* A friend of mine, who I have been actively trying to convenience to get a Tumblr blog, wanted to know if I would be willing to make a post on her behalf. For the time being, she would like to remain anonymous*
Below are some screenshots of a discussion on a friend-of-a-friends Facebook wall that I came across earlier this week. It regards the incident involving the Daniel Tosh “rape joke” controversy.
There were others defending Tosh in the post, but the posts that disturbed and angered me the most were made by Jarad “Saxsquatch” Selner, a local musician who is well know within Kalamazoo house venue scene:
1) “However, this woman deserves no sympathy.”
Yes, she deserves all the sympathy. As a woman, she is, in the type of society we live in, a huge target for sexual predators. Likewise, she is looked down upon by the institutions that control and influence —the government, media, etc—will devalue her as a human being. This is done through harassment, slander, and, in Jarads case, claiming that she doesn’t deserve sympathy.
All because she decided to confront a popular male comedian over his bullshit.
2) “So it’s okay to be derogatory as long as its not about something that may be violent?”
Here, Jarad is playing the “what-is-worst” game. What he doesn’t seem to understand though is that, since rape is, and always has been, an inherently violent act, any type of rape joke is going to be violent. Likewise, war jokes could be considered violent, but it is possible to tell a joke related to war that isn’t violent (example: you can make fun of the soldiers uniforms).
Repeat after me: YOU CAN NEVER NOT MAKE A VIOLENT RAPE JOKE. RAPE IS INHERENTLY VIOLENT.
Also, like devaluing a woman because she speaks out against rape—claiming that rape jokes are no better than other “derogatory” jokes— devalues the harm that rape jokes cause and, incidentally, downplays the harm that rape produces.
I would also like to say that, at this point in the thread, I don’t believe at all that Jarad is someone that finds all “derogatory” jokes offensive. If he did, he wouldn’t be as defensive about a woman speaking out against “jokes” that, in order for them to be “funny”, involves someone in her position being harmed and scarred for life. His belief too that, if she was so offended by the rape jokes why didn’t she speak out against any other offensive jokes, just oozes male privilege (with hints of derailing and generalizing the conversation at hand).
3) “Maybe she should have left quickly and quietly, then pursued proper and effective channels to combat this issue rather than create a sensation that serves absolutely no positive purpose.”
If there was a quote to go along with the definition of any kind of privilege—male, straight, white, Christian, whatever—this would be it. As some of the other persons in the thread commented, the system we have is busted (though I personally believe it has never been on our side). I apologize for bursting Jarads bubble, but I doubt someone as arrogant as Daniel Tosh would not have given any fucks if this woman went through the so-called “proper, effective channels” to voice her opposition to his material. I doubt anyone else in a position of fame and power would either.
It’s ironic that Jarad is claiming the women should have “left quietly”, because, as one of the posters pointed out, Jarad is not a person who stays quite. At every show I’ve attended that Jarad also happens to attend (ones that he’s not performing in, that is), Jarad always strikes me as an attention seeker. He is constantly shouts “HELL YEAH” before and after songs, and, while the audience always interacts with the band in some fashion (requests, back-and-forth jokes), Jarad seems to have a thing for dropping popular meme slogans (ex: WATCH OUT! WE GOT A BADASS OVER HERE!) loud and belligerently.
And for someone bashing a woman for attention seeking, Jarad doesn’t seem to mind his image being featured on flyers, having a Tumblr blog dedicated to posting pictures of himself (whether he runs this blog or not is unknown to me), or even, according to DIT Kalamazoo’s show listings, having a birthday “extravaganza” planned in his honor.
Last time I checked, he resides at the Milhouse, a house venue where I’ve attended shows three times so far. The house has a welcoming atmosphere, and the residents seem to be pretty chill and are familiar of what constitutes a safe space (I once even spotted a pamphlet about safe spaces on top of a shelf). Since I personally don’t know any of the residents of the house, I’m not going to pass any judgement on them, but I do wonder now exactly HOW safe of a space the Milhouse is, with someone like Jarad living there. I also wonder how safe ANY house venue is if Jarad is around.
He may not be a rapist nor a rape apologist, or condone rape “jokes”, but Jarad Selner needs to check his privilege, stop being disrespectful and promoting shaming towards woman, and cease downplaying rape “jokes” to the same level as other “offensive” jokes.
“HELL YEAH” indeed.