Why Is This Funny?

I have a fairly decent sense of humor. That includes even some of the most offensive comedy. I understand the concept of satire, of playing on the absurdity of a situation. When done with expertise, I think it should be commended.

I do not, however, understand why satirizing male rape is supposed to be funny. The wonderful folks at derrickcomedy.com decided to create a comedy sketch that pokes fun at the To Catch a Predator broadcasts. Bro Rape: A Newsline Investigation mocks the rape of college males. While one may find elements of the sketch humorous, consider whether it would be as funny if the victims were female. Consider whether it would be funny if both the rapists and the victims were female. I highly doubt that it would.

Part of the problem in our society is that male rape is not taken seriously at all. One can read the comments found on the YouTube link and see that at worst people think that it is ‘gay’ (as in homosexual, not lame). For every mountain tossed up by feminists and support groups who present misinformation and hostility, there are the perils of the valleys caused by this kind of ‘humor’. For every person who claims it is not that bad for males there is someone who hears it and giggles.

To be certain, a major reason for this is the notion that male pain is somehow funny. This kind of ‘humor’ is an extension of hitting males in the groin, torturing them and killing them in incredibly graphic fashions. The ‘humor’ works because it is impersonal. It is just ‘some guy’. Tangibly speaking, the guys raped in this video are no different than the Persians slaughter in 300. It is all for show. That would explain why the twelve-inch black dildo is supposed to be funny.

However, the main reason is because a male being raped is seen as an extension of his weakness and ultimately his failure as a male. It is funny because he should be able to prevent it. Oddly enough, the set-up of the video involves both alcohol and overt trickery and manipulation.

Many may see this as harmless humor. Many will likely think this is an overreaction. Yet again, one would never see this kind of video being made about female victims. Assuming it did occur, it would not go unchallenged and few would actually find it funny. But imagine what a college guy who was raped by someone he trusted would feel seeing this video. Why should his pain be the price for our entertainment?

I do think that one can joke about even serious subjects like this and still do it without humiliating those who actually experienced it (Louis C.K. did a fine job with it in his HBO special). However, there are times when it just is not funny, and this is one of those times.

9 thoughts on “Why Is This Funny?

  1. TS: I completely agree.

    Your comment saying that a male’s pain is funny is wise. To our first-world women, an unrelated male’s pain is funny and the men are not willing to tell the women to behave themselves. Plus, the dominant men demand that a male’s pain is not relevant to any discussion. The two together dehumanize men and through that, all people.

    Even my wife finds a man getting hit in the crotch to be hilarious. I think all females do, sad to say. I’ve always wondered what they would think of it if they felt that level of pain? I’m probably a sexist bastard to the women for daring to ask that question, but there ya go …

    The worst of it is that when talking about a male’s pain there seems no way to get people to listen. The women think it is funny and the dominant men are willing to use force to make sure it stays irrelevant. That leaves what? 80% of the males, many of whom have never felt real pain, to try to tackle the majority. No wonder we cannot make progress.

    As for male rape; we’ve got the entire left opposed to us, plus at least a third of the right opposed. That leaves the centre most of whom are unwilling to lift even their smaller pinky to help create fairness. Not exactly an army, is it?

    All governments are strongly opposed to fairness for male survivors. Some governments openly fund hatred too: The Canadian Governments continue to do so on a regular basis. It is hard to fight city-hall against hate and without the support of the majority.

  2. I guess I don’t see this as charitably as you do, TS.

    I can appreciate attempts to deal with subjects like these in a way that’s something other than full-on pain and trauma. Like you wrote, Louis C. K. is a good example, and I think that Todd Solondz is another (the director of Welcome to the Dollhouse, Happiness and Palindromes). But this?

    It connects homosexuality with pedophilia. It focuses on aspects of popular culture that the creators don’t like and mocks them, and the people they represent, with fake interventions and concern. It portrays the victims, real or created for the sting, as the same as the perps — just naive and clueless instead of predatory. It reduces the victims to stereotypes, which justifies the rapes. (The use of “Ants Marching” as the theme song further serves to dehumanize them, underscoring the view that they’re just mindless drones.) And why the dildos, unless they wanted to portray these men, both perps and victims, as impotent and envious of other men? Of course, the racist angle had to be thrown in there as well. I suppose it wouldn’t have been complete without it.

    Reading through the comments I saw numerous cases of people ridiculing those who said that rape wasn’t humorous. Some said that it was fine to do the video, because the things it portrayed didn’t happen. Some said that it was funny because the victims weren’t women. A number of people wrote that they watch it daily; even more wrote that it was the best video on YouTube. And one went so far as to post the — hopefully fictitious — age and location of an 11-year-old boy and urge people to rape him.

    Over 2,600 comments. I only looked at the first fifteen pages.

    It’s reprehensible on every possible level.

    I remember the justified outrage when the “Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It” editorial was published in The Reporter at CCSU. That, too, was supposed to be satire. But I suppose that this is different, because it doesn’t target men as a whole.

    Just men they don’t like.

  3. I think the issues concerning homosexuality are secondary to the issues of trivializing male rape. I do think there is some correlation, but the latter takes precedent in the bro-rape video. It is about mocking rape victims. The implications about the sexuality of the rapist and victim are part of the pre-existing ideas about male rape victims.

  4. I agree, in that I don’t see the homosexuality issues here being the primary ones. But I do see it being integral to the way that the video bashes the victims — straight “real” men wouldn’t do this, and straight “real” men wouldn’t be victims. If it happened to you, there’s something wrong with you and you’re not really a man (you’re gay, you’re impotent, you’re immature, you’re a drone — and, conversely, if you’re any of these things, you deserve it).

    I’m just not sure that “trivializing” is the right word for this. It actually comes off as promoting it, to me. Which is why I think that so many derivative videos came out after this one, and why there are so many positive comments about them.

    I mean, if rape is a justified punishment for not toeing the real man line, then it isn’t something that we need to be concerned about, is it? It’s a good thing. That’s what I see these videos saying. If anything, I think that the trivialization of male rape is secondary to this. It supports it: because if male rape was something that was actually bad, then it would lose its usefulness as a disciplinary tool, or as control through fear.

    And I think that this is where the general silence about these videos is particularly telling, especially from radical feminists. Because that’s precisely the argument that comes up about rape-supportive culture, and the use of rape and the threat of rape to keep women in line.

  5. I am not sure that I agree that it is promoting it. The video does not suggest that anyone should do it, only that if one did do it then that person is gay (homosexual, not lame). The video and the comments seem to posit that any male who is raped had it coming, therefore it is inconsequential. Male rape is not seen as bad because it is primarily seen as a reflection on the victim, not the rapist. That is the source of the humor. It would be funny regardless of what the rapist did because ultimately the victim’s status as a person is nonexistent.

    As for the silence from feminists, that is hardly surprising. The victims are male and feminists are part of the social structure that perpetuates the views seen in the video. They have no reason to challenge it.

  6. I don’t think that they’re coming straight out and saying, “do this,” but I do think that they’re putting out the idea that if a man fits the model — he listens to the wrong things, or he’s into the wrong fads, or he seems effeminate, or whatever — then fondling him, forcing his head toward your crotch, grinding on top of him, etc. is an OK — nay, hilarious — way to make fun of him. At least that seems to be the practical effect: how else do we explain the number of fan films that came out afterward, containing those things, citing the original as their inspiration?

  7. I agree that it is considered hilarious, but there is also the fact that doing any of those acts, even in jest, would still be considered gay (homosexual, not lame). I think the humor is that those males are knowingly doing things that are considered wrong or dirty, so it is funny. It is similar to the way some will copy stunts performed on Jack Ass. They do so because of the sheer stupidity of doing it, which it turn makes them cool (and lame) for trying it.

    However, I do not think any of those males actually think groping another male is appropriate. Rather, I think they do it to certain males as a means of humiliation. Conveniently, they ignore their own rules by committing acts they consider homosexual in nature. It is a curious notion, especially since so many males and females will commit acts they personally detest if it allows them to humiliate another.

    That said, all acts are not considered the same. I think much of what you see is an extension of the mentality one often finds in frat houses. It is not unlikely pledges participating in humiliating acts. Anything remotely questionable (by their standards) is okay because of the intent of the act, i.e. it is a joke.

    I do not think any of them take this at all seriously, hence the apparent humor.

  8. TS,

    The following clip is a radio interview of Marc Rudov.

    [audio src="http://wms2.streamhoster.com/mhrudov/Mancow_071307.mp3" /]

    This is audio evidence of a woman denying that men could ever be raped by women (~ the 2:30 mark). (Be forewarned that you will find her utterances fairly repugnant.) She quotes ‘The Graduate’ as something that allegedly buttresses this. This is symptomatic of most women, in my opinion, who resort to using something from popular media to support their opinion as though the media were based on factual evidence. The reason this resonated with me is because I have met several women, in many different contexts, who use popular media to make what they think are factual arguments. Since popular media is obviously anti-male, the arguments based on them inevitably end up being anti-male.

    The broader point of putting this clip on is that it is evidence of a female who is the epitome of entitlement.

  9. One thing I like about Mancow was that he did not let that kind of comment slide. While his tone might be construed as less than serious, at least someone challenged the notion that many women hold that they cannot rape males.

    I also found it rather interesting that the woman eventually told Marc that he was gay. That is something that often gets said (though many times it only gets implied) whenever men challenge aspects of society that benefit women.

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