Skepchick Quickies, 8.16


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. I strongly suggest reading the post and the comment thread at Pandagon. I don’t agree 100% with Amanda’s criticism of the second comic, but reading her posts is always a learning experience.

  2. This is from the comic criticism:

    Shaker Milli A writes: This is why I avoid comedy. I don’t go to comedy movies, I rarely watch comedians, I avoid sitcoms like the plague. I’ve started to develop a Pavlovian response, cringing preemptively, to things I do find funny, because if somebody makes a dark joke, I’ve learned it won’t be long until the rape jokes show up.

    This person has a very intense reaction to the subject of rape to the point where she avoids entire genres because the entertainment might include a rape joke. We all have our hot buttons so I’m not saying this attitude is wrong, but it hardly leads to a nuanced treatment of the subject or even an interesting point of view. “All jokes about _____ are bad.” If everyone got to fill in the blank with their hot button issue then comedy would stop.

    The one thing I think is incongruous is she won’t go to comedies because they might include the subject of rape in a joke, but will presumably go to other sorts of movies that might include an actual rape or rape-murder. I find the second much more unsettling. I avoid the horror genre for exactly this reason, and yes, you should not trust me for a nuanced review of a horror film.

  3. @davew: I hate the horror genre too, for much the same reason.

    Anyway, I didn’t take offense to the joke, exactly, but it wasn’t funny and it was in rather poor taste. Rape jokes can be funny … sometimes. But when guys-guys make unfunny jokes about rape it’s just kind of boring and expected, to be honest. Surprise! A dude that writes comics made a joke about rape and it wasn’t funny. It’s like a prison rape joke. People think they are funny?

  4. I have a theory that the prevalence of rape jokes (and rape references in general) in the discourse surrounding computer gaming comes from the excessive violence and gore in the medium. In a game where you can rip somebody’s head off and write your name on the wall in their spinal fluid, telling your opponent “I’m gonna kill you sucka” doesn’t have a lot of … pop. If you want to “take it to the next level”, adding a note of sexual violation will do that – and a comic that specializes in over-the-top humor in an already over-the-top genre is going to go to that well occasionally.

    My point? *searches pockets* … Oh, yeah, the real problem is not that people think rape is okay (or are in any danger of doing so). The fact that it’s portrayed in the comic as about the worst thing that could happen to a person proves that. The problem is that this kind of talk gets people thinking about rape as only a violent thing done to you by a stranger or antagonist, which excludes the vast majority of actual rape.

    It would be nice if in addition to the hefty helping of snark, Tycho also included a short “how not to be a rapist in real life” blurb. It doesn’t take a lot to start making people aware, he’s got a fairly captive audience, and it’s actually the sort of thing he might do (see also: PA’s discussion of the “PUA” phenomenon a while back).

  5. If nothing else, I hope that the research on parrot cognition will finally put to reset the canard that a monkey would simply give a bird a beak flip and that would be the end of it. It seems we need to see birds (especially psittacines and corvids) for what they really are: evil geniuses plotting world domination.

  6. Awesome about the early Earth article… Matt Jackson is a good friend of mine. He is one of the many reasons why I am here at WHOI/MIT. He chatted with me when I was a prospective graduate student and was my officemate for a year… we run into each other at seminars and conferences these days. He’s an incredible geochemist and someone I consider a mentor.

    Anyway, maybe I’ll see if I can interview Matt about his research… or at least explain it a little better in layman’s terms…

  7. BTW, if it wasn’t obvious- Matt is a graduate of the same program I’m currently in. We overlapped for about a year-and-a-half before he went on to a postdoc (Carnegie) and job (BU).

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