|Our horrible show, that no one has been talking about, is getting attention for|
us making a pedophilia joke, Yay us, right? Yay. Us. Right.
I would be a liar if I said I've never laughed at her urging or actions or words or efforts or whatever but I would also be a liar if I said I got it/her.
I tried (TRIED) to read her book "Yes, Please" and while I found it to be a little too allllll over the place (think of an awkward memoir mixed with comedic vignettes married to a funny, pixie-dust covered "Lean In") something did stick out for me . . . Poehler seemed genuine in her desire to help girls feel more empowered and aware of themselves and their opportunities.
True to form - Poehler also has a venture called "Smart Girls" (you can tell it is her initiative because where it might be most impactful to just call the venture, well, Smart Girls this one puts her name first). The group is actually pretty great (he says, the father of a young daughter) and their site and social media offshoots have lots of things that might grab the attention of or inspire young girls (like the aforementioned daughter). NO complaints there - but here's why I'm confused.
Poehler, a self-appointed icon (maybe not her word) of 21st Century Feminism (and more power to her and all the other feminists at sea) but she is, in her free and professional time, a comedian, writer, director, producer, etc. While maybe it is not fair to presume - I presume (anyway) that she would marry those personal values and professional values with cohesion. Agree? Read on.
Poehler is the producer of a new show on Hulu (stop laughing) called "Difficult People." The show is based, as one might presume, on two generally unlikable, self-absorbed, obtuse people who float around New York City making snide, cynical comments about people and things and life as a whole. The humor is "dark" and "edgy" and there are "no rules" and blah, blah, blah.
I'm fine with this. Many of my favorite comedians skew "uncomfortable" (George Carlin, Louis C. K., Richard Prior, Amy Schumer, Mel Brooks, Moshe Kasher, Tig Notaro, Jim Norton, etc.) and they push and pull at our expectations to great effect. The key is that they don't pretend to be shining examples or empowers. They act as people with little more than observer's glasses and megaphones as their cherished belongings. That works for them.
I get that this tone and dark voice are what Poehler and her show's stars (both extremely funny, according to their respective camps and fans) are going for. But they can't, in my opinion, get there.
HERE is why I'm upset (600 words in to the post) . . . in an early episode of the show (in its first and let's presume/hope last season) the female lead on the show Julie Klausner is upset because she Tweeted a joke (on the show - not in real life) that made a bunch of people upset. She's confused by their scorn. I, of course, see this as internal dialogue (the show goes out of its way to show that the joke is wrong and unfunny and will upset and seems almost seems to want that reaction but then they tell the joke) and her male co-star (Billy Eichner) asks what she said she here is the joke
"I can't wait for Blue Ivy to be eighteen years old so R. Kelly can piss on her."
All the moody, "who cares" millennials (and Paula Poundstone - herself a woman who pleaded "no contest" to child endangerment on molestation charges in 2001) go nuts with laughter.
Not only is the joke NOT funny (in any way, manner, shape, or form - and, trust me, I WANT to laugh at it because I fear it otherwise proves I am softening in my old age) but it seems rather difficult for me to square away.
How does a woman who is a feminist and wants girls to feel empowered, etc. make/allow that joke? How is she fine with humor about a girl being pissed on by a known pedophile? How does she think sexual assault and other crimes committed against women are funny?
I know, I know. Double standard. Judd Apatow has a wife and kids and he makes sexist, snide jokes in all of his movies (none (that I can remember), I'd like to point out, about sexual assault of a minor) and I don't know who the above named comedians laid down with at night or what they really love behind the scenes. But here is why I don't think it is a double standard on my part . . . none of them, to my knowledge, claim to want to empower anyone beyond professional networking and generous tipping.
More over - why NAME the little girl? Why does this girl (the child of famous parents (Beyonce Knowles and Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter), for the record) have to be used in a joke? And why clarify that you want her to be 18 when the golden showers fall? Does that make you less of a creep?
Here is the real question - reverse it. Would Amy Poehler allow the joke to stay in the show if they said they can't wait for one of Poehler's two sons (Archibald (7) and Abel (5) if Wikipedia is to be believed) to be old enough to be pissed on by a pedophile? Would she let Tina Fey's daughter be named in the joke? Would those three kids be named fodder in a send up of being humiliated and assaulted by a rapist/pedophile? No.
The answer is a simple "no." NO chance it stands. NO chance it goes. Poehler would have shut that down - and with GOOD reason. Yet Poehler, who claims to be an advocate for all girls (old and young) will allow this joke to fly with another girl in the mix.
I say and do a lot of unacceptable things about a lot of people, places, and things. I do it for laughs. I do it for indignance. I do it for genuine frustration. I do it for a host of reasons. But I don't pretend to hold those things precious or dear if only so they are close by when I want to strike out at them.