Fuck this Noise
February 8, 2011 4 Comments
I’m late to the game on this, but I read an article that finally set me off.
It started a week ago when I read this at Lum’s. Which lead me to this breakdown timeline. It involves a whole slew of controversy sparked by one person, who completely missed the point. Which lead me to the above linked blog entry, and more specifically, this line of instruction:
I am sorry. Upsetting you was not my intention. I clearly need to educate myself more about this issue. Thank you for telling me about this and raising my awareness. And again, I’m sorry.
Which is complete drivel, and utter horseshit. Honestly, it astounds me at times how one person can so completely miss the reality of a situation as to type out crap writing like that. Most specifically, it’s this portion that boggles my mind:
I clearly need to educate myself more about this issue.
No, I clearly don’t need to do anything.
Comics are a blend of art, and is a method of communicating ideas. Those ideas are necessarily delivered in a confined space of available media, particularly in a three-panel delivery system, so even more than typically found, brevity is a necessity. They key to proper communicating while being brief is compact message delivery – ensuring that the idea and concepts trying to be portrayed are delivered as clear as possible in the most succinct way. In this case, a terrible act (rape) was occurring. An act chosen specifically for its horrendous nature, and awful stigma attached to it. A behavior that is so reprehensible to society as a whole, that the idea of leaving someone to be subject to it because of a mere inconvenience or disinterest is anathema to any rational being.
And yet, somehow, the use of the term to exemplify that behavior is deemed wrong, unthinking, hurtful, and insensitive? All while perpetuating “rape culture”? Talking about something is not perpetuating the act of said thing. Penny Arcade is no more growing the ranks of rapists by mentioning rape in its proper context than I am swelling the ranks of dairy farmers by talking about what kind of milk I use in my cereal. Acknowledging the existence of an activity does not tacitly, much less explicitly, increase involvement in that behavior.
For a somewhat more abridged version of the whole debacle, Penny Arcade went on to make T-shirts. This was done in what appeared to be a clear case of mocking a group of people taking offense at something that clearly shouldn’t be taken offense at – unless the intent of opposition is to prevent anyone outside of the “accepted” group from being able to discuss or reference what is “their” topic. The article I linked above says their main objection was the sentence “…raped to sleep…” used in the now 6-month old comic.
The most astounding thing about all of this, as Lum pointed out, is that the original, spark-setting objection article states that the writer has no objective perspective on the situation. To the point where the author has a Pavlovian negative reaction to laughter, even when completely unrelated to the topic at hand. Yet, somehow, writers and creators of art are supposed to take that kind of irrational, extreme response in to perspective when writing – when it would run counter to their very narrative as creators? The best thing for anyone who finds the strip or Mike and Jerry’s responses to the responses offensive, is to simply not read, and not participate.
I personally feel like the response should have been significantly more biting or direct in dismissing the ludicrous stance of detractors. Most likely because of my affinity for artists pushing the edges of societal discourse. So, while a significant portion of me believes that the objectors of this argument are off-their-rocker-ridiculous, I appreciate that it at least generated conversation about a topic concerning society at large, and not just the idea that modern questing mechanics in MMOs are less sensical than a multi-phalis-appendaged-wolf raping slaves.
A big part of me wishes that Mike from PA would have publicized this tidbit for everyone to read instead of in an email, which was then posted as a comment.
Mel Brooks said: Tragedy is when I stub my toe, comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die…You have to understand that I get mails like this all the time… Your outrage is not special.
Of course, in this entire conversation as it spread across blog posts, comments, forums, and other methods of communication, the side in support of PA were of the camp that we don’t get to be choosy or picky about what realms are used in comedy. The “if one conceptual area is okay, then all related concepts are as well” argument. Which is met with “But NO! This is nuanced! We DO get to limit your creations based on OUR feelings.”. As Mike said in the above-mentioned email, everything’s funny until it insults you.
If you get the chance, puruse the bottom of the timeline, where it shows the twitter responses to some of the detractors trying to instigate the folks at PA. The responses are down-right hilarious in being both compeltely dismissive of the ridiculous situation, while at the same time trivializing the absurdity of the questions.
I could go on for a much longer time about this, but I won’t. Fuck this noise.