Why so serious?
So Vice Ganda’s rape joke escapade has caused some controversy lately. Now, hate me if you will, but the thing about humor is that it’s supposed to push the boundaries of whats acceptable and whats offensive. To vilify rape jokes brings up the question of “where do we draw the line?” Do we stop making Racist jokes? Fat Jokes? Sexist Jokes? Offensive Jokes in general? At this point we have to stop and wonder “At what point does being offended become censorship?” Why have this democracy, this freedom of speech; if we still have to worry about everything we say? Yes there is accountability to be considered, but at the end of the day, if you’re offended by a joke you can wake up the next morning and be exactly the same. I understand if the subject of the joke is a rape victim, or has trauma involving rape; but does that mean we should be careful of saying fat jokes around fat people? Telling sexist jokes to a woman? Sharing a jewish joke to a jewish friend? Do people only laugh when I’m offensive because I’m incredibly good looking and awesome? This is where the line starts to blur. Context in this case is everything, as is having a manner of taste and class. It’s my belief that as long as it’s done right, you can make a joke about anything. The thing is, a lot of people don’t see it that way. Miguel Torres, a former UFC fighter was released from the organization in 2011 for tweeting “If a rape van was called a surprise van, more women wouldn’t mind going for rides in them. Everyone likes surprises.” He initially made a statement saying
“tweeting on racism, pedifiles, terrorism, & other fucked up things is ok, but some are off limits. What a sensitive world we live in.”
While he later apologized, one has to wonder what kind of a world we live in where a character like Pedobear is popular meme on the internet whereas a rape joke vilifies you. Not to mention Rashad Evans and Forrest Griffin, much higher profile fighters; made similar rape infused statements and got away with it with a simple apology.
I’m not condoning rape, but I’m just saying that people need to learn to find the humor in things that can be offensive because a joke doesn’t detract from the seriousness of its subject; but it can enable people to be less uncomfortable about the way something horrible is viewed or dealt with.
That being said, Vice Ganda’s “joke” was neither intelligent, witty, nor funny and was bereft of any substance. That was the major problem with it.