Tuesday, April 08, 2014

It's COMEDY people!

Last Sunday’s entry was a re-post. At the time I originally posted it I also was contributing pieces to the HuffingtonPost. (I stopped when they sold the site for $340 million and still refused to pay writers.) But I posted my porn article there as well.

The article is clearly a satire. Maintaining that it is more degrading to ask porn stars to get laughs than perform all forms of depravity seemed like a funny twist. It also seemed so utterly absurd that it would be easily recognized as satire. I mean, who with a straight face maintains it’s okay for a woman to have sex with an animal but not be asked to deliver jokes? At the very least I thought some people might not find it that funny. But at least they’d know that I was spoofing.

Uh… wrong.

The HuffPost piece resulted in a flood of comments from people defending the practices of the porn industry. Here were some of the comments:

They're not asking the porn stars to do "degrading acts" with five guys, they're paying them to do so.

Without condemning the individuals taking part in scenes of this sort, I'd love for someone to explain to me why trying to inject humor into porn is more objectionable.

So what you are saying is that Beastiality and Bondage scenes are okay but not cleaner porn that mimics popular sitcoms? Ummmm, okay. Whatever turn you on.

What is the point of this article?

Well Ken, if no one bought it, they couldn’t sell it. Apparently, some people find it inoffensive and they are buying it in sufficient quantity to make it profitable.

Unless these newbies are being held against their will or some such thing, they have made a choice to do this.

"Don't let this situation get so out of hand that Congress has to step in..." There are those who would try to do the same thing to you, for what you write.


Sadly, with very few exceptions, people don't give a damn about exploited or even enslaved women and children. They care more about the power kick they get from watching the weakest of us hurt and degraded.

Usually, I don’t comment but in this case I felt compelled to respond. Here’s what I wrote:

I find it astounding and hilarious that so many of these commenters took my article seriously. I guess I give people too much credit for being able to spot obvious satire. Maybe I should add a warning. "Not for the literal minded with no sense of humor!" Really. People took this seriously? That's the biggest laugh of all.

Now you’d think that would end it. Uh… wrong again. More comments followed.

If people were truly concerned about the exploitation of women, they should focus on the jobs in mainstream society.

It is quite unreasonable to support a system that makes women into second class citizens and then claim that all pornography is exploitation.

I've noticed that people who say porn is not degrading, tend to be horrified at the thought of their own daughter/mother/sister doing it...."Great!...but not in MY back yard!" If you're fine with your own kid doing it, great!

Well welcome to America, the land of the free, if these pornstars want to express themselves in more creative work, and there is a market for that genre, then i say Go Forward!...afterall they are all over the age of consent and are not breaking any laws, so my motto is...live and let live!

First of all, why is having sex with five guys 'degrading'? Sounds very self-righteous to me.

These are funnier than anything I could write. And horrifying. In fairness, most of my blog readers totally got it.  (Some of your suggested TV porn titles were hilarious!)

But this is a constant reminder to funny people that no matter what you write or say, there will be those who don’t get it. There are those who take everything literally. No matter how absurd.

Another example: A few years ago I was broadcasting a Seattle Mariners game from Detroit. The longtime voice of the M’s, Dave Niehaus, had recently passed away and I commented that the Mariner players all wore patches on their sleeves that saluted Dave. I then said, the Tigers are also paying tribute, which is really remarkable considering Dave Niehaus never broadcast in Michigan. I told the listeners that if they ever see a Tiger home game they’ll notice a big ornate “D” on the front of their uniforms. That’s for Dave.

That night on Mariner blogs angry fans were posting, “Ken Levine is an idiot. That D stands for Detroit.”

Yeah… I’m the idiot.

The point is, always remember when doing satire or putting someone on that there will always always always be people who won’t get it. They don’t know that THE DAILY SHOW and THE COLBERT REPORT are comedies. Someone once said to me that they didn’t like Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog because he was rude to the people he was interviewing. Phil Hendrie has been putting people on on his radio show for over ten years. Every “guest” on his show is really him doing a voice arguing a ridiculous incendiary position. Irate listeners continue to call and argue with his “guests.” Ten years he’s been doing this. You’d think in ten years people would get it. But nope.

So this is another reason I no longer contribute to the HuffingtonPost. Call me crazy, but I still believe it’s possible to write satiric pieces without having to end every sentence with a ☺. And for the record, I don’t care that they’re being paid, porn actresses should not be forced to get laughs.


Bg Porter said...

Ken -- did you see this recent prank on the NPR website that shows that people post comments without even reading the article?


At the end of it:
Congratulations, genuine readers, and happy April Fools’ Day!

We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this “story.”

The comments are exactly what you'd expect.

Pat Reeder said...

I think it's horribly degrading to expect the professional porn actresses on "Two Broke Girls" to have to perform that filthy, third-rate comedy material. Just let them have kinky sex on camera and keep their dignity.

solarity said...

Colbert and Stewart aren't comedy shows. They are lefty political commentary shows dressed up as comedy so they don't have to defend anything they say. As in "What, you took my 10 minute schtick promoting the dangers of global warming seriously?!? For gods sake man don't you know, it's a freakin' comedy!"

Howard Hoffman said...

Solidarity...sounds like the Fox News business model to a T.

Ken - check out Patton Oswalt's latest Comedy Central standup special. His piece on the German sense of humor is right in line with what you're talking about here.

mmryan314 said...

Ken- I remember during the Presidential election that people were reposting articles that were derogatory toward Obama taken from The Onion that they used to prove their point(s). Facebook was full of them and always made me laugh. You are correct- some people have no sense of humor and the intelligence of five year olds when it comes to humor. I call them ‘ Concrete’ thinkers.

Tim W. said...

I'm often amazed I read or post comments that I would think it would impossible not to take as joke that people don't get. Sometimes even after it's explained to them.

Of course, considering that one third of Americans don't believe in evolution, I'm guessing it's not just a lack of sense of humour that is the problem.

Barbara said...

I don't know. I've seen a lot of crap sitcoms that I think it would be far more degrading to appear in than porn.

tim said...

Boy, you said it! On New Year's Day a while back, I posted on a local thread of a radio message board. I said something like we should all stipulate that the suits are stupid, AM is dead and you need to play burnout oldies to keep listeners. With that out of the way, we could move on to interesting topics. The response from those who accused me of trying to shut down dialogue and from those who wanted to dispute my stipulations was overwhelming. It slowed but did not cease after I pointed out that I was attempting satire.

Charlie said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ken. You're brilliant and operate on a higher intellectual plane and understand satire in a way that the rest of us poor schlubs never will. We bow to your superiority.

Now this porn you keep talking about with women doing it with animals--you got links to some of that?

I'm not a perv. I'm doing a report for school on, like, how women are exploited and shit. It's for research and stuff. So, you got links? Or anybody?

Dave in NYC said...

Ken - This phenomenon has been around since at least the days of Jonathan Swift--call it the "A Modest Proposal" factor. Some people just simply do not get ironic humor, and never will.

My favorite contemporary example--all the people (e.g. Sarah Palin and her ilk) who can't perceive a satirical headline from The Onion, and then go around repeating it online as if it were an actual news item from a credible news source, say Fox News. "Obama Demands Mandatory Socialist Collectivism For All In Brave New 5-Year Plan" or something like that. And the people in Limbaugh-land are ablaze for days on end.

Also, my mother, who is a much sharper tack than Palin, nevertheless watched the movie Spinal Tap and her only comment was, "I don't get it". She didn't see how it wasn't just simply a documentary about a real band. And in truth, she kind of had a point.

Darryl said...

Actually, I like the comments here, because there's a certain predictability to them. Today, for example, we mostly have comments from people rushing to assure you that they totally got what you were were doing, even if the rest of these nimrods didn't.

solarity said...

>>Actually, I like the comments here, because there's a certain predictability to them. Today, for example, we mostly have comments from people rushing to assure you that they totally got what you were were doing, even if the rest of these nimrods didn't.<<

Yes, and isn't it remarkable how all the examples cited of the "most stupid" are politically on the right? Thank god we have MSNBC to give us the news straight.

norm said...

Sarcasim ------Soarity.......I know it when I read it.

Anonymous said...

So, Ken, making your readers feel like fools is perfectly reasonable thing to do so long as you make your point.

At least we know where stand now.

Dave in NYC said...

At least we know where stand now.

Me agree. Us stand right here. Head-um off intruders at pass.

Tim W. said...

To Anonymous...

Ken is not making some of his readers feel like fools. They are doing that by themselves. By being fools.

Dana said...

We know, Tim. We read youf previous comment.

DBA said...

Ken, your mistake in thinking that commenting on the huffpo article and explicitly telling people it was satire would end it was in assuming that people read the comments before commenting themselves. Plus there's the people Bg Porter mentioned who comment after reading the headline only and none of the article.

Jenn said...

Okay, alternate argument. Maybe people haven't picked up on it as satire because it wasn't funny.

jbryant said...

National Lampoon or somebody used to print parodies of top magazines such as Newsweek. They'd look like the real thing, but all the stories were satirical. I once had a coworker who read on of these cover to cover without cracking a smile. When I asked her about it afterward and told her it was supposed to be funny, she said, "You know, I knew something was off about it."

Charles H. Bryan said...

I have to admit that I don't always read the comments here before posting. Sometimes I care whether I'm repeating someone else's point; sometimes I feel that that's okay, sort of like casting a vote.

The real good news here is that Our Ken escaped HuffPo before it turned into the digital tabloid hellhole that it is today.

PNW Corey said...

Travel tip:
How to get to Hawaii more....

Write and direct Comedy-Porn.

Johnny Walker said...

I saw the article as a funny way of saying that porn's attempt at comedy (as evidenced by the "Cheers" porno set photo) is generally so poor that ANYTHING would be less embarrassing than acting in one.

I guess I missed the point?

Mike said...

@Ellen: Tell me your question was genuine. (I did check the date wasn't April 1st.)
Did you notice your three replies were from the UK? Either gentlemen or suckers (or both).

thirteen said...

I'd been reading HuffPo for several years when, seemingly all of a sudden, the rational people disappeared from the comments sections, leaving them in the gnarled hands of a rabble of postnuclear mutants whose understanding of English came from the charred remnants of books they found buried in the rubble of the Stone Places. As they say over there, "Me no bother no more ever."

spmsmith said...

I encountered what I thought was a screamingly funny example of the AMP phenomenon on a local satirical website - it posted an article about how a local show was going to leave the province where it was shot for other pastures. (You can find it at http://nlpost.ca/republic-of-doyle-kicked-out-of-st-johns/ if anyone's interested.)

The indignation and fury with which some people posted against this "travesty" found me holding my sides with tears running down my face and howling so loud the boyfriend had to check me out to make sure I was okay. But honestly, what can you do but laugh when some people just don't get it?

I could understand it if it was some particularly sensitive topic or "-ism" - most of us have at least one trigger point that, once hit, causes us to lose our cool and miss any intended humour for whatever it was that got our goat. But this was just so obvious, and so innocuous, and the posts were so serious - I just lost it. It was the best laugh I'd had in months.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere along the way didn't anybody tell you "know your audience". Huffington post? Really? Lorne Michaels was quoted as saying “Republicans are easier for us than Democrats,” “Democrats tend to take it personally; Republicans think it’s funny,”

Jeffro said...

This is why I only get my news from The Onion. They're the only ones who aren't trying to peddle BS as the truth.