There has understandably been a lot of uproar about Daniel Tosh’s rape joke threat since it occurred a few weeks ago. What I appreciate and find to be most powerful in the response landscape are the efforts to use what happened to create dialogue about how comedy can have a positive impact – can counter rape culture. Case in point, Rape Joke Super Cut – I Can’t Believe You Clapped for That, released by the Women’s Media Center on July 13th.
A collaboration between the Women’s Media Center, Elisa Kreisinger of Pop Culture Pirate, Fem 2.0 (a project of Turner Strategies), and Women in Media & News, the cut examines the ubiquity of “rape comedy” in America. It offers examples of how comedy can expose the injustice of rape, rather than perpetuate it.
From the release:
“Media outlets are mischaracterizing the feminist response to Tosh: the takeaway shouldn’t be that ‘rape jokes are never funny.’ The great George Carlin proved they can be, when he used the image of Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd in a joke that dismantled the culture of victim-blaming,” says media critic Jennifer L. Pozner, Executive Director of Women In Media & News. “Humor can be used to expose injustice, as Carlin liked to do, or to reinforce it, as Tosh did by hostilely targeting a female audience member. And Tosh’s comedian pals saying she asked for it? That’s not comedy, that’s abuse.”
What do you think? Can jokes about rape serve a productive purpose? Watch the clip below and share your thoughts.