Eliese Colette Goldbach, “White Horse”

Eliese wants to tell you a story. She wants to tell you a story, but there are so many things about which she cannot speak. Particle physics, for example. Also, industrial psychology, protein synthesis, polymer science, and the peculiar magic that makes water bugs skate so perfectly on a pond. She wants to tell you a story, but she lacks so many things. Multivariable calculus. Pie making. And there is so much she has forgotten. The conjugation of the verb vouloir, the purpose of a Golgi body, the middle name of her first boyfriend. Eliese does, however, know about horses. She can talk about horses. She knows equitation and conformation and equine disease. For example, Eliese knows that white horses must be bred with care. Sometimes, a white horse is born with a fatal genetic disorder known as lethal white syndrome. A foal with this disorder will appear healthy at birth. It will stand and suckle and sniff its mother’s scent. A new, white life. But deep inside the foal’s gut, something has gone wrong. Its colon has not formed properly. It cannot expel waste. These foals always die—either naturally and painfully over the course of a few days, or through euthanasia. A white, perfect body splayed dead on the straw. The violence of a harbored, hidden waste.

This is one that I’m not going to expound upon. It’s a story we’ve heard before but is new and deserving of our attention every time. It’s more-than-okay when a story other than my own conveys a “shut up and listen, for a rare shining moment, shut the fuck up, dude.”

Ann Telnaes, whom I’ve always appreciated for her crystal clear, light-hearted caricatures, tackles religion as justification for slavery and rape.

She doesn’t need to submit a portfolio for the Pulitzer. This comic says it all: she’s a master.

The Difference Between Shibes and Rape

Anonymous asked: something I don’t understand about people who say rape jokes normalize rape and make them feel it’s okay, they clearly don’t feel this way about other stuff. Like the popular shiba inu on tumblr that will “bash ur fukin head i swear on me mum” does that normalize violence and make people think it’s okay to bash people’s heads in? OF COURSE NOT

If rape was normalized it wouldn’t be the subject of dark humor. There aren’t very many jokes based on taking out the trash or cleaning the dishes and other normal day to day chores. The reason dark humor like rape jokes elicits the reaction that it does is exactly because the subject of the joke is not normal. It’s absurd, it’s shocking, it’s offensive and it forces a gut reaction. If rape ever became normal then it would cease to be the subject of jokes.

-Morgan

This was an ask response on a tumblr titled “Gender Egalitarians,” run by a guy, Morgan, and a girl, Liv. Directed there from a friend’s reblog, I found that they pick and choose the worst strawmen from the feminist movement under the guise of equality and, what a surprise, really frustrate me. I then hit this post, which concerns my two favorite topics (jokes and shibes) so I figure it’s my best chance to not flail around like a fool in my reply.

Even though Morgan is under the impression that dark humor works because it offends, I’m not going to rehash the difference between offensive and harmful. I’ll link it instead. I’d rather talk about why it’s ridiculous to compare this picture:

image

to rape jokes. It’s not as straightforward as it seems, and even shibe cannot blind me from the truth of the matter.

I went to an open mic down the block from me last week, to watch and take in the atmosphere before I make my grand debut a couple decades from now. Out of the twenty people I saw storm the stage, maybe four of them could get real laughs from the crowd, and nobody killed it for their entire 180 seconds. I was shocked at the wasted stage time (and like, even a little offended bc i’m an artist), but took the opportunity to figure out why so many comics were in trouble. Obviously none of them rehearsed enough since avoiding work is the whole reason people assume the comedian mantle, but I found another consistency: from the multiple comediennes who related catcall stories to the guy who stammered about how stoned he was and then abandoned his set with a third of his time remaining, nobody was convincing me of anything.

Watching American: The Bill Hicks Story the next day only hammered it home. Hicks is my favorite comedian. My love is always focused on a different quality whenever I binge on him, and this time I paid attention to his sales pitch. The sort of shit he successfully pushes on his audience is amazing. This is a guy who would plead for ad-men in the room to kill themselves and then, not one to be outdone by himself, plead for everyone in the world to kill themselves. If the mind is a house, his was three stories of dark, unfinished basement, but the power of the mic and the stage and his presentation of his ideas always kept the audience on board. That second video isn’t even a joke, it’s him exploding at a heckler, and there are still real belly-laughs underneath his throat-ripping screams. The kind of laughs you get with you, not at you.

It’s not because his intense hatred stirs up “a gut reaction.” If dark humor only needed to “shock,” the Kings of Comedy would be literal gibbering street-preachers rather than figurative ones. Instead, the true talent of Hicks came from the vast gulf between how venomous he could be during his dark, black, midnight comedy and, despite that, how he managed to appeal to all of us, keeping us feeling something like happiness (his guiding love for humanity winds through all of his material, but I’ll admit that taken piecemeal like above it’s hard to tell).

The vast majority of (good) comedy begins when the comedian shares an unorthodox opinion. The fun for the audience comes from watching the comedian justify and rationalize this opinion— “oh boy, how’s he gonna get outta this one?” This can be as violent as Hicks suggesting ad-men chomp a Glock or as chill as Jerry Seinfeld telling you that handkerchiefs are ridiculous (btw “There aren’t very many jokes based on taking out the trash or cleaning the dishes and other normal day to day chores?” uhhh the entire genre of observational comedy would like to introduce itself to you). So, like, in a weird way, we all go into comedy shows looking to be convinced. It’s ingrained in the medium.

A joke normalizes its subject by casting a light of acceptability on it. If you use rape as one of your convincing justifications, you’re suggesting, to some degree, no matter how infinitesimal, that rape is okay. It’s something that came to your mind in the development of the joke. Even in a joke, it is a solution. An audience member needs a solution to his obsessive lust or a solution for her dry spell, and, some time later, when he/she is trying to come up with one, the comic’s voice might turn up. The voice could be a whisper or a scream, it could be one of many or a monologue, but all the voices are inadvertent contributions by what we know as rape culture, and eventually the voices might get loud enough to be heard: “it is a solution, we’ve been saying that all along.” Not to mention that a comedian holds more power to sway opinion than nearly everyone else in the world, lending their words a lot more gravity. (as long as they don’t suck)

Compared to the Shibe (which is also not a living, breathing orator and is, in fact, a dogge), a comedian should be held a lot more responsible for the normalizing affect of his words.

But here’s the blow-your-mind plot twist: the Shiba picture actually does normalize violence. It’s not overt, since it frames the aggressor as a silly lil shibe, but it’s far from satirical and it suggests that violence can be entertaining. Same as Tom and Jerry, American Gladiators, Yeezus and The Lord of the Rings. And there are people out there who care about the damage of violence culture on the same level as rape culture: if I had photoshopped out the “fookin” and brought a printed copy of that shibe to my Quaker middle school to hang it on my locker, I would possibly have been sent home for the day while they figured out a suitable week-long punishment, minimum. All because of the violent sentiment of the message. Hell, they had a blanket rule of “No Touching” just in case someone’s bullying was disguised as play.

Are you thinking to yourself “that’s fucking crazy?” Good. Because that’s exactly what people think of you when you take the necessary measures to fight violence. That’s how normalized violence is. Quakers look fucking insane for a zero-tolerance violence policy because everyone else’s lives are 100% tolerant toward violence! We live in a world where bullying can possibly be indistinguishable from child’s play because violence has pervaded everything, kids’ games and interactions included. (heh “fight violence”)

(“Who could ever have trouble telling bullying and playing apart?” Imagine a bully slinging an arm over his younger, shorter victim’s shoulder, and giving a shit-eating grin as he explains to the teacher “we were just messing around, teach. Isn’t that right, Jacob?” He pulls Jacob in closer with mock camaraderie, demonstrating his strength and intimidating the younger kid before he vouches for his own antagonist. Then they go back to “play” and hopefully the teacher keeps a closer eye on the bully. That’s the sorta shit I’m talking about. I’ve worked with children of all ages for over a decade, so please trust me.)

So the shibe doesn’t really normalize violence because violence has been normalized. The shibe does maintain the status quo, which isn’t good, but you have to pick your battles. I vote for people who support global nuclear disarmament, but I don’t bring up my support in discussions about international relations because I won’t be taken seriously: nukes are the norm. Feminists, in challenging rape culture, are pushing back at something that isn’t quite entrenched and actually finding success. (I like to imagine the public being like “ugh fine we’ll finally stop being flippant about rape, you can have that one, whatever”) Which is wonderful, because imagine a dystopian timeline where humanity is as infatuated with rape as it is with violence. Summer blockbusters. Video games. Ads on Spike TV. I shudder.

That’s the danger of normalization. We, as people, all of us, somehow, maybe through a Facebook poll that I missed, decided that the physical expression of evil was more integral to our lives than peace. If we’re capable of that, why, there’s nothing we can’t normalize!

I think violence (and, namely, war and soldiers) will be comedy’s last idol to topple. But that’s another essay for another night to waste.

Soul Like De La: On the Steubenville, Ohio reblog

fmchubs:

(And Chaz I know where you stand on this argument but I wanted to respond in depth to “sweetasspring” which my eye reads as “sweet-ass-spring” which sounds like a gender-neutral rape-prevention device manufactured by Acme. heh)

swagandpassion:

Right. It’s like wait, how about pointing blame at people who attack? However, Black parents would say the justice system is unfair against Black men so sure a fucked up cop may stop a black guy for driving while black [Crash anyone?] but the same parents would say don’t give the cop a reason to mess with you in the first place. I feel that’s the rationale, stay out of places you don’t belong but within certain context other things must be accounted for.

You draw a very strong parallel, one that I hadn’t thought of before. Mulling it over kept me from jumping to a response last night. I guess that sort of precaution is more a matter of privilege than blaming: where everyone shouldn’t rape but we tell women to avoid rape-situations, everyone SHOULDN’T give a reason for a cop to mess with us, but white people are lucky to not have to worry about it. It’s still an imbalance, ostensibly victim-blaming, that doesn’t get spoken about as much as rape culture, perhaps because we’ve so internalized the idea of “… yeah, cops hate minorities, that’s not changing for awhile” where with today’s young men we can be like “DON’T STICK YOUR DICK PLS” and maybe make a difference.

Soul Like De La: On the Steubenville, Ohio reblog

On the Steubenville, Ohio reblog

swagandpassion:

“I wish there was a way to say you need to be aware of your surroundings without sounding like you’re victim shaming/blaming.”-sweetasspring

How do you articulate this? I like to think what if a loved one was the victim? I wouldn’t say she should’ve known better. I’d probably be like Sam Jackson in the movie “A Time To Kill”.

The problem I have with the language here is that nobody needs to be aware of their surroundings when it concerns the will of others. If I trip and fall and all my Sacajaweas roll out of my chest pocket, and some dude snatches them up and runs away laughing, was I the one in the wrong? If I’m drunk and asleep on the subway and another commuter rolls up and blasts my head off with a shotgun, is it my fault? No, instead we say “that was a bad person who stole and murdered you, who saw that your guard was down and your Sacs were escaping and decided to ruin your life. Bad person.”

The people who argue that girls need to “be aware of their surroundings” (please notice how close that phrase is to the deliciously paranoid “beware of their surroundings”) suggest that it’s practical to spend more energy on making girls frightened instead of making sure guys don’t forcibly penetrate. I would rather write passages like this on my tumblr than convince girls that they have more reasons to be miserable.

(And Chaz I know where you stand on this argument but I wanted to respond in depth to “sweetasspring” which my eye reads as “sweet-ass-spring” which sounds like a gender-neutral rape-prevention device manufactured by Acme. heh)

Anonymous Leaks Horrifying Video of Steubenville High Schoolers Joking About Raping a Teenager ‘Deader than Trayvon Martin’

A friend shared this with another on Facebook. Since I treat Facebook like a combined comedy playground + laboratory, I tried to make a joke. Someone replied, and I got the chance to question what I’m doing even more than my anxiety over being hated usually forces me to. I imagine that my point of view is very similar to what my friends expect from me, but I feel like I came up with a couple of thoughts new to me.

Since I do all my best writing in Facebook comments, here we go:

  • Brian J K Regan oh so now we have to ruin these young men’s promising comedy careers??? when does it end
     
  • M. Q. what part of that is comedy? or are you being facetious? either way, no.
     
  • Brian J K Regan I dunno I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Leno rip “She’s raped deader than Trayvon Martin” later this week

    (M.Q.: there are people commenting on the Jezebel article that defend this video, writing that “people make objectionable jokes in close company all the time.” My point is that the monologue captured in this video isn’t even jokes, it’s just topical comparisons meant to shock, and that anyone who believes this is “shock comedy” is really overestimating the amount of thought these boys put into their words. This is, in effect, an illustration of the divide in comedy about rape jokes: unacceptable ones use rape, “acceptable” ones discuss rape. Since I like to contribute to positive discourse, in writing my comments I want to draw a connection between anyone who defends these boys’ sense of humor to the fucking rape apologists who bemoan the rapists’ futures— hopefully anyone who would read it would see that.

    But you didn’t. So I’ve failed, not you. And maybe this apologetic analysis/follow-up joke can make up for it or clarify for anyone else. I would hope that Olivia isn’t FB friends with anyone who would be illuminated by my joke in the first place; either way, I approach serious topics this way because it’s good practice for my future, more fun/less sad for me than rehashing all the real articles I read on these topics, and a way to reach people whose eyes would gloss over at any two paragraph long comment like this one.

    If anything about my approach still makes you uncomfortable, _please_ continue the discussion.)

Anonymous Leaks Horrifying Video of Steubenville High Schoolers Joking About Raping a Teenager ‘Deader than Trayvon Martin’

Slate: “New York Times Blames 11 Year Old Rape Victim”

At the link above, Salon comments on a piece in the New York Times that seems slanted toward blaming the victim in terms of word choice and quote selection. Does anyone know how prevalent this victim-blaming is? I know I could look it up myself (and I probably will) but I wanted to see if any readers had examples or links for me to check out.

Slate: “New York Times Blames 11 Year Old Rape Victim”