Rape and Murder: Different

November 26, 2007 at 5:24 pm (frightening things)

This post at Broadsheet quietly disagrees with this post at Shakesville, which argues that jokes about rape (specifically one skit that I don’t care to watch; links to it at the posts) are misogynist and not funny. From the Broadsheet post:

Is rape ever funny?

When asked that question, I usually respond: Is murder ever funny? I tend to think that it’s possible for any number of terrible topics or ideas to be successfully, even smartly, employed for laughs. Now, mind you, I’ve never come across a joke about rape or murder that has caused me a laughing fit, but I can appreciate unnerving, ironic humor. . . . I wasn’t amused by the skit, either — not because it kidded about rape but because it was pretty stupid (or, stoopid). It wouldn’t occur to me to take particular offense at the lame rape joke — it also har-hars about running a dead person over with a golf cart, “murder boners” and throwing babies in compost bins.

When someone asks me if rape is ever funny, I usually punch them in the face.

Just kidding.

I like dark humor, a lot. Jokes about terrible things can be hilarious when they’re smart. But I don’t think rape is ever funny, because I don’t think there’s ever been a smart joke about rape. Unlike running someone over with a golf cart*, rape is a hate crime** — not just some (terrifying, violent) anomaly, but part of a pervasive system of oppression.

There are no funny jokes about lynching, either.

* Unless you run her over because she’s queer or something.

** Men raping women is a hate crime, which is the kind of rape in the skit and posts. Jury’s sort of out, for me anyway, about other permutations.



  1. Iz said,

    “Other permutations”… as in cultural/societal, or other gender variants? Because using this particular argument, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t find a women raping another women hysterically amusing.

  2. Daisy said,

    I wouldn’t, either. Really, I don’t think rape is ever funny. But if, say, a woman rapes a man, it’s probably not technically a hate crime.

    Do you have an idea about why rape is still never funny, even when it’s not a hate crime? Maybe because it’s used as a hate crime, so it carries that weight even in different contexts?

  3. Iz said,

    Ah, yes. I think right now “hate crime” is mostly used as a legal term… I don’t know how it’s not funny. Maybe because it’s never portrayed in media as commonplace, or as lacking a certain psychotic element?

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