After falling down a hate filled tumblr-rabbit hole this evening, I would like to join the current discussion about my boyfriend, Dan Harmon.
Dan Harmon is the most kindhearted, sensitive and passionate person I have ever known. His passion is the reason why Community has more heart than any other sitcom on TV and why its fan-base is the most devoted. His passion is the reason why Joel Mchale fought to get him rehired for Season 5 and why several writers and crew refused to return for Season 4 out of loyalty to Dan(including now co-EP Chris Mckenna).
In Dan’s office is a giant white board with the names of every writer who has handed him a script in the last month with hopes of joining the writing staff for Season 5, a large portion of them being fans. He included every name on that board no matter how green a writer is because he loves people who love Community. I guarantee: there is no other Showrunner who gives fans more of his time than Dan Harmon. Watch any interview with him and you will feel how much he cares.
Even if Season 4 of Community had been the best season of Television in Television history, it would have been painful for Dan to watch. HYPERBOLE WARNING: It would be like watching home videos of your kids with new parents after they had been taken from you. You probably wouldn’t choose to watch those videos, even if you knew the parents were taking great care of your kids. Months ago, before he was asked back, Dan told me he could never watch Season 4 because, no matter what, it would be too hard and he didn’t want to discuss his feelings publicly and hurt the people who worked on the show or its fans.
Dan’s weekly show, Harmontown is an unplanned, unproduced, improvised podcast featuring Dan and his friends chatting and playing D&D. Sometimes Dan talks about humanity, sometimes he talks about writing, sometimes he talks about farts; but mostly he just talks about whatever is on his mind and sometimes those things are dark. If this show description sounds boring or hurtful to you, you do not have to listen to it and I promise, no one will make you listen to it and you will not find yourself accidentally listing to it. It is produced and released exclusively for people who listen to it on purpose. There is a reason why it’s not written and or enjoyed in transcript-form.
Unlike the articles I read today would lead me to believe, the mood at last night’s Harmontown was light, heartwarming and revolved mostly around the theme of FATHERHOOD, not hatred for Season 4 or anyone involved in it’s writing or production. Dan tried to articulate the unique feeling of watching his project in the hands of other people. He wasn’t saying it was the end of the world or comparable to rape, or that he’s not excited about Season 5, he was expressing his very understandable feelings that were consuming him the day he watched Season 4. He did not want the audience to leave the show with hatred for the S4 writers or Community. Side note: I also made jokes about Season 4 at Harmontown that I regret. I am friends with several writers on Season 4 and I know they worked their hearts out. I was also swept away by my defensive feelings and I feel bad about that.
This “rape joke controversy” is misguided, unfair and I believe started with reporter who wanted more traffic on her article’s page. She used the word “rape” in a headline so she could get more sweet, sweet clicks. Now, THAT’S vile.
Dan didn’t say the word “rape” because he thinks rape is funny.
Months ago, when Daniel Tosh made a rape joke it was undeniably wrong because he joked about his audience raping a female heckler to teach her a lesson. That’s different than using an analogy to express the extremity of one’s feelings. OBVIOUSLY, Dan could have made a better analogy that didn’t include this painful buzz word, but as someone who was actually at the show, spends the most of her time with Dan and as a woman who has actually experienced the horror of non-consensual sex firsthand, I assure you: Dan was not making light of rape. Kids are murdered everyday and if he had said “It was like watching my kids being murdered” no one would think that Dan was making light of murdering kids, they would think “wow, his feelings are really strong and maybe he’s being a little dramatic”. I mean, really. Come on. If we are going to change the tide of this “rape culture”, we need to be smarter. To the tumblr “Dan is a rape-joke making monster coalition”: I get that it’s fun to hate someone and to have such an identifiable reason to hate him, but your hatred is monstrous and HEART BREAKING.
NOW: I present a self-growth experiment, free of charge:
For ONE day, record yourself speaking openly and honestly about everything that you happen to feel and think. Note: This will be more helpful if you choose a day that’s more emotionally charged. Try to talk without editorializing or changing your opinions or truth depending on who is in the room. No matter how dark, gross, illegal, stupid, misinformed, racist, ignorant or brilliant you sound in your recording, send the file of the recording to someone you don’t know, but suspect may not care about you personally. That person will then find the most unflattering and controversial portions of the recording and edit them together without context. Then, allow this stranger to post your words in transcript form on the internet so no can hear the inclination of your voice. Ask them to include a link to the larger file, so if someone wants to go the trouble of getting the full story, she can (but be prepared for most people not listening to the larger file). Then, implore strangers to size your worth as a human being. Note how this makes you feel and how it affects your perception of quotes in Entertainment columns.
I hope that for the sake of creativity and LOVE, you… the internet and fans of Community can see how much Dan loves Community and understand that he is a human being. I know he is excited and thankful that he was asked back for Season 5. I watched him cry today at the thought that he hurt fans of the show and that was without him seeing any tumblr hatred. He just wants to do his show and make people happy.
Dan and Me at last year’s fantastic Community Artshow
The danger of empowering words is that words are insubstantial, so when you give them your power, your power hits the floor. It was your power, given you by nature, you’re supposed to use it to be who you are, but instead, you become an empty shell and your power gets snatched up by the people that can never have enough. Vampires. Control freaks. Party poopers. Liars. Rule makers. Politicians. Con artists. Thieves. Presidents and terrorists. And that’s whose side we’re on every moment we believe in sides. That’s what a bad guy is, it’s a guy that believes in bad. Bad doesn’t care if we’re bashing gays or bashing rednecks, it just wants us bashing. It also wants us fighting, controlling, fearing, stifling, labeling, warning, forbidding, shaming, censoring, and anything else we do in the name of fighting bad. Because when we fight bad, we believe in bad, and bad lives on.
Good is what we are, and what the world is, and faith is when we choose to believe that in spite of what we’re seeing or hearing.” —Dan Harmon
the worst feeling in the world is seeing people you genuinely like, liking things you absolutely detest.