“[Insert thing created by a huge company] is so edgy and counter-culture.”
– Statement that I hear regularly
The Jim Norton Show is not edgy
The other day someone recommended that I check out The Jim Norton Show. It’s a new series on Vice and I was told that I’d like the edgy and bold content. Last night I decided to watch the first episode. Mike Tyson and Dana White were the special guest stars. I was excited.
While the show isn’t bad, I actually laughed quite a bit, it isn’t edgy or bold. Yes, there’s some swearing and a few politically incorrect jokes about having sex but that’s about it. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the program is nothing more than mainstream ideology wrapped up and marketed as a product for “manly men.” It’s on par with one of those cheesy radio programs where two guys talk about football and boobs. There’s some entertainment value, but it isn’t edgy.
The same message in a different package
Like Fight Club, Tucker Max, and George Clooney, Jim Norton is something of a manosphere favorite. The guy gets referenced in forums and comments with some frequency. People always talk about how he doesn’t conform to progressive ideas or pander to minority groups.
I’m not sure what these guys have been watching because the show I saw was co-hosted by a transsexual porn star. You can’t get more progressive and mainstream than that. It’s a Gawker wet dream brought to life.
The Way of Men is edgy and masculine. A show where Mike Tyson jokes about wanting to bang the transgendered co-host is not. It was The View with more f-bombs. Everyone had to play it safe.
Two types of men
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from reading, and writing, male oriented blogs its that there are two types of men in this world. Ones that grew up around masculine influences, and ones who’s entire idea of manhood came from a television. The guys who idolize Tucker Max, or call Fight Club underground are the dudes who never spent a lot of time around actual men. My dad used to own a construction company when I was a kid. During the summer I’d help out by sweeping floors or doing little tasks at job sites. The average conversation that went on there was infinity edgier than anything I heard Jim Norton say. The stories that got swapped on lunch breaks were a hundred times better than anything that Tucker Max fabricated. Swearing and being politically incorrect are natural male traits. No one ran to HR because someone said something homophobic. And if they did they would have been mocked even more.
Men who never got to be around these types of environments had to grow up in a more constricting world. If you said something someone didn’t like you’d be lectured by authorities. Speaking your mind or letting out steam was forbidden. These guys always end up receiving a culture shock when they stumble upon “men being men,” or their own interpretation of it. A joke that makes fun of something “off-limits” gets them to believe that they have found some kind of counter-culture prophet.
Comedians aren’t immune to criticism. They can get blacklisted from their industry just like anyone else. Jonah Hill, a man who made his millions off crude humor, had to apologize for calling someone names recently. Tucker Max had to apologize for all of his actions so that he could try to sell a $9.99 eBook on male health. Guys who are in the public eye have limits on how edgy they can be. Media bad guys are the same ideology, just in a different shade. Back when Neil Strauss was cool, he was a womanizer who also supported feminism. Henry Rollins was a tough guy with a generic liberal message. You’re getting the same thing as everyone else. It just looks a little different. The Jim Norton show isn’t bad, in fact there are some decent jokes, but it isn’t eye-opening and there is no secret truth being spilled out onto its set.