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.

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3 Comments

  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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