"If it’s serious enough to joke about, then it’s serious."
September 7, 2017 9:41 PM   Subscribe

Emma Healy asks if there is Truth in Jest? -"Louis C.K. would rather ignore those assault rumours, but at this point, he can’t just let his art do the talking."

Depending on how you want to look at all this, it’s not much, or it’s not nothing. As it stands, there is no way for anyone except C.K. and the people who made these allegations in the first place to know what’s going on. If you are inclined to believe the rumours, then the lack of concrete evidence to support them does not make them seem any less possible—it just looks like proof that C.K. is very famous. There’s no shortage of precedent for situations where a scattered number of persistent rumours about a famous man’s sexual misconduct turned out to be true. People with power silence people with less of it all the time.

Conversely, if you don’t believe the rumours—or if you don’t want to—there’s no real concrete proof to convince you that you should. There are few details and no names, no police records, no legal documents, no tidal wave of public confessions.
posted by the man of twists and turns (149 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
Perfect Catch-22. Can't talk about it, can't not talk about it. Price of fame? Truth in accusations?

Do women lie about men's sexual behavior in order to gain power or position in society? I honestly don't know. I'd like to think they don't, and I believe that the VAST, like, 99% of them aren't lies. I don't see any reason to believe a collection of rumors about a single person being a creep ISN'T true. But it might not be true. But it probably is.

Regardless of its truth or not, it's nameless and faceless and traceless, it's just rumors. From Gawker. Which might be like responding to old print edition National Enquirer or Weekly World News articles, to some extent.

Perfect Catch-22 for someone famous. Unless you're a Kardashian.
posted by hippybear at 10:11 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]


I... don't find it the least bit difficult to see Louis C.K. as a missing stair. One the one hand I have no proof and it's just a vibe that's led me to not watch most of what he's done and feel weird about what I have - I have the luxury of ignoring it, after all. On the other hand, I'm inclined to trust Tig.
posted by sysinfo at 10:26 PM on September 7 [52 favorites]


I don't understand what would be so hard about just saying no I didn't do that thing. Ugh Louie. I liked so much of what he's done (Horace and Pete was a wrenching piece of work) but it's difficult to now. As soon as Tig said her thing it was like ok well that's that then.
posted by bleep at 10:44 PM on September 7 [7 favorites]


God, that's an excellent piece, came here to share it and realized this was where I had found it. I think ck is an amazing artist and I also think it's fully possible/probable the allegations are true, missing stair indeed, as well of course as how much shitty behavior smart, "feminist" guys get away with. I have no idea how straight women don't go on rampages. And hippybear, I would love an example of when speaking up about med sexual assault has gained them power or position in society (a payday from suing is about as close as I can come up with, and that ain't that).
posted by Iteki at 11:10 PM on September 7 [26 favorites]


Look, I know people don't like Gawker and the Gawker descendents, but "eh, GAWKER" is not the same defense that "eh NATIONAL ENQUIRER" is.
posted by protocoach at 11:21 PM on September 7 [41 favorites]


Do women lie about men's sexual behavior in order to gain power or position in society?

If by positions of power you mean keeping their jobs or finding work in male dominated and controlled industries, then yeah, sure. They've had to pretend harassment didn't exist and their bosses were decent people that weren't abusing their positions by making sexual demands. That's a common story for many industries.

The article in the link is excellent and struggling with notions of knowledge, celebrity, art, and where they intersect with personal belie or trust and our social structure which so readily ignores abuse when it comes from the "right people". I think there are a lot of complex issues involved in how we might look at those intersecting areas, but the first concern shouldn't be in focus on the celebrity themselves as someone of special meaning or privilege in these regards.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:43 PM on September 7 [77 favorites]


I love(d) his comedy but when the same rumors about sexual assault keep surfacing about an individual they tend to be true. Fuck you, Louis CK.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:48 PM on September 7 [9 favorites]


As a blind item it's one thing, but there's been more than that at this point and with Tig (who once had a good relationship with him as far as I know) and included a bit on the new season of her show pretty specific to what he's alleged to have done to women in the past...

Plus a certain amount of his material has always portrayed him as having a creepy/dark side so - maybe he wasn't being so hyperbolic about it.

What I get from this article is that it sounds like he is "addressing" it, in a sense - I haven't seen his show lately but the way it's described it makes his guilt seem even more sure. I'm not quite sure how to read the intention behind that. And I have no idea what, if anything, it's worth.
posted by atoxyl at 12:06 AM on September 8 [3 favorites]


I hadn't heard about the Gawker item from 2012 when that extremely uncomfortable fourth season of his show was out, and jesus, just looking back and knowing that he must have known about the Gawker story and then decided to do that season and especially that episode where he assaults Adlon's character, it's horrifying. If he did those things it's just rubbing it in people's faces that he didn't suffer any repercussions.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:07 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I get what it would mean for him to address the rumors. Does it mean substantiating them? Denying them? Reflecting publicly on the harms he may have done? Going into treatment? Voluntarily exiling himself? Making his artistic self-portrayal less ambivalent? Atoning by boosting the careers of women?

Healy's piece is less an endictment of CK than it is the the public. Were it different all of the above questions would be clear—or possibly irrelevant if it went to court.

Maybe it will take Hannibal Buress to remove the ambiguity.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:18 AM on September 8 [7 favorites]


I think occasionally, as today, on this short sketch of Louis CK telling a woman that he's going to masturbate while thinking of her and there's nothing she can do about it. It's kind of a funny sketch, but it's also kind of creepy, and I think it was intended to be both at once. But it sure seems less funny after reading the links here.
posted by Nelson at 12:29 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Ugh... very sad to hear. It seems almost every male person one admires for some reason (comedian, director, actor, musician) turns out to be horrible to females.
posted by greenhornet at 1:14 AM on September 8


I have always found his comedy creepy and disturbing, or at least to have an undercurrent of that. His excuse/boast is that he is engaging in extreme honesty. He says things and admits to things -- that he has thought about, and sometimes done -- that other people wouldn't. I wouldn't be surprised if this same self importance and sense of being exceptional extends to his personal life. I find him creepy.
posted by Vispa Teresa at 2:43 AM on September 8 [7 favorites]


Well, you can’t touch stuff like that. There’s one more thing I want to say about this, and it’s important: If you need your public profile to be all positive, you’re sick in the head. I do the work I do, and what happens next I can’t look after. So my thing is that I try to speak to the work whenever I can. Just to the work and not to my life.

Rumours are just rumours, but personally, the most telling part is his statement on this. To me it reads like a tacit acknowledgement.
posted by Query at 3:04 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Are we going to have to get Hannibal Burress involved again before the women are truly taken seriously?

Sometimes I think there are tiny fragments of progress in certain corners of existence. And then I always end up circling back.

Can't we just ask that our male celebrities and quasi-celebrities just not assault women? Just that little bit, guys.

But then I remember how easy it seems to me personally to undertake the precept not to kill other human beings, and I contrast the ease of that undertaking with the knowledge of how radically, how unbelievably different the workd would be if everyone simpy decided for themselves just not to kill other human beings, forget animals here, just other human beings, and it starts to look impossible.

Okay, we can't stop murdering people. Okay. And we can't stop sexually assaulting women, okay I don't get that either but I guess there it is. So I dig really deep and ask myself is it really that hard just ro believe women who say they are assaulted without the imprimatur of a man bringing it into the light? Really, people? We can't just hear assault victims without wondering what they have to gain by making accusations? Gain? Really.

The folks who look at it like that have never had to do the calculus in their mind of how much do I need this job, how quickly could I find another, would it just be out of the frying pan into the fire, maybe it's not so bad that I can't put up with it if I just make sure never to be alone in a room with him, maybe I'm making too big a deal out of it, after all it's just words or it's just a shoulder massage or it's just that I have to keep mentioning my fiance which is an overstatement but a useful one when turning down advances, and people think that women make unfounded accusations because there is something to be gained from it.

So wow.

So yeah, we haven't really moved forward much at all. So yeah. All of life is a parade toward death. I see my time ahead of me, not right here but closer than it used to be, close enough so that the shit I put up with in the 80s isn't a factor any more because now I'm middle aged and therefor mostly invisible and I'm just like wow you guys we really had to do this to anither generation of women. Really?
posted by janey47 at 3:07 AM on September 8 [66 favorites]


Yuk. It shakes my foundation a little every time I realize that one of the so-called good guys is actually one of the business-as-usual guys. To the point where I'm almost to the point where if someone claims "good guy" status for anyone, I'm gonna need proof. And I'm not even talking about men needing to be high-level intersectional feminists. I'm talking about men who don't sexually/physically/emotionally abuse or assault, don't try to stomp down women and generally take us seriously as actual real people. It seems pretty basic to me, but I've seen too many men not even able to do that. Just gross.
posted by triggerfinger at 3:12 AM on September 8 [34 favorites]


And I'm not even talking about men needing to be high-level intersectional feminists. I'm talking about men who don't sexually/physically/emotionally abuse or assault, don't try to stomp down women and generally take us seriously as actual real people.

I've found that a man's appearing feminist or conversely, being obviously invested in traditional gender roles is absolutely no use as an indication of whether or not he takes women seriously as real people and treats them with respect for their persons and their bodies. It's been surreal to come to this understanding.
posted by bardophile at 3:48 AM on September 8 [64 favorites]


Can anybody neatly summarize the specific claims women have made about him? I've seen so much more meta discussion about the implications of the accusations than specifics, I'm still not clear what he's been accused of. It's more than just trying to get laid or admitting to masturbating to fantasies of strangers, I take it, so he's not just being criticized for being lonely and having a sex drive and seeking other people honestly/respectfully to have sex with him, I take it. On one hand, it's gross if he's telling random women he's fantasizing about them, personally. On the other hand, fan fiction and fan communities do that all the time and there's been a lot of energy put into defending and legitimizing that sort of behaviour as respectable and above reproach, a matter of personal expression and sexual freedom.

I don't know what to think in Louis' case because I don't really have a good detailed understanding of the accusations and the context.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:27 AM on September 8 [3 favorites]


Do women lie about men's sexual behavior in order to gain power or position in society? I honestly don't know.
hippybear


What a fun thing for you to ponder from your armchair, far removed from any possible consequences, because this is not, and has never been, a threat to you. For future reference, this is unbelievably misogynistic, and you are the problem. You are the reason women don't come forward.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:37 AM on September 8 [65 favorites]


You should keep reading hippybear's comment.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:50 AM on September 8 [13 favorites]


Can anybody neatly summarize the specific claims women have made about him?

The article linked in the post does this in the seventh paragraph.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:54 AM on September 8 [14 favorites]


On one hand, it's gross if he's telling random women he's fantasizing about them, personally. On the other hand, fan fiction and fan communities do that all the time and there's been a lot of energy put into defending and legitimizing that sort of behaviour as respectable and above reproach, a matter of personal expression and sexual freedom.

My feelings on that tendency in fan communities aside, there is a big difference between talking about someone (of note/fame) and talking to someone.

"I want to fuck [remote celebrity]" is not the same as "I want to fuck you" in a one-on-one situation.
posted by Dysk at 4:56 AM on September 8 [4 favorites]


These women say that:

he's been masturbating in front of them; sometimes after asking if it's ok, which they took as a joke until he(allegedly) pulled out his penis.
posted by brujita at 4:58 AM on September 8 [3 favorites]


I believe them.
posted by brujita at 4:59 AM on September 8 [15 favorites]


From the Healy piece:

Whatever the truth is, there’s no denying that this is a good way to handle a toxic rumour. If you refuse to discuss something that no one really wants to think about anyway, everyone forgets about it pretty quick. And as long as they stay unspecific, sporadic and spread out, allegations like this don’t have to trouble a man’s career at all.

I recall the Kirkman kerfuffle and Stanhope "taking credit" and there's a definite problem in comedy which is that many of the men in it are total dirtbags wallowing in dirtbaggery, intoxicants, and freedom from oversight. For women in that realm, you have no choice but to be a "cool girl" in order to get along. You gotta wave off the dirtbaggery.

Louis CK has, in his mature career, played with that impression and with that reality. His friends on his show are total dirtbag comedians. Stanhope is a horrible person. Most of those guys are mostly completely horrible. His show makes a point of this fact. Where he gets away with it is showing a little complexity and misery in his character.

I love comedy and I have hung out with dirtbags in dirtbag places. But it seems he clearly crossed a line and not a blurry line and he knew it when he did it. He may have thought this "cool girl" would go with it — in a lot of people's minds, that is consent. What I see Tig doing is going: I don't need to be a cool girl and I'm not and I own my material and this is what I'm doing and that guy can fuck off. It's admirable and heartening to see women with this simple power.

Louis. You can't survive on dirtbags alone anymore. I'll need to rethink my fan support of him even at the same time knowing that as a fan, I never saw him as a guy I'd sit next to in a bar. I know the type already.
posted by amanda at 4:59 AM on September 8 [10 favorites]


You should keep reading hippybear's comment.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:50 AM on September 8 [+] [!]


I fucking did. The essential "it's so hard, because some of them might be lying" of it doesn't change. And it's the first fucking comment.

You know what? It's not hard. It's actually really not that hard. It's certainly not hard to refrain from opening up a thread about yet another male "feminist" who hurts women with a half-assed 'philosophical' musings about weighing "but some women might lie, even if most don't" against "but this poor famous man."

Because not only is that comment built on misogyny, but it's also now the only conversation we get to have. Congratulations, instead of being able to talk about the actual man in question, now we have to defend women. Again.

And again and again and again.

Fuck everything.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:02 AM on September 8 [138 favorites]


Sexual norms are confusing as hell these days. Healthy social expressions of sexuality are pretty rare. After my wife first left me, one of the first anecdotes she told me about going out was about going to a club where, as she was walking into the club, a lesbian woman she didn't know slapped her on the ass. I've had both random men and women grab my crotch in public places, one a woman at a bar who just grabbed me and made a suggestive comment as I was ordering a drink, and another time when a more hippyish sort of dude grabbed my crotch seemingly just to see how I'd react to the transgression of my personal boundaries. It's a big mess out there in the dating/night life scene. But that doesn't mean anyone, including Louis, should get a complete pass if they've been forcing themselves on other people in some way.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:07 AM on September 8


I believe them.

Other reasons to: the rumors are fairly specific, which lend them credibility. Also you can imagine a guy like Louis CK, who regards himself as someone who is a feminist and not a misogynist, wrestling with his identity and his impulses. These acts, to me, seem like something that he could convince himself are not as bad as rape or groping. In his mind, he could still be a good guy and do these things.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:09 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Louis CK can be hilarious. I just believe Tig Notaro and Jen Kirkman more. Furthermore, I'm completely fucking annoyed because I can very clearly see myself walking that same path Jen Kirkman did where I'd open the pandora's box and then feel like I have to quickly shove all that shit back into pandora's box because I've had to do that kind of shit before.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:11 AM on September 8 [7 favorites]


Also you can imagine a guy like Louis CK, who regards himself as someone who is a feminist and not a misogynist, wrestling with his identity and his impulses.

Honestly, as a woman who's dealt with this kind of man (and pretty much all of we women have)? No, I can't imagine he's wrestling at all. In fact it seems more like he's using feminism as a smokescreen so he doesn't have to wrestle with anything of the sort.

"Good guy" is also a smokescreen, by the way. It's how these dudes sneak past actual good people. They don't care about being good, they care about getting what they want with as few consequences as possible.

Don't even get me started on the first comment using "nameless, faceless and traceless" re: real live human beings. Jesus, that's applicable to any number of monstrosities, and for those monstrosities, decent human beings don't deny or doubt they happened just because they don't know every single last one of the people who were hurt.
posted by fraula at 5:22 AM on September 8 [40 favorites]


Do women lie about men's sexual behavior...

That is so hilarious. Who better to tell the truth about men's "sexual behavior" than the women who experience it? Like, the notion that men as a group are not known for their bad behavior is hilariously naive? Purposely avoidant?

Men, how often have you been in an intimate situation with another man in a heterosexual context?

No, women don't lie. Women are far too nice. Women are far, far more likely to lie to protect the men in their lives and of course to protect themselves. As we know, there's no truly good woman who is not a dead woman.
posted by amanda at 5:24 AM on September 8 [45 favorites]


Perhaps this is better served as the topic of a MeTa, but: Hippybear that was an incredibly shitty way to start this thread.

I like Louis' work, but I would be lying if I never felt a little skeezy listening to him. I mean, the skeeziness is supposed to be offset by the fact that he's being honest. "Well, he's talking about it, so he's admitting he struggles with being a skeezy dude, surely he doesn't act on it?"

It's especially galling to doubt the veracity of women accusers in this situation because the careers of any women harassed by CK would likely be destroyed and the barren earth salted over with the tears of the men who still act as gatekeepers to that whole scene.

Publicly accusing CK of this gets you nothing but a dead-end career and hate mail.
posted by Tevin at 5:44 AM on September 8 [49 favorites]


Sexual norms are confusing as hell these days.
You know, they're not *that* confusing. "Don't masturbate in the presence of another person unless you are very sure that they're cool with you doing it" is not that difficult a rule. You don't need some sort of PhD in not-being-a-creeper to internalize that one.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:47 AM on September 8 [111 favorites]


Please, please RTFA before you come to comment.

saulgoodman, those folks who groped you were wrong to do so, but a cis/het/man who is groped [in public] is not in the same situation as a woman or femme who is assaulted by a cis/het/man, especially when they are alone. It's an incredibly vulnerable situation ... the scene Emma Healy describes of Pamela Adlon's character trying to escape Louie's "advances" is so fucking disturbing and that character *knows* Louie and can get away and is *depicted* as incredibly un-traumatized by the assault, even as it's terrible.

The article is not about a gross dating scene, even though a gross dating scene is part and parcel of the patriarchal sense of entitlement to other people's bodies.

Healy makes such good, insightful comments, about men using their intelligence as a stand-in for moral character and the whole culture giving men who assault women, who treat them as if they are only a means to male satisfaction, having an "out" because they are "struggling with their impulses". What is important is being able to understand the world in this way, and not whether Louie C.K. did or didn't, or whether he faces accountability (although if he were held accountable, that would be something).
posted by allthinky at 6:00 AM on September 8 [14 favorites]


I'm not particularly fond of the bingo card metaphor/meme--it's been used to dismiss/discredit legitimate concerns--but damned if a whole shitload of squares for the "let's give a popular artist every imaginable benefit of the doubt, despite some really disturbing similarities to stuff in his own work" card aren't already filled in by this very thread.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:19 AM on September 8 [20 favorites]


I've found that a man's appearing feminist or conversely, being obviously invested in traditional gender roles is absolutely no use as an indication of whether or not he takes women seriously as real people and treats them with respect for their persons and their bodies.

Not to mention that a lot of men treat some women one way while treating others very differently. So they might be, say, the soul of courtesy to women in their family and friend group while treating employees or service people in awful ways. I know a guy who was accused (and I have no doubt was guilty of) blatant and ongoing sexual harassment, and a lot of his close women friends were shocked "because he'd never treated them like that." That someone doesn't sexually harass all women doesn't mean that he doesn't sexually harass some.

Louis CK can be hilarious. I just believe Tig Notaro and Jen Kirkman more.

Hilarious people can be abusers; the two qualities aren't related. They can also be able politicians, good parents, inspiring religious thinkers, etc, etc, etc. This doesn't excuse them; it just makes the feelings of betrayal worse.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:31 AM on September 8 [37 favorites]


I think ck is an amazing artist and I also think it's fully possible/probable the allegations are true, missing stair indeed, as well of course as how much shitty behavior smart, "feminist" guys get away with.

You forgot to add "white" guys. Because this is sounding a fuck of a lot like the conversations people were having about Bill Cosby a couple years ago, except those conversations lead to him being charged.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on September 8 [5 favorites]


Do women lie about men's sexual behavior...

Of course they do. I've personally experienced this. Women are people and do things that people do, including the shitty things.

That doesn't have much bearing on what this particular woman or group of women have done, however.

That being said, I'm also old enough to remember when it was common knowledge that Richard Gere like to shove gerbils up his ass, and everyone had a cousin's co-worker's ex-roomate's sister who saw it. It was common knowledge, and everyone knew it to be true, despite all logic and reason.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:22 AM on September 8


I don't buy the idea that Louis CK doesn't have to respond to the allegations. He's not only a public figure by choice, but he's (once again by choice) someone who has asserted standing as a moral (moralizing?) figure on issues of women's and girls' rights and social status. Those aren't cakes you get to have and eat too.

It's pretty ridiculous to suggest that any woman's career in comedy or acting would be helped along by false allegations against Louis CK, who at this stage in his career is a huge star and a carte-blanche show runner. It doesn't mean none of the allegations is false, but you'd have to think a lot harder for motives for them to be made falsely.
posted by MattD at 7:24 AM on September 8 [4 favorites]


There is a difference between asking if women lie about sexual behavior and asking if women lie about men's criminal behavior.

The Gere nonsense is different, in that it is an urban legend similar to the story of a rock star getting a pint of semen pumped from his stomach. It's not an allegation of criminal behavior. There certainly aren't multiple stories from multiple sources, some named, that have occurred over the years.

Women lie so infrequently about being the victim of sexual violence, and people lie so frequently to cover for sexual violence, that my default state is to believe them, because I'm just betting on the overwhelming odds.

Questioning whether these things actually happen is entirely useless. They do happen. All the time. So many more times than we ever hear about. And when you question them in public, you are telling the victims of sexual violence — and there are many many more than you expect, and they are present and listening — that you will question their experiences too.

It's shitty and shouldn't be done.
posted by maxsparber at 7:29 AM on September 8 [56 favorites]


Comparing an urban legend to detailed allegations by actual women is pretty beyond the pale.
posted by Mavri at 7:32 AM on September 8 [57 favorites]


Are we going to have to get Hannibal Burress involved again before the women are truly taken seriously?

Buress broke through everyone's everything-is-normal filters because he was a semi-mainstream black male comic who dared to break omerta on the accusations against Cosby. If he'd been white, it would have looked racially dicey for him to go there. If he'd been a woman, he would have been called a hysterical rumormonger for going there. Hell, if his affable hipster-bro persona was even one inch closer to the "Def Comedy Jam" side of the black respectability-politics line, he would have been seen as a hotheaded upstart talking shit about a sacred cow. Make no mistake, Buress was able to name Cosby's crime because in many ways he fits the same profile as an entertainer: A black male comic who has credibility with a diverse (but still mainly white) audience.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if we need a "Hannibal Buress" figure to take down Louis CK, then this hypothetical person needs to be a white male comic with a similar cachet among both the serious "comedy-nerd" set and more casual viewers who might just watch Louis's Netflix specials. And it's really disappointing to see that either there is nobody in that approximate tier as a comedic auteur (maybe Patton Oswalt? Marc Maron?), or that the guys who are on that level just don't want to rock the boat.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:38 AM on September 8 [14 favorites]


That being said, I'm also old enough to remember when it was common knowledge that Richard Gere like to shove gerbils . . .

That's really disrespectful to the actual allegations and content of this thread.
posted by Think_Long at 7:41 AM on September 8 [42 favorites]


Fucking really? Let's please not equate the ACTUAL horrifyingly common sexual harassment and assault of women in the entertainment industry to urban myths from the 1980s about an actor shoving a rodent up his own butt.

"Hey, in the '90s people used to think Marilyn Manson was Paul from the Wonder Years, so maybe we're just post-truth now and nothing means anything" is one hell of a white-hot take.
posted by duffell at 7:44 AM on September 8 [39 favorites]


This thread is a fascinating window into how rape culture works, though. If people will do these sort of contortions to ignore accusations against a comedian they like, can you imagine what they'll do when the accused person is their friend or brother or son?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:47 AM on September 8 [89 favorites]


Hey CK ... F.U.!
posted by chavenet at 7:51 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


He's got to address this. Whether the allegations are true or not, he's got friends and fans asking him to clear this up. He has daughters who will ask someday. To hide behind silence is to be complicit, especially since his art has addressed the complexities of sexual assault AND the threat inside masculinity in our culture.
Also, It's part of the trade-off of being a celebrity artist ; great power, great responsibility, etc. What people know or think they know about him becomes the context for his work.
If he's not guilty, he took responsibility and dealt with it. If he is, same. He can use this to make a difference.
posted by pt68 at 8:03 AM on September 8


I guess I'm another woman to add to the "it’s depressing, it’s disappointing, it feels like a betrayal" reaction list.

This is a huge gut punch, since I kinda just realized that I'm dating a woke misogynist right now and I'm seeing signs everywhere. As a woman, you see a guy who seems to really "get it" and you're so overjoyed that you're willing to overlook any other flaws.

It's like that what Wanda said on BoJack Horseman, "When you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags."
posted by giraffe at 8:13 AM on September 8 [45 favorites]


If people will do these sort of contortions to ignore accusations against a comedian they like, can you imagine what they'll do when the accused person is their friend or brother or son?

Most women don't have to imagine it. Most of us have seen it happen, many of us more than once. I cannot begin to tell you how thin an excuse will serve as cover for unbelievably vile and criminal behavior in the eyes of people eager to defend men they know.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 8:19 AM on September 8 [20 favorites]


"It makes me think about ... all the heterosexual men who have worked their way into my life by disguising their intelligence as moral character and then disappointed me by not actually giving a shit about anyone except themselves. It makes me think about all the people I have trusted and it makes me wonder why, and then it makes me feel like an idiot chump whose only options are to spend her life trying to win a rigged game or to opt out of playing entirely. It puts distance between me and the world. It fucking sucks."

"The uncanny, unsteady wonder of feeling joined somewhere you used to think you were alone."

This, and this. The author speaks true. I gave up on CK after the first accusations, because I believe the women. I felt so sad and betrayed - and then more sad because it felt so familiar. Damn.
posted by anshuman at 8:20 AM on September 8 [5 favorites]


FYI, Emma Healey also wrote "Stories Like Passwords" in 2014 which caused an enormous shift in the Canadian media/literary world which arguably ultimately culminated in the Jian Ghomeshi trial.

She also wrote this spectacular piece about Nathan For You last year.

She does amazing work.
posted by skwt at 8:21 AM on September 8 [23 favorites]


Yeah, the topic of the essay overshadows how good the essay as a piece of writing. Just great stuff.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:25 AM on September 8 [9 favorites]


Maybe it will take Hannibal Buress to remove the ambiguity.

I mean, Roseanne has tried to remove it.
posted by edeezy at 8:30 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Dammit Louie, you were supposed to be one of the good guys.
posted by cazoo at 8:30 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Most women don't have to imagine it. Most of us have seen it happen, many of us more than once.
I was speaking rhetorically. I am a woman. I am very much not a stranger to this dynamic.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:32 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


She also wrote this spectacular piece about Nathan For You last year.

Is Nathan For You a real show?? I'm cringing just reading about it. It was worth it though since that's the kind of multi-layered approach to thinking about media needed to get at what's being, evidently, enjoyed.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:39 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Nathan For You is real and is very much a Nathan Fielder sort of project. I watched it a bit when it started out, though haven't kept up; it's got a real tightrope-walk feel to it, of deadpan absurdity colliding with earnest random folks, and I can see it being pretty fertile ground for picking apart questions of coercion and exploitation and so on, yeah. (You might also remember Fielder's Dumb Starbucks prank from a few years ago. He has a very specific comedy aesthetic.)
posted by cortex at 8:46 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


Oh my God I opened that link about Nathan for You with honest to goodness dread and wincing expecting a full Milkshake Duck.

I've been a big fan of the show from the jump and I think she perfectly nailed it. Yes it's a real show and ... well, the article does a better job than I can trying to help you decide whether or not you should watch it.

But back to the article at hand: I've been thinking about this more since I read it this morning and I do agree with Strange Interlude

> "And it's really disappointing to see that either there is nobody in that approximate tier as a comedic auteur (maybe Patton Oswalt? Marc Maron?), or that the guys who are on that level just don't want to rock the boat."

Of the two, Oswalt is probably the only one who could pull a Hannibal with any credibility given Maron and CK's somewhat contentious past. But also also, at least judging by Oswalt's Twitter anyway, he seems like someone who can talk the woke talk but not like someone who's willing to go through the actual steps to put anything at stake for the sake of doing the right thing.

Which is to say I believe there's a strata of white male comics that won't dare to say a word against each other but I would love to be proved wrong.
posted by Tevin at 8:50 AM on September 8 [13 favorites]


I think that declining to address it is a statement on its own, saying essentially that CK has so much relative power that he doesn't even have to respond to accusations of people who are not on his level and can continue to behave however he wants without consequences.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:11 AM on September 8 [13 favorites]


I have always found his comedy creepy and disturbing, or at least to have an undercurrent of that. This is my view as well, Vispa Teresa. The first time I heard this type of rumor (in a Jezebel article about Jen Kirkman, I believe) my reaction was more recognition than surprise. Of course the man who revels in speaking his worst thoughts on stage would behave this way.

And by the way hippy bear, the Catch-22 is entirely on his would be accusers. Attach your name and offer details in your accusation - you'll have enough death threats to kill you 100s of times over. Ask Jen Kirkman. Accuse without offering your name - obviously a liar. Say nothing - nothing changes. All the benefit of saying nothing is for Louis. People can believe what they want, and people want to believe he is a good guy.

Even if he had never done any of this stuff, his brand of comedy is something I find very damaging. He is the type of comic who when I have listened to him, it is with a certain dread about what awful joke I'll have to hear. In between funny bits are the jokes that punch down or are just disgusting for the sake of disgusting. Beyond the specific harm to his specific victims, his embrace and promotion of this particular "edgy" style of telling jokes has been a major barrier for me personally in seeing live stand up. I'm not going to pay to hear some dude comic laugh about rape or tell us endlessly about his personal masturbation habits. Louis CK has absolutely helped popularize and perpetuate that type of humor.
posted by Emmy Rae at 9:25 AM on September 8 [22 favorites]


I've found that a man's appearing feminist or conversely, being obviously invested in traditional gender roles is absolutely no use as an indication of whether or not he takes women seriously as real people and treats them with respect for their persons and their bodies. It's been surreal to come to this understanding.

Nothing could be truer. I've always been pretty cynical about male loudly self-declared "feminists" for this reasons. Actions speak louder than words. The way a man treats women on a day to day basis proves so much more than any virtue signaling.

This whole thing also brings to mind the "heckler" episode of Louie where he went on and on about hoping this woman got AIDS or whatever. At the time I remember thinking how absolutely dripping with misogny that episode was and yet Louis C.K. is this progressive darling comedian? That says a lot right there.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 9:27 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]


Still thinking about that assault scene with Adlon, where the show is soooo careful to show you that he's just this unbelievably awkward pathetic guy but of course he means well and just Michael Scotted himself into this situation, that she didn't really feel threatened anyways because she's a strong woman, that she can just shake it off and their relationship can resume. So fucking gross. It just reads as taunting victims and flaunting his status.

Also on top of the fake feminist shield, he really leans heavily on the I Have Nothing to Hide Because Can't You See I'm So Honest About My Flaws trick, which is an infuriating thing to see in action. See also Harmon, Dan on that one - I haven't heard sexual assault accusations about him but he's openly a verbally and emotionally abusive monster, and people treat it like it's part of his fucking auteur charm.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:27 AM on September 8 [12 favorites]


I'm getting really tired of male celebrities who think "feminist" means "I think women are awesome" and not "I think women should be allowed to tell me to go away."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:28 AM on September 8 [55 favorites]


Honestly, the first time I read that Tig quote "It's serious. It's serious. It's serious." I cried. Like maybe, someday, someone important will believe me too.
posted by Emmy Rae at 9:29 AM on September 8 [24 favorites]


FYI, Hannibal Buress

Do women lie about men's sexual behavior in order to gain power or position in society? People lie, all the time. The idea that women don't lie about a specific topic is nonsense. Women are not magical unicorns. There seem to be some innate behaviors specific to men and women, but truthfulness isn't any of them. It's incredibly hard to tell the truth about abuse. It's a giant risk. Women who come forward get treated appallingly. Read Stories Like Passwords linked above. Women feel a sense of responsibility when men are abusive. It's complicated and tangled up deeply in our culture.

I'm uncomfortable with trial by hearsay and I hope somebody will come forward. Enough people with enough credibility are speaking out. Really, masturbating in front of women? Being sexually gross and nasty is an ugly but very real aggression that women face daily, and that's taking it, well, there no term I can use that doesn't sound like innuendo.

Men in power abuse it, men in power abuse women sexually. No, not all men. But it's a theme that is repeated everywhere. In my experience, even men with only a tiny amount of power will try it. As a young woman, I was encouraged to exploit this. Flirt a little. Unbutton the next button. Use your feminine wiles. Yeah, no. Every time I read about a Bill Clinton-esque report, I get so discouraged. Can we just fucking evolve?
posted by theora55 at 9:37 AM on September 8 [11 favorites]


Dammit Louie, you were supposed to be one of the good guys.

Nah, he curried big cookies for himself by claiming to be one of the good guys. That's different.

It's time to be much more skeptical of all guys claiming to to be good guys.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:47 AM on September 8 [3 favorites]


Do women lie about men's sexual behavior in order to gain power or position in society?

If your question was, Do women lie? The answer is obviously yes. However, the question is if women do it to gain power or position in society. The answer to that is unequivocally no. What power or position do we have to gain from saying we were assaulted? If I go to work and accuse the boss of harassment, do you think I will be promoted? Can you think of a movie star whose first claim to fame was their history of being a victim of abuse? Since we're so intent on women signing their name to this shit, is anyone now watching more of Jen Kirkman's material because of what she said? Is it helping her? The premise of this question is so fucking wrong. If there was a woman out there stupid enough to think that claiming to have been assaulted would in some way help her "gain power or position", you have not heard of her because she was dead wrong.
posted by Emmy Rae at 9:47 AM on September 8 [36 favorites]


there is nobody in that approximate tier as a comedic auteur (maybe Patton Oswalt? Marc Maron?)

John Mulaney? At least he seems to recognize creepy behavior as creepy, and his jokes don't dwell on the creep factor. The few that touch on misogyny seem to focus on "this is funny because it's awkward and uncomfortable and at a safe enough distance to laugh" and not "this is funny because someone is getting humiliated."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:49 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


We can't just hear assault victims without wondering what they have to gain by making accusations? Gain? Really.

Unfortunately, no, this society can't. Which is why the proposal to dismantle Title IX protections for victims of sexual assault on college campuses is so infuriating, and dangerous. It's a march backwards. It's a return to the default of "but what if she made it up?", which is why so many women don't come forward in the first place.

I just don't understand why people don't understand this. There is almost zero benefit to coming forward. Why do people think that a woman would put herself through that if an assault hadn't actually happened? Do they think women do it for the attention? Don't they understand that the attention that comes from an allegation isn't the good kind of attention, and isn't "fulfilling" in any way?

Trust a woman when she tells you a dude's been a creep. We're pretty good at recognizing the behavior.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:06 AM on September 8 [33 favorites]


I had to re-read "Do women lie about men's sexual behavior in order to gain power or position in society?" very many times to try to get the question straight, and I'm still not sure I understand. I can't think of a single woman who has gained power and/or position by lying that a man sexually abused, assaulted, molested and/or raped them. Quite the opposite. Women who tell the truth are usually punished.

Have women gained (any amount of) power or position by lying that a man *didn't* sexually assault, etc. etc. them or other women? By lying to provide cover for powerful, influential men. Oh, surely, yes. Yes.
posted by taz at 10:12 AM on September 8 [44 favorites]


Yeah, this thread is infuriating. I mean every single woman friend in my life (except one) has been raped, stalked, abused, assaulted, molested and lied to themselves that it happened. That's what women lie about in rape. They lie to themselves that it wasn't a rape, wasn't assault, weren't molested. I've led that lie so well that I developed a psychiatric disorder. And of those women friends that spoke their truth, and went to the police, or tried to tell someone ... well those are the ones I meet up with at the non-profit women's centre and hear stories of being beaten, put on medication cause they are crazy, thrown out of their family to be on the streets at 13.

I identified as a woman during my decade of abuse + countless rapes afterwards.. And the only lies I told, and some days I really wished I could still lie about, is that a group of men raping a child, or a "Women are awesome feminist man" raping me didn't happen and was my fault. Women lie in sexual assault to THEMSELVES. To try to keep themselves together and not face the fact that men are lethal predators.

This Kids In The Hall sketch is how I feel the woke misogynist feminist is inside.
posted by kanata at 10:16 AM on September 8 [36 favorites]


Maybe it will take Hannibal Buress to remove the ambiguity.

I mean, Roseanne has tried to remove it.


The difference is people don't listen to women at all.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:18 AM on September 8 [10 favorites]


See also Harmon, Dan on that one - I haven't heard sexual assault accusations about him but he's openly a verbally and emotionally abusive monster, and people treat it like it's part of his fucking auteur charm.

Julie Klausner goes after this pretty hard in the latest ep of Difficult People.

I wondered a lot about the pretty radical changes to the writer's room on Rick and Morty -- it was a show you could tell was written by all men, and which skirted the line on outright misogyny to the point where you knew there were some MRA fucks in there.

And then for the third season they almost cleaned house and hired a bunch of women.

I wonder how much of that has to do with Harmon's self image as a Good Guy. Like if the MRA boys club at Adult Swim finally made it too obvious.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:21 AM on September 8 [6 favorites]


John Mulaney? At least he seems to recognize creepy behavior as creepy, and his jokes don't dwell on the creep factor. The few that touch on misogyny seem to focus on "this is funny because it's awkward and uncomfortable and at a safe enough distance to laugh" and not "this is funny because someone is getting humiliated."

Possibly but I watched his netflix special and it had a number of child molestation jokes. IME theres a small overlap between being woke on women's issues and thinking raping kids is funny.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:32 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


John Mulaney?

I considered adding him to that list, but realized that right now he's more of a comedian's-comedian for the Earwolf fans, than a guy who is both that and also has full creative control over a show with his name in the title. Now that he's passed the failed Fox sitcom hurdle and reinvigorated his career with Oh, Hello! with Kroll, I think he might be on Louis's level in maybe another 5 years, but he's not there now.

TBH, the one person in the world who I wish I could mind-read for their opinion on Louis CK is Paul F. Tompkins, mainly because of his longtime friendship with Jen Kirkman. I don't read anything bad in his silence, per se, but I do wonder if he is consciously keeping his head down on this in order to keep things from flaring up again for Kirkman.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:55 AM on September 8 [5 favorites]


I ...

there's a kind of theme here.

"I'm honest about how pervy I am, so I can't be that bad right?"
- Louis CK

"I'm honest about what an asshole I am, so I can't be that bad, right?"
- Dan Harmon

"I'm honest about how pervy, shitty, dishonest, disloyal, and racist I am, so I can't be that bad, right?"
- President Trump

American culture is distressingly forgiving of white men who don't pretend to be any better than their worst impulses.
posted by Tevin at 10:58 AM on September 8 [77 favorites]


I just watched the new Ryan Hamilton special on Netflix and halfway through, I realized how refreshing it was to watch a guy crack jokes that DON'T depend on shock value or cruel humor or misogyny etc.: i.e., what it's like to move to NYC from Idaho, how his hometown is so small that the 4th of July parade only had a single block to travel before it had to turn around and march back the other way (while cheering itself), etc etc.

I wasn't watching it with a critical eye, so I can't say with total certainty that I didn't miss some creepy or problematic joke. But I DID realize WHILE watching it that this kind of comedy is much more impressive to me than Louis CK's kind -- I think it's harder to write this kind of comedy, for one, and also, when it works, it feels so much better/healthier/more joyful for me, the listener.

Too often, when I laugh at Louis CK's stuff, I actually feel bad for laughing, like he's gotten one over on me for making me laugh at such horrible shit.
posted by mylittlepoppet at 11:05 AM on September 8 [8 favorites]


Stand up comic culture has long been pretty fucked up. The "hilarious" aristocrats gag and all those "we insult you, and everyone else, because we love you" roasts sort of show how much of the concept has evolved into "pushing the envelope" with many comedians. Once you go there, the terrain becomes really treacherous really fast and its easy to lose connection to any sort of reasonable belief system as the joke is all that matters and the affront to complacency is its own reward.

There are, of course, comics who don't do that, and there are sometimes solid reasons to attack convention and complacency, but with the demand being laughs first entertainment and thought or reflection maybe later if I'm not too busy catching up on my Netflix shows, the comics are amply rewarded for their attitudes as long as people think they're funny. I've never seen more than two short clips of Louis CK's show and none of his stand up, so I can't say how much merit there may be to his work, just that the way stand up comedy and its connected outlets have developed and the audience relationship to that culture is itself part of the problem.

The question of whether there can be work of real merit from bad people though is also worth thinking about and how one addresses such work in light of moral failure from those creating it is difficult to answer satisfactorily.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:06 AM on September 8 [2 favorites]


People lie, all the time. The idea that women don't lie about a specific topic is nonsense.

Yes... but. Women do lie, and women have probably lied about sexual harassment and rape,* but statistics matter. When it comes to sexual harassment, the chance of a "false harassment allegation" is very very small compared to any other outcome, so the obvious basic stance should be "in the absence of seriously compelling evidence, believe a woman about sexual harassment," not "reserve judgement until an unimpeachable recording of the event is found." It's really that simple. Women should be believed.

* Although I wonder how many public retractions of rape allegations came from external pressures rather than actual fabrication of the allegation.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:54 AM on September 8 [18 favorites]


I can't help but think of that cop featured in an FPP a few years ago who deliberately was as noxious as possible to women who came in with a complaint of sexual assault under the theory that if they had actually been assaulted they would stick with their charges.

Something like 75 percent of the women he did this to got disgusted and disheartened and left, so he decided 75 percent of accusations of rape were false.
posted by maxsparber at 11:59 AM on September 8 [23 favorites]


Although I wonder how many public retractions of rape allegations came from external pressures rather than actual fabrication of the allegation.

Honestly I would guess most of them. I've personally known people who retracted because the response when they reported was so awful to deal with, and I've never known anyone who had an easy time reporting and getting anyone in authority to believe them.
posted by bile and syntax at 12:00 PM on September 8 [12 favorites]


Also you can imagine a guy like Louis CK, who regards himself as someone who is a feminist and not a misogynist, wrestling with his identity and his impulses.

Men who call themselves feminists are never to be trusted; it's the sexual assault version of "I'm not a racist, but". Dude after self proclaimed feminist dude turns out to be a complete asshole who can't keep his hands to himself and people keep falling for that trick.

It's also something that usually claimed by dudes who are just barely doing the minimum, like e.g. having a female character rescue a male love interest instead of vice versa, who claim be to be feminist, without ever doing anything that remotely impacts their own status.

Some labels you just cannot claim for yourself, but you have to earn. If you do claim them, it's a warning sign that you are a bullshitter.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:09 PM on September 8 [9 favorites]


Dude after self proclaimed feminist dude turns out to be a complete asshole who can't keep his hands to himself and people keep falling for that trick.

This likely sounds shittier and more victim blaming than you intended.
posted by ODiV at 12:20 PM on September 8


"we insult you, and everyone else, because we love you"
Don Rickles was a pioneer of that, and the most successful practitioner of his generation because most of his insults were genuinely trivial or nonsensical. He crossed many lines but far less often as most people thought and he'd probably be genuinely ashamed of how those who 'followed in his footsteps' have behaved.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:21 PM on September 8 [3 favorites]


As a man, wrestling with "identity and impulses" is a real thing that we all go through starting at puberty (Louis talks about that extensively in his act). But even if you "can't" control your impulses, you are still responsible for them. You still have to either control yourself or finding someone to help you do it. Or you face the consequences. Because that's supposedly another aspect of being a man: standing up and taking responsibility for your own shitty behaviour.

I don't know if Louis has ever specifically claimed to be a feminist, but holy shit, I'd never do it. Let someone else bestow that honour when you're dead and all the facts are in.
posted by klanawa at 12:23 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


As a man, wrestling with "identity and impulses" is a real thing that we all go through starting at puberty

And.... women and non-binary folks don't?
posted by bile and syntax at 12:33 PM on September 8 [32 favorites]


The idea that cis men are the only human beings who struggle with "identity and impulses" is a medieval trope that needs to fucking die already.
posted by cooker girl at 12:38 PM on September 8 [33 favorites]


wow, 2017 really is just Milkshake Ducks all the way down the missing stairs.
posted by numaner at 1:04 PM on September 8 [37 favorites]


And.... women and non-binary folks don't?

I never said that. Louis is a man who speaks openly about this experience. I am a man who speaks openly about this experience and the responsibility for dealing with it without hurting anyone. If you'd like me to presume to speak for women and non-binary folks, sorry, I can't and won't. (Which is kinda the point of the second part of my comment if you'd read that far.)

Further, men, women and non-binary folks are very different in terms of the damage they're capable of inflicting, and in terms of the way society handles their transgressions, which is the whole point of this article.

But I mean, shit. If the mods want to delete this comment too, and leave a deliberate misreading of my comment in place, I won't be in the least way surprised, but I will drop it.
posted by klanawa at 1:07 PM on September 8


klanawa: "I don't know if Louis has ever specifically claimed to be a feminist"

Louis C.K. on whether he considers himself a feminist:

"I don't feel strongly enough about anything to give myself a label. My daughter is a feminist and I identify with her, with her rights and her feelings, and I'm listening to her. I'm learning from her. But I think the second you say “I am this,” you've stopped listening and learning."

Which is impressively avoidant and ambivalent. He's taking credit for listening to and learning from his feminist daughter, while at the same time saying that by self-identifying as a feminist she has "stopped listening and learning". What the heck is that? Don't even get me started on the idea of not feeling strongly enough about the subject. Colour me unimpressed.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 1:12 PM on September 8 [15 favorites]


Well, there I have it, I guess. Sometimes wearing a particular label imposes certain constraints that don't really admit of learning or personal development. But feminism isn't really one of those labels. The contradiction is definitely weird.
posted by klanawa at 1:21 PM on September 8


MartinWisse: I thought I was supposed call myself a feminist, as a man who believes in feminist principles. Have people like Joss Whedon and Louis C.K. (and all the less famous people like them) poisoned the well too thoroughly here?

To clarify, I'm trying to get "ally cookies" here. I am interested in being as effective as possible in spreading feminist ideas, and I'll happily use or discard the label as needed.
posted by JDHarper at 1:22 PM on September 8 [1 favorite]


My feeling is it's probably best discussed and explored not in direct response to something like this?
posted by ODiV at 1:25 PM on September 8 [13 favorites]


As a man, struggling with "identity and impulses" is really a learning to navigate the power imbalances that favor your gender. Almost all men, even "the good ones," learn ways to keep that power. They do it by leaning hard into their gender role, hiding it behind denial, or by claiming, through knowledge and awareness, they've moved outside of patriarchal power structures, as if that's a thing any man can just do.

Louis C.K. has used his awareness and ability to speak about his own terrible thoughts/behavior to not only keep and maintain the power society handed him at birth but to amass even more. Through it he's achieved the kind of power that convinces strangers to defend and, through denial, support his awful behavior.

And if you like his or any problematic artist's work it's okay to like it, guilt free, as long as the reasons you like it don't require the art and artist to be indistinguishable. The work itself has to have value on its own. If you can't defend it without defending the artists awful non-artistic behavior then what's it really worth?

If you're worried this negative press will affect Louis C.K.'s ability to produce more of the content you enjoy and you're mourning that loss, pause and consider all of the things that have been lost or will be lost because of his behavior and the protection of that behavior in the larger community? The work that's been made and enjoyed can't be unmade and unenjoyed but maybe it's time to clear space for new work and new artists.
posted by AtoBtoA at 1:34 PM on September 8 [13 favorites]


Same responses every.single.time. I am done with men at this point. A woman's experience will always be denied no matter what. Telling kills. Not telling kills. Why all this policing instead of just admitting men on whole are basing their whole lives on being these creatures of supposed logic and intelligence but can't handle the fact that women tell the truth without needing evidence. Jesus Christ how hard is it too resist the impulse to not make it all about your dick? Yeah women can abuse but we're able to handle the basic fact that you aren't entitled to other people's bodies whenever you want. I'm tired of the pushback demanding evidence that always comes up here and in life.
posted by kanata at 1:58 PM on September 8 [31 favorites]


if you're gonna a) not deny the rumors and b) make an episode of your TV show basically acknowledge the rumors, I'd say it's well within fair game to discuss territory!
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:45 PM on September 8 [20 favorites]


wow, 2017 really is just Milkshake Ducks all the way down the missing stairs.

Yeah, I just thought of this earlier today. I was wondering if the nastiness of last year's election had something to do with it. I'm nowhere near sophisticated enough to comprehend or understand how, even if it's just focusing only on how people think, feel, and see things.
posted by FJT at 2:50 PM on September 8


wow, 2017 really is just Milkshake Ducks all the way down the missing stairs.

Good. Let the assholes who were always assholes be revealed, and the things that have always been true finally get talked about. No year is any one thing but there are worse themes than "people who have always been shitty and creepy being revealed for what they are". If we're all going to pretend other -isms that have always been festering, always been here, just sprung into existence because of the election, let's bring this one out too.
posted by colorblock sock at 5:54 PM on September 8 [13 favorites]


It would be really great if we men didn't make this thread about men's complicated experience of self-identity and whatever.
posted by maxsparber at 9:32 PM on September 8 [42 favorites]


Do the people urging caution have a whole bunch of friends accused of sexual assault? Because I don't, and it's pretty darn unlikely that there would be two or more false accusations against anyone I know. I mean, I'd take even one accusation seriously, but in the absence of a really convincing rebuttal I'd say two or more accusations amounts to an ironclad proof.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:59 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]


MartinWisse: I thought I was supposed call myself a feminist, as a man who believes in feminist principles. Have people like Joss Whedon and Louis C.K. (and all the less famous people like them) poisoned the well too thoroughly here?

I don't think it's so much about "famous fuckups poisoning the well" as it is "Don't toot your own horn".

I've always been under the impression that it's for others to decide if a cishet d00d is a "feminist" or an "ally" - by all means, you can support and work towards those ideals (please do so in fact!), but if you bestow those titles upon yourself, then don't be shocked if people call bullshit on it.
posted by tantrumthecat at 6:10 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


Just to be clear, the accusations all seem to take the flavor of C.K. cornering women who are lower in the comedy hierarchy than him - women who might need something from him, standing in front of doors to prevent their exit, and then masturbating in front of them. What this has to do with lesbian ass slapping or the super special impulses of men is beyond me.

As for comedians around him calling him out? Not likely. The group he hangs out with includes guys who word for word repeat manosphere advice about how not to be accused of rape. I'm guessing you scratch that scab and it's rapists/harassers all the way down.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:17 AM on September 9 [16 favorites]


As for men who claim the feminist label, I can't remember if I mentioned this here or elsewhere, but men really need to in their heart of hearts understand that many (most?) feminist women/femmes are raped by men who claim to be feminists. I'm not telling men they can't carry the label of feminist, just - be a aware. You might think it says one thing about you but many women will still treat you as if you're potentially dangerous. We've trusted too many times and paid a giant continual price for it.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 8:22 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


I think for a lot of male "feminists", it's all purely political, theoretical, a stance that is never put into practice on a personal level. It's not about the label, it's about believing in your heart what your mouth is saying and living accordingly. Whether or not you can call yourself a feminist should be the least of your concerns.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 9:10 AM on September 9 [10 favorites]


I don't think it's so much about "famous fuckups poisoning the well" as it is "Don't toot your own horn".

That makes sense, as does the distrust of people trying to use the label of feminist as camouflage. Thanks for clarifying.

To get back to the main topic of the thread, literally the only time I've seen this kind of situation go differently is when Nick Robinson was accused of sexually harassing other video game journalists. Once that knowledge became public then Polygon suspended him the next day and fired him the next week after they investigated the accusations, and apparently lawyers are involved because no one is allowed to say much more publicly.

But even in that case it was evidently common knowledge among the women who interacted with him. And I don't know how we prevent that dynamic, where the best course for women is to warn each other about a predator instead of seeing them driven out of positions of power.

The obvious thing, as has been made clear above, is that society should be more inclined to listen to the victims of sexual harassment and assault when they speak up. But even if we could convince society to believe every accusation, it would still be very difficult for victims to come forward for fear of retaliation.

And Jen Kirkman, who is a fantastic comedian, shouldn't have to be more famous for being attacked by Louis C.K. than for her own work. When people think of Monica Lewinsky, their first thoughts are not about her career as an activist.

But people can't act directly on anonymous rumors either. It'd be really easy for Louis C.K. to just say "No, I didn't do that, that's absurd" and in the absence of further evidence it would just fade away.

The fact that he doesn't just do that and move on is pretty telling though. His response of making a fucking episode of his TV show about it is just inexplicable to me if he didn't bear some guilt.
posted by JDHarper at 12:08 PM on September 9 [3 favorites]


It'd be really easy for Louis C.K. to just say "No, I didn't do that, that's absurd" and in the absence of further evidence it would just fade away.

Not really. The lack of direct accusation makes it trickier for Louis CK to deal with in a way, where denial wouldn't equate with belief on the part of many who believe the rumors. If the rumors are true as one presumes, denial could spark more direct confrontation of his claims, causing those he'd abused to speak out and increase the visibility of the conflict, in the unlikely event they aren't true, addressing rumors only serves to substantiate their claims by tying himself to them in a way that can't be easily resolved. From CK's perspective, assuming he wants to continue his work regardless of the truth, there isn't a good or clear way to deal with this. That is both the power and potential drawback of unnamed rumors.

The question was raised early on as to what addressing the rumors might actually mean, and that is a difficult question to answer depending on what happened and might continue to be happening or whether there has been some attempts made to address things behind the scenes we are unaware of. I'm not suggesting CK is doing anything positive, but I'm also not sure of what the demands would be, short of stepping away from his work completely, that could address the issue beneficially either. I don't say that meaning he's doing the right thing by continuing to work and not addressing the issue, but that short of admitting it and retiring I'm not sure there would be a satisfactory response possible to be made. I'd be fine with CK retiring myself, but I have to suspect he wouldn't be interested in that option.

I do worry some about rumor gaining too strong an evidentiary value in the culture since there have been times rumors were wielded to control in methods that were deeply questionable in their use. The early days of Hollywood saw gossip columnists like Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons obtain a great deal of power in how they used their knowledge of the stars offscreen life to create narratives that could help or hurt the stars depending on what they got in return before pushing their stories one way or the other. What was heard as rumor or allowed to be substantiated more strongly was often just another form of power brokering. I don't at all believe that's the case with Louis CK, but attending too much to rumor it is a path that can lead to unwelcome effects as well if not done with care.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:27 PM on September 9


If so many guys didn't feel the need to attack everyone they know then rumors wouldn't have any value at all.
posted by bleep at 3:09 PM on September 9 [6 favorites]


I'm also not sure of what the demands would be, short of stepping away from his work completely, that could address the issue beneficially either.

The FPP and articles linked imply that his staff are actively trying to silence his victims. So he could tell them to stop. And he could try to make good on any damage caused to the victims' careers. And admitting his offenses might help his victims, and would surely help prevent further occurrences. Also, he needs therapy. This is just off the top of my head, and there are probably smart people close to the events (e.g. Tig Notaro) who would have much better suggestions if he, you know, expressed remorse and a desire to change.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:51 PM on September 9 [4 favorites]


If so many guys didn't feel the need to attack everyone they know then rumors wouldn't have any value at all.

Sure, there is a real and long historical value to gossip as a channel for communication that works outside the usual centers of power and control. That's also why gossip is so looked down on as a "womenly vice" as gossip was often the only way for women or minorities to pass on information needed to protect themselves or just inform each other of what to expect.

The need for communication outside normal control centers has not gone away, but there is also a history of rumor used to target individuals that may be rivals or seen as moving too far outside their sphere. Rumor can be used in that way as a weapon of building or maintaining power. Someone decides who gets targeted and what form the information might take used against them.

Rumor mongering of this sort isn't equally useful against all, mostly just those who have a strong public presence or can be readily attached to the same. So there is almost automatically a limit to its use and power which keeps it from attacking many of the most powerful, insulated as they are from direct interaction with the public. This is why it can and has so easily be used against women and minorities in roles of public notice since the public is often all too ready to turn on them anyway. Which may help explain some of the cultural obsession over a battle between a white woman and black man in the Taylor Swift Kanye West saga.

The fetish for celebrity is another element of the root problem, where the feeling of "knowing" and belief in some sort of intimacy with the celebrity can make any information about them more powerful and divisive. (Celebrity is a cultural disease, from my perspective, that itself carries harmful properties as one might well judge from its ability to destroy a significant part of the planet on a whim at the moment with one such in the White House.)

As I mentioned, I don't think the elements of targeted attack apply in Louis CKs case as the way the information came out doesn't fit that dynamic, but that doesn't reduce the need for caution around vague and unsourced "info" or to look more closely at our attachment to celebrities. Not just because there are indeed bad guys among them who will disappoint, but because its the building of celebrities that help create some of the problems of power and feelings of betrayal.

What Louis CK did and what might happen because of that isn't the only issue involved in this kind of story as the linked article ably points out. Some areas worth further reflecting on regarding trust, celebrity, and art that point to these same sorts of worries in giving trust to celebrities and having to dance around what to believe of rumor and how that relates to what you've thought about the things they've done previously. It isn't something easy to sort out, but ignoring it isn't a better solution. So in this instance looking beyond Louis CK alone and look for better perspectives to our celebrity obsessed culture in addition to the needed discussion around sexual abuse.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:55 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


I liked that the article pointed out how hard it is for people to believe that not all rapists or people who sexually assault are monsters. Similarly it seems difficult for people to believe that not all rape and sexual assault survivors were destroyed by the experience. And while that point may seem unrelated, I think it's a big problem because believing that all rape and sexual assault survivors were destroyed by the experience means that a person who was not destroyed by the experience is either being a rape survivor the wrong way or lying. Which can cause survivors to doubt themselves too.
posted by kat518 at 8:14 PM on September 9 [15 favorites]


"Short of admitting it and retiring.."

Wut? Ehh, how about admitting it and going to jail, he's not fucking Galadriel!
posted by Iteki at 10:43 PM on September 9 [10 favorites]


Dammit Louie, you were supposed to be one of the good guys.

hey man, that's not a thing.
posted by wibari at 11:32 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Yeah, all this hand-wringing about "but what can he do?" is such bollocks. Sexual assault is a crime, not an opportunity for personal growth. He could turn himself in to police.
posted by Dysk at 4:30 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


For anyone wondering, in the just-released second season of One Mississippi Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allyne show exactly what it looks like for a male producer with power over you to suggest that you come in for a pitch meeting and then use it as an opportunity to masturbate in front of you. If can watch that scene and think that Louis is anything less than a sexual predator, I don't know what to say to you.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:50 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


[A couple deleted. Saulgoodman, let's step back from the "but sexual norms are so complicated" thing.]
posted by taz at 6:34 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I'd still like to be allowed to go on the record as saying no, I wasn't defending Louis for whipping it out without being encouraged to, if that's what happened.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:48 AM on September 10


Maybe this could be its own FPP, because it's pretty substantial, but anyway:
American Apparel founder Dov Charney: ‘Sleeping with people you work with is unavoidable’

In which we learn that he, too, likes to involve bystanders in his wanking.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:12 PM on September 10


"Dov Charney is a creep" isn't exactly news.
posted by cortex at 4:12 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


No. The story is mostly about him trying to rebuild his business, although discussion of the gross stuff necessarily comes up a lot.

But ... I just can't imagine acting that way. And it sounds as if many people like him for his good qualities (although I don't think anyone should be praised for paying minimum wage), just as earlier stories about Louis C.K. made it sound as though he had good qualities. In both cases they sounded like people I'd like, but when I hear about the skeevy side and the sense of entitlement I go ugh, how could anyone stand to be around them. Which to be fair, in Tig Notaro's case seems to be "only because they're obliged to."
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:26 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


American Apparel founder Dov Charney: ‘Sleeping with people you work with is unavoidable’

Do these people hear themselves? Sleeping with people is entirely avoidable - just don't. Don't touch them except in professionally appropriate ways (i.e. handshake) or take your clothes off in front of them. It's real fucking easy. Sex is not something that just happens on its own.
posted by Dysk at 3:17 AM on September 11 [7 favorites]


I just can't imagine acting that way. And it sounds as if many people like him for his good qualities (although I don't think anyone should be praised for paying minimum wage), just as earlier stories about Louis C.K. made it sound as though he had good qualities. In both cases they sounded like people I'd like, but when I hear about the skeevy side and the sense of entitlement I go ugh, how could anyone stand to be around them. Which to be fair, in Tig Notaro's case seems to be "only because they're obliged to."

It looks like another similarity between Dov Charney and Louis C.K. seems to be that lots of women were talking about the BAD qualities for a long time, but no one was listening to them because "but they have GOOD qualities, though, I can't imagine they'd do that."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 AM on September 11 [4 favorites]




Is there anyone who hasn't known the whole time that Dov Charney is a super creep? That seems different from the reactions to Louis C.K. Charney is far closer to Terry Richardson.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 9:01 AM on September 11


Oh cool, a film about child molestation depicted as a controversial romance!

Reminds me of Paul F. Tompkins' joke about the movie Rabbit Hole. After reading the description (in which a couple deals with the loss of their child), he shouts "What time does that start!?" Like who wants to see that?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:02 AM on September 11


From the article about the movie:
"People seem to forget that we’re making movies," says Day. "Now, I don’t go around in my daily life using the R-word or the N-word, throwing it around, but people do in reality, and Louis is making art depicting these people. The idea that we can’t even make a piece of art depicting the character that says something offensive is absurd."
I grant that there are those who go through books with a highlighter in hand and want to ban any and all mention of controversial or rude words. However - there's a big difference between depicting people who use the R-Word and using it as one of a handful of pieces of evidence that these people are schmucks, and depicting people who use the R-Word and casting them as the heroes of your piece.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:32 AM on September 11 [3 favorites]


TIFF 2017: I Love You, Daddy Directed by Louis C.K.
The interview prompted Toronto writer Emma Healey to deliver a must-read piece for Hazlitt arguing that C.K. "can't just let his art do the talking."

If the PR rollout for I Love You, Daddy hadn't insisted that the movie was a secret until its premiere, one would think Healey had seen an early rough cut. Her piece is just that spot-on — the film clumsily wades around the allegations, and even contains something of a flippant apology. "I'm sorry, women," C.K. says in his faux-Midwestern nice-guy voice, almost looking directly into the camera; "I'm very fucking sorry." The result is a confusing, muddled mess that doubles as a potent demonstration of privilege at play.


Louis C.K.’s New Movie Is About Woody Allen’s Sexual Abuse Allegations, and His Own
Love You, Daddy is likely to squick some people out whether or not they’re aware that C.K. has himself been accused of nonconsensual sex acts. But it’s especially queasy when viewed in that light. C.K.’s Glen idolizes Malkovich’s auteur, much as C.K. reveres Woody Allen, and one way of looking at C.K.’s movie is as a kind of Manhattan answer record, extending and undermining that film’s romantic portrait of a romance between a middle-aged man and a teenage girl.


Asking Questions Louis C.K. Doesn’t Want to Answer
“I’m not going to answer to that stuff, because they’re rumors,” Louis C.K. said during the Toronto interview, as he told Vulture last year. But he added on Sunday, “If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real.”

So it’s not real? “No.” he responded. “They’re rumors, that’s all that is.”

And what did he make of the comments by Ms. Notaro, whose work he has championed? (Louis C.K. is an executive producer of her Amazon series, “One Mississippi,” though she has said they haven’t spoken in over a year; a new episode of her series features a plot with echoes of the rumors about Louis C.K.) “I don’t know why she said the things she’s said, I really don’t,” he replied, adding, “I don’t think talking about that stuff in the press and having conversations over press lanes is a good idea.”

As he spoke about “that stuff,” Louis C.K., who turns 50 on Tuesday, did not come off as defensive, but he did speak forcefully. He conceded that making a movie that toys with did-he-or-didn’t-he questions could strike some as a little flagrant.

“I made a movie that totally walks all over that electric fence,” he said, “and that’s weird.”


The Orchard has nabbed worldwide rights to Louis C.K.'s I Love You, Daddy. A source pegged the deal at $5 million, which makes it the top deal of this year's Toronto International Film Festival market to date, tied with Neon's pickup of I, Tonya.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:28 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


From the Hollywood Reporter article:
"We like the risque nature of it," says one buyer who is bidding for domestic rights to the film, echoing the sentiment of other distributors.
The "risque nature" being:
...the comedy centers on a privileged TV producer (C.K.) grappling with the fact that his 17-year-old daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz) has fallen for a brilliant but lecherous 68-year-old filmmaker (John Malkovich).

[....]

"Woody is an ingredient, along with a whole other generation of dudes who used to go up and down the age line a lot more easily," say C.K. "I grew up with that. [Allen's 1979 comedy] Manhattan is a movie I saw as a kid, and I was like, ‘OK, that’s what people do.’"
It sounds boring, if you ask me. The crossover between public/private lives and creative influences here is just making my mind spin. This is the story that C.K. wants to creatively explore now that his daughters are turning into teens? What if they start fucking Woody Allen? What will my feelings be like if my daughters do this thing that Hollywood/Wood Allen likes to tell us they do? That it's such a common human experience? Sheesh.
posted by amanda at 1:31 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


Adding to that, amanda, here is another quote near the end of the New York Times article :
“It’s about a guy who found out too late that he didn’t do his job as a dad, and he couldn’t use the information that he found, and the girl had no choice but to raise herself,” he said. He added later that after seeing the film on the big screen, he felt that it was also “just kind of a sweet movie about the twilight of childhood and parenthood.”
...a sweet movie about the twilight of childhood and parenthood. I don't even know how to respond to that.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 1:36 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


“I made a movie that totally walks all over that electric fence,” he said, “and that’s weird.”

Well I hope he gets shocked in the balls by that fence. This movie sounds gross as hell.
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:40 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


You know, there's a real thing that happens to a lot of dads and daughters as the daughters grow up and become mature and change into women. It can be a tragic loss of relationship. But the way to deal with that is not by imagining your daughter getting involved in a truly lecherous, destructive, sexual relationship with a man old enough to be your father. Yes, in that situation, as a Dad, you are now free to close your eyes, slam the door on your daughter, disown her and pretend you did your best. And maybe you imagine this explosive freedom especially if your daughter is now wondering just what kind of a man is her father who possibly wanks in front of women he has power over. Hm. I'm beginning to think this theatrical musing has some real roots.

I'm so tired of Woody Allen.
posted by amanda at 1:46 PM on September 11 [10 favorites]


But the way to deal with that is not by imagining your daughter getting involved in a truly lecherous, destructive, sexual relationship with a man old enough to be your father

I think you mean grandfather.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:49 PM on September 11


From the Slate article: When China asks what he’s doing in the women’s department at Barney’s, Lesley explains that he’s there to stare at the pretty young girls, and points out several lurking men doing the same thing.
... although for one hilarious heartbeat near the end of the movie [Louis' character] comes close to confronting the fact that when it comes to having the hots for teenagers, he and Lesley aren’t so different after all. You can’t help being a pervert, but at least you can be honest about it.


Disgusting. This whole honest pervert thing has always really gotten to me, and I think the reason is because it is all for men. See dudes, we're all like this. See, it's natural. I mean don't fuck my daughter but we've all been attracted to teen girls. Etc.

Meanwhile, women and girls everywhere are far too aware this is reality. The first time a man made suggestive comments about my body to me I was 11. His wife was right there. She and I are fully aware of the widespread trend of honest perverts. They have nothing to teach me.
posted by Emmy Rae at 1:53 PM on September 11 [18 favorites]


Oh man, you know what? I'm fucking tired of this "it's natural, so what are you gonna do?" shit for a NUMBER of reasons.

1. I'm a lesbian, dickwads. Guess what? I'm not attracted to fucking adolescents, because they are adolescents. It is not a case of having to correct myself, or having my frontal cortex swat at my lizard brain with a rolled up newspaper or whathefuckever. It's because I look at them and I see children.

2. Supposing your lizard brain does react in an inappropriate way to adolescent girls, that does not somehow abrogate your responsibility for not being a shitty person. Why in the fuck would you laugh about it, like, hey what are you gonna do? Why the fuck would you make a goddamn comedy about it?

Unless you were trying to convince us all that maybe you're not such a piece of shit? That somehow this is ok?

Yeah. It's not enough that these assholes continue to hurt women because they believe they're entitled to do so. They want the world to agree with them, too.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:38 PM on September 11 [14 favorites]


The fact that he refuses to address the charges in any meaningful way but keeps introducing them as a theme in his comedy is really super weird. Like, it feels like something psychological is going on, some profound need to confess via art that only a fringe shrink could really put his or her fringy finger on.
posted by maxsparber at 2:46 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


But the way to deal with that is not by imagining your daughter getting involved in a truly lecherous, destructive, sexual relationship with a man old enough to be your father

I think you mean grandfather.
posted by MisantropicPainforest


I think amanda meant father. She's talking about Louis C.K. in that sentence, not his daughter.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:00 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


The movie has Louis CK's fictional daughter dating an octogenarian, so great-grandfather, really.
posted by maxsparber at 4:03 PM on September 11


...the comedy centers on a privileged TV producer (C.K.) grappling with the fact that his 17-year-old daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz) has fallen for a brilliant but lecherous 68-year-old filmmaker (John Malkovich).

Emphasis added.
posted by Lexica at 4:11 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


The fact that he refuses to address the charges in any meaningful way but keeps introducing them as a theme in his comedy is really super weird.

It's a weird parallel to the masturbation rumors themselves, as if it's some sort of compulsion. Both the masturbation and the coy self-incrimination are symbolically self-destructive acts, and because his audience has no way to respond they're unwillingly complicit in his performative degradation. This also fits well with other sick suggestions of his mentioned upthread: he gets off on making people disgusted and angry but powerless.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:49 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


The movie has Louis CK's fictional daughter dating an octogenarian, so great-grandfather, really.

No, Louis C.K. is 50. The lecherous filmmaker is 68 and played by John Malkovich who is 63. The character seems to be based on Woody Allen, who is 81. None of these guys are old enough to be Louis C.K.'s grandfather or great grandfather. While they are old enough to play the grandfather of the film's 17-year-old daughter, played by Chloe Grace Moretz (age 20) amanda was talking about Louis C.K.

But the way to deal with that is not by imagining your daughter getting involved in a truly lecherous, destructive, sexual relationship with a man old enough to be your father

Earlier amanda said,

Louis. You can't survive on dirtbags alone anymore. I'll need to rethink my fan support of him even at the same time knowing that as a fan, I never saw him as a guy I'd sit next to in a bar. I know the type already.

I think she knows what she means to say.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 7:33 PM on September 11


The fact that he refuses to address the charges in any meaningful way but keeps introducing them as a theme in his comedy is really super weird.

I don't know if it's all that weird. People who engage in destructive, hurtful or criminal behaviors often know they are doing so and devote enormous amounts of energy into thinking about those actions. Some in order to justify them, others in order to try and end them. That isn't a defense of those people and certainly not of the actions, it's just saying there's some complexity there.

Woody Allen's Manhattan, for example, is quite clear in its attempt to justify Isaac's relationship with Tracy, not because Isaac is content with it, which is obviously troubling enough, but because Allen makes purposeful reference to Chaplin's City Lights, where the Little Tramp helps a blind girl to see, only to have her leave him at the end of the film. Here, the analogy then becomes Allen suggesting that there is a reasonable exchange being made, Isaac gets sex and youth and Tracy gets her eyes opened by Isaac's great appreciation of culture.

The bullshit isn't in the love of culture, its in failing to see that such appreciation can be given without a quid pro quo of sexual gratification. It justifies abuse by the inherent inequity of experience between the two, where Isaac's taste is held as a kind of power that deserves any reward it seeks just for sharing of it. That isn't so far removed from the usual justifications offered by people like Dov Charney, power deserves reward.

Where on the other hand many filmmaker used their movies to try and work through their faults or at least use them to shine a light on others with similar failings. Ford, Hitchcock, Kubrick, each used their own obsessions in such a manner, often self critically and often in critique of others.

None of that is necessarily an exact match for Louis CK of course, though obviously the Allen example may be, but the principle isn't all that different if the person involved puts themselves into their work.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:57 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]






"It hasn't happened to me, therefore I don't believe it ever happened" is a common dodge, Jen.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on September 19


I don't believe she's saying that. She's saying it never happened to her, which is how some people interpreted her earlier remarks.
posted by Pendragon at 9:26 AM on September 19 [1 favorite]


ah, my apologies, I misunderstood the situation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:42 AM on September 19


She doesn't owe it to anyone, but it'd be great if she ever told us what/who she was talking about.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 10:36 AM on September 19


My read of her unclear statements is - Louis is/was being dogged by rumors. Jen became aware of them at the same time she is asked to tour with him. This makes her unsure of whether she should tour with him. Maybe because she doesn't want to look like a sellout woman who will attach her career to a known dirtbag or because she wasn't sure herself if she should trust Louis? But she went on tour with him anyway and she never saw his dick.

There's something off about the whole sitch with Jen and I can't quite put my finger on it. But if this is her story today then I'm glad she's sharing it. But there's definitely people out there who are defending a person (Jen) who is now saying, "Please don't."
posted by amanda at 8:27 PM on September 19




She's not helping matters with this tortured metaphor –

“What I said was, when you hear rumors about someone, and they ask you to go on the road with them, this is what being a woman in comedy is like—imagine if there’s always a chance of rain over your head but [with] men, there isn’t. So you go, ‘Should I leave the house with an umbrella, or not?’”

What does this mean? Like, if you're a woman, you will maybe get rained on. The rain being...sexual assault? Inappropriate behavior? Pay to play? And so, you wonder if you should bring an umbrella? An umbrella being...some kind of defense against this? I mean, if you don't bring an umbrella, it's your fault for getting wet, amirite?

Except... There is no umbrella.

Perhaps this realm of public speaking about this issue is not her best arena.
posted by amanda at 8:43 AM on September 23


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