1. The title is a joke. And lest we forget, Totally Biased is a comedy show (or is at least attempting to be). Of course there are funny feminists and feminist stand-up comics. But in my experience the whole rape-joke argument --- for lack of a better term --- tends to break down between male comics and female feminists. So for the purposes of our show I wanted to recreate what I have seen but in a much more controlled environment than the Internet's "ARRRGH! BLAAGH! BOOM! FART NOISE!"
2. Lindy West and Jim Norton are not the only two people qualified to have this type of discussion on television. They were, however, my first two choices. Lindy has made a career of intelligent, hilarious, opinionated, truth telling (and not just about lady stuff by the way). And Jim Norton is the rare comic who is hilarious, original, and open, who can also speak intelligently about what it is to be a comic. Most of us comics can't do that and when we are asked to do so it can be a disaster. And yes, we could have any various different configurations of comic and feminists. We could have had a female comic who is pro-rape jokes and male feminist. (Yes, that's a thing!) Hell, we could have had Sarah Silverman debate herself. But I wanted to have two people who I consider to be the best spokespeople for where the argument tends to live.
3. Neither of them won the "debate." Neither of them lost the "debate." It actually wasn't even really a debate. (It wasn't even meant to be. HAHA! We tricked you!) Anybody who was in high school debate could tell you that we didn't follow the most basic rules of debate. So if you spent your time counting "points" while they were talking, then you most likely missed the point. We only called it a "Comic vs. Feminist" because people don't tend to watch things billed as "A Reasonable Discussion." (See: Current TV) And since I am the one who set this whole thing up, I am getting tweets from people on both sides of this. And it seems that people who liked Jim before the show think he won, and people who liked Lindy before the show think she won. (Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!)
With one small difference though...
4. You can disagree with someone without insulting them and/or especially threatening to rape -- or weirdly bragging about how you would not rape -- them. Honestly, this is not a point that the people who are fans of Lindy need to hear. However, it seems that a significant percentage of the people who claim to be in support of Jim's well-stated arguments think that disagreement and straight up violent hatred come together in the same shitty and scary package. (Don't believe me? Twitter search @thelindywest... I KNOW!!! Each comment makes her point for her.)
Lindy is tough. And she probably doesn't need me getting her back, but here goes. Nobody --- who hasn't at least committed some sort of criminal act --- deserves the disgusting, unoriginal, maddening, saddening, and most of all cowardly Internet attacks she has received since her appearance on the show. And apparently from what she has told me, this is par for the course of what receives on a daily basis from her articles on Jezebel.com.
And again, to the (mostly) dudes out there, who feel the need to express themselves this way, take a note from your hero, Jim Norton. It is possible to disagree with someone, make your best thought out argument, and move on with your life without the hate. Trust me. I've seen people do it. And if you do it this way, you stand a chance of being listened to and starting a dialogue. I'm pretty sure Socrates figured all this stuff out yeeeeears ago. A here's the best part, when you do it that way, no one gets threatened with a (hopefully) pretend rape in the process. Everybody wins! Or at least everybody loses less. Small victories.
5. Comic vs. Feminist was successful. Could it have been better? Sure. Mostly, I could have done a better job of playing traffic cop. But it was exactly what I wanted it to be: a well-mannered, intelligent, often funny, and always impassioned discussion about a sensitive and charged issue that you rarely see on TV. And trust me. Totally Biased is going to do more stuff like this; this is where I live. But this first time around, I'm going to have to agree with former president George W. Bush who famously said, "Mission accomplished." But unlike him, I know there is still work to be done.
Follow W. Kamau Bell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WKamauBell