newscast: “A Democratic State Representative from Manchester is under fire for posting a comment on Facebook that could be deemed as insensitive towards the Japanese heritage.”

Rep. Nick Levasseur posted: "Anime is a prime example of why two nukes just wasn't enough," on Facebook.”

Uh, COULD be deemed as insensitive? You mean if looked at in just the right light saying more people should have been nuked because of a cartoon art form is inappropriate? HOLY SHIT!!

I’m going to go waaaaay out on a limb here and say yes, that was an incredibly asinine hateful and even insensitive remark. And even though I’m a Democrat, if all you Republicans want to pile on this blithering idiot be my guest.

Levasseur claims he said it in jest and posted it only to his private Facebook friends. Well, first of all, a brief lesson in comedy: The letter K: funny. Mass extermination of foreign cultures: not funny. If you cannot distinguish between these two examples never try to get a laugh again.

And by the way, what’s wrong with Anime? I like Anime. What did Pokemon ever do to you?

The other point, and this goes for everyone out there – when you post something on Facebook or Twitter, even if it’s to your private collection of friends, you are BROADCASTING IT TO THE WHOLE WORLD!! Be smart. Do not say something even Mel Gibson would find offensive. Do not rip your boss, your company, or your fellow employees. Do not upload photos of any body parts Xeroxed the night of the Christmas party. It gets back to management. Every time.

Another example is Chicago White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen’s son Oney. He had to resign from working in the team’s video department for Tweets such as: "I hope the dorks aren't running the organization or else were fucked. 3 geeks who never played baseball a day in there [sic] life telling experts what to do." The dorks took issue.

Oney (who names their kid Oney?) isn’t the first huckleberry to lose his job because of tweets and status updates that are too candid. And it goes beyond that. I know an unfortunate guy who lost his job because a fellow employee tore someone at work a new asshole and he merely clicked “I like this”.

You never know who’s out there.

And while I’m on the subject of Facebook, is this horrible etiquette? I get twenty requests a day to join clubs, attend events, sign up for causes, or become a “fan” of someone. I click no to practically all of them. Why would I want to become a fan of some radio station in New Mexico I’ve never heard of? Why would I want to join a club that collects Denny’s menus? Who thinks I’d fly to Cleveland to attend Andrew Dice Clay’s one night performance at the Laff Loft (knowing full well he’ll do the anime nuke joke)? I certainly don’t mean to offend my “friends” who are kind enough to send me these invitations but I don’t have the time and I don’t care. Fergie has enough fans. I don’t save toilet paper rolls.

As for Twitter, just like there’s a limit on the number of words you can use for a single tweet, there should be a limit on the number of times you can tweet during any 24-hour period. No one is interesting enough to hear from fifty times a day. Even celebrities. Especially celebrities. When you sign up for my Twitter account (and please do!!) I promise never to tell you when I got up, what I had for breakfast, or what mood I’m in. Okay, I will report when I take my Pred Forte eye drops but that’s something you want to know.

36 comments:

Mary Stella said...

And while I’m on the subject of Facebook, is this horrible etiquette? I get twenty requests a day to join clubs, attend events, sign up for causes, or become a “fan” of someone.

Does this mean you won't loan me a cow for Farmville?

Kidding.

If you're breaching etiquette than we both need a modern day Facebook version of Emily Post.

Alan Coil said...

In the 2008-9 (I think) NFL season, the Cleveland Browns were on Monday Night Football. I was invited to spend the evening with friends at a bar to watch the games. There was little conversation during the game because 4 of the guys were tweeting each other during the game and had no time to chat with those of us who cannot afford such toys.

Simple conversation is dying because of Twitter and Facebook.

Rebecca said...

Okay, I did follow you on Twitter, but I don't know for how long. I'd actually prefer you tweet both more and less. More different stuff than just your new blog posts, and less duplicates. Basically, your twitter feed currently seems to be almost completely made up of notifying your followers of every new blog post twice, and there's not much reason for me to see that because I get them in my feed reader. Any new content, posted once, I'd be more than happy to read.

Mike Bell said...

So does that mean you won't become a fan of my new FB page "One million people that agree with me that Ken Levine is a comedy god?"

Dave Creek said...

My wife and I were at a David Gray concert last week where the three women in front of us were taking pictures with their iPhones and texting on them the entire show. The light from their phones was in our eyes most of the show, and whenever a favorite song was played, they shouted at one another about how great the song was.

Why would anyone pay so much money for tickets and not bother to really "be" at the show? And not have any clue about how they were annoying to others?

So we put up with the visual/audible distractions until I finally asked them to stop. Then suddenly I was the asshole. It felt good.

samuel.x.killer said...

ironically, a lot of anime is influenced directly by the atomic bombs. as a major new form of media in japan post-world war 2, early shows like "atom boy" leave little ambiguity regarding the culture's traumatic fascination with the horrible power which wrecked their national psyche. for an american politician to make light of such a tragedy with the subject of a medium which has helped serve as a collective catharsis, is embarrassing. hopefully osama is somewhere tweeting jersey shore is a prime example why 9/11 wasn't enough

on a lighter note, re: your etiquette question: you can ignore whatever you want online so don't feel bad about ignoring things. either your facebook friends are a) inviting all of their friends, including you or b) they think you'd be interested and they're wrong. personally i accept/fan a number of things that i have no plan on ever attending/checking out merely to support my friends and it never bothers me again. unless of course i ignored it the first time around and end up being invited again

Rob said...
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Rob said...

Eh, I thought it was funny. But then I didn't write for Cheers so I'm not exactly the expert here.

It was a profoundly stupid and inappropriate thing for an office holder to say, of course, in any forum, "private" or public. Politicians should leave edgy comedy to the professionals. This isn't just for reasons of caution and self-preservation. Comedians can and should offend when necessary, but politicians should represent their constituents, not insult them.

D. McEwan said...

It certainly was an appalling joke. Just look at it: "two nukes just wasn't enough". He's used a singular verb with a plural subject! It should be "two nukes just weren't enough." And he's a congressman! His grammar should be nuked!

In 1969 my career-Marine Corps cousin was visiting us while on leave from the Phillipines. Over dinner he very seriously stated that we should nuke Hanoi. I got up and left the table, telling my parents I just couldn't eat with someone seriously proposing genocide over dinner. I haven't spoken to that cousin in 40 years. HAven't missed him, either.

blogward said...
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The Milner Coupe said...

I'm with Rob.

Frank!!! said...

I don't know... I'm Japanese American and I'm not as offended as you think I should be.

Basically, it's so outrageous and ridiculous that it's not offensive. It's a little funny to me, because I acknowledge that anime, or mostly the fans of it, are kind of annoying. I don't think I can make a judgement of this guy based on this, besides the fact that he doesn't like anime (and he's probably not very PC).

To be clear, the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were horrible and shouldn't happen again (and it seems that the world outside of N. Korea has come to that conclusion), but I really don't see this as "the worst, most appalling attempt at a joke EVER"

Anonymous said...

In World War II Japan was a fascist state close to the Nazis, invading Countries and killing the people in it with no mercy. In addition more than 100 thousand american soldiers died, fighting in the Pacific against Japan - and countless soldiers from other countries. Japans aggressive role shouldn't be forgotten, when talking about the atomic bombs - plus they ended WWII.
Still the "joke" is tasteless.

Anonymous said...

Never before in the history of the world have so many communicated so often about so little.

I see the youth of America yakking away on their Star Trek headphones, texting, tweeting, blogging, LOL'ing and yet we, the country that originated all of these technologies, are becoming illiterate in science and math (and destroying grammar thanks to the abbreviated syntax of texting and tweeting)

The Japanese have nothing to fear, in 20 more years we won't have anybody left technically proficient enough to build a battery much less a bomb.

Pat Reeder said...

The joke is pretty tasteless, but it doesn't offend me. Then again, I have a very high threshold for getting offended. Sounds like something Sarah Silverman would say. Or like Lenny Bruce's way of dealing with having to perform on the night JFK was assassinated. He reportedly walked out on stage, just stood there for a long moment, then said, "Damn...Poor Vaughn Meader."

On the subject of Facebook, I recently joined only because I had to in order to set up a site for my wife. But I avoid logging on like I avoid herpes, sunlight and telephone calls. I try to be polite and at least check out things that people invite me to, but the ones that really annoy me are when people suggest I become a fan of some particularly rabid political site. For some reason, they automatically assume that if I work in a similar field to them, I must share their crazy political beliefs, usually extremely leftwing, but on rare occasions, equally far right. I am neither (I usually say I'd be a Libertarian if they didn't take it too far and think it was fascist to make people take an eye test before they could drive a car). I just want to tell them, "If you have strong political beliefs either way, then God love ya, but please don't assume I am 100% sympatico with your wacked-out views. I read news for over 12 hours a day for my job. So I actually know the facts about the things you're going off half-cocked about."

sephim said...

Perhaps instead of 'anime', he should have said 'shotacon'?

RolloSuplex said...

"I see the youth of America yakking away on their Star Trek headphones..."
What the hell? I've always considered myself somewhat tech savvy, but I've never heard of such a thing.
Seriously, where can I get some Star Trek headphones?

iain said...

but...but...The 1st Ammendment gives everyone the right to say or write or post anything they want to without any accountability or possible repercussions!

At least, that's the argument I've heard/read an alarming number of times.

Mr. Coil, in your friends' defense, tweeting was likely far more entertaining than ANYTHING the Browns were doing, & I say that as a season ticket holder.

Anonymous said...

Ken: I took a class in college dedicated to anime and I found out that anime essentially exists BECAUSE of the two bombs that were launched on Japan. The Japanese psyche was horribly afflicted by it, so they channeled it into cartoons, of which a whole subgenre exist. I refer here to the more repressed psycho-social ones that are quite icky. So I know it was supposed to be a joke, but I wonder what the congressman would say to that. Not that I care.

Roger Owen Green said...

A lesson should be that Facebook isn't private, even with a "private" sertting.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I usually see the phrase, "I don't believe in censorship, but..." before a post like this, Ken. I didn't find it THAT offensive because I don't think he was trying to make light of the bombings as much as he was showing his distaste for anime. Besides, the dropping of the two nukes was completely justified as a way to end the war without risking the lives of as many as a million US soldiers.
That said, no politician should crack a joke these days. Someone, somewhere will take offense.

Dave Williams said...

I haven't read all the previous comments so I apologize if I'm repeating what must be a popular take.

I'm a conservative but this ain't about politics or political correctness. This is about what has become of the radio culture in an industry struggling vainly to survive. After poop jokes and sex jokes became blase there's nothing shocking left except hateful idiocy passing for humor.

Anonymous said...

http://twitter.com/kirstiealley

Ian said...

me thx thou dst protst 2 mch.

Tony said...

It was funny, but not LOL funny.

growler said...

Roger Ebert tweets probably MORE than 50 times a day. And though he gets too political too often, he also comes across fine links to things I read and enjoy that I might never have otherwise encountered. So, he's one of the few verbose tweeters I can stand.

David O'Hara said...

For the people who still think we should have not used the A bombs on Japan, they should consider the Japanese soldier's propensity to die rather than surrender. On many of the islands we fought for, 99% of the Japanese soldiers chose death over surrender. The Japanese where prepared to lose roughly another million (their figures) in defense of the home island. We figured we might lose another 100,000 Americans invading Japan.

The two cities bombed loss roughly 80,000 to 90,000 dead.

The A bombs were by far the lesser of two evils in a war we did not start.

te said...

who names their kid Oney?

Maybe his parents were Johnny Cash fans?

Anonymous said...

if only hitler had a little more time...

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Or like Lenny Bruce's way of dealing with having to perform on the night JFK was assassinated. He reportedly walked out on stage, just stood there for a long moment, then said, "Damn...Poor Vaughn Meader."

ROFLMAO!!!!1!!!!111!!!

WV: goutta - (activate loud groans) The cheese of choice for people with gout.

Sebastian said...

Yeah Ken but have a actually started to POST to your Twitter account?

Last time I checked you only did a comment every other day and the rest was a mere hint at your blog when a new post was published.

I followed you for a while but stopped because I already subscribe to your RSS-Feed and I don't need notification twice for the same post.

Either add something to my Ken Levine experience or... well... to be honest if there's nothing else on the Twitter Feed why do you have one at all? Others post offensive material and go berserk like Kevin Smith but at least it's new.

And that's simply what I got told by half a dozen people when I tried to refer them to your Twitter feed last time. I subsequently quit reading Twitter altogether because it sucks up too much of my precious time which I need for leaving comments on blogs ;-)

gih said...

Wew. I love pokemon. I missed the episodes because we have no cable anymore. ;-(

Charles H. Bryan said...

I've always found anime a little creepy. Those giant eyes, those giant baby eyes . . . brrrrr.

I, too, must confess that I followed and then 'unfollowed' (Oh, English, you slut of a language!) you when I realized that your tweets were blog updates and I already get those through an RSS feed. (But I'll sign up again. What the hell -- it's free.)

I won't ask that you tweet any other content. I'd love it, but I'm not the greedy sort. I feel lucky I get to read this blog. You're one of only two I check on a daily basis (Mark Evanier being the other.)

wv- kirkse -- I think it's who you talk to about getting those Star Trek headphones. Or a good price on a hotel room.

Kate said...

Per Growler, I too thought of Ebert and his constant tweeting. But for God's sake -- the man has no lower jaw and hasn't been able to speak, eat or drink in several years. As far as I'm concerned, he can tweet all he wants.

(Although I wonder if this software that duplicates his voice will eventually help him cut back...)

Buttermilk Sky said...

"The worst ever"? Not even close. Just a state legislator whose brain went off-line for thirty seconds. How about a president who joked about bombing the Soviet Union? A vice presidential candidate who posts the faces of Democrats on her FB page as targets, and tells her army of morons to "reload"? You're the professional, Ken -- hilarious, or what?

David K. M. Klaus said...

I noted back in the mid-'80s that (and I inferred it's because they're the only country to ever actually have been atom bombed) the Japanese video I've seen has an unusual affinity for the apocalyptic. That hasn't changed, and it's an affinity slowly spreading into occidental media (look at any season ending episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Doctor Who).

Was the "joke" funny or appropriate? Not for a second. It was vile, racist, and just plain inhuman.

Remember, folks, anything you write on the web can be read by anybody in the world who has a computer, a browser, and an Internet connection.