Lindy West: An Appreciation


I love you too, Lindy. Thanks for making the world a better place!
I agree. Her funny is FUNNY, and it carries important messages to the world.
Things don't change when you remain silent. Lindy's voice has value.
This. Lindy is incredibly brave.
She is a hero.
Thanks, Anna. our family reads Lindy out loud to each other... it all started with that Sex & the City 2 review.
(prior to that, we all just read her alone & smiling)

our son came home from college just in time for a week long follow of the rape joke discussion: from the tv debate to Lindy's follow up post about the rape threats. many points that our son did not quite "agree" with me about became clearer & clearer to him as Lindy wrote... and sadly, through the horrifying comments.

Lindy IS BRAVE and Lindy IS HILARIOUS. But most of all...and I say this in all seriousness... LINDY IS A HERO.
Lindy rocks!
Seconded. Every word. Love to both Lindy and Anna! Two hilarious, strong women that don't take any shit any day of the week.
Fucking-A right.
I second that second. I adore Lindy.

Violent insulting comments on the internet make me sick but the only way to deal with it is to expose it and spit in its eye. Their eyes. . . because real supposed humans, many of them human men, are the posters of that ignorant arrogant shit.
Lindy is one of my top three favorite people to ever write for the Stranger, and one of the top three ever at Jezebel. I hope every asshole who threatened her, made cracks about her looks, or said she wasn't funny will languish in mediocre anonymity for the rest of their sad little lives, always tormented by the thought that any woman who makes the mistake of having sex with them is probably faking it.
I see she's taking a play right out of the Anita Sarkesian playbook. Say something dumb, watch people call it dumb, then take the most outrageous comments and use them as 'proof' you're being silenced. I recommend she starts a kickstarter at the peak of this to reap as much gain as she can while the getting's good.

Anyway, If you check the comments under her article, there are equally rabid jezebelers posting things like 'burn them all.' So... you know... let's not pretend that she's merely the victim here. Lindy's in control of this at each step. She put herself out there in the meat grinder, and she's betting her career that it'll pay off.

In other words, just more fuel for the outrage machine. Trolls are doing to her what she wants people to do to anyone who fails to censor themselves according to her own puritan standard. The more conflict she can stoke, the more hits she gets, and thus more Gawker-bux.

This backlash has more to do with the fact that she's wrong than 'silencing' her. She was rebutted effectively on the show, then more or less destroyed by writers online, after the show. All she's got now is the shared victim complex of her readers. Hence what she's doing now -- making her idiotic opinion a rallying cry for oppressed upper middle class, over-educated white girls with a victim complex.

Ride it to the bank, Lindy.
I enjoyed the "debate" between Lindy West and Jim Norton, but can somebody help me out here?

Who is making all these rape jokes?
I should add, what comedians are making these jokes?
Anna - did you mean to pay it forward by making me cry? A beautiful tribute, and - like most of the commenters here - I agree that Lindy rocks.
@7 That Sex and the City review was THE BEAST!!!

And I do not mean the antichrist.
Yes. Lindy has long been one of my favorite Stranger writers, and I've loved seeing what she's done at Jezebel. Is it weird to be proud of someone you've never met? I don't care. I'm proud of and grateful to Lindy for the incredibly difficult and necessary work she does.
Lindy is funny and razor-sharp. Jim Norton isn't. Saying a joke isn't funny is not censorship, and calling it that is just silly.
@15 One of them is Daniel Tosh.
@14 - Lindy has written quite a bit on who males these kinds of hack "jokes" and who is making them - it's all linked through the article to which Anna so conveniently linked!
And that last comment makes me sound like a drunk squirrel.
@20, Any others?

It would seem there would be more, given the level of outrage.

Not trying to diminish what she is saying, but it seems there's a disconnect between real-world examples is all.
@14/15 Daniel Tosh recently made a rape joke on stage during a set and an audience member called him out and said "rape jokes aren't funny." His response? "Wouldn't it be hilarious if everyone gang raped her right now?" (paraphrasing) But it's hardly a new phenomenon, it's just getting a lot of attention recently. Even George Carlin made a rape joke, and it wasn't funny either.

More on topic: I heart Lindy. I read just about everything she writes, even if I'm not interested in what she's writing about, because I know I'll at least get a few chuckles.
@22: No! Totally helpful and sober squirrel! :)
Though really, the man ought to be able to use google or click on a link without some one having to hold his hand.
Thanks, Anna. You've written what many of us are feeling about Lindy right now and the tribute is well deserved and beautifully written.

Lindy West. Hero.

Tosh is terrible. Agreed.

Lindy is hella funny, smart and a great writer, but her argument needs more examples than just Tosh.

Any other contemporary comedians out there making rape jokes? Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman are the two I can think of off hand.

Enlighten me.
tl;dr @13 - Lindy West has supportive friends and fans, some of whom use violent words and phrases, so that completely negates any rape and/or death threats she has received for appearing on tv to talk about rape threats, which she probably cherry-picked anyway.

No one should have to read that much trolling, sweetie. Try to edit a little bit.
Lindy West is a smart, funny writer. Unfortunately, she is also a serial liar. She continues to claim that there is a 23% wage gap due to discrimination--i.e. gap between similarly situated workers/men and women doing "equal work." That is not true, and anyone who claims to be knowledgeable about these issues, who writes on them extensively, should know that. I have personally called Lindy's attention to the true numbers repeatedly in comments on her articles. But she continues to make the claim. Thus, liar.

(The actual gap between similar workers--the gap that remains once you control for relevant factors--that *may* be due to discrimination, is 3.6%.…)
The ultimate irony is that West would not be nearly as popular or revered (some of you guys have a very low bar for "hero") if it were not for all the attention due to a large group of particularly rabid trolls. Half the story is always the people trying to tear her down, who in the end, she should almost be thanking. They are essentially putting a megaphone to her mouth everytime she speaks.

Pretty much the same thing that happened to Sarkeesian and all that sweet cash money she got.
Anna, you crawled inside my brain and said the words I was thinking. Yes to all this and so much more, Lindy. You are The Best. Hugs.
~As a gay man~ I used to adore the Stranger and Slog...but now it seems like all it ever is is a group of 5 or 6 women who will not stop talking pussy and rape and getting hit on by strangers and how hard it is to be a woman. Who gives a fuck! Start your own paper

@32 Please think of your fellow gay men when self-identifying. It's one thing if you don't mind being a fucking embarrassment of a human being, but I don't think you need to imply that your sexual orientation has anything to do with it.
32 - My sexual orientation has something to do with it in that I don't have a dog in this race and don't give a fuck about heterosexual rape dynamics!
@32: No.
@29 & 30: Woosh!
@27: Jesus click in the links in the article already! And then click on the links in those articles. Then google comedians who tell rape jokes. Then google why it's ok for black comics to say the n word but less so for white comics and extrapolate how that paradigm might apply to women making rape jokes vs men making jokes about raping women.
This is all the hand holding I am going to do for you.
Also I'd like to chime in with how much I admire Lindy as a person and love her work as a writer and comic. She is indeed fighting the good fight.
@33 six-five is probably Seattleblortch or the Dan-obsessed annonotroll trying a new tactic to undermine teh gheys.
As a gay man allow me to point out how Lindy managed to fit her boobs into her rape comments video but not her stomach.
I'm sorry people are trolling your thread about people trolling Lindy West, who has made me cry more than once too. I think what you said is one million percent right. Thanks Anna.

People like the stuff you write too! People like me. I miss Lindy on here as much as the next non-men's rights/non-dipshit libertarian, but I'm really glad The Stranger has writers like you in her stead. Thanks for posting this and all the work you do!
@35 "Then google comedians who tell rape jokes. "

My point: Ms. West could have included more than just Tosh in her article. She didn't. All I did was ask for more examples.

Again, she is fighting the good fight and I side with her. Conversation is good.

@32, as a human being we all have a dog in this race. As men - gay, straight, bisexual, etc. we all have women in our lives in one way or another.

You should cease merely identifying yourself as a gay man when you post in the future and qualify yourself as a "gay narcissist". As such, you speak for very few human beings period.
#38, Mr. Gay Narcissist you clearly didn't watch the video. Comments about her stomach were read. One such was "My God, her stomachs are touching the ground".

@35: I don't think that means what you think it means.
It seems like an ideal time to broaden the dialogue about rape. The military brass were on Capital Hill yesterday still trying to act like rape is not a crime that needs to be taken seriously.

I took Lindy's point to be that certain jokes are okay, but other jokes are just trying to diminish what is a serious crime and/or make fun of the victim. Definitely a credit to her that she isn't saying it's all jokes and this subject cannot be spoken about. Fighting Internet commentators with the thought that something might improve seems quixotic, but she is doing something important getting this dialogue going at this time.
As a gay narcissist, I'm bored with women being butthurt that so many guys are into them. WHERE IS MY RAPIST?
Lindy is the ONLY writer from the Stranger that's ever made me laugh out loud. She's actually from Seattle and has an incredibly sharp sense of humor - get that!

Lindy, truly, you are totally fucking awesome and don't let anyone tell you anything different.
So there Tosh...and possibly George Carlin, who is dead, so I guess that was a long time ago. And that's it? That's the epidemic of rape jokes?
Lindy West is a goddess!
I always enjoy how these kinds of discussions flush out the guys with deep-rooted lady issues. Y'all fuuuunny. But not as funny as Lindy.
After reading these comments I don't understand why it is an apparent impossibility for so many people to recognize that perhaps Lindy is both a talented writer and a professional troll baiter.

That is good that you have someone to look up to professionally, but I caution anyone to think that their position is more "right" or "correct" simply because it draws forth opposition, however despicable.

Maybe too much nuance for Slog...
@45: Let me fix that for you.

"As a self-involved douchebag (who just happens to be gay), I'm bored with women (and anybody else) getting more attention than I. So much so that I conflate sexual harassment with positive reinforcement, either to shock the easily shocked or because I'm just that fucked up. I am terminally bored and terminally boring. WHERE IS MY THERAPIST?"
@49: For real.
@43: Theodore, though indeed it is an ill wind that blows nobody good, framing the unintended consequences of Lindy's posts as her actual Machiavellian goal (a la TortoiseTurtle) is obtuse.
If you were just saying "wow look how that turned out! Interesting!" then I apologize for tarring you with that brush.
@51 - Hahaha! Great edit!
@50: Garrett your post indicates a fundamental disconnect on your part if you believe that Lindy writes about what she does so as to explicitly generate controversy and threats of violence against herself as a rhetorical tool with which to bolster her position. While page hits do feed the bulldog on the Internet, I sincerely doubt that she is thick skinned and cynical as that. And in fact she could be writing about something no more enflaming than knitting and still be subject rape and death threats, because that's what happens when you are a woman with an opinion on the Internet.
@32 As a gay man myself, please fuck off. Find your own gay blogs if women bother you so much.

Lindy is doing awesome work.
@50, Whoa whoa, slow down there, buddy -- you're flying right over all our pretty little heads. You're waaaay too smart for this crowd. Why the hell are you wasting your talent here?

Of course, there always exists the possibility that Lindy is talking about a cultural issue that affects her quality of life, and one unfortunate side-effect of starting these discussions are a bunch of angry, threatening -- and I assume completely devoid of irony or self-awareness -- responses that further demonstrate the very cultural issue she is talking about. I suppose you could call it "trolling" if you're so inclined, but others may call it "talking about rape culture."
One thing that I don't get are the comments from many of Lindy's haters saying that nobody would WANT to rape her. Huh? Does that mean that there are women that those haters would actually desire to commit a forcible act of sexual violence upon because they find them attractive (and therefore Lindy should somehow be insulted as to not be in that category)?

I for one don't want to rape ANY woman, and not because there aren't women out there that I find sexually attractive (and Lindy is high on that list). If on the other hand her boyfriend weren't looking, and my wife weren't looking and she were to pass me by on the street, give me a wink and a nod and invite me for coffee-and-you-know; well I can think of many worse things.

Haters are stupid and Lindy is no troll. She doesn't need to name comics or specifics - she spends enough time in that world to have seen and heard plenty as have many other folks. Her original article wasn't combative, it was her usual ascerbic mixed with sharp witted observation about what is commonly known in feminism as "rape culture", and it is out there not in comedy clubs but on our own streets (see Anna and Cienna's pieces on street harassment).

At any rate, I hope this particular kerfuffle helps make Lindy more famous and extremely rich.
I am so lucky to be surrounded (now and in the past) by so many brave, smart, hilarious women here at The Stranger. Lindy West, you are a national treasure, and all my other Stranger ladies: you are, too. Thanks for making the world a better place.
@54: Lissa, I don't think it is that outlandish to write for controversy, and I think we can both agree that that is in part the purpose of a site like Jezebel (and I don't think that's a bad thing in and of itself, and I've made coin doing that too). But, if you go to any opposing mirror on the Internet whether it be Stormfront/white supremicists, TEA Partiers, or creationists, they also point to their negative anonymous Internet comments and responses to bolster their position or conspiratorial world view. And don't get me wrong, I praise Lindy for actually engaging with opposing points of view in an age when what people/consumers really want is echo chambers and confirmation of their pre-existing ideas about the world. I also want to reiterate that I wasn't being sarcastic when I said she is a talented writer, but I would like to point out that there are a lot of people who do things like conduct cognitive science research on related/relevant issues not getting the same bite at the apple or exposure.

I just wish people wouldn't conflate sincerity with accuracy. Lindy's assertion is that "rape jokes" contribute to young men not thinking rape is a serious offense. Might be true, might not be true, who can tell, apparently it's all part of a vast abstract unfalsifiable idea called "rape culture" that is supported by blogging about it, and then pointing to random Internet comments and saying "SEE, PROOF." Does it have any effect on actual instances of rape, the actual sentiments of young men, or impact the survivors of rapes? The answer I see from many otherwise well-meaning people is apparently "WHO CARES."

That makes me a sad panda, because this is serious shit here. And yes, at the same time, rape jokes are in bad taste, and threats are still fucked up and no one deserves that.
Earlier today I was explaining Lindy to a friend who wasn't familiar with her/ her work and I said this:

"in general, she's kick ass, smart and hilarious-- you should look up some of her articles on jezebel, reading her makes you angry and happy and hopeful and laugh so hard you'll snort"
"she's in a different genre, but i enjoy her almost as much as/ possibly more than michelle tea...
can't express my love for her more"

Lindy West is one of my heroines.
@59: Thank you for taking the time to respond in a thoughtful manner. I appreciate that. :)
I almost broke up with Slog when Lindy left. She's the only reason I came to Jezebel.
I love Lindy. She has a Voice with a capital-V, and she knows how to use it. She's strong, funny, and really, really smart.

There's a lot of stupid in this world, and nothing brings it out on the internet more than some smart person calling it stupid. I'm really sorry that Lindy has to put up with all that abuse aimed her way, but I'm glad that she's taken it public, so we can all be sad about, and cognizant of, the level of stupidity that generates all that hateful noise.
@63: Exactly. Well said. And maybe I'm overly optimistic, but I think there actually are people who want to be kind and responsible but just never gave much thought to what they were laughing at. If fans become more sensitive to this issue, comedians won't have any choice but to follow.

@59: While Lindy's point about the traumatizing effect anti-victim rape jokes can have on rape survivors is proven (in the sense that there are such people in the world and some have said so), the question of whether and how much jokes affect the broader culture (and incidence of rape) is more of a judgment call for most people.

If you genuinely do know of research that sheds light on that question, it wouldn't hurt to share it. In the meantime, I'd wager most people are relying on experience and intuition. I mean, those boys in Steubenville clearly had a problem with understanding that rape isn't something to laugh at. It would be nice if our culture taught that lesson a little better.

Lindy's singling out comics probably has more to do with her immersion in (and love for) comedy as opposed to a belief that comics are the root cause rape culture. They're just one item on a long list and quite possibly nowhere near the top.
I'd like to add that Lindy's "Hello, I Am Fat" post was inspirational not only to me ( a big guy and dedicated spouse of a wonderful big gal), but my daughter (also struggles with weight issues).

I liked Lindy's writing before (and ya know she's easy on the eyes as well), but at this point she made a leap (challenging Doghitter Dan's continuous anti-fat hypocritical views) from interesting writer to outright Goddess.

This is not hero worship (though Lindy is and hopefully will continue to be recognized to be) but a genuine admiration for an individual who comes along rarely. She's the genuine article.

So thanks, Lindy. Keep on doing what you're doing. I will follow you to the end of my days (not TOO creepy, sorry). People I am friends with, am intimate with, and even vaguely acquainted with will continue to be made aware of your genius.

My big dream for you: BECOME THE ANTI-ANNE COULTER!!!!
@52: Oh no, no, no, I am not saying that Lindy's goal is to rile up trolls for page hits, just that all the trolls are really doing is giving her page hits. Half of the articles I see about her exist due to the trollish response, so they are also giving her more press/exposure.

West is just doing her thing, I do not think she is troll baiting at all, and it is funny that the trolls do not even realize they are helping her in the end. I am happy to see she is not backing down like some people do. Not that I can blame them, I have no idea what it is like to have people threaten to rape and kill you.

It is like the Sarkeesian thing where she was getting a decent amount of kickstarter funding until the trolls came around and suddenly she had this ridiculous amount of money. I am not saying she could not have gotten funding without the trolls, but it is impossible to deny that the trolls influenced people to give her more money out of sympathy/solidarity/whatever.

It was Judas Priest's music that contributed to the culture of suicide and caused those two teenagers to kill themselves.

Lindy West is also an awesome douchebag detector. Just mention her name and the douchebags reveal themselves! And yes I love her and she's a hero.
As a het man let me say that six five (@32, 34, 38, etc) is a gigantic DOUCHE ROCKET
Even on Slog, reading the comments is a mistake. "Rape culture is unfalsifiable" because it exists, not because it's a grand mass delusion shared by feminists. "Don't rape it back, Glenn, rape it forward" is a quote from a cartoon show that aired in 2013. The most popular Law and Order franchise of all time is a show entirely focused on rape and molestation. When there's an article about the commonality of burglaries, you don't see comments about how "lots of people fake theft to get insurance money" but if there's a similar article about rape, everyone's concerned with "false accusations", as though significantly more than 0.5% of rapes are false reports.

And lastly, showcasing the worst comments aimed at one person doesn't invalidate the argument that LOTS OF ABUSE IS HEAPED UPON ANYONE who dares to point out rape culture. But if you think that rape is "too serious" to talk about in the absence of quantifiable data on how the words and messages we receive from the world around us impact our thoughts and behaviors, it's not because you care about rape. It's because you care about not talking about rape.
@27, @47

Not that it really matters, but they list about a half-dozen in this article for example:…

Heres the deal: Comedians (who are mostly male) have been making sexist jokes since the dawn of time ("Take my wife...please!"). It's their bread and butter. And many people like and relate to those jokes. In the last several years, as straight women have entered successfully into comedy, rape jokes have become more and more common. Often times these are not very well known comedians who no one takes very seriously. (However, when someone like Daniel Tosh , who is popular enough to have his own TV show, (achieving the Mt. Everest of comedy) it matters more because then its not fringe or some wacko, it's mainstream. Scary for a lady, as you can imagine.

And the way he did it! So casual, like a drive-by shooting.That I think was the big deal. He didn't carefully construct anything, acknowledging the challenge of the material. No, breezily assaulted someone violently in front of a giant group of people with the effortless air of a sociopath. It was breathtaking.

Then, a powerful well-respected comedian like Louis CK comes to his aid (HIS aid!) Meanwhile, the woman is just supposed to accept that she has no recourse. Well, her recourse is to be painted as a humorless shrew who hates free speec, which isn't true. Please, she was just trying to have a nice, fun evening but instead had to be reminded that she could be a victim of violent sexual crime anytime with full support of the society around her. What a nightmare.

Rape is not some rare thing. It's unbelievably common. And that's where the insult to injury comes in. Despite everyone agreeing that rape is bad, women get raped by men all the time. It's a tragedy. The least (least!) men could do is not rub it in.