Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jerry Sandusky, FARK, Family Guy, SVU and the American Culture of Rape as Comedy and Entertainment

Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on so many charges of rape, he will be spending the rest of his life in prison.


I first read the news of Sandusky's conviction on a website I frequent called Fark. I've written about them before because it's a pretty racist place sometimes and, in what I can only suppose was a bid to prove they could sink lower than being blatantly racist, for a while, Fark went through a phase where rape joke headlines were all the rage. Of course, the rape jokes were never directed at men, it was only women who were always the punch line.

I mean occasionally, in a thread about male criminals going to jail, you'd get a reference to some guy being sent to PMITA Federal Prison, but that's about as far as it got.

Fark is known for tasteless headlines. My favorite sick one was when NASA was having trouble getting the space shuttle home and delayed it's re-entry for a day. The headline was "Space Shuttle Explosion moved to Tuesday." Ouch.

So, the headline announcing that Jerry Sandusky had been found guilty on nearly everything he was charged with was actually pretty mild for Fark: Sandusky goes from Penn State to State Pen.

Since readers submit the headlines and the ones that hit Fark's main page "go green" it stands to reason that many readers submitted headlines that actually referenced and made jokes about the rape, not just the rapist.

And one why guy wanted to know why one of the more tasteless and possibly "funnier" headlines hadn't made the cut. This was my reply:

doglover: bsharitt: This was the best headline?
Since when does Fark pull punches when it comes to jokes in poor taste?
TuteTibiImperes 2012-06-22 11:05:11 PMYep. It's just about the only one not about raping children in a shower. There's quite a few of those, and they're not gonna look too pretty on the main page.
  2012-06-23 04:05:29
Hey, I think I can field this one.

A few years back some of the female FARKers started complaining about the rape jokes on this site. Unlike jokes about black people, Drew actually seemed to give a damn and the ha ha woman got rapety rape jokes and headlines seemed to suddenly disappear. It was also around the time that Family Guy was coming under fire for their hideous rape jokes, particularly "Peter and the Bulll" and people were quickly drawing a co-relation to an uncaring, heartless FARK.

It also seems that several female FARKers had been victims of rape or child molestation, myself included, and it was pretty farked up to have to come to a place that was supposed to be fun and be reminded of that fact.

And now that I think about it, and fark me for being so damned slow - considering the Catholic Church Scandal, Prostestant Preachers Against teh Ghey, Hands-on School Teachers (male & female), Republicans in the Closet with Congressional Pages and whoever else they can get their hands on, the tragedy that was Bill Zellers, and now this latest Jerry Sandusky scandal, I'm thinking a lot of male FARKers have spent a lot of time either forcefully getting choked by a dick shoved down their throat or forcibly raped, possibly while others heard and did nothing to save them.

And if you find that description overdone, well the reality is no great shakes either: that a lot of us, female and male, have been sexually assaulted and making fun of it - well just isn't farking funny.

There's a difference between tasteless and heartless - and for once it seems, this site finally Drew a line in the sand.

I, for one, am mildly grateful.
I have never been a Family Guy fan. I refused to watch it, or any other show put out by Seth McFarlane. However, back when Ye Olde Matey and I were still together, he would watch it before we went to bed. I would spend that half hour surfing the Internet, but since were in the same room, I couldn't help but hear the show. Some of the jokes would make me chuckle and I could always be drawn in by the musical numbers.

So one day, Ye Olde Matey asked me to watch the show with him. After all, it did make me laugh sometimes, he was sure I would enjoy it. So the next night, I agreed to watch it with him.

That next night was the episode with Peter and the Bull. Ye Olde Matey was as sickened as I was watching it. He knew I would never watch the show again but, to my surprise, he stopped watching it too.

FARK seems to have learned their lesson and the rape jokes ended. I have no idea about Family Guy because I have never watched another episode. If I am on a channel when it comes on, I change it or turn off the television.

But then I turn right around and watch Law and Order SVU. And not that SVU ever seems plays rape for laughs, but they have a tradition of one liners about the crime of the night, started back in the Jerry Orbach days, that would seem to belie that fact. Even I have to admit that this show takes the worst of any all sex crimes and displays them for our salacious entertainment. And long after the other Law and Order brands have faded, SVU remains.

Are we being made aware or are we just interested in the gory details for curiosity's sake? These shows have been proven to make us more paranoid and that we're all only one minute away from a hostage standoff or murder crime scene. While crime rates are actually dropping, the continuous rotation of  Law and Order and  CSI in their various forms, Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, Cold Case, Flash Point, NCIS, Monk, Psych, COPS and other reality crime shows - all of this makes us feel as though there's a murder happening every minute. These shows scream at us that we are in constant danger and we believe them.

And while these shows used to be late-night prime-time fare, they are now in heavy syndication and played at all times of day so we an be assured that children watch these shows. What messages are they getting about sex and violence?

Just recently, a several white teens felt it was no big deal bullying an elderly white woman employed as a monitor on a school bus.

Where did they learn that it would be "fun" to bully and deride a grown woman?

I really don't think we have to look very far.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Republican Governors: Economy really is "fine". Just give us credit, not President Obama

I just saw an exchange on CBS This Morning that really set my teeth on edge. I remember now why nobody ever watches them but I've made an effort to tune into them now and again ever sense this post.

Much has been made over President Obama's supposed "gaffe" in saying that the private sector economy was "fine". Republicans everywhere shook their heads in mock pity & sad disbelief. See how "out of touch" Obama is? He thinks the economy is just fine. Oh how could the President think things are just fine? It's the moment we've been waiting for. You see, Obama thinks things are "just fine".

Mitt Romney, ever eager to please, jumped on the bandwagon with a brand new campaign ad. He's been running around the country, even my home city yesterday, parroting the latest of what he thinks everyone wants to hear in his nonstop attempt to bolster the Republican efforts to never give President Obama credit for anything.

Republicans gave up trying to outright embarrass President Obama just after the 2012 campaign began in earnest. Oh, you may get the occasional Republican to say something off-color and off message but they are quickly shushed these days. Republicans are dense as hell, but they've almost finally caught onto the fact that blatant and dogwhistle racism makes them look bad, not the President. Especially as he never really responded except for that first year where he kind of got sick of it and in his cool as Calvin Coolidge way responded with the most frustration I've ever seen from this president: "They talk about me like a dog." And then he got over it and went back to being President.

Nope, Republicans know they can never quite make President Obama look bad. Obama is no Randy Pants Clinton or Just Plain Dumb George Bush, Jr..Obama is too smooth and disciplined to ever really be caught off his game.

So as it turns out, "gloom and doom" Romney focusing on how awful the economy is, isn't making Obama look bad. It's making all of the American governors look bad, particularly the Republican ones.

Like I said, Republicans are dense as hell, but even the die-hard Obama haters figured out - well if the economy is so bad, then President Obama must not just be doing a bad job, but the governor of my state must be a doing a lousy job too. And if your governor is a Republican, as most of them are these days....well that might just put them out of a job, right?

So, the pretty anchor, ever so conciliatory to helping Republicans get their message out, asked: So, what should Mitt Romney be saying? What she couldn't say but was obvious: Well how does Mitt Romney explain a better economy without giving President Obama the credit? I mean if the economy is better, how do we blame President Obama for it being bad?

The Republican shill barely held back a wink and smile as he replied.  Mitt Romney should not be spreading gloom and doom. or touting the low employment rate in each state. He should also give credit where credit is due: To the Republican governors and their policies.

Unsaid was, whatever you do, don't say President Obama got the economy going again. Whatever you do, don't give him credit for turning the country around and doing his job. Whatever you do, make sure Republicans get the credit even though they have been the "Party of No" and  obstruction and that their one goal was to "make sure Obama was a one-term President". They never had any intention of doing anything to help the country.

And so, the pretty anchor wondered, how will Mitt Romney ever get the message.

And again, Republican shill guy, barely held back a wink and a smile as he replied that he was sure Romney just had.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bob Strait, Nancy Strait, Trayvon Martin - May they all get the justice they deserve and Rest in Peace

In the days after the murder of Trayvon Martin, people waited to see if President Obama would make a comment.

And when he did, he said what was true of anyone who has seen a picture of Trayvon Martin; the boy looked a lot like him and, had Barack Obama had a son, well, that son might have looked something like Trayvon Martin.

Leave it to a bunch of racists to take this bittersweet and thoughtful comment and turn it into a case for their bigotry and hatred.

Tyrone Woodfork is a young black man who killed two white retirees. He beat them to death in a senseless crime so hideous that had it been a mere few decades ago, he wouldn't be alive to tell the tale, he'd have been lynched by now.

But since white folks can't lynch Tyrone Woodford, they're going to go after the President instead.

There's a story going around racist, conservative sites, that "Blacks Can Murder Whites, and It Won't Make the National News." They even go on to call Tyrone Woodfork "Obama's son". Hell there's even a YouTube video with the title "Obama's Son" and they don't mean Trayvon Martin either.

Two people died in a murder so heinous that I can only hope they lock up whoever who did it an throw away the key. And yet this conservative white trash has no problem using the murder of two innocent people to further their racist aims and score political points against President Obama.

But since this will have to be spelled out for some of you, let me explain why the murder of Trayvon Martin and the murder of Bob and Nancy strait are nowhere near the same.

When Bob and Nancy strait were killed their murder was locked up.Immediately.

"Police have arrested 20-year-old Tyrone Dale David Woodfork in connection with the case"

It took black people all over this country speaking out and marching to even have George Zimmerman's "stand your ground claims" investigated, let alone for him to be arrested. Days, weeks, months after he killed Trayvon Martin, people were asking, "Why Hasn't Zimmerman been arrested."

Trayvon Martin was killed in February of 2012. He was not arrested until two months later in April of 2012. Most major news networks questioned whether it was even necessary and speculated that Zimmerman, despite multiple witnesses, a 911 recording and Trayvon Martin's dead body, was more than likely innocent of murder and must have acted in self-defense.

I don't think you'll find a single member of the media who will attempt to defend Tyrone Woodford's indefensible crime.

Even now, George Zimmerman, only sits in jail on a technicality. The judge is upset that the George Zimmerman and his wife didn't disclose a pay pal account that everybody and their grandmother who's ever been on the Internet has known about for months; since the day the website soliciting donations first went up and Zimmerman's  started contributing to Zimmerman's "defense fund".

White people are actually donating money to Zimmerman's defense in klling a young black child.

I think you'd be hard put to find a single black person outside of Tyrone Woodford's family, donating a dime to his defense.

Bob and Nancy Strait did not deserve what happened to them. They deserved to live out their retirement in peace. And evil crossed their path. But that evil has been locked away in jail and will never, please God, ever be free. They do not deserve to have their corpses further dragged out for public display in the fight to defend white racism.

Trayvon Martin did not deserve what happened to him. He deserved to grow up and live and love and change and maybe even live to ripe old retirement age. He did not deserve to have his memory disparaged and the follies of typical American youth trotted out on display as some sort of twisted proof of "thuggery". Evil crossed his path.

But George Zimmerman more than likely will go free.

No two cases could be more different. Contrary to what is being said, the murder of the Straits did make every national news site that I can see and the link on this page goes to an international news site. That their deaths have not become the cause that Trayvon's murder did is because their killer was immediately jailed.That's why George Zimmerman made national news. Because he killed someone and was not arrested. That he was white speaks volumes as to why.

Black or white, it is not justice for someone not to be punished for murder.

Bob Strait, Nancy Strait, Trayvon Martin - May they all get the justice they deserve and Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Obi Wan - You are my final hope.

So, Scott Walker won last night.

At this point my only hope is that there's an alternate universe out there in galaxy far, far away. I am sick of white hatred.

White people's hatred, ignorance and bigotry elected  Scott Walker, John Kasich,  and Rick Scott to the governorships of Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida respectively.

White people's hatred is keeping them there.

And now people are finding that it's not so easy to dig out evil once it takes root. Because make no mistake: what Scott Walker, John Kasich and Rick Scott - and yes Mitt Romney - want for this country is nothing short of evil.

It is always evil to make people beg, scramble and fight for basic rights and human dignity. And that is what they wish. To make sure that any right you have is easily negotiable and granted only at the benevolence of "your betters": rich people, corporations and anyone who happens to stumble into a public office.

And we will be kept in line by the police - all pretense of civil liberties exactly that.

There is no necessary evil. We are either a free society are we are not.

America has never truly been free.

It's going to be a long time before we are.