Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Joshua Richardson is amazing!

Joshua, who grew up with Jesse and is friends with the other comedians, really has the best grasp and angle on what transpired. I admire his intellectual disucssion, as well as the time he spent trying to get the facts straight. If I may say, I tried to contact The Break Room and Vicki at the same time, felt the brush off (which I understand why), and proceeded with my boycott.

Anyway, everyone tells me comedy is offensive. I certainly have laughed at things I was shocked to laugh at. However, I don't consider the ad comedy.

I find myself repeating the same things over and over again when it comes to setting the record. And that is with the people who asked me, "Dennis, is this true?" I 've tried to get the truth out, which is why I appreciate Joshua's non-biased attempt to clear the air.

Here are a few of his posts. You can guess the context of what he is replying to:


"There is some misinformation here about what transpired, and, as sick as I am of this mess, I think someone needs to represent the truth. The sequence of events is this: first, a woman working at a Domino's pizza near the venue is raped and murdered. Then the flyers go up at the Break Room. Some people who were patronizing the venue saw the flyers, and thought they were in poor taste, especially in light of the attack. So these people, led by Dennis, attempt to contact Vicki and get no initial response (well, Vicki tries to use the comments as a promotional tool on the SUTURF facebook, but that's not a very meaningful act). Then, Dennis contacts the Break Room, who agree to take the posters down. Dennis also starts a facebook event to let people know that he won't be going, and why he won't be going, and asking if they want to go (which, if I'm reading most of the posts on this page right, is kind of what people have suggested they do - not go). No one at this point is asking for the venue or the show to be shut down - I believe that in one of the e-mailed correspondences with the venue, someone (I think Dennis) said that if the promotion company continued to produce ad material like the flyer, than the Break Room should think about their relationship with the company (it later came to everyone's attention that the flyer was made by someone in the troupe).

So far so good.

Vicki, at this point, becomes aware that the posters have been taken down, and seems to have regarded the boycott event as a guerrilla marketing opportunity. She goes to the page and is deliberately provocative, including making fun of a woman on the page for being raped. This causes the group to explode into a mess of recrimination and yelling, with people on both sides flinging ridiculous allegations. I don't know if anyone called to shut the venue down or take some action to stop future shows by the Stand-Up Guys, SUTURF, or Vicki; if so, there was no organized activity to do so on the boycott page. Dennis, who I guess patronizes the Break Room, repeatedly stated that the venue was fine, that he liked the venue, and that people in the group should let the venue know that they like and patronize the venue. No one tried to pull stupid legislative shennannigans or any crap like that. The most objectionable thing anybody in the group did, in my opinion, is call Vicki's workplace to suggest sensitivity training; while I disagreed with the action, that's a thing people do these days, I guess, as witnessed by that one guy who got fired from his Internet Job for harassing a Chik-Fil-A worker could attest.

Then some people from KC turned up on the thread to make some sub-Andrew Dice Clay schtick about women deserving to be beaten, and Dennis pulled the plug on the group.

As I saw things, there were two sides making reasonable points, and then there was Vicki trying to fuel anger to generate controversy. Some people didn't like a flyer at a place they patronized, and vocalized that complaint while also talking on facebook about how the flyer made them not want to attend the show. THAT IS ALL THAT HAPPENED. Don't believe the hype."

"How is people not wanting to go to a show an infringement on your freedom? How is it that people expressing a concern to a business they frequent about an image they have to see by doing so an infringement on freedom?"

"And Stephen Fry is talking there about just saying that something is offensive without having anything else to say. These people were wanting to express concerns to a business they frequent, and those concerns were listened to by the business. That's really the businesses' decision.

The timing of the ad going up on facebook would be more relevant if the complaints occurred before the events at Dominos. They, to my understanding, did not.

You clearly are, as you describe yourself, a "fanatic," who is "deaf" to people who are trying to reasonably disagree with you. That is very sad."

This is where I chimed in, sans the others aside from Joshua: "I love The Break Room! In fact, my wife and I had a wonderful time at The Gourmet Caberet. We loved Vicki's song, too! Everyone gave a great performance. Also, I watched the Stand-Up Kind of Guys and loved their comedy. I like Jesse's delivery--his laid back approach to lines. We feel The Break Room is doing a great job for the Topeka community. Obviously, there has been misinformation."

Joshua again: "You haven't actually read my post here at the Break Room, have you? If you had, you wouldn't keep suggesting that I was offended. I wasn't, as I make explicit in my post here. I understand why others were (because I am capable of empathy), but I did not share their outrage. My outrage is entirely about Vicki making fun of my friend for being raped. You can see a copy/paste of the relative quotes in my post below.

I fully understand sarcasm, irony (in both literary and contemporary forms), and satire. In my post below (the one you haven't read), I make the case for what the artist behind the piece, Jesse, might have been trying to do with the image (specifically, that he was creating a contrast between the name of the group and the image of violence and misogyny). That is why I did not join the boycott at first - although I understand why some people were offended and don't feel that their expression of that offense by contacting the venue and not going to the show was unreasonable. I only joined the boycott after Vicki made fun of my friend for being raped. As for the sarcasm in your use of the words "fanatic" and "deaf," well, duh. I was pointing out that you were, by beginning this discussion by accusing and being derogitory and not actually listening to what I had to say, you were embodying elements of those phrases that you clearly did not mean to. That only works if one acknowledges the touch of sarcasm in the initial usage.

You keep saying that people are trying to prohibit other's free speech here, but the only actual attempt at censorship I have seen is someone trying to report a bunch of my comments as offensive - an irony that I point out in my post that you didn't read. People on the boycott group said that they didn't want to go to the show, and then, after Vicki said some regretable things, expressed a desire not to go to any other show she is promoting. That's a far cry from picking up pitchforks or trying to ban comedy from the streets of Topeka. I have noticed that you are mostly complaining about how offended you are about people in the boycott group's speech, despite your claims to the contrary - more irony. No one is asking for special privledges here, unless you consider giving feedback to a venue a special priviledge.

It is funny to me that internet debate these days eventually boils down to people accusing each other of being trolls. If you didn't want to discuss this matter, than I question the wisdom of posting about it on a public forum. Also, I generally understand trolling to be abusive. I haven't been being abusive to you here, though prior to your most recent post, you were certainly attacking me. You also presented the same misinformation that I have seen over and over again - the group wants to shut down the Break Room, the group wants to shut down SUTURF and Stand Up Guys, the group is railing against the Schultzs. I read the actual boycott group thouroughly, and none of that happened there. Also, it's a rapier, not a samrurai sword.

I'm glad that you seem to be responding in better faith than you did initially. Now please read what I have actually said instead of straw maning me over and over again, which is the hype I was talking about."

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