I have a Facebook friend who challenges me. Yesterday it was rape jokes.

I don’t like them. I do think there are subjects best kept away from capitalistic laughs.

Tig Notaro has a gentle, non-offensive bit she does on the words “no moleste.” it is funny and we laughed when we heard it. But there was pain there too–when someone you love has been molested even the words themselves come back to haunt you.

Many sitcoms joke about sex offender registration. Normal people probably just think–funny! and move on.

I worry that they are trivializing and desensitizing.

You see, in real life there are really bad guys. And the truth is often even after they have done terrible things they are not brought to justice and the sex offender registration system lets them through the gaps.

Children get hurt. People die. Real life is not Martha Plimpton peeing in an alley. Real life is the murder of little girls like Somer Thompson and Cherish Perrywinkle.

We should never let our desire for a laugh impede our conscience.

They say that rape jokes can be hilarious. I wonder if “they” have been raped?

Because here’s the thing–if you or someone you love has been raped the world is mined for tragedy. Ordinary things like dresses in a shop or little white dogs can trigger a memory of how innocence was lost, how transgression lurks around the most innocent of playgrounds.

So if you are considering a joke about rape, think about this–

They say that comedy is tragedy plus time.

How much time does it take for violence and pain, loss, and aggression to be funny?

We need to examine the safety of our playgrounds.

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