What do you think of this comic?

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I think it’s hilarious.

But when a peer of mine shared it on a website and it was reshared by several other users (myself included), there was a lot of backlash.  Who knew such a simple comment could open such a huge can of worms?

One detractor raises the concern that the comic gives off the following message: it makes fun of people who call out comedians who make offensive jokes at the expense of marginalized communities.

Long story short, a lot of people freaked out about this.

Now, as with practically every art form, smart, well-intended humans are able and fully entitled to forming their own interpretations.  I’m not questioning the validity of my peers’ interpretation and resulting concerns.  Having a different, even dissenting interpretation of art doesn’t make you stupid and mean.  It just means you’re a person who thinks for themselves.

The message I took away from the comic (and I think this entire experience) is as follows: some of us (I’m not going to say many, because generalizations are wrong and le gasp! offensive) are way too sensitive and are looking for reasons to be offended by the most innocuous of things.  And sometimes, it’s for the stupidest, most contrived reasons.

Yes, there are comedians who make jokes at the expense of people and communities they really shouldn’t, which is awful, but that wasn’t the point of the comic, in my opinion.

The setting of a comedian being heckled/called out by an audience is just icing on the cake.  The cake is a message of solidarity to all creators whose fruits of labor get rejected by party poopers who get their kicks from knocking other people down.  People who are prejudiced and predisposed to turning you away, but they need a pretext before they can feel good about it.

  • You write stories featuring a diverse cast of characters but you get called a racist because you’ve never walked in those characters’ shoes for a day, no matter how much “education” you received from talking to real-life analogues and countless hours of research.
  • You offer an all-female screening of a superheroine movie which celebrates female empowerment and the world calls you sexist because men weren’t invited.
  • You are an activist trying to make living conditions better for communities who are clearly suffering, but you’re vilified for “erasing” decades of history of people just getting by in such squalor.

Those aren’t my specific experiences, but I have endured this kind of mistreatment from hecklers and party poopers.

I started out somewhere and I’m sure I put my foot in my mouth more than once, and people were justified when they took offense.  I could aspire to be like Moses but they’d still find something to complain about.  No, my sea-splitting skills just aren’t up to par, because I missed a spot and the matzah got soggy.  So because of that, BAM – fifty points from Ravenclaw.

I can laugh in spite of the resentment at my painful experiences after enough time’s passed.  But I’ve also been the audience member at times, justified and not.  I sympathize with those who speak up against actual nastiness, but are mocked, shouted down, and shoved aside for it.

Anyway, that’s my take on the comic.  While I am sympathetic towards people who had a different interpretation and felt bad on account of seeing it, based on my interpretation, I have no regrets appreciating it and daring to pass it along.