Punch Up (Or: Why It Doesn't Fucking Matter What You Meant.)

It's really not that difficult a concept.  Some things shouldn't be joked about.  It isn't because I'm One Of Those Feminists with no sense of humor, it's because joking about things normalizes them.  And honestly, that's dangerous.

So let's try to dumb it down a little.

Don't make fun of people who can be hurt by it.

Now I'm not talking about 45 getting his feelings hurt about a television comedian making rude comments about his mouth's relationship with Putin's hairy manhood.  He'll make poop-tweets about how he's being treated unfairly, and try to violate the First Amendment by censoring said comedian, but at the end of the day, he's still shitting on a golden throne that shoots warm water up his oddly pale arse so he doesn't have to worry about cleaning himself.  On his private jet.  Which he's taking to his golf resort.  On the taxpayers' dime.

Make fun of the politicians.  Make fun of the 1%.  Make fun of the people who have socialized university educations, or the people who have socialized healthcare and a goddamn dreamboat Prime Minister.  Make fun of the white people.  Make fun of your boss.  Make fun of the people who, at the end of the day, don't actually give a shit.  Their life won't be impacted, they're safe in their situations.  They'll still have their education, and healthcare, and dreamboat politicians.  They have more power, you can't actually hurt them.

(Sidebar:  That's what privilege is.  It doesn't mean you have it easy.  It doesn't mean you didn't work for stuff.  It means that society has given you power that can't be taken away.  It's your whiteness; your maleness; your straightness; your rockstar healthcare; your amazing fucking Prime Minister.  Yes, I have a crush on Justin Trudeau.  Fight me.)

Now here's the hard part:  Don't make fun of the people who CAN be hurt by it.

Again, I'm not talking about whitegirl college students who don't understand why their hair-mats (that they think are "dreadlocks" but really aren't) are cultural appropriation.  I'm not talking about dudes who cry when feminists call them out on their shitty behavior.

I'm talking about the people who can -actually- be hurt.  I'm talking about perpetuating stereotypes.  I'm talking about hate crimes.  I'm talking about people who are literally afraid every single day.  I'm talking about the fear that People of Color feel when they encounter a cop.  I'm talking about the women who clutch their keys between their knuckles as they walk from their car to their door, because they're afraid of getting assaulted.  I'm talking about the LGBTQIA+ community, who are CONSTANT victims of hate-crimes and being murdered just because they don't look...SOMETHING...enough.

I don't hate Jeff Dunham because he isn't funny.  (Though that's sure part of it.)  I hate him because he's a shitbag racist who makes money perpetuating racist bullshit at people who feel totally comfortable laughing at racism because they're secure enough in their privilege to never have to worry about it.

When I say "Punch Up," I mean "Make fun of the people who have the power."

That doesn't mean you can't enjoy some self-deprecating or off-color humor in the right company.  In this case, "the right company" means people you ABSOLUTELY KNOW WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY know that that behavior is not. okay.  Like...if a gay man wants to call himself the F-Word, he can do that.  If he's hanging out with a bunch of really close friends who he's told can use that word to refer to him, then they can do that.  That DOES NOT mean they can call anyone else that word.  It DOES NOT mean that he can call anyone he wants that word.  It means that if they all have a clear understanding that this is acceptable among themselves, then that's where it's acceptable.

Included in this concept is "Punching Across."  Which means that, for example, two black people can call themselves the N-Word.  That's something that's generally understood, but some white people REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND why "if they can use it, why can't I?"

The answer to that is:  Because in this situation, you have the power.  In our society, white people have more power than black people.  If you use that word, it's "Punching Down."  You're bringing a gun to a knife fight--You have an unfair advantage.  If you bring a gun to a knife-fight and use it, you're an asshole.  If you bring a gun to a gun-fight, that's fair.  If you bring a knife to a gun-fight, you're challenging the status-quo-loving Power with whatever you have.  And that's badass.

(Keep in mind that this is all strictly metaphorical.  Please don't get into gunfights or fights of any sort.)

In order to understand this, you have to accept that making fun of shit that legit impacts people in a negative way (racist stereotypes, rape, domestic violence, drug addiction, etc.) you are normalizing these harmful behaviors, and whether you believe it or not, you are ENCOURAGING the people who do the harm.  And in that way, yes.  You are doing harm.

So it doesn't fucking matter what you meant.  It isn't just a joke.  You're being an asshole and trying to make it okay to be an asshole.

So...don't be an asshole, man.  Punch up, okay?

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