Monday, April 28, 2014

Republicans and Other Jokes

Comedy is the mind receiving two incongruent thoughts and processing them with the response of laughter. Laughing at a victim should never be an incongruent thought.

Making jokes about victims may bring some laughs from immature minds. Yet, remember that many listeners have been victims. Reminding them of their painful experience usually results in painful memories, not happy laughing ones.

Sure, when I was young, jokes about priests and religious people having sex with children was funny. Family members having sex sounded hilarious. Bestiality jokes were a riot. Because, when I was a naive kid, I never thought that it was possible that such things happened. To me, those were incongruent thoughts.

I am now wiser to the world and more mature, Anyone abusing another living being is an abuser. Period. There is nothing funny about that.

Are there exceptions to this? What about “The Fantastiks”, the longest running show in New York, and its rape scene? I agree it correctly changed that scene to an abduction scene. In 1960, when that play opened, people seldom spoke openly about rape. Our dialogue in 1960, as I was as a child in 1960, was immature. Times have changed. People are speaking out about it. We now realize people are hurt by scenes and jokes like these. Why deliberately hurt your audience?

People are now speaking out against sexual assaults. Sexual assaults are legally and morally rape, yet we like to call it something different to make some sort of distinction.

People are now, more often, speaking out against bosses (especially), teachers, religious figures, coaches, and a number of people with power over another who used that power for their sexual gratification. While some like to call these “affairs”, the reality is they often were against the victim’s will when the victim felt powerless to act or was in some way was dependent upon the person making the assault.

These victims are often afraid to speak out. The assailant uses that knowledge to the assailant’s advantage. Victims need to discover they can speak out more, and we need to be there to help those who do speak out.

For those who still think rape is a laughing matter than would only affect a small number of victims, consider this. Many studies put the numbers of sexual assault victims at one in four females and one in six males. So, those making rape jokes, do you want to potentially traumatize that much of your audience?

There are suspicions those numbers are even much higher. Many people are afraid to admit they have been assaulted out loud, even to themselves and to pollsters. There is a recent survey, the Institutional Betrayal Survey, conducted of 345 college female students. This survey found that 47% had been sexually assaulted.

These are young women who barely have gone out into the world, and already nearly half have been assaulted. A theory is that the young are more willing to acknowledge they have been assaulted. The more open dialogue about assault is empowering more victims.

So, if you wish to joke away about rape, just remember. There is a new generation of women and men ready to speak out and speak up. It would be better to find something else to joke about.


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