October 17, 2013 Comments Off
So far, no one has asked me why I’ve made the decision to no longer attend PAX. Instead, the question has been: “what happened?” And I hear an implicit “…this time” tacked on each time. It’s common enough knowledge that Mike Krahulik has been not just acknowledging, but rather celebrating his own part in targeting rape victims with “comedy.”
Satire is about punching up. Punching down just makes you a bully.
In the original scandal in January 2011, MK responded to upset readers with the o.g. false-apology: “I’m sorry you feel that way.” But at least they (read: Robert Khoo made them) put their money where their mouth was, pulling the merchandise from the store and stating in a follow-up news post:
“We want PAX to be a place were everyone feels welcome.”
Removing the shirt made the difference for some, not for others. That’s not really an unexpected result. But for those others, MK had this response:
“they think Tycho and I are perpetuating some kind of rape culture and that’s a different matter. First off it assumes a lot about us that simply isn’t true but more importantly it’s not something I can fix.”
The issue is that it’s not a different matter at all. That is the entire point of people calling out the strip, the merchandise, et al in the first place. That is the learning moment. And the language he uses to respond makes it clear that he’s not open to it. The responders are not assuming anything about the PA leadership — there is clear-as-day evidence that they are perpetuating rape culture. The jokes that target victims. The merchandise that capitalizes on those jokes. And the failure to own their responsibility and acknowledge their influence over an enormous audience.
I just today discovered the great “Letter to Myself” essay by Patton Oswalt, from a few months ago which, besides being a great read, captures the precise attitude that MK and the PA leadership is portraying.
“There’s no ‘evidence’ of a ‘rape culture’ in this country. I’ve never wanted to rape anyone, so why am I being lumped in as the enemy? If these bloggers and feminists make ‘rape jokes’ taboo, or ‘rape’ as a subject off-limits no matter what the approach, then it’ll just lead to more censorship.”
In the single most important-to-takeaway paragraph of the essay, Oswalt describes what he has learned from his own investigations about what gets people riled up versus what makes people laugh.
“In fact, every viewpoint I’ve read on this, especially from feminists, is simply asking to kick upward, to think twice about who is the target of the punchline, and make sure it isn’t the victim.”
In the “Letter to Myself,” despite the fact that he has a strong opinion about why no content should be off-limits, the context of the show, and how angry he is about the whole thing in the first place, Oswalt ALSO takes the time and energy to acknowledge that a thing is happening around him. He finds that he’s made faulty assumptions and he takes steps to correct those assumptions, to improve himself as a member of the community and to improve his comedy.
MK wrote that he was not responsible for perpetuating rape culture and that assumptions being made about him were not true. How does he reconcile that with selling Dickwolves merchandise, celebrating the fictional perpetrators of rape, and very publicly at PAX 2013 bemoaning the fact they took down the merchandise in the first place?
He doesn’t. He can’t. He can only ignore the implications of his actions by not examining his role in the outcome. No one accused him of being a rapist by drawing a comic. No one asked him to fix rape culture. People have asked him not to kick those who have already been hurt, to look at what he’s said, and examine how it impacts others. To be a responsible member of the community.
September 3, 2013 2 Comments
Show Notes – 9/2/2013
Steak, Bourbon, Hummus, and Belle of the Ball
With Chris Kirkman and Daniel Solis.
We chat Belle of the Ball, steak, nonviolent game philosophy, bourbon, organic relationships, name the “Euro Nouveau” category, and hummus.
September 2, 2013 Comments Off