Louis C.K. and the death of the modern gentleman
Who doesn’t love Louis C.K.?
The FX show of which he is the writer, director, editor, and star, “Louie,” is critically acclaimed and frequently appears on top-ten lists and “best ofs.” C.K. has been nominated twice for an Emmy for his performance, and he won the Emmy for Best Comedy Writing this year. I know a few young men who idolize C.K. and record every episode of his show, watching them over and over.
Louis C.K. and his character, Louie, have entered pop culture as a kind of everyman anti-hero. He is positively dripping with post-modernity: bitter, sarcastic, and adorably self-loathing, yet bewildered by his inability to relate to other people or attract a woman.
I have watched two or three episodes of the show, which is autobiographical in that it’s about a 40-something New York comedian named Louie who is divorced with two daughters and lives in a crappy apartment.
Gone are the days in which popular media shows us man as he ought to be. Instead we are shown, for our own good, man as he “really is,” except if a man I met in real life said anything half as despicable as what Louis C.K. says, he would get face smacked like a cad in an old black-and-white movie. And he would deserve it.
In March, Louis C.K. was slated to headline the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner, but he ended up bowing out due to public backlash, fueled by Fox News correspondent Greta Van Susteren’s promise to boycott the dinner if C.K. hosted.
Why did she – and many others – threaten a boycott? Because Louis C.K., every young liberal male’s hero, referred to Sarah Palin’s ”f**king retard-making c**t” during an appearance on the Opie and Anthony radio show. During that same exchange, he added thoughtfully, “I hate her more than anybody.” He also tweeted the following to @SarahPalinUSA: “kudos to your dirty hole, you f**king ja**off c**t-face jazzy wondergirl.”
Rush Limbaugh suggested that wanting people to pay for you to have sex (i.e., provide free birth control) might make you a slut, and everybody shouted for his immediate censure, termination, and in some cases probably beheading. He had to publicly apologize, and President Obama called the object of his scorn to ask her how she was holding up.
Bill Maher and Louis C.K. called Sarah Palin a c-word and refused to apologize, and they got nominated for Emmys and invited to host things. And I doubt the president called Sarah Palin to see if she was okay.
Go into your local hipster watering hole and bring up Louis C.K. Watch young men line up with their Stella Artois glasses to praise his holy name. I have a close male relative who hero-worships the guy, and he is not the only one in his peer group. Louis C.K. is so “real,” so “honest,” so “smart.”
Google “Louis C.K. Sarah Palin” and try to count the number of publications, bloggers, and commentators who cannot write about the c-word incident (or his disgusting drunk tweets) without smirking or outright guffawing at C.K.’s comments.
This is America. Louis C.K. can say what he wants. But the fact that he chooses to say this, and that young men continue to look up to him and praise him, is troubling, to say the least.
I have said before that abortion does not exist in a vacuum. I have pointed out that misogynists like Hugh Hefner and Tucker Max are champions for abortion and birth control because it lets them use women’s bodies while not having to be held accountable for the natural outcomes of that usage. Louis C.K. hates not only Sarah Palin, but everything that comes out of her, including her “retard” baby, of which he said, “Stick your t*t in its mouth and shut up.”
He has also compared Palin to Hitler, which leads me to believe he does not have a particularly sophisticated grasp of politics or history. (It always makes me chuckle when conservative Christians are compared to Hitler, considering Hitler was neither a conservative nor a Christian, but rather an atheist socialist like many of the politicians these same people idolize.)
It’s bad enough to say horrifying things about a woman and her baby with Down syndrome. It’s even worse to do it publicly and then refuse to apologize for it.
You can believe this guy is funny, but it’s sort of hard to deny he’s a misogynist if you listen to his stand-up. It’s not all Sarah Palin-related vitriol. He really doesn’t like women. Listen to this tidbit:
A man will cut your arm off and throw it in a river, but he’ll leave you as a human being intact. He won’t f**k with who you are. Women are non-violent but they will s**t inside of your heart.
Louis C.K. is smart (to a point) and funny. I love comedy, and I admit I see the humor in some of what he says. But I don’t watch his show or listen to his stand-up because he disgusts me. He trashes religion, fears and loathes women, and is just generally dark, bitter, and hateful.
And he is a modern-day hero.
He’s a hero because he seems smart, espousing the kinds of ideas that sound intelligent to someone with only surface-level knowledge of religion, politics, and history. He says evolution is obvious and Christianity is stupid; he’s so über-sophisticated that he can call his young daughter an “a**hole” and make it funny. He’s sarcastic and death-obsessed, and he has all the right opinions about Republicans. He must be smart.
His opinions reflect those of too many young people who regurgitate what they hear in the media. And unfortunately, he and others like him add misogyny to the mix. A generation of young men has been sucked in by this garbage, believing that you no longer have to be respectful of women as long as you are “real” and “honest.” To many young men today, being a gentleman means offering to pay for the abortion.
Only those who harbor deep hatred and contempt for women need to be dishonest and “fake” to be respectful.
A culture corrupted by abandonment of traditional morality and an embrace of radical feminism has led to this: men are now told to treat women like “equals,” but because of the inescapable, natural fact that we are not the same as men, treating us the same as men doesn’t work. It leads to unhappy women and, as a result, confusion and anger on the part of men, as evidenced by Louis C.K.’s obvious bewilderment at the hurt done to him by women, which is reflected in his stand-up and in the desperate, sad, “single-and-looking” title character of “Louie.”
I have a fiancé. He is almost the same age as Louis, but he was raised in the South. Never in a million years would he ever call me – or any woman, no matter how much she “deserved” it – a name half as foul as what Louis C.K. called Sarah Palin on the radio. There was a time when virtually no man would do that, and certainly not where any woman could hear it.
There was also a time when other men would shun and possibly roundhouse punch any man who said that about a respectable woman and her disabled child. Apparently those times are gone, because dudes on the internet can’t get enough of it.
If these are the heroes we’re offering to young men, this generation is doomed.