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Twitter “progressives” bombard Jen Kirkman with death threats after missing the point of a joke

Jen Kirkman on Drunk History
Jen Kirkman on Drunk History

So yesterday comedian Jen Kirkman posted a little joke on Twitter, as comedians are wont to do.

Jen Kirkman ✔ @JenKirkman I LIKE that Hillary has murdered a lot of people.

Before we look at what happened after she posted this Tweet (which has now been deleted), let me just say a couple of things about the Tweet itself.

Jen Kirkman does not actually “LIKE that Hillary has murdered a lot of people,” in part because she (Kirkman) does not LIKE murder and in part because she does not believe that Hillary has, in fact, murdered a lot of people.

The joke is a clear reference to the right-wing Clinton-haters who have been trying their best, for the last quarter century, to convince the world that Bill and Hillary have been secretly knocking off their political enemies, mob style, racking up a CLINTON BODY COUNT that is now said to number 48.

In other words, the joke is not actually a joke about murder. It s a joke about the right-wing idiots who think that Hillary goes around offing people like some pastel-pantsuited Tony Soprano.

[UPDATE 8/5 Kirkman herself made clear that’s what she meant in a Tweet today.]

Unfortunately, many of those who encountered Kirkman’s Tweet on Twitter — a large number of whom seem to be former Bernie Sanders supporters who’ve gone over the Green Party’s Jill Stein — have kind of missed the point just a little, misreading it as some sort of creepy celebration of drones murdering children in Afghanistan, or something.

And instead of stopping for a second to ask themselves, “wait, is this comedian lady who does those hilarious yet disarmingly earnest segments on Drunk History really mocking or even advocating the murder of children, why would she do that, that can’t be right” many of these people decided to advocate the murder of her.

Here are a small fraction of the Tweets sent to her.

Bacchus @thebacch Ain't no one buying your shit -- we're just hoping you meet the same fate as those dead children you're mocking. https://twitter.com/jenkirkman/status/761225738863292417 … 10:45 AM - 4 Aug 2016 Retweets 4 4 likes Follow Nick @jinkiescoob I LIKE that people have threatened to murder Jen Kirkman https://twitter.com/JenKirkman/status/760911124300570624 … 1:03 PM - 4 Aug 2016 Retweets 2 2 likes 3 Aug Jen Kirkman ✔ @JenKirkman I LIKE that Hillary has murdered a lot of people. Follow #ITSINOURHANDS @moonpyramid @JenKirkman Jen Kirkman thinks this is a funny fucking joke. Smug bitch, like most moron HRC elitists & paid trolls. 11:10 PM - 3 Aug 2016 Retweets likes Follow Victoria Chase @Victoriam_chase @PoliticsPeach @JenKirkman who is this ignorant bitch who need his/her ass kicked!! 7:45 PM - 3 Aug 2016 Retweets likes 3 Aug Jen Kirkman ✔ @JenKirkman I LIKE that Hillary has murdered a lot of people. Follow José Sáez-Peñalver @JSaezpenalver @JenKirkman Louis C.K. should have facefucked you that day, you whore. 6:32 AM - 4 Aug 2016 Retweets likes Follow the good posts guy @Lowenaffchen @JenKirkman you don't get to complain about your mentions after tweeting "murder is good". sorry 12:27 PM - 4 Aug 2016 8 8 Retweets 67 67 likes 3 Aug Jen Kirkman ✔ @JenKirkman I LIKE that Hillary has murdered a lot of people. Follow Juan C. Rodriguez @MrRodriguez89 @JenKirkman you're a massive idiot and deserve whatever harassment you get. Fuck you ya piece of shit!

After Kirkman noted that she would be handing the operation of her Twitter account to someone else because she was tired of reading all the death threats, some of her Twitter, er, critics, did little victory dances of sorts.

midnight velvet @JoshJDee ? @JenKirkman pic.twitter.com/KSfId3448D 1:54 PM - 4 Aug 2016 View image on Twitter Retweets likes Follow haram bae @lastlivingrose aw damn, just missed ya! anyway i wholeheartedly agree with everyone who said you deserved to be murdered next https://twitter.com/JenKirkman/status/761261881042481152 … 1:11 PM - 4 Aug 2016 3 3 Retweets 13 13 likes 3h Jen Kirkman ✔ @JenKirkman pic.twitter.com/DRV3PT7Sli Follow Professor Pikachu @crystalproteins @JenKirkman see ya cunt 1:04 PM - 4 Aug 2016 Retweets 10 10 likes 3h Jen Kirkman ✔ @JenKirkman pic.twitter.com/DRV3PT7Sli Follow soft money @LazyVodkaVideo @JenKirkman this is funnier than any joke you've ever written. 1:44 PM - 4 Aug 2016

And yes, that last dude is using a photo of a young Josef Stalin as his avatar. You know, the Russian dictator whose actual non-fictional not-a-joke STALIN BODY COUNT added up to something close to 20 million.

Someone even took the anti-Kirkman struggle to Wikipedia.

https://twitter.com/lastlivingrose/status/761283232260362240

The people bombarding Kirkman with threats and abuse aren’t Trump fans. They aren’t Trump fans pretending to be BernieBros. If you don’t believe me, go look at the accounts of the people whose Tweets I quoted above, or go directly to @JenKirkman’s mentions now, where you can find hundreds if not thousands more Tweets like this.

These are people who, in many instances, consider themselves progressives, radicals, anarchists, “revolutionaries.” These are, in more than a few cases, proud supporters of Jill Stein, a woman whose presence in the race makes it all that much harder to defeat the unhinged Muslim-hating racist Donald Trump. That strikes me as something of an irony.

In Milan Kundera’s The Joke, set in Communist Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, a young Czech intellectual and Communist Party member is tossed from the party and sent to work in the mines after he jokingly writes “long live Trotsky” on a postcard.

These days, we’ve got Twitter for that.

NOTE 8/5: Just a reminder for new commenters: defending or excusing harassment is against the comment policy here. I’ve been lax on bans in this thread so far but that’s over now.

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Crys T
Crys T
5 years ago

@SFHC Are you maybe thinking of Ken Hovind? He’s a fundie creationist type.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
5 years ago

@wodun

Hillary and Obama went to war in Libya without congressional approval

No she didn’t

a refugee invasion of Europe

comment image
Knew it…

If Hillary wasn’t a Democrat, Democrats would be calling for her imprisonment

I should hope not. I don’t blame Condi Rice for the Iraq war. I blame Bush and Cheney. And, even then, I don’t want them imprisoned for the war itself, nor the aftermath. I want them imprisoned for the torture program, ignoring habeas corpus, Cheney outing a CIA agent, etc. Ya know, actual crimes

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
5 years ago

I can’t even tell if the “liberals are humorless” posts are referencing the liberals who threatened Kirkman for not liking her jokes or if they’re saying we’re humorless because we don’t think the misogyny directed at her is funny.

a refugee invasion of Europe

It’s kind of hard to take the “it’s racist to vote for Hillary Clinton” talking point seriously when you say shit like this. Oh yes, it’s sooooo progressive to call refugees invaders.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

It lead to the rise of ISIS, sex slavery, genocide, religious persecution, hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced …

http://i.imgur.com/tg3xtb9.jpg

@Crys T

Nope, definitely Hoving… Eh, I’m sure I’ll remember after I’ve had my morning coffee. =P

@WWTH

If it was the former, they’d be posting it on Twitter towards the harassers, not here towards us.

Bunz0r
Bunz0r
5 years ago

I just wanted to say that maybe the interpretation of the joke depends on age/political awareness. Because when I read it, I immediately assumed it was poking fun at the “the Clintons murdered Vince Foster” types. I sometimes make “Hillary personally ran Vince over with a train” comments to people I know and who also know that these conspiracies are stupid.

I can see where if someone were younger (or hadn’t been following the “controversies” for the last couple of decades) and had heard a lot of talk about Hillary being a hawk, they might interpret it that way and assume it was a comment about the recent military actions abroad.

Either way, I’m about 99.9% sure that it was a sarcastic comment. “I like that she’s murdered people” = “I don’t think she actually murdered people”.

MY father always loved AND respected me
MY father always loved AND respected me
5 years ago

I would be surprised, except I read the Daily KOS article that I’m linking earlier today.

Thus, I’m not surprised about the treatment of Ms. Kirkman in the least. Sad, but not surprised.

http://m.dailykos.com/stories/1557554

Zatar
Zatar
5 years ago

Individual_Dude

abandon your minds, sheeple,

Are….Are you real?

repentantphonebooth
5 years ago

But Wodun, I LIKE that Hillary lead to the rise of ISIS, sex slavery, genocide, religious persecution, hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced, a refugee invasion of Europe, hundreds of terrorist attacks, dead Americans in Benghazi, dead Americans in Europe, and misery and suffering in general.

You see, the humour device I am using here is called irony. Not only do I not like any of those things, I don’t believe Hillary’s actions lead to those things. In fact, I think you are being silly for believing that to be the case. So, the punchline of the joke is not those suffering people; you are the punchline.
And that’s actually what got a bunch of bernie bros jammies in a knot. I don’t believe any of them were deficient enough not to understand there was some irony at play, they were just sore because they were being dismissed and so they lashed out like an army of screaming children.

(((VioletBeauregarde))): Prominent Misanderer of the Gynocracy
(((VioletBeauregarde))): Prominent Misanderer of the Gynocracy
5 years ago

@Repentantphonebooth:
I love your username…so random

repentantphonebooth
5 years ago

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Patton Oswald just sicced his two million or so followers on some Canadian lady who wrote him an incredibly heartless tweet. You see, Patton made a joke about the president being bipolar or something, and he started receiving some pissed off tweets from people who (rightly imo) believe that stigmatizes the mentally ill. One such person linked Oswald’s heartfelt essay about his deceased wife to a tweet that read something like ‘I can’t believe you could say those things after writing this’. Oswald told her to fuck right off into the sun (sensible reply, imo) and she deleted the tweet. However, Oswald took a screenshot, which is now on his twitter wall. The lady who wrote the rotten tweet to oswald has made her personal account private, but the replies to the screenshot are predictably awful and some of her personal information is available. Saying a shitty thing is shitty, and bringing a dead loved one into a discussion is low, but is it twitter hordes low? She’s a random asshole who said a random asshole thing.

repentantphonebooth
5 years ago

wait, he just called them all off. wow. that was intense.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

@repentantphonebooth

Not the first time Oswald’s done something like this. He’s a douchebag.

repentantphonebooth
5 years ago

@scentedfuckinghardchairs- so it would seem.

And thanks, Violet!! It’s a name with a story, but for another day……

History Nerd
History Nerd
5 years ago

I don’t believe Stein is an anti-vaxxer, but she supports a number of positions that are unscientific Green Party baggage. She’s trying not to alienate the more left wing anti-vaxxers who might consider voting for her. She also thinks GMO’s should be banned until they are proven safe, even though there is no evidence that they are not safe. She also supports funding to organic farming. There is no scientific evidence that organic food is healthier than non-organic food and higher cost would be a food security issue.

Frickey Weaver
Frickey Weaver
5 years ago

The analysis in this post is pretty poorly thought out. Most of the actual leftists who got angry at the tweet seemed too feel that it was a reference to Hillary’s foreign policies killing people in other countries and not to the right-wing conspiracy theories like Vince Foster. This would be a reasonable inference since Kirkman had been arguing with left-wing Hillary critics (and not with right-wing conspiracy theorists) prior to posting that tweet. Thus it’s not at all “clear” that it was a reference to right-wing theories.

U.S. foreign policy actually does kill people. There are many possible responses to that fact, but “haha I think it’s great” isn’t a particularly tasteful one. That’s why people got upset. Of course death threats and harassment are indefensible, but it’s dishonest to suggest that Kirkman was 100% right and her only critics are misogynistic bros.

Orion
Orion
5 years ago

The Left is, in fact, in denial about the amount of hate which exists in it’s ranks.

I’ll grant you that. Right-wing hatred is far more prevalent and more dangerous, but the amount of anger, targeted harassment and scapegoating, violent rhetoric and outright violence from the left in recent years is definitely unsettling. I’m not sure if it’s ramped up lately, or I was in denial about it, or what.

Adam Smith
Adam Smith
4 years ago

Beginning in 2011, through a secret arrangement with the CIA, the State Department was given the power to green-light drone strikes. Clinton’s State Department approved the CIA’s requests in all but one or two instances.

And for Clinton, the authorization process was optimized for convenience: she could okay drone strikes straight from her cellphone.

So y’know, most of the people of the commenting here are basically factually wrong.

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