Rape Jokes and what's funny
Okay, I know I'm a few weeks behind here, and that this is old news, but I can't stop thinking about rape jokes.
Okay, I know this is like years old news. I was telling someone about the Daniel Tosh incident and she was genuinely confused, saying, "Didn't that happen a couple of years ago?" Why yes, yes, I'm sure it did. Some other dude, some other rape joke. But it's still happening, so forgive me for still caring.
Mostly I don't have a lot to say that hasn't already been said by these two bloggers: Lindy West, of Jezebel, tells us How to Make a Rape Joke and El Guante has a much more succint 3 Points. Basically, (if you don't feel like reading their blogs, though I reccommend) it comes down to this:
- Yes, you (comics, men, stupid people, world) can say whatever you want. Yes! But also, yes, we (feminists, women, other men, world) can also say whatever we want. Free speech is a two-way street. Or an all-way messy interchange.
- It's not that rape jokes are necessarily bad. BAD rape jokes are bad. Good rape jokes are good! Bad rape jokes blame and belittle the victim and contribute to rape culture. Good rape jokes call attention to rape culture and undermine it.
- We have a responsibility to work against rape culture.
Comedy is not sacred! Vulgarity is not sacred! I say this as someone who appears to worship at the altars of comedy and vulgarity. Mad King Thomas is ALL ABOUT humor and vulgarity and pushing out of comfort zones. I personally really and truly love to shock and gross out people.
Here is the thing: humor and boundary-pushing are not sacred- they are tools. They help us illuminate and honor what is sacred. Dare I even try to say what is sacred? I don't know... Humanity. Love. The incredible joy of being human in this fucked up world. The divinity of life... and death, and everything? Let's not get too heavy here. These tools help us fight everything that is awful- injustice and inequality and everything that makes the world fucked up. That's heavy shit.
I hope- and not just idly hope, but hope in way that comes from working towards this goal- that when I and when Mad King Thomas make jokes just for the sake of being vulgar, to push, just to go over-the-top, that we are not contributing to any racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, hegemonic agenda, and that, for the most part, we are using our flippant sense of humor to actively work towards making the world a better place. Making things more awesome. And that, my friends, is a phrase I can always end with.