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Kate Secor said on June 13th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

As a woman who works in games, I have to say that it’s lovely to see other people banging the gender reasonableness drum right along with me, especially so well!

That being said, I think you might have overlooked the underlying point that makes all of his “arguments” make more sense to him than they do to, say, me: he doesn’t believe that “rape culture” exists.

Here’s the quote: “I’m not prepared to take spurious claims about ‘rape culture’ etc at face value.”

If you don’t believe in the existence of a culture that normalizes and trivializes rape, if you don’t believe that even the fact that we have to have this conversation is a symptom of same, then of course all the people screaming and yelling about it are overreacting to something that’s not happening. If you dismiss all claims about the existence of that culture as “spurious,” then not believing in same is the rational thing to do (assuming that a rational person is willing to shut out any evidence contrary to the basis for their positions).

I don’t think that anyone’s going to be able to make any headway against arguments that are based in the clear idea that “the thing I’m arguing against doesn’t exist, but I’ll say something about it anyway just so you poor benighted people can come to right thinking.” I’m not sure what to do about that, though — evidence clearly doesn’t work, so I’m not sure what would.

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I would, at some future date, like to see an expansion on the “killing badguys in an action story isn’t really murder” point, because that strikes me as completely, 100% wrong.

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Kristopher A. said on June 13th, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Rape or attempted rape is a fucking awesome plot element.

Yeah, I never thought I’d see that sentence in my lifetime.

That being said, I think you might have overlooked the underlying point that makes all of his “arguments” make more sense to him than they do to, say, me: he doesn’t believe that “rape culture” exists.

Isn’t it ironic that he’s sort of a walking, talking example of it by saying how “awesome” of a plot device it is? I mean, that’s fucking hilarious. “I don’t believe there’s a rape culture. Now let me encourage people to use it in stories because it is a fucking awesome plot element!”

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I would, at some future date, like to see an expansion on the “killing badguys in an action story isn’t really murder” point, because that strikes me as completely, 100% wrong.

I think there’s a viable difference between killing badguys when you are in a fight and they are quite obviously willing and/or trying to kill you (as the majority of badguys are) and a premeditated, planned murder. Or even a violent off-the-cuff murder. But that is me.

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Mark Carroll said on June 13th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

You are an awesome, awesome human being, sir. I’m fairly sure “Grim” is whining about this because of the backlash over the Tomb Raider reboot and the Hitman: Absolution trailer. He’s a vile human being at the best of times, and it’s always nice to see him get pounded into the dirt. I salute you.

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Sure, but at least as often as not (especially(1) in video games, which is the medium from which these arguments have most recently shambled out) it’s pre-emptively killing from ambush people whose willingness to kill you stems entirely from their being hired to guard a place you’re trying to enter with felonious intent.

(1) But not entirely; e.g. “On Deadly Ground”

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Mitchell Hundred said on June 13th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Calling rape ‘fucking’ awesome seems to be in rather bad taste.

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Jesus.

I feel uneasy about using sexual assault in any kind of story, even when I think it’s appropriate. Hearing someone describe it as “awesome” sincerely is pretty horrendous.

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Brian T. said on June 13th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

@Jeff R. I get where you’re coming from now.

Take Star Wars, for example. Han shooting first in the original version is flat-out murder (even if it seems pretty cool). Obi-Wan cutting that alien guy’s arm off because he won’t leave Luke alone isn’t terribly ethical either.

But when they’re on the Death Star trying to get back to the Millennium Falcon, it is a lot more justifiable that our heroes shoot back at the Stormtroopers who are trying to kill them. And the big dog fight at the end of the movie is mostly justifiable because they’re at war and the bad guys are using a lot of resources to try to kill them first.

Ignoring the whole issue of prisoners, support staff, droids and other possibly innocent noncoms who got blown up too, it is easy to argue that destroying the Death Star and killing Grand Moff Tarkin served the greater good. So, murdering a few janitors and TIE fighter mechanics who probably would have been considered war criminals anyway isn’t that objectionable (unless you’re Kevin Smith).

But on the other hand, Han and Chewie will totally straight up murder a dude if it suits their purposes. And that isn’t all that great from a moral perspective. Most of us just didn’t think about that stuff because we were pretty young when we saw the movie the first time.

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Pennyforth said on June 13th, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I would argue that Obi-Wan attempted to defuse the situation first, by interceding on Luke’s behalf, insinuating to the two toughs that the boy wasn’t worth the trouble and trying to draw Luke away from them. It wasn’t until “Walrus Man” (I forget what his supposed actual name is) drew a blaster that Obi-Wan responded with a lightsaber–and if the Expanded Universe is to be believed, “Walrus Man” survived the fight, albeit missing one arm, while it’s safe to say that his intent was to kill Luke and/or Obi-Wan outright. Deadly force met with possibly, but in this instance not, deadly force.

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@Brian T — everybody forgets Darth locking himself in Leia’s cell with the drug & rape torture robot

@Jeff R — as has been pointed out, carnage in video games / movies / pop fiction tends to have a sense of fairness built in; Bond wouldn’t kill the baddies if the baddies weren’t trying to kill him & besides they’re more or less equally armed. Rape is about dominance, albeit dominance expression through sexual aggression. The violent cinematic equivalent of this would be the depiction of a Holocaust-like slaughter where one side is completely helpless against the onslaught of the other.

Rape is a valid plot device when it’s the point of the plot; i.e., if the aftereffects are examined and considered as part of the motivation for both perpetrator and victim’s further behavior. Likewise murder in a mystery is a valid plot point.

I have long been irritated by cops shows (and westerns) where the hero kills any number of baddies each week with no affect to his mental health. No matter how well justified one simply can’t kill scores of human beings w/o it affecting you in some way…at least not unless you’re a sociopathic monster.

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I wholeheartedly agree with this post; I frown at forum-kiddies wanting to feel edgy by using ‘rape’ as a synonym for ‘defeated’ or ‘destroyed’.

Rape as a device, aside from trivialization, creates very different responses in viewers, given the gendered nature of the crime. Many men see a wrong committed that they must exercise masculinity to defend. Many women see their agency being eliminated and their power reduced in a way that just ‘murder’ doesn’t evoke–since murder is not such a gendered crime.

Straight men who have never been threatened with rape at all, let alone their whole lives, deciding they are going to “normalize” the event is breathtakingly arrogant. Thankfully there are relatively few Desboroughs.

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As well as being a moderately well-known RPG writer who uses shock value to gain attention to his otherwise not-particularly-interesting work, it’s important to bear in mind that Desborough is also a fucking terrible human being and always has been.

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Thanks for the link!

Anyone else read “rape is [an …] AWESOME plot element” and hear Steve Carell from S2 of “The Office”?

“Think about this: what is the most exciting thing that can happen on TV or in movies, or in real life? Somebody has a gun. That”s why I always start with a gun, because you can”t top it. You just can”t.”

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As a longtime reader and performer of Shakespeare, I can say with near certainty that he never said there were seven types of stories. Seven ages of man, and seven degrees of the lie, and references to the seven deadly sins of Christian tradition…but no enumeration of types of stories. I only point this out because the dubious point is lodged in a paragraph of Desborough’s about lazy writing. Research is part of writing, so failing basic fact-checking seems unequivocally an example of lazy writing.

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Cookie McCool said on June 13th, 2012 at 5:30 pm

The poor guy can’t be held accountable for the fact that rape is more likely to harmfully offend readers in a way that murder can’t. It’s totally not his fault that people can survive rape but not murder!

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I can play his game.

Shakespeare said that throwing around rape willy-nilly is weak, lazy writing, not even mature enough for Beavis and Butthead.

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Daily reminded that ‘trigger warnings’ are complete bullshit and that that’s not how trauma works at all.

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Daily reminded that ‘trigger warnings’ are complete bullshit and that that’s not how trauma works at all.

Perhaps, but it costs nothing to be considerate.

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So why don’t I see male characters being raped just as often as female if it’s such an awesome plot element eh? What a full of shit asshole and not as rare as some one would wish.

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@BriantT-

Han shooting first is in no way, shape, or form murder. If someone walked up to me with a drawn weapon and said “Hi! I’m here to kidnap you and deliver you to a nearly certain death” I’d feel entirely justified in shooting them down, and wouldn’t consider myself a murderer at all.

If anything, Han goes out of his way to resolve the situation non-violently by attempting to resolve his differences with Greedo (and by extension Greedo’s employer) via dialogue.

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Jesus.

I fully believe that rape can be used well in a story, and could even go with the idea that it occasionally should be mentioned, as a way to remind people of what should not be tolerated in our society.

But not realizing that the vast majority of rapes written about are lazy writing, thrown in purely for shock value–or because they can’t imagine any other kind of hardship that would drive a woman to fight well–requires a truly unbelieveable amount of willful blindness.

Just…Jesus fuck, man.

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Jennifer B said on June 13th, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Male characters don’t get raped with the frequency of female characters because it’s inherently an act of domination and humiliation, reducing the character to nothing but an object to be used for the rapist’s pleasure. That sort of treatment fundamentally clashes with the prevailing attitudes surrounding masculinity. Although, it would not surprise me to see rape used against gay male characters more often than against straight male characters, for similar reasons as it’s used against female characters.

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Kate Sector basically had the right of it from post one. There’s nothing to be gained from trying to discuss, debate, or argue this sort of thing with someone who states as part of their thesis “I’m not prepared to take spurious claims about ‘rape culture’ etc at face value.” That’s like trying to debate the dimensions of the Earth with someone who says “I’m not prepared to take spurious claims about ‘the world being round’ etc at face value.” You can’t argue someone out of a position they never argued themselves into, as the saying goes.

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Das booch said on June 13th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

@adela

I believe the male equivalent plot device is wife/soulmate/family is brutally murdered. I wanted to say male character that’s brutally beaten & left for dead but that seems to be a thing that the character “gets over it” and there’s no emotional trauma there.

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[…] Another article with a rebuttal can be found here. […]

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I believe the male equivalent plot device is wife/soulmate/family is brutally murdered

So the male equivalent to women being raped is… women being murdered.

How terrible for the men.

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The fellow was gentlemanly enough to tell me today that the reaction Anita Sarkeesian got, rape threats and all, is comparable to people saying mean things about games about raping people. The only difference is that the people who were threatening a woman were “trolls” and therefore “didn’t really mean it,” whereas the people speaking out against a Kickstarter tentacle rape game were spiteful, hateful people who meant everything they said.

The fellow has an incredibly selective view of reality, it would seem.

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As a writer, this concept is curious to me. I’ve never wanted or tried to write a rape scene in a story because I guess I don’t feel comfortable doing so. I don’t plan to anytime soon, either. However, I also don’t believe any human experience should be 100% off limits in writing. So how does one approach the subject without being exploitative, callous, or “fridging” the character in question? Has there ever been a “good” rape scene in a work of fiction (by good of course I mean handled well, not positive or enjoyable), and if so, what makes it such? Does A Clockwork Orange count? I’m not asking these in a hostile or argumentative way, I’m genuinely curious.

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Jilliterate said on June 14th, 2012 at 12:09 am

Rape as a plot device bothers me because it’s a symptom of the way our culture portrays female characters — everything must be tied to their sexuality. Male characters (whether they’re well or poorly written) are frequently allowed to simply EXIST, to stand on their own merit. Popular culture is quick to remind us that women are WOMEN, and have BREASTS, and you can have SEX with them. Often, these are considered to be the only qualities my gender can offer to a story. In turn, plot elements revolving around these (female) characters cannot escape their…femaleness. They conflict is almost always romantic. Their appearance is beautiful, and if it’s not beautiful, then you’d better believe pitying commentary is going to be made about how not-beautiful they are (Even if ever male character is a certified CHUD). And if conflict is going to happen, you’d better believe it’s going to involve her sexuality. Female character don’t get a badass scar or witness the death or a mentor. They get raped.

“Rape plots” are cheap because they reveal the author’s own biases and limitations. [Author] can’t forget that the female character he/she wrote is female, and they’re going to be darn sure the audience doesn’t forget either.

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Brian T. said on June 14th, 2012 at 2:27 am

@Jilliterate: Well said.

I read a lot of fantasy novels, and it’s crazy how even in the books written by women, the female protagonists either get raped or have the threat of it to deal with on a pretty much constant basis.

At least when a woman wrote the book, you might get some insight into how it feels to be the one who got attacked. But seriously… They can’t just kidnap the protagonist’s boyfriend or something?

And when the protagonist isn’t constantly having to deal with guys who want to rape her (i.e, “Dark Descendant” by Jenna Black), the story about the plucky gumshoe with crummy magic powers often turns out to really be about all the mind-blowing sex she is having with ridiculously handsome guys who turn out to be vampires, or elves, or gargoyles or whatever.

And yeah… The “I may not look like Emma Frost, but I’m still hot enough to get two or three guys chasing me at the same time” stuff gets really old really quickly. I would much rather see those pages devoted to our plucky gumshoe with crummy magic powers shooting zombies in the head or something.

And why do female protagonists usually get stuck with crappy powers at least in the first book or two in a series? What is up with that?

Anyway… I’m digressing.

Most of the time, sexual abuse in genre fiction feels about as appropriate as the rape scene in “Identity Crisis.” Other than being able to say, “this isn’t like the kid-friendly stuff you used to read”, it doesn’t really have a purpose.

I have read grim and gritty “adult” takes on escapist genre stuff that worked for me, but most of the time it seems like the “mature content” is just there because it can be. If an editor took those parts out, it would improve the stories in at least some cases.

The only real exception I can think of right now is Sarah Monette’s “Doctrine of Labyrinths” series… but even then, all the stuff about gay guys getting raped and tortured just becomes really unpleasant after a while and the points she was making about sexuality and stuff get lost.

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highlyverbal said on June 14th, 2012 at 3:01 am

I, for one, would welcome a list of the upcoming atrocities that will need to be “normalized” after rape goes the way of murder and loses its “zing!”

I wonder what happens to all these bold, edgy authors when they run out of atrocities.

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highlyverbal said on June 14th, 2012 at 3:16 am

@Kate Secor, quoting the douche: “I’m not prepared to take spurious claims about ‘rape culture’ etc at face value.”

Great post, but isn’t this just a straight up strawperson?

What a bold fellow this douche is, to strike a blow against spurious claims. Can you just imagine how many people who love uncritical swallowing of spurious claims he is willing to risk offending?

Funny, when I google “rape culture” I see a robust debate, laden with books, journals, film citations and a few studies even. It’s just that easy for the douche to discover he is wrong. A few seconds. I guess doing no research is his way of demonstrating he is super earnest in not trivializing rape.

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I think the context is really important. Sure, it’s possible, in a vacuum, to write an intelligent, worthwhile story involving a rape.

But here and now? That well is poisoned. It’s been used too much, too thoughtlessly. Too many hacks have chosen “rape” as the lazy back story for why their female character is such a badass, and a whole lot of us are just sick of it.

Even if you’re not a hack, if your big character development for your female character involves rape or attempted rape, a lot of people are gonna hate your story because it’s been so overused.

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“Assuming that murder is objectively worse than rape as a given, which is arguable to say the least. Sexual assault is ultimately about the removal of agency from the victim, in the same way that murder is; to say that sexual assault is “better” than murder because the victim survives tends to ignore the beliefs of the victims in question.”

I agree with almost all you say but this part of the discussion is very problematic for me because it gets far too close to the idea that a woman’s value is equated with her sexual ‘purity’. I knew a rape survivor who was damaged far more by the reaction of her family afterwards than by the date rape itself.

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Sgaile-beairt said on June 14th, 2012 at 6:38 am

No rape culture!? How old is The Fantasticks? 50 years now? as sung by Jerry Orbach, illustrated with clips from Dollhouse here:

http://www.giandujakiss.com/index.php?set=videos&video=119

all about rape narratives as ingredient in entertainment,

Even kids shows and stories have it with heroines who are kidnapped by villains who want to “marry” them against their will….. one reason i’m loving LoK so much, title chara faces threat of death, beat up, depowering, but the villains want to use her politically NOT sexually!!

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Sgaile-beairt said on June 14th, 2012 at 6:39 am

ps, thanks for this post, MGK.

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I hatehatehate when rape is used trivially in fiction as a catch-all for “this person is evil” or “this female character has a troubled past”. Hate it.

When it is used in a proper context that is reflective of the themes of the work and has consequences that are explored properly, it has its place. I think “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” uses rape in a way that makes sense according to the plot, expands upon the themes of the book, and shows the action as having emotional and physical consequences that make sense and clearly illustrate the strength of Lisbeth Salander.

It didn’t feel cheap or misplaced. In many ways, the rape and what results after are the entire point of the novel: violence against women and how it gets ignored.

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let’s bring out the 500-pound gorilla in the room that Desborough doesn’t address, which is that the use of sexual assault to a relatively meaningless end can offend and even harm the viewer in a way that most other sources of conflict can’t.

Not to mention causing the viewer to stare at the guy and back slowly away, because clearly there’s a lot going on in the fella’s head that’s being projected. Don’t drink anything he gives you.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 14th, 2012 at 9:33 am

Maybe trauma does not always work that way, but it can, trust me.

MGK, appreciate the post and the being considerate.

Also agree that Dragon Tattoo was a valid use of rape as a story element… even more so when you consider the three books together. It’s also worth pointing out that (spoiler warning! or are those bullshit too? hmm) Nyqvist, the ultra man’s man hero guy, is threatened with horrible rape (and then death), and Salander saving him from that creates a profound bond between them.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 14th, 2012 at 9:34 am

(arrgh, quote did not work. I was trying to quote Ex saying “Daily reminded that ‘trigger warnings’ are complete bullshit and that that’s not how trauma works at all.”)

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You write a lot of good stuff, MGK, but this is pure gold. Thanks.

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And of course now he has a post up where he just uses “Find/replace” to put “Murder” wherever the word “Rape” appeared in the previous post. Because he’s sooo clever and totally nailed all his detractors and nobody has ever thought about doing that before and blah blah blah….

Seriously, you not only can’t have a debate with someone who refuses to believe that the idea he’s challenging exists, you can’t debate someone who’s totally unaware that any previous thought or debate has taken place on a given topic.

It reminds me of the stories my friend with a PHD in physics would tell about people showing up on physics message boards with theories based on a a grade school grasp of the field and refusing to understand that there had already been a huge amount of work done on every aspect of the science and that they were far from the first to come up with their “Game changing” idea.

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I like the article’s punctuation mark of the Picard Facepalm. Labeling his own Pulp Fiction “kick ass”, whining about it only getting 50 hits, trying to preempt negative responses by predicting them… a billboard of its own buffoonery.

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While it’s not as annoying as rape used as a plot device the follow-up where the man then avenges his woman’s rape is kind of annoying. As though it’s still a crime against a man’s property.

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Cookie McCool said on June 14th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

I know it’s a double standard, and I say this as a female rape victim myself, but I find depictions of men being raped to be much more personally traumatic than women being raped. It’s fucked up, but even before it happened to me I always felt that as a woman, rape was always a possibility, but men don’t commonly live with that gorilla in their rooms, so to me, a man being raped is even more of a violation. I hate that I feel that way, because rape should be rape.

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DistantFred said on June 14th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Murc: No, Han pretty much murdered him. This wasn’t some random kidnapping. Han, a smuggler of contraband (I think that it’s established as being illegal drugs specifically, somewhere) is being threatened by the criminal orginization that that he was working for, for failing to supply the payment received when his ILLEGAL shipment of smuggled goods. Killing the guy the Mexican Cartels sent to muscle you up because you had to toss 100 pounds of weed into the Rio Grande to avoid the cops does not make you morally in the right.

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Carlos Futino said on June 14th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

@Cookie McCool:

I think that’s a cultural thing. We’re used to thinking rape is something that happens to women, not men.

That speaks tons about us as a culture…

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Magdalen said on June 14th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

This is the problem. Right here. Rolled up into in a nutshell. You, sir, do not understand the reality of rape culture. You are so far out of touch with what women go through that this seems to be the logical explanation. But it’s your own ignorance that is holding you back. God, this kind of thing is so infuriating to see. It really is. I’m so disappointed.

Normalizing rape is not the answer, holy shit, I can’t believe I actually had to type that. Fuck.

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@DistantFred: I think the case is being made that, whatever ill acts he may have done to bring himself to that point, Han was sitting with a gun in his face, and not held by someone to whom the law would expect him to back down (say, law enforcement). In those circumstances, there’s usually a little bit of self-defense wiggle room for killing the person who’s trying or planning or credibly threatening to kill you.

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So the male equivalent to women being raped is… women being murdered.

How terrible for the men.

This causes type 3 manpain. (If you haven’t seen the associated vid, go ahead and download it and watch it… trigger (and spoiler!) warning for rape and character death.)

I wonder what happens to all these bold, edgy authors when they run out of atrocities.

They could always turn to the “fate worse than death” of the betesticled crowd…. (Speaking of fucking awesome plot elements, eh?)

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kingderella said on June 14th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

having rape fantasies doesnt make you a bad person. we dont have much control over these things. and i believe there are ways and places to express such aspects safely.

being a huge fucking ignorant arrogant inconsiderate asshole about it *does* make you a bad person.

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highlyverbal said on June 14th, 2012 at 5:21 pm

@DistantFred: Was the rebellion legal?? Because I don’t think it was. So all those deaths on behalf of illegal activity: murders. In fact, even the stormtroopers were murdered by these rebel scum, right? (Not just TIE fighter repairpersons.) So you are more extreme than Kevin Smith on this one. Please, just think about that for one deep breath.

=======

Of course, that is leaving aside the quite salient question of what legal regimes are ensuring the safety of the Mos Eisley Spaceport cantina ASIDE from whatever is in your holster.

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Having tried to read some of his “Kickass pulp fiction” I am prepared to testify that 50 hits is about what it deserves in terms of traffic. He’s not the worst writer I’ve seen, but he’s far closer to the bottom than the top.

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@JoshR: Why do you think he needs to rely on things like shitty sex-magic d20 sourcebooks and articles entitled things like “In Defense of Rape?” to get attention? If it weren’t for bad publicity he’d have no publicity at all.

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 15th, 2012 at 8:51 am

The way this comment thread bounces between serious discussion of rape and trauma and the morality/legality of Han shooting Greedo is FUCKING AWESOME!

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Speaking of not taking into account potential audience reactions (and going back to JoshR’s post), Desborough’s response has been all but irredeemable. He’s outright stating that people just saw rape and got angry–I believe his phrase is that it should be “judged on quality rather than content,” with the implication that the only reason to be annoyed with him is a failure
to truly understand his brilliance.

This is doubly strange in light of the fact that Desborough seems to be having two arguments: the first being the obvious that rape can be used as narrative context, and the second being that rape is–as he puts it–a “fucking awesome” plot device. Nobody is arguing that rape should be taken out of fiction; the problem is that, as his frat boy-esque tone and inability to sympathize (people are objecting “because… well, who knows, really?”) demonstrate, rape is used largely as a source of generic–and as seen in the quotes from his RPG writing, distressingly eroticized–trauma.

Yet instead of even trying to engage in a meaningful critique of rape in fiction, Desborough essentially creates a discursive space wherein only the “predictable and stupid” (his words) can disagree with him, utterly ignoring the content of the actual criticism in favor of a narrative of self-aggrandizing victimization.

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Luke, that was a tremendous amount of words used to describe how Desborough is a fucking dipshit.

(People ask me why I cuss? Because it is more efficient that way.)

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on June 15th, 2012 at 11:08 am

Sometimes it is necessary to be scientifically, mathematically precise as to the specific, quantifiable way in which somebody is a fucking dipshit, though. I mean, you don’t want every generation to have to re-prove Newton’s Laws from first principles.

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Human being who doesn't hide behind fallacies said on June 15th, 2012 at 12:59 pm

The arrogant little shit has the gall to hide behind freedom of speech, calling anyone who doesn’t think rape is fucking awesome “pompous”.

This sociopath makes me want to raise money for rape charities, just so SOMETHING good can come of his nonsense.

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highlyverbal said on June 15th, 2012 at 1:14 pm

@Luke: Shorter Desborough: rape victimization is spurious; his victimization is real.

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Back in the day, I came to this blog for the Ultimate Power comics that had their dialogue replaced. Since then there’s been some really clever and interesting stuff; the “I Should Write” articles, the Civil War remixes, that time traveling Ringo Starr story stand out especially well. Heck, even the alignment charts and book cover remixes were amusing, if not all that inspired. It was good, and I kept coming back for more.

But this creative and stimulating blog has turned into… well… just another blog where some guy and a friend talks about stuff.

I mean, I found there to be an amusing amount of meta-humor going on with the whole Avenger’s slashfic thing. An article in response to a comment on another article, which was itself a response to an article on another website where someone was responding to an original creation.

I dunno’. It just seems like hating on a moron doesn’t make anything better. Maybe when our bloggers stumble across people saying stupid things it bothers them, and they come here to vent? Problem is, I can either sit here and chime in “yeah! You go!” and join the echo chamber (when I agree) or say nothing (when I disagree). Either way though nothing actually changes. People still say stupid shit.

I mean, MGK is so upset about an idiot denying rape culture or something that he vents his annoyance here. Actually linking to a local abused women’s shelter that takes online donations or Rape Hotline or something wouldn’t make Desborough less of a douche, but it might help make the world a better place.

Ultimately, it’s not my blog. MGK can post nothing but the endlessly looping gif files from 1994 if he wants to. He can rant and rave about some obscure nobody he just discovered (I mean, who the hell cared what Desborough was poorly trying to do before this?). I just have better things to appreciate someone who belches up bad food that disagreed with them.

tl;dr – original content made this blog great, not bitching about other people’s stupidity to disconnected third parties.

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William Kendall said on June 15th, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Desborough is, in three words: a fucking idiot.

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Mecha Velma said on June 15th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

After al these compelling arguments, i’ve decided that upon writing my first webcomic, the first thing I’m going to do is RAPE the heroine.

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One of the ideas I’ve always had for writing is to leave the characters non-gendered until the events are plotted out, then start flipping coins. I’m not sure if it’d be feasible, though.

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Dirge: Right there with you buddy.
Sumguy: That is an amazing idea. Thank you.

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Parhelion said on June 16th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

@Dirge

While I understand your concerns, especially given that I first showed up here to read MGK’s Doctor Strange series, permit me to reassure you about your fears that posts such as this one don’t make anything better or change anything.

I think you might be forgetting the interest and usefulness such discussions have for large groups of fans who may or may not be MGK’s friends. If people such as this Desborough prat are the only ones to discuss rape as a plot element, for example, the subsequent silence implies that attitudes such as Desborough’s aren’t awful enough, or even important enough, to be noticed by the fan community as a whole. Then a lot of us would have to spend our leisure time — and, in my case, part of of my working hours — elsewhere. So I can verify first hand that this post does some good.

Sure, reading about the role of rape in rotten writing might not be as interesting for some as reading about the role of wretched continuity reboots in rotten writing. And donations to woman’s shelters are, in fact, useful. But, for those of us who life forces to be interested in issues such as the ones this posts covers, MGK’s chop jobs are just as compelling and amusing as they were during his Civil War remix posts. Given all this, I promise you don’t need to fear the site is running downhill whenever MGK drifts away from your interests for a while, any more than I worry about a possible fall-off of overall quality due to his pirate comics. He seems to be good across the board.

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Dirge93: dunno, dude, I still think everything MGK posts is still in the same spirit of what he was originally doing, and his voice, insight, and execution still make this a must-visit site for me, unlike say The ISB (my previous favorite comics-aligned blog) which lost its spark and is now largely a linkfarm that doesn’t allow comments.

Still can’t wait for more Who’s Who entries, though.

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Re: original content.

1.) I understand that people want to see it. I’m not an idiot. :)

2.) It takes time to produce, and I am sort of busy with being a lawyer and paying down my massive student debt. But I do try to keep making it. You still see alignment charts. You still get collections of Photoshopped gags every once in a while, although I’m a bit bored these days with “take pop culture product, give it snarky title” and am trying to branch away from it.

3.) But at minimum, you get one page of Al’Rashad a week, and have done for over two years now. I mean, come on. I gotta get some credit for that, right?

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Stranger Danger said on June 17th, 2012 at 4:33 am

Except “Al’Rashad” is not that good of a comic. Just sayin’. Much love. Long-time reader, first time caller. “Al’Rashad” is bland, bland, bland.

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Candlejack said on June 17th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I’ve enjoyed Al’Rashad quite a bit, and look forward to it every week. To each his own, I guess.

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John 2.0 said on June 18th, 2012 at 6:49 pm

@sum guy: according to the “making of” documentary that’s what happened with the character Ripley in Alien. The initial script treatment had only last names and (I think) Dan O’Brian only decided to make Ripley female after the fact, after a producer asked if any of the characters were women.

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He’s got a call for assistance out to help stop the censorship lining up against him: http://postmortemstudios.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/i-need-you-anti-censorship

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I agree with you on principle, particularly when you are speaking of the issue in general. That being said, all forms of human darkness are fodder for literary exploration.
MGK I would be interested to hear your take on Donaldson’s “Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever”

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[…] http://mightygodking.com/index.php/2012/06/13/in-offence-re-rape/Here is a rebuttal, which points out why Desborough’s arguments are noxious. The takeaway? At best, James Desborough is a terrible writer who does not understand his audience. At worst? There’s a reason all of his works centre around rape and sexual assault as entertainment/humour and that reason is very, very scary. […]

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While it’s not as annoying as rape used as a plot device the follow-up where the man then avenges his woman’s rape is kind of annoying. As though it’s still a crime against a man’s property.

I would say that this depends on how the “avenging” is handled. I believe it’s very possible for a man (or anyone) to do this because someone has been wronged, not because his property has been damaged. Of course, it’s all in how the “avenger’s” motivation is written. It is possible for the person avenging the rape to be a horrible human being, doing it all for the wrong reasons if you want an unsympathetic character. Lots of fiction has those “people you just love to hate” in it.

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“Using [rape] to generate some conflict in your boring shitty story trivializes it because you are making the statement in choosing to do so that what happened to them is unimportant, because your boring shitty story is unimportant.”

So … using rape in a story is bad if the story is boring and shitty? Does that mean rape in a good story is fine? And who gets to decide what stories are “boring and shitty”?

As to the “lazy” part of this morass, the article doesn’t explain why it IS lazy. The article takes apart Desborough’s argument but doesn’t offer up an alternative.

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The article takes apart Desborough’s argument but doesn’t offer up an alternative.

Alternative? You mean, not using rape as a cheap way to generate some conflict? That would seem pretty obvious.

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[…] of a stir. It might be more appropriate to say that the responses to it have caused the stir – Responses, counter-responses, a PR message from Mongoose, a publicized email exchange, and an online petition […]

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bad johnny got out said on June 25th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

So … using rape in a story is bad if the story is boring and shitty? Does that mean rape in a good story is fine?

That’s the deal all right.

And who gets to decide what stories are “boring and shitty”?

It’s you!

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[…] books as Sex, Dice and Gamer Chicks it’s hardly surprising that some people didn’t take the message quite as he intended […]

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