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Lindsay Ellis' transphobic jokes

Messofanego

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,602
UK
This is just really disappointing and stupid of Lindsay Ellis to do. Especially after she just did a big talk at the XOXO festival about being harassed by bigots, for her now to trade in ironic bigoted jokes. Ironic jokes that are still punching down aren't any better. Like ironic Nazis are still Nazis.

So, Ricky Gervais, the comedian who can't help name-searching on Twitter to totally show he's not affected by people criticising him, did a flex tweet about his insecurity.

Lindsay Ellis tweeted at him about his insecurity.

She also replied to Kat Blaque's tweet about how Ricky Gervais makes transphobic jokes.

You think that would be the end of it?

Nope, Lindsay Ellis tweets a few days later some transphobic jokes. The first one, "I identify as Ricky Gervais", which she deleted after being got criticised by people to delete the joke, and then she doubled down with a second transphobic joke, "How dare you assume Ricky Gervais" which is still up.


Like the point of comedy, at least effective comedy, is to punch up, not punch down.

Lindsay Ellis is friends with transgender content creators, and is well aware of the optics for transphobic language. So Lindsay Ellis making ironic transphobic jokes, is it really meant to burn Ricky Gervais? Not really. It's just even more punching down and even validating "the one joke".

Anthony DellaRosa has a good Twitter thread about Lindsay Ellis' transphobic jokes:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is coming after Natalie Wynn (Contrapoints) has been criticised again for her views on non-binary people and for inviting Buck Angel, a transmedicalist, as a voice-over on her Opulence video. Lindsay Ellis and Philosophy Tube have been asking for people to appreciate Contrapoints and defend her against the critics. Hbomberguy was disappointed that he didn't know he would be featured alongside Buck Angel in the video, especially considering he did a trans charity stream for Mermaids. The Opulence thread is worth reading in its entirety to catch up with all of this.

Natalie's response to the Buck Angel controversy: https://www.resetera.com/threads/contrapoints-opulence.146668/post-26053088

korviday has made a great video on optics about this whole Contrapoints non-binary scandal, Lindsay Ellis, and Philosophy Tube.
 
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PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
35,139
I really, truly don't know what she was trying to accomplish with that joke. She already shat on Gervais multiple times without relying on transphobic humor, so why use the exact kind of joke style she was shitting on him for using to shit on him again?

God it's so frustratingly tone-deaf and stupid. I expect better out of her.
 

ProfessorLobo

Member
Oct 31, 2017
1,107
Eeeeeeeeeh.

I don't really get her joke but it's clearly a dig at the only one joke meme. This is at the very bottom of my rage-o-meter. I'm not sure if she understands her own joke and I doubt she'll make the same mistake again.
 

Maintenance

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,146
Not one bit surprising. Btw don't get disappointed with this thread's response, it also shouldn't come as a surprise.
 

Mushroomer25

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,628
Eh, those come off more as gags about the one joke the alt-right has - rather than actual jokes at the expense of trans people.

It's a rather obvious layer of abstraction that you're ignoring here.
 

Nappuccino

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
5,071
Yeah . . . this whole debacle has been a bummer to see. I really like Lindsay--so I'm hoping she reconsiders whatever reason she had for thinking these jokes were all right.
 

Nappuccino

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
5,071
I mean, it is clearly digging at the "one joke" meme. That doesn't make her use of it ok. It does nothing to comment on or clarify why that "one joke" is a harmful joke, and instead just enacts the joke.
 

Dwebble

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,811
There's very clearly not a scrap of malice intended here, but I'd still expect better from someone who's normally so plugged into these things.
 

Lee Morris

Member
Oct 28, 2017
846
Eeeeeeeeeh.

I don't really get her joke but it's clearly a dig at the only one joke meme. This is at the very bottom of my rage-o-meter. I'm not sure if she understands her own joke and I doubt she'll make the same mistake again.
100% agree. She is playing off the meme but is obviously not great and she does right to delete it. I'm really not sure what is wrong with the rest of the stuff you posted about her.
 

Ketkat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,174
Eeeeeeeeeh.

I don't really get her joke but it's clearly a dig at the only one joke meme. This is at the very bottom of my rage-o-meter. I'm not sure if she understands her own joke and I doubt she'll make the same mistake again.
It's not really a dig at the joke at all and is more just a repeat of the same joke that transphobic people use to mock our identities. She's just making an attack helicopter joke that does nothing but perpetuate its use
 

TheRightDeal

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,069
I mean yeah it's the one joke, but it's not ripping on the meme or saying anything of substance, it's just the one joke, which is pretty disappointing.
 

muteKi

Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,628
a sunken pirate ship
100% agree. She is playing off the meme but is obviously not great and she does right to delete it. I'm really not sure what is wrong with the rest of the stuff you posted about her.
I mean the culpability for what Contrapoints did doesn't rest with Lindsay but I think her defense was tepid. In the face of dismissing criticism coming mainly from nonbinary trans people (there's a thread), this makes the questionable jokes being highlighted in this thread come across as even more mean-spirited and lazy.
 

ScribbleD

Banned
Oct 28, 2017
993
Eeeeeeeeeh.

I don't really get her joke but it's clearly a dig at the only one joke meme. This is at the very bottom of my rage-o-meter. I'm not sure if she understands her own joke and I doubt she'll make the same mistake again.
It wants to be...but it's just repeating the one joke. That's not good satire or lampshading or whatever. It's just doing the thing. She just "dunked" on the joke by...telling the joke word for word.
 

ProfessorLobo

Member
Oct 31, 2017
1,107
I remember six months ago and people here would make jokes about how Contrapoints and Lindsay Ellis would be the last youtubers standing uncancelled since we loved them so much.

We severely underestimated ourselves.

But seriously Lindsay make better jokes.
 

Spiderz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
957
Isn’t this just a dig at the tired “I identify as an attack helicopter” line of jokes that chuds love to oink about?
 

ScribbleD

Banned
Oct 28, 2017
993
Isn’t this just a dig at the tired “I identify as an attack helicopter” line of jokes that chuds love to oink about?
Again, I think she would like it to be a dig at the joke, but explain how exactly this straight up repeating of the joke makes fun of it or comments on it at all?
 

muteKi

Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,628
a sunken pirate ship
EDIT: removed quote so as not to keep dragging the invididual in question but how do we have people not reading even 10 posts of a thread that has only just hit 20 posts
 

Figgles

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,355
I’m not a Lindsay Ellis fan, but other than being bad jokes, I’m not really sure what the issue is here.
 

shnurgleton

Member
Oct 27, 2017
10,839
Boston
It is. She should have thought more about the perception of the joke though. No one is saying "cancel Lindsay Ellis ", just that she really should know better.
Precisely why she deleted it, she realized it was a poorly thought out joke

Twitter is a hot take factory, yall clearly know Ellis doesn't have it out for the trans community
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,466
The lack of malice doesn't change the fact that this is her, a cis woman, taking a dig at a idiot by repeating the same tired, disgusting "joke" that is used time and time again to disparage trans people's identities, with no variation whatsoever.

It's in extremely poor taste and thoughtless. Pretty disappointed in her tbh.
 

LuigiMario

Member
Oct 28, 2017
933
Eh, those come off more as gags about the one joke the alt-right has - rather than actual jokes at the expense of trans people.

It's a rather obvious layer of abstraction that you're ignoring here.
Yeah this is kinda how I interpreted it. Still a bad idea that obfuscates the point she was trying to make, but seeing as she deleted them I think she realizes this and will hopefully issue some sort of formal apology and do better in the future.
 

Mesoian

Member
Oct 28, 2017
9,064
I really, truly don't know what she was trying to accomplish with that joke. She already shat on Gervais multiple times without relying on transphobic humor, so why use the exact kind of joke style she was shitting on him for using to shit on him again?

God it's so frustratingly tone-deaf and stupid. I expect better out of her.
She was trying to dunk on Gervais, whilst forgetting that in order to dunk on them, you need to attack them and their behavior.

And it's REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to make a joke that dunks on someone engaging in transphobia without engaging in transphobia.

Her punchline is: "Hurhur that's you, that's how you sound", when all she's really doing is making the same joke he is with him at the target, even though the joke is still transphobic. Tim Allen does this ALL THE TIME when it comes to misogynistic jokes.

It's a bad look and a simple "this is your weekly reminder that Ricky Gervias is a transphobic piece of shit" followed by a retweet or a screencap of his jokes would have been the better method to expose this to people who may not have known. But that's not funny.

Comedy is hard.
 

Ketkat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,174
I’m not a Lindsay Ellis fan, but other than being bad jokes, I’m not really sure what the issue is here.
They aren't just 'bad' jokes but transphobic ones that spread this idea that trans identities are a joke that can be compared to something as ridiculous as identifying as an inanimate object like an attack helicopter.

Yeah this is kinda how I interpreted it. Still a bad idea that obfuscates the point she was trying to make, but seeing as she deleted them I think she realizes this and will hopefully issue some sort of formal apology and do better in the future.
She did not delete both jokes, one of them is still up.
 

Static Shock

Coward
Oct 27, 2017
4,452
Florida
She was trying to dunk on Gervais, whilst forgetting that in order to dunk on them, you need to attack them and their behavior.

And it's REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to make a joke that dunks on someone engaging in transphobia without engaging in transphobia.

Her punchline is: "Hurhur that's you, that's how you sound", when all she's really doing is making the same joke he is with him at the target, even though the joke is still transphobic. Tim Allen does this ALL THE TIME when it comes to misogynistic jokes.

It's a bad look and a simple "this is your weekly reminder that Ricky Gervias is a transphobic piece of shit" followed by a retweet or a screencap of his jokes would have been the better method to expose this to people who may not have known. But that's not funny.

Comedy is hard.
well said
 

Mesoian

Member
Oct 28, 2017
9,064
I’m not a Lindsay Ellis fan, but other than being bad jokes, I’m not really sure what the issue is here.
The issue is that fighting transphobia with transphobia is still transphobia.

Maybe don't make jokes when engaging with transphobes, or homophobes, or racists, because you want to look socially aware but cute at the same time.
 

jred250

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,209
So a thread was created criticizing Lindsay Ellis who was mocking the usage of that lame transphobic joke, not Ricky Gervais who sincerely believes in that rhetoric? Why do we get our axes out for the branches but not the tree?
 

muteKi

Member
Oct 22, 2018
10,628
a sunken pirate ship
I identify as frustrated that someone like Ellis who really should know better and has a pattern of bad humor like this is addressing this in a way that minimizes her actions and sidesteps accountability. And hey, guess what, that's because I am frustrated that someone like Ellis who really should know better and has a pattern of bad humor like this is addressing this in a way that minimizes her actions and sidesteps accountability.

Funny how that works here.
 

trashtabby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
951
She was trying to dunk on Gervais, whilst forgetting that in order to dunk on them, you need to attack them and their behavior.

And it's REALLY REALLY REALLY hard to make a joke that dunks on someone engaging in transphobia without engaging in transphobia.

Her punchline is: "Hurhur that's you, that's how you sound", when all she's really doing is making the same joke he is with him at the target, even though the joke is still transphobic. Tim Allen does this ALL THE TIME when it comes to misogynistic jokes.

It's a bad look and a simple "this is your weekly reminder that Ricky Gervias is a transphobic piece of shit" followed by a retweet or a screencap of his jokes would have been the better method to expose this to people who may not have known. But that's not funny.

Comedy is hard.
Comedy is hard but it's not hard at all to get that you're not dunking on a transphobic joke by just.... making the transphobic joke.
 

metalslimer

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,794
I get that she probably intended to try and use it as some kind of own on Gervais, but it comes more as lame and actually transphobic than any kind of substantial attack
 

Iggy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,223
I understand the intentions, but it really just comes off as "it's OK when I do it because I'm part of left tube and I stan Contrapoints".
It's basically the same as "using the N word when white because you have some really good black friends so it's OK for you to do it" (it's not).

Basically, Lindsay, Natalie and a few others can do edgy jokes in their private conversations as much as they want, but they should understand that edgy jokes have no place on a public platform like Twitter.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,036
There’s nothing smart or clever about her making these jokes. There’s no need for us to reclaim the formats either. They’re insidious, and the last thing we need is a visible ally signaling to her followers that this is an okay way to dunk on a transphobe.
 

Ketkat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,174
So a thread was created criticizing Lindsay Ellis who was mocking the usage of that lame transphobic joke, not Ricky Gervais who sincerely believes in that rhetoric? Why do we get our axes out for the branches but not the tree?
We've had threads about Ricky Gervais and what a terrible person he is. This thread on Lindsay Ellis does not somehow stop those conversations from having happened or happening in the future. We are constantly pushing back on transphobic behavior and the people who are advocating for us to lose our rights, but jokes like these normalize this negative attitude towards trans identities and how 'ridiculous' they are to the average person. This was directly apparent for a lot of us growing up when South Park was more popular and airing episodes like identifying as a black man or identifying as a dolphin with direct comparisons towards being trans. We would have to deal with the people around us making those kind of jokes that mock us for existing and it pushed a lot of trans people further into the closet.
 

Static Shock

Coward
Oct 27, 2017
4,452
Florida
I’m not a Lindsay Ellis fan, but other than being bad jokes, I’m not really sure what the issue is here.
the original joke is a transphobic joke about being able exaggerating the identity. She attempts to be clever by criticizing the originator of the joke by mocking the joke including the originator in the joke. But she is still using the original meaning of the transphobic joke by exaggerating the identity. Thus, the issue.
 

Mesoian

Member
Oct 28, 2017
9,064
Isn’t this just a dig at the tired “I identify as an attack helicopter” line of jokes that chuds love to oink about?
I mean, repeating the joke isn't a dig at the joke.

See if I were going to dunk on Ricky Gervais, I'd something like find a clip of one of Jeff Dunnam's many many MANY awful racist jokes he's told over the years and put that in a tweet aimed at Gervais with the caption of "this is you. This is what you sound like".
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
35,139
It’s not so much a dig at the one joke as it is just repeating the one joke verbatim.
It is a dig, it’s just a tremendously stupid attempt at one. She should 100% know better but unfortunately Lindsay is not prone to ceding her perceived place on the moral high ground, even when people outright tell her she’s being an idiot.

I hope she apologizes and acknowledges her fuck-up, but I don’t expect it.