Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New Poll: Are Rape Jokes Ever OK?

There's been a bunch of talk lately about rape jokes. Some people think that they are never OK. Some people do. And I said to myself, I really don't remember ever writing a rape joke. I've done a variety of funny stuff concerning a variety of dark topics.

But rape?


And then I remembered.

Not only did I write jokes about rape, but they were about child rape. These jokes revolved around Catholic Cleanerupper-Man, a Catholic superhero whose job was to silence victims of sexual abuse committed by priests.

I think this would be considered a rape joke.

Some may argue the point, but everyone seeing the joke understands that the wee figure to the right is supposed to represent children who had been sexually assaulted by the good Fathers of the true Church.

Is the victim being made fun of?

Nope. I really don't make fun of victims. My job is to humble the proud -- more often than not the religiously arrogant, -- via laughter and absurdity.

What say you about rape jokes?

The poll is in the upper the left hand corner of the blog where it usually is. Feel free to comment below.



I wanted to add something from the piece in Time magazine Louis CK Talks Daniel Tosh Rape-Joke Furor on Daily Show, Gives Classically Louis CK-ian Response. You can see the Louis CK interview on the Daily Show there and it is is well worth your time. The writer of the piece then goes on to write about the controversy. Here is an excerpt.
One thing or another kept me from writing about it until it seemed way too late, but for the record: (1) You should be prepared to be offended at a comedy show, but Tosh was still being a jackhole. (2) Rape is never funny. But a joke about rape can be. (Likewise the Holocaust, disasters, assassinations. Infanticide = never funny; A Modest Proposal = funny.) (3) Comedians, in general, can joke about rape. But Daniel Tosh, in particular, seems really, really crappy at it.
From what I understand, Tosh made the comments off the cuff, and when dealing with sensitive issues off the cuff can lead to bad things, really bad things. When you're on stage and interacting with the audience there is a lot of pressure to be funny in the here and now. Doing a rape joke properly is like threading a needle -- doing it in front of an audience is like preparing a four course meal in the time constraints of a McDonald's drive-thru lane .


  1. There should be an amendment in the constitution that says somethig like "NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR COMEDY." As you can see by my capitalization, I have thot about this and feel stongly about it. After 9-11 was it OK to make jokes, I think so. What about after the Colorado shooting, some think the next day is too soon-I do not. Rape jokes...

    That is where I draw the line buddy. The only thing worse than death (to me) is rape. Normally i would tell the offended person, change the channel, don't watfch that show etc...Not this time, buddy,


  2. To be honest, I am not a fan of the rape joke. I don't think your diagram qualifies as the the typical type of rape joke that is being debated. Your joke is more at the expense of the predatory Church and not at all towards the victim. That is a large difference in my opinion.

    Rape jokes, made toward the victim, are not the type of humor that I find funny. That said, in no way would I want to limit a comedian's right to say whatever he/she wants. Just because I do not like something, does not mean that someone else should not be able to say it.

    1. I agree that the joke above is not representative of the type of rape joke in question, and I have real problems with comedy that makes fun of victims.

  3. Honestly, when are rape jokes not funny?

    1. Please, explain to me how you find rape jokes funny.

  4. Yes, but there is a difference between a joke pertaining to rape culture or even rape incidents and rape threats disguised as a "joke." In my opinion that is the explicit difference the current conversation is missing.

    I wrote a post on this earlier this week and Troythulu followed it up rather well.

    1. Both articles are well worth the time. What I found interesting about Troythulu's piece is that he actually changed his mind on the topic.

  5. For me, whether any joke is funny depends on exactly where the humour is supposed to be coming from.

    There's a joke that goes, "what do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Well, if you've already told her twice..."

    This joke expresses what I'm sure we all agree is a fucked up way of thinking. The fact that this kind of thinking is fucked up is what makes the joke funny. If this was a normal and acceptable way to think, there would be no humour.

    Rape jokes are shit when they express "I think it's hilarious when a woman is raped" but they can be funny when they express "aren't the excuses rapists make ridiculous?"

  6. I think it all depends on context. There are times I've made jokes very dark humoured jokes - I used to volunteer on a help line that help that was there for people in times of emotional distress, and humour is a way to cope. After harrowing calls, I'd make "sick" jokes - but this was more to stop of the awfulness of the situation getting to me, and looking back, they aren't funny, but at the time they helped.

    Of course, when making a joke, it needs to be funny, and certainly I find no humour in "what do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Well, if you've already told her twice...", but if two people by themselves tell the joke and find it funny, then there is obviously a time and a place for it, and what really needs addressing is how they can find the joke funny, which I think is a separate issue...

    1. I've worked with people who have disabilities for years, and there are jokes I wouldn't share except with close friends who've worked in the field.

      Joke writing is hard and communicating that joke so that it is funny is just as hard. I've done standup a few times and there is a huge difference from working a room that is cold to one where people are warmed up.

  7. I don't understand the mindset of people who are so confident that for a given subject there would never be a context among any combination of people in which at least some joke would be funny and appropriate. Try and think about how you feel when some religious people express their absolute confidence in various things.

    Possibly people don't actually believe it and are signalling group loyalty or their own morality to themselves by voting "no."


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