“’Rape jokes aren’t funny!’ Bullshit. It’s all about context. If you think rape can’t be funny, imagine
Elmer Fudd raping Porky Pig.”

George Carlin

Don’t believe in forced entry, don’t believe in rape/

But every time she passes by, wild thoughts escape


Are rape jokes funny?
The debate comes and goes, usually on absolute terms, most often the
answer being no, they’re never funny, it’s never okay to joke about the
subject. My own answer would be,
sometimes. If we all agreed to never
make jokes about such a serious and painful subject, then the following sketch
from Inside Amy Schumer would’ve never been released. Watch it now, it’s worth three minutes of
your time. I’ll wait. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXGJGuH59qw

It’s funny, it’s smart, above all it’s important. Comedy has always been an effective way to
deal with things people would rather not think about. A spoonful of sugar and all that.

At the moment there’s a scandal in Sweden: sexual assaults were
reported at a concert festival and the police and mainstream media chose not to
release the alleged race of the alleged attackers, causing many people- many of
them far-right and racist- to lose their minds.
I noticed a post on Facebook yesterday with a link to a far-right media
outlet condemning this decision, with the ensuing comment thread including, “Political
correctness has gone too far, we deserve to know where those people come
from! I worry about my 9-year-old
daughter, she’s now a target!”

I have an 11-year-old daughter and I also worry about
her. I worry about the political climate
becoming increasingly polarized, I worry about Sweden and the rest of Europe
slipping further and further to the right, I worry about it being hip to be
openly racist. Most of all, I worry
about men. Not dark men, all men. If we threw out everyone but ethnic Swedes
(oh, that would include me, not that most people would think about tossing out
a white American) sexual assaults would still happen. I wonder if the guy mentioned earlier posted
anything with as much fervor a few years ago when a dozen rapes were reported,
ironically enough, at Sweden’s Peace and Love Festival. Those rapists were good ol’ real Swedish
boys, so probably not. Rapes were also
reported at the revamped Woodstock concerts years ago as well. Peace and love, indeed.

I remember a concert where a woman was crowdsurfing, a guy
reached up and squeezed her tit, she punched him square in the face. I laughed then, but if I could go there again
I’d also punch him in the face. Violence
may not solve anything but he had it coming.

We’re so deep in rape culture we don’t always recognize just
how bad it is. About twenty years ago, I
was hanging out with some guys in a bar after work, one of them was in a
casual, sexual relationship with one of our female co-workers. He told us about a party the weekend before,
she got so drunk she passed out, so he had anal sex with her. “Basically, I raped her,” he said with a
laugh, and we all laughed with him. I
don’t know anything else about that story, it might have been bullshit, she may
have woken up during and gone along with it, she might’ve woken up the next day
wondering why she was sore.

The worst part isn’t that I laughed along with everyone
else. The worst part isn’t that I didn’t
have the moral strength and courage to angrily reply, “Yes, you actually raped
her.” The worst part is that I didn’t even think of it as rape, not
for a long, long time. After all, they
were in a sexual relationship, maybe they’d had anal before. In any case, there didn’t seem to be any
consequences to his actions.

Have I grown in the two decades since? Yes and no.
Certainly I am much more aware of the ugliness in the world around
me. But I’m not a saint. I sometimes laugh at rape jokes that aren’t
smart, aren’t important, are just vicious and cruel. I’ve told rape jokes that are just as bad,
even one on stage that was just hideous.
I’m part of a chat thread on FB with two other guys that I hope never
goes public (my wife got a glimpse of it once and was rightfully furious about
it), a thread full of bile and hate, but in a funny way, where we try to outdo
each other at making jokes uglier and uglier and often succeeding. It’s been argued that even those private
conversations help perpetuate rape culture and I see the truth in that, yet at
forty years of age I’m not mature enough to not laugh at awful jokes. I hope that the good I do counteracts the bad and I end up on the plus side with karma.

Freud said that three things define us: Id, which is what
makes you an animal and not a plant; Ego, which is what makes you human and not
a cat; and Superego, which is what makes you you and not anyone else. We get a lot of impulses from the Id, base
animal desires, our fight-or-flight response, our natural instincts, many of
which we as humans have decided are evil and need to be suppressed. Rape certainly comes from there. That impulse to just take what you want, to
have power over someone else, it’s part of everyone, but you don’t have to
watch many shows on Animal Planet to understand that it’s an overwhelmingly
male phenomenon. Yeah, yeah, men get
raped, too. But we don’t live in fear.

It doesn’t mean that everything from the Id is inherently evil. Some of my strongest material has sprung from
the darkest corners of my mind. I just
run it through a dozen filters before it’s acceptable to say in society.