Marc Maron And Nick Di Paolo Offer Contrasting Views On The Louis CK Scandal

Given the consistent allegations of lewd behaviour towards female colleagues by the otherwise brilliant American comedian Louis CK, I have to wonder if his recent mea culpa came as much of a surprise to anyone. Many of his peers have expressed shock and dismay, though some of them were certainly close enough to the circles he moved in to know – or guess – the truth long before this. Personally, I thought the writer’s public statement on the matter came with the familiar ring of damage limitation experts from an exorbitantly expensive PR company in Hollywood. Then again, what excuse could one offer for such repulsive and frankly malicious behaviour? It’s all well and good to offer contrition for the incidences of masturbatory exhibitionism he forced several women to witness, but the underlying pathology is the more worrying aspect of this. And the culture it apparently represents.

Louis CK’s close friend and rival, Marc Maron, has offered his own opinion on the scandal in his regular podcast, and it is a fairly heartfelt one. More than most in the comedy field, he acknowledges the hurt and humiliation that women comics and writers have endured in order to be accepted into the toxic environment created by CK and others. It is well worth a listen if you have twenty minutes or so, with some personal revelations of his own. In contrast, Nick Di Paolo, another well-known standup-turned-broadcaster, reflects the opposite view. And what an obnoxious, game-blaming one it is. Short of stating that the women “asked for it” by being alone in CK’s company, or that they were somehow complicit in the affair by failing to flee the scene at the first sign of inappropriateness, he goes out of his way to attack the victims not the victimiser. Unfortunately, it marks the comedian’s final transition to the further, quasi-libertarian right of US politics.

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6 comments

  1. I’m not sure why you lump this sort of horrid behavior with libertarianism. My view of libertarianism, and perhaps I have it all wrong, is that government doesn’t need to overstep its bounds and stick its nose into my life or anyone else’s life unless we’re harming others.

    Libertarianism does not include preying on those weaker or subservient to oneself, or desiring to live in a world free from oversight so that one can create their own personal “Lord of the Flies” scenario.

    If I desire less regulation, it’s not to take advantage of someone, it’s to make my life simpler. I understand that there will always be those that will try to maliciously manipulate whatever system we have to their advantage, but of the libertarian types I know, none are significant influencers, none wield great power and none, to my knowledge, engage in the above sort of corrupt behavior. And none adhere to a belief that government shouldn’t help those who need help, either.

    What we’re seeing in Hollywood, and Washington, is base depravity.

    1. In the case of Di Paolo his right-libertarian politics very much inform his views and his opinions on pretty much everything (and I’ll plead guilty to that ideological vice too). His “culture war” obsessions can be seen in his remarks on the Louis CK case. Albeit tempered by the knowledge that he and CK are friends and work-colleagues.

      It wasn’t a blanket condemnation of “libertarianism”, which runs from the political Right to some left-wing Anarchists. It was more a case of placing Nick Di Paolo’s views in context and contrasting them with the far more considered and humble opinions of Marc Maron.

      I read your own piece on the violence against Rand Paul, so I know your feelings on the matter. It wasn’t an anti-libertarian dig, more an acknowledgement of despair at men who can’t put themselves in the position of women.

      1. I misunderstood and appreciate you taking time to clarify. That some can’t understand how and why these sorts of actions are wrong is beyond me, but obviously they’re out there, and in far greater numbers than I would have imagined.

        And just to be clear, I don’t consider such actions indicative of any major ideological stance. That said, libertarianism, as I see it, should stand firmly against such actions by nature of its belief in liberty. I don’t have the liberty to take away somebody else’s liberty just because I can.

  2. On quasi-libertarianism (s) left and right:

    There is far more to all of this than the current frame of reference, and one way to understand it is to realise that politics and culture are changing all the time. Even the calling out of celebrities or anyone else in the public forum online or elsewhere is a “culture” of sorts (and yes for some people a necessity as there is no recourse to justice in a lot of cases). But what happens when you start calling out a group? Or you can call out one culture but not another? When is that hate speech.

    But to look at “call out” as a culture itself, just examine Kathy Griffin’s recent video as speaking as a marginalised female comic. She is “calling out” people she’s worked with in the video for offering her cocaine, and possibly being a Trump supporter and blaming all the women around her for not defending her when she got criticism for her beheaded president “joke”. The fact is many many people did support her, and she is still being written about sympathetically. But in the wake of all the other stories coming out it seems she couldn’t resist having her own traumatic story aired. It’s not just serious crimes either, it’s “my boyfriend cheated on me”, my”girlfriend was emotionally abusive” being aired to millions of people via popular youtubers and then a hundred #metoo stories coming out afterward. This is our current framework for which to judge society. This is how it operates. Every infringement of equal weight. A Dustin Hoffman consensual foot-rub put on par with the worst of the Weinstein crimes.

    The fact is much of the behavior glorified in the 60s, and much of the limits rightly frowned upon in sexually repressive eras, including our own history, were all driven to excess. All have been. Even feminism during the late 80s towards the early 90s was sexually aggressive, probably very damaging and had a lingering effect on society. So “If I want to use my body to get ahead and manipulate some stupid men, who are you to slut shame” has been equally valid to the other view for a long time. And it is the great defect of ideology that it will try to have it both ways.

    Imagine right now, a TV show where there are two women are an office, one the younger actress and the other, a Madonna or Lady gaga style figure. If the dialogue from the “sexually empowered woman” was “do you mind if I masturbate?” and the younger one didn’t object and the music in the scene played the right way and the younger woman was enthralled there is no reason at all in the current culture why that scene wouldnt make it to any television show over ten pm. And you can say, well that would be “problematic” but in fact this culture wouldnt read it that way. They would read it as, “what a tantalizing and feisty LGBT story which we have been denied on TV for far too long”.

    The fact is if the “cultural left” or whatever you want to call it because in many ways this outreaches the paradigm, want to have any credibility, then the focus is going to need to be taken across the board as it’s not about “equality of who can be the most degraded”. We are either one society or separate societies.

    Everytime the church is mentioned in Ireland in a place were people can comment freeely it’s just “Oh well look at all these pedos talking”. There was an essentialism to the argument as if priests automatically = predators. But we refused to look at the idea that it could be more wide-spread.

    What Im seeing again and again here though, as with all things, is people on the right in states of complete glee to see “liberal America” smeared with scandal. It’s disgraceful. But it’s no different than the way “liberals” smear the “right” all the time.

    There’s no denying that our current culture is broken. But we also need to realise that maybe some of our frames of analysis need to be re-examined also. There’s something wrong when all it takes is for you to talk about your victimhood, or your own politics and it automatically makes you a good person. It has been the smoke-screen by which people on all sides have been able to live in absolute hypocrisy.

    The current breakdown is embodied in your own article, where it says it smacks of PR because the apology is designed to be effective, but then again if it was a bad apology, that would be worse, and then you wonder what apology can be acceptable? You hit it on the head. Our society is one which has no recourse to apology, or forgiveness. Even the transgressor must be able to take solace I imagine in saying, “well whatever I say they wont forgive me anyway so why should I try to say anything?”. And then silence is seen as words also.

    Will anyone on the left accept that the sexual revolution had some disastrous consequences? Will anyone on the right admit that the way things were before were repressive and led many to live in nothing but misery? The politics of both could do with a bit of apologising for if they weren’t in a race to the bottom. There needs to be more of an admission and an awareness that one sides politic’s now can be the others in the future. There was a time when the lefts view of libertarianism was if you shame a person for any sexual act save one done with the use of force then you are a prude and a fascist. The fact with Louis CK is he “asked” these women. Some said yes and some said no. It was his fetish. Now we can talk about “in the work place” but this was a completely unregulated hub of excess that people moved in at all times. If Louis CK walked into a bar and asked the same thing of a woman the left would still describe there being a power relationship there, “he used his fame”, or even “he is male cis gendered” etc etc.

    The only way to sort this is stop reffering to the self as being this nebulous buzzword of “progressive” and actually just make some concrete ethics and principals.

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