Wed 18 Jul 2007
[Note: this post is marked with a special “Ongoing” tag with the expectation that updates will follow and this will be a continuous project at Adonis Mirror. Please skip to the second section to see how to contribute links and quotations of trivialized usages of the word rape.]
A 68 year old judge in Nebraska decided that a rape victim couldn’t use the word “rape” to describe what happened to her. That same judge, the eminently dishonorable Jeffre Cheuvront, refused the prosecution’s attempt to fight fire with fire, when they likewise tried to deny the defense of their ability to use consensual sounding words like “sex” or “intercourse” to describe the events that took place.
Smarter people than me have covered this story. Unfortunately, a lot of folks who are more stupid than me have also had the urge to comment on it. One Doug Patton claims that Cheuvront’s ruling is the direct result of “soft-headed, left-wing judges [who] continue to conspire with ACLU types to undermine the rights of victims.” Nothing, however, could be more Right-wing than protecting men’s unfettered access to women’s bodies.
Most people seem to be in agreement that Cheuvront was out of line in his actions. Outrage is everywhere. Men are especially angry: they hate rapists more than women do. That is, if you believe their tales of how they’d brutally castrate or murder any unknown man who dared to touch “their” women. These violent admissions by the nice guys of the world come easily as “rapist” has been continuously defined by our media as hulking “urban males” (read: men of color) who skulk about dark alleys at night, just waiting to seize upon a helpless little white woman.
Ironically, white nice guys pay top dollar to view pornography based on a similar scenario, eroticizing racist stereotypes, violence and its potential. Pro-feminist cartoonist and blogger, Barry Deutsch of Amptoons.com, serves as a revenue sharing affiliate for one such company that produces a website called “Monsters of Cock” that generates precisely that kind of propaganda. As the popular vision of what a rapist is, what he looks like, how he acts, and who he rapes is so far outside the experience of the average white guy, it’s fairly easy for the average white guy to shout “murder them all!” Yet most sexual assault victims are in fact raped by men they know, average guys, men who find it inconceivable that a woman might not have consented to sex with them.
There’s big money to be made in women talking about their sex lives. Publications like Nerve magazine harvest writing from former prostitutes, women who then relive their days of selling their bodies for a new market of literary johns, men anxious to hear about the degradations that other men got to visit upon them. Somehow it was decided that this process was Progressive with a capital P and AlterNet.org reprints Nerve’s material as if it were revolutionary news that all Leftists have to acknowledge.
Only that freedom of speech only extends so far. Happy Hookers, yes. Unhappy ones? Not so much. The nice guys of the world would prefer them to remain silent—or, failing that, go through the same rhetorical contortions that Jeffre Cheuvront demands for his courtroom.
One feminist blogger (someone I only knew in passing) wrote about her experience of being raped, daring to name the man who did it to her. That man later took her to court for libel. I am unaware of the verdict or if it even went to trial.
For a world that is utterly enthralled by women talking about their “sex lives” (or “rape lives” for that matter), it’s interesting to note that no woman is entitled to express an unfavorable opinion of the nature of the sex she has without a judge and jury of men presiding over it. Only they can say that a sex act was truly undesired.
And yet somehow pornography, an industry that leverages capitalism, sexism, and racism to push women into having sex they otherwise would not have (also known as “work”), in effect using inequality to generate “consent,” is somehow our society’s guardian of “free speech.”
Again, most men hate rapists: even rapists hate other rapists. It’s easy because they don’t know that they’re rapists. And indeed, most men disagree with Jeffre Cheuvront.
I would argue that such disagreement is superficial, however.
As much as the imagination of the “black brute” rapist has served the interests of white men, this protection is diminishing. While the attributes of the stereotypical rapist are still exaggerated to the point where most men don’t have to think critically about their own sexual behavior, feminists have been vocal about how normalized sexual assault is in our culture. Between that exaggeration (rapist as salivating monster) and feminist activism (rapists are likely the men you know and trust), male anxiety over being labeled a rapist is at an all time high.
As a direct result of that anxiety, men are trying to use the word rape flippantly and often enough as to “wear it out,” just as the second-grade aphorism goes (“That’s my name, don’t wear it out,” immortalized in Grease).
Rape is now paying too much for gasoline. Rape is beating someone at a videogame. Rape is losing the last donut in the box to someone else. Rape is out-arguing (if only in your own mind) someone else in a blog war or internet feud. Rape is anything that is bad or ruins your otherwise pedestrian day. Conversely, rape is anything that brightens your day if you manage to do it to someone else.
While Men’s Rights activists might complain about males being raped in prisons, as if feminists are responsible for it and are expected to stop it on their own somehow, they never make any complaints about their brethren making light of sexual assault.
Consider that men even have an acronym for their jokes about prison rape, PMITA or “pound me in the ass.” In the following Google search, you can see the acronym used by both conservative men and their liberal peers at The Huffington Post (“I want to see Karl Rove in PMITA prison with no one to pardon him. That would be sweeeeeeeeeet.”)
Or the parody that the Derrick Comedy troupe (a group that performs at the Upright Citizens Brigade) did entitled “Bro Rape,” a supposed parody of Dateline NBC’s pedophile stings. Each of the male rapists was caught with a “big black dildo” in his possession, the punch line being that the single black actor posing as a rapist came to his victim’s apartment with an entire bag filled with them. While the average YouTube viewer might get a laugh out of it, a safe chuckle because the satire ignores the very existence of women, it’s still part of the same cultural prerogative that is working to normalize male violence, whether it’s visited upon other men or women.
If Judge Jeffre Cheuvront finds the word rape unfairly prejudicial in his courtroom, he needn’t for long. Men’s trivialization of the word started over a decade ago when liberal nice guy, Carlin Romano, joked about raping Catharine MacKinnon in the pages of The Nation. He did this to refute that words have physical power and her 1994 book, Only Words.
Men have a fairly universal reaction to being called out for their rape banter: they posture up and become straight-laced.
Men start citing dictionary definitions. “Abusive or improper treatment; to plunder or pillage.”
Men look to their forbearers for advice, Alexander Pope and his The Rape of the Lock.
Men search back even to antiquity, clinging to the hope that white men in togas will defend their arguments for them, citing etymological evidence for use of the Latin term.
Men who were acting like unruly middle-school students only a second ago, when approached with feminist criticism, magically transform into Ph. D. candidates in the humanities.
Out of all the reasons for men to grow up and start acting their age, defending the trivial use of the word rape seems to be one of the most powerful motivators in engendering “studied” responses. It certainly shows where men’s priorities are.
While defenders of rape humor are utterly convinced that their usage of the word is entirely divorced from sexual reality (and is wholly in tune with non-sexual references in their handy dictionaries), the truth of the matter often slips out.
Consider the following advice on how to donate money to Kiva, a progressive service that allows people to make loans to businesses in developing nations:
Date Posted: Apr/27/2007 5:37 PM
Posted By: WhiteGuy
I was just trying to clarify. Hey feel free to use your credit cards with Kiva and get all your Cash Back + rewards. You are raping paypal not Kiva.
What better thing in life then to rape paypal, help someone in need and get Cash Back all in one move. I say everyone should donate via credit card just to make paypal grab their knees
Or the following comment:
A Core2 Solo [an Intel brand computer chip] would rape it, stop for a smoke, and rape it again.
It’s fairly hard to make the sexless “plunder” argument with the knee-grabbing imagery. Such elaborations “for rhetorical effect” inevitably creep in: patriarchy is about nothing if not escalation. If all the other men are trivializing rape, to be the one to trivialize it the most is to be most manly.
As such, it’s just not ill-tempered losers who are working to make the word rape meaningless in order to protect men’s ability to rape women in reality.
The following record of trivialized rape usages includes successful businessmen, teachers at respected institutions such as MIT, beloved fathers and husbands. Perhaps some of these men are even considered feminists by those around them.
The Project: While the first sets of quotations are ones I culled from the search engines of various boards, some of which I participate at (or have in the past) I invite all of you to submit examples you see in your own travels throughout the web.Please email the hyperlink, the name or user handle, and a brief excerpt of the quotation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributors: Laurelin and Sheena
I would love to write a paper called “the rape of the classical tradition”
The chinese have only just begun to rape their soil with chemical pesticides and fertilizers. In the past they practiced proper land management.
Hassan “Acetone” Mikal
As long as he was nice about it it’s not rape! That’s the first thing you learn in law school.
Well, they make me embarrassed to live in the same city. Prison rape FTW.
How you like it if i said All games should be play with controller so i dont get rape online.
I’m gonna rape you… U better remember that mister [Referring to my sig].
the DS will rape this thing, hands down…..
A Core2 Solo would rape it, stop for a smoke, and rape it again.
A p3 will RAPE any celeron.
Lucas. Rape. Childhood.
Burn it to the ground and rape the insurence company.
And the attempted gang bang of the consumer continues. It’s only a matter of time before they rape us and rape us good.
Michael Bay, getting ready to rape my childhood. Thanks.
OK, here’s a nice phat pype to rape
I think the BSD/Tux anal rape picture is hilarious. Lighten up.
nooooooo! fuzz must rape teh chaedog’s mp3 collection! nooooooo!
I have played against Flash and Threshold won’t beat a good build. Sure, it will rape a net deck version from a random Player-guy who thinks that sheer power wins everything, but a good version of the deck jumps the average Threshold hand easily.
Yeah you lost one card that rapes you, replace it with another card that rapes you..
I can go through this forum and every other and rape a hundred stupid posts for terrible ideas on decks, limited construction, etc. including Salvation – what makes it so bad? Nothing more than the next large community full of all levels of players – the difference is that a few random haters open their mouths and the rest of the herd flocks in support.
Service has been solid, but goodness do they rape you on price (Bay Area, Ca.)
Compared to other Brick and Mortar stores, Target doesn’t rape you TOO badly, but it’s still a ripoff compared to places like Monoprice.
LOL, you’d probably get thrown out on your ass at a couple stores.
Best Buy would probably rape you…
I installed it myself since body shops rape you on labor.
They always rape you with shipping for example:
rape, how many did you score? Is that why none of these people can find any?
Premier status has some advantages but not for people who are looking to rape the banks.
“I personally hear the word ‘rape’ being used in a non-sexual manner all the time in a Magic tournament.”
I know I do… Mostly thanks to Ryan, Ryan, Chad, myself, and a few choice others.
Awesome awesome show. Loved it.
Rape RAPE rape RAPE rape RAPE…
To be continued, with your help…