A lot of people like Penny Arcade, and a lot of people don’t. I used to, but lately I’m near the point where I may just stop going there because they don’t write about shit that resonates with me anymore.
And they say some really stupid shit sometimes. A long time ago they made a joke in the context of a larger joke about quests in games. Being raped by dickwolves was a throwaway gag that upset some people who don’t think we should ever make light of rape, ever.
Well, I disagree. I’ve disagreed before and I’ll probably do it again and again.
Making light of terrible shit is how we, as humans, beat our demons into submission. Black people call themselves niggers (or so TV leads me to believe) and the best paki jokes when I was a kid came from Pakistanis. I make fun of my own failings all the time, because that’s how I make them small enough to manage. It’s how we all keep them from overwhelming us. So no, I don’t think we should stop making rape jokes, so long as we – as a culture – totally get that rape is bad.
I think we do, generally speaking.
We can’t avoid trigger issues for everyone, we just can’t, and it’s stupid to try. The world is a big bad scary place, and there are hazards and people who react badly to these hazards. What makes more sense – creating a supportive world and assisting those with problems, or trying to remove every hazard so no one with any trigger issues ever trips their shit?
Let me tell you a story: One time my sister went for a drive in mom’s car, hit some gravel on a corner, and crashed into a ditch. My sister was devastated, but her friend was furious that someone hadn’t come out there and cleaned the roads up. The city, the government, someone was responsible for this accident! I had to beat her and shake her (verbally!) before she could even understand, much less agree with the idea that you can’t remove all the hazards from the world. It’s up to the driver to learn how to drive safely.
It’s the same with trigger issues. For one person it’s rape, for the next it’s domestic assault, or any of a zillion debilitating phobias. Some people are terrified of cats, and no one suggests we take all the cats off the internet.
Rape is different, and it’s generally abhorrent, and I get that it’s not the same as a fear of cats, but it’s still an issue that sends some people into quivering foetal balls, and we can’t get rid of every single trigger like this. For a lot of people it’s rape, but if we ban everything that someone somewhere can’t stand, where do we stop?
We can’t start, or we’ll never stop. We’ll have a world full of padding and pablum and nothing interesting will ever happen again.
Being upset about dickwolves diminishes everything else the crusaders against rape-culture say. This is a non-issue, it’s a silly joke inside a silly storyline in a silly comic strip. Being so upset about this is the worst kind of molehill exaggeration when there are plenty of real issues to tackle. So yeah, I don’t agree with this outrage, because it’s people looking to be righteous about an easy target. I can’t help but feel the people who are so vehemently against this are trying to make themselves feel like they’ve done their good deed for the week.
Hurrah, dickwolves. Long may they be borderline entertaining, and long may Penny Arcade keep churning out their popular brand of crap. Also rape jokes!
What I’d really like to see is an end to over-the-top grandstanding and wannabe do-gooders frothing and raging against silly shit. That’d be nice.