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On Jerry Sandusky And Rape Jokes

Jun

26

by

Why we should drop the “dropping the soap” bit


Sandusky, in a rare non-molesting moment.

On Friday, America waited with bated breath to see what would happen to Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State defensive coordinator accused of molesting dozens of young boys. We were all just about certain he was guilty, but since we’ve seen the legal system fuck up royally so many times before, nobody was quite sure what was going to happen.

Then, the verdict came in, and a burst of applause erupted outside the courtroom. Right then, we knew. That fucker was guilty. 45 out of 48 charges, never seeing the light of day again. For once, a rich old white dude wasn’t going to slip through the cracks. This was a glorious day indeed.

If only we didn’t go and fuck it up by making a bunch of ultra-hacky prison rape jokes.

Yes, Deadspin collected the various references to “dropping the soap” that appeared on Twitter after the Sandusky verdict came in. Needless to say, it’s a bunch of unfunny, uninspiring shit you’ve all seen a million times before.

When people say that rape jokes are never funny, I’m inclined to agree. Jokes that make fun of the act of rape, or the victims of rape are, with very little exception, merely cruel and not humorous. But while the point that rape jokes aren’t funny because they hurt people, and you shouldn’t laugh at that them is true, it’s only part of the reason they aren’t funny.


This isn’t as funny as you think.

The other reason? They’re fucking weak and boring as hell. Seriously, the rape joke is hardly a new phenomenon. They’ve existed since the dawn of man, and, regrettably, they will continue to exist no matter how much any reasonable person would wish they didn’t. You aren’t breaking new ground by making a joke about someone being raped in prison. You’re Larry The Fucking Cable Guy. It seems like every dumb schmuck who tells an offensive joke and takes shit for it thinks he’s Lenny Bruce defending his right to say “cocksucker.” No, you’re just a playground bully doing the same cruel shit no matter how many times the kid you’re picking on starts crying and begging you to stop.

When Bruce, Carlin, Pryor, and Hicks fought for the right to say whatever they wanted, they were doing it with a purpose. They were telling jokes that criticized the establishment, and not just wallowing in misogynist bullshit. Being politically incorrect is a very noble thing, but only if you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Just to point how clichéd the “don’t drop the soap” routine is, “Family Guy” made fun of it back in 1999. I know it seems odd to praise that show in an article criticizing rape humor, but this is when the show was still good, before being lobotomized beyond repair by Seth MacFarlane’s ruthless desire to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Anyway, Peter gets sent to jail, and upon returning home tells his family that the rumor about dropping the soap is true. At this point, we expect a cheap rape joke, but instead, Peter simply says “you can’t hold on to that thing to save your life!” We cut to a brief cutaway gag of the prisoners pointing and laughing at Peter for his inability to hold on to the soap. I like this bit because it points out how played out the joke is, and takes it in a different direction. It’s a classic “screw the audience” gag. Two years later there would be a cutaway gag in which Peter saves his friends who are being held prisoner, to which he would remark “yeah, too bad I didn’t get there until after the sodomy,” a joke that played on the same cliché the show used to mock. That was when things were clearly going downhill. Yeah, it’s too bad “Family Guy” would go on to wallow in the same rape humor it originally mocked, but that bit from the pilot episode was a fine way of pointing how obvious and tired that attempt at humor is.

Making jokes that make light of rape, and mock rape victims is a lose-lose situation. They offend people, and they’re hopelessly dated and unoriginal. I’m glad that Jerry Sandusky is going to rot in prison for the rest of his life, but I don’t want him raped, because, you know, rape is bad. If you do, then you care about revenge more than you care about justice, and you aren’t really anti-rape. And if you don’t, but you do want to make a cheap joke about it, then you just aren’t funny.

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  • Beast_Fan

    Actually I thought the second Family Guy joke you mentioned was pretty funny, mainly because the context of it was a parody of “Pulp Fiction” in which the same scenario occurred. I will, however, agree that Family Guy has largely gone downhill by way of overloading each show with cutaways, changing Meg into a hopeless punching bag, etc. American Dad is far better but, somehow, less popular.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Colgan/516764057 Matt Colgan

      I know right, Roger is awesome in a way that Brian never achieved, a sociopath and a sympathetic fish out of water. Hayley is a perfect parody of the self-righteous hypocrisy of the psedo-left stoner hippie. Stan is no longer a one dimensional fount for MacFarlanes political views, but a backwardass dad trying to do the right thing. Francine is boring, but downplayed just enough. and Steve is the perfect vehicle for exactly the right amount of struggling nerd/sci-fi references. it took them like two seasons but they finally got the swing of it.

      And Cleveland Show doesn’t suck…sometimes.

  • Hjk

    I would also like to call a moratorium on Jesus/flying unicorn jokes…. And likening all priests to child molester jokes…. And ummm jokes about practitioners of alternative medicine, children with down syndrome, mental retardation, people in a vegetative state…..

    So sensitive beast…. Funny that.

    Funny that

    • betabeastadmin

      Dear Hjk,
      We value diversity of opinion nearly as much as we value mocking religious idiots, political hypocrites, child molesting priests, alt med morons, and children with Down syndrome (although we don’t recall doing that — but if we did, don’t slowly explain it to them because then you’re the dick). Hugar’s critique was more about the quality of the jokes, rather than the subject being out of bounds. But since he didn’t make that clear to people who can’t read very well, we will force him to undergo a sex change, enlist in the military, and be properly raped by our brave troops who sacrifice so much for the country and the freedom and the flag and the things. Good? Good.

      • Randy Sexer

        Now THAT is a funny rape joke.

        • HjkG

          Meh…

          • Hsk

            Ummm… So you were giving me some examples of unfunny jokes right? That’s basically what I got out of that.

            Correct me if I’m wrong so I can laugh. Thanks.

      • johndeconquer

        Ouch – someone touch a nerve?

        • Hjk

          Yeah, apparently pointing out the obvious doesn’t go over very well at the beast anymore.

  • downlau

    State pen/Penn state was a biggie smalls line for crying out loud. It is pretty sad.

  • downlau

    A lawyer, a doctor, and a Jew walk into a bar. Then they ass rape Jerry Sandusky!

  • yakity yak

    This is right on. the beast being offensive doesn’t make what is stated here less true.
    I do think insulting the disabled is bad, but the commenter used the term retard which is offensive to use now. The pc term is intellectually impared.

    • Hjk

      Yeah…. I guess they can pick and choose… I just don’t see how the beast doesn’t want to hear prison rape jokes directed at a convicted pedophile but they’re all for making fun of someone born with a handicap.

      It’s not that what is written is wrong it’s just a little too late for this blog to grow a conscience… At least change your name first.

      • HjkH

        Oh I should say a convicted rapist (pedophile).

    • Hjk

      The uh commenter didn’t use the word “retard” he said “mental retardation” which is not an insult but a medical term.

      Here I wikid it for ya.

      Mental retardation (MR) is a generalized disorder appearing before adulthood, characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors. It has historically been defined as an Intelligence Quotient score under 70.[1] Once focused almost entirely on cognition, the definition now includes both a component relating to mental functioning and one relating to individuals’ functional skills in their environment. As a result, a person with a below-average intelligence quotient (BAIQ) may not be considered mentally retarded.

      Moving on

    • HjkH

      Except that the commenter didn’t say “retard” he said “mental retardation” which is a medical term.

      Thanks for the PRC update though.

  • Hjk

    Admin,

    Uh his point wasn’t that they’re 100% weak. It’s they’re just plain wrong. As if making fun of someone born with mental retardation isn’t just as weak and wrong.

    Oh no, we can’t wish I’ll will on Jerry Sandusky a man who destroyed people’s lives. No spare us the rape jokes.

    Better start your own blog guy because the beast has been on this road for a few years, shock for the sake of shock. Little to no actual content, just dildos chest beating and a prank they’ve been riding on for more than a year.

    Of all the times to make a stand for decency and you pick Jerry fucking Sandusky as the line you draw for those who can’t be made fun of in a cruel way? Really guys?

  • nampa1

    Yeah, it’s great a rich white guy didn’t get off; that never happens to rich black guys…wait a second…

  • RustyKuntz

    I hear Sandusky had to stop going to church. The priests kept fighting over who got to hear his confession.

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