The Four Horsedudes of the Bropocalypse

Aparna Nancherla is a comedian. I know this because it says so, which is helpful because, had it not said so, I wouldn’t have known until I reached this part of her op-ed.

Before I stopped reading replies to my tweet, four garden-variety Horsedudes of the Bropocalypse had galloped on through with responses of this variety:

Apology: “What he did wasn’t even that bad.”

Victim-Blaming: “Why didn’t they just leave the room?” (Subtext: maybe these women should leave the planet.)

Hate: “If those women were actually funny, they wouldn’t be trying to get attention this way.”

Self-Loathing (via Fellow Women): “If you can’t stand the culture, get out of the yogurt!”

Demonstrating their commitment to balance on questions of public controversy, this comes in juxtapose to Roxane Gay’s pain at knowing that someone, somewhere, is having a good laugh watching Louis CK perform.

These reactions, inter alia, came in response to Nancherla’s twit.

Some might have thought the standing ovation was for his act, but apparently not as far as Nancherla made clear. It wasn’t an audience applauding, but society. It wasn’t applauding an act, but powerful men. It wasn’t applauding a comic set, but doing less than the minimum of decency. I tried to find a rule as to the minimum of decency to no avail, so I’ll just have to trust her on this.

But her “Horsedudes of the Bropocalypse” line was pretty darn funny. No wonder she’s a comedian. After all, anyone who fails to appreciate the toxic masculinity of the patriarchy in rape culture deserves to be run over by a truck delivering Axe body wash, right?

That said, even Nancherla’s great joke about dudes and bros gave rise to some concern about her dismissal of the horrifying and exhausting replies to her benign twit that Louis CK’s not being beaten by the vengeful audience says “all you need to know.”

Apology: “What he did wasn’t even that bad.”

I readily admit that I’m no connoisseur of kink, and found Louis CK’s turn-on bizarre and too unpleasant to think about. But then, it was my understanding from the popularity of 50 Shades of Gray that women weren’t supposed to be judgmental about weird and disgusting sex stuff. Or is that only when it’s their preferred flavor of kink?

Victim-Blaming: “Why didn’t they just leave the room?” (Subtext: maybe these women should leave the planet.)

Putting aside, for the moment, the inexplicable “subtext,” this raises a problematic question. If women are empowered and have agency, why not “just leave the room”? It’s my understanding that Louis CK asked for, and received, affirmative consent. They could have refused. They could have left. They could have smacked his sorry butt across the room. They could not leave the planet because they weren’t remotely qualified for the astronaut problem, having no discernible STEM skills, but that still makes no sense to me.

The answer, apparently, is that women are empowered and have agency until they are too weak to overcome the will and fear of powerful men. Or to put it otherwise, they wanted Louis CK to use his clout to further their careers and feared their lack of acquiescence in his kink wouldn’t make them stars. Aren’t women entitled to be stars by serving as potted plants to powerful if disgusting men? They certainly can’t be responsible for being, you know, equal.

Hate: “If those women were actually funny, they wouldn’t be trying to get attention this way.”

Louis CK was a comic star. The women who suffered his perversity were not. There are women who have become comic stars in their own right, from Carol Burnett to Judy Tenuta. Even the untalented can get a Full Frontal show on occasion. So why not these women? It may be they were unlucky.

It may be their moment just hadn’t yet come. Or it may be that they didn’t have what it took and saw this guy as their ticket to the big time. The problem is that there are many people who don’t make it in comedy, male and female, some of whom should and some shouldn’t. Which is which isn’t a function of watching Louis CK pleasure himself.

Self-Loathing (via Fellow Women): “If you can’t stand the culture, get out of the yogurt!”

Not to be judgmental, but it’s unclear how “fellow women” can be Horsedudes. This is not an argument, but then, it’s not toxic men arguing it.

After her fabulously funny “Bropocalyse” line plays out, Nancherla finally gets to the point:

The way to take a comedian’s power away is not to laugh.

And this was always the point, that if “society” to the extent reflected in the audience who gave Louis CK a standing ovation was outraged by his returning to the stage, all they had to do was not laugh. Even if they didn’t walk out, they didn’t have to laugh, to clap, to give a standing ovation. No one put a gun to their heads and screamed, “laugh, or else.” Yet they laughed.

But Nancherla has an explanation for this phenomenon.

But as women from time immemorial in both social situations and audiences can attest, it’s usually easier to laugh something off than to be singled out as humorless or a buzzkill.

Yes, it’s usually easier to go along with the crowd, to take the “easier” route, to do what others do rather than to take any responsibility for doing what you believe is right. Certainly nothing more could reasonably be expected of women, according to Nancherla, who had already exhausted her one and only funny line.

15 thoughts on “The Four Horsedudes of the Bropocalypse

  1. Suzi

    You said it with regard to the sex offender registry. You said with regard to revenge porn. You said with regard to Title IX. And now that the same “litany of excuses” is being used for mob “justice,” you say it again. And yet, they still have an excuse for everything, as if the one thing women aren’t is equal.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      That’s what makes me a misogynist, the expectation that women can actually do whatever the hell they want to do without an excuse because they’re so weak and oppressed that the only thing they’re good for is sobbing in the corner while the omnipotent Louis CK pleasures himself.

      Reply
      1. Guitardave

        …at least they can’t say you lack (musical) diversity.
        ( my favorite Zapp-ism..” tobacco is my favorite vegetable”)

        Reply
  2. Scott Jacobs

    Some might have thought the standing ovation was for his act, but apparently not as far as Nancheria made clear. It wasn’t an audience applauding, but society. It wasn’t applauding an act, but powerful men. It wasn’t applauding a comic set, but doing less than the minimum of decency. I tried to find a rule as to the minimum of decency to no avail, so I’ll just have to trust her on this.

    Admittedly, this all confused her because she’s never had a standing ovation, so she isn’t actually aware of how they work.

    Reply
    1. Jim Tyre

      Scott J,

      Cheap shots are fun and all. But the lawyers here know how to do research. I had never heard of Nancheria before SHG’s post, but it took approximately 2.3 minutes of research to find several instances of her getting a standing O.

      Reply
      1. SHG Post author

        Well, you sure showed him, Jim. Because he wasn’t trying to make his point through the mechanism of hyperbole and there are “several,” not one but several, instances. You owned him, Jim.

        Reply
  3. Matthew Wideman

    People like to “lump” or “warp” people from harassers or weirdos into a serious sexual predator. What he did was weird and perverted, but he didn’t force any of those women on a table and rape them. The first one makes you a human being with serious issues that make you interesting to listen to on stage. The latter puts you in prison.

    Reply
    1. SHG Post author

      To bootstrap Louis CK from disgusting pig to sexual predator requires on believe the narrative of power dynamics and that women are too fragile to make their own choices, act upon them and withstand the patriarchy. If you don’t believe, it doesn’t work. This is a fundamental failure of progressives in general and neo-feminists in particularly, who are incapable of grasping how any “decent” person doesn’t adhere to the orthodoxy of their religion.

      Reply
  4. Marty

    Are you consciously or unconsciously disrespecting Nancherla by spelling her name Nancheria? Perhaps it is a patrimonial pet name? Aparna and Roxanne will be miffed.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are subject to editing or deletion if I deem them inappropriate for any reason or no reason. Hyperlinks are not permitted in comments and will be deleted. References to Nazis/Hitler will not be tolerated. I allow anonymous comments, but will not tolerate attacks unless you use your real name. Anyone using the phrase "ad hominem" incorrectly will be ridiculed. If you use ALL CAPS for emphasis, I will assume you wear a tin foil hat and treat you accordingly. I expect civility from you, but that does not mean I will respond in kind. This is my home and I make the rules. If you don't like my rules, then don't comment. Spam is absolutely prohibited, and you will be permanently banned.