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 https://twitter.com/JFDerry/status/240015025853591552 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: youtube.com/watch?v=yrpBJqvr5r8 … 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: youtube.com/watch?v=_WfKh07YjZI … 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RmIrHWoYW8 … 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.

About JFDerry

Author Upcoming book: THE DISSENT OF MAN.
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75 Responses to Rape Jokes Are Not Funny

  1. Thank you for this post.

  2. Here, here. Well said.

  3. Claire A says:

    JF, good on you both for heckling and for raising awareness about this through your tweets and this post. Sadly, rape jokes appear to be du jour for middle-class, white, thirty something male comics with something to prove. (See that Tosh bloke in the USA for some of the worst examples.) It’s disgusting to many individuals who haven’t been raped and triggering to those who have. And “I hope you die of AIDS” as a come-back to a heckler? What is this, primary school? Spouting the same crap as you’d hear at any bar in any pub in Scotland is not the sort of ‘comedy’ we should all have to pay ten quid for.

    UGH. This is why I boycott 90% of the Fringe.

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  5. Reblogged this on Freedom from the Mundane and commented:
    I’ve never been one to re-blog other people’s posts but this one is worthy. Not only should JF Derry be commended for heckling (I’ve never had the guts) but to make his case so succinctly like this has changed my opinion on something I’d never really given much thought to (to my shame). What’s even more worrying is Daniel Sloss’ attempt at deflecting the issue with his opinion while refusing to even read the article.

    Read on….

  6. Well done to both of you, JF and Colin, for taking such a strong stand against rape jokes. I can only hope the comedians open their minds and change their routines to something that is genuinely funny.

  7. Credit is all Mr Derry’s. I was only standing near him at the time….

  8. 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.

    He almost certainly has met a rape victim they just didn’t tell him about it.

    I have had quite a few sexual partners in my life and I know for a fact that three of my ex-girlfriends have been raped. One by strangers and two by their then partners/ex-partners. I am fairly certain that every single one of us knows a rape victim even if most people are not aware that they do.

    I think it’s very difficult to tell “positive” rape jokes but not completely impossible. However I suspect that the vast majority of rape jokes are insensitive, unthinking and hurtful and told only for their easy shock value.

    In my life I know of one amusing situation involving an attempted rape. Amusing only at the cost of the rapist not the victim. It is only amusing because the rape failed and the reason for that failure. A man grabbed hold of a teenager, a close friend of mine, intending to rape her. She broke free and started to run. The man chased after her convinced that he, a fully grown man, would have no problems catching a teenage girl. After about a mile he broke together totally knackered, whence the alerted police collected him. He being now too out of breath to run away. The girl was already well away. She just happened to be the under sixteens national 1500 metres campion. It would only take the addition of one line, and there are many, many possibilities, to turn this story into a bad rape joke, hurtful to all of those millions who didn’t get away. The man who had a record of sexual offenses got four years.

  9. Andrew says:

    I’m in agreement with Thorny Christie here. Statistically, Jeffries does know a rape victim/survivors; a simple dismissal of this is the shallowest of humour, a portrayal of a cruelly stupid mind. And that talking about rape can be funny, rather than rape itself being funny. I’,m sure there are many falsely accused of rape, or victims of breaches of disclosure sensationalised that found the Leveson Enquiry a hilarious comedy. “Rebekah Brooks is a paedo.” After years of seeing friends suffer under her regime, and trying to support their recoveries, thinking this line in 2012 gives me a smile and I wonder where it can be taken.
    Thanks for contributing up JF and I’m glad this is a talking point for many of you. x

  10. thank you thank you brilliant article-intelligent and thoughtful

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  12. Claire A says:

    Daniel Sloss just openly admitted, when presented with the statement “making light of rape promotes rape”, that he doesn’t agree? So Daniel Sloss basically just said, on his Twitter, in public, “I am a rape apologist.”

    Daniel — welcome to my all-time, never-give-these-people-any-money-or-indeed-the-time-of-day blacklist.

    Also, “I am 21 and therefore ignorant” — well, at least he realises it.

  13. Rob Mailloux says:

    Fantastic. Although is there any way you could make it more about yourself?

  14. Dubs Check Em says:

    So Robin Ince’s jokes mocking the mentally disabled are fine, but rape jokes aren’t? Fantastic.

  15. I would like to make one additional point. Many 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.

    Whereas the victims of terrorism, child murder and most other crimes can be be quite sure that most people find these crimes horrific and have great sympathy for the victims (despite the fact that victims may not get enough practical support), rape victims very often find themselves in a situation where they get no sympathy, their experiences are dismissed and they even get blamed for it (“you shouldn’t have dressed like that”, “perhaps you encouraged him?” etc.). Moreover, it seems that too many men actually find it quite normal and acceptable to be pushy and force non-consenting women into sex, and don’t see that as rape (just read a lot of the comments following the Assange, Todd Akin or Strauss-Kahn cases, or the numerous sexism issues being discussed in the atheist/skeptical movement right now) – and don’t appreciate that even without strong physical violence there still can be coercion and a fundamental violation of her personal integrity. And some are quite open and boast about it.

    Why is this widespread attitude relevant here? The pain inflicted by rape jokes is not just the recall of memories, as it is e.g. for holocaust or terrorism survivors. 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.

    Of course this is why rape jokes actually “work” for comedians. If all people really found rape horrific, then few would laugh and comedians wouldn’t have a reason to make the jokes. Child murder jokes don’t really take off, presumably because too few people find them funny. This difference has many more implications. For example, comedians do terrorism jokes, but seem very careful not to make fun of the victims.

    I would also argue that 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. At least it may ease the feeling of intense loneliness and abandonment that rape victims often have to cope with. (I admire you that you actually stood up in the show – I wouldn’t have the courage! But it’s also important to raise this discussion outside the actual shows.)

    Finally: to some degree, this also applies to other marginalised groups, e.g. people with disabilities, ethnic groups, low social classes or similar. So there will be similar issues when comedians make fun of people with a mental health problem that is stigmatized, while similar jokes about people with cancer (not stigmatized) may be acceptable.

    In the end, 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.

  16. Rob Mailloux says:

    First of all, to say victims of rape are not handled the same sensitivity as other victims is purely speculation. It makes me wonder about you I’d you feel otherwise. I’m sure you can find anecdotal evidence to the contrary but that’s what it is anecdotal. The same I could find a holocaust denier or a Malthusian to validate my argument. To further that point, in the 50’s and 60’s crimes against minorities were not taking as seriously or even considered crimes. Did Lenny Bruce’s act contribute to the further persecution of minorities?

    The point about comedians using rape because they know it won’t horrify audiences proves you know very little about stand up or the natural reaction to rape. Rape is amongst and arguably the most difficult subject to talk about in stand up and the very use of the word, no matter the point being made will turn an audience off. That is in fact the reason comedians often use it. Rape is funny BECAUSE it’s the most horrific thing. If it was considered mundane it wouldn’t be nearly as attractive a comedic tool.

    Consumption is power, if 1 in 4 people have been sexually assaulted and they feel the way you suppose they do about the jokes. Than the law of averages would say that comedians who perform them would have short lived career (obviously not the case for Jim, whom I was the support at for on 3 sold out they’re shows and has an FX show coming this year). You have the right to your opinion, but not to infringe on our ability to make these jokes ( btw I don’t even have a rape joke). It bothers me you think you have the moral high ground, but it’s important to remember that many before you have thought the same thing, more will after.

  17. Rob Mailloux says:

    And god damn that grammar is bad but I needed to get it out. My apologizes.

  18. Rob: It’s not speculation or anecdotal evidence. There is a lot of research on what psychologists call “rape myth acceptance”. Some numbers from the scientific literature: “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 and Fitzgerald 1994), and that men are more likely than women to endorse rape myths (Suarez and Gadalla 2010). When utilizing open-ended questions asking participants to list their personal beliefs about rape victims, Buddie and Miller (2001) found that 66% of their college sample (comprised of women and men) endorsed some combination of rape myths.” (quoted from Edwards, K. M., Turchik, J. A., Dardis, C. M., Reynolds, N., & Gidycz, C. A. (2011). Rape myths: History, individual and Institutional-Level presence, and implications for change. Sex Roles, 65 (11), 761-773. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-9943-2)

    I think you will find that rape myth acceptance is therefore somewhat more common in our society than holocaust denial, and I’m not sure when I last met a Malthusian. So equating these really trivialises the problem.

    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). Comparing rape victim and perpetrator blaming in a police officer sample. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39 (5), 646-665. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0093854811434696)

  19. Oh, 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, D. L., Lonsway, K. A., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (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. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jrpe.1998.2238

  20. Rob Mailloux says:

    Can you cite an article I don’t have to pay to read? Did you write it or something?

  21. Unfortunately academic articles are often very expensive, although you may get them through a university library. It’s bad that these papers are not published as open access (i.e. free to readers), as the research is directly relevant to millions of people and useful background for discussions like this. In future, hopefully (if we keep lobbying for it) this will change and results from all publicly funded research will be free and open access, as it should be.

    As these papers are not from me, I can’t make them more accessible, sadly. But I have to see if I can find something more accessible in my notes.

  22. WorldofSab says:

    Um, I’m female, and the victim of sexual assault and attempted rape.
    I find some rape jokes funny. Sometimes I don’t. It’s an entirely personal choice what I find funny or not. The same applies to pretty much every topic. Everyone has their own personal ‘line’ that can be crossed by comedians.

    Personally, I don’t consider my assaults to be any worse because they’re sexual in nature. I do appreciate that I may do had I been penetrated. However, they do not define me. I am not a ‘survivor’ (hideous term).
    I choose what I find funny or not. I do not need any alpha male to make that choice for me.

    Completely agree with Rob Mailloux’s comments:
    “The point about comedians using rape because they know it won’t horrify audiences proves you know very little about stand up or the natural reaction to rape. Rape is amongst and arguably the most difficult subject to talk about in stand up and the very use of the word, no matter the point being made will turn an audience off. That is in fact the reason comedians often use it. Rape is funny BECAUSE it’s the most horrific thing. If it was considered mundane it wouldn’t be nearly as attractive a comedic tool”

    The job that I do regularly requires ‘graveyard humour’ – it’s the way some people choose to cope. Don’t take that away from people because not everyone chooses to cope in the same way.

  23. Well said, well fought. Even if it doesn’t look like they’re listening 😦

  24. Rob Mailloux says:

    Ya, looks like the comedians and the “victims” you claim to be defending are both not listening to you tell them what they should be offended by.

    How arrogant is this all. Some guy telling other guys not to make jokes because of women who might not be able to handle them. Maybe we should listen to the “defenseless victims” you’re so bravely defending.

  25. WorldofSab says:

    Rather ironically rape is about control. Being an alpha male is about control.
    I will not be told what I am allowed to find funny.
    Tends to smack of Mary Whitehouse style censorship: SHE didn’t like vulgarity etc therefore no-one should.

    ….and I STILL don’t understand what makes rape so much more different than many other horrific crimes.

  26. Rob Mailloux says:

    Thank you for adding clarity to the argument were I wasn’t able to.

  27. Rob Mailloux says:

    Btw. The author of this article is slagging you off in twitter because you weren’t FULLY raped. No half raped allowed I guess. These sensitive people seem to be pretty choosy on who they defend. Doesn’t take long to see people’s hypocrisy.

  28. JFDerry says:

    I had not intended to respond to any comments, but rather let people discuss this amongst themselves. However, Rob Mailloux has made a personal attack here which I responded to on Twitter, pointing out that while he was claiming the support of “victims” of rape for his defence of rape jokes, WorldofSab said they had not been penetrated and that the common definition of rape in most countries does involve penetration. Nonetheless, it is terrible that they were sexually assaulted. Rob, you cannot have it both ways. Either you are producing evidence to the contrary, showing that there are rape “victims” that enjoy rape jokes, or you need to rethink your position.

    Also, my article is in no way a review of comedy acts, as you repeatedly claimed, on and on and on. It is clearly an article about rape jokes, as experienced in the context of two gigs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. If I had been reviewing these acts, they would have been written about in separate pieces, and I would have described more of the act, and the performer backgrounds to give some context. There might also have been a star rating or a mark out of ten, or something, as a bit of a clue.

    WorldofSab, thank you for your opinion. It is as valid as that of anyone else who would like to leave comment here. I cannot judge how much it might differ from the point of view of someone who has been penetrated during an assault, and I do not discount your opinion by any arbitrary relative difference, despite the definition of rape by the law. However, you must accept that you are the single exception to voice their opinions in favour of rape jokes from all the victims of sexual assault who have made contact over this. Nonetheless, I am just mighty pleased that you did “knee him in the balls”, and I hope it really fucking hurt the shit.

  29. Rob Mailloux says:

    First let me say. I haven’t me mentioned the word review in at least a day. Basically since my second tweet to you (It is a review however, but that point is unimportant), you are the one dragging that on because I think you see it as the onl point you haven’t been defeated on.

    Now claims that I personally attacked you. Seems sort of dramatic for a man who wrote about a few comedians using their names claiming that they are at least partially responsible for future rape attacks, without bothering to even quote the actual jokes you find so demeaning. That my friend is a personal attack.

    May I add that you threw the first tweet this morning claiming that I said I had the support of a rape victim, but she hasn’t been penetrated so it doesn’t count. It scrambles the mind how you cannot see how that is the exact sentiment you claim to be fighting. She was only sexually assaulted so she doesn’t count. WHO THE FUCK are you to say that. You’re a victim of nothing, other than a joke you didn’t care for. You seek to control minds the way a rapist seeks to control te mind and body of a victim. You are a coward throwing rocks at those who don’t share your opinion. You have proven in your statements about worldofsab to be a borderline monster. You wrote this article seeking attention and unfortunately you got it. Don’t think it’s is anything else. You are defending no one. If you were, you would have asked their opinion, not told them it. This is nothing but a man serving himself congratulations from simpletons.

  30. If you’re gonna laugh at one person’s pain and balk at another, you should stay out of comedy clubs.

    http://danishanwar.com/2011/10/24/offended-by-a-joke-shut-your-stupid-self-righteous-face/

  31. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Compassionate Man, for defending my delicate lady feelings. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your protection. It’s almost as if you are acting as a father figure–a patriarch, if you will. This article is so nobly patriarchal.

  32. Hey Rob, speaking as someone watching from the sidelines, you’ve been yammering on at this author for days now and at no stage have you had any means of refuting the core argument, that rape jokes are
    a) hurtful to victims of rape/sex assault (there may be notable exceptions, and I applaud their strength, but they are just that, exceptions)
    b) something which can desensitise the topic, demean victims & normalise culprits

    You can try and dissect the character of JF Derry, but that does nothing to undermine those arguments.
    You may protest that different people find different things funny, that everything is up for humour or nothing is, etc,etc, but again, it does nothing to undermine the arguments.

    You appear to me as someone who has been confronted by an uncomfortable reality, and is shooting the messenger.

  33. Mo says:

    I am not a “simpleton” nor am I an oversensitive humourless Mary Whitehouse. I just don’t find rape jokes funny. I also don’t find racist jokes or jokes about assault, murder, or Aids funny.

    I don’t see this as a question of free speech and “pushing the boundaries of comedy”

    When I was a teenager “jokes” about Biafrans and Ethiopians starving made the rounds and anyone who said they weren’t funny but just sick was condemned as being uncool and having no sense of humour by the teenage boys (and they were nearly always boys) who passed the jokes around.

    Rape and other sick jokes get a reaction and most comedians who use this kind of material aren’t trying to make a point. They are just trying to get noticed, rather like toddlers who shout poo, or bum in public or like those teenage boys with their racist jokes in the 70s and 80s

  34. Personally, I’ve been finding the debate around this topic more and more interesting over the past few months, and the kerfuffle around this argument has been worth watching.

    My attitude is that sexual assault is very dangerous stuff, and should be handled carefully, but good comics can execute it well. However, the vast majority of comics using it in their acts today simply aren’t good enough to pull it off, and use it to add some sauce to otherwise bland, material. I think the fashion for it at the moment is a symptom of a famine of ideas, and it could genuinely be culturally damaging. Let’s not forget, the vast majority of rape cases don’t end in conviction, and we have been told time and again of victims being afraid of not being taken seriously, and not without reason.

    Pedestrian comics trot it out every five minutes because they’re desperate for laughs, that’s not cool. Masterful comics might use it, but they don’t rely on it.

  35. Rob Mailloux says:

    Any joke can be hurtful to anyone. I haven’t covered that point because it no point at all. Its a part of the overall debate. What can you joke about that won hurt ANYONE and if you are reasonable enough to admit there is nothing. Than who are you to say that one persons feeling are more important to another, or what victim of which crime is most relevant. You demean all others suffering by saying rape is off limits but murder, etc isn’t. and who are you to tell a victim how THEY should cope with something. Pure arrogance.

    This is very scary in fact. Like you guys can’t control yourself from raping after you hear a rape joke. It’s a lot like when the religious question why atheists don’t murder or rape without a god to tell them not to. Makes me questioning the author more than the comedian.

    And to the point that I’ve come to some reality. It seems like the lot of you are prone to making judgements in others. Why is it you have to impose your will onto others? Fact is, I don’t even have a rape joke. I haven’t had something good enough to say in the subject yet. Though the longer this goes on the closer I am. I’m jus mature enough to realize that no one can tell everyone how to think or feel on a subject.

  36. Rob Mailloux says:

    Well if Jim Jefferies is your idea of a pedestrian comedian, I’d say very few can live up to your excellent tastes.

  37. Rob Mailloux says:

    So no race or murder or aids jokes should be made? No matter which side of the matter they fall on? Remember we are not debatin good and bad rape jokes. This is about all rape jokes. Yes some are bad. Some murder jokes are bad or aid jokes or Ethiopian jokes. But some open up positive debate.

    I suppose Chris Rock shouldn’t talk about race? Or Mike Destefano about AIDS. This is the comedy world you are asking for. A world were we discuss nothing, and comedy accomplishes nothing. It’s a pointless wack off session. You enjoy that.

  38. Rob, rape is unique because there is no crime against a person which is as contentious. It’s been shown that different people have different ideas of what constitutes rape. There are people who will argue that a particular rape doesn’t count. Think of Todd Akin and his nonsense. There is no corollary to this for murder, assault, cancer, paedophilia, etc. For these instances, everybody is on the same side and there is no debate. We still live with assholes who will challenge rape as a crime.

    I never told any victim to do anything, are you confusing me with someone else?

    If you think that the argument being made is “rape jokes make otherwise normal people commit rape”, you have profound comprehension problems, and I can’t help you with those.

    Nobody is imposing will, censoring, gagging or otherwise telling people what to say or think. All that’s happening here is a case is being made against rape jokes. The entire post could (sort of) be represented by this statement:
    “There is abundant evidence that rape jokes hurt people in many ways, and I think people should stop making them”. It’s up to the artist and the audience member to decide whether this is enough for them to change how they approach comedy.

    Just my opinion, but there’s been a thousand comedians like Jim Jeffries. His act is old hat.

  39. Rob Mailloux says:

    People like Todd Akin are products of a lack of conversation. And how amazing is it that this is the first mention of him in this debate. There are people making legislation in rape but the attack is on comedians opening dialogue on it. Again remember, not all rape jokes are pro rape. The author is not asking for the end of bad rape jokes, but all rape jokes.

    And rape is the only contentious crime? I’d disagree with that. Things like Stan your ground laws make murder less black and white, life ruining fraud. Rape is not the only contentious crime. None of those issues are black and white and if you think they are, that’s simple mindedness.

    You are telling victims what to think. By saying all rape jokes are bad, you are saying that how victims should feel. How is that not obvious?

    You can attack my comprehension but I believe you are the one not critically thinking. If rape jokes, as you are claiming continue a rape culture, than at least in part you are claiming they lead to rape. This is not necessarily direct towards you as mug as te overall discussion that’s taken place.

    The last point I FULLY agree with (not the one on Jim, he’s not your taste but old hat can be said about any comedian you don’t like). As an opinion, people can say that THEY don’t like rape jokes. They can never say rape jokes should no be made, and they can never (and this is my issue with the author) tell people how they should feel about jokes. Comedy is the most subjective performance art. If comedians want to continue to make rape jokes, they must deal with some people not liking it. That’s fine. But to write an article, not quote the joke and slander comedians by name is irresponsible. The author was seeking attention and accolades. You can tell from the absolutely dillusional idea that the audience lived him and cheered him out te door. Tom Stade fans, Jim Jefferies fans ( and I’ve been a support act for Jim in Canada many times) love them and would not turn on them like that. It’s obvious he needed this attention, and I regret giving it too him.

  40. JFDerry says:

    Rob, I am not rising to your vacuous nonsense about attention seeking. I will point out though two things in my article that you clearly failed to read:

    Tod Akin is mentioned,

    “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”

    plus, the material I objected to is documented,

    “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 [her], was to get a knife and cut some more.” You enjoy that?

  41. Rob Mailloux says:

    First of all, doing it now does nothing. Also it’s a crass remark taken out of any context. Secondly, the way you phrase which (which is undoubtably bias) it actually makes no mention of rape. It’s violent, however noention that she was an unwilling participant. If you want to split hairs.

  42. The issue being discussed, and which has been studied isn’t about pro- or anti- rape jokes, it’s about rape as source material for comedy.

    I see your point on Stand Your Ground, that’s another good example of contentious crime.

    Again, not telling anyone how to feel. Simply listening to others when they actually SAY how they feel. Recognising that rape jokes DO upset victims.

    I agree with your point, that saying cultural contexts can make a a rape more likely draws a connection from rape jokes to actual rapes, but perhaps that’s what you should have said the first time.

    The author absolutely shouldn’t quote or otherwise relate the rape jokes, if he did it would undermine everything he’s said here. As for the claim that he’s seeking attention, accolades, etc, I think it’s absurd. As far as I can tell he had a thought, he thought it was important, so he put it up for debate, with supporting materials. If you have a problem with him for that, you have a problem with most of the internet, if not anybody who has ever expressed an opinion in the public domain.

    But then, some people say rape victims are just looking for attention, too.

  43. Rob Mailloux says:

    If he’s not seeking attention/approval, why does he mention multiple times they applause he received from heckling the performance. Is that in any way relevant to the discussion, or self congratulation?

    You are saying how others should feel. You are speaking on behalf of all victims, a position you are in no authority to do. In fact the only person in this position to speak on this has come to my defense (granted she was only sexual assaulted which to the author isn’t good enough). You are the one speaking in absolutes. I’m not saying all rape victims should like rape jokes, you are saying they all don’t. It’s not true.

    Lastly, now you are lumping men in with rape apologist, which has been a tactic for people on your side. It’s had no grounds and frankly is libel. Defending a joke is not defending rape. I understand why you feel you need to resort to those tactics though.

  44. Alexandra says:

    This is interesting as someone who worked on a show in fringe that all of these comics have appeared on, as well as someone who has been raped (including penetration, in case you were wondering) and who does have a rape joke. I saw someone walk out of Jim Jeffries spot on our show and I hadnt been offended by him, and even I was a bit puzzled by it. I have cringed and been offended by some rape jokes. That said, I strongly feel there should be more jokes about rape from the perspective of those of us who have been attacked (i can think of three professional comics who have confided in me about having been victimized but only one semi-pro, who has started talking about it on stage). In the case of jokes like sarah silverman’s, often in context they are obviously absurd or ironic and actually deride rape and rapists. A lot of rape jokes make me cringe and can remind me of some painful memories. I also feel that a number of comics make these jokes without realizing that it can alienate fellow comics and audiences who already feel vulnerable. That said, i think unilaterally trying to shut down the topic of rape from all comedy fails to take into consideration the idea that opening the discussion up can be and how it can help remove the ‘victim’ stigma that we get stamped with. If you have been through something or have something to say that is interesting or insightful about any subject, go for it. The more we open up and talk about it from our perspective, the more I feel comics will catch on that its not just a taboo to exploit, because taboo subjects are crack to comics. My hope is cheap jokes about rape will encourage better jokes about rapists.

  45. Rob Mailloux says:

    Can I official put for the win! Thank you Alexandra. I think we can all put this to rest now.

  46. WorldofSab says:

    Nodding and grinning furiously at everything Alexandra has said!! (and have deleted what I was going to say as Alexandra has it). Thank you!

  47. By my reading, he mentions it once, and I don’t have a problem with somebody being pleased at a successful joke. Surely you can relate?

    You’re putting words in my mouth. For the umpteenth time, not once have I said how people should feel. As for whether rape victims like rape jokes, it has been established as scientific fact, clinically proven, empirically demonstrated that the overwhelming majority don’t like them. Now maybe that’s not good enough for you, but better investigators than me have established this, and I don’t have the capacity to better them. If you have any way of refuting the evidence, be my guest.

    No, I’m drawing a comparison between you and rape apologists, as when something doesn’t suit either of you, you claim the offended party is merely seeking attention. If I have offended you in any way, I apologise. The accusation in the context of this debate however, was too good to resist.

    As far as “sides” go, I’m on no side, unless subscribing to the controversial maxim “don’t be an asshole” divides me from someone, in which case, I’m gladly divided. And as far as tactics are concerned, my tactic was to demonstrate that your rallying cry, that someone is just looking for attention, is used repeatedly against rape victims. If you think that’s playing dirty, tough shit.

  48. Rob Mailloux says:

    Well it’s a pretty flimsy argument to say that me accusing the author of seeking attention is the same or similar to accusing a victim of rap of the same. This seems like the last string of desperate argument you are clinging to. The two obviously has nothing to do with each other. The author is a victim of nothing. And I provide ample evidence as to why I believe he seeks attention.

    I’m not sure what evidence you have presented, mostly just opinion. Again, the fact is that the only two victims( I wish I could stop saying victim here) have come out against your position. I understand that’s not universal, but that’s my point, none of it is universal and no one has the right to legislate feelings.
    Now I’m not sure who is being an asshole, I think I’m rather civilly discussing my opinion. And I wouldn’t say anyone making an joke automatically makes them an asshole. My opinions though.

  49. JFDerry says:

    Thank you for your contribution Alexandria. You are brave to step forward and share your views. It is extremely rare for victims of sexual abuse and assault to do so. That is why it is so difficult to gauge exact statistics of the people involved.

    However, 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.

    Beyond this irrefutable evidence, the problem with Rob, and a very few others (yes, he is very much in the minority despite being the loudest in that he is posting most comments, as you can see from the tone of the majority of comments left here by different people), is that they fail to understand that this is not about being offended, but about how making rape jokes can be dangerous.

    There is strong evidence that normalisation of rape in society increases proclivity for it. Additionally, rapists feel accepted when people are laughing with them, and they see rape featured positively.

    There is something you will know about called rape myth acceptance. It is fuelled by downplaying rape, such as in making light of it. This is highly likely the effect of most of the ways it is included in comedy. Increased acceptance of rape myths is known to lead to both the increased likelihood of rape and the diminishment of rape victim esteem.

    Thus, there is an argument for rape jokes that do attack rape and rapists, eg, Silverman’s “Who’s going to protest?” which highlights how cowardly rape jokers are for their taking on an unchallenged topic. However, when you consider this in parallel with the discomfort reported by victims of sexual assault, and the dangers of “triggering” and decreased self esteem, then it seems obvious that rape jokes are not funny, but actually very dangerous.

  50. Rob Mailloux says:

    What’s belittling is someone telling them how they should feel.

    Of course I’m in the minority, it’s a no win situation defending rape jokes. The tactic you and others have used here to associate me defending jokes, with actual attackers silences any sort of public discourse.

    You use the term irefutable evidence without presenting any evidence at all. II’ve yet to see any evidence produced that rape jokes lead to more rape. I’ve been presented with articles on rape myths which have nothing to do with jokes on a broad sense. And as far as triggers go. We’re is the outcry for shows like Law and Order that profit off of rape every week? Does that not trigger?

    Rapists are goin to rape. It has nothing to do with rape jokes. You heard these jokes. Do you feel like raping someone now? I know I don’t. In fact, rape was far more common before stand up comedy even existed as an art form and a rape joke was even thought of. It’s ludicrous to mention unreported crime and not acknowledge that we’ve come a long way from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. So maybe rape jokes are having a positive effect.

    You mention all these studies without presenting any. The part that bothers me is. Don’t these studies have te same effect? Submitting women to answer questions about how they feel about a highly traumatic incident. At least comedy give them water to swallow the pill with. And what about woman like Alexandria( who you can call an exception to the rule, but have no proof) that feel empowered talking about it. As a matter of fact, what issue EVER has been improved through silence?

    And if so many people feel this way and 1 in 4 woman are sexually abused. How do comedians like Jim Jefferies continue to sell out theatres. I suppose woman are buying tickets to something they hate?

    It’s becoming obvious that you are ignoring everything that is being said to you here. Rape jokes don downplay rape. That’s a baseless leap in logic. I’ve said before, rape is used in humor as the most extreme circumstance. That’s why it has an effect. If it was downplayed, te joke wouldn’t work.

    You sought attention from a popula issue you were not fully equipped to discuss. I think it’s time you bow out gracefully.

  51. Scott MacLean says:

    You people seem to think you have a right to “not be offended.” You don’t have that right. These comedians aren’t knocking down the doors of rape victims and telling their jokes. They aren’t sitting in hospitals waiting for rape victims to get swabbed so they can have a laugh and they aren’t going out, raping people saying.”don’t you get it!?” While the victims are screaming in agony. You don’t want to live in fear of hearing a rape joke? Stay out of comedy clubs. You don’t want to live in fear of hearing glorified nobodies create drama in a house full of strangers? Don’t watch big brother.
    As far as this”rape jokes perpetuate rape by making rapists feel like what they’re doing is ok” argument goes, it’s a load of bullshit and completely irrelevant to comedy. The BTK killer was inspired to kill his victims by a hallucination of a frog he saw who told him to do so. One could claim that Kermit the frog is partially to blame. After all, people enjoy him and are entertained by him so naturally BTK would have felt justification in listening to such a loveable frog. (doesn’t make much sense does it?) There was a man who decapitated a young man on a greyhound bus then ate his flesh. When asked why he said he believed God told him to do it. Should we board up the churches or place the blame on actors, atheletes and politicians who sing such high praises to God? Or should we be honest with ourselves that these crimes were committed by people who had serious mental issues? I have never heard of a person sitting in the audience of a comedy club that was persuaded to change his stance on rape being negative upon hearing a rape joke. Nor have I heard of a rapist who thought his actions were wrong but then took comfort that he did no wrong after hearing a comedian tell a rape joke. But for the sake of argument, let’s say someone was inspired to rape directly upon hearing a rape joke that changed his mind on the morality of the crime, who is to blame? The comedian? Or the guy who was so mentally disturbed that he thought rape was a perfectly innocent endeavor? One need only think honestly to come to a rational conclusion.

  52. @Rob: You had a very good question about scientific studies: “The part that bothers me is. Don’t these studies have te same effect? Submitting women to answer questions about how they feel about a highly traumatic incident.” That’s a fair and important question, but it’s something that is also highly controlled. Nowadays scientists can’t do these studies just as they like; before they interview anybody they have to write ethics assessments and discuss the details of the proposed study with an ethics committee, and can only start if they get approval. In general they have to make sure that the wording of the questions and the whole setting does not lead to distress, and also that there is appropriate professional support available if there is any risk of something going wrong. The details will vary depending on exactly what is being researched, but that’s the general principle. That’s not only for rape studies, but practically every research with people (even if you just ask them about their favourite food or whatever, although of course the requirements and safeguards would be lower then). If you look at older research from the 1960s or 70s (before this was regulated), yes there was a lot of weird and bad stuff going on in psychology and other fields, but in the last 10 or 20 years I don’t think there is an issue (at least not in Europe and North America, I don’t know the regulations elsewhere so I can’t comment). But it is a good question and we always have to be keep improving ethical standards.

    There is research on factors that influence rape myth acceptance or violence against women. I have to agree with you that I haven’t seen studies that discuss comedy specifically, but 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. JF has actually a link to one study in the text. Here is a review:
    Flood, M., & Pease, B. (2009). Factors influencing attitudes to violence against women. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 10 (2), 125-142. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1524838009334131

    Again it’s not free (see discussion above) so it may not help much

    @Scott: All these studies of course don’t mean that somebody hearing a rape joke will then go off and rape somebody. No, it absolutely doesn’t work like that. But they show that if people believe that certain attitudes are generally accepted, then some men are a little bit more willing to go further (“more likely to endorse sexual aggression, high-risk mate poaching behaviors, and high-risk mate retention tactics”, as one study describes it).

  53. @Scott: You seem to assume that rape is restricted to “mentally disturbed” and have “serious mental issues”. Actually this is an extreme form of one of the common rape myths (“Rape is a deviant event”); see my comment further up. And it isn’t true, as anybody with the slightest knowledge of rape crimes knows.

  54. JFDerry says:

    Another excellent contribution from Stephan. Thank you. Not because he is supporting any particular viewpoint, but because he is drawing on the evidence and providing informed comment.

    The problem with the latter part of this comment stream is that it has been hijacked by people simply shouting the loudest, instead of carefully investigating the evidence. Someone says, “here’s the evidence to show that there is a likely association between X and Y” and someone else shouts back, “NO THERE ISN’T”, without the merest scrap of evidence to support their claim. We are going around in circles.

    For example, I offer,

    ” 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 is proven: B is caused by A. The links are provided in the article, and it is up to you to follow that research.

    Yet, I get back,

    “What’s belittling is someone telling them how they should feel.”

    That is claiming the research is wrong in a manner that is both inaccurate and aggressive.

    Also, there is the ongoing,

    “You people seem to think you have a right to “not be offended.” You don’t have that right.”

    which has been acknowledged as not being part of the discussion here from the outset..

    To reiterate: this is a difference between being offensive and being dangerous, for which there is a proven causal link between rape myth acceptance and rape proclivity. There is a suggestion that laughing at rape positively reinforces rape myth acceptance.

    Please stop just regurgitating your personal feelings on this and abusing people who are trying to discuss the facts, and go and look at the research that formed the premise of this article. Thank you.

  55. WorldofSab says:

    Suitably chastised. Wouldn’t have bothered had I known opinion and regurgitation of personal feelings were irrelevant and unwanted, but I am belittled by your patronage not by any jokes.

    and by the way, before I go, you might want to put ‘Trigger Warning’ at the start of your blog post.

  56. Rob Mailloux says:

    But again you are makIng the leap in logic that the jokes with further rape myths. Even Stephan Admits there is no research on comedy an it’s effect in rape myths. So drawing any conclusion is your own opinion and not facts from an article. Luckily for you they are not free and most people will not discover you are outright lying about this. Perhaps you should have written an article of rape on tv. Something you could properly plagerise. Or maybe you should employee critical thinking, and really examine your article an the response you’ve received from it.

    I have in no way tried to be the loudest. Most responses have been towards me and I guess me replying makes me reactionary somehow? Seems to me I’m just part of a discussion that you brought up in a public place. Seems like you’d prefer I just shut up and take your opinion. Honestly, you show a lot more tendencies towards rape than the comedians you slandered.

  57. Rob Mailloux says:

    Stephan really offers the most intelligent rebuttals on this (it’s to bad he didn’t write it, I’m sure it would have been far better). However I still think you have to look a each joke on an individual basis (again taking the leap in logic that the study can apply to comedy). The study isn’t that all talk on rape is bad on television and media, it’s that it generally is handled poorly. I find it very hard to believe any academic would decide that completely ignoring the topic in public is any way to handle the issue.

    Let’s far facts TV and media are not know for their advanced thinking and progressive natural. Stand Up comedy however exists to fill that very void. Are some rape jokes poor, absolutely. Are all of them? Far from it. I don’t like bringing up my material in these debates because it comes off self serving or congratulatory. But the only time I’ve handles rape in a bit is in a chunk about abortion, and one woman’s remark that “women who are raped should keep te baby to add positivity to the trauma they ensured”. I then ridicule that notion. ” you might as well just name that baby rape, because that’a all she thinks about when she looks at that child. “oh that’s a beautiful baby you have there”, ” yes, she has my attackers eyes”, ” I’d breast feed her but I get panic attacks every time somebody touches me, so we’ll just bottle feed for now”. Obviously it’s a joke an points need to be exaggerated. But I like to hear your take on how it contributes to rape myths.

  58. JFDerry says:

    You continue to use ad hominem attacks on me Rob, but I am not descending to your level.

    The earliest publication that I have in front of me that firmly links humorous reference to rape with rape myth acceptance is Odem and Clay-Warner’s “Confronting Rape and Sexual Assault” from 1997. Jokes are included in a list of sources of influence along with, movies including pornography (especially violent porn), newspapers, books, and music videos.
    Dr Mary E. Odem is Associate Professor holding a joint appointment with Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. U.S. History with focus on women, gender, immigration, race and ethnicity, at Emory University.
    Dr. Jody Clay-Warner is Meigs Professor of Sociology and Director of the Criminal Justice Studies Program at the University of Georgia.

    From 1998 there is this, “Results 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.” in, The Enjoyment of Sexist Humor, Rape Attitudes, and Relationship Aggression in College Students by Kathryn M. Ryan and Jeanne Kanjorski. SEX ROLES, Volume 38, Numbers 9-10 (1998), 743-756, DOI: 10.1023/A:1018868913615

    If you are unable to access these via a library, then there are alternative, authoritative, online resources that give the same message:

    “Examples of Rape Culture” including “Sexually explicit jokes”
    “How can men and women combat Rape Culture? … Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape”
    http://www.marshall.edu/wpmu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/

    “Examples of Rape Culture … Sexually explicit jokes and rape jokes”
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/sexualabuse/educated/bringing_in_the_bystander/rape_culture.html

    In a structured debate, at this point anyone objecting would produce equally authoritative evidence to refute these claims.

  59. @Rob can I just quickly clarify: I didn’t say “there is no research on comedy and it’s effect on rape myths” but just “I haven’t seen any”. To explain: I have been interested in rape myths in general, but only in the last few days comedy has come to my attention, so I haven’t had time and opportunity to search specifically for research about comedy. Finding scientific literature on specific questions can be very difficult and time-consuming, even with good access at a big university. I see JF has now provided something but I haven’t read that yet.

    I agree that comedy is different from media, but the research is also about how myths are encouraged when people feel that others around them share the same myths. So, judging from how I understand the research in general, it seems to me that everybody, including comedians, have to be very careful how to talk about rape, as there are lots of hidden issues. My experience in recent years with comedy at Edinburgh Fringe was also not so great (not that I was offended personally, just felt that material encouraged prejudice without making useful points, and a lot was just simply not funny, just rude), so I think it is valuable for all of us to have such discussions.

    (I will not have much time in the next two weeks so please excuse me if I disappear now…)

  60. Rob Mailloux says:

    I don’t blame you sir. It was good discussing with you. Just to point out though. This conversation was not about being careful when making rape jokes, rather can they be made at all. I dare say we’ve come to an agreement of sorts.

  61. Rob Mailloux says:

    I would finally like to point out to Mr Derry that none of his own research backs his claim. Never does it say in the research that the mention of rape contributes to rape myths. Again, it’s a good defense against bad rape jokes, but not ALL rape jokes. Your thesis that all rape jokes are unfunny is unfounded by any of that research, which may I add is as opinion heavy as your own article. Just because someone at Dartmouth says its true doesn’t make it any more so than if you or I had. It doesn’t look like any actual research was done.

  62. Rob Mailloux says:

    Wow. Having read all of that I realize how futile this has become. My opinion is here for public record. I think it speaks well for itself. The authoritative research has absolutely no research attached. Strictly an opinion with a .edu next too it. Simply a bunch of thoughts for people like you to plagiarize and use out of context.

    I’ve said my piece. Going to go write a great rape joke now. Good day

  63. JFDerry says:

    Rob, I sense that whatever references are provided, you will choose to ignore them and continue in your ignorance. I really can’t do anything about that. You are clearly close-minded. However, if you are serious about exploring these issues, rather than continuing to posture and comment from an uninformed position, here are some more references, spelt out, to help you once again,

    1/
    Your claim: “Never does it say in the research that the mention of rape contributes to rape myths.”

    Example of study refuting your claim: 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.

    2/
    Your claim: “rape jokes are unfunny is unfounded by any of that research”

    Example of study refuting your claim: The Enjoyment of Sexist Humor, Rape Attitudes, and Relationship Aggression in College Students by Kathryn M. Ryan and Jeanne Kanjorski. Sex Roles, Volume 38, Numbers 9-10 (1998), 743-756.

    3/ (from before but I’ll include it here, for your convenience)
    Your claim: “you are saying that how victims should feel”

    Example of study refuting your claim: A Framework for Thinking about the (not-so-funny) Effects of Sexist Humor. Julie A. Woodzicka & Thomas E. Ford. 2009. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 6(3), pp. 174-195.

    One thing that has been bugging me, beyond your inability to engage with this evidence and discuss it intelligently, is your nasty accusation earlier that I was judging the severity of WorldofSab’s assault in the context of their contributing to the discussion. You claimed I said,

    “she hasn’t been penetrated so it doesn’t count. It scrambles the mind how you cannot see how that is the exact sentiment you claim to be fighting. She was only sexually assaulted so she doesn’t count. WHO THE FUCK are you to say that”.

    And yet, anyone will see from the comments above that in actual fact, what I had written which resulted in your vitriol, was phrased in a grateful and completely non-judgemental way, firstly clarifying the legal definition of rape in many countries, then acknowledging that it was impossible to make an objective differentiation of opinion,

    “WorldofSab said they had not been penetrated and that the common definition of rape in most countries does involve penetration. Nonetheless, it is terrible that they were sexually assaulted.” … “WorldofSab, thank you for your opinion. It is as valid as that of anyone else who would like to leave comment here. I cannot judge how much it might differ from the point of view of someone who has been penetrated during an assault, and I do not discount your opinion by any arbitrary relative difference, despite the definition of rape by the law.”

    Finally, you also ranted, “You’re a victim of nothing, other than a joke you didn’t care for”, again fantasising that you are in possession of the facts. You don’t know any more about me other than what you have gleaned from the internet, and that certainly does not include my sexual history.

    Please take time to read up on this subject if you wish to continue this conversation with dignity. Please stop ranting and calling insults. It is diverting, probably disrespectful of rape victims, and has definitely drawn attention away from progressing with the debate. In fact, unless someone else takes up the thread in a constructive manner, I fear your vociferous domination may have already killed it dead.

  64. Rob Mailloux says:

    Again, it’s insane that you can’t see how the research contains nothing but opinion. You might as well cite the Daniel Tosh blog as evidence. Nothing statistical or analytical, it strictly just describes what the author feels are rape myths. And once again even the opinion would only apply to bad rape jokes.

    You can say you were grateful in your words to worldofsab but anyone can see your intent was to disqualify her opinion. Why else bring I up publicly, unprompted on twitter? And she agrees with me. Don’t misrepresent the situation like you have seemed to do every step of the way here.

    And as far as me killing the conversation. Three has been great discussion here excluding you. Me and Stephan came to somewhat of an understanding. You are stubborn and continue to rely on opinion based articles as actual evidence. That’s not evidence and wouldn’t be considered in any “authoritative debate”. Again, I’m happy to leave what has been said as public record, though I have a feeling it will be deleted to further your agenda. Either way. Goodbye.

  65. JFDerry says:

    Rob,

    please grow up or shut up. I provided references in direct answer to your challenges and all you have done is claim that, “research contains nothing but opinion … Nothing statistical or analytical”.

    The first reference I have listed for you above tested RMA feedback in 264 men. There was a robust statistical analysis that concluded increased RMA does indeed promote rape proclivity.

    The second reference survey 399 men and women, and again good statistics showed that “sexist humor was positively correlated with rape-related attitudes and beliefs” and that a statistically significant proportion of women do not like rape jokes.

    The third reference above is a review paper, drawing upon 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” that normalises sexual assault and severely thwarts the regeneration of rape victim self-esteem.

    You clearly do not wish to accept that you are in the wrong, that rape victims who “like” rape jokes are in the small minority and, according to the strong evidence that contradicts your position, you are playing a very dangerous game by supporting rape jokes in comedy.

    To date, you have been the least qualified to comment on this topic and yet you have dominated the thread, refusing to engage with the evidence that has been presented herein. Furthermore, these are not the only research papers to demonstrate these effects.

    I suggest you make your apologies then leave because, despite whatever you say, the research shows clearly that rape jokes are not funny, they are dangerous.

  66. World of Sab says:

    I was hoping to leave this one be, but I keep getting notifications about new comments!
    This tweet by JfDerry upset me to be honest, more than any joke, because he meant it :

    “Latest comments claiming to be from a rape victim’s POV, but say they weren’t raped! @roblovesarguing crowing….”

    Thanks for that.

    World of Sab out.

  67. JFDerry says:

    World of Sab,

    you know that is taken out of context and is not the whole conversation. I refuted this accusation in an earlier comment,

    https://jfderry.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/rape-jokes-are-not-funny/#comment-1512

    If you had reproduced the other tweets, it would show that Rob was trying to use you as leverage. That is what I was objecting about.

    If this does not get back on track instead of mudslinging, these comments will have to be closed.

  68. Rob Mailloux says:

    By out of hand you mean, “if people don’t stop disagreeing with me.”

    These will be deleted soon. Sorry world. (screen capture)

  69. JFDerry says:

    That is pathetic Rob. No, I’m not deleting anything.

    You have now reduced this comment stream with your trolling; I hope you are pleased with your sabotage. We could have achieved something worthwhile here. It seems that you are the one who cannot accept contradiction, writ large in the scientific literature.

    You see, what you have failed to understand is that you are not arguing against me, but against the evidence. Instead of personal slights, you could have presented your own evidence. Instead, you crowed and did a little victory dance whenever someone did speak in opposition to the article. That is fine, I can attend to criticism and present counter arguments. But, these two people you childishly brandished as emblems are exactly that, individuals, with feelings, who sit comfortably within the statistical boundaries of the research I have cited.

    If the level of thought you have invested in this discussion is an indication of that which you will put into writing your comedy material, then I am truly concerned for the damage you may cause.

    I leave these comments intact for others to form their own conclusions.

  70. There are again some misunderstanding and misrepresentations. It’s not useful to reply to every detail, and I absolutely don’t have time for long comments now.

    To all readers who try to make sense of this, can I suggest that when you read “X has said” or “Y supports” that you check what X or Y actually have said, in context.

    @World of Sab, I’m not sure if you are also upset by any my comments. If so I’m sorry and that wasn’t intended.

    To clarify: The relevant research literature is definitely not meant to dismiss any personal experiences. The point is: different people have made very different personal experiences. All are valid as personal experiences, but one can’t easily make general judgements from one particular experience. The research literature helps because it tries to capture the whole range of experiences systematically. Saying that different women (and men) have different responses does NOT mean that scientists are telling anybody how they should feel; it is just an *observation* of the situation. Many will be ok and have no issues – but, given that some are strongly affected, I think there is a case that comedians have to be extremely careful.

  71. Wouldn’t it be funny if guys brokw into JF Derry’s house and raped him right now?

  72. Pingback: Rape Jokes Are Dangerous |

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