What’s a Little Rape Joke Between Friends?

“Knock Knock”

“Who’s there?”

“An article about rape jokes.”

“An article about rape jokes who?”

An article about rape jokes now, that’s what. I happened today accross a joke even crappier than the one that I just used to segue into this very discussion. It too contained the word “rape”. The author had capitalised all usage of the word “rape” throughout, so it really caught the eye, and some commentators underneath expressed the opinion that they found the joke to be tasteless. Other commentators commented that they had been raped and the joke was hilarious. Some people had joined the discussion to LOL and show appreciation for the hilarious joke, bemoaning the vinegar-pusses who have to try to ruin it for everyone. Here is the joke:

“Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the
economy, Government has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early, mandatory retirement, thus creating jobs and reducing unemployment.
—— This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early). —Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to Government to be considered for the SHAFT program (Special Help After Forced Termination).—— Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (System Covering Retired-Early Workers). — A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice, and SCREWED as many times as Government deems appropriate. —–Persons who have been RAPED could get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependents & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).—– Obviously, persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or
SCREWED any further by Government.—– Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on, will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible..Government has always prided themselves on the amount of SHIT they give our citizens.
Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of your MP, who has been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.
—– Sincerely, —The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives (E.V.I.L.)PS – Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas and oil, as well as current market conditions, the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.”

It’s not exactly amazing. If they’d changed all the acronyms to biscuit-related things and done a kind of tea-dunking metaphor for the government being a (hob)knob, it would have been: A) probably funnier – biscuits are funnier than violent assault; if you don’t believe me then try laughing while eating a custard cream, and then try laughing while being forcibly sodomized aginst your will, and B) much less popular – as the joke would still remain a very modest one, and stripped of its trendy rape notoriety will only gain ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ from people who like talking about both: politics from a markedly left-wing angle, and tea and biscuits. Refined British Marxists basically, and no one really cares what they think.

A good, punchy rape reference though, that’s controversial. You’ll draw the assorted oddballs out of the woodwork make no mistake. Obsessive arguments, repeated repostings, emotional breakdowns, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, direct aggression, passive aggression, threats, trauma, indifference and trolls. In the ideological battle of “to rape joke or not to rape joke”, your mediocre concept has become either a work of genius orated by God himself and penned by the angels, or the very real and smouldering stool of Satan in short literary form.

I wouldn’t disagree, either, that government actions have been and can be described as “rapacious”. The metaphor within the joke holds, and the joke does not make rape victims the butt of its humour. It’s not very offensive, but it doesn’t warrant gales of delighted laughter from rape victims either (though to the handful that are delightedly chuckling over it, fair play if it does you). The joke was published on a page offering community support for disabled people. The repeated and capitalised use of the word “rape” in the joke has buried any discussion about the joke’s purported issue at hand – the Coalition government’s austerity measures and their impact on vulnerable people – and instead a lot of people who would be allies on that issue have become tragically divided by the red herring of rape.

red-herring

While no word or concept should be subjected to enforced censure, we also have the choice to be pragmatic. If people are working towards a shared common goal and find some of the group “in-humour” to be somewhat hostile or upsetting, open and honest dialogue should surely be encouraged. And for those who found that the previous sentence threatened to make their lady hormones rise to unacceptable levels:

A tank blowin' shit up. BOOM MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

A tank blowin’ shit up. BOOM MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

Look after each other out there.

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