Rape: Drawing the Line in Comedy
Rape: You might be shocked to know some people actually find comedic value in rape jokes.
When we hear about someone we know or someone on the news being a rape victim, it is the least funniest thing we could think of at the moment. Yet, when someone tells a rape joke, many people will laugh their asses off. But why?
This never really occurred to me till last week. My friends and I were browsing videos on YouTube when we came across an animated video parodying the game Minecraft. Minecraft is a game where everything from the animals to the clouds is made out of blocks; the point of the game being to just build and survive. At night monsters come out to try to destroy your creations, one of them being what is known as a creeper. They sneak up on your creations and then self-destruct.
In this video we were watching, the guy was building his house when he hears a creeper sneaking up behind him. He turns around and beats him down. Nothing too odd, yet. As the creeper tries to escape, the man grabs the creeper and threatens it with rape. The creeper yells out that he meant no harm but is inevitability raped and left alone in the rain as sad music plays in the background.
It was amazing how many likes and positive comments the video had from thousands upon thousands of viewers. But later, I sat and thought to myself, Why was it so funny? In all actuality people are laughing in the face of rape. Was it because of the shock value? Or perhaps something else?
Animated shows such as Family Guy, South Park, and the Simpsons have a way of taking serious issues such as rape and turning them into just another joke. Perhaps it’s the animation that softens the blow of making fun of such issues. We laugh at shows like this because we know it isn’t real. It’s the fact that they went out on such a dangerous limb and didn’t hold back.
The shock value alone is enough to raise a reaction from any person. In this case, laughter. But it doesn’t just end in animation. Comedians use rape jokes as ammo for their acts also. One issue that went viral on the internet involved Daniel Tosh, host of the show Tosh.O. Tosh had made a comment about how rape jokes are hilarious and that rape jokes are never not funny.
One woman in the audience shouted, “Rape jokes are never funny!”
In response, Tosh looked at her and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like five guys? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?”
This caused thunderous laughter all throughout the audience. But if you really look at this, Tosh just said that if she got raped it would be hilarious. Huh. What is wrong with us? That’s appalling. You are making a direct joke at someone who could have dealt with a rape crisis in her life. Such ignorance is surprising, and sadly, not uncommon.
Men often find it more funny than women, probably because women are usually the rape victims, not men. Men don’t realize how serious an issue rape is to women, so to many, it’s more or less a joke when it’s not shoved in their face.
Rape jokes are not the only issues of course being thrown around for the sake of humor. Jokes about dead babies, orphans, murder, racism, hate crimes, etc.
Again I ask, why are such jokes funny to so many people? I begin to think that the answer just simply lies in what we are and not exposed to on a daily basis. A person who is hungry wouldn’t laugh at a starvation joke. Someone who was a rape victim at a time wouldn’t laugh at rape jokes. Someone who lost their child wouldn’t laugh at dead baby jokes.
So in the end we laugh at serious matters because we have not faced such trials in our life. We know they are real but at the same time they are not real to us. So the question that remains now is: Exactly where is the line drawn in comedy?