Follow up: Betty White, SNL, etc.

I want to call attention to a comment that was made on my apres-Betty White on SNL post, by James Landrith, a Marine Corps veteran, civil liberties activist, blogger, and rape survivor:

Emily, thank you for speaking out on your blog and in the Star-Tribune. I am a male rape survivor and I don’t find rape jokes of any kind to be humourous. I find them demeaning, minimizing and childish.

You mentioned that you “shudder to think what goes through the hearts of male rape victims at such moments” in the commentary printed in the Star-Tribune. I can’t speak for all male rape survivors, but I can tell you what I feel at such times. I feel minimized, mocked, laughed at and generally devalued as a human being. I want to curl up in a ball and shut out the world for a while. It sickens me to my core.

So, thank you for speaking up and getting it right.

In the meantime, James has blogged about the topic (and my post) at his own place, as well.

Honorable people, honorable societies, do not make light of those who are powerless, or less powerful than we. This is why American society has begun to learn not to make racist jokes, not to make fat-kid jokes, not to make my-woman-is-a-bitch jokes (at least in polite society).

A rape victim, no matter when or where the crime occurs, is a person forced into the ultimate position of powerlessness — for that span of time, that human being is forcibly denied power over his or her very flesh and bones, in a manner fully intended to shame, humiliate, and belittle him or her. To beat the ever-living humanity out and down, so that the rapist may demonstrate his own power.

This is not the stuff of humor. This is the stuff of nightmares, and no one — no one — deserves it.

1 Comment

  1. Will

     /  May 17, 2010

    Thank you for this important post, and thanks to James for speaking out. I’m embarassed to admit that I, like so many others, laughed out loud at all of Betty White’s routines last Saturday. While the others were pretty funny, the “prison rape” sketch simply was not. We have a long way to go as a society, from a place where we ridicule victims of sexual assault, to a place where we aggressively defend them from this type of degradation. And in many ways, that journey starts with the audience.