Jason Rohrer Thinks Rape Jokes Are Hilarious
“WAAHHH WAAHHHH!!! I’m a big cry baby and I need daddy to save me from the razor-sharp wit of an absolute genius!”
This is what Jason Rohrer will read in this post, but I imagine everyone else will feel otherwise. This is because in a brief twitter exchange between myself and Jason today, he managed to turn a perfectly civil discourse on casually offensive comedy, and the strategy of contacting advertisers to combat it, into a personal attack. I figured I’d put my money where my mouth is and let Daddy know he was pulling my hair.
Really I just wanted to consolidate it so he can see how ridiculous he is and maybe get him and others like him to check their privilege and see the light: that casual rape jokes are harmful, and it is not an affront to free speech to point that shit out.
This all started with an appearance by Jim Norton and Lindy West on W. Kamau Bell’s show ‘Totally Biased.’ The two of them had a very informed and well reasoned conversation on why the trivialization of rape in comedy, often by straight male comics who use the harm inherent in rape to make people laugh – people who have no experience with sexual trauma or assault, of course – is or is not harmful. You know what kind I’m talking about. We’re not examining Carlin and Hicks, or even Joan Rivers, we’re talking the likes of Daniel Tosh and his dudebro compatriots who think violence against women is totes hilarious.
Here’s the video of that exchange:
I thought both Lindy and Jim made great points, but one sticking point for me was when Jim Norton said it isn’t cool to contact advertisers to let them know that you object to a piece of content that you find objectionable. To me, such speech must certainly be included as part of an open discourse about such topics, regardless of whether that content is intended to comic or serious, or political, or what have you. We are consumers in a consumer-oriented society, so surely our power as consumers must be one tool with which we express ourselves and our desires for a media which is not openly hostile toward innocent victims of assault.
So I posted this tweet:
also don’t get how @jimnorton can say ‘either all of it’s okay or none of it is’ but calling advertisers with your opinion is somehow not ok
— David Jette (@sydiot) May 31, 2013
… among others. Jason saw that post and decided to call me a ‘fucking idiot,’ which is par for the course on twitter, I understand. But what Jason must not know is that he is a member of a community, a society, and that I am a part of it. And that people’s opinions of him and his writing might just have an impact on him personally, in the same way I wish Daniel Tosh’s shitty rape jokes would have an impact on him professionally. But alas, we live in a rape culture, and since privileged fucking idiots like Jason Rohrer don’t see that, it will be something we all deal with for a long, long time.
What proceeded is the conversation below. I present it unedited. Enjoy:
And then he added my favorite, just to be sure I knew that what he found funny was the idea of ME getting raped, not just anyone. Me, the fucking idiot.
So let’s recap – this writer (and apparently tutor, yikes), who writes for venerable critical outlets such as Stage and Cinema and Bitter Lemons among others I’m sure, finds the idea of contacting sponsors over objectionable content so offensive that he has taken it upon himself to personally attack and suggest that the idea of harming someone like myself, who to his knowledge has no beef with him other than a place in a public conversation, is HILARIOUS.
Well guess what Jason, you don’t exist in a vacuum and the shit you say has an effect on others and yourself. Me being sensitive to the victims of sexual violence and being proactive about what media I consume and how advertisers cater to me is not ‘being a baby.’ It’s called being a decent fucking human being. You know what isn’t being decent? Calling people fucking idiots who haven’t done anything but raise an issue they care about, and then saying that the idea of them getting raped makes you laugh. That is called being a piece of shit.