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Ought Comedians Tell Rape jokes?
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There are some lines Comedians ought not cross.
Of course.
43%
 43%  [ 19 ]
No, nothing is sacred.
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meh,

Regardless of the broader nature of humor, racism, and sensitivity toward others, I find "wouldn't it be funny if she got raped by a bunch of guys right now" to not really qualify as a joke.

This pretty much applies whether its what he actually said or just spitballing a hypothetical situation.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bitflipper wrote:
Darqcyde wrote:
If you're mocking them satirically for being racist, where does it cross a line?

Well, one could answer, "at just about the same moment as the writers of South Park thought up the idea." Razz

(Sorry, Darq; I'm not a big South Park fan.)

Now, does this episode of South Park cross the line so far that I'm willing to stand up and raise a fuss about it? No, not really. Heck, I even did chuckle a couple times during what I watched. But I only watched about the first half of the episode before closing the tab down, because, frankly, most of the jokes just made me feel uncomfortable. And that tends to be the case for just about all of South Park, as far as I'm concerned. On the sliding scale from"gaspingly funny" to "outrageously offensive," South Park, for me, tends consistently to fall just a little bit more than halfway towards the offensive end of things. Which is why I don't watch it, really. I can see the attempts at irony; I can even see how others find it hilariously ironic. But it just doesn't do it, for me.

If South Park were a stand-up comic, I'd probably just finish my drink and quietly walk out halfway through the set. If South Park said anything into the mic about me walking out politely and quietly, then I might flip 'em the bird as I continued leaving, but that'd be the most effort it'd be worth on my part. And, who knows? Maybe South Park could turn that into some funny impromptu jokes for the rest of the audience. But I wouldn't be there to hear it, and that's about as far as I'd be willing to go in the case of humor like theirs: "Y'all have fun; I'm outta here."

Tosh, on the other hand, would get a vocal response of at least "Hey, not cool, ass-wipe!" to that rape comment, and I'd demand to see the club's manager about getting my cover charge back on my way out the door, my drink left unfinished on the table. He's firmly on the offensive end of the scale.


Here's how it ends:


**SPOLIER ALERT**

Randy, Michael Richards, and Mark Fuhrman get congress to outlaw the term "nigger guy" (basically pointing out the racism within our own elected bodies), Stan realizes that from his position of privilege he can't ever really ever understand how blacks feel about the term nigger, and Cartman, being the bigot that he is, learns nothing.

So it's kinda a metaphor for this: some people think they learn and improve but they really aren't getting the point, some people actually do learn, and some are just fuckwads who will never learn.
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bitflipper



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
Here's how it ends:...

Which makes it a fairly good morality play; most of South Park's episodes are, and I can see that quality in them. They're just not my style of humor, is all. Not necessarily "bad" humor--as I said, I can see how others would find a lot of the jokes that leave me vaguely uncomfortable as being howlingly, side-splittingly funny--it's just not humor that I really "get."

What can I say? I'm just your typical moderately-near-the-upper-part-of-firmly-middle-class suburban white-bread geek. I think nothing's funnier than a good D&D pun! Razz

O-kay, honestly, I grew up listening to Bill Cosby, I worshipped Robin Williams through most of his career thus far, I caught every single episode of Dennis Miller Live, and I religiously watched Whose Line Is It Anyway after it came to the States. South Park's not that far of a stretch for someone coming at comedy with such a perspective, but I've never really been intrigued enough for long enough to be willing to make that stretch.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Point taken. I've realized some just aren't going to laugh at what I laugh at. Plus, like you've said, it depends on what you've been exposed to. I spent most of my teen years hanging around with hyper-offensive gutter punks; getting rises out of people by being as insulting as possible was one of their milder forms of self entertainment. SO when South Park came out when I was 18, I was pretty much instantly a fan. I'll be the first to admit that most of their laughs come from what I would call "funny cuz' it's wrong" sort of humor, but at the same time they've become smarter and more poignant and actually manage to usually fit in a meaningful message.

And then you have cultural milestones like this (which is SFW):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO5sxLapAts
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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trustedfaith wrote:
No you need to rephrase that. They cross your line. YOU no longer find them funny. Someone else might. I find some rape jokes funny.

I think this is untrue. You simplify this too much. There are more things involved in this question than just the matter of taste.

To use your Ralphie May link for examples - When he makes his first joke about black men having big dicks, lulz, the inappropriateness might just be a matter of taste. I think it's a boring joke. It uses a really stupid stereotype, but it's not in a way that harms anyone, it's just not funny.

If this was the only kind of joke we were talking about, you would be right to dismiss us as just finding the jokes unfunny. But. . .

Later on he defends Kobe Bryant against rape allegations, saying that vaginal bruising and tearing isn't evidence of rape, it's just Kobe being a big black man with a big dick, lulz. This time it isn't just a matter of taste. It's not just unfunny, it is actively harmful. It is definitely wrong to minimize the severity of rape like this.

And that wasn't the worst joke. Before you chide me for exaggerating, just look back at the joke immediately prior to that one. Ralphie claimed it couldn't have been rape because the swab found 3 different men's semen in the woman. Case closed! Of course it's not rape to force a promiscuous woman! The joke is not just unfunny, it is vile. I am utterly comfortable with stating that he ought not have made those jokes.
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bitflipper



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sojobo wrote:
I am utterly comfortable with stating that he ought not have made those jokes.

I understand where you're coming from, and I see your point, but it's still the "ought not" that gives me heartburn. Were May's jokes tasteless? Yes. Were they hurtful? Yes. Were they wrongful? Yes. Should they be decried as such? Yes, indeed! Should Ralphie May publicly apologize for making such asinine statements? If he wishes to be seen as a mature and civilized adult willing to live in today's society, then yes, most definitely!

But, ought he not to have said them?

Maybe it's just the phrasing of that statement, but that strikes me as going too far. Ought he to have said them? Hell, no! They were beyond rude!

But, somehow, that just doesn't equate to the same as saying "he ought not say them." The first permits him the right to say what he likes, but expects him to have enough sense and maturity to be respectful of others; the second takes away his responsibility for knowing where the line is and knowing when not to cross it by stating explicitly what isn't to be done.
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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bitflipper wrote:
But, somehow, that just doesn't equate to the same as saying "he ought not say them." The first permits him the right to say what he likes, but expects him to have enough sense and maturity to be respectful of others; the second takes away his responsibility for knowing where the line is and knowing when not to cross it by stating explicitly what isn't to be done.

I haven't said anything about permitting. I do not advocate outlawing rape jokes, I am explaining that the rationale behind criticizing them is not merely that they are unfunny. I think the only appropriate way to correct the problem is public reproach.

I can't even imagine trying to prosecute. The stereotype is harmful. Two jokes worth of contributing to the propagation of the stereotype is too small and nebulous to resolve. And, as trusted faith has pointed out, most of the time, the intent isn't there.
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Snorri



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just found this article about the Onion-tweet thing and I thought it interesting. It being the Onion there isn't even really a question of the intent behind it, it's just that even well-intentioned the joke still gave the wrong message.

Whatever the intent, the joke, instead of highlighting the bullshit of sexism, wound up just calling a 9-year old girl a cunt.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked that article, and it seemed to make a lot of the same points many of us did (though better written)... and, as you would expect, the comments are filled with People Who Don't Get It.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that is a great article, and it states the point well: it's not the subject that's the problem, it's how you address it. which is why there is no sense in trying to outlaw certain topics as subjects of jokes, because there are many different kinds of jokes on the same subject. it is entirely reasonable that it be subject to social pressures, however, including making a comedian think carefully about how they handle sensitive subjects. the onion's apology was an excellent example of doing the right thing - they made a mistake, they thought it through, and they thought better of it. and they were classy enough to apologize.

which is why i actually kinda like the word 'ought'. 'ought', to me, is a word of moral responsibility. there is no law that prevents you from swearing at your mother, but you ought not do that. and you ought not, as the article says, "punch down". and if you do so unthinkingly, you ought to apologize. and mean it.
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Michael



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This bit really bothers me

Quote:
The reason for the outrage was obvious: The c-word is perhaps the most toxic, gendered slur in our language, and a profoundly shocking and offensive thing to say, particularly about a child.


Seriously?

A simple swear is "profoundly shocking"?

Yes US/UK difference, but I think that's really pushing it to far.

It really makes me cringe to read something like this because I worry that
A. We start idolising these words, fighting symbols instead of causes (and in the worst case scenario the taboo you create this way makes the word "cool" with rubbish standups and teenagers)
B. We censor ourselves, creating a gap between what you can say and what is real

Maybe I'm overreacting. Rest of the article is fine.
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joking about how a 9 year old girl is "kinda a cunt" isn't profoundly shocking to you?



Cause if someone directed that to a 9 year old girl in person within earshot of me, the next time they said it they'd better have dentures in if they want to be intelligible.
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Sam



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: the Onion tweet ó not even the Onion supports the tweet. It was pretty against their policy and it resulted from a not very smart person with too much access posting it without proper vetting by the onion's chiefs of "are we really going to do this"

and who subsequently had a world of shit fall on his head, apparently, so.
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Lasairfiona



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a really great apology. Hit all the right notes.

On Cunt: It is odd to me that the lesbian community that I am familiar with has adopted cunt as a far, far better word than bitch.

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Snorri



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael wrote:
This bit really bothers me

Quote:
The reason for the outrage was obvious: The c-word is perhaps the most toxic, gendered slur in our language, and a profoundly shocking and offensive thing to say, particularly about a child.


Seriously?

A simple swear is "profoundly shocking"?

Yes US/UK difference, but I think that's really pushing it to far.

It really makes me cringe to read something like this because I worry that
A. We start idolising these words, fighting symbols instead of causes (and in the worst case scenario the taboo you create this way makes the word "cool" with rubbish standups and teenagers)
B. We censor ourselves, creating a gap between what you can say and what is real

Maybe I'm overreacting. Rest of the article is fine.


Well yeah, it's americans. But I think that the context of your quote is a normal polite conversation, rather than indicating a word as being the worst thing ever.

Calling your grandma a cunt during christmas-dinner is also shocking. It's the most shocking thing you can just call another person, not the most shocking thing ever.
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