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rape jokes, rape "culture", and Oatmeal pt. 2. revised with less bias and cynical remarks

Last posted Dec 20, 2012 at 01:17AM EST. Added Dec 19, 2012 at 04:25PM EST
29 posts from 16 users

so some people didn’t like the rape joke Inman made

and inman continued to egg people on with this response:

there’s already several blogs and articles where people state their complete disdain for inman’s joke and especially his defensive attitude

“tells readers that rape is not a powerful word, but instead is a term you can use to describe any kind of forceful action. It tells readers that rape is normal, and even worse it tells rapists that rape is normal”

now I personally find the statement above to be quite presumptuous, HOW does she know that readers are thinking this way?
What makes her think that a rapist will read the comic and possibly go “oh….HA! I feel so much better about the sex crimes I’ve commited!”

What do you guys think about rape jokes that NOT distasteful like inman’s? I mean, would it actually normalize and trivialize rape?

Dec 19, 2012 at 04:25PM EST
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Trivialize, yes. You’re making fun of people’s something. It’s the same thing racist jokes and genocide jokes are. You don’t have to get furious over it, but that’s what it is.

Thanks for changing this from a rant about how much you were rump-enraged into an actual discussion.

EDIT: Pity it couldn’t be revised with correct capitalization in the title but what can you do.

Last edited Dec 19, 2012 at 04:39PM EST
Dec 19, 2012 at 04:34PM EST

I feel like people only complain about rape jokes because it’s relatable.

Nobody has ever told me that I shouldn’t make Holocaust jokes. Because Hitler isn’t a real threat anymore.

Rape, however, is very real. Should we get oversensitive about it though? I don’t think so.

There’s a chance that you could be murdered sometime in your life, or die a horrible death. But you know what? You can’t let fears like that haunt you. You can’t block yourself from the world just because your life could be cut short. Shit happens.

Same should go with humor. You can’t block a joke because you don’t think it’s funny. There are kids who absolutely hate swearing who won’t appreciate that you made a joke with a swear in it. Does that mean it’s in bad taste?

tl;dr: Moderate your own moderation.

Dec 19, 2012 at 04:41PM EST
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@ MDF
> Trivialize, yes. You’re making fun of people’s something
it’s only trivialized for the duration of time from:
when you first start reading the joke
to
after you’re done laughing at the joke, assuming you laughed at the joke

it’s not gonna stick in your head like “sweet! I can take the seriousness of rape less seriously for the rest of my life now, and even less if I am to read more rape jokes in the future!” …but then I can’t say how other people think

>Thanks for changing this from a rant about how much you were rump-enraged into an actual discussion

you’re welcome, sometimes I can’t help but get worked up and state the extreme opposing views and opinions from I do not agree on, e.g. those backlash articles

EDIT: (sees downvote)

okay, I can see why my previous thread was downvoted, but…this? you’re just an asshole now…whoever you are

Last edited Dec 19, 2012 at 04:58PM EST
Dec 19, 2012 at 04:50PM EST
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Hmm. I don’t read The Oatmeal as often as I read some other webcomics, but here are my thoughts:

Needless to say, rape is serious business, and on most occasions, I don’t approve of jokes about it, considering how many people have been affected by rape. The word is also used now and again casually in conversation (e.g. “I totally got raped on that exam!”), which I admittedly usually let slide.

Can rape jokes be funny? Well, the way I see it, most of the time it is more toying with what is considered to be taboo in our society more so than it is meant to downplay the seriousness of rape as an issue. When looking at a rape joke, I’ve always suggested that the context also be looked at. If it focuses more on the rape than it does on the diffusion and combination of horror and humor in theme, then I will most likely have a problem with it. If not, then I’ll leave it to you to judge whether or not it can be considered humorous.

Rape is very real, and it affects a lot of people. An allusion can be (and usually is) in bad taste. In this case, I think Inman had no spiteful or malicious intent with his cartoon: I think he just wanted to make a comparison that seems to have been as innocent as his jokes appear to be capable of getting. It just so happens that he chose “rape” as the word he wanted to use.

Which isn’t necessarily a good or witty thing. I totally understand people who have zero tolerance for rape jokes. Opinionated though I may be, I still think I have to look the other way sometimes, so as not to ruin the joke for myself. It’s quite selfish, and I have no excuse for it, but it’s true. It’s a flaw that I have.

I guess what I’m getting at is that, in the case of rape jokes, humor is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, I didn’t quite find the comic to be particularly funny, but I don’t think it was created with malevolence. To each his own.

Dec 19, 2012 at 04:56PM EST
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The irony with complaining about the complaints (Dawg) is that our reasons are actually just dickish when you think about it.

  • They tell that rape jokes are bad, shouldn’t be made, and it hurts rape victims. While essentially true, the way they bring the message is kinda overkill. The Oatmeal was just unlucky, they needed a scapegoat and Inman just happens to run a popular blog.
  • We tell them to shut up, allow rape jokes, and rape victims should just deal with it. You can look at it any way you want, and I certainly don’t see the issue if the contents are humorous (most of the time), but it’s just a dickish reason.
    • Comparisons to his previous jokes about other controversial topics like racism and genocide being allowed, while this joke isn’t even though pretty mild, that’s just a bad comparison. Here you’re basically saying all controversional topics should just be dealt with, and jokes should be perfectly allowed.

Rape and other controversional subjects are very real, and not something you should take lightly all the time. You don’t walk up to a very recent rape victim and joke about their sex life, that’s just a dickish thing to do.

But should we ban humor because of it? Of course not. We just have to respect that not everyone appreciates jokes about controversional topics as much as others, and that they are perfectly allowed to dislike it just as we are to find it funny. Plus sometimes people will simply misunderstand what you said and don’t see it as a joke.

Last edited Dec 19, 2012 at 05:20PM EST
Dec 19, 2012 at 05:09PM EST
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Patrick Bateman (DrAmazing) wrote:

If you get offended by a rape joke, so what? I’m pretty sure offending someone isn’t illegal in any country.

oh yeah?

http://www.businessinsider.com/no-balls-insult-made-illegal-by-italian-judge-2012-8

lol

Dec 19, 2012 at 05:23PM EST
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Doctor Amazing wrote:

If you get offended by a rape joke, so what? I’m pretty sure offending someone isn’t illegal in any country.

Fair enough; it is not illegal to offend somebody, nor is it inequitable to feel no penitence for doing so. However, it is still considered to be in poor form to act with a lack of courtesy; my judgment comes down to that abhorrent actions are abhorrent because they are distasteful (especially in the case of attempt to incite enjoyment, which can be ironic). I question the acumen in dismissive outlooks the likes of simply saying “So what?” and shrugging it off if someone is offended by an action. Please keep in mind that those who experience stress under any taboo circumstance would not appreciate that comment.

Last edited Dec 19, 2012 at 05:42PM EST
Dec 19, 2012 at 05:32PM EST
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I believe that Inman was in the clear to make such a joke, and people really need to calm down. If a joke is funny, it’s funny; regardless of its contents. I laugh at all sorts of jokes – from puns, to racist, to sexist – and I don’t care if they offend people, and they shouldn’t, really.

For this precise situation, people need to get off their high horse and stop pretending that it is offensive. It’s not. At all. Except to our refresh keys.

On another note, I heard that 9/10 people enjoy gang rape. Who knew?!

Dec 19, 2012 at 06:23PM EST
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I get that rape is a very sensitive subject for a lot of people, but I still don’t completely get it. As Joe said, rape is a very real danger but so is murder, theft, kidnapping, and a whole mess of other horrible things that could happen to literally everyone. I have never read Inman’s comics, and I did not find the one panel shown in this thread funny. I can see where it can be found offensive, but I don’t think you should be cyber-bullying a person for making a joke you found offensive and forcing them to take it off of their website. It sounds like this guy’s schtick is making jokes about offensive and touchy subjects. If you regularly read his comic and enjoy it then I don’t think you have any right to start whining when he finally comes to a subject that you find offensive. That’s just the way I see it. You should never expect the internet to accommodate your needs. As far as I am concerned, the people who got that last panel removed are selfish and can not handle the fact that sometimes you are going to run into things that offend you and you should just let it slide. The same goes for any sort of censorship that happens both online and off. You think this rape joke encourages rapists and makes fun of rape victims? The same argument was made by people who are against violence, sex, and drug use being in media and I bet you think those people are crazy. You can get offended, but you should never censor someone else.

Dec 19, 2012 at 06:28PM EST
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>On another note, I heard that 9/10 people enjoy gang rape. Who knew?!

- excellent joke due to unexpected joke implication
- only person who would be offended would be a rape victim, and her friends/family

what a normal person thinks: “haha man that is sooo wrong, so wrong that it’s funny”

what offended people think that the normal person thinks: “haha I take rape less seriously from now on”

Dec 19, 2012 at 06:34PM EST
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As Joe said, rape is a very real danger but so is murder, theft, kidnapping, and a whole mess of other horrible things that could happen to literally everyone.

It’s not about the danger. It’s about the invasion of intimacy and destruction of sexual boundaries and the sense of power over what happens to one’s body. That is much more of a damaging experience than losing a wallet or a tv when being robbed.

Not to mention the rate of murder, which wikipedia tells me to be an average of 4.6 people per 100,000 in the US or 12,996 people , is vastly smaller than the amount of reported rapes, which was reported to be 27.3 people per 100,000. That is discounting sexual assault, which makes up for over 100k more reports alone and more than doubles the rate per 100,000.

Rape and sexual assault is vastly more common than murder, and vastly more damaging, physically and mentally, than theft.

Dec 19, 2012 at 06:39PM EST
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@Chris:
Keep in mind that those numbers are probably smaller in reality, due to rapes being claimed falsely. I’m sure the ratio is still deeply in favour of there being more rapes than murders, but it should be taken into account that while all murders can be confirmed, not all rapes can. (Apologies if wikipedia used information that was based on proven cases of rape and stuff)

Also, I would probably be more traumatized by someone attempting to murder me, than by someone who attempts or succeeds in raping me. I hope I never have to find out for sure though.

Dec 19, 2012 at 06:46PM EST
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@Chris: I’m not here to argue about how serious or not serious rape is considered. This is not a contest of which crime is the most serious, because they are all serious and some would consider having a family member murdered or being kidnapped much more damaging either physically or mentally than rape. My point is that if you get offended that’s fine but you should not take your hurt and insecurities out on other people. They do not see things the same way as you do, and you should not force you opinions on them. Somebody making a rape joke is not illegal, and it is not harassment unless a specific person is involved in the joke (like in Daniel Tosh’s stand up). There are plenty of people on the internet who do not involve rape jokes – or any other offensive jokes – in their comics and you can feel free to enjoy those instead.

Dec 19, 2012 at 06:55PM EST
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Kim Jong Is Swaggin wrote:

@ MDF
> Trivialize, yes. You’re making fun of people’s something
it’s only trivialized for the duration of time from:
when you first start reading the joke
to
after you’re done laughing at the joke, assuming you laughed at the joke

it’s not gonna stick in your head like “sweet! I can take the seriousness of rape less seriously for the rest of my life now, and even less if I am to read more rape jokes in the future!” …but then I can’t say how other people think

>Thanks for changing this from a rant about how much you were rump-enraged into an actual discussion

you’re welcome, sometimes I can’t help but get worked up and state the extreme opposing views and opinions from I do not agree on, e.g. those backlash articles

EDIT: (sees downvote)

okay, I can see why my previous thread was downvoted, but…this? you’re just an asshole now…whoever you are

I’m not saying that they are completely justified in being hugely offended. I’m just pointing out that it can be interpreted that way, especially be people obsessed with being persecuted.
I don’t get why he can say “I’m going to sadistically murder”, which is kind of worse but saying “I’m going to rape” gets people mad. Just saying.

Dec 19, 2012 at 09:19PM EST
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Oh, yes. I do enjoy a good rape joke, or two. Me and my friends crack those jokes all the time.

Dec 19, 2012 at 10:11PM EST
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I am certainly politically correct, so you might guess where I lie on this. I think that if you’re having to resort to shock and gross humor to get chuckles, then you’re probably lacking in sympathy anyway. In reading who’s saying what, that generally follows.

Practically, no. It is not illegal. However, that is a very weak argument for anyone to make, so please stop using it. Is cheating on your significant other illegal? Is lying on your best friend illegal? These are different situations, but that is not the argument you’re presenting. Legality does not equal right or wrong.

Now, is telling a joke that’s offensive to many people/a very sensitive topic wrong? I don’t think it has to be. And I think there are ways of incorporating rape into a joke that doesn’t minimize how serious it is for people.

But that also doesn’t mean that it’s right to use rape in a humorous context as you see fit. Going up to a person that you don’t know and cracking a rape joke is plain rude. If you know the person and they appreciate that sort of humor, then go ahead. But if you think you’re justified by telling that joke to anyone because it doesn’t get you in trouble, then I can say psychologically that your ethical code is as basic as the Christian who believes in God only to keep from going to hell. Saying something is OK because you don’t get in trouble is the same level of morality as a child That’s the sort of thinking that makes people think that looking at CP is OK. “I’m not hurting anyone. I’m not getting caught. I’m not getting in trouble. It’s alright!”

In this case, on a site that you don’t have to visit, then no one should force this person to take down their comic unless they have a contract with them that permits them to (i.e., tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc). You can argue about the effects it may or may not have on reducing the seriousness of perceived frequency of rape (which I argue might occur listening to Penz0id’s response), but you don’t have the right to make someone change their comic.
 
Penz0id, being in a social work school, I’ll say that the amount of rapes that occur and aren’t punished outweigh those where a person claims rape that didn’t occur. This does not include cases of rape that aren’t reported due to stigmatization (because of people who say that the victim wanted to be raped by wearing scanty clothes, was very drunk, or what have you) or because many women (just in like other cases of PTSD won’t be able to make sense of a situation until days or weeks after the rape. By that time, the statute of limitations could have already passed.) Again, I’ll bet money that the number of cases that send the perpetrator to jail unfairly are far outnumbered by the number of cases of those where a rape occurred but couldn’t be tried or where the perpetrator wasn’t found guilty.

Dec 19, 2012 at 10:43PM EST
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This kind of shit gets me pretty mad. Everything is offensive nowadays I guess. I don’t even want to type anymore because I might just rant.

Dec 19, 2012 at 10:58PM EST
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@Verbose, I will give you that the “it’s not illegal” argument is paper thin. I will also agree that you can’t just walk up to anyone and tell a rape joke and get mad when they want you to stop.

In the end, the whole argument about “Are rape jokes ok?” really depends on who the audience is, how the joke was told, in what context, and a whole lot of other things. As far as audience goes, the audience Inman was targeting was obviously one that found offensive jokes funny and to have some of them turn on him because of one small panel is overreacting in my opinion.

Dec 19, 2012 at 11:12PM EST
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@Verbose
Obviously you know more about the topic than I do, thanks for correcting me on that one. I’m probably just exaggerating the number of false rape claims in my mind, because I’m on the internet. We always hear about the girl who lied, not the rapist who got away.

ITT: We discuss rape culture and stuff.

From what I’ve seen online, and on a poster in the hallway of my highschool, I do believe the “Slut Walk” to be a terrible premise. From my point of view, if a man and woman are both drunk (or not), and they have consensual sex, there wasn’t any rape. If a woman regrets her decision later it’s not cool to call rape. I think people who do this are not only demonstrating a poor influence upon younger women, but teaching them that they can get what they want by pretending to be a victim. This can have negative consequences on actual rape victims, be desensitizing people to real rape. [/rant] (Note that this is not intended to cause offense to Slut Walkers who were actually raped, just the pretenders) (Also there should be more activism for anti male-rape. Equality!)

EDIT:
@Crimson
Spoken like a truly agreeable user. (I mean I agree with your points, and agree with what you agreed with Verbose.)

Last edited Dec 19, 2012 at 11:19PM EST
Dec 19, 2012 at 11:17PM EST
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Rape is a serious issue. Jokes are not a serious issue. So why are we focusing on jokes?

Dec 19, 2012 at 11:32PM EST
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Taryn wrote:

Rape is a serious issue. Jokes are not a serious issue. So why are we focusing on jokes?

I like you, peasant.

I think the issue here is people being offended far too easily. Though rape is indeed a serious issue, there isn’t much we can do. Remember, men do not rape, rapists rape. So unless we develop a way to identify rapists, there’s almost no way to prevent it. I’m all for free self defense lessons, maybe that’ll work. Anyway, the reason people are focusing on the content of the joke is because they literally can’t do anything else.

Dec 19, 2012 at 11:43PM EST
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There are places to be politically correct and there are places when you shouldn’t be. I think an easily forgettable and non-influential web comic is one of those places where political correctness can afford to be more lenient. This is not out in public in front of people where rape jokes really would be rude and inappropriate. This is just the internet where rape jokes are the norm and used daily by the culture there

And frankly, I think Adult humor has plenty of licence to be use potentially offensive terms. Because it’s funny when people are offensive. Unexpected audacity generates laughter. But if it doesn’t, you don’t have to take it seriously because it’s just entertainment. Either you find it funny or you move on. Humorists understand this and make use of it regularly, especially in stand-ups

Humorists also know that they can’t be fearful at all times and in all places that anything we say and joke about is going to potentially upset somebody or else we wouldn’t have any comedy whatsoever. So comedians are gonna comedy. The question comes down to how serious you will take the material and how much you will let it affect you.

I appreciate that Inman did the right thing by taking down his comic. He responded to the people who took offense to him and respected their wishes as he should have. But I don’t agree with those people who took offense in this particular case

Why? Because the case is hardly malicious. Have you noticed how popular ‘rape’ is as a term for “usage of X in a heavy manner” or “or strong aggressive force of X”? You see it in the video game culture quite often where anytime a player adeptly obliterates his competition it is described as rape. Are these same people who complained to Inman going to censor every online video game in existence for this?

I sympathize with rape victims and the horror they go through, but I would rather see them overcome their troubled past. Not continue to be haunted by it and every single utterance of it which they will continue to hear again and again. Overcoming means hearing the word ‘rape’ used in a joke and hearing only a joke. Demanding silence on every mention of the word means continuing to be haunted by it and forcing everyone else around you to pay the price as well

And that’s assuming that those who complained were actual rape victims.

If they were just white knighters trying to rescue unaccounted-for victims from potential offense then that rustles my jimmies.

Dec 20, 2012 at 12:01AM EST
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Trivialize, yes. You’re making fun of people’s something. It’s the same thing racist jokes and genocide jokes are. You don’t have to get furious over it, but that’s what it is.



To be honest, I think that racist jokes have the opposite effect. I – being a Jew – have the semi-exclusive right to cracking Jew jokes, and they’re funny because I recognize that they’re empty stereotypes. I don’t have a big nose, and I’m barely a cheap penny pinching sonofabitch. (Growing up poor’ll do that to you.) It seems me to be less of a validation of these stereotypes than an acknowledgement of their ridiculousness.

Last edited Dec 20, 2012 at 12:22AM EST
Dec 20, 2012 at 12:22AM EST
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I really don’t understand why people have to throw a hissy fit over the use of the word rape. People seriously take this shit way too far. Oh no, someone used a metaphor for pressing a key a bunch of times. Suddenly, forceful sex is a trivial matter and everyone is suddenly going to do it. At this very moment, rape victims are crying their eyes out because someone used their traumatizing experience in a different meaning. The guy who used the word is spreading RAPE CULTURE and suddenly, everyone will think that rape and being raped is no big deal.

On a related note, though, I never really found rape jokes that funny because they’re a cheap cop-out for humor in my experience. Throwing the word RAPE RAPE RAPE around isn’t funny because, y’know, it never is for any other word. Just look at PewDiePie. You can joke about rape and make it funny, but you actually have to do something funny instead of using “strong” language as a punchline. Faggots like those have raped the word beyond recognition.

Dec 20, 2012 at 01:05AM EST
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Oh, I’d also like to point out: If rape jokes are off limits, then shouldn’t any joke involving negative human experience be off limits? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Dec 20, 2012 at 01:17AM EST
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Skeletor-sm

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