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Lallante
July 27 2012, 02:24:54 PM
So in this OP I don't intend to fully lay out my arguement, but more posit my beliefs and then defend them as needed later in the thread:

I used to subscribe to usual neckbeard manifesto of "nothing is offlimits in comedy" "if you cant take a joke, fuck off". About 2 years ago, due to firsthand experiences, I did a 180.

1. I genuinely believe that telling rape jokes publically is morally wrong in many circumstances;

2. I believe that 1. is highly dependent on setting, audience etc, but I don't think a mainstream comedien not specifically known for exactly that type of humour should EVER throw a rape joke into his set.

3. I believe that rape is a special case (there may be others) - its not that people might be offended that matters, I think that is irrelevant, its that a statistically significant and entirely blameless portion of the population might (and its not a small chance) be severely hurt by hearing the joke. I know one such person and I've seen the effect it has on her (she doesnt get angry, she deflates, withdraws and it kills me a little inside each time I see it and the teller of the joke doesnt notice).

4. I believe the "freedom of speech" arguement is a copout. Exercising your rights doesnt preclude you from being morally blameworthy for doing so. Sure you are ALLOWED to make rape jokes in the potential hearing of rape victims, but that doesnt mean you arent WRONG for doing so.

5. I believe the "don't listen to it if it hurts/offends you" arguement is a copout. You can't control what you hear short of living in cotton wool. 95% of standup comedy doesnt involve jokes about being raped or raping, why should you be forced to opt out of that so that in the remaining random 5% of cases a comedian can make a particularly sick joke.

6. I also believe, though this is entirely seperate to the above arguement, that rape jokes are a low form of humour. They rely solely on shock value, breaking tabboo - there is nothing inherently funny about them. If they didnt carry the risk of causing harm and offence, they wouldnt be funny - that, for me, is the nail in the coffin for rape jokes as a form of comedic art.


Inb4 cretins post rape jokes (I've seen them all, they dont offend me, I just pity you and anyone who inadvertantly reads them and is hurt).

Diicc Tater
July 27 2012, 02:48:57 PM
A rapist, a pedophile and a catholic priest walks into a bar....

Agree on all point, really nothing to add other than some jokes you only tell when surrounded by people you really know. Part of the "fun" in them is the edge of what is and isn't OK, but only if those who hear it understands this and know you do so too.

Zeekar
July 27 2012, 02:58:34 PM
Mostly going to play devils advocate here.

If you go that route you can replace rape jokes in your argument with:

- paedophile jokes
- murder jokes
- nationality jokes
- racist jokes
- minority jokes

Because they can all offend somebody deeply.


1. I genuinely believe that telling rape jokes publically is morally wrong in many circumstances

Your opinion, you are more then welcome to it but don't expect everybody to share it and don't try to enforce it to everybody.


2. I believe that 1. is highly dependent on setting, audience etc, but I don't think a mainstream comedien not specifically known for exactly that type of humour should EVER throw a rape joke into his set.

Comedians have a wide array of material and fair bit of it is offensive and they change it over time. You cant dictate what he should use as his material.


3. I believe that rape is a special case (there may be others) - its not that people might be offended that matters, I think that is irrelevant, its that a statistically significant and entirely blameless portion of the population might (and its not a small chance) be severely hurt by hearing the joke. I know one such person and I've seen the effect it has on her (she doesnt get angry, she deflates, withdraws and it kills me a little inside each time I see it and the teller of the joke doesnt notice).

It might be a special case since its a deep, very emotional tragic event that happens in someone's life. But a part of being an adult and living in a society is dealing with ass holes and what they say. I can understand that it hurts the person in question but people will be dicks and sadly thats a part of life.


4. I believe the "freedom of speech" arguement is a copout. Exercising your rights doesnt preclude you from being morally blameworthy for doing so. Sure you are ALLOWED to make rape jokes in the potential hearing of rape victims, but that doesnt mean you arent WRONG for doing so.

Sadly it is not. Morale is subjective what is offensive for somebody its not for somebody else. If you will always do what even potentially can't hurt any body you will never leave the house and will leave in a cocoon.


5. I believe the "don't listen to it if it hurts/offends you" arguement is a copout. You can't control what you hear short of living in cotton wool. 95% of standup comedy doesnt involve jokes about being raped or raping, why should you be forced to opt out of that so that in the remaining random 5% of cases a comedian can make a particularly sick joke.

It is his right to use material like that and if you know that he uses jokes like that it is completely your own fault for going to his show. Placing yourself intentionally in a position of discomfort is your fault not the comedian.


6. I also believe, though this is entirely seperate to the above arguement, that rape jokes are a low form of humour. They rely solely on shock value, breaking tabboo - there is nothing inherently funny about them. If they didnt carry the risk of causing harm and offence, they wouldnt be funny - that, for me, is the nail in the coffin for rape jokes as a form of comedic art.

Agreed.

Aramendel
July 27 2012, 03:04:24 PM
It's really a general principle about jokes which involve potentially traumatic experiences, someone who has actually experienced those might be hurt by hearing them.

That being said, sometimes such jokes can be a coping mechanism too. It makes the subject at hand less "real" and therefore less gruesome. I.e. that Brevik-Farcry picture. Showing such a picture would still be deeply disrespectful to someone who has lost a loved on to that madman, but I can understand why someone made it (and laughed at it myself). If something is so bad you cannot really compute it you make jokes about it.

Mind, that does not excuse being so thoughtless not to take your surroundings into account when you tell them.

Personally I do not find rape jokes particulary funny either (except maybe "he dropped the soap" type ones), but I think this is to a fair amount because rape does not yet fall into my personal "too horrible to really comprehend" area. It is not yet black humor, just tasteless.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 03:07:31 PM
Mostly going to play devils advocate here.

If you go that route you can replace rape jokes in your argument with:

- paedophile jokes
- murder jokes
- nationality jokes
- racist jokes
- minority jokes

Because they can all offend somebody deeply.

I said it wasn't about "offending" someone but rather hurting them. Criticising someones race or whatever is unlikely to hurt them even if it offends them unless, for example, it reminds them of a racially motivated attack on them in the past or some other trauma. The number of people this applies to will be low.

As many as 1 in 5 women in the UK are the victim of a rape or sexual assault at some point in their life (actually 1 in 5 was the number who have at the time of survey been the victime, the lifetime figure is therefore much higher). Its not some tiny minority who are affected so the risk of hurting someone is high.

The same arguement might be made of paedophilic abuse - it affects enough people that in a given audience there isnt a vanishingly small chance that someone will be hurt by it, but its a much lower chance than rape so the arguement is much weaker.

Its about balance here, not absolutes.



1. I genuinely believe that telling rape jokes publically is morally wrong in many circumstances

Your opinion, you are more then welcome to it but don't expect everybody to share it and don't try to enforce it to everybody.
That's just, like, your opinion man. I've not suggested enforcing it.



2. I believe that 1. is highly dependent on setting, audience etc, but I don't think a mainstream comedien not specifically known for exactly that type of humour should EVER throw a rape joke into his set.

Comedians have a wide array of material and fair bit of it is offensive and they change it over time. You cant dictate what he should use as his material.
Sigh. How is debating the morality of an action "dictating what [someone may do]?



3. I believe that rape is a special case (there may be others) - its not that people might be offended that matters, I think that is irrelevant, its that a statistically significant and entirely blameless portion of the population might (and its not a small chance) be severely hurt by hearing the joke. I know one such person and I've seen the effect it has on her (she doesnt get angry, she deflates, withdraws and it kills me a little inside each time I see it and the teller of the joke doesnt notice).

It might be a special case since its a deep, very emotional tragic event that happens in someone's life. But a part of being an adult and living in a society is dealing with ass holes and what they say. I can understand that it hurts the person in question but people will be dicks and sadly thats a part of life.
That's a ridiculous arguement. By the same token we shouldnt try to combat racial abuse, homophobia or any other "unpleasant" behaviour because "its part of life"...



4. I believe the "freedom of speech" arguement is a copout. Exercising your rights doesnt preclude you from being morally blameworthy for doing so. Sure you are ALLOWED to make rape jokes in the potential hearing of rape victims, but that doesnt mean you arent WRONG for doing so.

Sadly it is not. Morale is subjective what is offensive for somebody its not for somebody else. If you will always do what even potentially can't hurt any body you will never leave the house and will leave in a cocoon.
lol. absolutism. As I've said above its a matter of balance.



5. I believe the "don't listen to it if it hurts/offends you" arguement is a copout. You can't control what you hear short of living in cotton wool. 95% of standup comedy doesnt involve jokes about being raped or raping, why should you be forced to opt out of that so that in the remaining random 5% of cases a comedian can make a particularly sick joke.

It is his right to use material like that and if you know that he uses jokes like that it is completely your own fault for going to his show. Placing yourself intentionally in a position of discomfort is your fault not the comedian.
Of course its his right. You dont seem to be able to distinguish having the right to do something with whether it is right to do something. I have the right to tell an old lady on the street that she is going to die of old age and go to hell soon - its clearly morally abhorrant to do so.

Ralara
July 27 2012, 03:14:16 PM
Entirely situational.

Bad idea to start telling them as casual conversation / small talk in the lobby of the hall showing the Vagina Monologues. Perfectly fine in a Frankie Boyle stand up show.

DevilDude
July 27 2012, 03:15:54 PM
jokes are jokes, they're not meant to be taken seriously, IMO people who do take them seriously are looking for something to take offence at.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB0a5VBo_FM

Tarminic
July 27 2012, 03:20:32 PM
Honestly, I think there's a strong case that can be made that moral really isn't terribly subjective when it comes to this subject if we define immoral behavior as "something that triggers significant emotional trauma without any significant benefit or purpose". I think that rape can be distinguished from most other forms of "taboo" humor by two things:
1. The depth and intensity of the trauma
2. The degree to which rape is common

Yes, jokes about pedophilia and other forms of negative discrimination also have aspects of this, but I feel that rape is unique in that it is both common and its aftereffects are extremely powerful and long-lasting.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 03:20:43 PM
It's really a general principle about jokes which involve potentially traumatic experiences, someone who has actually experienced those might be hurt by hearing them.

Actually my point was it isnt a general principle - it would be possible to find a theoretical person who would be traumatised by nearly ANY joke:
"Why did the chicken cross the road?" "OH GOD A CHICKEN RAN ACROSS A ROAD AND PECKED MY NEWBORN CHILD TO DEATH FIVE YEARS AGO AND NOW IM RELIVING IT"

Instead my point is that a hugely significant proportion of the population suffers from rape/sexual assault at some point in my life, and the trauma from hearing such jokes can be fairly fairly severe. Its about balance, as I've mentioned, and with these jokes the likelihood of hurting someone is very high. As I've noted, its happened dozens of times in my hearing for the one friend I know about alone.


That being said, sometimes such jokes can be a coping mechanism too. It makes the subject at hand less "real" and therefore less gruesome. I.e. that Brevik-Farcry picture. Showing such a picture would still be deeply disrespectful to someone who has lost a loved on to that madman, but I can understand why someone made it (and laughed at it myself). If something is so bad you cannot really compute it you make jokes about it.
Surely whether jokes can be used as a coping mechanism for trauma is a decision that should solely be made by the person on whom the trauma was inflicted? Imposing jokes because they "might help you cope" is ridiculous. Note I'm not advocating "no more rape jokes ever" just "no rape jokes in public settings where such things are not necessarily expected by everyone listening".


Mind, that does not excuse being so thoughtless not to take your surroundings into account when you tell them. True, but if there are women listening can you really be sure? If 3 women are present, statistically one or more of them is almost as likely as not (~49% chance) to have been a victim.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 03:23:41 PM
Honestly, I think there's a strong case that can be made that moral really isn't terribly subjective

Lets not get into this in this thread but yes, when you examine it closeley noone but particularly extreme nihilists really believe morals are totally subjective - most people would either claim morals are objective (coming from god, or human nature or whatever) or subjective BUT held by a whole society or subset thereof. Its therefore perfectly legitimate to debate whether something is immoral, with the subtext that you are asking "in our society".

Throwing out "morals are subjective so that's just your opinion" is therefore a complete fallacy.


when it comes to this subject if we define immoral behavior as "something that triggers significant emotional trauma without any significant benefit or purpose". I think that rape can be distinguished from most other forms of "taboo" humor by two things:
1. The depth and intensity of the trauma
2. The degree to which rape is common

Yes, jokes about pedophilia and other forms of negative discrimination also have aspects of this, but I feel that rape is unique in that it is both common and its aftereffects are extremely powerful and long-lasting.
Exactly!!!

Zeekar
July 27 2012, 03:24:58 PM
Mostly going to play devils advocate here.

If you go that route you can replace rape jokes in your argument with:

- paedophile jokes
- murder jokes
- nationality jokes
- racist jokes
- minority jokes

Because they can all offend somebody deeply.

I said it wasn't about "offending" someone but rather hurting them. Criticising someones race or whatever is unlikely to hurt them even if it offends them unless, for example, it reminds them of a racially motivated attack on them in the past or some other trauma. The number of people this applies to will be low.

As many as 1 in 5 women in the UK are the victim of a rape or sexual assault at some point in their life (actually 1 in 5 was the number who have at the time of survey been the victime, the lifetime figure is therefore much higher). Its not some tiny minority who are affected so the risk of hurting someone is high.

The same arguement might be made of paedophilic abuse - it affects enough people that in a given audience there isnt a vanishingly small chance that someone will be hurt by it, but its a much lower chance than rape so the arguement is much weaker.

Its about balance here, not absolutes.



So your argument boils down to there is a chance of hurting 10% of the population so you shouldn't do it? In that we should immediately drop jokes about sexual orientation since there is pretty much the same chance of hurting somebody as with rape victims.
The catch is simple. We expect people to be adults and to deal with assholes. You cant allow yourself to be hurt by idiots making jokes and this goes for rape victims as well. If you do you will go insane.
As you said its about balance and the simple balance is that there is simply too many assholes in the world for you to be hurt by every single one.





Honestly, I think there's a strong case that can be made that moral really isn't terribly subjective

Lets not get into this in this thread but yes, when you examine it closeley noone but particularly extreme nihilists really believe morals are totally subjective - most people would either claim morals are objective (coming from god, or human nature or whatever) or subjective BUT held by a whole society or subset thereof. Its therefore perfectly legitimate to debate whether something is immoral, with the subtext that you are asking "in our society".

Throwing out "morals are subjective so that's just your opinion" is therefore a complete fallacy.


when it comes to this subject if we define immoral behavior as "something that triggers significant emotional trauma without any significant benefit or purpose". I think that rape can be distinguished from most other forms of "taboo" humor by two things:
1. The depth and intensity of the trauma
2. The degree to which rape is common

Yes, jokes about pedophilia and other forms of negative discrimination also have aspects of this, but I feel that rape is unique in that it is both common and its aftereffects are extremely powerful and long-lasting.
Exactly!!!


Not everybody in a single society shares the single code of morale and from that view point it is subjective. You can take western society as a prime example. For some people abortion is murder for some its not.
And the paedophilia vs rape argument in regards in its rarity and after effects is on very shaky grounds. Both are too common for my taste and after effects can be extremely powerful and long lasting in both cases. So if jokes about one are morally objective they should be about the other as well.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 03:26:15 PM
jokes are jokes, they're not meant to be taken seriously, IMO people who do take them seriously are looking for something to take offence at.



Trolling? Please explain to my friend, who literally has to immediately leave the room and takes at least an hour to put herself back together after hearing someone casually tell such a joke, that she is "just looking for something to take offence at".

Hint: she doesnt tell anyone else she is upset, she makes a polite excuse before she GTFOs - the teller of the joke never finds out unless a knowing 3rd person tells him (its almost always a him).

"Jokes are jokes, don't take them seriously" is great until you have psychological scars which are ripped open every time you hear one.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 03:29:26 PM
Mostly going to play devils advocate here.

If you go that route you can replace rape jokes in your argument with:

- paedophile jokes
- murder jokes
- nationality jokes
- racist jokes
- minority jokes

Because they can all offend somebody deeply.

I said it wasn't about "offending" someone but rather hurting them. Criticising someones race or whatever is unlikely to hurt them even if it offends them unless, for example, it reminds them of a racially motivated attack on them in the past or some other trauma. The number of people this applies to will be low.

As many as 1 in 5 women in the UK are the victim of a rape or sexual assault at some point in their life (actually 1 in 5 was the number who have at the time of survey been the victime, the lifetime figure is therefore much higher). Its not some tiny minority who are affected so the risk of hurting someone is high.

The same arguement might be made of paedophilic abuse - it affects enough people that in a given audience there isnt a vanishingly small chance that someone will be hurt by it, but its a much lower chance than rape so the arguement is much weaker.

Its about balance here, not absolutes.



So your argument boils down to there is a chance of hurting 10% of the population so you shouldn't do it? In that we should immediately drop jokes about sexual orientation since there is pretty much the same chance of hurting somebody as with rape victims.
The catch is simple. We expect people to be adults and to deal with assholes. You cant allow yourself to be hurt by idiots making jokes and this goes for rape victims as well. If you do you will go insane.
As you said its about balance and the simple balance is that there is simply too many assholes in the world for you to be hurt by every single one.

Are you deliberately ignoring the balance of my arguement or just dense? The psychological trauma associated with being raped or sexually assaulted is ENORMOUS. Its a whole different ballgame from feeling discriminated against or bullied.

I think you must never have had to talk to or support a rape victim or you wouldnt spout this "tell the victims to be adults" "they shouldn't allow themselves to be hurt by it" offensive bullshit. I don't get annoyed on the internet often, but the ignorance displayed in your post is putting me pretty close.

Tarminic
July 27 2012, 03:29:45 PM
So your argument boils down to there is a chance of hurting 10% of the population so you shouldn't do it? In that we should immediately drop jokes about sexual orientation since there is pretty much the same chance of hurting somebody as with rape victims.
The catch is simple. We expect people to be adults and to deal with assholes. You cant allow yourself to be hurt by idiots making jokes and this goes for rape victims as well. If you do you will go insane.
As you said its about balance and the simple balance is that there is simply too many assholes in the world for you to be hurt by every single one.
Do you feel the same way about doing things that would trigger PTSD in combat veterans?

Lallante
July 27 2012, 03:30:52 PM
Entirely situational.

Bad idea to start telling them as casual conversation / small talk in the lobby of the hall showing the Vagina Monologues. Perfectly fine in a Frankie Boyle stand up show.

Tentatively agree. With Frankie Boyle, super offensive shock comedy is his "shtick" so you know what to expect. From more mainstream or even less mainstream but not known for their offensiveness comics? Not ok.

Frankie Boyle isn't funny and people who like his style of comedy tend to be antisocial morons though.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 03:31:37 PM
So your argument boils down to there is a chance of hurting 10% of the population so you shouldn't do it? In that we should immediately drop jokes about sexual orientation since there is pretty much the same chance of hurting somebody as with rape victims.
The catch is simple. We expect people to be adults and to deal with assholes. You cant allow yourself to be hurt by idiots making jokes and this goes for rape victims as well. If you do you will go insane.
As you said its about balance and the simple balance is that there is simply too many assholes in the world for you to be hurt by every single one.
Do you feel the same way about doing things that would trigger PTSD in combat veterans?

He wakes them up with recorded gunfire, screaming and explosions every morning then tells them to HTFU while they rock back and forth crying.

Tarminic
July 27 2012, 03:32:10 PM
Entirely situational.

Bad idea to start telling them as casual conversation / small talk in the lobby of the hall showing the Vagina Monologues. Perfectly fine in a Frankie Boyle stand up show.

Tentatively agree. With Frankie Boyle, super offensive shock comedy is his "shtick" so you know what to expect. From more mainstream or even less mainstream but not known for their offensiveness comics? Not ok.
I agree with this too. In situations like this, you can't really be involved without knowing what to expect, which allows you to not be in that situation if you know it could be a potential trigger.

Roam
July 27 2012, 03:33:44 PM
Just a brief argument since I'm already late for an appointment, but like Lall I was a proponent of "all is fair in comedy" for a long while, until I heard some convincing arguments as to why that's bullshit.

In short: There are two components to the issue that are being ignored. First is the situational nature of comedy: ANY comic would agree that you have to play and know your audience. For example: it's commonly agreed that 9/11 jokes at a 9/11 memorial service with survivors would be in bad taste, or cancer jokes at a charity event for terminally ill children. I think we can all agree on this point.

The second point follows from the first, and is simply that the reality of rape prevalence is heavily underestimated and downplayed. Therefore, if your audience contains women, there's a much higher chance than commonly accepted that you are that you are doing the exact same thing as telling cancer jokes to a child suffering from cancer.

In the case of the recent Daniel Tosh controversy: He made a rape joke and had the "misfortune" of there being a rape victim in the audience who started crying, and "heckled" him by tearfully shouting out that "rape jokes aren't funny". He misinterpreted the situation (understandably assuming she was just a heckler, because society underestimates the likelihood of a woman having been made victim of a rapist), and tore into her under the assumption he was "punishing" a heckler. After a quip about how it would be hilarious if someone next to her stood up right there and then and would rape the shit out of her while everyone watched, she broke down and left the audience.

With the above example, I think the huge criticism aimed at Tosh for being an asshole isn't entirely justified. But it does indicate an underlying issue, reflected through the medium of comedy, that exists in our society: that rape is considered a rare occurence, akin to murder or airplane crashes or anything else that is rare enough that you aren't running a high risk of there constantly being a victim in your audience. In this case, the fact that the traumas of a woman who was raped are at its core considered at least partially illegitimate (not due to people saying "rape isn't a big deal" but because people say "rape isn't AS big a deal as it really is), the jokes hit home even harder.

A survivor of 9/11 might be able to laugh about a joke, but he or she has the security that it IS in fact meant to be humorous, because there is more than enough proof around them to indicate that society as a whole does care about their pain and suffering.

A woman who was raped and feels ostracized or that her trauma isn't taken seriously will find it much harder to distinguish between a joke that is sincerely meant to amuse, and a joke that perpetuates the pervasive notion that rape isn't as big a deal.

With that in mind, I can't really argue in favour of rape jokes anymore. Trauma can be a terrifying thing, and it's an inhuman thing to rid ourselves of any empathy for someone who went through something horrible. We may briefly laugh at the joker that told a 10 year old kid who won't live to reach 11 something brutally inconsiderate, but we all share a collective feeling that we're only laughing because we SHOULDN'T. Hence the "i'm going to hell for laughing at this" line.

The same applies to rape jokes, I think. It's funny if you've never been raped, but since a much larger number than commonly accepted HAS been raped it may not be such a morally responsible topic of dismissive jokes.

My two cents anyway.

Zeekar
July 27 2012, 03:36:21 PM
Mostly going to play devils advocate here.

If you go that route you can replace rape jokes in your argument with:

- paedophile jokes
- murder jokes
- nationality jokes
- racist jokes
- minority jokes

Because they can all offend somebody deeply.

I said it wasn't about "offending" someone but rather hurting them. Criticising someones race or whatever is unlikely to hurt them even if it offends them unless, for example, it reminds them of a racially motivated attack on them in the past or some other trauma. The number of people this applies to will be low.

As many as 1 in 5 women in the UK are the victim of a rape or sexual assault at some point in their life (actually 1 in 5 was the number who have at the time of survey been the victime, the lifetime figure is therefore much higher). Its not some tiny minority who are affected so the risk of hurting someone is high.

The same arguement might be made of paedophilic abuse - it affects enough people that in a given audience there isnt a vanishingly small chance that someone will be hurt by it, but its a much lower chance than rape so the arguement is much weaker.

Its about balance here, not absolutes.



So your argument boils down to there is a chance of hurting 10% of the population so you shouldn't do it? In that we should immediately drop jokes about sexual orientation since there is pretty much the same chance of hurting somebody as with rape victims.
The catch is simple. We expect people to be adults and to deal with assholes. You cant allow yourself to be hurt by idiots making jokes and this goes for rape victims as well. If you do you will go insane.
As you said its about balance and the simple balance is that there is simply too many assholes in the world for you to be hurt by every single one.

Are you deliberately ignoring the balance of my arguement or just dense? The psychological trauma associated with being raped or sexually assaulted is ENORMOUS. Its a whole different ballgame from feeling discriminated against or bullied.

I think you must never have had to talk to or support a rape victim or you wouldnt spout this "tell the victims to be adults" "they shouldn't allow themselves to be hurt by it" offensive bullshit. I don't get annoyed on the internet often, but the ignorance displayed in your post is putting me pretty close.

I sadly know a few and the ones that are coping the best are the ones who dont let themselves be affected by idiots. It is something VERY VERY deep and tragic in someone life and they deserve all the support they need but sadly a part of life is dealing with assholes.
As for your friend, she needs counselling.

Aramendel
July 27 2012, 03:42:19 PM
Actually my point was it isnt a general principle - it would be possible to find a theoretical person who would be traumatised by nearly ANY joke:...

See my "actually experienced them". I wasn't saying that every single joke should be handled the same way. I.e. I would be careful with Brevik jokes in Norway and careful with "My grandfather died in a KZ" jokes near (elderly) jews, etc.

The principle is "If you tell jokes about something what you consider possibly traumatic (aka basically everything connected with non-mutual violence) be careful who can hear them and if they might have experienced that violence in question personally.


Surely whether jokes can be used as a coping mechanism for trauma is a decision that should solely be made by the person on whom the trauma was inflicted?

I am not talking about the trauma victim. I do not think jokes are a good coping mechanism for those. For the victims themselves the best thing is probably "acceptance". Or, to elaborate "A bad thing has happened to me, I learned from it and did what I could to make it less likely to happen to me, life goes on".

Note: I am not implying with "make it less likely to happen" that it was the victims fault that something happened to her/him, I mean here stuff like doing self defense training or carrying pepper sprays.

I am talking about coping mechanism for people to whom this didn't happen, but who are still effected by it due to this thing called "empathy".


True, but if there are women listening can you really be sure? If 3 women are present, statistically one or more of them is almost as likely as not (~49% chance) to have been a victim.

That's kinda my point - I won't tell such jokes near women. Unless I know them reaaaally well, but even then I probably won't. Assuming I would find rape jokes funny.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 03:56:01 PM
Mostly going to play devils advocate here.

If you go that route you can replace rape jokes in your argument with:

- paedophile jokes
- murder jokes
- nationality jokes
- racist jokes
- minority jokes

Because they can all offend somebody deeply.

I said it wasn't about "offending" someone but rather hurting them. Criticising someones race or whatever is unlikely to hurt them even if it offends them unless, for example, it reminds them of a racially motivated attack on them in the past or some other trauma. The number of people this applies to will be low.

As many as 1 in 5 women in the UK are the victim of a rape or sexual assault at some point in their life (actually 1 in 5 was the number who have at the time of survey been the victime, the lifetime figure is therefore much higher). Its not some tiny minority who are affected so the risk of hurting someone is high.

The same arguement might be made of paedophilic abuse - it affects enough people that in a given audience there isnt a vanishingly small chance that someone will be hurt by it, but its a much lower chance than rape so the arguement is much weaker.

Its about balance here, not absolutes.



So your argument boils down to there is a chance of hurting 10% of the population so you shouldn't do it? In that we should immediately drop jokes about sexual orientation since there is pretty much the same chance of hurting somebody as with rape victims.
The catch is simple. We expect people to be adults and to deal with assholes. You cant allow yourself to be hurt by idiots making jokes and this goes for rape victims as well. If you do you will go insane.
As you said its about balance and the simple balance is that there is simply too many assholes in the world for you to be hurt by every single one.

Are you deliberately ignoring the balance of my arguement or just dense? The psychological trauma associated with being raped or sexually assaulted is ENORMOUS. Its a whole different ballgame from feeling discriminated against or bullied.

I think you must never have had to talk to or support a rape victim or you wouldnt spout this "tell the victims to be adults" "they shouldn't allow themselves to be hurt by it" offensive bullshit. I don't get annoyed on the internet often, but the ignorance displayed in your post is putting me pretty close.

I sadly know a few and the ones that are coping the best are the ones who dont let themselves be affected by idiots. It is something VERY VERY deep and tragic in someone life and they deserve all the support they need but sadly a part of life is dealing with assholes.
As for your friend, she needs counselling.

She has been undergoing regular counselling for 4 years and has got to the point where most times, she doent need to leave the room she just internally withdraws and goes quiet. Probably only I notice it. I say most times because she, like most people, is not a robot and cannot precisely control her emotional reaction to what is one of the most severe traumas a person can experience - sometimes it just hits her.

I can tell you that if we were having a conversation in real life and someone said something along the lines of "rape victims should just deal with it / get over it" she would be out of the room in tears faster than you could blink. If you think that's ok, just her problem, then fair play to you, but I think that would make him an inconsiderate and unpleasant cunt and you can bet your ass he wont be invited to anything im organising again.

Society massively underplays the prevelence and severity of rape. And by society unfortunately I do mean men. Very few women make these jokes. Its ingrained and unconscious. I know lots of otherwise perfectly liberal, right on kind of guys whose initial reaction when they hear about something like this is to question the girls' story. (I mean seriously, that's your "go to" response to hearing one of your friends has been raped?). Society is fucked up on this point and supporting these kinds of jokes just reinforces that view.

Zeekar
July 27 2012, 04:01:53 PM
Im not saying they should just deal with it/get over it. I'm saying that rape jokes are most of the time inappropriate and i tend to avoid them ( i did crack a couple in a only guy company ) right because of that fact that sadly there is a high % of woman that are raped and its a traumatic experience. I am also saying that they all need our support and compassion so they can get to the level (if they can, not all can) where they can deal assholes who dont care about their feelings and their past experiences and sadly those people will always exist.

Tarminic
July 27 2012, 04:04:47 PM
I have a hard time not seeing a double-standard here. Would any of us say the same about PTSD victims here? "Hey man, so I decided to play BF3 really loud while you're in the room at last night's party, you need to just HTFU and get over it."

Lallante
July 27 2012, 04:05:43 PM
Im not saying they should just deal with it/get over it. I'm saying that rape jokes are most of the time inappropriate and i tend to avoid them ( i did crack a couple in a only guy company ) right because of that fact that sadly there is a high % of woman that are raped and its a traumatic experience. I am also saying that they all need our support and compassion so they can get to the level (if they can, not all can) where they can deal assholes who dont care about their feelings and their past experiences and sadly those people will always exist.

That much we can definitely agree on. In an ideal world people can make these jokes and noone is hurt by them. But going back to OP point 6., in that world, noone would find the jokes funny because its the potential for harm that is their entire point.

Tarminic
July 27 2012, 04:07:43 PM
Im not saying they should just deal with it/get over it. I'm saying that rape jokes are most of the time inappropriate and i tend to avoid them ( i did crack a couple in a only guy company ) right because of that fact that sadly there is a high % of woman that are raped and its a traumatic experience. I am also saying that they all need our support and compassion so they can get to the level (if they can, not all can) where they can deal assholes who dont care about their feelings and their past experiences and sadly those people will always exist.
I can agree with this too. I just don't think we should give everyone a "free pass" on this kind of humor.

Zeekar
July 27 2012, 04:09:14 PM
Im not saying they should just deal with it/get over it. I'm saying that rape jokes are most of the time inappropriate and i tend to avoid them ( i did crack a couple in a only guy company ) right because of that fact that sadly there is a high % of woman that are raped and its a traumatic experience. I am also saying that they all need our support and compassion so they can get to the level (if they can, not all can) where they can deal assholes who dont care about their feelings and their past experiences and sadly those people will always exist.

That much we can definitely agree on. In an ideal world people can make these jokes and noone is hurt by them. But going back to OP point 6., in that world, noone would find the jokes funny because its the potential for harm that is their entire point.

You're contradicting yourself in your last line. In an ideal world people can make jokes and nobody is hurt by them and since its an ideal world everybody knows nobody is hurt by them so they will crack them.

In our world people know that they can cause potential harm so they wont crack them. Well the sensible ones at least.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 04:22:37 PM
Im not saying they should just deal with it/get over it. I'm saying that rape jokes are most of the time inappropriate and i tend to avoid them ( i did crack a couple in a only guy company ) right because of that fact that sadly there is a high % of woman that are raped and its a traumatic experience. I am also saying that they all need our support and compassion so they can get to the level (if they can, not all can) where they can deal assholes who dont care about their feelings and their past experiences and sadly those people will always exist.

That much we can definitely agree on. In an ideal world people can make these jokes and noone is hurt by them. But going back to OP point 6., in that world, noone would find the jokes funny because its the potential for harm that is their entire point.

You're contradicting yourself in your last line. In an ideal world people can make jokes and nobody is hurt by them and since its an ideal world everybody knows nobody is hurt by them so they will crack them.

In our world people know that they can cause potential harm so they wont crack them. Well the sensible ones at least.

The people who do find rape jokes funny, fundamentally find them funny because they might hurt/offend others. Its called "shock humour". If noone was ever hurt or offended and such jokes were commonplace then they would have no shock value, and they aren't funny in any other sense (that I can see or have heard others claiming - feel free to disagree, I'd be curious).

LoudSpeakly
July 27 2012, 04:52:54 PM
I actually had to Google this topic, never seen one told before, or perhaps not registered any as being rape jokes.

Context and delivery are everything with humor, sensitive topics just place a limiting factor on the where and how they're made. Bad comedians will attempt one and it will be awful for all involved. Good comedians will avoid the area entirely. Great comedians will only tangentally reference the issue and get away with it.

Hel OWeen
July 27 2012, 05:02:30 PM
In short: There are two components to the issue that are being ignored. First is the situational nature of comedy: ANY comic would agree that you have to play and know your audience. For example: it's commonly agreed that 9/11 jokes at a 9/11 memorial service with survivors would be in bad taste, or cancer jokes at a charity event for terminally ill children. I think we can all agree on this point.

No, we can't. And that's basically due to a similar experience like Lall described in his OP, just the reverse. He wrote:


I used to subscribe to usual neckbeard manifesto of "nothing is offlimits in comedy" "if you cant take a joke, fuck off". About 2 years ago, due to firsthand experiences, I did a 180.


I had also an enlightening moment, not two, but ca. twenty years ago. It also dealt about jokes. Mine was about jokes about handicapped people. A group of people, including a handicapped one. One telling a joke about handicapped people, all others go :silence: *cough*. The first to speak up was the handicapped guy, asking "WTF is up with you guys? Would you please stop treating me like something special? Just treat me like anyone else, assholes."

This was an eye-opener for me. I guess the standard War games reference applies here: "The only winning move is not to play." You tell those jokes - someone is offended (which in my opinion is a special case of "being hurt"). You omit those jokes - someone else is offended. My suggestion: do like you would normally do. If you don't feel comfortable telling/listening to such jokes, don't do it to just please/impress someone else. If you're typically OK with telling/listening, then by all means do it.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 05:09:52 PM
That's a good anecdote, but bear in mind the vast majority of people who have been handicapped most or all of their lives wont be traumatised by their handicap. It really is nbd for them. Its also (reasonably) clear from looking at your audience who is likely to be affected by the joke, to a degree anyway.

Its a bit different when you are talking about something that is almost always traumatising, like rape, and that is known to psychologically haunt many or most victims for long periods after the event. Its also something you usually -wont- know about someone unless you are very very close to them, and as I've noted, statistics are not on your side.

KathDougans
July 27 2012, 05:23:12 PM
Society massively underplays the prevelence and severity of rape. And by society unfortunately I do mean men. Very few women make these jokes. Its ingrained and unconscious. I know lots of otherwise perfectly liberal, right on kind of guys whose initial reaction when they hear about something like this is to question the girls' story. (I mean seriously, that's your "go to" response to hearing one of your friends has been raped?). Society is fucked up on this point and supporting these kinds of jokes just reinforces that view.

It's not violent rape by a stranger, which is what a lot of people think of when they think of the word "rape", but in Scotland, there's a thing, in some parts of society anyway, where this sort of thing happens:

When you're a teenager in school, there's a lot of gossip and such, and things occurring on dates, at parties, and so on and so forth. Exaggerations and tall tales abound.

Anyway, when you're 13-14 or so, and interested in dating, but not really feeling interested in sex, you might get called "frigid" if you say you're not wanting to have sex.
If you go on a lot of dates, but don't sleep with anyone, you might get called a "cocktease".
If you're the last virgin in your year, then you might get called various names.
If, when you do decide you'd like to have sex, and you're not aroused by your partners clumsy fumblings, then again, you might get called "frigid".
If you actually say "i'm not enjoying this, would you mind stopping?" then again, there's names that you might get called.
In all of these things, the impression is created that it is your fault. It is Your Fault that you don't want to have sex, aren't turned on by clumsy ineptness, and your fault for not enjoying things.

And the idea that things are Your Fault is reinforced by events that may occur later in life.
Not wanting sex? then why are you wearing that? why are you dancing ? why are you wearing perfume ? It's Your Fault.
Not enjoying things? it's your fault again. Don't even think about saying "would you mind stopping?". That's your fault. You're supposed to enjoy it, or at least, say "could we try a different position?".

Some extremist people might say that all of those situations are "rape". That's debatable.

But it does create a situation where a woman is conditioned towards thinking that things are her fault, where having sex when you don't want to is the Least Bad Option.


And with rape jokes, and saying it's "their fault if they're offended", is more of the same.

Nicholai Pestot
July 27 2012, 05:27:15 PM
I am also going to play devils advocate here, with a slightly different approach.

Three key points that are the basis of my argument:-

1. In absence of the rape there would be no harm. In absence of the joke their would still be harm. The harm caused by a rape victim hearing a rape joke is a result of the rape, not the joke.

2. It is unacceptable to hold someone responsible for the actions of someone they have never influenced.

3. If the teller of the joke is not aware of the history of someone hearing the joke, they are acting without intent to harm.



The teller of the joke does not intend to cause harm and is also not responsible for the harm caused. Without intent or responsibility, they have done nothing wrong.

Lallante
July 27 2012, 05:30:42 PM
I am also going to play devils advocate here, with a slightly different approach.

Three key points that are the basis of my argument:-

1. In absence of the rape there would be no harm. In absence of the joke their would still be harm. The harm caused by a rape victim hearing a rape joke is a result of the rape, not the joke.

2. It is unacceptable to hold someone responsible for the actions of someone they have never influenced.

3. If the teller of the joke is not aware of the history of someone hearing the joke, they are acting without intent to harm.



The teller of the joke does not intend to cause harm and is also not responsible for the harm caused. Without intent or responsibility, they have done nothing wrong.

This is an interesting way to structure your arguement and I have an idea for how to tackle it but I'm out of time and have to run - back tomorrow.

untilted
July 27 2012, 05:42:59 PM
one thing that comes into play with jokes are power relations. jokes (and humor) can be subversive as they put power relations in question, but they also can be used to reinforce the same relations.

a joke is the (symbolic) weapon of the powerless, the ones that are denied any other way to act. it can be the mockery during carneval aimed at the ones in power, but it also can be a way to cope with an unspeakable situation (e.g. antisemitism culminating in the shoah or an assault on ones own body in the most intimate way). a joke is a way to put distance between oneself and the "hard truth", it is a way to make things look less serious than they are. "you may take my life, but you won't take my wits" - regaining some sort of autonomy against the ones in power.

BUT these are specific kinds of jokes. they are spoken by the ones affected by this impasse.


more often jokes are of a different kind, they are the ones spoken from a position of power and privilege. they are still weapons, but this time they are aimed at the ones being powerless, to ridicule and trivialize their situation and to void any criticism ("hey, it IS funny. just suck it up and laugh!"). they still make things look less serious, but in a way that reinforces the current balance of power. it makes it easier to frame the ones criticizing as "oversensitive and humorless", any form of criticism of the imbalance of power can suddenly be labelled as "overreaction" - because "hey, it's just a joke, not to be taken serious!" - ignoring the ambiguity between the jape and the situation.

Aramendel
July 27 2012, 06:04:43 PM
The teller of the joke does not intend to cause harm and is also not responsible for the harm caused. Without intent or responsibility, they have done nothing wrong.

Ignorance is no "free out of jail" card. There exists something called "criminal negligence". If you find these nice mushrooms in the forest, cook them for your friends and half of them die you will most definitely be judged having done something wrong.

Now, you could argue that in that case if you wouldn't have done anything there would be no harm. That is correct. However, you are incorrect that the person who tells a rape joke does not do any harm.
If someone suffered a knife wound would you go to him/her and squeeze the wound? No? Because that is exactly what you would do with a rape joke vs a victim. You are not responsible for the wound. Squeezing that area if there was no wound would do no harm. However, by squeezing when there is a wound you make it momentarily quite noticeably worse. Squeeze it often enough and you make it permanently worse. Even once might be too often if you introduce an infection.

DevilDude
July 27 2012, 06:09:26 PM
*snip*

She has been undergoing regular counselling for 4 years and has got to the point where most times, she doent need to leave the room she just internally withdraws and goes quiet. Probably only I notice it. I say most times because she, like most people, is not a robot and cannot precisely control her emotional reaction to what is one of the most severe traumas a person can experience - sometimes it just hits her.

I can tell you that if we were having a conversation in real life and someone said something along the lines of "rape victims should just deal with it / get over it" she would be out of the room in tears faster than you could blink. If you think that's ok, just her problem, then fair play to you, but I think that would make him an inconsiderate and unpleasant cunt and you can bet your ass he wont be invited to anything im organising again.

Society massively underplays the prevelence and severity of rape. And by society unfortunately I do mean men. Very few women make these jokes. Its ingrained and unconscious. I know lots of otherwise perfectly liberal, right on kind of guys whose initial reaction when they hear about something like this is to question the girls' story. (I mean seriously, that's your "go to" response to hearing one of your friends has been raped?). Society is fucked up on this point and supporting these kinds of jokes just reinforces that view.
I would say that she needs better help if it's taken four years to achieve what you describe. Likely she's seeing a 'therapist' or 'psychologist' as opposed to an actual licensed psychiatrist yes? It sounds like the problems she has are the kind you have to combat with medication as well as 'words'. Not that I don't feel sorry for her, but more because she doesn't appear to be getting the kind of help she needs rather than that she has to deal with unpleasant social situations.


*snip*
The people who do find rape jokes funny, fundamentally find them funny because they might hurt/offend others. Its called "shock humour". If noone was ever hurt or offended and such jokes were commonplace then they would have no shock value, and they aren't funny in any other sense (that I can see or have heard others claiming - feel free to disagree, I'd be curious).
It's called dark humor, it's very different from shock humor, poop jokes might be shocking but rarely dark. Myself I have a very sardonic sense of humor I find sarcasm and irony funny, and there is irony even in the darkest things, often more so than in lighter subjects.

So maybe your friend has problems with certain kinds of humor, it's sad that she hasn't apparently hasn’t gotten the help she needs, but saying that everyone else should change to suit her isn’t particularly constructive either as it’s about as likely to happen as the rapture (hint: it’s not going to happen).

Tarminic
July 27 2012, 06:28:43 PM
I am also going to play devils advocate here, with a slightly different approach.

Three key points that are the basis of my argument:-

1. In absence of the rape there would be no harm. In absence of the joke their would still be harm. The harm caused by a rape victim hearing a rape joke is a result of the rape, not the joke.

2. It is unacceptable to hold someone responsible for the actions of someone they have never influenced.

3. If the teller of the joke is not aware of the history of someone hearing the joke, they are acting without intent to harm.

The teller of the joke does not intend to cause harm and is also not responsible for the harm caused. Without intent or responsibility, they have done nothing wrong.
I do like the more formal way you have phrased this argument, though I don't strictly agree with it. Let's expand number one into one of four possible scenarios:

RT: Rape joke told, recipient has been raped (rape harm done, rape trigger harm done)
XT: Rape joke told, recipient has not been raped (no harm done)
RX: Rape joke not told, recipient has been raped (rape harm done)
XX: Rape joke not told, recipient has not been raped (no harm done)

So, there are two conditions in which you can guarantee that no additional harm will be done:
1. You know for a fact that all recipients have not been raped, therefore there is no risk of triggering
2. You will not tell a rape joke

In some instances, it's possible to know the Condition #1 is true, IE if you're out with a group of close friends. I would consider such instances to be a minority given the social stigma and highly personal nature of rape.

However, you are guaranteed to know whether Condition #2 is true, because you have control over whether you tell a rape joke or not.

lubica
July 27 2012, 06:33:09 PM
I'd argue that the use various types of humour is situational, dirty jokes will be and always have been dirty, use at your own risk. Risk in this case being the social fallout suffered due to offended/indigntant persons in the vicinity.

That said:
A: Hey, wanna play a rape game?
B: No.
A: That's the spirit!

/beats a hasty retreat from this thread.

Nicholai Pestot
July 27 2012, 06:52:33 PM
I am also going to play devils advocate here, with a slightly different approach.

Three key points that are the basis of my argument:-

1. In absence of the rape there would be no harm. In absence of the joke their would still be harm. The harm caused by a rape victim hearing a rape joke is a result of the rape, not the joke.

2. It is unacceptable to hold someone responsible for the actions of someone they have never influenced.

3. If the teller of the joke is not aware of the history of someone hearing the joke, they are acting without intent to harm.

The teller of the joke does not intend to cause harm and is also not responsible for the harm caused. Without intent or responsibility, they have done nothing wrong.
I do like the more formal way you have phrased this argument, though I don't strictly agree with it. Let's expand number one into one of four possible scenarios:

RT: Rape joke told, recipient has been raped (rape harm done, rape trigger harm done)
XT: Rape joke told, recipient has not been raped (no harm done)
RX: Rape joke not told, recipient has been raped (rape harm done)
XX: Rape joke not told, recipient has not been raped (no harm done)

So, there are two conditions in which you can guarantee that no additional harm will be done:
1. You know for a fact that all recipients have not been raped, therefore there is no risk of triggering
2. You will not tell a rape joke

In some instances, it's possible to know the Condition #1 is true, IE if you're out with a group of close friends. I would consider such instances to be a minority given the social stigma and highly personal nature of rape.

However, you are guaranteed to know whether Condition #2 is true, because you have control over whether you tell a rape joke or not.

Your counterpoint is missing the point. 1 is not about guaranteeing no harm will be done, it is about identifying who is responsible for the harm.

Having the ability to prevent harm that someone else is causing, does not make you responsible for that harm if you chose not to prevent it.

To use an example - if someone is shot and killed I am not responsible for it, just because I didn't knock them out of the way of the bullet.

In the same way, just because I have not made the choice to guarantee that nothing I say will ever cause someone to remember being raped, does not make me responsible for the harm of them remembering the rape. That harm was caused by the rapist.

Aramendel
July 27 2012, 06:59:56 PM
That harm was caused by the rapist.

The point is that that is wrong.

The *initial* harm has been done by the rapist. But by telling the joke you increase that harm. It is the proverbial turning the knife in the wound.
The rapist is partially responsible for that additional harm, but so is the person who does it, even if it was unintentional.

Tarminic
July 27 2012, 07:09:15 PM
just because I have not made the choice to guarantee that nothing I say will ever cause someone to remember being raped, does not make me responsible for the harm of them remembering the rape. That harm was caused by the rapist.
I think there has to be some point at which the joke-teller bears a degree of responsibility for causing additional emotional trauma. For example, what if you tell a rape joke knowing that the recipient bears emotional scars for being raped? I think the vast majority of individual would say that the joke-teller is responsible for triggering that trauma, even if he was not the rapist.

Conversely, if joke-teller believed (mistakenly) with 100% confidence that the recipient was not raped, the vast majority would say that he is not responsible.

The problem is that those two scenarios are very rare, and the vast majority of common scenarios are far murkier, and the larger the audience, the murkier it gets and the more likely that we're going to trigger someone. I think based on that we can assign some degree of responsibility to the joke-teller.

whispous
July 27 2012, 07:12:35 PM
I only read the first page, so someone else might already have debated:

"jokes aren't meant to be taken seriously, people who get offended are looking to take offence"

Unfortunately that argument falls down when it comes to telling a joke that might remind someone of a harrowing experience. You can't use that reasoning because it falls down if the situation was, say, in this extreme case:

Making jokes about people dying in the twin towers in front of someone who escaped and lost a loved one in the experience.


With that example, it beyond doubt proves that rape jokes should not be made to an audience that are not expecting "vile shock" humor. (voluntarily going to a frankie boyle gig however...)

Nicholai Pestot
July 27 2012, 07:15:25 PM
That harm was caused by the rapist.

The point is that that is wrong.

The *initial* harm has been done by the rapist. But by telling the joke you increase that harm. It is the proverbial turning the knife in the wound.
The rapist is partially responsible for that additional harm, but so is the person who does it, even if it was unintentional.

Unfortunately the universal application of that logic leads to people being partially responsible for their own rape by choosing to go out on their own at night. Or by choosing to wear provocative clothing, or by choosing to flirt. Even though it was unintentional, they still partially enabled the harm to happen.

I don't accept that.

Even if the victims actions contributed to the rape occurring, the harm is still wholly the responsibility of the rapist. Even if a joke causes someone to remember a rape, the harm is still fully the responsibility of the rapist.

whispous
July 27 2012, 07:30:14 PM
While I agree that it is DEFINITELY NOT someone's FAULT they got raped "because of their clothes" etc, it seems foolish to not do what you can to protect yourself. You wouldn't wander around Coventry as a policeman without a stab vest "because it's not my fault if I get stabbed so why should I"

Nicholai Pestot
July 27 2012, 07:51:42 PM
While I agree that it is DEFINITELY NOT someone's FAULT they got raped "because of their clothes" etc, it seems foolish to not do what you can to protect yourself. You wouldn't wander around Coventry as a policeman without a stab vest "because it's not my fault if I get stabbed so why should I"

But not wearing a vest doesn't make it the coppers fault if someone stabs him, does it. If someone cracks a joke in a pub about getting stabbed that the copper then hears and has a flashback to the pain of getting stabbed, its not the fault of the person cracking the joke.

We are getting a little off topic here.

whispous
July 27 2012, 07:55:22 PM
I'm not saying that anything in any way makes it the victim's fault, I just wanted to point out that it's silly to not take available safety measures. I was addressing what you mentioned in passing above there, because it's a phrase/idea that gets bandied about too often without actually being thought about. (that idea being "it's not their fault that they dressed "sluttily")

Nicholai Pestot
July 27 2012, 08:02:36 PM
I'm not saying that anything in any way makes it the victim's fault, I just wanted to point out that it's silly to not take available safety measures. I was addressing what you mentioned in passing above there, because it's a phrase/idea that gets bandied about too often without actually being thought about. (that idea being "it's not their fault that they dressed "sluttily")

It isn't.

People should be able to dress almost any way they choose, without fear of harm.


Edit - I'm not going to respond to this any further. Its off topic and should probably be the focus of another thread if you want to go further.

Aramendel
July 27 2012, 08:05:24 PM
I'm not saying that anything in any way makes it the victim's fault, I just wanted to point out that it's silly to not take available safety measures. I was addressing what you mentioned in passing above there, because it's a phrase/idea that gets bandied about too often without actually being thought about. (that idea being "it's not their fault that they dressed "sluttily")

Nicholai Pestot already stated that the victims behavior can partially cause the rape ( Even if the victims actions contributed to the rape occurring... ), but his point isn't cause/effect but the fault. The victim acting "sexy" does not reduce the fault of the rapist. A crime doesn't get less bad if it is caused by stupidity.

It is actually a pretty good argument. It feels like it has a flaw, but I cannot yet see it. Need to tinker with it a bit.

untilted
July 27 2012, 08:08:23 PM
I'm not saying that anything in any way makes it the victim's fault, I just wanted to point out that it's silly to not take available safety measures.

the problem is - what are "available safety measures" in the light of the following statistic?



• Approximately 28% of victims are raped by husbands or boyfriends, 35% by acquaintances, and 5% by other relatives.
[Violence against Women. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1994]

paranoia?

DevilDude
July 27 2012, 08:09:41 PM
I'm not saying that anything in any way makes it the victim's fault, I just wanted to point out that it's silly to not take available safety measures. I was addressing what you mentioned in passing above there, because it's a phrase/idea that gets bandied about too often without actually being thought about. (that idea being "it's not their fault that they dressed "sluttily")

It isn't.

People should be able to dress almost any way they choose, without fear of harm.


Edit - I'm not going to respond to this any further. Its off topic and should probably be the focus of another thread if you want to go further.

why then should people not be able to say what they like, without fear of reprisal for hurt feelings? that particular line of logic is a two edge sword.

Nicholai Pestot
July 27 2012, 08:10:21 PM
but his point isn't cause/effect but the fault

I feel dumb for not stating it so elegantly in the first place.

Thank you.

I hope you can pick it apart, as I am arguing counter to my own feelings on the subject of rape jokes.

Reed Tiburon
July 27 2012, 08:22:10 PM
"Don't be a dick" is probably a good rule of thumb.

If you go to a professional comedy show, you know what you're getting into, and if you know you can't take a joke on topic X, you shouldn't go, period. On the other hand, rape jokes in polite company are basically a never thing, as are racist jokes, dead baby jokes etc. Unless you know the people you're with pretty well, in which case do whatever you want.

My 2 cents

DevilDude
July 27 2012, 08:37:43 PM
"Don't be a dick" is probably a good rule of thumb.

If you go to a professional comedy show, you know what you're getting into, and if you know you can't take a joke on topic X, you shouldn't go, period. On the other hand, rape jokes in polite company are basically a never thing, as are racist jokes, dead baby jokes etc. Unless you know the people you're with pretty well, in which case do whatever you want.

My 2 cents

yeah pretty much this.

Alex Caine
July 27 2012, 09:43:01 PM
Tbh, I think it depends on the audience.

I too used to be "Everything is fair game in comedy", but a lot of women (understandably) get very upset at these. My wife for one, so I dont do it around her...
On the other hand, people should just be responsible and be able to judge their company properly. If you are surrounded by women you don't know, probably not cool. If it's your mates you've known for years, go for it.

So yeah, "don't be a dick" I think does indeed cover it.

Aramendel
July 27 2012, 10:30:51 PM
I hope you can pick it apart, as I am arguing counter to my own feelings on the subject of rape jokes.

Okay. Let's try this one:

You stand next to a 3m deep swimming pool. You are perfectly healthy and a good swimmer. A man throws a girl in the swimming pool and runs away. The girl struggles and gurgles "Help! I cannot swim!". You could save her without any danger or inconvenience to yourself. You walk away.
This is a similar scenario to your "if someone is shot and killed I am not responsible for it, just because I didn't knock them out of the way of the bullet" example.

If the girl dies you wouldn't be accused of the murder of her. You didn't do it after all.

You would however be accused of failure to aid somebody in mortal peril. Here in Germany that can get you up to 1 year in jail. For that it does not matter who is responsible for her mortal peril. If you are there and are able to help you *have* to do it. If you make a decision not to that isn't the fault of the man who threw her in. He doesn't control what you do, that failure to act is completely your own.

In the case of rape jokes you could argue that you are not responsible for the trauma of the girl, however you are not blameless.
If you call a girl, which you know sensitive about her weight, "Hey fatty!" and she breaks out in tears you are responsible for her pain. Because you knew that that comment could cause her pain, but said it regardless. You made the decision. It would have caused you no harm in not saying it. If you were not really thinking about the reaction of the girl and just made it as thoughtless comment it is a less "evil" act, but then you are still guilty of not considering the feelings of the people you interact with. Which isn't exactly a positive thing.

tl'dr: Even "without intent or responsibility" the teller of rape joke has still done something wrong, namely not considering the feelings of the people he interacts with.

Basically:
- telling rape jokes in company where you think there is some chance of a victim being present: Asshole
- telling rape jokes without thinking about the possible effects: Inconsiderate Jerk

cullnean
July 27 2012, 11:13:22 PM
humour in subjective non-shocker

Tarminic
July 28 2012, 12:10:37 AM
why then should people not be able to say what they like, without fear of reprisal for hurt feelings? that particular line of logic is a two edge sword.
I don't think the two situations are interchangeable at all. One is being about being free from harm being perpetrated against you, the other is being free to say something you know will harm someone else.

Do you honestly believe that people should be allowed to say anything without suffering the social consequences of that speech?

DevilDude
July 28 2012, 12:25:40 AM
why then should people not be able to say what they like, without fear of reprisal for hurt feelings? that particular line of logic is a two edge sword.
I don't think the two situations are interchangeable at all. One is being about being free from harm being perpetrated against you, the other is being free to say something you know will harm someone else.

Do you honestly believe that people should be allowed to say anything without suffering the social consequences of that speech?

not necessarily, but I don't think being a rape victim gives anyone extra rights. It comes down to my basic belief that one persons rights end where they impinge on another's. If just by entering the room your own issues curtail another persons rights to say what they will, something is fucking wrong and needs to be dealt with.

I certainly don't blame a rape victim, but I also don't blame a person who tells a dirty joke for someone else's reaction to it. Growing up I learned 'sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.' I consider that to be one of the basic prerequisites of functional adulthood. That isn't to say I have no sympathy for a rape victim, but I think that being completely undone by an off color joke is evidence that an individual is for lack of a better word broken, and needs therapy and possibly medication in order to mend their psyche.

Nartek
July 28 2012, 12:46:27 AM
Is this the sexual assault thread? Is this where I can finally pop the pressure valve on something that... frankly, has been eating my ass since about 5 years ago? I certainly hope so...

I see the 1 in 5 number bandied about throughout the military as well, even though I've worked with plenty of women, and near plenty of women who get as puzzled a look on their face as I do mine when we sit across the room from each other and get preached to... oh, every 3 fucking months, for a whole day. Which is fine, if that's what it really is. However, there's some important shit that you have to consider...

1. The same people who make the statistics, sell the "sensitivity training", or are directly employed, and can correlate future employment to that number going up.

2. The terminology for rape has changed. Specifically, the candy coated term... "Sexual Assault" replacing, encompassing, enveloping, and reaching further than rape.

3. This moves the goal posts, IMO. And believe you me, if you can understand one thing about me... I fucking HATE people who rewrite the victim card, so they can keep playing it. And this, in my not so humble, quasi deific opinion, is exactly what's going on with a lot of this shit that is going around. Numbers dropped in the military, so they moved the goalposts for what constitutes sexual assault. And they'll keep moving it so long as somewhere along the way, there's a dick and a pussy in the equation. They'll have a difficult time once it's past that, but I'm sure they'll give it the old college try.

Now don't get me wrong, I abhor rapists. I'm glad they learn why Prison is the shift key... (Hint... Turns the small "o" into a big "O")... Deep down, I'm sort of glad that some good old normal violent criminal types don't fuck about with going after gang X or Y... In the event of a riot, you can usually find what's left of a rapist and a pedo on the bottom of the broom bristles from the janitor after a prison riot. Sort of restores my faith when that happens.

But, that's getting off track. I hate rapists. But, as a citizen, and as someone who happens to be in a supervisory position over a handful of "players" at any time... I want that term, and sexual assault conjoined, and very narrowly defined. Because I can deal with someone being a hive-dwelling-scumbag and raping a girl, but me brain meats start to go all fuzzy, when I start hearing all the other bullshit like you shouldn't have because she had a few drinks, you shouldn't have because her friends said no, even if she said yes, you shouldn't have if the flower on her confirmation dress 12 years ago... was yellow. Unless its Tuesday.

Tightly define rape, get rid of whatever the fuck sexual assault is supposed to be... (Hint, if you stick your dick an an asshole, and the guy/girl expressed explicitly that they didn't want it there... or you incapacitated them so they couldn't tell you otherwise... You're not a sexual assaulter/ist/whatever. You're just a fucking ass-rapist, and I hope prison does a good job of pressing that shift key, repeatedly on you.) Then run the numbers. No one should get a free pass because they said "fuck it, I'm drunk, let's do this" and woke up next to a fucking male sasquatch.

Nartek
July 28 2012, 12:46:56 AM
damn it...

Tarminic
July 28 2012, 01:47:58 AM
why then should people not be able to say what they like, without fear of reprisal for hurt feelings? that particular line of logic is a two edge sword.
I don't think the two situations are interchangeable at all. One is being about being free from harm being perpetrated against you, the other is being free to say something you know will harm someone else.

Do you honestly believe that people should be allowed to say anything without suffering the social consequences of that speech?

not necessarily, but I don't think being a rape victim gives anyone extra rights. It comes down to my basic belief that one persons rights end where they impinge on another's. If just by entering the room your own issues curtail another persons rights to say what they will, something is fucking wrong and needs to be dealt with.

I certainly don't blame a rape victim, but I also don't blame a person who tells a dirty joke for someone else's reaction to it. Growing up I learned 'sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.' I consider that to be one of the basic prerequisites of functional adulthood. That isn't to say I have no sympathy for a rape victim, but I think that being completely undone by an off color joke is evidence that an individual is for lack of a better word broken, and needs therapy and possibly medication in order to mend their psyche.
I don't understand why we're even discussing rights. No one is suggesting that anyone should not be allowed to tell rape jokes, at least certainly not in this thread. What we're debating here is why it's not a good idea to tell them.

Jason Marshall
July 28 2012, 05:13:02 AM
Think about how casual the word "raped" is used in competitive situations.

lt
July 28 2012, 10:10:34 AM
Think about how casual the word "raped" is used in competitive situations.

What situations would that be?

NoirAvlaa
July 28 2012, 10:24:49 AM
Think about how casual the word "raped" is used in competitive situations.

What situations would that be?

Team 1 beats Team 2 in Counter-strike without a single loss. Team 1 then goes "LOLOL YOU GOT RAPED LOLOLOLOL"

Basically situations like that.

untilted
July 28 2012, 11:49:53 AM
Think about how casual the word "raped" is used in competitive situations.

What situations would that be?

then i guess you didn't play much EVE (atleast not in 0.0-warfare) ... e.g. creating a rape-cage at a POS (hell, it even made it into the official EVE wiki (http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/List_of_EVE_Online_structure_terms)) or the term rapetrain to describe overwhelming odds.

or just to show how prevalent it is, just head to one of the big third party sites and look there (e.g. a search on battleclnic for the term rape gives back 942 results ... )

lt
July 28 2012, 12:29:33 PM
Think about how casual the word "raped" is used in competitive situations.

What situations would that be?

then i guess you didn't play much EVE (atleast not in 0.0-warfare) ... e.g. creating a rape-cage at a POS (hell, it even made it into the official EVE wiki (http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/List_of_EVE_Online_structure_terms)) or the term rapetrain to describe overwhelming odds.

or just to show how prevalent it is, just head to one of the big third party sites and look there (e.g. a search on battleclnic for the term rape gives back 942 results ... )

Oh I did, but EVE is very much a basementdwelling neckbeard game. I was curious if Jason meant anywhere not mainly populated by internet hardmen and neckbeards.

lubica
July 28 2012, 12:35:52 PM
Think about how casual the word "raped" is used in competitive situations.

What situations would that be?

then i guess you didn't play much EVE (atleast not in 0.0-warfare) ... e.g. creating a rape-cage at a POS (hell, it even made it into the official EVE wiki (http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/List_of_EVE_Online_structure_terms)) or the term rapetrain to describe overwhelming odds.

or just to show how prevalent it is, just head to one of the big third party sites and look there (e.g. a search on battleclnic for the term rape gives back 942 results ... )

Oh I did, but EVE is very much a basementdwelling neckbeard game. I was curious if Jason meant anywhere not mainly populated by internet hardmen and neckbeards.

How about in virtually every other game played over the internet, where one side just stomps the other? I would like to introduce here as evidence every multiplayer FPS game ever made.

untilted
July 28 2012, 12:39:58 PM
Oh I did, but EVE is very much a basementdwelling neckbeard game. I was curious if Jason meant anywhere not mainly populated by internet hardmen and neckbeards.

let me google that for you :P (www.google.at/#hl=de&output=search&q=raping+the+enemy+team)

Logan Feynman
July 28 2012, 09:56:03 PM
Late to this conversation, but it seems to me that most of the people here agree to all of the following:

1. Everyone has the right to tell rape jokes.

2. In most situations, no one should tell rape jokes.

3. If we ever find a cure for PTSD*, it would be ok to tell rape jokes, though a great majority would continue to not be funny.

Objections?



* It's MDMA (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2004887,00.html). Probably.

cheeba
July 28 2012, 11:16:30 PM
* It's MDMA (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2004887,00.html). Probably.

Don't rule out LSD (http://www.maps.org/research/lsd/swisslsd/LDA1010707.pdf)

SAI Peregrinus
July 29 2012, 03:41:22 AM
Think about how casual the word "raped" is used in competitive situations.

What situations would that be?

then i guess you didn't play much EVE (atleast not in 0.0-warfare) ... e.g. creating a rape-cage at a POS (hell, it even made it into the official EVE wiki (http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/List_of_EVE_Online_structure_terms)) or the term rapetrain to describe overwhelming odds.

or just to show how prevalent it is, just head to one of the big third party sites and look there (e.g. a search on battleclnic for the term rape gives back 942 results ... )

Oh I did, but EVE is very much a basementdwelling neckbeard game. I was curious if Jason meant anywhere not mainly populated by internet hardmen and neckbeards.

How about in virtually every other game played over the internet, where one side just stomps the other? I would like to introduce here as evidence every multiplayer FPS game ever made.

From Google Dictionary:


rape
noun /rāp/ 
rapes, plural
2) The wanton destruction or spoiling of a place or area
- the rape of the Russian countryside

verb /rāp/ 
raped, past participle; raped, past tense; rapes, 3rd person singular present; raping, present participle
2) Spoil or destroy (a place)
- the timber industry is raping the land

There's more than one definition of rape. To "rape" the enemy team one has utterly destroyed them. The word does not always imply unwanted sexual intercourse. Of course most of the people who use the word rape as a synonym for destroy don't know that, but such use is valid.
Rape jokes tend to be in poor taste. While it is true that only the listener can decide to be offended it is also the case that the speaker can often guess the reaction of the listener before telling a joke. If you think you will offend, it's polite not to tell the joke. There are plenty of jokes that don't involve rape to tell. The same goes for most other subjects, to varying degrees. If your goal is not to shock and offend, then gauge the level of offense you are likely to create and attempt to minimize it.

Jason Marshall
July 29 2012, 04:24:41 AM
Its silly to think they most people who use rape are using that definition.

Hel OWeen
July 29 2012, 03:41:02 PM
You stand next to a 3m deep swimming pool. You are perfectly healthy and a good swimmer. A man throws a girl in the swimming pool and runs away. The girl struggles and gurgles "Help! I cannot swim!". You could save her without any danger or inconvenience to yourself. You walk away.
This is a similar scenario to your "if someone is shot and killed I am not responsible for it, just because I didn't knock them out of the way of the bullet" example.

If the girl dies you wouldn't be accused of the murder of her. You didn't do it after all.

You would however be accused of failure to aid somebody in mortal peril. Here in Germany that can get you up to 1 year in jail. For that it does not matter who is responsible for her mortal peril. If you are there and are able to help you *have* to do it.

No you don't. Only if you not put yourself into danger. If you're a good swimmer, you will see the court from inside and most likely be sentenced ona way or another. With that "bullet "thing" it's a quite different situation. As an bystander, no one can and will be forced to hurry into the burning house and rescue the peolple inside.

But we have another problem in this thread. We picked a special case from a general topic. And it's always easy to pick a special case where everybody (with a sane mind) can agree with. But if you take it to a broader scope (jokes that hurt), it becomes very difficult, I'd even say impossible, to find a general acceptable consent. Because like almost everything, it depends on the circumstances:

- Me, a caucasian German in Germany telling jokes about muslims with perhaps my neighbor in mind? Terrible!
- Me, a caucasian German in Germany telling jokes about the muslim Bin Laden? Most likely acceptable ... in the western world.

As already mentioned here: words, especially humor, can hurt. And that's what makes words and especially humor so powerful. It's not without reasons that comedians are a prominent target in oppressive regimes.

As a wise person has put it: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Aramendel
July 29 2012, 04:30:00 PM
With that "bullet "thing" it's a quite different situation.

You do not necessarily have to put yourself in danger by knocking someone out of the way of a bullet. It all depends on the situation.


As a wise person has put it: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

That is not the topic of this discussion.

It isn't if you should be free to tell rape jokes but if it is morally okay to tell rape jokes without taking the people in your vicinity into account. That is something rather different. It isn't about free speech, but about taking the feelings of your listeners into account before you open your mouth. Noone will put you in jail because you tell one. But quite a few will (quite correctly) think you are an inconsiderate jerk.

Dark Flare
July 29 2012, 06:14:46 PM
I'm not sure how this thread has ended up getting so long.

You can tell rape jokes if:
1) You know everybody in hearing range very well
2) You know they won't be offended by such jokes

Any other situations you shouldn't, but might get away with it most of the time. The time you don't will not be pleasant.



EDIT: On a different note, Lallante - putting ad hominems directed at - essentially - anyone who opposes your view, in every single post you make is getting pretty tedious.

Mrenda
July 29 2012, 08:13:16 PM
What I find annoying about this whole discussion is that, first off, victims of rape and sexual assault need to be protected and also that jokes about rape are inherently negative. And especially how those two things go together.

On rape jokes being inherently negative... I'd prefer that nothing was off limits and people instead made the decision to call out comedians (or pub jokers) when they bring up rape in a disgusting manner. However, a joke may ostensibly be about rape but could actually be about societies' attitude towards the reporting of rape, the taboo of discussion of rape, "slut shaming," etc. Just because a joke is about rape doesn't mean that it's purpose is to insult the victims of rape or make light of their situation.

On the first point I made, saying rape jokes are off limits takes away a coping mechanism for people who are victims of rape and sexual assault, and takes away a venting mechanism for those who are in the demographics where rape and sexual assault and violence are incredibly likely. Can you imagine telling someone who was brought up in a religious orphanage that they shouldn't be allowed joke about how close they came to being violated.

And all that goes to the idea that victims of such things are people who need to be hidden away and protected. And that's a big complaint from people in those situations. That their experience has to be filtered through agencies and representative groups because they might be too emotional, or it might be too upsetting for them to talk. When really what a lot of people feel is that the people listening might be too upset by hearing the horrific experience of such a victim. This is why Victim Impact Statements are such a controversial thing in courts. It personalises what has happened to someone, something that many courts feel is undesirable. But those supporting it say that such statements are an overwhelmingly positive thing because they give the victim the chance to have their plight officially heard, from themselves.

And that's my problem with this thread. Yes, absolutely people who have been victims of rape and sexual assault need a special level of protection, but you also need to be careful that in putting in those protections you aren't denying said victims of a perfectly valid and positive coping mechanism, and lobbying mechanism for the change of society's attitude towards rape.

lubica
July 29 2012, 08:57:27 PM
I can't shake the feeling that this is one of Lallante's masterfully disguised trolls (well only 4 pages, but all so srs).

Then again, I posted the only rape joke so far, if you can call it that.

Lallante
July 30 2012, 11:48:03 AM
*snip*

She has been undergoing regular counselling for 4 years and has got to the point where most times, she doent need to leave the room she just internally withdraws and goes quiet. Probably only I notice it. I say most times because she, like most people, is not a robot and cannot precisely control her emotional reaction to what is one of the most severe traumas a person can experience - sometimes it just hits her.

I can tell you that if we were having a conversation in real life and someone said something along the lines of "rape victims should just deal with it / get over it" she would be out of the room in tears faster than you could blink. If you think that's ok, just her problem, then fair play to you, but I think that would make him an inconsiderate and unpleasant cunt and you can bet your ass he wont be invited to anything im organising again.

Society massively underplays the prevelence and severity of rape. And by society unfortunately I do mean men. Very few women make these jokes. Its ingrained and unconscious. I know lots of otherwise perfectly liberal, right on kind of guys whose initial reaction when they hear about something like this is to question the girls' story. (I mean seriously, that's your "go to" response to hearing one of your friends has been raped?). Society is fucked up on this point and supporting these kinds of jokes just reinforces that view.
I would say that she needs better help if it's taken four years to achieve what you describe. Likely she's seeing a 'therapist' or 'psychologist' as opposed to an actual licensed psychiatrist yes? It sounds like the problems she has are the kind you have to combat with medication as well as 'words'. Not that I don't feel sorry for her, but more because she doesn't appear to be getting the kind of help she needs rather than that she has to deal with unpleasant social situations.


*snip*
The people who do find rape jokes funny, fundamentally find them funny because they might hurt/offend others. Its called "shock humour". If noone was ever hurt or offended and such jokes were commonplace then they would have no shock value, and they aren't funny in any other sense (that I can see or have heard others claiming - feel free to disagree, I'd be curious).
It's called dark humor, it's very different from shock humor, poop jokes might be shocking but rarely dark. Myself I have a very sardonic sense of humor I find sarcasm and irony funny, and there is irony even in the darkest things, often more so than in lighter subjects.

So maybe your friend has problems with certain kinds of humor, it's sad that she hasn't apparently hasn’t gotten the help she needs, but saying that everyone else should change to suit her isn’t particularly constructive either as it’s about as likely to happen as the rapture (hint: it’s not going to happen).

Very few rape jokes are actually dark humour. Its not dark humour for that comedien to shout at the poor woman heckler "wouldnt it be funny if like 6 guys gang raped you right now". Dark humour is basically pointing out the absurdity of a situation, DESPITE the topic being something not usually joked about. Shock humour more generally is something that is funny only because you don't expect anyone to make light of that topic or because the (horrible) topic is inserted into an unexpected context. Dark humour can also be shock humour, but most shock humour is not dark humour.

Its possible to have rape jokes that are dark humour, but they are rare. Most rape jokes go for the "LOL RAPE IS TERRIBLE AND IM MAKING LIGHT OF IT" shock effect which is not dark humour.

Please feel free to post jokes you feel qualify as dark humour.

Also poop jokes are more toilet humour than shock humour. People laugh at the purility, not the shock. Excessive vulgarity might be shock humour, if the main "comedy" elemtn is how over the top it is.


As for your advice, get some empathy. If one in five women are affected by this (and many of them get hurt when they hear such jokes) and the jokes are only funny BECAUSE some people find them hurtful and offensive then your viewpoint that them being hurt is essentially their own problem that only they need to do anything about is grossly insensitive. She is TRYING. She didn't ASK to be raped. She doesnt get angry (the angry women tend to be angry on behalf of the actual victims, not the victims themselves). She just gets hurt.

Lallante
July 30 2012, 12:07:34 PM
Your counterpoint is missing the point. 1 is not about guaranteeing no harm will be done, it is about identifying who is responsible for the harm.

Having the ability to prevent harm that someone else is causing, does not make you responsible for that harm if you chose not to prevent it.

To use an example - if someone is shot and killed I am not responsible for it, just because I didn't knock them out of the way of the bullet.

In the same way, just because I have not made the choice to guarantee that nothing I say will ever cause someone to remember being raped, does not make me responsible for the harm of them remembering the rape. That harm was caused by the rapist.

From legal principles this is unfortunately completely wrong. There is a concept in law called the "eggshell skull" rule that basically means you take your victim as you find them. It may not be your fault or to your knowledge that they are super sensitive, but if you do something wrong and are reckless to that sensitivity you take responsibility for the whole of the additional harm caused.

You are also conflating an act with an omission. Telling a rape joke is a positive act, not pulling someone out of the path of a bullet is an omission. Principles of causation deal with these two concepts completely differently in many cases.

An example would be using meat in a seemingly meat free dish you were cooking for 500 people (lets say a caprese salad you drissel beef drippings over (mmmm)). You dont know that any of the 500 are vegetarian but its a statistical probability. You are the one causing harm, even though there would be no harm if they hadnt decided to be a vegetarian. You are at fault.

Lallante
July 30 2012, 12:10:25 PM
I hope you can pick it apart, as I am arguing counter to my own feelings on the subject of rape jokes.

Okay. Let's try this one:

You stand next to a 3m deep swimming pool. You are perfectly healthy and a good swimmer. A man throws a girl in the swimming pool and runs away. The girl struggles and gurgles "Help! I cannot swim!". You could save her without any danger or inconvenience to yourself. You walk away.
This is a similar scenario to your "if someone is shot and killed I am not responsible for it, just because I didn't knock them out of the way of the bullet" example.

If the girl dies you wouldn't be accused of the murder of her. You didn't do it after all.

You would however be accused of failure to aid somebody in mortal peril. Here in Germany that can get you up to 1 year in jail. For that it does not matter who is responsible for her mortal peril. If you are there and are able to help you *have* to do it. If you make a decision not to that isn't the fault of the man who threw her in. He doesn't control what you do, that failure to act is completely your own.

In the case of rape jokes you could argue that you are not responsible for the trauma of the girl, however you are not blameless.
If you call a girl, which you know sensitive about her weight, "Hey fatty!" and she breaks out in tears you are responsible for her pain. Because you knew that that comment could cause her pain, but said it regardless. You made the decision. It would have caused you no harm in not saying it. If you were not really thinking about the reaction of the girl and just made it as thoughtless comment it is a less "evil" act, but then you are still guilty of not considering the feelings of the people you interact with. Which isn't exactly a positive thing.

tl'dr: Even "without intent or responsibility" the teller of rape joke has still done something wrong, namely not considering the feelings of the people he interacts with.

Basically:
- telling rape jokes in company where you think there is some chance of a victim being present: Asshole
- telling rape jokes without thinking about the possible effects: Inconsiderate Jerk

This isnt actually an apt analogy due to the act/omission distinction. A closer example would be pushing an adult woman into the pool and then shrugging when they drown because most people can swim and its not your fault this particular woman cant.

Lallante
July 30 2012, 12:16:27 PM
why then should people not be able to say what they like, without fear of reprisal for hurt feelings? that particular line of logic is a two edge sword.
I don't think the two situations are interchangeable at all. One is being about being free from harm being perpetrated against you, the other is being free to say something you know will harm someone else.

Do you honestly believe that people should be allowed to say anything without suffering the social consequences of that speech?

not necessarily, but I don't think being a rape victim gives anyone extra rights. It comes down to my basic belief that one persons rights end where they impinge on another's. If just by entering the room your own issues curtail another persons rights to say what they will, something is fucking wrong and needs to be dealt with.

I certainly don't blame a rape victim, but I also don't blame a person who tells a dirty joke for someone else's reaction to it. Growing up I learned 'sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.' I consider that to be one of the basic prerequisites of functional adulthood. That isn't to say I have no sympathy for a rape victim, but I think that being completely undone by an off color joke is evidence that an individual is for lack of a better word broken, and needs therapy and possibly medication in order to mend their psyche.

Freedom from cruel or degrading treatment and the Right to Quiet Enjoyment of Personal Life surely is being infringed by the exercise of a rape-joke tellers Freedom of Speech? "one persons rights end where they impinge on another's" is a nice talking point but its actually useless as a principle when you look at it in detail as ALL rights impinge on those of others - its striking the right balance that is the key. Even talking about rights in this context isnt really the right way to look at things as human rights are generally something you can only enforce against the state, not other individuals. Noone has a freedom of speech right enforceable against other private entities.

Lallante
July 30 2012, 12:20:27 PM
What I find annoying about this whole discussion is that, first off, victims of rape and sexual assault need to be protected and also that jokes about rape are inherently negative. And especially how those two things go together.

On rape jokes being inherently negative... I'd prefer that nothing was off limits and people instead made the decision to call out comedians (or pub jokers) when they bring up rape in a disgusting manner. However, a joke may ostensibly be about rape but could actually be about societies' attitude towards the reporting of rape, the taboo of discussion of rape, "slut shaming," etc. Just because a joke is about rape doesn't mean that it's purpose is to insult the victims of rape or make light of their situation.

On the first point I made, saying rape jokes are off limits takes away a coping mechanism for people who are victims of rape and sexual assault, and takes away a venting mechanism for those who are in the demographics where rape and sexual assault and violence are incredibly likely. Can you imagine telling someone who was brought up in a religious orphanage that they shouldn't be allowed joke about how close they came to being violated.

And all that goes to the idea that victims of such things are people who need to be hidden away and protected. And that's a big complaint from people in those situations. That their experience has to be filtered through agencies and representative groups because they might be too emotional, or it might be too upsetting for them to talk. When really what a lot of people feel is that the people listening might be too upset by hearing the horrific experience of such a victim. This is why Victim Impact Statements are such a controversial thing in courts. It personalises what has happened to someone, something that many courts feel is undesirable. But those supporting it say that such statements are an overwhelmingly positive thing because they give the victim the chance to have their plight officially heard, from themselves.

And that's my problem with this thread. Yes, absolutely people who have been victims of rape and sexual assault need a special level of protection, but you also need to be careful that in putting in those protections you aren't denying said victims of a perfectly valid and positive coping mechanism, and lobbying mechanism for the change of society's attitude towards rape.

You probably have me blocked but this is all actually spot on. I don't think anyone is calling for a ban on rape jokes though - merely asserting that to use them in anything but a wholly-expected and acceptable context is callous, cruel, and if you like, immoral.

lubica
July 30 2012, 12:26:17 PM
The terms black comedy or dark comedy have been later derived as alternatives to Breton's term. In black humor, topics and events that are usually regarded as taboo, specifically those related to death, are treated in an unusually humorous or satirical manner while retaining their seriousness; the intent of black comedy, therefore, is often for the audience to experience both laughter and discomfort, sometimes simultaneously.source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_comedy

Also, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dark%20humor

Since I have no personal experience with rape victims, I really cannot speak as to the extent of the feeling of violation that the victim feels, or for how long this persists, but I'm gonna side with DD here. Basically, if she is still in the run-off-crying phase of dealing with it 4 years after the incident, then she is not being treated properly. Being totally pissed off would be much better infact, she would be 'dealing with it', not hiding. As it is, she is still internalizing her pain and I dobut that she appreciates the feeling of helplessness that must come over here quite often, if she reacts the way you describe. If you're that sensitive about her sensibilities, maybe even overly sensitive, and you see how she acts in these situations, then you should nudge her in the direction of doing something about it. Closing it up will not do anyone any good. On the other hand, I doubt pills would be of any use either, it's not like her issues are due to any chemical imbalances in her body.

Re dark humour: denying society the freedom to express itself, to laugh at its own darkest parts only leads to further stigmatization and reduces the options available to victims to deal with it in a helpful environment. That said, I agree that us men tend to be ignorant dicks on this topic.

Lallante
July 30 2012, 12:37:34 PM
The terms black comedy or dark comedy have been later derived as alternatives to Breton's term. In black humor, topics and events that are usually regarded as taboo, specifically those related to death, are treated in an unusually humorous or satirical manner while retaining their seriousness; the intent of black comedy, therefore, is often for the audience to experience both laughter and discomfort, sometimes simultaneously.source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_comedy

That seems to agree with what I said above about dark humour - Rape jokes are usually not dark humour in that they do not retain the seriousness of the topic but rather the opposite.


[quote]
Since I have no personal experience with rape victims, I really cannot speak as to the extent of the feeling of violation that the victim feels, or for how long this persists, but I'm gonna side with DD here. Basically, if she is still in the run-off-crying phase of dealing with it 4 years after the incident, then she is not being treated properly. Being totally pissed off would be much better infact, she would be 'dealing with it', not hiding. As it is, she is still internalizing her pain and I dobut that she appreciates the feeling of helplessness that must come over here quite often, if she reacts the way you describe. If you're that sensitive about her sensibilities, maybe even overly sensitive, and you see how she acts in these situations, then you should nudge her in the direction of doing something about it. Closing it up will not do anyone any good. On the other hand, I doubt pills would be of any use either, it's not like her issues are due to any chemical imbalances in her body.

Re dark humour: denying society the freedom to express itself, to laugh at its own darkest parts only leads to further stigmatization and reduces the options available to victims to deal with it in a helpful environment. That said, I agree that us men tend to be ignorant dicks on this topic.

The idea that you can eventually just "get over" a traumatic rape is a bit naiive. This stuff can haunt you forever even with the best will and professional help in the world. She is ok in the sense that 3/4 of the time it doesnt bother her, and it is slowly getting better but I think you are taking recovery from this kind of thing a bit for granted. As I've said she gets help.

lubica
July 30 2012, 01:35:42 PM
The terms black comedy or dark comedy have been later derived as alternatives to Breton's term. In black humor, topics and events that are usually regarded as taboo, specifically those related to death, are treated in an unusually humorous or satirical manner while retaining their seriousness; the intent of black comedy, therefore, is often for the audience to experience both laughter and discomfort, sometimes simultaneously.source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_comedy

That seems to agree with what I said above about dark humour - Rape jokes are usually not dark humour in that they do not retain the seriousness of the topic but rather the opposite.
I think you'll need to provide examples of rape jokes to subsantiate the argument that the underlying subject matter is not approached seriously. Also, for the sake of argument, lets say a male is the victim, will the subject matter gain or lose in seriousness?




Since I have no personal experience with rape victims, I really cannot speak as to the extent of the feeling of violation that the victim feels, or for how long this persists, but I'm gonna side with DD here. Basically, if she is still in the run-off-crying phase of dealing with it 4 years after the incident, then she is not being treated properly. Being totally pissed off would be much better infact, she would be 'dealing with it', not hiding. As it is, she is still internalizing her pain and I dobut that she appreciates the feeling of helplessness that must come over here quite often, if she reacts the way you describe. If you're that sensitive about her sensibilities, maybe even overly sensitive, and you see how she acts in these situations, then you should nudge her in the direction of doing something about it. Closing it up will not do anyone any good. On the other hand, I doubt pills would be of any use either, it's not like her issues are due to any chemical imbalances in her body.

Re dark humour: denying society the freedom to express itself, to laugh at its own darkest parts only leads to further stigmatization and reduces the options available to victims to deal with it in a helpful environment. That said, I agree that us men tend to be ignorant dicks on this topic.

The idea that you can eventually just "get over" a traumatic rape is a bit naiive. This stuff can haunt you forever even with the best will and professional help in the world. She is ok in the sense that 3/4 of the time it doesnt bother her, and it is slowly getting better but I think you are taking recovery from this kind of thing a bit for granted. As I've said she gets help.
Well, good to hear it's not as bad as it sounded at first and no, I really don't take such things for granted. Familial experience with invasive body procedures and the resulting mindfuck (mum had to have her reproductive insides scooped out due to cancer and it forcibly induced menopause) is still showing consequences after 15 years. And I'd argue that there was no proper therapy involved in the post-traumatic process, but I don't really know, I wasn't really told much about it until after the fact and had no idea what she was going through until a few years back, when she told me about it. It did give me one hell of a view into how somebody can internalize such issues when not receiving the proper attention. Not just attention per se, but actively supporting the pent-up rage to flow outward, otherwise they just end up angry at themselves. As for the shock of memories, well time dulls the pain. And drugs, but nevermind those tbh.

Frug
July 30 2012, 07:09:58 PM
Well, good to hear it's not as bad as it sounded at first and no, I really don't take such things for granted. Familial experience with invasive body procedures and the resulting mindfuck (mum had to have her reproductive insides scooped out due to cancer and it forcibly induced menopause) is still showing consequences after 15 years. And I'd argue that there was no proper therapy involved in the post-traumatic process, but I don't really know, I wasn't really told much about it until after the fact and had no idea what she was going through until a few years back, when she told me about it. It did give me one hell of a view into how somebody can internalize such issues when not receiving the proper attention. Not just attention per se, but actively supporting the pent-up rage to flow outward, otherwise they just end up angry at themselves. As for the shock of memories, well time dulls the pain. And drugs, but nevermind those tbh.

I'm going to have to disagree with you quite strongly on your assertion that she should basically have gotten over it in x number of years if she's got proper treatment. When we talk about emotional damage or psychological damage done to an individual in a way that causes anxiety, irrational beliefs, altered perceptions, etc, and can manifest itself in a plethora of ways - some of which may seem unrelated to the underlying issue (eg. self harm, nervous ticks, ocd behavior) - to suggest that it's a straightforward process of "treat her for x years and she will no longer experience such behavior and emotional distress" and to blame improper support after the fact is to misunderstand the nature of psychological damage.

Everyone will react differently to the experience. Some will exhibit latent schizophrenic disorders as a result of the stress, some will overeat, some will appear to be completely fine but suffer strange physical symptoms, some will scream and run out of theaters. I would compare the result of a fucked up, traumatic experience like that to someone entering your brain and smashing random things. You just won't be able to repair the damage in some cases although yeah, in most you should be able to help them overcome overt problems in a few years.

But that's my opinion on your statement, not the OP in general. Regarding Lall's opening topic, I don't know if I agree with him or not. I think, generally, I don't agree that anything's "a special case" because the same kind of traumatic shit that happens to victims of this can be applied to plenty of other things including (and especially) murder.

In particular, this key point he makes in the OP

its that a statistically significant and entirely blameless portion of the population might (and its not a small chance) be severely hurt by hearing the joke.
Is not unique to rape, and it's just as tasteless and inconsiderate to ignore other people who have situations just as valid as being a rape victim as it is to laugh at a rape joke. Maybe even worse, because it implicitly downplays their problems. If I laugh at an AIDS joke on family guy, I can laugh at a rape joke the same way. It's not special because a slightly different segment of people has been traumatized nor should it be special because you know someone who personally influenced your emotions to enlighten you as to how bad it is (because you should learn from such an experience and apply it across the board to more than just rape).

I draw the line of tasteless, bad humor farther than a lot of people do. Crude, horrible, disgusting, shocking jokes can be funny to me because most of the time I feel that the presenter and audience have an understanding that the humor is sarcastic and dark. He tells racist jokes because racism is stupid, he tells rape jokes because rape is fucking horrible, etc. I wouldn't hold him morally responsible for a sensitive person overhearing it. I understand the emotional response that Lall is feeling toward the comedian, but the argument doesn't convince me to feel the same way.

Tarminic
July 30 2012, 07:29:23 PM
Is not unique to rape, and it's just as tasteless and inconsiderate to ignore other people who have situations just as valid as being a rape victim as it is to laugh at a rape joke. Maybe even worse, because it implicitly downplays their problems. If I laugh at an AIDS joke on family guy, I can laugh at a rape joke the same way. It's not special because a slightly different segment of people has been traumatized nor should it be special because you know someone who personally influenced your emotions to enlighten you as to how bad it is (because you should learn from such an experience and apply it across the board to more than just rape).
Consider the following factors:
1. Rape is much more common in society than any other situation that is known to induce very deep emotional trauma akin to (or including) PTSD.
2. Rape jokes can very easily, depending on the nature of the joke, trigger that trauma.

I believe this makes it pretty unique in this particular context.

Frug
July 30 2012, 07:36:57 PM
Actually, I think that rape is actually pretty unique in this particular context. Consider the following factors:
1. Rape is much more common in society than any other situation that is known to induce very deep emotional trauma akin to (or including) PTSD.
2. Rape jokes can very easily, depending on the nature of the joke, trigger that trauma.

I believe this makes it pretty unique in this particular context.

I'll give you 1) but I think 2) is plain wrong. You're downplaying what other people experience by saying rape is unique in the way that it triggers the trauma. Can you back this up somehow, or is it just a guess?

So as far as 1) goes, how large a number of people, or how small a number of people, is it morally ok to hurt? I'm not buying the whole "there are a lot of them so it's wrong" but making fun of AIDS or abusive parents or victims of attempted murder are so much less prevalent that it's morally different to make fun of their problems. Saying that, actually, seems more wrong to me than the people earlier who dismiss this entire topic as "a joke's a joke, get over it or don't listen" because at least they don't think anyone is really getting hurt, as opposed to saying it's okay to fuck over a small number of people because you don't think they're significant.

Nartek
July 30 2012, 07:56:32 PM
As our society grows more open and expressive about certain types of abuse, it stands to reason that the amount of humor directed towards something considered taboo will rise.

At the same time, as our society grows more sensitive, it stands to reason that a whole lot of people will be "shaken to their very core" at the utterance of a term or phrase.

And yet, society is all up in arms about this sort of stuff, yet hesitant to "pull the trigger". There are *probably* more counseling programs out there for sex offenders than the victims of the crime.

Frug
July 30 2012, 08:06:24 PM
Lallante was quite clear in the OP that this is not about being taboo or offending anyone. It's purely a question of the emotional impact it has on victims. We're not here to give a shit about people who are merely offended on behalf of others. The number of people potentially at risk of falling unto Lall's concern is either stable or, one hopes, declining over time.

Lallante
July 31 2012, 02:41:51 PM
Actually, I think that rape is actually pretty unique in this particular context. Consider the following factors:
1. Rape is much more common in society than any other situation that is known to induce very deep emotional trauma akin to (or including) PTSD.
2. Rape jokes can very easily, depending on the nature of the joke, trigger that trauma.

I believe this makes it pretty unique in this particular context.

I'll give you 1) but I think 2) is plain wrong. You're downplaying what other people experience by saying rape is unique in the way that it triggers the trauma. Can you back this up somehow, or is it just a guess?

So as far as 1) goes, how large a number of people, or how small a number of people, is it morally ok to hurt? I'm not buying the whole "there are a lot of them so it's wrong" but making fun of AIDS or abusive parents or victims of attempted murder are so much less prevalent that it's morally different to make fun of their problems. Saying that, actually, seems more wrong to me than the people earlier who dismiss this entire topic as "a joke's a joke, get over it or don't listen" because at least they don't think anyone is really getting hurt, as opposed to saying it's okay to fuck over a small number of people because you don't think they're significant.

Its a simple balance of benefits against harms. You wouldnt mock PTSD war veterans at a gig full of PTSD veterans. You probably wouldnt even mock PTSD war veterans if you knew for certain a single one was in the audience. If a significant proportion of your audience is likely to be unfairly hurt by your jokes then that outweighs any benefit you (or your audience) get from you telling them. Rape/sexual assault victims are not a special case exactly so much as a unique combination of being extremely common and easily and deeply hurt by reminders of their ordeal. In comparison the cheap laughs you will get from a "shock" rape joke can't really be worth the trade off.

You can apply this to anything - exactly where you draw the line is down to your personal judgement but it seems to me once you accept there IS a line then you are forced to ask some hard questions of yourself in order to draw it somewhere, and thats a pretty big step towards my view in this debate.

Lallante
July 31 2012, 02:55:37 PM
I am also going to play devils advocate here, with a slightly different approach.

Three key points that are the basis of my argument:-

1. In absence of the rape there would be no harm. In absence of the joke their would still be harm. The harm caused by a rape victim hearing a rape joke is a result of the rape, not the joke.

2. It is unacceptable to hold someone responsible for the actions of someone they have never influenced.

3. If the teller of the joke is not aware of the history of someone hearing the joke, they are acting without intent to harm.



The teller of the joke does not intend to cause harm and is also not responsible for the harm caused. Without intent or responsibility, they have done nothing wrong.

Never approached this originally.

Rape is a form of harm, but so is psychologically traumatising someone. The fact that they wouldnt be traumatised were it not for the earlier rape is true, but it does not mean that the new harm wasnt caused by the teller of the joke. The question is therefore not whether they caused harm but whether they are (morally) accountable for it.

The fundamental point is that in law (and logically) in many circumstances you can conflate "he knew X" with "he reasonably should have known X". In the quoted example the teller of the joke may not have known the history of the people hearing the joke, but if there are more than a couple of women in the group then theres a strong chance one of them has rape or sexual assault in their history. Its not unreasonable to assume therefore that telling a rape joke to a crowd that includes a lot of unsuspecting women will cause harm in at least one of them.

The law usually holds people accountable for reasonably forseable harm caused by their deliberate actions. In effect they were "reckless" as to the harm likely to be caused by their actions. I think this legal principle holds up morally too.

Nartek
July 31 2012, 03:40:15 PM
Lallante was quite clear in the OP that this is not about being taboo or offending anyone. It's purely a question of the emotional impact it has on victims. We're not here to give a shit about people who are merely offended on behalf of others. The number of people potentially at risk of falling unto Lall's concern is either stable or, one hopes, declining over time.

I don't agree with restricting someones rights without defineable proof that a statement can bring about physiological harm.

So, if the discussion is simply going to be restricted to the "Should it be outlawed", and we aren't willing to blow this thing wide open and discuss variables (My previous wording regarding "taboo" is of the sense that discussions of rape, and/or the mainstreaming of that term... something that was previously not socially acceptable... is now a mainstream social term. It has nothing to do with a shitty porn film.). Then my answer is a clear no.

People should not have their ability to use a term that has become a part of mainstream vocabulary impinged upon without sufficient reason. That's one of the primary reasons the term "sexual assault" is on the rise. "Rape" is wrapped up into too many expressive meanings; the definition has been eclipsed through usage.

I also don't agree with inhibiting the use of other sensitive articles on the basis that someone "may be offended", regardless of the argument of "you never hear people joke about War Veterans". Right now, they have the right to do so, if they wish, and they can face the backlash of that decision if it comes to it. If society is fucked up enough to not provide a backlash against someone mocking something you find sensitive; then your problem isn't the messenger, or the message. It's the fucked up people listening and laughing instead of crying out in indignant rage. Stopping the message doesn't stop people from being fucked up.

Regarding This:
A good rule of thumb is "was it a crime?".... note I got via the rep system, pertaining to a previous post here...

That's just it. Sexual assault is NOT so clearly defined as that. I know this, because I get briefings every 6 months on it; and it's changed at least every year. In other words, what construed sexual assault 5 years ago is different enough than what it is today to warrant a desire to legally define it. I'm also the SARC (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator) for my unit. For something that impacts the victim, as well as the committer; having a term with criminal connotations associated with it being loosely defined is something I do not agree with. And, depending on what county/state/country/etc... you happen to be in, your legal/illegal status is nebulous. I don't want a "well if you're in a gray area, you probably shouldn't be there" deal either. Theft is theft, murder is murder, etc...

Lallante
July 31 2012, 04:46:59 PM
Lallante was quite clear in the OP that this is not about being taboo or offending anyone. It's purely a question of the emotional impact it has on victims. We're not here to give a shit about people who are merely offended on behalf of others. The number of people potentially at risk of falling unto Lall's concern is either stable or, one hopes, declining over time.

I don't agree with restricting someones rights without defineable proof that a statement can bring about physiological harm.
Have you actually read the thread or just the title? There isn't a single person here argueing that someone's rights to tell rape jokes should be restricted. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether its moral or not to do so (in context X Y or Z)


So, if the discussion is simply going to be restricted to the "Should it be outlawed", and we aren't willing to blow this thing wide open and discuss variables (My previous wording regarding "taboo" is of the sense that discussions of rape, and/or the mainstreaming of that term... something that was previously not socially acceptable... is now a mainstream social term. It has nothing to do with a shitty porn film.). Then my answer is a clear no
People should not have their ability to use a term that has become a part of mainstream vocabulary impinged upon without sufficient reason. That's one of the primary reasons the term "sexual assault" is on the rise. "Rape" is wrapped up into too many expressive meanings; the definition has been eclipsed through usage.

I also don't agree with inhibiting the use of other sensitive articles on the basis that someone "may be offended", regardless of the argument of "you never hear people joke about War Veterans". Right now, they have the right to do so, if they wish, and they can face the backlash of that decision if it comes to it. If society is fucked up enough to not provide a backlash against someone mocking something you find sensitive; then your problem isn't the messenger, or the message. It's the fucked up people listening and laughing instead of crying out in indignant rage. Stopping the message doesn't stop people from being fucked up.
Congratulations, perhaps you would also like to weigh in on the pressing question of whether people who fail to surrender their seat to a pregnant woman should be put to death without trial? Or whether people who sneeze without a tissue should have their noses surgically removed? How about the hot debate over whether everyone who likes liquorice should be anally violated with a broom handle or not?

Seriously if you are going to write a long post railing against something its usually a good plan to see if anyone actually holds the counter opinion first.




Regarding This:
A good rule of thumb is "was it a crime?".... note I got via the rep system, pertaining to a previous post here...

That's just it. Sexual assault is NOT so clearly defined as that. I know this, because I get briefings every 6 months on it; and it's changed at least every year. In other words, what construed sexual assault 5 years ago is different enough than what it is today to warrant a desire to legally define it. I'm also the SARC (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator) for my unit. For something that impacts the victim, as well as the committer; having a term with criminal connotations associated with it being loosely defined is something I do not agree with. And, depending on what county/state/country/etc... you happen to be in, your legal/illegal status is nebulous. I don't want a "well if you're in a gray area, you probably shouldn't be there" deal either. Theft is theft, murder is murder, etc...

Sexual assault in the UK and US has a statory definition. In the UK it is as follows from the Sexual Offences Act 2003 section 3:
(1)A person (A) commits an offence if— .
(a)he intentionally touches another person (B),
(b)the touching is sexual,
(c)B does not consent to the touching, and
(d)A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

(2)Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents



"Sexual" is defined in section 78 as follows:
Touching or any other activity is sexual if a reasonable person would consider that—
(a) whatever its circumstances or any person’s purpose in relation to it, it is because of its nature sexual, or .
(b) (i) because of its nature it may be sexual and (ii) because of its circumstances or the purpose of any person in relation to it (or both) it is sexual.


Now admittedly I'm a lawyer so I've seen and interpretted hundreds of statutes, but to me this is a pretty damn clear definition (about as clear as its possible to be for something like this). It basically boils down to:
Sexual touching (i.e. sticking hand up her skirt and rubbing) or touching that miught be sexual or non-sexual but is sexual because of the intent or circumstances of the toucher - (e.g. the Doctor wanking under the table while he gives you your prostate exam.)

"Theft is theft, Murdfer is murder " is absolute nonsense too - they are every bit as ambiguous. If I grab 5 out of your hand and run away is that theft? Not if I genuinely and reasonably believed you to be a mugger whojust took the same 5 from me. If I shoot a guy dead is it murder? Not if I genuinely and reasonably believed him to be attacking me with lethal force. You can say "but what constitutes sexual intent or circumstances?" but exactly the same or near-identical considerations apply in every single crime and I don't see you attacking the concept of crime generally.

There is no grey area over what constitutes sexual assault - the only grey area is over what constitutes sexual assault that a woman will call the police over. Pinching some random girls' ass is (rightly) sexual assault. Will she call the cops? Probably not but that's your call not mine. I prefer not to
force unwanted sexual contact on people in the first place so theres no grey area at all.

Nartek
July 31 2012, 05:29:07 PM
Right, lawyer, this is what you stated in the OP...


So in this OP I don't intend to fully lay out my arguement, but more posit my beliefs and then defend them as needed later in the thread:

I used to subscribe to usual neckbeard manifesto of "nothing is offlimits in comedy" "if you cant take a joke, fuck off". About 2 years ago, due to firsthand experiences, I did a 180.

1. I genuinely believe that telling rape jokes publically is morally wrong in many circumstances;

This, plus your "freedom of speech" quote below... I construe that as "hey, we as a society should do something LEGALLY to ensure that people shouldn't tell jokes about this subject. If it isn't, what the fuck are you trying to achieve/debate?


2. I believe that 1. is highly dependent on setting, audience etc, but I don't think a mainstream comedien not specifically known for exactly that type of humour should EVER throw a rape joke into his set.

I think a comedian should be able to decide for themselves. They read the audience, they include/exclude what they want, and they pay the price.


3. I believe that rape is a special case (there may be others) - its not that people might be offended that matters, I think that is irrelevant, its that a statistically significant and entirely blameless portion of the population might (and its not a small chance) be severely hurt by hearing the joke. I know one such person and I've seen the effect it has on her (she doesnt get angry, she deflates, withdraws and it kills me a little inside each time I see it and the teller of the joke doesnt notice).

I don't think rape is a special case. I think rape is a special case because it has so much focus on it. Regular assault victims don't receive the sort of "eggshell" treatment, and there have been enough overturned cases in court to provide evidence that on any given sunday, any given judge/jury doesn't rightly know what the fuck they're doing with regards to sexual assault. So, I requested that it be more tightly defined, and for the goal posts to stop changing. Why? Because 20 years ago, pinching someones ass was sexual harrassment, and sexual assault started when the dick touched someone who didn't want it there. 5 years ago, a girl moving under her own power with a guy at a bar and fucking him back at his place wasn't considered sexual assault. (Hint: It is now in the military... It's a command reportable incident, and if the "victim" decides to make it an open report, charges will be brought against the other individual.)

We're fucking infatuated with victimization in the western world, so we keep broadening the terms we use to further criminalize a particular action. If Rape is a crime, then it's a crime, and that's that. Stop infatuating about it.

With regards to rape jokes out of area 3; again, I don't see it. Your advocating some sort of restriction because some victim group is more of a special snowflake above any others. Restricting anything, or expecting anything (in a legal sense) from someone is effectively the same as limiting them on their own freedoms. I don't see the special case, my wife was nearly raped once, and I have a history of working with victims on this.


4. I believe the "freedom of speech" arguement is a copout. Exercising your rights doesnt preclude you from being morally blameworthy for doing so. Sure you are ALLOWED to make rape jokes in the potential hearing of rape victims, but that doesnt mean you arent WRONG for doing so.

You're saying the same god-damned thing over and over again, but with different words each time, and alluding to the same thing. You want people/society to restrict what they say in public. I do not agree with you. I think it's as much a freedom of speech issue as those "Visit Norway" postcards with whatshisfuck on there. If I'm a commercial entity, and I crack a joke like that, you are free to use your freedoms to protest, and prove to me that my words were a bad idea.


5. I believe the "don't listen to it if it hurts/offends you" arguement is a copout. You can't control what you hear short of living in cotton wool. 95% of standup comedy doesnt involve jokes about being raped or raping, why should you be forced to opt out of that so that in the remaining random 5% of cases a comedian can make a particularly sick joke.

Who says its sick? You? The public be moving right along into more and more diverse, previously "taboo" areas of speech/comedy. I understand your opinion on the matter, but the success of the comedians who make jokes like that tell me distinctly that the general public disagrees with you on just how "sick" it is. That means your problem isn't the comedian, but the public.


6. I also believe, though this is entirely seperate to the above arguement, that rape jokes are a low form of humour. They rely solely on shock value, breaking tabboo - there is nothing inherently funny about them. If they didnt carry the risk of causing harm and offence, they wouldnt be funny - that, for me, is the nail in the coffin for rape jokes as a form of comedic art.

This is not entirely separate. You feel that there isn't anything funny about them, that they don't tickle your funny bone. Which is fine. Use the freedoms you have to not patronize anyone who tells shit you don't like. Use your freedoms to get others to agree to your position, and boycott the individual(s). However, I completely disagree with the authoritarian position you've placed yourself in with regards to this subject. This needs to be preceded by a HUGE FUCKING SLOGAN stating "in my opinion", because that's all it is. Society itself protects the freedoms to discuss certain things in public, and protects the capability of the individual offended of doing something about it.

You really want to know why people went off the reservation with regards to what you posted? Because all you posted could have been summed up thusly:


HI I AM LALLENTE AND I DON'T LIKE RAPE JOKES. DISCUSS.

So... sandwich? What the fuck, chuck? That's like me simply saying I like cheese, then getting pissed off because people start talking about how cows are treated.

KathDougans
July 31 2012, 07:35:07 PM
Think about how casual the word "raped" is used in competitive situations.
What situations would that be?

Some sports persons use the term, and similar.
Came across a blog by Arnold Zwicky, a linguistics professor, worth reading.
http://arnoldzwicky.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/raping-and-punking/




Also, for the sake of argument, lets say a male is the victim, will the subject matter gain or lose in seriousness?


Found an article on the Escapist magazine that might be relevant here:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/features/9766-The-R-Word
It's a good read, if disturbing at times. Some good points are made in it.



However, a joke may ostensibly be about rape but could actually be about societies' attitude towards the reporting of rape, the taboo of discussion of rape, "slut shaming," etc. Just because a joke is about rape doesn't mean that it's purpose is to insult the victims of rape or make light of their situation.

Not a rape joke as such, but I remember reading a thing in the Glasgow Herald, it was in "Tom Shield's Diary" which often has humorous stories in it. One story was from a retired solicitor, relating some information about a case that they worked on decades ago, (prob. '60s or '70s), which was a woman assaulted by her husband.
Went something like:
Solicitor: And is there a history of this sort of thing?
Woman: Oh yes, he raped the woman up the stair.
Solicitor (raising eyebrow): Did it go to court?
Woman: Oh no. We've got awfully good neighbours.
In that example, it is the reporting/attitudes that are the humorous elements, not rape.


Anyway, regarding jokes on other subjects, such as the Twin Towers, jokes on those to people who were affected, might make them angry. But does it ever make them feel ashamed or humiliated ? Because that might be important, if there's a difference. Rape jokes might make someone affected angry, but it will probably also make them feel ashamed or humiliated. Which might make it more of a problem to deal with, regarding comedians, and "dealing with it".
e.g. if a comedian pokes fun at fat people, making someone angry, the fat person can make a comeback.
But if the comedian makes a rape joke, making someone feel humiliated, is there a comeback?

Telling a joke, that makes someone affected by the subject feel uncomfortable, ashamed, humiliated at worst, for the sake of making other people laugh, isn't exactly great comedy, is it?
There's also the "rules of good comedy" which mentions relating to the audience. Tell jokes that the audience will relate to, use your personal experience, that sort of thing.
So, tell a rape joke, some members of the audience might relate to it, and they're likely to be hurt, not offended, but hurt and humiliated. So, what were you trying to achieve there?


And Frankie Boyle is a dick really. Calling someone's disabled child an unwanted child that's an incestuous rapist, where is the funny in that ?

Frug
August 1 2012, 01:26:50 AM
I'll give you 1) but I think 2) is plain wrong. You're downplaying what other people experience by saying rape is unique in the way that it triggers the trauma. Can you back this up somehow, or is it just a guess?

So as far as 1) goes, how large a number of people, or how small a number of people, is it morally ok to hurt? I'm not buying the whole "there are a lot of them so it's wrong" but making fun of AIDS or abusive parents or victims of attempted murder are so much less prevalent that it's morally different to make fun of their problems. Saying that, actually, seems more wrong to me than the people earlier who dismiss this entire topic as "a joke's a joke, get over it or don't listen" because at least they don't think anyone is really getting hurt, as opposed to saying it's okay to fuck over a small number of people because you don't think they're significant.

Its a simple balance of benefits against harms. You wouldnt mock PTSD war veterans at a gig full of PTSD veterans. You probably wouldnt even mock PTSD war veterans if you knew for certain a single one was in the audience. If a significant proportion of your audience is likely to be unfairly hurt by your jokes then that outweighs any benefit you (or your audience) get from you telling them. Rape/sexual assault victims are not a special case exactly so much as a unique combination of being extremely common and easily and deeply hurt by reminders of their ordeal. In comparison the cheap laughs you will get from a "shock" rape joke can't really be worth the trade off.

You can apply this to anything - exactly where you draw the line is down to your personal judgement but it seems to me once you accept there IS a line then you are forced to ask some hard questions of yourself in order to draw it somewhere, and thats a pretty big step towards my view in this debate.

If the crux of your moral judgement rests on the types of assumptions and ethical calculus you're attempting to pull off, I'm still going to repeat the same as I've already said. It's not convincing.

I also suspect a bit of disingenuousness on your part. You've been exposed to a girl who has affected you emotionally with her reactions, and now you're rationalizing a judgement you've made.

You've now gone into admitting that other types of jokes are just as wrong as rape if you suspect someone is in the audience who would be hurt by them. So now your moral position against rape jokes in general has collapsed as long as people assume nobody in the audience is affected and we're playing a math game arguing the probability of someone with abusive parents or a terminal illness versus a rape victim. No thanks. I'm not going to start drawing an arbitrary line in the sand where the number of people upset becomes significant enough for me to give a damn about them, or deluding myself into thinking nobody in an audience should have abusive parents or (insert trauma here).

Also not going to touch again the whole "they're special victims because they get hurt more than other types of victims" assumption. Vulnerable people are vulnerable people.

JForce
August 1 2012, 03:08:32 AM
As a gamer, and a person known to "push the envelope" of what society considers "acceptable", I find this topic an interesting read.

From a gaming perspective, a lot has been written recently about "rape", the use it gets from 12 year olds on XBox live etc, and how that impacts female (and male) gamers.

http://kotaku.com/5914348/three-words-i-said-to-the-man-i-defeated-in-gears-of-war-that-ill-never-say-again

The controversy this article provoked is similar to this thread.

Then there's the new Tomb Raider game, and it's E3 trailer. During it, there's a scene where (to me at least) it's hinted that Lara will be "assaulted" in a particular manner - but it's only hinted at, as a story telling method. During an interview, one of the devs mentioned it in passing, and the world ended. They retracted it, said "http://kotaku.com/5922228/tomb-raider-creators-say-rape-is-not-a-word-in-their-vocabulary" etc.

My problem with this in particular is gaming-specific - hinting at an attempted rape in order to convey desperation and evoke sympathy in any other medium - movie, tv etc - would be accepted as a legitimate part of story telling, yet in gaming it was the single worst thing that had ever happened.

The entire topic of rape is a nuanced and contextually specific one IMHO.

My main issue is the binary nature of tragedy and humour - people seem to be convinced that something tragic, sad or unpleasant cannot at the same time be funny. It is THIS which I think is the problem - an inability to recognise that a rape joke may in fact be amusing, but that has NOTHING to do with rape itself being an abhorent act.

I find people starving in Africa tragic, but there are plenty of funny jokes about it. I find paedophilia to be one of the most shameful things the human race engages in, but there are some jokes that amuse me all the same. One does not preclude the other, nor does a joke HAVE to take away from the seriousness of the subject.

People seem to think that jokes make light of something - and of course they can, and that's not always appropriate.

It's that people seem to think I'm some kind of monster when I find the footage of a downsie getting stuck on an escalator hilarious. Just because someone falling over is funny, doesn't mean it didn't hurt and that I wouldn't help them.

It may also help to bring some important statistics to the discussion, particularly a recent study which found that 9 out of 10 people find gang rape hilarious.

Lallante
August 1 2012, 08:40:54 AM
blah blah blah

You aren't engaging with my arguement at all. You don't seem to think there is any value in debating the moral worth of a course of action, and that is of course your prerogative, but 4000+ years of philosophy begs to differ.


You want people/society to restrict what they say in public. I do not agree with you.

You can't honestly mean this. People should restrict what they say in public in a million ways. Do you think I should go up to a pregnant woman and tell her I hope she miscarries? Of course not. Should I shout FIRE in a crowded cinema? Should I shout that I have a bomb when on a plane in flight? Should I persuade a crowd to riot, or incite terrorism? Should I explicitly describe foul sexual acts to a random 8 year old on a bus? Should I tell a random pensioner that they deserve to burn to death in their home?

ALL behaviour has moral restrictions. Your arguement is not just simplistic, its absurd.

Lallante
August 1 2012, 09:02:35 AM
[
Found an article on the Escapist magazine that might be relevant here:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/features/9766-The-R-Word
It's a good read, if disturbing at times. Some good points are made in it.

This article is REALLY good.



However, a joke may ostensibly be about rape but could actually be about societies' attitude towards the reporting of rape, the taboo of discussion of rape, "slut shaming," etc. Just because a joke is about rape doesn't mean that it's purpose is to insult the victims of rape or make light of their situation.

Not a rape joke as such, but I remember reading a thing in the Glasgow Herald, it was in "Tom Shield's Diary" which often has humorous stories in it. One story was from a retired solicitor, relating some information about a case that they worked on decades ago, (prob. '60s or '70s), which was a woman assaulted by her husband.
Went something like:
Solicitor: And is there a history of this sort of thing?
Woman: Oh yes, he raped the woman up the stair.
Solicitor (raising eyebrow): Did it go to court?
Woman: Oh no. We've got awfully good neighbours.
In that example, it is the reporting/attitudes that are the humorous elements, not rape.

This is correct and what both of you are describing is "black" "dark or "gallows" humour rather than "shock" humour. The vast majority of rape jokes or common uses of "rape" in a trivial context don't fall into this category unfortunately. Interestingly my friend doesnt seem to react to those kinds of jokes (in fact I've seen ones she find funny, they aren't trivialising the issue).


Anyway, regarding jokes on other subjects, such as the Twin Towers, jokes on those to people who were affected, might make them angry. But does it ever make them feel ashamed or humiliated ? Because that might be important, if there's a difference. Rape jokes might make someone affected angry, but it will probably also make them feel ashamed or humiliated. Which might make it more of a problem to deal with, regarding comedians, and "dealing with it".
e.g. if a comedian pokes fun at fat people, making someone angry, the fat person can make a comeback.
But if the comedian makes a rape joke, making someone feel humiliated, is there a comeback? Good points



And Frankie Boyle is a dick really. Calling someone's disabled child an unwanted child that's an incestuous rapist, where is the funny in that ?
[/quote]
It isnt funny, its shocking and pathetic.

Lallante
August 1 2012, 09:13:38 AM
I'll give you 1) but I think 2) is plain wrong. You're downplaying what other people experience by saying rape is unique in the way that it triggers the trauma. Can you back this up somehow, or is it just a guess?

So as far as 1) goes, how large a number of people, or how small a number of people, is it morally ok to hurt? I'm not buying the whole "there are a lot of them so it's wrong" but making fun of AIDS or abusive parents or victims of attempted murder are so much less prevalent that it's morally different to make fun of their problems. Saying that, actually, seems more wrong to me than the people earlier who dismiss this entire topic as "a joke's a joke, get over it or don't listen" because at least they don't think anyone is really getting hurt, as opposed to saying it's okay to fuck over a small number of people because you don't think they're significant.

Its a simple balance of benefits against harms. You wouldnt mock PTSD war veterans at a gig full of PTSD veterans. You probably wouldnt even mock PTSD war veterans if you knew for certain a single one was in the audience. If a significant proportion of your audience is likely to be unfairly hurt by your jokes then that outweighs any benefit you (or your audience) get from you telling them. Rape/sexual assault victims are not a special case exactly so much as a unique combination of being extremely common and easily and deeply hurt by reminders of their ordeal. In comparison the cheap laughs you will get from a "shock" rape joke can't really be worth the trade off.

You can apply this to anything - exactly where you draw the line is down to your personal judgement but it seems to me once you accept there IS a line then you are forced to ask some hard questions of yourself in order to draw it somewhere, and thats a pretty big step towards my view in this debate.

If the crux of your moral judgement rests on the types of assumptions and ethical calculus you're attempting to pull off, I'm still going to repeat the same as I've already said. It's not convincing.
Surely the crux of all moral judgements rest on such types of assumptions and tacit ethical calculus, at least those that one doesnt hold to be absolutes?

You may be arguing I get the "calculus" wrong, but I would love to hear your own application - where do you draw the line? why? what is the more generally applicable principle?


I also suspect a bit of disingenuousness on your part. You've been exposed to a girl who has affected you emotionally with her reactions, and now you're rationalizing a judgement you've made.

Obviously I, like everyone else (worthwhile), try to create a rational framework for my points of view, and my "emotional" judgement signposts the areas I should spend effort considering, but thats not to say that I make a made a snap emotiojnal judgement then shoehorn a rational arguement around it to justify it. Understanding how she was hurt by those situations caused an emotional response that made me reconsider my position. Reconsidering my position made me realise the arguements I'd used to justify no-holds-barred comedy were fatally flawed. Theres nothing disingenuous about this.



You've now gone into admitting that other types of jokes are just as wrong as rape if you suspect someone is in the audience who would be hurt by them. So now your moral position against rape jokes in general has collapsed as long as people assume nobody in the audience is affected and we're playing a math game arguing the probability of someone with abusive parents or a terminal illness versus a rape victim. No thanks. I'm not going to start drawing an arbitrary line in the sand where the number of people upset becomes significant enough for me to give a damn about them, or deluding myself into thinking nobody in an audience should have abusive parents or (insert trauma here).
I dont think its right to say my position has collapsed just because I note that its a numbers game - I've also noted several times that rape is much more traumatic and open to "triggers" than almost any other kind of harm.

You already draw a line in the sand, whether you acknowledge it or not - you dont tell pregnant women to miscarry, you don't mock the kid with downs syndrome to his face. There is behaviour which you deem morally unacceptable - building a logical framework explaining WHY is obviously possible. Refusing to acknowledge the line in the sand is simply saying "I don't want to be consistent in my principles".



Also not going to touch again the whole "they're special victims because they get hurt more than other types of victims" assumption. Vulnerable people are vulnerable people.
[/quote]
I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I do pro-bono work with a range of victims of crime. Rape is qualitatively different in its effect on people. I'm not a psychologist, I'm not going to get into the debate of why (though I'm sure I could hazzard a few educated guesses), but I can see that the harm and the potential for long lasting trauma triggered by a variety of factors is very real.

Lallante
August 1 2012, 09:25:32 AM
As a gamer, and a person known to "push the envelope" of what society considers "acceptable", I find this topic an interesting read.

From a gaming perspective, a lot has been written recently about "rape", the use it gets from 12 year olds on XBox live etc, and how that impacts female (and male) gamers.

http://kotaku.com/5914348/three-words-i-said-to-the-man-i-defeated-in-gears-of-war-that-ill-never-say-again

The controversy this article provoked is similar to this thread.

Then there's the new Tomb Raider game, and it's E3 trailer. During it, there's a scene where (to me at least) it's hinted that Lara will be "assaulted" in a particular manner - but it's only hinted at, as a story telling method. During an interview, one of the devs mentioned it in passing, and the world ended. They retracted it, said "http://kotaku.com/5922228/tomb-raider-creators-say-rape-is-not-a-word-in-their-vocabulary" etc.

My problem with this in particular is gaming-specific - hinting at an attempted rape in order to convey desperation and evoke sympathy in any other medium - movie, tv etc - would be accepted as a legitimate part of story telling, yet in gaming it was the single worst thing that had ever happened.

No - a lot of the outrage is that they are presenting rape/sexual assault as character building - something that explains how much of a badass the character later becomes. This is beyond insulting to rape victims, not to mention incredibly cheap. They also note in that interview that the response of playtesters is to want to "protect" lara - this is the antithesis of the strong female character - she is being presented as the old sexist female stereotype of the defenceless victim. This isnt inherent in referencing sexual assault by any means, but is obviously the result here.




The entire topic of rape is a nuanced and contextually specific one IMHO.

My main issue is the binary nature of tragedy and humour - people seem to be convinced that something tragic, sad or unpleasant cannot at the same time be funny. It is THIS which I think is the problem - an inability to recognise that a rape joke may in fact be amusing, but that has NOTHING to do with rape itself being an abhorent act.

I find people starving in Africa tragic, but there are plenty of funny jokes about it. I find paedophilia to be one of the most shameful things the human race engages in, but there are some jokes that amuse me all the same. One does not preclude the other, nor does a joke HAVE to take away from the seriousness of the subject.

Would you tell a "funny" paedophilia joke in front of someone who know who was sexually abused as a child? If not, why not? Why doesn't that arguement apply more generally?




People seem to think that jokes make light of something - and of course they can, and that's not always appropriate.

It's that people seem to think I'm some kind of monster when I find the footage of a downsie getting stuck on an escalator hilarious. Just because someone falling over is funny, doesn't mean it didn't hurt and that I wouldn't help them.
It depends - if they fell over because of their disability how is this different from laughing at someone having a heartattack?


It may also help to bring some important statistics to the discussion, particularly a recent study which found that 9 out of 10 people find gang rape hilarious.
I've found that joke funny in the past. It doesn't mean I don't regret doing so. Finding a joke funny doesnt mean you cant also think its morally wrong to say it.


A lot of people have this "you should never have to moderate your own actions" viewpoint that is literally insane.

RazoR
August 1 2012, 09:42:17 AM
I find people starving in Africa tragic, but there are plenty of funny jokes about it. I find paedophilia to be one of the most shameful things the human race engages in, but there are some jokes that amuse me all the same. One does not preclude the other, nor does a joke HAVE to take away from the seriousness of the subject.If i may throw in a couple of said jokes...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0q4o58pKwA


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUfg_uuMbmA

inb4 ban

Nartek
August 1 2012, 09:54:05 AM
blah blah blah

You aren't engaging with my arguement at all. You don't seem to think there is any value in debating the moral worth of a course of action, and that is of course your prerogative, but 4000+ years of philosophy begs to differ.

You are correct. I am not engaging with your argument, because YOU ARE NOT MAKING ONE. You are making a broad statement of opinion, then discounting any discussion that goes off the rails due to the nebulous nature of your argument+spinoffs. You have placed so much shit in the path of an open discussion that this particular argument that you're making warrants no discussion other than "I don't agree with you." Because... dun dun dun... Providing any reason for why someone doesn't agree with you beyond the initial statement gets completely discounted, dismissed, or downplayed because it's "not on topic". With regards to 4000 years of philosophy and debate: They wouldn't have gotten too far the way you're trying to go about it. Better go see if you can return that laurel and toga.



You want people/society to restrict what they say in public. I do not agree with you.

You can't honestly mean this. People should restrict what they say in public in a million ways. Do you think I should go up to a pregnant woman and tell her I hope she miscarries? Of course not. Should I shout FIRE in a crowded cinema? Should I shout that I have a bomb when on a plane in flight? Should I persuade a crowd to riot, or incite terrorism? Should I explicitly describe foul sexual acts to a random 8 year old on a bus? Should I tell a random pensioner that they deserve to burn to death in their home?

ALL behaviour has moral restrictions. Your arguement is not just simplistic, its absurd.

Moral restrictions !=legal restrictions. Morality is by and large defined by the society in which a subject is introduced. So, if society seems to be ok with a comedian bringing up rape; your morality argument instantly fails in anything other than a "In my opinion". Since I considered you to be fairly intelligent and already see that, I construed what you stated to mean you want society to purposefully restrict a term in common usage. That's more or less means defining a set of rules, or law.

People stop them selves from saying stuff=personal choice.
People are not legally allowed to say stuff=No Choice.

Now, if you want to sway society to treat particular subjects as being more taboo, in a time when society is opening themselves up to those subjects, have fun on your quest, Frodo... (oh, and by the way, the same removal of social/moral restrictions for joking about something more than likely enables a populace to learn more about the subject, and thusly, enables more VICTIMS to have the courage to come forward.)

You brought up several instances where laws are in effect to stop people from stating specific things that imply harm to the individual(s). I.E. Bomb Threat/Shouting Fire, etc... You're either not very good at your job, or being intentionally obtuse...


The First Amendment holding in Schenck was later overturned by Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969, which limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot)

With regards to using the word "bomb", or other threatening subjects. The context in which it is utilized dictates the legal ramifications for doing so, much like every other item protected under the freedom of speech. You don't like rape jokes, but they are not contextually a rape threat. Pennsylvania Law has this one under terroristic threats:


(a) Offense defined.--A person commits the crime of terroristic threats if the person communicates, either directly or indirectly, a threat to:

(1) commit any crime of violence with intent to terrorize another;

(2) cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation; or

(3) otherwise cause serious public inconvenience, or cause terror or serious public inconvenience with reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.


(b) Restitution.--A person convicted of violating this section shall, in addition to any other sentence imposed or restitution ordered under 42 Pa.C.S. 9721(c) (relating to sentencing generally), be sentenced to pay restitution in an amount equal to the cost of the evacuation, including, but not limited to, fire and police response; emergency medical service or emergency preparedness response; and transportation of an individual from the building, place of assembly or facility.


(c) Preservation of private remedies.--No judgment or order of restitution shall debar a person, by appropriate action, to recover from the offender as otherwise provided by law, provided that any civil award shall be reduced by the amount paid under the criminal judgment.


(d) Grading.--An offense under subsection (a) constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree unless the threat causes the occupants of the building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation to be diverted from their normal or customary operations, in which case the offense constitutes a felony of the third degree.


(e) Definition.--As used in this section, the term "communicates" means, conveys in person or by written or electronic means, including telephone, electronic mail, Internet, facsimile, telex and similar transmissions.

TLDR: You're comparing apples to concrete. My statement still stands; I don't like the idea of supressing someones ability to express themselves within the context of your initial argument. (That being... Lallente don't like rape jokes, basically. Emphasis on the joke part.)

Lallante
August 1 2012, 10:13:57 AM
So even though I've said, by my count, in 5 different posts throughout this thread that I am in no way in favour of restricting someones right to tell rape jokes, you continue to insist that is what I'm argueing?

Your arguement here is "Morality is subjective to society, society accepts rape jokes, therefore rape jokes are moral". Words cannot express how inane this arguement is. That is a reactionaries charter! "The current status quo is X therefore X is moral and changing X is wrong".

This whole debate is about HOW PEOPLE SHOULD EXERCISE THEIR PERSONAL MORAL CHOICE. There is not a single person arguing about whether rape jokes should be illegal except you.

"Morality is subjective" is one of those lines people who know very little about morality and even less about subjectivity throw out as if its a showstopper in these debates. It doesn't mean what you think it means and it certainly doesnt preclude us from making collective moral judgements contrary to the status quo (the opposite, if anything)

Nartek
August 1 2012, 10:58:55 AM
This whole debate is about HOW PEOPLE SHOULD EXERCISE THEIR PERSONAL MORAL CHOICE. There is not a single person arguing about whether rape jokes should be illegal except you.

Good, glad you agree with me.


"Morality is subjective" is one of those lines people who know very little about morality and even less about subjectivity throw out as if its a showstopper in these debates. It doesn't mean what you think it means and it certainly doesnt preclude us from making collective moral judgements contrary to the status quo (the opposite, if anything)

You're twisting shit around. Morality in a descriptive sense is in sync with personal or cultural values. In a Normative sense, morality is prescriptive; I.E. the question of acting morally is pre-determined. Furthermore, Moral Realism syncs "Morality" with social norms, while Moral Anti-Realism attempts to sync "Morality" with the edicts of a more powerful being.

Morality in the sense that you are attempting to make it out to be; the un-forcing (no laws) non-deific-edict (not going to hell for it)... Descriptive Moral Realism is by and large based around the concept that morality...is...fucking...subjective.

Which means if society is accepting of something previously taboo; I.E. gays, foreigners, talking about sex, rape, etc... then that is the descriptive moral reality in which that society lives. So if you don't want to force a change of morality on society, all you can really do is bitch about it.

Lallante
August 1 2012, 11:18:51 AM
This whole debate is about HOW PEOPLE SHOULD EXERCISE THEIR PERSONAL MORAL CHOICE. There is not a single person arguing about whether rape jokes should be illegal except you.

Good, glad you agree with me.


"Morality is subjective" is one of those lines people who know very little about morality and even less about subjectivity throw out as if its a showstopper in these debates. It doesn't mean what you think it means and it certainly doesnt preclude us from making collective moral judgements contrary to the status quo (the opposite, if anything)

You're twisting shit around. Morality in a descriptive sense is in sync with personal or cultural values. In a Normative sense, morality is prescriptive; I.E. the question of acting morally is pre-determined. Furthermore, Moral Realism syncs "Morality" with social norms, while Moral Anti-Realism attempts to sync "Morality" with the edicts of a more powerful being.

Morality in the sense that you are attempting to make it out to be; the un-forcing (no laws) non-deific-edict (not going to hell for it)... Descriptive Moral Realism is by and large based around the concept that morality...is...fucking...subjective.

Which means if society is accepting of something previously taboo; I.E. gays, foreigners, talking about sex, rape, etc... then that is the descriptive moral reality in which that society lives. So if you don't want to force a change of morality on society, all you can really do is bitch about it.

This just gets cart before the horse. Social norms are just a reflection of median prevelant individual norms. You are equating this with "matching the social norm is moral" but you can't make a leap from social norms to moral norms like that. Something being a social norm says nothing about whether it is or should be a moral norm (case in point: adultary)

This thread attempts to help people ask the question - "should I tell rape jokes?". This isn't some weird internal question only you can decide for yourself, or one that you can argue by reference to what other people commonly do in society. Obviously the underlying assumptions needed to answer the question are individual, but working out what those assumptions are and whether your application of them logically follows is something everyone can legitimately comment on.

Morality ISNT merely descriptive. Social norms do not automatically create moral norms. You seem to be arguing that in a slave-owning society owning slaves is moral because it is a norm but to me that is nonsense - if people genuinely believed that we would never have stopped slavery.

My arguement therefore boils down to this:
If the vast majority of people in our society think hard about the underlying moral values they have, they will be forced to logically conclude that telling rape jokes publically is morally wrong. People who don't accept this are failing to properly logically follow through on their personal moral assumptions - they are suffering from cognitive dissonance.

This doesnt apply to everyone of course. There will always be sociopaths and weirdos who genuinely dont think there is any moral imperative to avoid harming others. There will also be those who believe that the moral benefits of telling a rape joke outweigh the potential for harm. Those latter case are the ones I want to debate with the most.

A lot of people seem to think "saying whatever you want" is somehow morally good (as opposed to completely neutral).

Zeekar
August 1 2012, 07:50:23 PM
This whole debate is about HOW PEOPLE SHOULD EXERCISE THEIR PERSONAL MORAL CHOICE. There is not a single person arguing about whether rape jokes should be illegal except you.

Good, glad you agree with me.


"Morality is subjective" is one of those lines people who know very little about morality and even less about subjectivity throw out as if its a showstopper in these debates. It doesn't mean what you think it means and it certainly doesnt preclude us from making collective moral judgements contrary to the status quo (the opposite, if anything)

You're twisting shit around. Morality in a descriptive sense is in sync with personal or cultural values. In a Normative sense, morality is prescriptive; I.E. the question of acting morally is pre-determined. Furthermore, Moral Realism syncs "Morality" with social norms, while Moral Anti-Realism attempts to sync "Morality" with the edicts of a more powerful being.

Morality in the sense that you are attempting to make it out to be; the un-forcing (no laws) non-deific-edict (not going to hell for it)... Descriptive Moral Realism is by and large based around the concept that morality...is...fucking...subjective.

Which means if society is accepting of something previously taboo; I.E. gays, foreigners, talking about sex, rape, etc... then that is the descriptive moral reality in which that society lives. So if you don't want to force a change of morality on society, all you can really do is bitch about it.

This just gets cart before the horse. Social norms are just a reflection of median prevelant individual norms. You are equating this with "matching the social norm is moral" but you can't make a leap from social norms to moral norms like that. Something being a social norm says nothing about whether it is or should be a moral norm (case in point: adultary)

This thread attempts to help people ask the question - "should I tell rape jokes?". This isn't some weird internal question only you can decide for yourself, or one that you can argue by reference to what other people commonly do in society. Obviously the underlying assumptions needed to answer the question are individual, but working out what those assumptions are and whether your application of them logically follows is something everyone can legitimately comment on.

Morality ISNT merely descriptive. Social norms do not automatically create moral norms. You seem to be arguing that in a slave-owning society owning slaves is moral because it is a norm but to me that is nonsense - if people genuinely believed that we would never have stopped slavery.

My arguement therefore boils down to this:
If the vast majority of people in our society think hard about the underlying moral values they have, they will be forced to logically conclude that telling rape jokes publically is morally wrong. People who don't accept this are failing to properly logically follow through on their personal moral assumptions - they are suffering from cognitive dissonance.

This doesnt apply to everyone of course. There will always be sociopaths and weirdos who genuinely dont think there is any moral imperative to avoid harming others. There will also be those who believe that the moral benefits of telling a rape joke outweigh the potential for harm. Those latter case are the ones I want to debate with the most.

A lot of people seem to think "saying whatever you want" is somehow morally good (as opposed to completely neutral).

You again think that all people share the same moral and that it can not change trough time. For mayor part of history it was moral for most of humanity to hold slaves but that changed over time FOR most part of the world but not all of it (examples can be found in Africa and corporate executives)

Frug
August 1 2012, 09:00:39 PM
Surely the crux of all moral judgements rest on such types of assumptions and tacit ethical calculus, at least those that one doesnt hold to be absolutes?
But you're making an absolute claim based on calculus. You're saying all rape jokes are wrong, and then basing this reasoning on some ad-hoc probabilities. I'm saying that this is unconvincing, I'm not subscribing to this, and actually that this attitude is "wrong" to me. If I think about it enough, it actually offends me.

I find your position that it's fine as long as it only hurts a few people, but at a certain point it begins to matter, repulsive because you're willfully ignoring the likelihood that your guesses about people are misguided. You're reducing an issue of morality to enumerating types of suffering and incident rates.

Sorry bro you lost your family to a murderer and then Adam Sandler made fun of it, you shoulda been raped because then I'd actually care. As it stands you're in a special category of "deal with it" victims, like collateral damage in war.


You may be arguing I get the "calculus" wrong, but I would love to hear your own application - where do you draw the line? why? what is the more generally applicable principle?
I have explicitly stated in my previous post that I don't draw this line. I find your arbitrary line in the sand unconvincing.

You're taking your position to make yourself feel better about your personal friend's situation while effectively telling me I should care less about other groups. Your position is hypocritical and self serving. It's offensive to other groups of people whose grievances you're dismissing because they lack numbers or your naive psychological stamp of approval.

What is the more generally applicable principle? It's the question of whether or not it's ok to tell jokes that might hurt others. Rape is only one example and it is not particularly special. Whenever you tell a joke about a sensitive issue, you risk emotionally hurting someone. How much it hurts them depends on their situation and mental state. Do I think it's morally okay? Yeah, I do, even if its really, really tasteless... provided the intent is to make fun and not to hurt.


Obviously I, like everyone else (worthwhile), try to create a rational framework for my points of view
When someone says you're "rationalizing" a position, it doesn't mean that you're creating a rational framework for your points of view. It means you're intentionally omitting details and focusing on affirming your predetermined position with rational arguments. Rationality and logic are completely worthless when they are used to affirm predetermined goals through selective attention.


and my "emotional" judgement signposts the areas I should spend effort considering, but thats not to say that I make a made a snap emotiojnal judgement then shoehorn a rational arguement around it to justify it. Understanding how she was hurt by those situations caused an emotional response that made me reconsider my position. Reconsidering my position made me realise the arguements I'd used to justify no-holds-barred comedy were fatally flawed. Theres nothing disingenuous about this.

The disingenuity appears when you block all other groups from your assessment because you haven't seen how they are hurt by these jokes. The group you like gets to be a special case, while the others of which you are peripherally aware of get ignored because to acknowledge them would mean more commitment on your part than you're willing to make. Thus you find alternative routes to discount them - in this case by claiming that their numbers are smaller and their suffering less significant.



I dont think its right to say my position has collapsed just because I note that its a numbers game - I've also noted several times that rape is much more traumatic and open to "triggers" than almost any other kind of harm. You have yet to back this up in any way. In addition, you've snuck in this "other kind of harm" to try and narrow it down. The question is whether other people have triggers that cause them equivalent distress. This means people who have terminal illnesses, lost a loved one to illness or murder, suffered from war, have experienced abusive parents, suffer from a disability, have relevant psychological problems etc. I've repeatedly mentioned these examples. So you're telling me they can't be hurt like this because they're not special the way rape victims are? Or are we back to the same old argument about probability again?


You already draw a line in the sand, whether you acknowledge it or not
You're misunderstanding my statement. I don't draw a line in the sand at how many people it's ok to hurt with a joke. If 1 person can take it, so can everyone else. I'm not going to ascribe more moral obligations on a comedian if 50 people recoil painfully at a joke that causes them distress than if only one does.


you dont tell pregnant women to miscarry, you don't mock the kid with downs syndrome to his face. There is behaviour which you deem morally unacceptable
This is ridiculous. You're grasping at straws. My position has never been that I lack morals, only that a certain color of victim doesn't get special treatment.



I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I do pro-bono work with a range of victims of crime. Rape is qualitatively different in its effect on people. I'm not a psychologist, I'm not going to get into the debate of why (though I'm sure I could hazzard a few educated guesses), but I can see that the harm and the potential for long lasting trauma triggered by a variety of factors is very real.I'm going to bring up family guy again. I like that show. Nothing is off limits on that show. South park is similar. You're going to tell me it's fine to poke fun at murder, labour camp tortures, genocide, and every form of human suffering there is but not rape because it's special. Because nobody who experienced those other things is ever going to see this show? I'm not convinced.

Lallante
August 2 2012, 01:13:54 AM
Frug I'll respond properly in the morning, but I want to say briefly that every time in that post you present "my" argument, you instead present a hollow straw man. I've never said all rape jokes are wrong, I've never said rape victims are the only victims who are affected by this line of reasoning or to whom the arguments apply (in fact I've acknowledged this from the Op onwards). I've never said "hurting X people is fine but X+1 people is not fine - in fact I've said knowingly hurting one person in any circumstances merely for the sake of a joke is never fine. The only place I've brought in numbers is to discuss when you should reasonably "know" you are hurting someone. I've also NEVER said its fine to make jokes about disabilities, the holocaust etc - all my arguments apply equally to anything that causes lasting mental trauma.

You've made all these straw men arguements up and then knocked them down. congrats.

I've explained that when I say rape is a "special case" I dont mean "different" - its not a special pleading, its a matter of degree (both of prevelance and of severity). It doesnt hurt my argument to be forced to extend its principles to all other offensive jokes - the way I've justified it makes that quite possible without undermining the central principles. Using rape to make the arguement prevents people counterarguing by "extension to absurdity" - I deliberately dont want to have to consider every other potentially harmful kind of joke or we will get bogged down in arguing the fringe cases.

Saying repeatedly "I dont draw the line" doesnt make it so. You dont have a choice but to draw the line whenever you apply moral judgement - all you are really saying is you refuse to mentally extrapolate the general principles from the way you exercise your moral judgement. Either you apply a set of principles consistently (two identical situations result in the same moral judgement) in which case there is a line being drawn even if you don't mentally acknowledge it, or you act arbitrarily in exercising moral judgement, inwhich case you aren't in a position to debate the morality of anything. If all you mean by "I dont draw the line" is "I dont see a moral distinction between hurting X people and hurting X+1 people" congratulations, you've defeated yet another straw man because we completely agree!

You know you are grasping at straws when you end your post with the fallacy of appeal to authority, and the best authority you can come up with is a cartoon.

Frug
August 2 2012, 04:37:30 PM
Really, lall? That's what you're going to say now?

You're going to pull your goalposts back from

3. I believe that rape is a special case (there may be others)
in a thread specifically about rape jokes, to

It doesnt hurt my argument to be forced to extend its principles to all other offensive jokes
and tell me I'm strawmanning you by forcing you to change one of your main points?

Then you're going to flail a bit by mischaracterizing (again) my statement that I do not draw arbitrary lines in what I consider to be acceptable humor by insisting (without example or explanation) that I must be drawing a line. I have said that I consider all humor acceptable when its intention is to evoke laughter. Yes yes, look look, you've drawn "a line" by saying it must have an intention! aha! Brilliant.

Rape jokes are not special. Humor frequently has the potential to genuinely upset/hurt vulnerable people in the audience. Assuming that nobody in an audience will be affected by any similar form of humor is absurd, especially with a TV show's huge numbers. Attempting to enumerate what jokes are bad and how many audience members might be affected is silly. Placing a moral burden on comedians not to accidentally hurt people with rough jokes is silly. You can find it distasteful if you like, but I'm not convinced by any moral weight you are applying here.

I'll probably not bother to reply again though. I think my points have been made, no sense repeating them. Especially not if you're going to start improperly wielding this "fallacy of appeal to authority" as a rebuttal. If nothing else, I'm curious where you see this fallacy occurring because that is actually something to debate. Otherwise, don't do that.

Lallante
August 2 2012, 06:25:26 PM
Really, lall? That's what you're going to say now?

You're going to pull your goalposts back from

3. I believe that rape is a special case (there may be others)
in a thread specifically about rape jokes, to

It doesnt hurt my argument to be forced to extend its principles to all other offensive jokes
and tell me I'm strawmanning you by forcing you to change one of your main points?

I haven't changed my point about rape - I can extend the arguement without doing so. As I've explained every time this has come up throughout the thread, when I say "rape is a special case (there may be others)" what I really mean is "rape is the most egregious of the special cases" - its the area most ripe for serious debate of this nature because it combines severe trauma (which is the "special case" that distinguishes the jokes my argument targets from those that are merely rude, offensive or mean) through no fault of the victim with a consistent tendency to be 'triggered' again after the event by certain reminders. Even in the bit you've quoted I clearly say (there may be others).


Then you're going to flail a bit by mischaracterizing (again) my statement that I do not draw arbitrary lines in what I consider to be acceptable humor by insisting (without example or explanation) that I must be drawing a line. I have said that I consider all humor acceptable when its intention is to evoke laughter. Yes yes, look look, you've drawn "a line" by saying it must have an intention! aha! Brilliant.
You haven't actually said all humour is acceptable in any previous post. This is the first time you've made that statement explicitly, though you alluded to it in your last post. Does this mean you think it is acceptable to go into a centre for sexually abused children and then crack jokes about sexual abuse of children provided your intention (however misguided) is to make people laugh? What about if there are a few people unconnected to the centre there, unaware of the context, and they DO find these jokes funny? If find it hard to believe you hold the view that this is morally fine, but please do confirm or deny.


Rape jokes are not special. Humor frequently has the potential to genuinely upset/hurt vulnerable people in the audience. Assuming that nobody in an audience will be affected by any similar form of humor is absurd, especially with a TV show's huge numbers. Attempting to enumerate what jokes are bad and how many audience members might be affected is silly. Placing a moral burden on comedians not to accidentally hurt people with rough jokes is silly. You can find it distasteful if you like, but I'm not convinced by any moral weight you are applying here.
Rape jokes aren't "special" in the sense that this argument only applies to them, they are "special" in the sense that this argument 'sticks' to them far more than any other kind of joke because of the level of trauma, the sheer number of victims and the potential for serious harm from triggers such as jokes.

I'm not "placing a moral burden on comediens not to hurt people" for the sake of laughs - I believe EVERYONE has that burden. I dont think anyone should deliberately do something merely for the sake of amusement that they know will severely hurt people.

You aren't convinced, I get it, you've said so. Its an arguement from personal incredulity. You haven't at any point tried to explain WHY a comedien is morally justified in telling jokes he knows will (almost certainly) cause trauma to someone in the room? Obviously the trigger of that trauma is morally bad - what is outweighing this exactly?



I'll probably not bother to reply again though. I think my points have been made, no sense repeating them. Especially not if you're going to start improperly wielding this "fallacy of appeal to authority" as a rebuttal. If nothing else, I'm curious where you see this fallacy occurring because that is actually something to debate. Otherwise, don't do that.

Given that your "points" consist of telling me my arguements are "unconvincing, absurd, ludicrous, silly" (all words you've used in one post!) without stating any counter arguements for your own position, I think this is probably for the best.