Victoria Jackson: “HERP DERP THE BIBLE”

23 Mar

Read, watch, and cringe.

This story makes me feel two things: angered, as a person, and betrayed, as a comedian.

I’ll discuss the anger first because preaching to the choir lets me listen to the sound of my own lovely voice. The first statement that really sticks in my craw is Jackson claiming that showing a man-on-man kiss promotes “one-way tolerance” and “mocks Christians.” Now, the inclusion of the phrase “one-way” would indicate that her primary dissatisfaction is that there’s a lack of EQUAL representation for both the pro-gay side and, as she sees it, pro-Christian side, since her attitude presents them as mutually exclusive. However, when asked, she decides to say that the kiss itself is somehow an attack on her beliefs, and that, what is really important is “what the Bible says.” It seems, Victoria, that what you want could very well be called “one-way tolerance” as well, it’s just okay to you because it skews in your favor. Your idea of what constitutes “one-way tolerance” is anything that tolerates ideas other than your own.

The anti-gay religious right clings furiously to this comical fallacy that the very existence of the gay lifestyle is a threat to their own lifestyle, that somehow because someone chooses (or is born into) a different preference, they are choosing to prevent others from doing the same. If gays can get married, they are totally going to ruin other people’s straight marriages and turn them gay. If your roommate is gay, watch out! He’s totally going to bone you in the ass while you sleep, because being gay automatically turns you into a rapist!

The only thing, I think, that could make a gay person want to actively straight straight people’s lifestyles would be, perhaps, a lifetime of persecution from straights that drives him to revenge? Maybe? Otherwise, they just want to be left alone. To think otherwise is a continuation of this phony victimization of the majority, this idea that somehow because minorities, non-heterosexuals, and women have a larger voice and a larger amount of agency in today’s society and in government, somehow they are threatened, that there is some conceivable chance that the white male heterosexual oligarchy could end up marginalized, so they “want their country back.” This kind of rhetoric is what gets the political discourse mired in a manufactured culture war that distracts from the issues that actually affect how we’re going to survive and how we’re going to continue to exist as a country.

The other statement Jackson puts out, which really drives me insane, is when she says that “homophobic” is a “cute little buzzword” that the liberals use. You know what else is a “cute little buzzword” that the conservatives throw around? “Politically correct.” Any time someone gets called out for being insensitive or outright bigoted, the phrase “politically correct,” gets used as an epithet to imply that those critics are just being wimpy and hyper-sensitive, or, as you’d probably call them, “faggots.”

Now, as a comedian myself, I know that there is such a thing as being too sensitive, trying to be too politically correct. I’ve run into plenty of negative reactions to jokes and skits I’ve written, sometimes not even because the reader/listener was offended, but because they anticipated that somebody ELSE would get offended. The difference is, however, that in those situations, the people who get offended were not willing to understand the irony that made that joke a joke. There’s nothing ironic about what you’re saying. You are going on the internet and television and saying, quite flatly, that the very insinuation that some people are capable of having homosexual relationships without bursting into a cloud of fire, brimstone, and boiling shit is an assault on any differing beliefs, and is leading to the moral downfall of America. You believe what you are saying, and it’s dumb. It’s not being politically correct to say you’re being dumb, it’s factually correct, you dumb dummy.

She then tries to make people who are pro-gay look like hypocrites by saying people who are pro-gay are also pro-Muslim even though “Muslims kill gays.” You know what, Victoria? Radical Muslims kill gays. Islamist terrorists kill gays. Just like radical Christians picket the funerals of soldiers and 9-year-old girls. Nobody said anybody should be tolerant of either of those people, and we’re not! We tolerate people’s ability to have their own beliefs as long as they don’t actively harm others. That’s ethics. That’s the Constitution. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and you’re breaking the law if you fuck with someone else’s ability to get any of those three. If a Muslim wants to pray in his own home or in a mosque and have the belief that homosexuality is a sin as far as his own life is concerned, fine. But if he murders a gay person, I think we all agree (well, do we ALL agree, Victoria?) that it’s a little fucked up. That’s the definition of “two-way tolerance.” It’s why we tolerate you going on TV and saying your dumb dummy dumb things without stoning you for having an opinion.

Now, here’s where I go into my feeling betrayed. When pressed to support and articulate her viewpoints, Jackson never directly addresses any of the interviewer’s questions, but just goes off on what sounds like her pre-written list of talking points and Bible verses in an almost robotic manner, demonstrating a complete lack of critical thought about her own arguments. That’s why I feel betrayed, seeing somebody who has claimed at one point in her life to be a comedian, to show so little of either.

As a comedian, critical thought and self-awareness are your sword and shield, your bread and butter, your butter-and-sword sandwich on a shield bun. Unless your whole act is puns and knock-knock jokes, some of your jokes are going to come from some kind of critical point of view, some kind of position on a particular issue or on the world as a whole. It doesn’t even have to be a hard-hitting, political satire. Just in any joke, you are asserting “this is funny because I believe this or that is weird.” Thus, in the process of developing one’s act, one would have fully examined one’s own beliefs and points of view. If one is fully aware about how one feels and the thoughts behind those feelings, then that provides for even better-informed and more engaging comedy. That should lead to you, in an interview, being able to deal with an interviewer’s questions and support your statements, if you’re truly unafraid of being “politically incorrect.” For you to defend your arguments with the long-winded equivalent of “it’s in the Bible, duh!” puts you on equal intellectual footing with Gallagher.

Now, if there’s one thing that I LOVE, one thing that really tickles my brain’s prostate, it’s reasoned, intellectual discussion about religion. I had a friend in college who’s from Romania and a devout Christian, although he probably was a little more to the liberal side of the spectrum in some areas, but he was a believer. However, he was also into the philosophical implications of religion, so if you discussed religion with him, you could get into the psychological and existential necessity of man to have religion or to believe in God and the ethical and intellectual arguments that support the belief in religion and existence of God. He’s a thinking man’s believer, and he understood that simply going “It’s in the Bible, end of argument” was unsatisfying, even for himself, so he’d take it to St. Thomas Aquinas or Maimonides or some other platform to broaden the critical perspective on his own beliefs.You’d walk away from a discussion with him, even if you didn’t agree with him, fully understanding where his point of view came from, and admiring him for that.

He also, at one point, expressed interest in becoming a comedian. I’d add that his sense of humor is impeccable.

So where did all that go for you, Victoria? Where did the critical perspective, self awareness, and ultimately, the humor, go for you? Did it get swallowed by Rush Limbaugh’s bloated, jowly maw? Or did you decide the whole born-again thing was the best way to get attention again? Well, you have my attention, and I expect you to answer for why you’ve become such a dummy dumb dumb dummy, and I don’t think the answer to that is in the Bible.

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