Photo by Mark Edwards (http://residualtraces.com/blog/13497388/a
I can't even express to you how completely demoralizing it is to see all these fucking rape apologists talking about Tosh. Big surprise: The vaaaast majority of people doing this are white dudes, aka: the safest people in the world.
My favourite response from any male comic so far has been this from (non-white dude) W. Kamau Bell:
"For the record I'm anti-heckling & anti-rape but I'm waaaaaay more anti-rape than I am anti-heckling. #IfIHaveToChoose #ApparentlyIDo #Weird"
To cheer myself up about the plummeting respect I'm feeling for so many people right now, I wanted to shine a light on something AMAZING Jairus did this spring, in response to our culture of casual misogyny.
Jairus makes industrial music, and DJs industrial music, and talks about industrial music a lot. One thing he has been saying for years is that he's really demoralized by how racist and misogynist mainstream industrial music is getting. His criticism was often about two bands in particular, CombiChrist and Nachtmar. (You'll see examples of why, below.)
Last winter, Jairus was booked to play a huge multi-day festival in Montreal called Kinetik. Two months before the festival itself, the schedule came out ... and Jairus found out he was opening for the same two bands he's been so critical of. At first he was going to just cancel, but then he thought "What would Jello Biafara do?" and instead decided that during his last set, he was going to project this video (that he spent a month putting together) on the huge screen behind him while he played, calling out the bands he was opening for and asking the audience to think and talk about the culture those bands are perpetuating:
(Trigger warning: While I think this video is REALLY IMPORTANT, it also contains examples of the racism and misogyny that Jairus is trying to start a conversation about. So feel no pressure to watch it if you're not up for seeing those sorts of images).
The response was AMAZING. The audience cheered through the whole video, and for a couple of minutes after Jairus left the stage. Several women at the festival immediately began tweeting and Facebooking about how much this meant to him, and for the rest of the festival people were talking about what he had done, and what it meant. It was so incredible to see.
There was of course a TON of backlash. Jairus got accused of trying to sell records (Jairus gives away all of his music for free online and his CD's are pay-what-you-want), insulted a bunch, and told that it was not the "appropriate place" to do what he did. Which, like, whatever. Is it rude to call out misogyny and racism? I guess some people think so. I think it's more rude to be misogynist and racist. What better place to try to communicate your concerns about the impact of two lousy bands than to the thousand people who are in the audience for those bands?
Jairus said something to me, a week into the flurry of conversation about it (last time we checked there were 15K views of the video and over 1100 shares of it on Facebook). It was "One thing that really proves me point about the misogyny in our scene is that in all of the hate mail I've gotten about this, no one has ever threatened to rape me."
That's just it, hey?
So fuck off forever, Daniel Tosh.
And big big love to Jairus, and to all the people who stand up against gender terrorism.
(If you want to read more about why Jairus did what he did, AND get the reaction from the bands themselves, there is a great piece here, on music blog I Die: You Die. I really recommend checking it out.)