What I’m learning about date rape jokes is that some people really like them and some people do not. This is probably to be expected because rape, as a general topic, is not very funny. But when you add the word “date” to it, somehow it magically becomes pretty amusing (at least to me). Just like the way the word “ice” by itself isn’t funny. Add “Vanilla?” You get my point.
I was again made aware of this terrible schism only minutes ago when I posted the following Twitter update about my family ski vacation:
Done skiing for the day: sore, drunk, and exhausted. I feel like I was date raped.
Most people who responded did not seem particularly offended. But a couple did. One wrote “Wow. I thought you were for funny for a while. You’re not.” Then she added, “Rape is like killing someone and then asking them to get up and walk. To joke is to promote it.” And she included a link for a rape awareness website.
Did I feel bad? I did. Nobody likes to be told they are promoting rape. Not even rapists want to hear that. That’s why you never hear about the “bragging rapist.” It’s just not the kind of crime you brag about. Murderers have certainly been known to be boastful. Rapists? Not so much. Not sure why. I mean, it seems like if rape is your thing, you might as well own it. I’ve just never heard the sentence, “I’m the best rapist in the world.” Not even in a movie.
People just don’t make light of rape, and I suppose that’s probably for the best. But does that mean you can’t? There are definitely people out there who feel like certain topic are off-limits for comedy. Curiously nobody ever includes murder on that list. Not even mass murder. I mean, I know that I’ve certainly made more than my fair share of Holocaust jokes, and yet nobody has ever accused me of promoting the Holocaust.
(Actually, one person did, but that’s because I was selling t-shirts that read “My grandparents were rounded up and sent by cattle car to Auschwitz, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” In that case, the criticism was probably deserved.)
Now that I think of it, one of my all-time favorite jokes is a rape joke. It’s a Sarah Silverman joke, and it’s such a perfectly constructed little piece of comedy:
I was raped by a doctor – which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl.
That might be the best rape joke ever written. Because it’s also anti-Semitic. When you combine rape and Anti-Semitism in the same joke, I’m sorry, you’ve done something right. The only thing that would have made it better is if she had figured out a way to squeeze the word “nigger” in there.
My intention is never to offend people. That’s not fun. I just like to push buttons, even hot buttons. Even belly buttons. And yes, even hot belly buttons. So I apologize to that girl because I would like her to think that I am funny again. Honestly after I read her comment, I was sad, nauseous and regretful. I felt like I’d just had an abortion.