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I find it appropriate that a column that talks about such a potentially gross topic takes place on the 144th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth.

Too soon?

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ninjasuperspy said on April 14th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

So kind of a “Very Bad Things” then? I’m more of a “Grosse Pointe Blank” kinda guy really.

I am enough of a contrarian to instinctively play Devil’s Advocate when knee-jerk reactions like these occur. I’m with you on this, saying “We can never attempt to discuss this in the context of comedy” takes away our ability to start any discussion that isn’t permanently on eggshells. I have always looked at comedy as a way of breaking ice/taboo and getting people so far beyond the ick-factor that an actual discussion can take place.

That said, I do know the Most Offensive Joke Ever.

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From a sneak preview of 17 Again, which incidentally is far more enjoyable than anything with Zac Efron has a right to be. SHUT UP YOU, I AM DAMNED MANLY.

Nope. Sorry. Man cred totally shot. You’re going to need at least six more Dr. Strange posts to get back up to par. Wouldn’t hurt if you did one on Iron Man and made a surplus of penis comments either.

That doesn’t really explain the pedo jokes, though. And if you tell me you don’t know at least one really horrifically funny joke about pedophilia, you’re lying or sheltered.

http://content.pyzam.com/funnypics/misc/free_candy_van.jpg

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ANYthing can potentially be funny, given the circumstances. Hell, my favorite musical is written by an old Jewish guy who grew up during WWII and has a showstopper called “Springtime for Hitler.” The problem comes when people start assuming that the message they pick up from this stuff is the only valid one. I don’t want anyone speaking for me but me, and this sure isn’t going to lessen what I think of real rape.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 14th, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Devil’s advocate to your position:

The problem though is that, to someone who has been raped or date-raped, something like this will never, ever be funny. And while such a scene may indeed provoke thought, those thoughts will be terrible. It will also trigger horrifying memories and trauma. I’ve seen this happen–and been through it myself–and it’s heart-wrenching.

I understand wanting to address it in the context of a dark comedy. I also, however, understand the idea that there are some things that will, to some people, never, ever be funny because they’re just too emotionally close to what happened, and will feel (rightfully or not) that any attempt, failed or not, to joke about those things will cheapen their experiences. To them it suggests a lack of empathy that someone would even conceive of such things being funny. Whether or not there is an actual lack of empathy is unfortunately beside the point to them. It makes them feel as if they’re being brutalized a second time. And no amount of therapy will ever completely remove that.

So while it’s easy enough to say that you can joke about date rape or pedophilia, that does not necessarily mean that you should. “Transgressive art” and “anti-comedy” have their place, but it seems to me that it is a very small and mean place most of the time, and it seems to argue that the feelings of those victimized by date rape or a pedophile shouldn’t matter so much as long as we all get a good laugh out of it.

Having said that, I am not against the attempt to try, with the understanding that people will (rightfully) become upset about it and will feel the need to express that upset. To that end, what you see as a knee-jerk condemnation I can see as a wholly understandable reaction to a poorly-thought-out attempt at cruel humor.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 14th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

By the way Chris, I am not in any way shape or form trying to suggest that you are marginalizing victims of rape or pedos or any of that. You made your position clear and I understand it. I’m just offering up my two cents about what a lot of victims feel is the mentality behind such humor.

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So while it’s easy enough to say that you can joke about date rape or pedophilia, that does not necessarily mean that you should. “Transgressive art” and “anti-comedy” have their place, but it seems to me that it is a very small and mean place most of the time, and it seems to argue that the feelings of those victimized by date rape or a pedophile shouldn’t matter so much as long as we all get a good laugh out of it.

It is a very small place, I don’t argue that at all. But I dispute the characterization of what goes on in Observe and Report as “poorly thought out,” because it isn’t; it has an idea of what it’s trying to do and what it can do.

And when people characterize the movie as “standard Hollywood fare” just because Seth Rogen is in it (despite the fact that he’s playing someone who is pretty obviously fucking unbalanced, and not in a funny ha-ha way either), that’s just knee-jerk. It’s like characterizing the pedophile in Happiness as a dimunition of the horrors of that act.

(And of course, again I can’t help but think: the families of murder victims probably don’t find murder jokes funny, but our culture has normalized them, for better or worse. Which sucks.)

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 14th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

[i]It is a very small place, I don’t argue that at all. But I dispute the characterization of what goes on in Observe and Report as “poorly thought out,” because it isn’t; it has an idea of what it’s trying to do and what it can do.[/i]

Fair enough. I’ll withdraw that description.

[i}And when people characterize the movie as “standard Hollywood fare” just because Seth Rogen is in it (despite the fact that he’s playing someone who is pretty obviously fucking unbalanced, and not in a funny ha-ha way either), that’s just knee-jerk. It’s like characterizing the pedophile in Happiness as a dimunition of the horrors of that act.[/i]

I wouldn’t consider this standard Hollywood fare at all, and I understand that Rogen is supposed to be an unbalanced nutbar here; that’s not the point I was making. My only real point was that, to a victim, however unbalanced he is or isn’t doesn’t mute in the least the potential for additional/revived trauma in watching the scene. It’s not about the characterization or the motive, it’s about the transgressive nature of the act itself.

That said, such people are perfectly free to avoid the movie, and even to speak out about their feelings about the scene. But I agree as well that demanding the removal of all such scenes is censorious and itself transgressive.

And as you and others have noted, even though it is in your own words a failure, the scene in question has sparked discussion. Which was, in the end, at least part of its intent. So on that level at least it can be said to have succeeded.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 14th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

And I fail at HTML. My bad.

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That wasn’t quick. A good reflexive post, though. Reminds me of than Seinfeld episode.
Haven’t seen the movie (or even heard of it) but I guess I’d have no problem with it. I love Family Guy and Cyanide & Happiness and Sexy Losers, so…
Every joke in the world probably upsets somebody, sometimes in a very painfully way, and I understand is a complicated issue to rule. But I’m almost always on the “let it happen” side of it, not the “forbid it” one. As long as they’re not really date raping, just making fun of it (not even promoting it), I don’t see the problem.

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“That said, such people are perfectly free to avoid the movie, and even to speak out about their feelings about the scene. But I agree as well that demanding the removal of all such scenes is censorious and itself transgressive.”

Pretty much what I was just about to post in response to your above statements. To completely remove stuff like this because a (comparatively) small portion of the potential viewing audience may be offended or hurt by it due to personal experience is a very slippery slope.

Personally, I didn’t have any desire to see this movie simply because it looked retarded. Knowing what I know now about it makes me want to see it even less, but as a writer, I’d still argue for any artist/creator to express themselves as they wish. Doesn’t mean that it’ll work and people will like it, (in fact it could totally screw you over) but that’s the risk that the creator takes. You want to be known as the asshole that put in a totally offensive and potentially hurtful date rape joke that didn’t work in your movie, more power to you. :-p

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Justin Cognito said on April 14th, 2009 at 5:24 pm

As someone who tries to keep in touch with his feminist sensibilites, I’d note that the major problem with the rape scene is that it deals with a “gray” area of rape these days. The girl passes out, the guy mounts her, she expresses drunken and dozey consent — everything’s okay! A lot of feminist blogs (I mostly stick by Pandagon and its affiliates) have pointed out that there’s an idea in our culture that “rape” is structured around the complete denial of consent, and not lack thereof.

There’s a degree of outrage over Jody Hill’s decision to keep the “What do you think you’re doing, motherfucker?” line out, but I actually think it’s more… well, not funny, but FITTING if it’s kept in there. It removes all doubt that what we’re seeing is something awful and disgusting (mind you, Hill saying “It kind of speaks for itself” when talking about a scene the studio altered for laughs doesn’t exactly cast it in the best light). And again, maybe I’m extra sensitive to this stuff because I keep getting bombarded with those ads for Crank: High Voltage where random sexual assault is not only played for laughs, but appreciated by the victim.

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Cookie McCool said on April 14th, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Screaming Yellow Zonker (to devil’s advocate your devil’s advocate):
Have you been raped, regular-type or otherwise? And if you have, are you 100% certain that you can speak for every rape victim that has ever existed, since the invention of rapes and victims? Because an actual rape did not make the tree scene in Evil Dead (or possibly Evil Dead 2, I forget) any less silly and funny to me.

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jupiter9 said on April 14th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Justin Cognito: “As someone who tries to keep in touch with his feminist sensibilites, I’d note that the major problem with the rape scene is that it deals with a “gray” area of rape these days. The girl passes out, the guy mounts her, she expresses drunken and dozey consent — everything’s okay!”

Huh?

“She passes out, the guy mounts her.” That was rape right there. Nothing gray about it, this is rape. The later “dozey consent,” if the clip I saw is accurate, was her saying, “Why did you stop?”

I weigh very heavily on the side of free speech. I don’t think date-rape scenes, movies, books, discussions should be censored at all. Yet I do find many of them offensive, and I’m not afraid to say so. I think scenes like this tend to desensitize the viewer, rather than raising his or her consciousness.

Some people seem to think that saying “this is disgusting” or “what he did was rape” is equivalent to legally banning this or any depictions of rape. It’s not. It’s free speech, too.

And Cookie McCool, in case you want to question my credentials, and despite the fact that this will probably be used against me (because it makes me a hysterical victim), yes, I have been raped. More than once. Each time was by a person I knew.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris: “demanding the removal of all such scenes is censorious and itself transgressive”

If the demand is by the government, yes. If it’s by customers or potential customers, with the punishment for the company being not buying your product? No, it’s not censorship or transgression. It’s consumer activism.

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I feel weird making a tangent to a less serious topic, but based on your above discussion of murder and pedophilia jokes, dead baby jokes would form a kind of hybrid (between those categories in some cases).

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 14th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Cookie McCool, I am indeed the victim of a sexual assault and am also married to a fellow victim, so I do know a little whereof I speak. I was making a general case based on that personal experience and based on those I’ve met through my therapy. And I found the tree rape scene in ED pretty enjoyable myself. I would point out however that there is a considerable difference between date rape and tree rape. Neither one is something you want to have happen to you, but the former is a helluva lot more realistic an eventuality than the latter. Context does mean a lot.

JoAnne, the argument can be made that demanding something must be portrayed in a certain way (or not be portrayed at all), and reinforcing that demand with financial sanctions and boycott, is de facto populist censorship. The argument can also be made that the energies spent on such grassroots activism might be better spent elsewhere, for instance on volunteer work with organizations that provide counseling for victims. Shouting slogans in the street and/or yelling for Seth Rogen’s head on a stick* is a great way of attracting attention, but it doesn’t do much for those actually hurt by real assaults.

*Please note I do not mean to imply you are doing either or both of these things, I’m again just making a general case.

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Here’s my thing.

It’s not the date rape, for me, so much as it is the reaction to it from people who’ve seen it. It is clearly – CLEARLY – rape. There’s no way that fucking an unconscious woman is not rape.

And yet review after review that I read calls it “sex”. “Edgy sex”. “Rough sex”. But still sex – consensual sex.

The fact that there is such a confusion surrounding what constitutes consent is really troubling to me. Though I haven’t seen the movie, it brings me to wonder what it is about the scene that seems to leave people with the idea that what happens is sex and not rape.

Perhaps that says more about the reviewers than it does about the movie. But it does bring up that question. (My initial reaction was to assume that the problem was with the movie, which admittedly made me kind of frothy around the mouth, but since calming down I’ve put my finger a bit more specifically on what’s been bugging me.)

Furthermore, whenever I say I have no desire to see it, I get people making all kinds of assumptions about me and my sense of humor. I say, “Look, I just don’t want to watch a woman getting raped. I don’t watch TV shows or movies that have sexual assault in them. Entertainment, for me, is about escapism, and sexual assault is a little too real a concept for me.” and I get people saying “Oh, well, you just don’t get it. It’s dark humor. It’s beyond you. You don’t want to be challenged by the movies you watch.”

If you want to watch Observe and Report, that’s fine. If you like it, whatever. But please don’t judge people for knowing what they need to avoid and avoiding it. It’s not that I don’t want to be “challenged” by a movie – it’s that I don’t want to be triggered in the middle of a movie theatre, and have to deal with that while people around me laugh (even a little).

(Also, while this isn’t necessarily a problem with the movie ITSELF, Seth Rogen’s interviews where he talks about the rape by calling it sex and saying that it’s consensual contribute to the normalization of date rape. But that’s more of a reflection of what a fucking moron Seth Rogen is than it is a reflection on the movie.)

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Based on your writings here, the girlfriend and I are going to go see this movie tomorrow.

Thought you might want to know that.

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Kelberon said on April 14th, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Jupiter9: I think Justin Cognito was saying that it was rape, but that someone might think it was not because she didn’t explicitly say “no,” and said something that could be interpreted as consent after the fact. Of course, I have not seen the movie, so take my comment with a grain of salt.

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I think they said it best on Random Chatter. You can hint at sex and other big issues as much as you want, but if you actually with it all of a sudden you’re violating morality. Even more of a double standard if it’s non-consensual.

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Christian said on April 14th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

I saw my first rape-revenge film last week at a horror fest, and as much as it disturbed me most of the girls there were treating it as normal
one person left for a bit but otherwise it was just accepted as a convention of the genre

and yeah… now you really make me want to see this. not ’cause of the rape but because of the subversion

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Christian said on April 14th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

also, prison rape jokes should not be as prelevant as they are… but they’re usually handled pretty badly

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris:

JoAnne, the argument can be made that demanding something must be portrayed in a certain way (or not be portrayed at all), and reinforcing that demand with financial sanctions and boycott, is de facto populist censorship. The argument can also be made that the energies spent on such grassroots activism might be better spent elsewhere, for instance on volunteer work with organizations that provide counseling for victims. Shouting slogans in the street and/or yelling for Seth Rogen’s head on a stick* is a great way of attracting attention, but it doesn’t do much for those actually hurt by real assaults.

*Please note I do not mean to imply you are doing either or both of these things, I’m again just making a general case.

Thanks for acknowledging my position.

I don’t think that “de facto populist censorship” is the same thing as censorship. I guess we’ll just have to leave it at that. People who have differing opinions are still able to attend the movie and will be able to buy the DVD.

It is true that there are very limited distribution networks for films, and shutting one down for films with a particular kind of scene in them makes it very hard to do it anywhere else, because there is essentially no “anywhere else” in which to do it.

But that’s not the fault of the protesters; it’s the nature of the industry. I have a hard time being as sympathetic to those who make films as I do with those who have been raped and then see their pain apparently put on the screen for others’ amusement.

And, I’m sorry, I don’t think counseling victims of rape is a better use of protesters’ energy. Do you even hear how that sounds? That you would rather have more rape counseling instead of striking at one of the roots of the problem, some people’s belief that fucking a person who’s unconscious is not rape or is in some “gray area”? Rage is an appropriate response to that.

Not everyone is moved by the same kind of speech. Not all kinds of speech are welcomed in every place or by every person.

Prescribing *one* solution is naive. We need people fighting against rape in all different ways, from the sublime to the ridiculous. They don’t all have to be compatible in their rhetoric or imbued with the same exact sensibility.

Every social movement has consisted of many factions, some loud and extreme, some quiet and dedicated, some tireless, some ranting, some cloudy, some inconsistent, some heretical in one degree or another.

It would be nice if we could just talk things over and come to calm rational decisions based on mutually agreed-upon facts, but this is not possible, because we are not Vulcans, nor are we all Heinlein Fair Witnesses.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 14th, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Joanne, I apologize. I didn’t mean to suggest that there should be only one solution. The solution is multifold: Laws need to be better enforced. People need to be better educated in order to remove the double-standard stigma from rape. And yes, awareness needs to be raised, as vocally as possible. My only point was that victims need to heal at least as much as they need advocacy. And there are never enough healers to go around.

You raise excellent points; thanks for correcting me and being square with me about them.

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Justin Cognito said on April 14th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

jupiter9: As Kelberon said. I should’ve phrased my post better; to me, the scene was clearly rape, but it deals with an area that our society paints as vague. Rape is mostly constructed as something that takes place despite the active denial of consent in our culture, not as something that takes place with lack of consent, or consent initially given but rendered null by incapacitation (as in the scene in question).

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“And, I’m sorry, I don’t think counseling victims of rape is a better use of protesters’ energy. Do you even hear how that sounds? That you would rather have more rape counseling instead of striking at one of the roots of the problem, some people’s belief that fucking a person who’s unconscious is not rape or is in some “gray area”? Rage is an appropriate response to that.”

To clarify, I didn’t mean rage is an approprate response to your post, but that rage is an appropriate response to people thinking that fucking an unconscious person isn’t rape.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 14th, 2009 at 8:53 pm

To clarify, I didn’t mean rage is an approprate response to your post, but that rage is an appropriate response to people thinking that fucking an unconscious person isn’t rape.

Understood.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris: “You raise excellent points; thanks for correcting me and being square with me about them.”

Thanks, your points are valid, too.

I appreciate a discussion on this kind of subject that doesn’t go all sideways in the first few comments.

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maybe “we’ve made them laugh, now we have to make them THINK” is a cliche, but it’s still valid.

To which I’d say to them maybe the reason you don’t actually make me laugh that often is you’re spreading yourself to thin. Also who the fuck are you? The people I think are funny are some of the people I’m least likely to take seriously so what makes you think I’d take anything you.

I have to say I don’t find any of your arguements valid. Just because people are allowed to say things doesn’t mean they should have an audience. Let them scream in an empty room for all I care.

I see the phrase “populist censorship” in the comments here and I have to say what’s wrong with the that? If I’m not allowed to say “shut up I don’t want to hear it” and the people who agree with me also aren’t allowed that then aren’t we denied out free speech?

Why does freedom of speech only apply to the jackasses who want to piss people off?

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The fact that there is such a confusion surrounding what constitutes consent is really troubling to me. Though I haven’t seen the movie, it brings me to wonder what it is about the scene that seems to leave people with the idea that what happens is sex and not rape.

It’s totally the “who told you to stop, motherfucker” line, but it’s not because of the line itself, which only muddies the issue just enough to provide an excuse (and again – I think there wouldn’t be nearly so much vitriol raised without the line, because without that line there’s no illusion of consent for the viewer to cling to). I lean a lot more towards more the point that most movie critics are frankly worthless (there’s maybe a dozen, tops, worth reading) and don’t have the balls or the brains to call Seth Rogen’s character a rapist because Seth Rogen is America’s Mr. Cuddly.

The scene itself… like I said, it squicked me more than it amused me, but on a non-gut level I could see the humour, because Seth Rogen is up there while Anna Faris is unconscious and he’s doing a brilliant job of making you realize that his character is mentally going through the exercise of not justifying his actions so much as he’s trying to figure out the simple mechanics of what to do next, which is so utterly dreadful and yet so matter-of-fact that I can see how someone else could find it funny.

Furthermore, whenever I say I have no desire to see it, I get people making all kinds of assumptions about me and my sense of humor.

Which wasn’t my intention at all. Like I said – I saw it, and it’s not on my “must see again” list by any means. I don’t actually like films that aim to make you actively uncomfortable like Observe and Report (or Happiness, or a bunch of Gregg Araki films, or what have you) all that much.

I get people saying “Oh, well, you just don’t get it. It’s dark humor. It’s beyond you. You don’t want to be challenged by the movies you watch.”

While there’s a lot of unfair value judgements placed upon you piled in there, they’re together with a tiny little core of truth. Observe and Report is a satirical work, first and foremost, and the audiences of satires fall into three camps: those who don’t get the satire, those who get it and don’t like it, and those who get it and like it. Successful satires are successful precisely because they maximize the size of the third camp; Observe and Report is not successful, I think, because it’s really quite brutal in its level of discomfort and satire requires a light touch to truly be brilliant.

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Why does freedom of speech only apply to the jackasses who want to piss people off?

It doesn’t. It only seems that way because the jackasses are usually the only ones using that freedom to say things that might not be popular.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 14th, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I see the phrase “populist censorship” in the comments here and I have to say what’s wrong with the that? If I’m not allowed to say “shut up I don’t want to hear it” and the people who agree with me also aren’t allowed that then aren’t we denied out free speech?

Saying “shut up, I don’t want to hear it” to an unpopular point of view automatically precludes any kind of constructive dialogue. That’s not to say it’s always inappropriate to say it–for instance, I don’t especially care to hear what NAMBLA has to say about anything–I was just pointing out that sometimes engaging the problem rationally can be better than trying to shut down the people expressing it . . . if only because giving the unpopular opinion wider exposure can expose it to all for what it is. The KKK was marginalized like this in the latter half of the last century.

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Mark Temporis said on April 14th, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I’ve been following this off Pandagon and stuff, and it’s becoming sort of clear that a *LOT* of the scenes people have problems with happen only in the Rogen character’s mind.

Is there any chance the supposed ‘consent’ isn’t just given drunkenly, but flat-out hallucinated?

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Meh, I didn’t wan’t to see before I knew this, and I don’t want to see it now. So, maybe once again, Hollywood, the fail is with you.

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Joanne and Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris:

You have violated internet protocol by having an extended, thoughtful, and polite disagreement where you consider one another’s points of view without name calling, Hitler-comparisons, or swears.

I will be reporting you both immediately. Good day, ladies.

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I will be reporting you both immediately. Good day, ladies.

How do you know they’re both women?  I’ll grant you the benefit of a doubt on the name Joanne, but Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris is pretty darn gender-neutral.

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 15th, 2009 at 8:42 am

Joanne and Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris:

You have violated internet protocol by having an extended, thoughtful, and polite disagreement where you consider one another’s points of view without name calling, Hitler-comparisons, or swears.

I will be reporting you both immediately. Good day, ladies.

WELL F*CK YOU TOO ADOLF DOUCHE-TLER!

There, that better?

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How do you know they’re both women?

I… well, I don’t, do I? I had misread earlier SYZH’s post where s/he states “… married to a fellow victim” as “married to a fellow {who is a} victim.” Which is my fault for skimming. SYZH’s tone and generally the way s/he discusses the topic led me to jump to conclusions, even though Shep on Horseland insists I ought to do no such thing.

I apologize, sincerely!

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 15th, 2009 at 10:59 am

I… well, I don’t, do I? I had misread earlier SYZH’s post where s/he states “… married to a fellow victim” as “married to a fellow {who is a} victim.” Which is my fault for skimming. SYZH’s tone and generally the way s/he discusses the topic led me to jump to conclusions, even though Shep on Horseland insists I ought to do no such thing.

I apologize, sincerely!

Not an issue Rande, no apology necessary. It’s a common enough error, and I’ve made it myself.

For the record, I am a guy, married to an awesome woman, and we recently celebrated the birth of our first child. So let the dead baby jokes commence! ;)

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And it does bother me a bit to read myriad knee-jerk responses, all of the same variety: “I haven’t seen the movie, but doing that is disgusting and they shouldn’t have done that, playing date rape for cheap laughs.”

I’d like an example of at least one of the responses which we are characterizing in this way, if that’s reasonable.

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I’d like an example of at least one of the responses which we are characterizing in this way, if that’s reasonable.

Unfortunately, the LiveJournal post which prompted my response is now friendslocked. But trust me, it’s there – at least one person who commented here commented on it as well.

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Cookie McCool said on April 15th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

A little late, but to SYZ, yes, the context of tree rape is very important. And still hilarious. A tree! That shit kills me. But so is the context of date rape possibly in Seth Rogen’s weirdy head. As a victim of rape myself, I think there is even a context to real-life rapes. Some assaults are MUCH worse than others (not trying to compare scars or something, but I wouldn’t trade my drunk-and-raped-by-”friends” for raped-systematically-since-birth-by-my-own-father-and-forced-to-bear-my-own-siblings or brutally-raped-by-a-stranger-and-cut-the-hell-up in a million years; I KNOW I got off lighter than a lot of rape victims and I am grateful as hell). Trauma is trauma, but we all deal with our bad things differently, and maybe it’s funny to somebody, and never say never, you know? And maybe it’s awesome grown folks are talking on the internet about grown folk topics in a grownish manner!

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Screaming Yellow Zonker Harris said on April 15th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Some assaults are MUCH worse than others (not trying to compare scars or something, but I wouldn’t trade my drunk-and-raped-by-”friends” for raped-systematically-since-birth-by-my-own-father-and-forced-to-bear-my-own-siblings or brutally-raped-by-a-stranger-and-cut-the-hell-up in a million years; I KNOW I got off lighter than a lot of rape victims and I am grateful as hell). Trauma is trauma, but we all deal with our bad things differently, and maybe it’s funny to somebody, and never say never, you know? And maybe it’s awesome grown folks are talking on the internet about grown folk topics in a grownish manner!

I mostly agree with this. For me though, the “real life” depictions I’ve seen in films have always been very trying to me emotionally, and I always flash back to my assault. This after about a decade and a half of various forms of therapy. I understand and acknowledge that others have been better able to deal.

And yes, grown folks’ talk on the internets is awesome indeed. :)

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“For the record, I am a guy, married to an awesome woman, and we recently celebrated the birth of our first child. So let the dead baby jokes commence! ;)”

SYZ – What’s worse that finding 10 dead babies in a dumpster?

Finding 1 dead baby in 10 dumpsters!

Seriously though, it’s nice to see people discussing such a volatile subject so calmly. One of the cooler things about reading MGK’s blog is the quality of discussion. This the one of two blogs I can think of that has a real sense of community.

Chris, have you ever thought about attaching a forum? Or would moderation be too much of a hassle…

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Rande:

“You have violated internet protocol by having an extended, thoughtful, and polite disagreement where you consider one another’s points of view without name calling, Hitler-comparisons, or swears.”

http://adweek.blogs.com/.a/6a00d8341c51c053ef01157017ab9e970b-pi

and good day.

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I may be a horrible person, but I don’t think that scene is reason to get overly worked up about. I mean there isn’t really much the character did right in the movie. His judgment was off in just about every situation. Not to over analyze or excuse his behavior, but…
His home situation didn’t give him a proper understanding of right and wrong in relationships with females. His mother being perpetually drunk was possibly what he saw as normal for a woman. So loving an inebriated woman comes of as nothing but normal for the character in that situational. I mean, it’s not glamorized or made to appear to be acceptable behavior either, it’s just another case where Ronnie exhibits poor decision making skills. I also am in the opinion that the events played out the way the played out, in the “real” world and not in Ronnie’s head. I don’t see it being cohesive otherwise. I mean, He got knocked out by his best friend, beat up adolescents, and was oblivious about his Psych evaluation. That all played out straight. I mean, some of the scenes where he showed proficiency and excellence were a bit unlikely, but there was no special cut or angle I noticed that showed he was in hyperbole land. I think his fighting and shooting skills were strong because he could practice those and see results, so he worked at those things and his social development suffered as a result.

So do I think the DR scene was cool and awesome, not at all. Do I think it made sense for the character, absolutely. This was a very uncomfortable movie to watch. The last 10 minutes had a fat guy running around balls out and flapping all over the place.

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I think one of the problems here is that the movie’s targets audience have proven themselves time and again utterly unable to comprehend the concept of the “antihero”. Whether you’re providing them with Travis Bickle, or Rorshach, or Michael Scott, nerdy teen-to-twenty guys just can’t make the jump in their head that says, “while this is the central character, the author is not suggesting that I should condone their behaviour”. And that’s not a new thing: Observe and Report, from what I’ve read (it’s not out here in NZ yet and probably won’t be for a while, due to the lack of CG setpieces), puts a dark comic spin on the vigilante-justice movies of the 70s, which had a notoriously hard time telling “protagonist” from “hero”. (Try telling a generation of Charles Bronson fans that Paul Kersey wasn’t written as a role model).

I should stress I’m not saying stuff like this shouldn’t be made or released – I think MGK and myself are in perfect agreement here – but look, if you make jokes about raping women, women and plenty of men are going to be offended, and that’s part of the deal.

I think there may be a disparity in the nature of the free-speech debates between NZ and America (or Canada), because when something potentially offensive comes out (Observe and Report, or Resident Evil 5, or what have you) and someone says, “hang on, that’s a bit gross, can we talk about this?”, it seems the automatic response (not from you, Mr. GK, but About The Place) from fans of that thing is, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT FREE SPEECH HOW DARE YOU SAY WE SHOULD BAN THIS THING HITLER FASCISM SHIT”, where the question was never one of _removing_ it, just _discussing_ it.

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[...] the scene as a failure in terms of being either funny or truly outrageous. MightyGodKing has a very thoughtful response to the completely understandable outrage the scene has [...]

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(Disclaimer–I haven’t seen it; therefore, I am making shit up.)

I’m reminded a bit of the paradox of Funny Games–if you need the lesson, you’ll be busy fapping to the gorn, and if you don’t need it, you won’t be watching the movie in the first place.

This is the problem with making this sort of statement. The people who don’t need it will just be disgusted, and the people who do will enjoy it. It’s profoundly disingenuous for creators to pretend that their work, especially work written for a popular audience, will be received in a vacuum.

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I dont’ want to see that it is absolutely NEVER acceptable to use a date rape scene in a comedy, but the things is you really have to take the audience into account. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that Seth Rogan’s biggest audience is immature teenagers who aren’t going to get the subversive message of this movie.

And yes sometimes murder etc. is used as a joke, but there’s an important difference with date rape. Everyone knows murder is wrong and everyone can identify it. But there are lots of people who truly do not take date rape seriously and would not view having sex with a drunk, unconscious person as rape. So when you make a mainstream movie and throw in the line “don’t stop motherfucker” then lots of people are going to see that scene and think “hey she was asking for it.” And I’ve seen plenty of commentaries on this scene that say it’s unclear whether or not she was consenting (which is complete bullshit). And that’s the real issue here. People are so uneducated about rape and so quick to blame victims that it is irresponsible to put a scene like this in a mainstream movie.

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swingontehspiral said on April 30th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

i thought the movie was a good look at what makes people uncomfortable, it gave a well deserved FUCK YOU to anyone and everyone that could get offended at something. maybe its because im not black (or any other “minority race” for that matter, im as white as a snow man) or havent been raped, but ill admitt that and it shouldnt go against my open minded opinion towards this subject and the movie itself. i have however been forced against my will to do something and have something done to me. i know what its like to feel powerless and i know what its like to be mocked for something i cant change. but for me not to look back and laugh at the situation would hold me farther back from seeing all of us as equals. which is why humor is so great, dead baby jokes are halarious, why? because so many people wont admitt they think its funny, or just dont in general. i think the acts of horrible people are looked at with a grain of salt, some emotionless news anchor talks about rodney king getting beat, we go to sleep and talk about it just to fill our meaningless existences with something the next day. it never really hits home how horrible it is until heroes like bill hicks can make you laugh at it.

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