When I hear a rape joke, I have a range of reactions. Sometimes it’s been laughter. Sometimes I’ve felt a weary indignation. After a year of women being a political punching bag and the “rape is OK” culture of places like Steubenville, it’s at times just one more reminder of how we’re being devalued as people and that Mad Men often looks like the fucking future. Sometimes I have even felt threatened. Yes, sometimes it feels creepy to be outnumbered by guys who are laughing about sticking a dick in a woman against her will. Some people just give off the vibe like they’re acting like they’re kidding, but if they suddenly thought they could get away with it they’d be the Mayor of Rapeville on Four Square.
But all jokes are like this for everyone. They affect us all differently depending on who is telling it, our environment, where we’re at mentally and how good the booze is.
Overall though, most of what I feel when I hear a rape joke these days is boredom.
I’m not here to debate whether or not you can make a rape joke. (You can. We have free speech.) I’m not here to debate whether or not they’re funny. (Some are. Some aren’t. And everyone has a different opinion about this, just like all jokes.) I’m not here to debate whether or not feminists think they’re funny. (Some of us do. We don’t all think alike.) I’m here to say that “Rape Jokes” have become the “Airplane Jokes” of our day.
Hearing a comic make a rape joke is like watching a baby poop in the toilet for the first time. “Oh, did you do that all by yourself? How cute.” Eventually, you will poop every day and it will just be called joke writing and you won’t need a parade every time you do it celebrating how “edgy” you are. Besides with the proliferation of rape jokes, they’ve become about as edgy as musing, “What’s the deal with Chicken McNuggets?” Call me when life happens to you and you have something interesting to talk about.
And here’s a suggestion: easy on the outrage when someone doesn’t like a rape joke. You’re beginning to sound like the fucking gun nuts screaming about Obama. No one’s coming to take away your rape jokes. You don’t have to go out and stockpile rape jokes or buy them at “Rape Joke Shows” with Bitcoin. As long as we have free speech you can make your rape jokes same as someone can make a statement that they didn’t like them. And by the way, people are allowed to not like them and say whatever they want and it doesn’t mean that anyone is policing your mind or interfering in your “safe space.” Jesus! For people who love to make fun of rape, these comics sure need a “safe space.” I love hearing about the sanctity of a comedy club like it’s a Women’s Shelter or a poetry group at Breadloaf or a Pagan Menstrual Circle. Let’s not kid ourselves. A comedy club is where people get shitfaced and listen to dick jokes while comics do blow and people embezzle the money they’re fucking comics and the IRS out of.
And sometimes something awesome happens and we go back and we chase that high like the fucking addicts we are and we are so lucky no matter who doesn’t like what we said. But if we can dish it out, we can take it.