Originally posted on December 19, 2010
About a week ago aych sent me a link to a segment featured on The Young Turks. The clip is of Cenk Uygur responding to a 911 call that was featured in some news reports. Several of the reporters found the call funny because, as we all know, men being assaulted by abusive girlfriends is always funny. Take a listen for yourself.
Now, it is obvious why people found the 911 call funny. It is a call from what sounds like an effeminate man who is being attacked by his girlfriend. The man’s mannerisms should not matter, but people are hardly as compassionate and forgiving as they claim. As the female commentator noted, no one would laugh at a 911 call of a woman screaming in agony as her boyfriend, who handcuffed himself to her, bit her. However, anytime a man does not fit the expected mold, whatever happens to him is humorous.
Another obvious thing is that the 911 operator did a piss poor job of helping the man. She not only does not seem to take the call seriously, but she did not seem to pay attention to anything the man said to her. He informed her from the start that he was handcuffed to the woman attacking him, yet the operator asked him whether he could go into another room to get away from the woman biting him, as if he could and as if that never occurred to him.
What really does the damage is Uygur’s response. Initially he seemed to be on the man’s side, but within a few minutes he was giggling as the man screamed from being bitten. And he continued to do it. After the call played through, Uygur’s commentary essentially mocked the man for reacting as he did.
Granted, Uygur did make some valid points about how men are allowed to respond to female violence, namely that men are taught to take it and not fight back even when it is reasonable that they should. As he noted, it is possible the man from the call was bigger than the woman assaulting him and may have been able to defend himself but for the idiotic social norm that men should never, ever lay a hand on a woman, despite that women are allowed to do whatever they want to men.
Yet those valid points are not helped by Uygur mocking the man’s assault. Just because the man screamed a certain way or spoke a certain way does not mean his abuse is funny, let alone trivial. The irony of the clip is that Uygur’s response is so typical that the woman who brought the 911 call to show the double-standard against men actually ended up mocking the man.
So despite the best intentions, neither of them helped. All they did was reinforce the idea that women assaulting men is funny, although they both agreed the operator sucked at her job.