UNH has been buzzing the last few days about a potential "Barstool Blackout Show" coming to Durham or the seacoast NH region. For the past few months Barstool Sports have been barnstorming college campuses with black lights, light show equipment, DJs and their party reputation, putting on sold out shows everywhere they go. Sounds like fun? Probably for most college students.
But, with the good comes the bad. Barstool, and their owner Dave Portnoy, have gained a misogynistic reputation for what he says and writes. The entire Barstool shtick is simple: sports, hot girls, and quite simply, what guys talk about with their buddies over some drinks. (Hence "Barstool Sports.")
Barstool diehards says it's all fun and games. Words are harmless and the jokes are just jokes. Barstool haters claim that they "condone rape" simply by making off color jokes. Personally, I think both sides have taken things too far. I'm not a Barstool fan, but I do keep up on them because they frequently run local stories about UNH or other schools. Do I honestly think that Barstool "condones rape," simply because of a few sentences written in years of the site being up? No way. Do I think they often take things to far? Absolutely yes.
(If you're out of the loop: TNH's editorial and Barstool's reaction.)
Then there is the argument, "by simply joking about rape, they are making light of it and therefore condoning it and allowing a rape culture." That is the popular argument among those who vehemently oppose Barstool. I think it is a stretch. It is easy to point a finger at someone by taking a quote out of context or removing any sarcasm or possible attempt at humor. It's even easier when it is written down than when it is said. I'm sure most of you (no matter which side you take) has said something in your past - whether joking or not - that would make you sound misogynistic, racist, slutty, prudish, ignorant, uneducated, douchy, or just plain idiotic.
However, I am also not taking Barstool's side at all. I think they go for the cheap laugh, the cheap page hits and use sensationalism to the max. And they do it as well as or better than just about any blog out there. It has worked for them, but you have to understand that is their style. It is their gimmick, and El Prez has nailed what he does, it has made himself a huge cult following and a decent amount of money.
Barstool's response to the entire issue is what grinds my gears more than anything. Every time KO Barstool or a college newspaper releases an editorial on the matter El Prez responds the same way "It's just fat, ugly chicks who are jealous... blah blah blah." (He even called me a "fat chick" two years ago when I took SCOPE's side during Prez's original pissy pants fight with them.) If that is his only response than I think it pretty much answers the whole question. They're immature and they don't care. They like the attention stuff like this brings to them and they will ride it out as long as people hate on them.
That being said, I definitely think Barstool has taken things too far at times. There is a line when it comes to "jokes" and I believe they have crossed it numerous times. But that is what they do. When it all comes down to it, if they were to land a show in the Whit, it would sellout immediately. There is no doubt in my mind that it would. Lots of students would drink, there would be arrests, but what UNH show isn't like that?
In short, I don't believe that "Barstool condones rape" or "creates a rape culture" but I do believe that joking about it can go too far and hurt people. I do not think that one causes the other, joking about rape doesn't cause it to happen. Portnoy is an ignorant, arrogant jerk for the things he says and writes. But his blog doesn't cause rape. Poor education on the matter and bad people allow rape to happen. If Bartsool came to UNH I wouldn't be there for personal choices, but I probably wouldn't protest it either. It is what it is. A blog on the internet, it attracts readers who simply "think" in that way, but it doesn't cause people to think that way.
Stay classy, not UMassy