So here is the backstory: On December 17th, 2010 (the 9/11 of twitter), a twitter user by the name of @slashleen posted a tweet (since deleted) that said:
“I like it when people get offended by rape jokes because that means they’ve been raped and that’s hilarious.”
I gave the tweet a “star.” Which is a way on twitter of marking tweets you like. Why did I do that? Because it’s hilarious when people get raped? No, genius, because I thought it was a clever joke and frankly, I gave it kudos for audacity. Since I’m kind of OG when it comes to reading (and occasionally making) morally inappropriate humor on the interwebs, I know where the “line” usually is and this joke just stepped right over that line. It stepped over the line and then raped it. Would I have gone there? Hell to the no…I don’t have time to deal with that kind of shitstorm. But I was amazed that someone went there anyway.
So anyway, this rape grenade dropped on twitter and some people, obviously (that’s the whole point of the joke… get it?) got offended and started writing outraged tumblr posts. The lady ones were mostly like “Rape is bad and talking about rape in any way that is not super cereal is like raping all the ladies in the world with your mind-penis.” And the dude ones were like “I will punch all rapists in the face with my giant cock which I use to protect innocent ladies, so form a line on the right, because my cock is large and sensitive enough to protect all of your precious vaginas from harm.” This then started an orgy of self-congratulation in the form of stars and re-tweets and people getting all up each other’s asses (consensually) to show that they are superior for thinking rape is bad, which was a total shocker since I was under the impression everyone thought rape was awesome.
Now, if you think I’m being too easy on the joke, let’s go into context: if this joke had been posted on, say a R.A.I.N.N. messageboard, I probably would have been appalled, too, since that would be crazy mean and fucked up. But, no. It was posted on twitter where people joke about doing PCP and killing hookers and jacking off in playgrounds and people are like LOLSTARS!.
Within that context, I thought the uproar was kind of ironic and I laughed and rolled my eyes and lost some followers, and even got blocked (for a joke that WASN’T EVEN MINE). Then I thought: “Oh god, now the joke just went from audacious to kind of brilliant. BECAUSE NOW IT IS A WHOLE CONCEPTUAL THING.” But the community shaming/shunning had been laid down and the idea was that “if you don’t condemn that joke, you hate women, think they should be raped and are a terrible person.”
Okay, I might be a terrible person. I don’t know @slashleen… she (if it is a she) doesn’t even follow me. I have decided to be the advocate for this particular devil for the lulz and because I love over-intellectualizing shit and I’m kind of impressed with the major pwnage she scored with that joke.
Also, I was concerned that people on Twitter were acting like n00bz who don’t understand the internets and still think it’s serious business.
So even though I think writing long, opinionated blog posts is for self-important tools who are wasting their lives, I am, ironically, writing a long, opinionated blog post and therefore I’m totally being That Guy and should kill myself.
BUT I like to think that because I am here for the lulz and not to kill anyone’s boner with Very Serous Business, I’m just gonna go with it. Also, since my blog posts are rare and magical gifts from heaven, I am really just doing this to make the people smile. I am a carer AND a sharer!
SO NOW I EXPLAIN “THAT JOKE:”
Okay, so I can see that people might just worry that making a joke like that means that there will be dullards who don’t get the whole satire/meta thing and and go “hell yeah! let’s go get all rapey in this hizzy! LOL high-five, brah!”
And maybe that’s why it’s okay that it got taken down. But I just want to explain why someone could like that joke for reasons other than thinking rape is hilarious, which I don’t, and I don’t even think that rape jokes are always hilarious. A lot of people try to do abuse-themed shock humor and suck at it and just sound like creeps. Anyway…
So here’s what some people think the joke is: “Violence against women is funny.” Do I think that? I’m a fucking woman, what do you THINK, dumbass. Also, men get raped, too, you sexist fuck.
Here’s what I think the joke is: “People get really offended by rape jokes, so I’m going to acknowledge that and then follow it with a rape joke calculated to get people super offended as an illustration of the former while simultaneously flippantly negating the outrage which was anticipated and created, thus creating this clever self-referential loop.”
So, Reason #1 that I like the joke: It’s postmodern. It’s using a taboo to parody and remark on human behavior and social mores. We could view it as a piece of shock art where the thing and the reaction to the thing meld to create a more dynamic whole. And so the fact that people reacted in the predictable way to it means that it is now a two-part spectacle: The joke was merely the jumping-off point for the more interesting drama of the reaction to the joke (which was foretold in the joke.)
And here’s what the n00bz don’t get:
Reason #2 why I like the joke: It is a perfectly executed troll. If there were a trolling Olympics and I were a judge, I would be holding up a sign that says “10.” Sure, trolling is dickish, but it can also be kind of brilliant. Go read this article about trolls, to learn more but if you were offended by “the joke” I would strongly recommend you don't spend too much time on Encyclopedia Dramatica.
“Trolling is throwing a plastic bone in a cage with hungry wolves – they’ll fight for it to the death just to find it’s not edible.”
So the whole point of the joke is that it was formulated to cause a shitstorm, and then it actually caused a shitstorm. Meaning that people totally fell for the troll, which is the whole point of trolling, so the troll wins. People wasted their time arguing the wrong point with someone who doesn’t give a shit. This is known as “being pwned.” Therefore, @slashleen wins at the internet.
Things I am not going to use in defense of “the joke” because I think they’re too obvious and possibly douchey:
1. The first amendment
Evoking the “right to free speech” is basically what people do to make themselves seem like heroes when people call them on their shit. Not that the first amendment isn’t rad and all, but getting flag-wavey over a tasteless joke seems like overkill.
2. “Everyone has a right to their opinion… if you don’t like it, unfollow.”
The above statement is usually just a way of high-horsing your way out of an argument, and this was never an argument. This isn't about "opinions." It's more about me making fun of people who front like they’re all edgy and then turn into facebook grandmas when the shit hits the fan.
3. “I or someone I know was raped, so I know what I’m talking about.”
I’ve seen enough awful things in real life to know that words on the internet are not the same as actual atrocities. I also think using personal tragedy as some trump card to shame people into letting you say whatever the fuck you want is douchey, as is the “my tragedy makes me more special than your tragedy” game. Also, people who are all like "I tell tasteless jokes on twitter, but let me tell you this serious story about my life to show you that I am sensitive and deep" have already made tumblr a total drag.
So at this point, I think I’ve said all I need to say and if you have read this far, then you are obviously a rapist. PWND!