Offended Is the Worst Thing to Be

[Trigger warning for sexual violence, rape apologia.]

The Penny Arcade Dickwolves Debacle rages on, with some of the most remarkably insensitive minimization of sexual violence and some of the most callous ridicule of survivors I have ever seen. (Which is really saying something.) I don't even know where to begin in describing the Twitter war, so, suffice it to say, at one point Gabe (one of the creators of the comic) tweeted at Shaker Mod Scott Madin: "#sigh if you don't understand humor I can't help you. There's no point arguing this. We disagree at very fundamental levels."

"Yeah, Scott, why are you so humorless?" I tweeted. "And I'm sure @cwgabriel is just using the silencing tropes of rape apologia IRONICALLY. #geez"

Which pretty much sums it up, I guess. Someone using the fundamental tools of rape apologia ("you're just humorless; you're oversensitive; you just don't get it") to argue he is not a rape apologist.

And make no mistake: Someone who defends rape jokes, which are the the primary means by which rape is normalized and its gravity diminished to make rape acceptable—so acceptable, in fact, that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be victimized by sexual violence at least once in their lifetimes, the vast majority of whom will never see justice for those crimes against them—is indeed a rape apologist.

To defend a rape joke that serves the rape culture, at which a rapist is more likely to laugh than a survivor, at which a rapist can laugh at all, is to defend what that joke exists in service to, intentionally or not.

But somehow, it's still worse to be offended than to offend anti-rape advocates and trigger survivors.

Leaving aside the reality that many of the people who object to this shit are not offended, but contemptuous, I just love (where love = disdain with the fiery passion of 10,000 suns) the idea that to be dismayed by trivializing rape and mocking survivors is evidence of moral failure but telling and defending rape jokes makes you some kind of fucking hero.

And let us all stop to appreciate, for just a moment, the narrative that someone offended by and/or contemptuous of rape jokes, and publicly says so under their real names despite knowing it will bring an onslaught of vicious ugliness upon them, is weak, but the anonymous mob who descends upon hir making threats and, without a trace of irony, admonishes hir to ignore stuff zie doesn't like, are Brave Champions of Reasonable Debate or whatever.

Everything is just totally fucking backwards. It would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.

This whole ghastly affair comes down to this: Gabe and Tycho were insensitive. It's not that survivors and their allies were being too sensitive, but that Gabe and Tycho weren't being sensitive enough. And lots of people who afforded them the good faith presumption of decency asked them to be a little more considerate. That's it.

And they said fuck you and we're putting it on a t-shirt and wearing that shit to our convention because fuck you more.

That's what happened here.

But still the primary narrative, as it always is, is that some EASILY OFFENDED HYSTERICS just looking for things to get mad about got their panties in a bunch because they don't understand humor.

Easily Offended Hysterics is certainly more digestible than Triggered Rape Survivors, but it's not honest. Of course, honesty makes it much more difficult to marginalize concerns of people who can be easily dismissed if they're mendaciously cast as thin-skinned reactionaries, since we all know that Offended is the worst thing anyone can be.

[Previously: Rape Is Hilarious, Survivors Are So Sensitive, Quote of the Day, Troll Math and Teaspoons, T-Shirts and Teaspoons and Mythical Creatures, Taking a Brave Stance Against Survivors of Rape.]

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