Thread: Rape Jokes
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Old August 1 2012, 06:16 PM   #47
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Re: Rape Jokes

The "thought police" line is hypocritical. Yes, comedians have the freedom to make any jokes they want, but their audience has the equal freedom to say they don't like those jokes. And if a comedian's material is bombing, the comedian should amend the material. Creators improve by accepting feedback. If you reject all criticism of your work as thought policing or whatever, if you never consider that your work may be legitimately flawed and in need of improvement, then you'll never improve. I've seen the same thing with aspiring writers who assumed that every rejection they got was due to cliquism on the part of the editors and that their work was actually brilliant and perfect, and they never sold anything. The writers who succeed are the ones who recognize that their work is genuinely flawed, take the criticisms to heart, and work to do better until they finally get good enough.

It goes both ways. It's wrong to say that no jokes involving rape can ever be funny or should ever be uttered, but it's equally wrong to say that every joke involving rape is worthwhile. Per Sturgeon's Law, ninety percent of everything is garbage. Most jokes about rape are going to be bad just as most jokes about everything else will be bad. And it's complicated with a subject like rape or murder or racism, because sometimes those jokes can be used with the deliberate intent to hurt, frighten, or oppress, while at others they can be used as defiance and coping mechanisms on the part of the oppressed group. So you can't make blanket generalizations either way. Humor about rape or racism or the like is something that can be funny or legitimate, but that doesn't mean it usually is. It's like a loaded gun. It should only be used by those with the requisite care and skill, those who have the judgment to know when not to use it. Using it with reckless disregard for its impact, or with the legitimate desire to hurt, is not acceptable.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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