Comedy & The War On Free Speech

Ijeoma Oluo
Sep 12, 2015 · 3 min read

From Amy Schumer to Jerry Seinfeld to Nicole Arbour — comics want you to know that there is a war going on, a war on free speech.

No, the US government isn’t rounding up dissenters and shipping them off to labor camps, no we are not in a time of McCarthyism — we’re in an even worse time:

A time of Twitter.

Did you know that if a comedian makes a joke that, for example, insinuates that Hispanic men are rapists, people will complain?

What the fuck is up with that?

Did you know that if you are still telling the same tired jokes you were telling 20 years ago with no regard to the changing social and political climate that you probably won’t get tons of laughs on college campuses?

Somebody get these kids a copy of the constitution!

Did you know that if you make a 10 billion hour long video mocking fat people & saying they smell like sausage, not only will people not believe you when you say you are “just trying to help” but some people might actually call you a jerk?

Right now a bald eagle is soaking an American flag with its tears.

There is nothing more American than the ability to say whatever you want — no matter how vile and hate-filled, no matter the social consequences, no matter how steeped in the blood of people of color, trans people, or rape victims those jokes are — without having to face any criticism.

See jokes are just words — they don’t mean anything, so getting upset about a joke is wrong.

Also, jokes are powerful and sacred, and the people who tell the jokes are the powerful brave messengers of truth. The bravest comedians of all time required absolute awe and devotion in order to tell their jokes. The lack of criticism and all the polite clapping is what made them so very brave. So get very upset about when people are upset about jokes.

The words in jokes are just words, but the words that criticize jokes are basically murder.

Did you know that if enough people say, “hey, I don’t like that joke and I think you’re an asshole” that your mouth will seal shut from the violence of it all and you will lose the ability to tell shitty hurtful jokes ever again?

If you love America, if you love the 1st Amendment, you will stand up and fight these “criticizers of comedy” these “terrors of twitter” who violate your freedom of speech by using their freedom of speech to call you an asshole.

If you don’t like a joke - if it mocks your violent rape, if it contributes to harmful stereotypes that say that people who look like you are criminals, if it degrades women, if it continues to normalize abuse against fat people, if it attempts to cash in on the oppression and pain that the comedian will never face — it’s best to just ignore it.

It’s best to ignore it when people tell those same jokes while they are kicking you in the street. It’s best to ignore it when the same cops who dismissed your police report are laughing at that rape joke. It’s best to ignore jokes assuming you are lazy and smell like processed meats when you are turned down for a job or given substandard healthcare based on those same assumptions. It’s best to ignore it when trans youth are killing themselves after being subjected to those same hateful “jokes” by their classmates for years.

Just ignore it; don’t say anything. The saying of things is for comedians, not for plebes like you. If you say something then you will be silencing their words with your words. If you say something the terrorists have won.

And don’t you DARE think of making a hashtag. What type of monster are you?

But also keep giving them your money. If you stop watching their tv shows, stop going to see them in comedy clubs, or unsubscribe from their YouTube channel, you also hate freedom and Jerry Seinfeld will cry.

Do you want to make Jerry Seinfeld cry? There’s nothing more unAmerican than that.

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