Why Dan Harmon Refuses To Shut The F*ck Up About 'Community'

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Why Dan Harmon Refuses To Shut The F*ck Up About 'Community'

By Joanna Robinson | Think Pieces | October 24, 2013 | Comments ()


Do you remember all the controversy from a few months back about some remarks Dan Harmon made about Community? Of course you do. There was a rape analogy, hackles were raised and everyone on both sides of the argument threw a good old fashioned snit fit. The inflammatory rape quote was pulled, out of context, from the Harmontown podcast. And without hearing any of the context I landed firmly on the non-Harmon side of the snit. “Jesus Christ,” I thought, “just shut the f*ck up and be grateful they hired you back, man. No need to pile on Season Four, just keep your head down, stop fighting with Chevy Chase, stop comparing ANYTHING to rape and do the work you were hired to do.”

That was before I drank the Harmontown Kool-Aid.


And oh, friends, I have drunk deeply. A friend of mine, a Harmontown acolyte, urged me to give the show a listen. At the very least, he said, give the “Rape Analogy Episode”* a try to get some context. I wasn’t swayed at first. Harmon is an eloquent, brilliant, hilarious, inventive but sometimes abrasive figure. “Not as bad as I thought,” I said after listening, “but I’m not exactly Team Harmon yet.” But I tried a few more episodes and fellas, ladies, I was smitten. It’s not that the eloquent, brilliant, inventive hilarity drowned out the abrasiveness it’s that, like with any great love affair, I fell in love with the bad qualities along with the good. The off-putting sides of Dan Harmon, the (not unwarranted) arrogance and the occasional misanthropy, are all part of a refreshing honesty, an unflinching dedication to being genuine, genuinely weird and genuinely a misfit.


And kids, that is, of course, what Community is all about. Celebrating a safe space for misfits. (Extremely telegenic misfits, but that’s okay.) In this week’s episode of Harmontown, Dan invited to two women up onto the stage with him, one of whom, a huge advocate for Community and a large presence in its online fandom, recently told Dan Harmon he should “stop talking.” (Basically, echoing my initial sentiment. “For the sake of the show, Dan, stop talking.”) On the episode of Harmontown, this woman, who goes by Maegwen, said the following. “I thought that you were hurting yourself and you were hurting the fans.” And here is the most salient point Harmon made in response:

Somebody says to me “Hey Dan what does it feel like to write that show?” and I go “You know, sometimes it feels like a penguin fucking a moose.” And only recently…like it’s worth money to print a headline that says, like, “Community Creator Says Penguins Fuck Mooses.”…It’s a bummer for me but here’s how I handle it. I say “aw fuck that sucks” but I don’t say to anybody, to Vulture, Defamer or anybody, “somebody’s got to stop doing something that they’ve been doing”…and I experience pain because of it just like I did on the playground just like all the characters on Community are constantly being punished for who they are. The outside world closes in on you as you express your humanity. It’s an important theme of the show and it’s run by a psychopath…and I’m bummed out, I’m a baby about the idea of being told to shut up and told what I should and shouldn’t do. It’s like a big issue with me.
And that’s the point (or a point), Community fans, when you tear apart Dan Harmon for expressing himself or try to muzzle him, that’s like telling Abed to stop acting out or telling the Dean to stop dressing so oddly. Yes, they’re fiction and he’s fact, but the point is, you’re losing the thread when you stomp on someone’s right to express themselves. The further point that Harmon makes (and one he makes frequently) as that our online culture’s tendency to rip quotes out of context and sensationalize statements for the sake of page views is encouraging an environment of dishonesty. Why speak your mind when your mind is going to be willfully misrepresented? I’m not saying that Dan Harmon never says things that give me pause or put me off. Despite having chugged a gallon of Harmontown Kool-Aid, I’m still quite capable of not liking something he says. But I like that he says it. I like that he’s built this funky little community (yes, community) of misfits where every week he can hold court and generate interesting discussions and yes, yes, play a game of D&D. They play D&D.


Am I guilty of ripping things out of context? Almost certainly. Will I try not to do so in future. I will try. And even though I’m on Team Harmon here, those quotes above are still out of context. I urge you to listen to them in context. That would be the Study Group thing to do.


*Shockingly, not its actual name.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • googergieger

    Yeah context. Whoda thunk it?

  • Sarah Weissman

    I'm sorry, I don't excuse his behavior. I'm also somewhat offended at you comparing his behavior to Abed, because whether it's mentioned or not, Abed likely has Asperger's which is a disorder that's BRAIN CHEMISTRY. Being a schmuck is not brain chemistry, and even Abed could tell you that. Also, the "just being honest" excuse is BS - You can be honest and Not a Dick. Why just be honest about the negative shit, then? It's just an excuse. The quotes sound terribly self-pitying, he's not some stallion reigned in by The Terrible Media. I'll watch Community, because I love it. I think Harmon's brilliant. I just don't think brilliance gives you an excuse to say the things he did.

    ADDENDUM after reading the comments: Whether it's diagnosed or not it's not an excuse. My BROTHER has high-functioning Asperger's, and he would never say the shit Harmon has said. It's a reason to be self-centered and awkward, not a complete dick. My brother's had to learn things that feel intuitive to many of us, but he HAS. And frankly, if Harmon's this successful in his career, he should to. If it happened once and he realized the error of his ways, it'd be fine. But it's not the first time. Asperger's is not a trump card and it also doesn't make you a dick.

  • Mz Black Widow

    Jesus H. - I just listened to him talk for 5 minutes (having never heard him or of him, OR watched his show) and I hate him :\ It's not because of the questionable rape analogy - my opinion on that is in the minority so no need to discuss it - but because he literally won't shut the fuck UP !
    I don't care who you are, when someone refuses to let the other person in a "conversation" finish a word (let alone a sentence) without interrupting in that arrogant "no no you shouldn't speak because I am me and I know everything" manner ... I hate 'em. Simple. I have no idea how clever or otherwise he is, how good his show is, neither do I care. He is an obnoxious boor ... *shrugs

  • Amanda

    Also, I love Community and I hope it improves with Harmon back at the wheel!

  • Amanda

    I had the pleasure last week of trying to explain to a grownass man why it's inappropriate to say that he feels enslaved by our government. He's white, of course, and I seriously had to break.it.down for this guy. Finally I told him to "find better words" to express his unhappiness with the political situation but in no universe, fantastical or actual, is he a SLAVE and for him to use this word so casually completely negates the horrors of ACTUAL SLAVERY, past and present.

    And it's the same with rape analogy. Sure, we've all said it in a joking sense at some point but honestly we can't anymore. Because joking around that you feel like you've been raped is pretty fucking demeaning to those poor souls who have actually BEEN raped.

  • headbeater

    Joanna, this is the best. You're the best.

    Comment trolls, GO AND LISTEN TO A HARMONTOWN. You are entitled to your opinions, but you should have all the information and understand all sides.

    listen to the 5 minutes of season 4 talk, then listen to 40 amazing minutes of Spencers dad.

  • Jezzer

    "Trolling" does not equal "having a different opinion."

  • headbeater

    you are right.

  • Todd VanDerWerff

    I dunno. Dan Harmon created a great TV show. It's a TV show I love and probably will always love. I think he's a great writer of TV and a brilliant man and probably a "genius," whatever that means. But none of those things give him carte blanche to be a bully to those who have less power than him and an asshole to his former coworkers and friends. Like, I'm sure he and Megan Ganz will work out their friendship (and maybe already have), but it's also been pretty clear that the things he's said about season four (things I generally agree with, if I would not go to that degree) have at least wounded her a little bit. And that's not behavior we should tolerate just because the person saying them made a TV show we like. Saying that it's an asshole thing to do doesn't negate our love of the TV show or even the man's writing. Matt Weiner's an insane egomaniac; it doesn't make me love Mad Men any less.

    You mention the importance of context, and I agree. Having listened to the episode in question, though, I'd say we need to pull back even further and think about the context of, like, LIFE. Dan Harmon is a well-paid and somewhat powerful Hollywood showrunner who has an intense cult of personality built around him. Maegwen (and ViolinCatherine, who's in the thing for less time) is just somebody on Twitter. (Full disclosure: I have almost certainly been a dick to Maegwen on Twitter, because she was pretty hard on me for not loving the show's fourth season.) Harmon's impulse--don't tell me to shut up!--is valuable and valid and human, but there comes a point where his impulse has to have brakes put on it if he doesn't want to be a bully and a jerk. Or, put another way, he's absolutely free to say whatever he wants in any context. He may not even think what he said is all that harsh (and I think this is probably correct). But there comes a point where the act of saying it and the context of the setting in which it was said absolutely become bullying, because he has so much more power in that setting (and in life in general) than somebody on Twitter does. Snapping at someone on Twitter, which he also does, can also be kind of a dick move, but it carries less weight, because Twitter is an inherently ephemeral medium. Calling someone up on stage to tell them they shouldn't tell you to shut up (which is, in its own tortured way, just telling someone to shut up and from a position of so much more power) is an abuse of power.

    I do think that Dan Harmon is a good person at heart. From the few times I've talked with him and his TV show, I think he and I agree on a great many things. I think he gets in over his head and puts his foot in his mouth. I think that he understands sometimes he needs to make things right. But at a certain point, we need to stop shifting blame from the person saying these things onto those who we believe to have misunderstood them. Context matters, yes, but it also matters from the wider perspective of the situations we're in, the power we wield, and the people we are. There's only one rule in life: Don't be a dick. Every religion or philosophy boils down to that. And when someone's a dick, it's right to confront them about it, so they'll set things right. And if "don't tell someone to shut up" is a theme of Community, then that is, too. The show's center is acceptance of people, warts and all. But sometimes acceptance means that you are the bigger person, that you don't say everything that's on your mind because you realize how much that would hurt someone. I'm not asking Dan Harmon to shut up, because he has every right to say whatever he wants. But I am absolutely exhausted with the defenses offered when people dare to be offended by the things he says to them. Actions and words have consequences, no matter how much we like a TV show.

  • Yossarian

    Your rambling, thoughtful examination of the underlying issues at play here of power, freedom, accountability, and self expression is very interesting. There are no easy answers but you seem willing to accept that and you are more interested in honestly exploring the ideas and the limits of our ability to reconcile them.

    But the thing is, nothing you've said here is incompatible with what Joanna or I or many of the Harmon defenders are saying. If fact, it's not that different from what Dan Harmon would say and has said on the topic. (http://danharmon.tumblr.com/po...

    And, now here's the interesting thing to me: The only real difference between what you say and what I say is that you stop short of actually endorsing Dan Harmon as a good person. You'll say he's "probably" a good person and than ramble on about how that doesn't give him " carte blanche" to be a dick and bully people. (kind of a straw man position which no one anywhere is advocating) Yet your comment is so much more well-received than anything I said anywhere else on this post.

    And I don't care about the upvotes but I'm interested in the psychology behind that. That people can appreciate your appeal to nuance and complexity and reasonableness but they still just really need that addendum that Dan Harmon did something bad and should feel bad and cannot be allowed to get away with it.

    I don't know what it means. I'm curious if anyone wants to try to explain it to me. People that are fans of Dan Harmon are advocating forgiveness and understanding but strangers on the internet just can't seem to let go of that little nugget of judgement (despite having less information and despite the point I raise elsewhere that there are absolutely no stakes and nothing at risk for them if they do, they weren't affected or aggrieved by any of this they just read about it on twitter but now it's a part of them and they have opinions and they are invested)

    No one here or anywhere is making the argument that because he makes a good show he should be able to be a dick and say whatever he wants, we are saying he is a good person who genuinely cares about his art and his colleagues and occasionally gets pulled into this grey area of honest self-expression running afoul of other people's feelings. That same grey area you were talking about above.

    The rape analogy was in poor taste. No one defends it. Everyone, including Dan, admits that. The people who made Season 4 did their best to make the show they thought they should be make. Everyone including Dan admits it. His reaction was petty and childish and emotional and not fair to a lot of people. Everyone including Dan admits it. The conversations that he has about it and the subsequent meta-conversations about it and the tangents he goes off on about this and related issues are really interesting and thoughtful and he is a flawed person- as are we all- but ultimately a very good and caring person (in addition to creative genius) who deserves our forgiveness. That's what we're saying. Why is it a stronger (or "better" in terms of upvotes given) position to say and imply all the same shit but come short of forgiveness. That, to me, is interesting and a little disheartening.

    edit: Um, it was brought to my attention that you are sort of famous and well known from the AV Club which then taints the upvote data that I tried to draw conclusions from (it was a weak argument anyway). I still stand by my larger point about the fact that people in general seem to prefer to hold on to the disapproval and umbrage for reasons that don't totally make sense to me.

    Maybe it's unreasonable to expect people to just take Joanna's word for it that he's a swell guy once you get to know him but I do think there is something else worth questioning about our nature that makes us more disposed to hold on to negative and disapproving impressions based on superficial understanding of people for perceived antisocial behavior, especially since we are also so pathologically driven to fixate on the negative takedown stories in our pop culture media coverage.

  • Turner Bryce

    There should have been even more brought to your attention. This is the guy that said in a Community review once that he wished season 4 could be good without Harmon because of personal issues he has with him.

  • e jerry powell

    Who would win a Dan Harmon-Kevin Smith smackdown?

  • Rob

    I imagine this gets a little risky when you apply the argument to Roman Polanski or Orson Scott Card.

  • Anna von Beav

    The difference being, of course, that Polanksi COMMITTED AN ACTUAL CRIME, and that Card advocates violently denying human beings their rights as human beings, while Harmon made a stupid comment.

  • JoannaRobinson

    Au contraire. The argument is "context matters." Not "if someone makes art I like they have carte blanche to do whatever they like." Some people are misreading it that way, but that's not at all the argument. OSC's comments and Polanski's actions get WORSE in context. Not better.

  • Art3mis

    Well, my question is: how exactly does the context here make what he said better? Your article doesn't explain that, and while I'm at work and can't listen to the episode, you also say up top that when you first listened to the whole thing you still didn't think what he'd said was okay. So is the problem really that the rape analogy was taken out of context and twisted around to be misleading, or is it that you like the guy and that's just his type of humor and if you're really into his show then it probably wouldn't sound as bad? Because I see a big difference between those two things, and nothing you said here actually sounds like it was the former.

  • Yossarian

    The point is that if you actually listen to someone and make an effort to get to know them and understand them you might start to see them as a real person with complex inner lives and actual feelings and redemptive qualities that balance out the imperfections that you encounter in a more superficial context.

    So instead of judging the man for his poor choice of words at a live show when he's asked about how it felt to see something he cares about and spent years of his life working towards taken away by the corporation that owns it and changed and manipulated without his involvement and thinking he must be a jerk you actually get to know more of his personality and his complicated, imperfect, human relationships with people he is friends with or works with, how much he cares about them and about the things he makes, how much he cares about strangers off the street that come listen to him ramble on stage, and how bad he feels that being blunt and honest in answering that question might have hurt or offended people but he still feels that being honest was better than being dishonest and giving you empty platitudes.

    More context and understand tends to make just about everything better. If you knew more about the the circumstances and the personal problems of that guy who was rude to you at the bank or the troubled home life of the kid who picked on you at school you might be inclined to have more sympathy and understanding. I'm sure the same holds true for the creator of a tv show who said something bitchy on a podcast that you then read about on a gossip blog. Adding some humanity and context just might broaden your understanding and change your reaction of that cantankerous old show runner. Not to get too sanctimonious here but the capacity to do that is kind of the essential thing that makes us human beings.

  • ApeDrape

    This is very thoughtful.

  • Art3mis

    Yeah, no. I agree that we should view others as complete people and not just write them off as human beings because of one stupid thing they said. That's why every comment I've made here has been about Harmon's words -- not his value as a person. But at the same time, I don't think we need to embrace everything stupid thing someone says because they have a sick kid or are sad about their television show or have an addiction--especially when, as is true for Harmon, this isn't an isolated instance of saying jerky things.

  • JoannaRobinson

    I mean that's the problem, I can't possibly, in an article, provide the context that's so sorely lacking and I urge you to listen to the show (or not, your choice). I respect Harmon and the hours I've spent listening to him hold forth have provided me with character context. I don't expect you to spend your hours doing the same if you'd rather not. That's entirely your decision. But I'm saying that contextual evidence has given me a perspective that a reaction to an extracted quote could not. You can have your reaction, no one is denying you that.

    Interestingly, what I've seen in this very comments section is people giving ME the benefit of the doubt they're unwilling to give Harmon. That's because they are commenters here and they know my work and my opinions and general demeanor. That is to say, they have context for me. And now I have context for Harmon. And context matters.

  • Sarah Weissman

    Context IS everything, but I can't think of a RIGHT context. And honestly, you've never used a disorder as an excuse to treat people negatively or used a rape analogy..

  • SamuraiShampoo

    Arrogance is always unwarranted. Being talented does not absolve you of the consequences of being a dick.

  • cruzzercruz

    His honest feelings about his show are what draws me to him. Everyone puts spin on stories or plays nice. Fuck that. It's not how people actually behave, and it's refreshing to see someone be real.

  • Sarah Weissman

    I don't buy the "realness = meanness" shtick. It tends to be an excuse to be nasty. I've meant brilliantly talented people who are also kind and considerate. It's not just that he's saying negative things, but what exactly, he is saying. There is no tact or consideration of anybody else in the world.

  • Art3mis

    I think this is a really terrible message to propogate: "Being a dick is part of being a loveable misfit! Saying shitty things is just honesty and should be celebrated!"

    No. This is the same thinking that gives self-professed nerds a pass when they're vilely misogynistic: "they're just harmless nerds and not like those frat guys who are actually terrible when they do the exact same things!" The fact that someone is endearing in one area does not mean that everything they say and do is endearing and acceptable, and I think it's hugely important that the public at large understand that. Alec Baldwin's screaming, sometimes violent anger issues are not the reason he was a comedic genius on 30 Rock, and even if they were that wouldn't make his temper tantrums okay.

    Saying asshole things--which Dan Harmon has done, repeatedly, only one example of which was that rape analogy--is not actually an essential part of being a quirky outsider. It is completely possible to be a giant weirdo who loves D&D and cosplay and doesn't scream at people and put down other writers and use rape analogies.

    No one is trying to "muzzle" anyone, except perhaps for those who are telling people who don't like shitty rape analogies to stop criticizing them. This article was uncomfortably close to those "stop being the PC police and trampling on my free speech rights by saying you didn't like what I said!" pieces written by intentionally-offensive comedians when their shtick gets criticized. It is fully, 100% possible to embrace who you are and celebrate difference and speak your mind without saying nasty stuff all the time, and if you decide to say the nasty stuff anyway, you should expect criticism for it.

  • Yossarian

    I think the point you keep missing, here and in your other replies, is that we are not excusing or endorsing the bad behavior. We are saying that the good far outweighs the bad. We are saying that if a bunch of awkward, misfit, creative-minded young people are looking for a role model and someone to admire in popular culture they could do a hell of a lot worse than Dan Harmon.

    And if they did, and if they listened to him in context and take to heart all of his messages not just the sensational headline-making negative ones they kids will be all right. And if you can read the Think Piece above and come away with "Being a dick is part of being a loveable misfit! Saying shitty things is just honesty and should be celebrated!" than you are missing the point, and being a dick, but not in a loveable way.

  • Art3mis

    Sigh. Maybe you are not endorsing it, but I wasn't talking about you in this comment. I was talking about Joanna's piece, in which she said the following:

    when you tear apart Dan Harmon for expressing himself or try to muzzle him, that’s like telling Abed to stop acting out or telling the Dean to stop dressing so oddly. . . . Despite having chugged a gallon of Harmontown Kool-Aid, I’m still quite capable of not liking something he says. But I like that he says it. I like that he’s built this funky little community (yes, community) of misfits where every week he can hold court and generate interesting discussions and yes, yes, play a game of D&D. They play D&D.

    That is straight-up endorsing and excusing the bad behavior. "I like that he says it." Because it's part of his weird quirks, like Abed and the Dean. That's what I was objecting to in my comment.

  • Yossarian

    But the whole point of Joanna's piece is that you don't have the full picture of the person when you take the "being a dick" part out of context.

    She's not saying that it's ok to be a dick if you have weird quirks. She's saying it's ok to be a human being with flaws and that the measure of a man should be the sum of his character, not just the juicy bits relayed by the tabloids. And then she's telling you that in her estimation the good qualities of this person outweighs the occasional tendency to say inappropriate things, and moreover that those tendencies are so ingrained in this personality (coming from a place of honest emotional reaction and over-sharing in public and creative integrity and perfectionism) that to remove them would damage the good parts, too. And she invites you to come see for yourself or at least to consider reserving the harsher aspects of judgement until you do.

    It's not that we can't ever criticize Dan Harmon or that he should be able to say anything and never be held accountable for it. But haven't we criticized him enough? And can't we maybe look deeper to see the value of the person is a complex combination of virtues and flaws?

  • Jezzer

    Much like you, every time you do your insufferable "let me come down from on high and bless the masses with my contrarian wisdom" schtick.

  • Yossarian

    Right. If any of you kids out there are looking for a role model in the Pjiba comments I will humbly do my best to be that good example and honor the responsibility inherent in that position.

    I will strive to exemplify the importance of thoughtful, measured critical response, questioning assumptions, and trying to bridge disagreements by affecting mutual respect and understanding while still sticking to core principles and tenaciously defending what is right. A paragon of magnanimity, self effacement, humor, compassion, and good vocabulary. I'm not perfect but I strive to contribute something of value when I comment and defend the claims I make. If you kids are down for that I'm happy to be of service.

    Thanks, Jezzer

  • Jezzer
  • Genevieve Burgess

    I think sometimes when people who have been bullied or put down for a long time finally find success, they find it hard to shake off that mindset. Dan Harmon has obviously had a lot of difficulties getting "Community" on the air and a lot more difficulties getting it to stay on the air, but at the end of the day he's wildly successful compared to most writers out there. This isn't to say he can't be critical or unhappy with how things turned out with that show but Dan's past as someone who was bullied doesn't give him the right to disregard other people's feelings now. I don't agree with telling him to shut up, but it's not outrageous to expect that he understand his position of authority/celebrity and take that into account when speaking/writing.

  • Turner Bryce

    You want people that become more visible than us to act less visible. You want our upper class to act classy. It's not too much for the lowers to ask of their uppers. It sounds like the company(s) that fired harmon, in what sounds like a very classy, quiet manner, agreed with you. The rich and famous should be more polite, and separate from us. People that operate with more autonomy than ditch diggers shouldn't stand on the hill above the ditch and shout, "hey, look at me, up here! I can do and say whatever I want!" It's just not nice. It makes ditch diggers...antsy. These gods we've elected, by voting for them with our hard earned labor, owe it to us, and to the companies that oversee this whole thing, to rise up dutifully and gratefully, and then become very, very graceful. They should not hang out on the internet. They should not speak from the top of their head. They should have publicists assigned to them. They should attend charity functions and appear in staged photos and videos reciting healthy, controllable talking points about their projects. Dan Harmon lets you down by being as disgusting as, say, your uncle, because Dan Harmon is not your uncle. Your uncle is a normal man, with no "power," unlike Dan Harmon, who has corporate sponsorship. He's been "made," given wings, yet he uses them to fly....so low. I wish there was a way we could punish him for it. I know the days are gone when we were able to use actual nails, but it would be so fitting if we could just...you know. I think then and only then would he learn his lesson and offer a valid lesson to others.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    No. I think all people should conduct themselves with respect to their fellow human beings except in specific circumstances. I don't think much of non-famous people who use inflammatory language for shock value. I've gotten up and walked away from conversations with friends when they refused to stop using racist words or phrases because "I'm just joking, I don't really mean it that way" isn't an explanation I'll accept. I've stopped using words and phrases that others find hurtful or insensitive. I'm not holding Harmon to a higher standard than I'm holding myself or my friends just because he's famous. I am saying that when you're famous, your words are more likely to be taken "out of context" and you should be aware of that.

  • Turner Bryce

    He seems very aware, to me, that his words are more likely to be taken out of context. The awareness itself, and the apologies and discussions that come with it, don't seem to be enough for his detractors. They seem to want him to react to this phenomenon, in which more people can hear him talking, by talking differently. They want him to see his name in a gossip headline and crawl into a cave and die. And you don't have to explain that you don't want him to crawl into a cave and die, it's a metaphor. I think it's fair to say that if you want him to do anything, it's to refine his words, perhaps by preparing them further in advance, because, as you either brag or confess here, you do that in your life, you are measured and careful, and people with more power than you shouldn't be different from you. I would very much like him to remain very different from you. I don't know if you have a podcast, but unless it's something carefully prepared about an interest you have, which might be cool, I'm afraid it would be a podcast about how everyone but you should do whatever they can to keep you from walking away from conversations. It would make me feel anxiety and fear.

  • Yossarian

    I think the larger point is that there IS an understanding by DH of his position of responsibility and there IS a level of accountability and consideration that gets completely lost when sensational quotes are taken out of context and pasted across the internet. I think the people who actually know him and work with him don't take offense to his comments because they know the man and they know how much he cares.

    What's interesting is how so many other people that have nothing to do with him and nothing at stake and aren't effected at all by his comments still feel entitled to a reaction and an opinion about it or feel the need to get upset on behalf of all the people who they assume must have been hurt or offended by the comments.

    That's the really weird thing. All these anonymous and uninformed people online, most of them very critical and sarcastic and cynical people (or, avatars of people at least) come out of the work to apply a higher standard on Dan Harmon because he used his real name and his name is significant enough to have a Wikipedia entry so suddenly he is failing to live up to some standard.

    But who is actually offended or harmed by the "horrible shit" he says? Shit you wouldn't even be aware of if it hadn't been picked up and repeated by entertainment blogs since you weren't in the audience listening to him say it? It certainly isn't offensive to us because we say worse every day and invent new ways to award up-votes and ee honors to it. We just presume outrage and vent negativity without any standing or insight.

    (disclaimer- typical Yossarian tangent that is not at all a direct criticism of Genevieve, it was just a jumping off point to another rambling lecturing comment)

  • Genevieve Burgess

    I think people are right to say that having your TV show written by other people isn't comparable to rape. It's not a matter of whether it's offensive or not, it's just a lazy hyperbolic analogy. I don't think it's unreasonable for people, fans of his or otherwise, to be disappointed in such a facile use of the term and later defense of it. There are people who will get outraged about situations without investigating further and discerning all the nuance, but even knowing the nuance my reaction is less "you're a horrible person" and more "that's a horribly lazy way to express those feelings. I expect better of you."

    I actually have dropped words or comparisons from my vocabulary for the sake of those around me, and I'm not famous. Sure, everyone who knows me knows I mean well and I'm not ACTUALLY comparing gas prices to sexual assault or saying that having to wait 20 minutes for the metro is a mentally disabled situation, but to me it's worth it to be as respectful as I can and find more creative ways to express frustration or disappointment. There's a whole universe of words out there, you can make do without a handful. And trust me, I have no problem being insulting or critical without those terms.

  • NateMan

    A shameful confession:

    A woman (who we'll call Jane) I work with had her office reorganized. New furniture and stuff. As usual, the people who ordered the furniture and the people who put in the furniture didn't take into consideration the fact that you need to be able to plug little things like power and network cables for computers in, and so put the furniture right up against the wall, and the pieces go all the way to the floor, so you couldn't get behind them. I took one look at it, rolled my eyes in disgust, and said "Well, this is retarded."

    Jane has a physically and mentally handicapped daughter who's like 8. I knew this already. I'd met the kid several times. And as soon as the words were out of my mouth I wanted to shrivel up and die. I apologized in writing later, and she told me not to worry about it, she understands about verbal tics. But I still felt like the world's biggest asshole.

    Long story short: I don't use that word any more. Or, at least, I don't unless I'm infuriated and alone. And I continue to feel like an asshole when I do.

  • NateMan

    Here, in an attempt to prove your point, out-Harmon Harmon, and demonstrate why it's a problem, is the best and most offensive analogy I can come up with at the end of a very long work day:

    If you verbally abuse your child in the privacy your own home, the only person you hurt is your kid (and your soul, IMO). If you do it in public, you hurt him and everyone who's forced to witness it.

    If you put yourself in the public eye, you're held - or should be held - to a higher standard than other people. You have more to lose. You have more influence on the world. You have a larger say in the grand scheme of things - even if those 'things' are just what's on TV on Thursday nights. That should hold true for cops, politicians, judges, and yes, entertainers. People should model the way they want to be treated. Does Dan Harmon want people - not just Sony, the faceless corporation that employs him - but the people he works with, his friends, his family, etc., to treat him with the same lack of respect he's publicly shown to others? Does he want the people around him to treat the OTHER people around him in that way?

    But it's not just about the Golden Rule. At least not for me. And I know I can't articulate it well. But I want people to treat each other well. I also want people to act, in public, with a little bit of class. Maybe it's too much to ask, maybe I ask for it in the wrong way, maybe I expect too much. But I just don't like him. And he doesn't need me to like him; I'll still watch his show. He's no Orson Scott Card, for example. He's no bigot or demagogue. I just think he's a jerk.

  • Yossarian

    It's a pretty flimsy analogy, but it still begs my original question of "where's the harm?"

    If you are telling me that the harm occurs to society when everyone is forced to witness it, doesn't that make Vulture, TMZ, Defamer, Pajiba, and everyone else who reported on it part of the problem? Aren't they the one's who took it out of context and put it in the public eye and contributed to the deleterious effects on our impoverished culture?

    And doesn't that absolve Dan Harmon of some responsibility since almost everyone that heard his comments in context and understood more about where he was coming from had a lesser reaction or no reaction at all? Doesn't it just prove my point?

    I don't think the problem is with the people he works with, his friends, or family. I think they know and understand and accept Dan and I think he cares a lot about them as well. But you think he's a jerk. Why? What did Dan Harmon ever do to you?

  • Almásy

    The harm is that when a piece like this is written saying that part of Harmon's brand is being like that impressionable misfits with issues themselves are encouraged to think that this sort of behaviour is not
    only okay but healthy and natural for someone who is a misfit, which it is not.

    Which is not to say that as a relatively famous person Harmon owes society so he must set an example, but it's a nasty disposition and the fact that people close to him are used to it doesn't mean that it's benign.

  • Yes! Exactly! This! Agreement all over the place!

  • NateMan

    I want to upvote that a bajillion times. You were way more eloquent about it than I was.

    I have no objection to Harmon speaking his mind. But if he's going to be a dick when he does it, he (and his Kool-aid drinking fans) need to expect that a lot of us are going to tune him right out.

  • NateMan

    To each their own. I enjoyed the first few seasons of Community. I think Harmon is very talented, in one particular field at least. But he also reminds me of one of those socially inept people who, despite not actually having any diagnosed disorders, claims Asperger's when someone takes umbrage at something offensive they said. When really all it is is they think they're more important than the rest of us. I'm not talking people with actual issues on the autism scale, here; I'm talking the people who use that as an excuse. And then we're supposed to feel bad for the aggressor, because... I don't know, something. I've met far too many of them. And there's always an excuse for people. And we excuse the ones we like while berating the ones we don't.

    Harmon is talented and can indeed sometimes be charming. I'm sure (well, sorta) that he's a lovely family man and a hard worker. I think he's also a tool. And no amount of charm on his podcast - which I have listened to - will change that.

  • Steph

    He does have actual diagnosed Asperger's though.

  • NateMan

    Well... He has self-diagnosed Asperger's.

    "“So, in a very naive way—and I’ve never told anybody this before—I started researching the disorder,” Harmon says. “I started looking up these symptoms, just to know what they are. And the more I looked them up, the more familiar they started to seem. Then I started taking these Internet tests.” The tests came up positive.

    When he began writing Community, Harmon thought the character he related to most was Winger, who had “all the defense mechanisms that I acquired,” Harmon says. But the more online tests for Asperger’s he took, the more he began to wonder if he was just as similar to Abed. It had never occurred to him before, he says, because he has always been so oversensitive.

    Eventually, Harmon met with a doctor and came to understand that symptoms of the disorder lie on a spectrum, and that in fact there is a place on it for people with inappropriate emotional reactions anddeep empathy. Harmon now sees that he may fit somewhere on that spectrum, though figuring out exactly where could take years."

    Which says to me (in, I want to be completely clear, what I recognize as a biased and cynical way) that he'd been acting out his whole life, the Internet told him he had an excuse, and he found a doctor to agree with it. I fully admit I could be completely wrong, but that reads like some WebMD self-diagnosis right there.

  • Sarah Weissman

    Ugh this is just more offensive. Whether it's diagnosed or not it's not an excuse. My BROTHER has high-functioning Asperger's, and he would never say the shit Harmon has said. It's an excuse to be self-centered and awkward, not a dick. If it happened once and he realized the error of his ways, it'd be fine. But it's not.

  • JustOP

    To me, it looks like he searched some symptons, realized they came under Aspergers, and then consulted a doctor. The doctor then confirmed that some of his symptons are typical of those who have aspergers.

  • Steph

    It says right there that he spoke with a doctor who thought he was autistic, doesn't look like self diagnosis to me. I mean, I have diagnosed Asperger's and I can recognize several traits in him, I guessed he had it just from watching the show and seeing how insightful it was into the condition. But you're right, it doesn't excuse his actions, although I personally don't think he has anything to apologize for.

  • Jezzer

    "Spoke with a doctor who thought he was autistic" does not equal "was tested for autism and received an autism diagnosis."

  • NateMan

    Like I said, I'm totally cynical about it. :) It reads like one thing to you and another to me.

    Edit: And if he does, maybe his behavior is more understandable, if not (to me) justifiable.

  • Yes, yes, and yes. Thank you.

    I especially agree with the sub-point you alluded to: if this were another controversial show-runner for whom we are less-inclined to feel this sort of sympathy (like, say, Chuck Lorre), we wouldn't be having this discussion.

  • Jezzer

    Oh, we can bring it a little closer to home. Chevy Chase was on the same show and also openly a dick, and the same people who sprain their wrists writing out excuses for Harmon won't hesitate to throw Chase under the bus.

  • Yossarian

    It's almost as if there's more information being brought to bear on their judgments than just the few similarities you point out...

    If only there were some way to know what they were thinking we might have the missing piece to this puzzle.

  • Steph

    Why would he shut up about Community? It's his show, it's part of his
    job to talk about it. Also, I've yet to be offended by any of the dumb
    stuff he's said in interviews.

  • Guest


  • BendinIntheWind

    OH MY GOD what is that Labyrinth picture from?!!!?!?!? (Other than my sexual nightmares, of course.)

    Who am I kidding: I want to go to there.

  • JoannaRobinson

    IT'S FROM HARMONTOWN. That's what I'm trying to tell you. That's Harmon, his co-host Jeff Davis and his girlfriend Erin McGathy.

  • Steve Ward

    Now that I've seen the photo, Jeff's Tina Turner wig that he purchased and then had cut and styled was time and money VERY well spent.

  • A ton of respect to Joanna, but I'm afraid none of this excuses what he said. I agree that he's talented, I agree that he's worthy of praise for creating a great TV show that dares to be odd and esoteric and awesome in a very specific way.

    But none of his brilliance absolves him. He went way too far. It doesn't really matter that he's an outcast because that doesn't make what he said okay. A pass cannot be issued simply for purity of talent or genuine misfithood. I'm not looking to hamper his right to expression. I'm looking to point out the seriously troubling way he went about it. Rape comparisons had no place in this and he should not have gone there. Harmon acted like a petulant, smug child and used a disgusting rape analogy in the process and no amount of great podcasting or Abed comparisons will excuse or vindicate that.

  • Jezzer

    "It's not perpetuating rape culture when someone we like does it!"

  • Yossarian

    I just wanted to point out again that no one really thinks the rape comparison was a good thing to say or particularly defensible (no one I'd align myself with anyway). It has been addressed and apologized for. We aren't saying that we want a pass for future rape comments because it is handy and useful figurative language. It was an off-the-cuff remark, a poor choice of words.

    He said it even though he shouldn't have and now we have to make a face and wince inwardly and hope he does better. The point we're trying to make (the point I think the others in this thread are trying to make) is that we can forgive that comment and still like the person. We don't need to constantly focus on it. Good people can say dumb things, sometimes.

    I think you have a good point. I think we as a society should stop and criticize these types of comments, rape jokes, rape analogies. We should make sure that even the fans and apologists and even the person who said it realize that it is not ok. BUT. But we have to have a way to then release and move on and let everyone get back to normal and trying to be better people.

    That, I think, is where these things break down. You catch someone saying something dumb and they can either double down and defend it or they can apologize (one is clearly better than the other). But either way they is no real mechanism for society to let go once they've caught someone. So fans and sympathizers start saying "ok, we're sorry, can we go back outside and play now?" and people who are not inclined to be sympathetic (or, new people who just heard about it and are outraged anew) don't want to let them get away with it or think it's ok.

    I hope no one thinks it was a good or defensible thing to say. But it's not the end of the world or the end of Dan Harmon and, to the point of the article, there's a lot more to him than the few unfortunate things that get so much negative attention. Is there anything that a Pjiba comment can say now, 4 months after the fact and after the public apology from Harmon, that allows us to move on?

  • Jezzer

    The topic is Dan Harmon, not good people.

  • Guest

    Rape is always a valid comparison.

  • NateMan

    Because he is a petulant child. A clever and talented one, sure, but he's a 14yr old boy whose family treated him like the Golden One, and didn't bother teaching him about the basic societal limits on behavior.

  • JoannaRobinson

    What on earth are you basing that on, though, Nate? Because that doesn't jive at all with the familial anecdotes he's shared. So that sounds, to borrow a phrase, like some WebMD armchair psychologist diagnosis right there.

  • NateMan

    Oh, it is, I have no problem admitting it. :) I'm basing it on what he's said, in public settings, about the people he works for, works with, and who took over for him when he got the boot. And just because that's not how he grew up, doesn't mean it isn't how he's behaving. I should have said he's LIKE a 14yr old boy who was treated this way. I figured the fact he's not actually 14 demonstrated that for me. Sloppy writing on my part!

  • Which is very sad and explains a lot. I would be very interested in a social-psychological profile of that family situation.

  • JustOP

    I fall into a crowd that is apathetic about this issue. I just thought his statements were largely hyperbole in order to express how he felt.

  • Adam Borden

    I believe it was purposeful hyperbole... I don't think if pressed, Dan would say that his experience of being raped (if he was) and watching season 4 were the same. He was expressing, in the moment, that his feelings were deeper than pure discomfort and violation. That it felt deeper than that, and in the moment, he didn't have a more eloquent analogy.
    The internet and politicians do this a bunch with very little consequence. Obama is not worse than Hitler, he's not a tyrant, and people who have suffered under a tyrant or Hitler would find those comments just as abhorrent as someone who has experienced rape.

    Further, Dan is an entertainer, a comedic entertainer at that. In comedy, if done well, it's silly to be offended by one thing, and not another. If someone makes a racist joke, and you don't treat it the same way you would if it was your own race being made fun of, then there's a double standard in that. Because the whole point of the joke was to illicit a response, it was to entertain, and make you think about hard truths through the lens of satire. It's different if it was a deeply held belief and said outside of the realm of satire.

  • This lack of consequence is precisely the problem. Rape analogies, Hitler comparisons, that these are used to score political points and/or to get attention seriously trivializes what are otherwise agreed upon to be abhorrent things.

    This is why I can't write off Harmon's behavior in this case as Misfit Being a Misfit.

  • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    No it doesn't. It doesn't at all. Nobody hears a rape joke and says "ha ha I guess rape is okay now!" Hitler and Rape and 9/11 and torture are always used as currency within a joke, but are not the jokes themselves. That is what hair-trigger people like EVERYONE in this comment section seem to forget. The joke builds on the UNDERSTANDING that rape is terrible, just like Hitler and 9/11. It REINFORCES that these things are terrible. If they were not regarded as terrible, the joke would not work. It is because of this that jokes don't actually hurt the status of these things as "awful."

  • I disagree. Comparing what happened to Community to rape doesn't reinforce that rape is terrible. It encourages people to compare whatever they want to rape to make a big point. It seems to say that it's alright to use rape as a blank-filler or rhetorical device that can be used for any expression of a negative experience.

    My point isn't that jokes make people think it's ok. I don't think society in general will look upon rape or Hitler or any of the things you mentioned as something positive. My point is that comparisons, like the one he made, subtract from the gravity and power of those things because they seek to equate more trivial things with rape (or Hitler or 9/11 or what have you).

  • Amanda

    And I sure as hell wouldn't toss around the ol' Hitler comparison if I lived in Germany or was in the presence of Germans. It's just basic consideration.

  • JustOP

    'Comparing what happened to Community to rape doesn't reinforce that rape
    is terrible. It encourages people to compare whatever they want to rape
    to make a big point'.

    It doesn't 'encourage' anything at all. It merely uses hyperbole to express Harmon's emotion. There is no encouragement going on here - I don't understand how you are coming to this conclusion.

  • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    So then your issue is with hyperbole in general then, and would rather live in a literal world. So you would levy the same complaint against anyone describing anything as "torturous" as, and I'm sure you can agree with this, it makes people think torture is okay. You keep saying that using these words in that context ruins them or lessens the impact, and I would love for you to provide sources that back this up. Cause the last time I checked, the people who make dead baby jokes don't laugh at dead babies when they see them, and Hitler is still regarded as a crazed supervillain.

  • Not at all. I realize that hyperbole was a device here. I'm not trying to say that all jokes referencing these things should be forbidden. I'm not claiming that jokes about these things make people laugh at things like rape or Hitler etc etc. My claim is not that the world should be entirely literal.

    I'm saying that, in this situation, using the words he used, comparing his admittedly grueling experiences with Community to rape wasn't ok to me.

    I don't like using this a lot, but I will to make this point here. I was sexually assaulted. It's been long enough and I've made my peace that I can (and have) laughed at an off-color joke about it. Humor can even be a great way to cope with it!

    That's not what was happening here. It seemed like he was asking people to pity him and agree that it was a rape-like experience. He used hyperbole, but it seemed he sought validation for this statement. He said it, he put it out on his podcast and he knew it would cause a stir. And he was right. It did. That's disgusting to me. He used this rape comparison to validate his stung feelings and to throw a public tantrum for attention. I love his work, I think he's beyond brilliant, but this is indefensible.

    He doesn't need to shut up forever. But I do think he shouldn't do things like this.

  • Steph

    He didn't need validation though because he already knew how unpopular season 4 was. It looks like you might be projecting things onto his statement that aren't there. It was an unfortunate choice of words, that's it, nothing malicious.

  • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I think the issue here is that you are taking this personally when you shouldn't. I didn't see it as him looking for pity at all, he was just complaining. Complaining in a ridiculous, over-the-top way. This is the same man who, in his podcast, talked about sticking a sharpie up his butt for sexual gratification, makes jokes about his small dick, and openly invites a live audience to challenge his opinions. This guy is not the bad guy, he isn't the victimizer. So in this case, you are taking offense cause you think he was seeking validation, but you also admit he was using hyperbole. Those 2 things are not the same. What if he said "it was like being raped in the ass by a volcano?" Does making it MORE ridiculous make it easier or better? Because the currency of that joke is still "rape is the worst thing, and it's happening to me" but it's a volcano. There's no way that's possible. I'm not saying this sarcastically, I am just trying to discern where lines are drawn and if thrusting it FURTHER into the ridiculous makes it better or worse

  • JustOP

    I don't think his statements trivialized anything; he used a horrific situation, with extra hyperbole on top, in order to convey how he felt.

    I don't think Harmon (or anyone) would claim that what he said relates realistically to reality. If it did, it would be defeating the purpose of the exageration.

  • But was what happened to him really as horrific as rape? That's my issue here. Hyperbole doesn't explain that away.

    What happened to him was terrible, but it wasn't rape and making that comparison whether it was to make a hyperbolic point or not was not okay. I'm not looking to deny his talent or brilliance or even to deny that I love his show or his podcast. Both are excellent! He does fabulous work. But rape comparisons? Shouldn't have gone there.

  • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    That's... How hyperbole works, I'm afraid. When someone says "I got hit by an AVALANCHE of work," you realize that it's not a literal avalanche, right? It's not an impossibly strong cascade of snow and ice that can kill you. They do not believe that the workload will kill them, or that it is cold, or that they were skiing when they got it. A hyperbole is a symbol. It is shorthand. "Avalanche" means "big thing that falls on you." "Rape" in the symbolic form is "awful fucking terrible thing to witness or undergo." This is similar to how similes and metaphors work. So you see, the function of the hyperbolic statement requires an understanding that rape is bad. Without that understanding - that universal knowledge - it doesn't work. People need to know rape is fucking awful so that when it's used, it equates to "oh he's describing something awful."

  • Art3mis

    I think rape is different. Maybe you disagree, but I just do.

    Rape is almost unique in the way that everyone agrees it's Really Terrible in the abstract and then a huge segment of the population spends a fuckton of time justifying or excusing or blaming the victim for or making jokes about. Using it as an analogy does trivialize it, because society as a whole is so absolutely ready to trivialize and minimize it at a moment's notice anyway. That's why it has absurdly, horrifying low levels of arrest and conviction compared to other violent crimes. That's why a comedian can say "rape" and expect--and get--laughs, because the concept itself is the punchline.

    Countless rape survivors have explained, including in Pajiba's comment sections in the past, that hearing rape as an analogy is like a slap in the face to them. For reasons I can't fully understand or articulate--but which I absolutely agree with--there is something particularly horrific about sexual assault that just doesn't make it okay to joke about or analogize to.

  • Adam Borden

    So are you advocating that all horrible things should be off the table? Murder is horrible (arguably worse than rape). Yet we jokingly say "I'm going to murder you", and people don't get too offended, yet I'm not sure it trivializes murder. And how much of the population does it take to quantifiably say "this is offensive and off the table subject matter"? A large portion or our populace are genuinely offended by homosexuality (to be clear, not saying it's anywhere NEAR rape). Who's standards do we go by?

  • Jezzer

    We'll cross that bridge on the day that murder survivors take to social media to air their grievances.

  • JustOP

    Like attempted murder survivors? Which I'm sure they do?

  • Jezzer

    An attempted murder survivor hasn't gone through the same thing as a rape survivor. No one tries to shame a murder survivor or try to convince them it's their fault. Just stop.

  • JustOP

    Nor does everyone in society convince a rape survivor that it's their fault. You can't possibly claim that 'no-one' has never tried to 'shame' or convince a murder survivor that they were in some way responsible for what happened to them.

  • I understand what you're saying. I understand it was hyperbole. What I'm saying is that "It was hyperbole" doesn't excuse it.

    Hyperbole is also used by politicians to compare homosexuality to bestiality. That's also not okay.

    I'm not comparing what Harmon said to the homosexuality/bestiality comparison. What I'm trying to say here is that hyperbole doesn't somehow excuse what he said. Hyperbole was his device. It still was not ok.

  • Big Ice Bastardman ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Hyperbole is not used to equate homosexuality to bestiality. In what way do you recall it being used? I have heard it used as "what's next? we allow this and then men are marrying cats!" that is not hyperbole.

    And FURTHERMORE, just because some assholes use hyperbole should not ban everyone else from using it! Can you genuinely not tell the difference between a literal comparison and a comedic comparison? Because that is the same argument that people use against other forms of comedy and they always use. If the defense you bring to the table is "I don't have a sense of humour," stop. Just stop now. If you cannot tell the difference between Fox and Dan Harmon, stop forcing others to have your ignorance. Most other people don't make that connection.

  • Jezzer

    Why don't you you stop telling people their feelings about trivializing rape are invalid?

  • JustOP

    Why don't you stop telling people that they can and cannot say certain things?

  • Jezzer

    NO U.

  • I will reiterate what I'm saying a final time.

    I am not saying hyperbole should be banned. I'm not anti-comedy. Nothing I am saying or have said means either of those things. If I have led you or anyone else to believe this, that was purely accidental.

    My points are these: he used an unfortunate rape comparison. The fact that it was a hyperbole does not make this fact impervious to criticism. It is not unreasonable that I find fault with this choice of his nor is it particularly outlandish of me. It was a cheap, facile comment and I found it to be disagreeable. I feel his talent, while formidable, does not make this comment beyond reproach. Nor does the fact that it was hyperbole.

    That's all. None of this means that I want to ban hyperbole from use. None of this means I hate comedy. My comments did not extend to any of that.

    That I feel the way I do about what Harmon said does not mean I don't have a sense of humor. I also don't appreciate being called ignorant especially when I have not taken any personal shots at you. If I have said something that made you feel personally slighted, I am genuinely apologetic. No offense meant at all. We disagree very strongly, but I actually appreciate that you'd discuss this passionately. All that being said, it doesn't seem as if either of us are being well-understood and we've made enough hay out of this issue that had been more or less laid to rest months ago. In short: I don't think either of us will gain anything by going around this circle another ten times. So, I'm out.

  • Amanda

    I think what is trying to be said here is that rape can be used as hyperbole but is it appropriate to do so when people, mostly women, are raped every single day? And you're saying this to an audience of MANY, with a possibility of some of them being rape victims. It's just cheap and careless and we can all do better.

    Saying you've got an avalanche of work isn't going to set off anyone's triggers or trivialize a very traumatic event That's the point we're trying to make.

  • JustOP

    No - of course it's not. But that is what hyperbole is. It is exageration. He is not being literal. When people say the had a day that was 'torturous' do they claim it akin to torture? No. So why is this situation any different?

  • Jezzer

    False equivalency. Rape is a lot more common than torture.

  • JustOP

    What if I claimed that rape fell under the realm of torture?

  • Jezzer

    What if you claimed that oranges are shaped like triangles?

  • JustOP

    Well, then I'd be making an off topic remark, which really defeats the purpose of a friendly internet debate.

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