Words Not Used in Polite Company

I was thinking about the whole “you can’t joke about rape.” And wondering if that really is for the benefit of victims or just a straight hush up job. I have been molested, a kind of rape and I’ve been very close to a couple people who were violently raped as adults, heard those stories. I think perhaps it might actually be helpful if humor was an acceptable way of expressing the trauma, rather than leveling it an unspeakable thing.

I don’t mean blow it open to all for laughs. I believe in the hurt of rape victims and their right to respect, and the seriousness of the crime.

But the rules seem less “don’t offend” but “don’t talk about it.” I started this post because I used the word “rapist” casually and it made me feel guilty. But it should not be like that. The solution to major problems is not a climate of fear and silence over the problem. It’s got to be open, with all the dignity possible to the victims, but not hushed up.

I’m reminded of an awesome Louis CK bit where he calls out people for saying “the N word” because all it does is plant “nigger” into his brain. True, those six letters are not offensive, what they mean is offensive. Censorship is sometimes good for stopping an offense, but it can also be used to block acknowledging an offense.

Hell, the problems with “rape” and “nigger” aren’t that they’re said too much, their problem is that they are silenced too much. Our sort of political correctness is just sweeping big issues under the proverbial rug for keeping up appearances. Therein maintaing the problem (sexism, racism, etc, etc)


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