I found it funny when Chris Pratt used the power of dance-off to save the galaxy. I found it funny when Seth Rogen and Zac Efron battled over neighborhood dominance because a fraternity could not keep quiet in the suburbs.
I did not find it funny when the 2015 Golden Globes turned serious crimes into a laugh track.
The issue with humor, as seen with our recent Charlie Hebdo scandal, is the fact that a definitive line between hilarious and hurtful does not have its own spotlight.
On Jan. 11 the annual Golden Globes interrupted regularly scheduled television programs to give actors “lifetime achievement awards” for committing scripts to memorization and looking at cameras.
Writers Tina Fey and Amy Poehler started the night off with a hilarious monologue, no star left without a little teasing. However, the dynamic duo of comedy pushed a little too far when they made a joke at the expense of Bill Cosby.
Fey and Poehler were gabbing about Meryl Streep’s movie “Into the Woods,” their summary of the movie ending with, “Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby.”
So far, 32 women have come forward accusing Cosby of sexual assault that followed drugged drinks.
Fey and Poehler’s joke elicited varying responses. Some argued that it was okay because Fey and Poehler were making a joke at the expense of Cosby and not the victims; others argued that the joke became a traumatizing trigger.
TIME magazine headlined their story with “Tina and Amy just showed us the right way to make a rape joke” because of distasteful attempts in the past.
Comedian Daniel Tosh made rape jokes at his show, and one woman was not afraid to tell him he was being insensitive. He thought it would be funny to ask, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped right now?”
Actor James Franco joked that actor Seth Rogen raped him when they were filming “Pineapple Express” in retaliation for the latter saying Franco was gay.
Rape jokes are NOT funny in any way.
Celebrities are not the only ones who don’t see the insensitivity of said jokes.
On senior picture day, four seniors from Commack High School in New York wore shirts that spelled out the word ‘RAPE’ while another senior lay on the ground with his shirt pulled up partially and his hands together (imitating tied up restraint). One boy switched between a period and a question mark, indicating that the photoshoot was a replica of “The Fault in Our Stars” famous line: Okay? Okay.
To push the matter further, the boys thought Twitter followers would get a laugh after they posted it. It was taken down after they received protests. Action has yet to be taken against the seniors.
Football players at Martin High School in Texas had T-shirts implying a promotion of rape culture.
The caption was an innuendo saying, “Shhh, Just Let it Happen” as well as a pirate flag saying “We take what we want.” The school banned the shirts.
At the Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, students created a “gentleman” Facebook group that found humor in finding photos of assaults and making jokes. Traditionally, their comments attacked lesbians and condoned the use of chloroform, a date-rape drug, on victims (posts not shown because of extreme vulgarity). The students were suspended and the profile was removed.
No matter how famous you are and how funny you previously were, rape is not something to joke about.
There’s only one way to ensure a rape joke will not be offensive and not overstep the boundary: don’t make one.
The act of rape is a violent assertion of dominance and control that intends to make victims feel helpless and violated. Making light of the matter to make it laughable is an added weight to the pain.
Those in favor of not torturing victims more than they’ve already endured, say “Stop!”
Here is a link to a petition urging all entertainers to stop making rape jokes: