Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On Rape in Conversational Context

I think anything can be funny. The whole tragedy + time = comedy cliche is true. Like, Holocaust jokes. They happen. People laugh. That said, I don't think rape is funny. I can't think of a time when it has been.

Actually. I take that back. Sid tells a lot of rape jokes in his stand-up, and I laugh loathingly into my arm.

But, it's certainly not funny in a "throw around" kind of way. Now hold on, I think rape, like all violence can be glorified. Like, people can get all moody and be like it's the Worst Thing Ever. And, I'm not saying it's a walk in the park to be raped...although that may be how it starts (HEY-O). I'm just saying, sometimes I think the harsh seriousness with which it can be treated almost seems melodramatic and then, well, the opposite effect is achieved? Like the girls in high school Speech who did The Lovely Bones so s-l-o-w-l-y and de.lib.er.ate.ly. UGH UGH UGH. Just made me make fun of them/rape with my friends after the round let out.*

Anyway, the point is, today our Level Three teacher said we should rape our scenes. It was a ham-handed way of saying A) bring intense energy and B) don't accept failure. I get that. But everyone laughed, and I stuck in the mud. Frowning. Yeah, I'm that dude.

I guess I just feel it wasn't necessary. Like, can't there be other ways to say it? Other ways that aren't so stark and "wrong" that people laugh? It's a cheap laugh at that. And I KNOW some people say "It's just words" but I think that's a ridiculous sentiment because we LIVE BY WORDS. I'm in an improv intensive. Take away the words, and we're next to nothing. Words are at least 60% of us. At LEAST more than half.

And other people are like if you DON'T say the word, it becomes powerful. I'm not saying don't say it. I'm saying, say it when you're actually discussing the weight of rape. People act shocked about this Colorado movie theatre shooting, but, come on. I tell people I'm going to kill them on the reg. That DOES something to our brains. That DOES something to our souls. To say you're going to rape whatever whenever just because it's a clumsy word that can generally mean anything? That DOES something.

And this is not to even consider the possibility of mentioning rape in the presence of someone who has been and then must privately wince at the thought.

*Hunny, SVC, and I STILL mimic this one girl's intro that LITERALLY began, "Have you ever been raped? Yes? No? Well, I haven't. But the character in my piece has." WHAAAAT THE WHAAAAAAAT?

1 comment:

Elleoneiram said...

That girl's speech reminds me of the valedictorian at my sister's college. She compared being a student to being kidnapped. Some found it awkward.

For me, "rape jokes" are funny when they are over the top and unexpected, the way any horrific humor is. Sometimes those jokes don't just serve as shock value (rape your presentations? -_- ok...), they make some kind of a commentary.

I agree that when rape is such a taboo thing to say it's actually counterproductive. People often act as though it is worse than murder, and nowhere near the level of other assaults. That attitude can make people worried about acknowledging such a horrifying thing, and it makes them play down other violations.