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An Open Letter to Louis C.K.

Dude, seriously...

Dear Louis,

This is about you, so bear with me while I extend a metaphor. When I was coaching high school sports, it was a laughably open secret that the sports teams who cheated the most, had the poorest sports, and were the most likely to intentionally hurt players on the opposite team were the Christian schools. I puzzled over this for a long time and resolved to solve this mystery. I observed carefully for a long time and eventually came to two conclusions:

  1. They felt entitled to act badly because they believed themselves morally superior.
  2. They felt picked on.

Before anyone said a word, before the event even happened, the young Christian kids felt victimized and lashed out at the kids who they thought would eventually lash out at them. In other words, they carried self-pity as a value.

Now, please observe with me, the modern fundamentalist evangelical Christian, with their pretend war on Christmas and invented persecutions. Watch how they whine and snivel on TV. Observe the sanctimony that justifies and enables cruelty. People with wealth and power and privilege, who feel like victims act like assholes. Why is that? I believe it is because the root of all evil is not money, or lust, or greed. The root of all evil is self-involvement. People whose pain, or fear, or training and disposition cause them to see themselves as the center of the universe feel entitled and empowered to just be total dicks.

Louis, you’re a very funny man. And, I believe, a good man. Yes, you did some awful, and frankly pretty creepy stuff, but bad acts do not erase good deeds. Bad acts do not erase words of wisdom, or hilarity. Your sitcom on FX seemed to me what might happen if Cormac McCarthy took to comedy. Every episode seemed like a tiny film. Your gaze was fearless, insightful, and relentless. I think maybe life was good, which enabled your worldview to broaden and broaden and broaden.

Then, of course, the shit hit the fan. Some of your misdeeds of the past came to light and groups you likely always saw as your allies suddenly were anything but your allies. As you attempted to take responsibility, you must have had the thought of, “How much is enough?” And while I’m filled with empathy for your victims, I’m also full of empathy for you. How terrible it must have felt, probably still feels, as you try and navigate honoring your victims with taking care of yourself, while still craving a career in the public spotlight. You must feel alone. You must feel like a victim.

Judging by the leaked footage or your recent comedy attempts, you must feel like a rich, privileged, victim. Your jokes all relied on the very kind of comedy you once ridiculed! The kind where one must limit their worldview so much that anything outside of that view seems ridiculous, not understandable, and not funny. This is the humor of an asshole. Stop it. I’m begging you!

My advice is to tell the story of your creepy weird misdeeds as only you can, with that fearless and relentless gaze. Do it in a way that honors your victims while letting no one off the hook. Do what you did with your show. Use that pain to make the world a better place.

And for god’s sake man! Don’t be like the Christians. You’re still rich AF. Don’t be the asshole.

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An Open Letter to Louis C.K.
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