Grease Monkey

I’ve been a bit of a virtual grease monkey recently, uploading some rather snazzy, new photographs of the Affe mit Schädel (Ape with Skull, aka Darwin Monkey) and tinkering with the website’s nuts and bolts. These statues are made by a world-renowned foundry in Edinburgh, and are of such high quality, I struggle to distinguish them from the original late-19th and early-20th century statues. More photos and other Darwin-related statues can be found at
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Ha muerto Paco de Lucía

6978820_origSome days I find I’m too sad to even breath. Today is such a day. Paco de Lucia is dead and although in impossibly beautiful circumstance, playing with his grandchildren on a sun-kissed beach, this had to be too soon. Why had his music touched me so deeply? Perhaps my own Spanish roots and a father called Paco, and my genuine love of Flamenco, perhaps his revolutionary approach to the music and my rebellious side. Perhaps the stories of his admirable, self-determined, daily practice in spite of the calls from his friends to come join the ball game. No doubt also his long-term association with another all-time favourite guitarist of mine, John McLaughlin. Their acoustic duos and trios were as fiery and electric as the hardest rock. “Passion, Grace, Fire”, indeed. I had envisioned future collaborations far into their dotage as well as solo albums drawing upon their decades of learning and experience. These guys seem superhuman once beyond the apparently, life-threatening, younger years in the music industry. We have been robbed this future, and our world is a less musical place for losing Paco.
A quien Dios ama, le llama.


Accompanying Camarón de la Isla

His collaborations with John McLaughlin

Continued touring

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Ghosts and Guardian Angels

I’ve just posted a new blog piece in my Unbound shed. To access it all you have to do is pledge on The Dissent of Man, which can be as little as £10, although the rewards for pledging more are worth checking out.
The shed post is here: Ghosts and Guardian Angels
The book home page is here: The Dissent of Man


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When Morty met Vera

I’ve been researching and writing about American, avant-garde composer Morton Feldman for the last couple of years: this is an excerpt of a recent piece from December 2013.


Morton “Morty” Feldman was born in New York on 12 January 1926 to Irving and Francis Feldman, who had emigrated to America from Kiev via Warsaw when young. Morty’s father, grandfather and uncles all worked in clothing companies in Manhattan.
His mother encouraged an early interest in music, “”My earliest recollection of music – I couldn’t have been more than five – is my mother holding one of my fingers and picking out “Eli Eli” with it on the piano” (Feldman 1962). Early music lessons were at the Third Street Settlement School on the Lower East Side, and by age 9, Morty had started composing.
Following a run of substandard piano tutors, in 1938, Morty counted himself lucky to be taken on by Madame Vera Maurina-Press, exiled Russian aristocracy and daughter of a wealthy attorney, turned piano tutor-performer, at the Chatham Square Music School on the Lower East Side.
No disciplinarian, she nurtured in Morty a sense of “vibrant musicality rather than musicianship” (Feldman 1962). Exploiting her libertarianism, he neglected her itinerary, but instead further dabbled in composition. As would be seen later in life, it was not coercion but encouragement that would best suit his temperament.
Equally important, Maurina-Press brought with her a connection with an exotic past. Having grown up with Alexander Scriabin, and studied with Ferruccio Busoni in his Vienna master class (Stuckenschmidt 1970), Morty was set Scriabin pieces and Busoni transcriptions of Bach to play.
At the same time Morty attended the High School of Music and Art on the Upper West Side, and played double bass, alongside Seymour Shifrin on bassoon and violinist Allen Blank, in the “Composers Workshop”, founded and conducted by Meyer Kupferman (Kozinn 2003) who saw himself as employing “aesthetic leadership” to cultivate a creative community, “Painters, sculptors, writers, choreographers and philosophers attended our sessions. We continued our artistic probes later on at New York’s Automat, usually to 3 in the morning. Looking back at this now, I believe a curious musical energy emerged from these bohemian gatherings that generated an unusual set of fresh identities like a spark we would be destined to carry for the rest of our lives” (Bowles 2001).
Morty wallowed in the highbrow company, immersing himself in music and obsessive reading, often half-a-dozen books simultaneously, to which he attributed his atrocious eyesight in later life. It is through this network where Morty met cellist Daniel Stern, who would go on to immortalise him as Henry Crown, “”Henry Crown filled the doorway, eyebrows like bushes, face like a moon. … He stood marshaling all his fat grace, feet spread delicately apart, his pudgy forefinger pressing 20/200 eyeglasses nearer to his nose for a better look at me. … Crown shook his massive head. Hair flopped over myopic eyes. … smoke swirling around him” (Stern 1971).
Unlike his mother and maternal grandmother, Morty’s father was not supportive of his intellectuality, likely exacerbating a domestic rift. Even though money was tight, it was somehow made possible for the 14-year old Morty to replace their old piano with a Steinway, which he had hand-selected without help, for its “absolutely singular tone”.
Even so, practise ultimately bored him, so he chose instead to turn his hand to writing “little Scriabin-esque pieces” which eventually led him, to a few years of composition lessons with Wallingford Riegger, a pioneering exponent of Schoenberg’s 12-tone serialism, but an “equally lax” authoritarian (Feldman 1985).
By 1944 Morty felt he wasn’t progressing sufficiently, so gave up his other lessons in the hope of better direction under Webern’s ex-student, Stefan Wolpe. Frustratingly, these sessions mostly degenerated into heated arguments.
Wolpe did however introduce Morty to Edgar Varèse, who offered to informally comment on his work each week, and again, supplied encouragement, “You know, Feldman, you will survive. I am not worried about you”. In Varèse, Morty recognised the life he wanted, that of a professional composer. If they had never met, “I would probably not have become a composer”. At this point in his life, Varèse symbolised all his romantic boyhood aspirations, seeded by his formative years, “The greatest influence in my life, the most decisive turning, this was Varèse. He fascinated me. And then, he had this extraordinary availability (that so many artists don’t have). He came to my concerts, I saw him and spoke with him. He was marvellous. He remained available right up until his death” (Cadieu 1969).
By the end of his schooling and the inevitable enrolment into the family business, Morty could at least boast a reasonable grounding in music, and significantly, a sense of belonging to a lineage of composers that he revered, “With Mme. Press at twelve, I was in touch with Scriabin, and thus with Chopin. With Busoni, and thus with Liszt. With Varèse, and thus with Debussy, and Ives and Cowell, and Schoenberg. … They are not dead. They are with me. … I have the feeling that I cannot betray this continuity, this thing I carry with me. The burden of history” (Feldman 1973).


Bowles, J. (2001) Electronic Dialogues/10: Meyer Kupferman. Available
Cadieu, M. (1969) “Morton Feldman – Waiting” in A l’écoute des compositeurs. Paris: Minerve, 1992. pp. 202-205.
Feldman, M. (1962) “Liner Notes”, in Give My Regard to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman. B. H. Friedman (ed.), Cambridge MA, Exact Change, 2000, pp. 3-7.
Feldman, M. (1973) “I Met Heine on the Rue Fürstemberg”, in Give My Regard to Eighth Street: Collected Writings of Morton Feldman. B. H. Friedman (ed.), Cambridge MA, Exact Change, 2000, pp. 112-21.
Feldman, M. (1985) “Autobiography” in Morton Feldman Essays. Zimmermann, W. (ed.). Beginner, Kerpen. p. 36.
Kozinn, A. (2003) Meyer Kupferman, Composer In Many Forms, Is Dead at 77. New York Times, Dec. 03.
Stern, D. (1971) The Rose Rabbi. McGraw-Hill, NY.
Stuckenschmidt, H.H. (1970) Ferruccio Busoni: chronicle of a European. Calder & Boyars. p. 188.


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New Year 2014

A new year’s resolution of mine is to be more industrious on this blog. The lack of posts has been partly due to work commitments, illness, getting attacked (see previous post), and a general dearth of alternatively interesting subjects on which to write. However, a couple of new projects are under way (a biography of Morton Feldman (pictured), and a book about the WWI Composers, e.g., Cecil Coles, Ernest Farrar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Ivor Gurney, etc.), plus The Dissent of Man, to complete as soon as possible.

Updates on progress with these projects will appear here whenever possible. Meanwhile, Happy New Year everybody, and I hope it’s a good one.



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An Open Letter…

Attacked on way home on Tuesday night. Repeatedly hit around head. Unprovoked. Not a nice experience. Faith in humanity severely dented, again.
As seems to be the habit of late, here is an open letter …
To my attacker,
I apologised at the time for nearly bumping into you as I turned the corner. That’s what people do when their paths accidentally coincide, apologise. We didn’t collide, there was no reason for further issue. That should have been the end of it.
Instead, you thought an apology insufficient, pursuing me as I returned to my walk home. Did I affront your sense of propriety? Is that why you pushed me over from behind?
Getting up, I put my hand out to ward off further attack which you then took as a sign of aggression, inviting me to, “Come on then!” and pushing me further until you had me turned, enabling a punch* to my face.
Understandably, I fled.
As I ran, you pursued me further, and hit me on my body and to the back of my head, repeatedly.
I outran you, or perhaps you just got bored. I suspect the latter because, even though you acted like an adolescent, I would estimate you to be in your early- to mid-twenties. I am twice your age.
Despite your best efforts, I hope to disappoint you by reporting nothing broken, only a few grazes, and a slightly bruised pride. That, and a momentary doubt about human nature.
Undoubtedly, you could have broken my arm or caused some internal injury, but nothing would have hurt as much as the dint you might have caused in my trust of people. That would have been my main loss, in all of this: my humanity.
So, you know what attacker? I’m not going to let you win. I defy your brutish bullying. I pity your pathetic show of strength and your clear lack of respect for your fellow human. The majority of people are good and well meaning, content to live and let live. You are amongst an insignificant minority. You must inhabit a horrible, lonely place.
I will remain open minded, open eyed and open armed to the rest of humanity. I am not reduced as was your wish; I am invigorated by our encounter. Sod the bullies and haters and thugs. You’re going to have to do better than that, because the majority of people don’t abide by your rules. You lose.
Not Your Victim.
*I have since realised this was a headbutt.
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Visual Poetry #5: Repetition

I am so lucky to “know” some people. I say “know”, rather than know, because they are online friends (essentially via Twitter), and I have never had the pleasure of meeting them in person. However, their friendship has overwhelmed me at times, and this case is no different. Once again, the incumbent genius over at Kerosene101 has worked their magic once again on another of my poems. They previously metamorphosed The Music of the WordsDown, Follow / Your / Heart and Relief Work out of recognition. This time Repetition gets the treatment, and in the spirit of the piece, it gets it more than once! Once by Kerosene101, and once by the equally brilliant and lovely Chee Chee-A-Nam. I am indeed lucky, and truly humbled, and love both interpretations. Thank you x
One of my favourite literary devices is repetition.
Repetition gives a rhythm.
Repetition gives a pulse.
Repetition can appear at the beginning of a sentence, or repetition can appear near its middle.
The end of a sentence is also a good place to place repetition.
Repetition is one of my favourite literary devices.
One of my favourite literary devices is repetition.


© JFDerry / Kerosene101 2011
© JFDerry /Chee Chee-A-Nam 2013


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Dandy Lion

Everything was going too smoothly. The lions were tranquillised, and the radio collar was nearly on. Then, suddenly, it all went pear-shaped.
“An angry lion will drop into a crouch, flatten its ears and give vent to grows and grunts, meanwhile flicking the tail-tip rapidly from side to side. Just prior to a charge, the tail is usually jerked up and down”, informs my field guide. Much to my chagrin, this was an all-too-accurate description of how the fully grown lioness now facing me was behaving. What my field guide had not gone on to say was what I was supposed to do if such a situation ever arose. My head flooded with flashbacks of all the other nights when everything had gone so smoothly.
lionI was working with rangers in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park (HUP) in Zululand. other reserves in South Africa had reported high numbers of lions with ‘cat Aids’ (the feline equivalent of HIV, feared to cause mass mortalities), and the rangers were extremely worried about the health of the lions in HUP. One of the first things they could do was to find and dart them, giving them a medical, and collar one member to make it easier to find the pride the next time. That seemed straightforward enough. At the time, there were 90 lions in the park spread between five main prides. already, prominent members of most of the prides had been collared. But no one had managed to collar a member of the Bridge Pride Five, an elusive satellite group consisting of a fabulous, black-maned male, three lionesses and a male cub. Finding them had now become something of an issue.
That morning, following a tip-off from one of the game guards who had seen the Bridge Pride Five a few hours earlier, Byron, my fellow researcher, and I found ourselves bumping down to an area of the park known as the ‘wilderness zone’. This was it, we told each other. Perhaps, finally, we would be able to collar a lion in this group. We stopped in a small clearing, parking the tuck under the shade of a perfectly flattened ‘umbrella’ tree. The smell of Africa filled the air, a sticky vapour of rhino dung and fermenting marula fruit.
The first thing we had to do was to collect dead branches and build a semicircular fence around the umbrella tree in such a way that the lions wouldn’t be able to drag the impala buck bait behind the tree (we wanted them to stay within shot). After dark, and from the safety of our truck, we played a tape of the distress calls of a cottontail rabbit to attract the lions, although on other nights they had shown an appetite for Chopin blasted out at Megadeath decibels. The saying of curiosity and cats isn’t limited to your domestic moggy. But all that effort had tired us humans out, and before I knew it, sleep had drowned out the dinner-time broadcast, and the snores of my recumbent partner became lion’s breath in my dreams.
“Hey, wake up, it’s them” Byron whispered, nudging me in the ribs. Peering into the darkness, I could see that it wasn’t the whole Bridge Pride, only the big male with one female and the cub. Even through the darkness, we could tell that he was certainly a fine and dandy specimen. Enough admiration. We knew what we had come here to do. Phut, phut, phut. The lions were engrossed with eating the impala, hardly noticing the tranquilliser darts that we shot into their skin. Shielding our torches with our hands, we watched as, within minutes, they went down, slumping one-by-one onto the ground. It would be about an hour before they came round. Plenty of time for us to put a radio-collar on the male and take a semen sample, and to take blood samples from all three lions. We set to work. I started to patch up thorn tree abrasions on the lionesses flank. Working that close to her was amazing. I got quite carried away dabbing every scratch with antiseptic. Time must have been ticking away faster than we thought because, when we had swung the male into position and taken a semen sample, using a stimulator electrode, the female was waking up. She had swung her head around in order to get one eye on the proceedings and was grumbling, unhappy about what she could see: me ramming a metal tube up her mate’s bum. But however much this displeased her, we knew she would be down for another 10 minutes, just long enough to finish. All that remained was to collar the male.
I held the lion’s head clear of the ground, while Byron struggled with the nuts and bolts. Then, ping! A nut flew over Byron’s shoulder and landed – along with my heart – somewhere near my left boot. There was no way we were going to find it in the pitch black with only a couple of torch beams. “You’d better go get another one”, Byron said, all too calmly. This had not been in the plan. The route back to the truck was a shadowy assault course strewn with grass tussocks, fallen branches and a wall of incisors belonging to an ever more conscious, ever more irate, tail-jerking lioness. I was quickly losing my image of her as a helpless cat needing tender loving care. By now, she was crouched on all fours only a few metres away from me and watching my every move. I tried to step cautiously past her. She responded with a loud, stomach-churning growl and lunged towards me. I yelped and leapt backwards. The lioness crumpled to the ground in front of me. The tranquilliser was still working, but only just. This was my only chance. I gave her a wide berth and gained the sanctuary of the truck, grabbed some nuts and bolts and rushed back to help Byron fix the collar on the male. We soon had it fastened in place, but now had to get back to safety. We edged away. She crawled closer. We edged farther towards the truck, facing her all the time. Then, for a fleeting moment, she turned to her mate, nuzzling his neck. We legged it. While we baby-sat the drowsy Bridge Pride Lions until they fully regained consciousness, we tried to think of names. We baptised the male ‘Nuts’ which served well to remind us of both the radio-collaring and the semen sampling. And her? Well, after our hasty retreat, her name just had to be ‘Bolts’.
JF Derry’s new book, The Dissent of Man can be supported via the Unbound website at
Posted in Short Stories, Travel | 1 Comment

Rape Jokes Are Dangerous

*** Trigger warning for discussion of rape and rape jokes ***

The previous article on Rape Jokes Are Not Funny presented evidence for the negative effects of rape in humour within the context of experiencing two comedy events in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
That article went on to describe in two updates what then transpired via Twitter; mainly that some of the named comedians performing in those events challenged both the details of the narrative account, and the foremost conclusion presented in that article. The debate did not engage with the details of the research underpinning the article, however, the discussion was mostly decorous.
Most of the misunderstanding by the comedians was that the article’s debate was centred on offence which they rightly see as an unqualified challenge on free speech. The best quote regarding offence is the oft-quoted comment that Stephen Fry made in conversation with Christopher Hitchens at the 2006 Hay Book Festival:
It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that”, as if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that.” Well, so fucking what?
However, there is a difference between being offensive and being dangerous, and that was the evidence-backed assertion offered up for debate. It is also an assertion that is not challenging free speech. Self-censorship does not challenge free speech, but simply asks for decency and compassion.
The debate then principally moved to the comments section of the article where one particular individual, also a comedian and colleague of one of the aforementioned comics, largely inhibited discussion by being obstreperous, and through their inability to reason with the evidence being presented. None of the evidence being presented was anecdotal; all of it was the result of many years of industrious academic study by experts in their field. Nonetheless, this comedian was unprepared to assess this knowledge objectively, but instead obfuscated the course of debate.
Therefore, because of the way the thread was perverted away from a navigable path, here is a structured synopsis to clarify and highlight the salient research and main points made in that previous article, and in subsequent discussion. Comments contributed by other people during the discussion are in italics. All of the information provided here has been substantiated by peer-reviewed research. The research is cited throughout the text, and then listed in an alphabetically-ordered bibliography at the end of the piece, along with individual links, where possible, to an archive of PDF documents containing each of these papers. This bibliography is in no way definitive nor comprehensive, but it does contain some key papers and a couple of accessible reviews. These papers are provided in direct response to that comedian’s request, “Can you cite an article I don’t have to pay to read?”, and for your personal use, in order that you can be informed about the issues prior to drawing your conclusions.
1. What’s so special about rape compared to other victims of crime and assault?
People have defended rape jokes with arguments like “then we also have to ban jokes about holocaust, terrorism, child murder, cancer, earthquakes etc. as they all could hurt somebody’s feelings, so comedy would be banned completely”. But there is a fundamental difference between rape and these other topics: The attitude of society towards the victims.
These attitudes are termed rape myths. This is because they are ill-founded. However, despite being fallacious, they are widely accepted as truth. “Rape myth acceptance is therefore somewhat more common in our society than holocaust denial”. This is why rape is different when considering social contexts, because a large part of society accepts rape myths as truth. As mentioned above, this is not about offence. It is about impacts on society and consequential heightened threats to physical and mental safety.
2. What is rape myth acceptance?
“Research using various scales to measure rape myths document that between 25% and 35% of respondents (both male and female) agree with the majority of these rape myths (Lonsway & Fitzgerald 1994), and that men are more likely than women to endorse rape myths (Suarez & Gadalla 2010). When utilizing open-ended questions asking participants to list their personal beliefs about rape victims, Buddie & Miller (2001) found that 66% of their college sample (comprised of women and men) endorsed some combination of rape myths.” (quoted from Edwards, Turchik, Dardis, Reynolds & Gidycz 2011)
The rape myths that these studies refer to are the following:
“She asked for it; It wasn’t really rape; He didn’t mean to; She wanted it; She lied; Rape is a trivial event; Rape is a deviant event.” (the last item means agreement to items like “Men from nice middle-class homes almost never rape”).
For more info, see the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale that uses 45 standardized questions to assess how much someone agrees with these myths (Payne, Lonsway & Fitzgerald 1999).
3. Do rape myths contribute to rape?
Yes, rape myth acceptance makes rape more likely. For example, Bohner, Siebler & Schmelcher (2006) tested rape myth acceptance feedback in 264 men. There was a robust statistical analysis that concluded increased rape myth acceptance does indeed promote rape proclivity.
There is an overwhelming number of studies on this, of which fortunately there are reviews by Murnen, Wright & Kaluzny (2002), and more recently by Flood & Pease (2009).
4. What is rape esteem?
Rape myth acceptance also has a negative impact post-assault, in the way reporting a rape is handled, and in the way rape victims are related to by authorities, friends and even family. This then propagates a sense of worthlessness in rape victims leading to a low self-esteem, and in some cases also reduced body esteem (Kulkoski & Killian 1997).
This has great import in particular in the apprehension and conviction of rapists: only 10-50% of rapes that actually occur are ever reported to the authorities. “Rape myth acceptance has very real and practical implications for women who actually go to the police: In a study with UK police officers, published this year, the researchers found that “Victim blaming was significantly predicted by rape myth acceptance” but “There were no significant differences between officers who were specially trained and those who were not in terms of victim blaming” (Sleath, E., & Bull, R., 2012)”.
Cluss, Boughton, Frank, Stewart & West (1983) showed that only women with significantly higher higher self-esteem scores pursued prosecution.
5. Are rape jokes funny?
Thus, there is strong evidence that normalisation of rape in society (rape myth acceptance) increases proclivity for it. Additionally, rapists feel accepted or vindicated when people are laughing with them, and they see rape featured positively.
“When the audience laughs, rape victims also have a sense of complete abandonment, they know that many in the audience will actually laugh about the victims, many will not feel much sympathy, and that there will likely also be people around them who actually have harrassed or pressured women (if not raped) and find nothing wrong with that. Victims of most other crimes, on the other hand, will likely have experienced much more support and less additional victimization through attitudes in society.”
There is plenty of evidence from psychological studies into sexual assault that conclude rape jokes desensitise the topic, demean victims & normalise culprits. “This is also a question of power. For comfortable people in a reasonably good and secure position it is very easy to make fun of disadvantaged, suffering individuals who are already constantly being marginalised in society. But for people who value empathy and ethical behaviour, it is hard to see how this can be enjoyable or good comedy.”
No studies find the opposite, in favour of any sexist comedy, let alone the extreme sexist comedy that constitutes rape jokes. For example, Ryan & Kanjorski. (1998) surveyed 399 men and women, showing that “sexist humor was positively correlated with rape-related attitudes and beliefs” and that a statistically significant proportion of women (95 … 99.9%) do not like rape jokes.
6. Do rape victims like rape jokes?
The many studies that do exist on these subjects all point in the same direction, that “survivors” (as many have chosen to call themselves) do not like rape jokes. They feel belittled, as if people are laughing at them, and not at the rapist. This lack of self esteem is formed and maintained by societal attitudes to sexual assault, often that the victim “was asking for it”, or that some rapes are worse than others, etc. There is also the issue of “triggering” which can produce damaging and long-lasting psychosis.
Woodzicka & Ford (2009) reviewed decades of work in the area of sexist humour involving thousands of survey participants, and concluding that, “sexist humor as an insidious expression of sexism … facilitating tolerance of sexism and discrimination among men”, and that, “sexist humor can have detrimental social consequences.”
7. Are rape jokes beneficial?
Rape jokes have been defended for challenging our boundaries, forcing us into self-reflection as a society, to expose our demons, to bring it out into the open for discussion, to heal through mirth, to remove the stigma of the victim.
The most common colloquial argument for rape jokes is for those that attack rape and rapists, for example, Silverman’s “Who’s going to protest?”, which highlights how cowardly rape jokers are for their taking on an unchallenged topic
There is no evidence to back up these claims.
8. Do rape jokes contribute to rape myth acceptance?
Clay-Warner & Odem (1997) included “dirty” jokes in a list of sources of learning that contribute to rape myth acceptance, along with, movies including pornography, newspapers, books, and music videos.
Ryan & Kanjorski (1998) showed that, “the enjoyment of sexist humor was positively correlated with rape-related attitudes and beliefs, the self-reported likelihood of forcing sex, and psychological, physical, and sexual aggression in men”.
9. Are rape jokes dangerous?
“There are studies how language and media portrayal influence the acceptance of violence against women, so I think there is a very real danger that comedy can contribute.”
This article has broken down the mechanism by which rape jokes very likely provide both perceived and real threats to victims and potential victims of sexual assault.
A study clearly needs to investigate the full impact of rape jokes on rape myth acceptance and rape victim self esteem. The subsequent links to rape proclivity, rape reporting, suspect apprehension and culprit conviction are already well established.
Ask yourself this: are rape jokes a type of “dirty” joke? Are they sexist humour? Then consider these three schema, where +> indicates “a positive influence on” (promotion), and -> indicates “a negative influence on” (impedance):
Then attempt to balance the purported benefits of rape jokes with the following observations:
i. Rape myth acceptance increases rape proclivity.
ii. An increase in rape proclivity increases the number of rapes.
iii. Rape victims report discomfort upon hearing rape jokes.
iv. Rape mentions carry dangers of “triggering”.
v. Rape myth acceptance and downplaying rape decreases victims’ self esteem.
vi. Reduced self esteem reduces rape reporting.
vii. Reduced self esteem leads to a reduction in culprit conviction.
viii. Reduced rape reporting reduces suspect apprehension.
ix. Reduced suspect apprehension reduces culprit conviction.
My conclusion from all this? Rape jokes are not funny, but actually very dangerous.
“It is extremely important for everybody to stand up and tell comedians: “Rape jokes are NOT funny”. Sure, most comedians won’t care and won’t change their routine. BUT it makes a huge difference for victims to see that they are not alone, that others support them.” 
Bohner G, Siebler F & Schmelcher J (2006) Social Norms and the Likelihood of Raping: Perceived Rape Myth Acceptance of Others Affects Men’s Rape Proclivity. Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 32, 286-297.
Buddie AM & Miller AG (2002) Beyond Rape Myths: A More Complex View of Perceptions of Rape Victims. Sex Roles, 45(3/4), 139-160.
Clay-Warner J & Odem ME (1997) Confronting Rape and Sexual Assault. Scholarly Resources Inc., U.S.
Cluss PA, Boughton J, Frank LE, Stewart BD & West D (1983) The rape victim: Psychological correlates of participation in the legal process. Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol 10(3), Sep 1983, 342-357.
Edwards KM, Turchik JA, Dardis CM, Reynolds N & Gidycz CA (2011) Rape myths: History, individual and Institutional-Level presence, and implications for change. Sex Roles, 65 (11), 761-773.
Flood M & Pease B (2009) Factors influencing attitudes to violence against women. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 10 (2), 125-142.
Kulkoski K & Killian C (1997) Sexual assault and body esteem. Psychological Reports, 80, 347-350.
Lonsway KA & Fitzgerald LF (1994) Rape Myths. In Review. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18: 133–164.
Murnen SK, Wright & Kaluzny G (2002) If “Boys Will Be Boys,” Then Girls Will Be Victims? A Meta-Analytic Review of the Research That Relates Masculine Ideology to Sexual Aggression. Sex Roles, Volume 46, Numbers 11-12, pp. 359-375(17).
Payne DL, Lonsway, KA & Fitzgerald LF (1999) Rape myth acceptance: Exploration of its structure and its measurement using the Illinois rape myth acceptance scale. Journal of Research in Personality 33 (1), 27-68.
Ryan KM & Kanjorski J (1998) The Enjoyment of Sexist Humor, Rape Attitudes, and Relationship Aggression in College Students. Sex Roles, Volume 38, Numbers 9-10, 743-756.
Sleath E & Bull R (2012) Comparing rape victim and perpetrator blaming in a police officer sample. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39 (5), 646-665.
Suarez E & Gadalla TM (2010) Stop blaming the victim: a meta-analysis on rape myths. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25(11), 2010-2035.
Woodzicka JA & Ford TE (2009) A Framework for Thinking about the (not-so-funny) Effects of Sexist Humor. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 6(3), pp. 174-195.
Posted in For the Record, Rape | Tagged | 1 Comment

Rape Jokes Are Not Funny

*** Trigger warning for discussion of rape and rape jokes ***

I caused a bit of a twitterstorm this morning, moaning about misogyny and rape jokes during two Edinburgh Fringe Festival gigs we attended last night. This is now me, trying to work it out, in the way that writers often do try to work out a problem, by writing about it.
It actually started last night, during the aforementioned gigs,
Tom Stade. Don’t bother.
11:21 PM – 25 Aug 12
This tweet was after we walked out halfway through Stade‘s act at the Pleasance Ace Dome. He started well, with a “wedding video” supposedly from Las Vegas. If it was genuine, then it was him getting hitched seventeen years ago. The theme of his set then followed the deterioration of his sex life with his wife, parodied against the sex life of a couple in the audience who were relentlessly targeted. In fact, Stade’s whole delivery and single-track obsession was relentless. Relentlessly boring. It basically involved dropping as many f-bombs as he could in as short a time as possible.
As a measure of his material, he was upstaged no less than three times by audience members; immodestly, I was one of them. In the first instance, after harrying this couple for some time, Stade spoke man-to-man to the husband, saying something like, “We have had sex, right?”, meaning that neither of them were virginal. The man snapped back, “With you?”, catching Stade off mark, and getting a huge laugh and applause.
Finding no more leverage with the couple shortly after, Stade turned his attention to others in the front row. He asked a young man, sitting with his girlfriend as part of a bigger party, who the older man was in their group. “My lover”, came the lightening reply, again to rapturous applause and leaving Stade stumped.
My applause came as we were leaving. We were not the first to go and Stade was clearly rattled that people were tiring of his “comedy”. He challenged us with, “Now, where are you going?”. After so many tedious “jokes” about fucking, I threw one back at him, “To fuck!”. They were still laughing and whooping as the last door closed behind us. Well, I guess you had to be there. In fact, you could have had our tickets!
We were depressed at our unlucky choice, but encouraged that the night was not yet a right off. We had tickets to Best of the Fest, a mystery compere and line up at midnight. So, expect drunken and raucous.
Jim Jefferies was the surprise compere of what turned out to be an all-male line up. He again started well, but a few minutes in and we had more fuck jokes, but now also rape jokes. His first guest was Jimmy Carr who read from a list of new material (paedophilia and rape jokes, that sort of thing), so it wasn’t really a set, just him trying stuff out. He didn’t announce this, but the audience twigged on and he pretty much got booed off the stage a short time after someone had shouted, “Pay your taxes!”.
About then, I tweeted,
Jimmy Carr really not good. jimmy Jeffries still struggling.
Rape jokes not cool.

12:32 AM – 26 Aug 12
followed by,
Comedy ain’t as funny as it used to be. Funniest moments:
everyone taking the piss out of Jimmy Carr’s taxes.
1:00 AM – 26 Aug 12
Jefferies returned to the stage, also made a Carr tax joke, then a joke about if Michael Phelps had been a “thalidomide“, then a joke about having fucked Phelps’ girlfriend, then another couple of rape jokes. I think I snapped when Jefferies suggested the solution to needing more holes in a woman when there aren’t enough for the number of men wanting to fuck, was to get a knife and cut some more. Sitting in the third row, I called out, “Rape jokes are not funny”. He asked me to repeat it, which I did, and there was a murmuring through the several hundred people audience. Jefferies shrugged and asked, “Who to? Yes they are”. I answered, “Not to the people who have been raped”. To which he responded, “I’ve never met anybody who has been raped”.
Despite his answers, I was never going to win an argument. A person on stage with a microphone and a cache of rehearsed putdowns is in a powerful position. I wouldn’t have minded a little support from the rest of the crowd though, and there were a few “Yeah”‘s in agreement with me, but these were drowned out by laughter and applause when Jefferies added, “You laughed just a minute ago at me calling Michael Phelps a thalidomide” (in all honesty, I didn’t. It wasn’t funny), and, “So, where do you draw the line? You’ve got to be able to make jokes about everything, otherwise you can’t make jokes about anything”.
I’m still trying to work out this fine line for myself. But, my sense of decency, moral outlook and, since this morning on Twitter, an understanding from the rape victim’s point of view, informs me that rape is different from many other targets in comedy. Leaving the show last night, I despondently tweeted,
I heckled, “Rape jokes aren’t funny” tonight and got shouted down.
Evidently, having a measure of decency is supercilious in comedy.

1:22 AM – 26 Aug 12
Of course, I may have been a little disappointed that we ran into Tom Stade again! (Although his set this time was an improvement on the earlier gig, because of a more varied content that only briefly covered some of the previous material.)
How unlucky can you get? Pay for a Tom Stade gig; walk out.
Then he’s back for Best of the Fest. Shit! Comedy is poor.

1:33 AM – 26 Aug 12
But, hey! At least I wasn’t put down as one heckler was with this line from another of the comedians, “I hope you die of AIDS”. Hilarious (not).
This morning, still smarting, I tweeted,
Shocked and horrified by misogynistic “comedy” at Edfringe last night.
Only one “comic” not telling hateful rape & fuck jokes. Never again.
11:19 AM – 26 Aug 12
which got picked up and retweeted quite widely, eventually by Graham Linehan. Several people replied to defend comedy, including Robin Ince and Josie Long, and I agree, there are many many great acts. My personal favourites (in no particular order) are Simon Munnery, Dylan Moran, Stewart Lee, Michael Legge, Robin Ince, Josie Long, etc, etc, etc.. (FYI, the lone comedian mentioned was newcomer Daniel Sloss, although, it was his “AIDS” line, and someone has since told me that he does have rape jokes in his repertoire*).
Other replies tried to defend the freedom of expression in comedy. That everything is a potential target. This is the same hackneyed, tired and worn out argument being dished up for free speech in other forms of media. For example, by this standard, it is evidently acceptable for groups known to be associated with murder to be allowed potential means of income via YouTube. It is also acceptable for Google to be paid income revenue for hosting video gore showing footage of actual suicides, murders, and the aftermaths of violent deaths.
There is an interesting philosophical divide here. I was paid to write a book about serial killers that documents murder. As was pointed out to me via a comment on the Google advertising article above, in a sense I have profited out of those deaths. So, what is the difference in Google and their Advertising Revenue partners profiting from these videos? Is it enough that they are visual media whilst mine relies upon description? Probably not, but it still feels that there should be more honour in the ethical intent of writing a book. But, now I’m not so sure, and I’m left struggling with this contradiction.
There is no doubt in my mind that rape jokes are unacceptable in any form however. There are no good rape jokes. None that make the subject any funnier than the horrid reality that it is for any rape victim. And for me, that is the crux here. The victims of these crimes are alive, survivors, trying to be strong and get on with their lives, while no doubt carrying a lot of hurt and psychological scars. They attend comedy shows and have the right to be entertained like anyone else. The role and ambition of the comedian is to be entertaining, successful. Exalted even. Sometimes they use shock and discomfort, but striding the fine line is an art. So, why do these particular comics want to cross that line and further hurt anyone who is already in pain? It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to realise that your audience is likely to contain people who have suffered sexual assault, stillbirth and disabilities. So, why would you want to make fun of rape, dead babies and birth defects?
How do I know victims of sexual assault are hurt by rape jokes, and do not find them funny in any form? Because, after this morning’s twitterstorm, quite a few direct (private) messages were sent to me, saying any mention of rape in humour is awful for them. I think we have to take their word for it, and no one has provided an opposite view. Instead, survivors have written to me saying everything from, “very strongly opposed to the idea that people could ever find that funny”, to “It simply isn’t fodder for humor of ANY kind”.
Unless someone can speak from a victim’s point of view to counter this, then currently it is an overwhelming “no” to rape jokes. Perhaps this time people will listen and believe them,
In all of this, something has been forgotten: that real-life rape, unlike sex, is always a serious business. If a man is falsely accused, it has the power to wreck his life. If a woman – or indeed a man – is the victim, it can do the same thing. We certainly hear a lot about “free speech” from those who will go to the wall for their right to make light of sexual violence. But rape is the opposite of freedom: it means that the victim wasn’t free to say “no” and be heard.“[Whether you're a politician or comedian, rape is seriously unfunny business: Saying ignorant or unfunny things about rape is becoming dangerously popular]
Compassion is only one of the important reasons why rape jokes are not acceptable, but in my eyes, it is what separates me from these comedians and those YouTube profiteers. I write for my readers, my audience. My intent is to also entertain, and yes, sometimes using extreme material as the subject of my writing. Some profanity and gore, to set the hairs on end. But I never wish to upset anybody, insult them, or hurt them. So, as far as possible, I avoid doing so. The rapes in my serial killers book are written about matter-of-factly and there is no sensationalism. I certainly don’t make light of rape.
There is additional important evidence from psychological studies into sexual assault that conclude rape jokes desensitise the topic, demean victims & normalise culprits. A good example is,
Social Norms and the Likelihood of Raping: Perceived Rape Myth Acceptance of Others Affects Men’s Rape Proclivity Bohner, Siebler & Schmelcher 2006 Pers Soc Psychol Bull, 32, 286-297.
This next quote comes from an interesting blog article discussing that paper in the light of US Congressman Todd Akin‘s attempt to introduce the concept of “legitimate rape”.
Acceptance of rape myths is not just a product of a sick mind, but an unfortunate response to subtle and not-so-subtle messages from social groups, family, and media that communicate the legitimacy of these beliefs …  this research does not suggest that anyone who holds erroneous beliefs about the causes of rape will go on to commit rape. But these beliefs can nonetheless contribute to a culture where rape victims are more likely to be questioned and blamed (and to question and blame themselves), and perpetrators are more likely to be excused or even encouraged.” [She Asked For It: The Destructive Impact of Rape Mythology]
There seems to be very compelling reasons why not to tell rape jokes, so the question remains, why are comedians and their audiences so keen on them? One suggestion is that,
The theories offer an explanation of some people who might find rape jokes funny: people who have not been paying attention to the world around them. The privileged, the wilfully ignorant. They might find rape jokes funny. It says a lot more about them.” [Why rape jokes aren’t funny: the science]
The suggestion is that rape jokes are perpetuated through ignorance. Remember Jefferies’ clever retort, “I’ve never met anybody who has been raped”? Perhaps he would have a different opinion if he did know a rape victim. Until then there is a real and worrying outcome likely from this ignorance,
Imagine that you are a comedian. You tell a rape joke, and 20 men in the audience laugh. Of these guffawing pricks, 19 of them are, at best, tedious little solipsists … The other one is a rapist, who will go home thinking his behaviour is perfectly normal and everyone’s in on the joke.” [Why rape jokes aren’t funny: the science]
The discussion about what is acceptable in comedy has been burgeoning over the last decade. Here is a good discussion of these boundaries by Chicalolita, but I do not believe rape can be included for the reasons that such jokes are not acceptable given above.
Rape seems to be the new discussion topic, especially after the recent Daniel Tosh rape joke debacle. There are even examples being proposed in discussion of what constitutes a “good” rape joke: How to Make a Rape Joke & 15 Rape Jokes That Work. Notably, we are told that one of these lists was compiled by a rape victim, but this seems to go against the correspondence I have seen on this topic from rape victims and counsellors, the majority of whom think any rape joke is unacceptable.
In fact, as stated, there is no acceptable way to make a joke about rape, but if you are going to, then make sure it is an attempt to put an end to such material. Here, Sarah Silverman was not being hypocritical when she recently accused fellow comics who use rape jokes of being weak and cowardly because, as she says, who’s going to protest?
rape, the most heinous crime imaginable. Seems it’s a comic’s dream, though. Because it seems that when you do rape jokes that like the material is so dangerous and edgy. But the truth is it’s like the safest area to talk about in comedy. Cause who’s going to complain about a rape joke? Rape victims? They don’t even report rape.” [Sarah Silverman on Rape Jokes (7-6-12)]
And if victims of sex crimes are not in a position to protest, then others must stand up for them, to change attitudes and educate the ignorant. As the research mentioned above shows, this isn’t only in respect of rape victims, but also to take action against there being future victims. Another comedian speaking out on this subject is Murdoch-foamer, Jonnie Marbles,
This is just a plea to stop making the circuit a place where women don’t feel safe or comfortable. I know it’s your right, and your passion, and nobody can stop you but please, for the love of being a halfway decent person, would you stop? Stop triggering terrifying memories. Stop undoing the hard work survivors have done to overcome trauma. Just please, please stop telling rape jokes.” [Dear Comedians, And People Like Me Who Think They're Comedians: Please Stop: Trigger warning for discussion of rape and rape jokes]
I was going to suggest that, in a comedic vein, there really is only one way to settle this. No! Not like that, but a challenge to any rape joke-making comedian, to present their material to a group of rape victims. But, after today, I realise that would just be sick and torturous for that audience, and the answer is a lot simpler, and already reached by Jonnie Marbles. It is self censorship.

“Just please, please stop telling rape jokes”

Please continue to read the updates and comments below to follow the ensuing debate, and note that there is a follow-up article to accompany this one called, Rape Jokes Are Dangerous.
UPDATE DAY 1: Daniel Sloss made contact on Twitter; I tweeted him the link to this article and he was gracious in response, but note the admission of ignorance which I find untenable as an excuse. I’m also left wondering what perspective could possibly defend the likely encouragement of a rapist. This was the conversation that resulted (to which Mike Dalena also contributed).
Daniel Sloss
DS: I’m not gonna read this, but thanks :) x 2:05 AM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: hi. there is a very good argument for dropping the rape jokes. [To not] “desensitise the topic, demean victims & normalise culprits” 2:07 AM – 27 Aug 12
DS:  it’s probably a great point. No doubt. But I’m going to stick to what makes my audience laugh. I can only apologise to the rest 3:09 AM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: Understood, but there is a real danger rape jokes encourage rape, and ignorance in your audience feeds it. Make a difference? 4:30 AM – 27 Aug 12
DS:  I disagree. But I am 21 and therefore ignorant. I appreciate your opinion, but I have my own as well. Sorry 5:11 AM – 27 Aug 12
MD: Can’t you meet the challenge of making your audience laugh without using rape? I have two friends that were raped. 4:41 AM – 27 Aug 12
DS: I can see where ur comin from. But I approach it very differently from a different perspective. We’ll disagree. Sorry 5:15 AM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: You are also clearly clever & funny (at Best of the Fest). Ignorance is no excuse; the article has your required information. 7:31 AM – 27 Aug 12
MD: Okay. You’re entitled to that. But do me a favor, please. Walk into a rape crisis center and… 2:55 PM – 27 Aug 12
MD: tell the women there that you think what happened to them is funny. Look them in the eyes and tell them… 2:56 PM – 27 Aug 12
MD: tell them their rape was funny. Only then will you be entitled to go on stage and tell all the rape jokes you want. 2:57 PM – 27 Aug 12
DS: dudes, I respect what ur saying and ur right to think. But we’re never going to agree on. 2 different worlds. Sorry 2:59 PM – 27 Aug 12
MD: I’m not asking you to agree. I’m asking you to go tell a woman that has been raped that you think it’s… 9:33 PM – 27 Aug 12
MD: funny. Otherwise you’re a coward every time you do it on stage. 9:33 PM – 27 Aug 12
UPDATE DAY 2: A day of debating the issues, many people have made contact to add their support and agree with this article. Others continue to argue for free speech, but of course, as it is clearly stated above, I am not challenging free speech. Self-censorship does not challenge free speech, but simply asks for decency and compassion.
Daniel Sloss also added a further response to Mike Dalena which I have appended to the conversation above, plus I was contacted by Tom Stade and Jim Jefferies, who are also mentioned in this article. In the interest of fairness, I’m going to reproduce our Twitter conversations verbatim. Tweets are only out of chronological sequence where required to maintain the conversational flow.
Before doing so, Tom, I have made a couple of changes above to clarify that your late set was different to your first, and to disassociate you from the AIDS putdown. Jim, we honestly did not know who was on the bill. It may have changed our minds, but tickets were bought late afternoon, and no information was offered over the phone. Furthermore, I understood that Josie Long and Robin Ince were only concerned for the reputation of Edinburgh Fringe and comedy in general, and were not passing judgement on your act. I felt that they were just trying to suggest some alternatives that they knew about.
Finally, Jim, I have not made this up. Before that Best of the Fest show, I had never heard of you, and I am not alone in criticising your material on that night: “just saw Jim Jefferies do 20 minutes of material normalising rape and sexual abuse at Best of the Fest.” and “Was there with my friend that night and thought it was vile and awful (we are not humourless, this stuff was plain nasty”.
Tom Stade
TS: Hello Mr Derry this is Tom Stade my son showed me your words and would you please define misogyny for me 12:15 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: Your use of upstaged is wrong getting people to join in is what it was sir. And I did not use a rape joke in my show thank you!!! 12:34 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: there is no mention of your using a rape joke in my article. there was plenty of suggestion, but nothing explicit. 12:37 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: And at best of the fest I believe I talked about group on, moving, and celebrating my 17th anniversary on the couch 12:37 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I do not comment on your set at Best of the Fest. 12:38 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: You have yet to define misogyny 12:39 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I’m not playing games. I recommend the Oxford or, as we’re in Edinburgh, Chambers’ Dictionary. 12:41 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: You mentioned that only one comic didn’t talk about rape! 12:41 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: the tweet that says that mentions “hateful rape & fuck jokes”. you certainly had many fuck “jokes”. 12:46 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: fuck jokes? I’m talking about being married. The video was real by the way. And if you had stayed for the whole show tbc 12:51 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: there was a point at the end of it but you just walked out and are giving people an edited version 12:53 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: misogyny is men who hate woman and don’t ever put me in that category! My lovely partner is blown away by you right now! 12:55 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I don’t think I am misrepresenting you. if there was a punchline at the end, sorry to have missed it. … 12:56 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: …otherwise it is an honest account of a bad evening. I’m happy that you had a satisfied audience. 12:57 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: apologies to your partner. I am not commenting on your marriage. it is your material in question. 12:59 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: you did miss it and then you decided to get your pitchforks and torches out without even talking to the people you mention 1:01 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I was quite open about writing on this, hence your mention in my original tweet 1:04 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: which ideas of mine do you have a problem with and lets go through them shall we! 1:03 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: this is not up for post mortem. my position is laid out in my blog. 1:05 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: well Mr Derry take care of yourself and thank god the jokes I write aren’t specific to anyone one person unlike your article 1:17 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: free speech it sure is great!!! 1:18 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: good luck yourself. free speech is only worthwhile if people are not directly harmed. there is a suggestion rape jokes encourage rape. 1:30 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: you should get your facts strait Danial slosse told the heckler to die of aides. 2:15 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I don’t specify who gave that put down. 2:16 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: so at least say I had a nice set at the best of then unless there are people out there with a bad Groupon experience 2:23 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: haha! I will make some edits Tom. As you can see, it’s a bit hectic. Will try to do something later this evening. 2:27 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: Na I rather keep my bad boy image thank you offstage I am a really kind and generous person that does lots of work for charities 2:36 PM – 27 Aug 12
TS: and I think Jim is one of the funniest comedians on the planet right now! 2:36 PM – 27 Aug 12
Jim Jefferies
JJ: well done on telling everyone else what we should laugh at you nazi 1:48 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: what you have written is a load of lies. i never said half those things 1:59 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: where do you think I have misrepresented you, Jim? I think I have our “dialogue” recounted accurately. 2:08 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: you lie i know exactly what i said. do you think i have never met a rape victom or been one myself as a child 2:13 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I’m sorry if you have been abused. you are the 1st to contact me AND support rape jokes (if that is your position) … 2:15 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: …all others who have written to me in private abhor rape jokes for how they make them feel. 2:16 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: i support jokes of all kinds, as long as its a joke! i have made jokes about far more offensive subjects then rape 2:19 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: It’s not only that it’s offensive and hurtful, but that it’s also dangerous, and could encourage rapists. … 2:21 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: …Please read the research papers mentioned in my article for the details, but essentially, rapists are made to feel welcome. 2:21 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: how? thats like say jokes about bin laden encourage terrorists 2:23 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: There is no academic research that I know of on that, but happy to look at it if you can track some down. 2:26 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: way to censor art. so show such as the family guy should be taken of tv i guess, or a movie like yellow beard 2:22 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I don’t know about the Family Guy reference, but Graham Chapman is a fucking legend. I will have to think about that … 2:24 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: …but first thoughts are that the rape depiction is a negative stereotype of pirates. Also in Idle’s Erik The Viking. 2:25 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: watch yellow beard again i saw it the other day, i think it has more rape jokes then any film in history 2:26 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I will. And thanks for the excuse to do so. 2:29 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: … graham chapman telling a few rape jokes 2:30 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I didn’t recognise the scorn for rapists from your material required to balance the joke. … 2:36 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: …perhaps Chapman/Cook, etc had the history of piracy to draw upon, and that helps. Silverman derides rape jokers as cowards.… 2:37 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: … Bottom line, rape victims hate rape jokes, and they are dangerous. Probably Chapman’s too. 2:37 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: … this is a popular cartoon 2:32 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: that doesn’t register with me at all. felt uneasy, like the Ned Beatty scene in Deliverance. 2:39 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: did they feel like this … 2:33 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: I can see where the comedy is supposed to come from that, but to me, it fails. Perhaps I’m too close to the subject today. 2:42 PM – 27 Aug 12
JJ: or perhaps everyone does not find everything funny. 2:47 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: humour, like all art, is subjective. no problem there. censorship sucks. again, with you, man. … 2:49 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: …But decency, consideration, compassion (perhaps 20% of your female audience that night may have been sexually assaulted)… 2:50 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: …can you find a way of entertaining them without this material? i know the answer is yes, because you had some good shit too. 2:50 PM – 27 Aug 12
JFD: Have to go (school run!) Thanks to everyone, especially Tom @kenstade & @jimjefferies for engaging. We’re all just passionate about comedy. 2:56 PM – 27 Aug 12
Please continue to read the comments below to follow the ensuing debate, and note that there is a follow-up article to accompany this one called, Rape Jokes Are Dangerous.
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