Enter blogger Lindy West, who wrote an article I agree with almost entirely. She called Tosh out on his shitty joke but also acknowledged he had every right to tell a shitty, offensive joke. (Agree!) She also pointed out that words have consequences and that anyone who was rightly offended by his hurtful hackery had a right to criticize him for it even if that led to the termination of his show. (Agree again.) This was an article and a debate that made sense to me -- because it was joke-specific. Anyone could sit down and debate the merits, or lack thereof, of what Tosh had done (the gang-rape comment, at least). But in the months that followed, and especially recently after a debate with comic Jim Norton, the discussion has lost all focus. It has devolved into a senseless and unrelated screaming match between the First Amendment and "rape culture." It is an argument that leads to neither consensus nor illumination on either side.
That's why I'd ask anyone engaging in this debate to focus and be mindful of these following questions in the hope that all those spinning their wheels will at least take us someplace helpful: