The Icewoman Cometh (korinna) wrote in inclusive_geeks,
The Icewoman Cometh

links for geeks: penny arcade & rape humor

"Actually Breaking It Down: Penny Arcade’s Rape Comic" @ Border House:
For those who do not wish to click links: 1. Penny Arcade posted a comic with a joke that utilized rape. 2. Shaker Milli A wrote a post explicating the joke, breaking down its MMO components, and explaining how the rape part of it failed to amuse. 3. PA posted another comic with the authors’ personae making a joke of a straw argument (rape jokes create rapists). 4. Melissa McEwan very succinctly deconstructs that statement and levels two legitimate arguments (it’s about triggers and rape culture, not creating rapists, there being a difference). 5. Gabe partway quotes a Mel Brooks line, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die,” and avoids the topic at hand.

As for myself, I discovered this through Twitter early in the AM, while perusing game press releases. As I opened the enclosed link (I don’t read PA unless linked to it these days), I just sighed. I was not angry, really, but was hardly surprised either–this is par for the course. Here’s the thing, Gabe’s argument in his last post was, “Did the comics about bestiality, suicide, murder, pedophilia, and torture not bother them? Or how about the fruit fucker? I mean, we have a character who is a literal rapist. What comic strip have they been reading all these years?”
"Dear Penny Arcade: WTF?" @ Geek Feminism:
Wednesday’s Penny Arcade told this joke where a hero insisted on leaving a rape victim in his own personal hell. Why? Because there was no reward! Har har! Ho ho! See what they did there? They made someone continue to suffer because the hero wasn’t going to get paid for it! Cue the Benny Hill music already!

Not. Funny.
"Heroism vs multiplayer game mechanics and Rape as a fantasy trope" @ Geek Feminism:
If you don’t play massively multiplayer online games, you may never have encountered this problem: in a single player game, you always can try to save all the hostages. But in a massively multiplayer game, you want all players to have a chance at the quest, so you have the hostages reappear (often before the hero has left the area), or you limit it so that each hero can only save 5. That way, there’s always plenty of people crying for help from the next hero. In many cases actually impossible to continue saving people in an area due to the developers’ attempt to balance game mechanics. And frankly, that’s pretty unpleasant. There’s usually no explanation given as to why as a hero you would deem this acceptable. If this were a movie, the hero would be making a hard choice of who to save and there’d be a reason only 2 people could fit on the boat/spaceship/whatever. But in the average MMOG, the entire world continues along as if it’s perfectly normal for you to leave people to unspeakable horrors.

I’ve been squicked out by this on numerous occasions while playing games. The comic doesn’t exactly make me laugh so much as think, but it’s pointing out a real absurdity using some dark and twisted sense of humour and it’s more effective for me due to the contrast of humour and horror here.

But the question remains, “why did it have to be rape?”
"Rape is Hilarious, Part 53 in an Ongoing Series" @ Shakesville:
This is why, as a feminist, I barely have a sense of humor.

Yesterday's Penny Arcade,a webcomic centered around video gaming and its culture, featured a joke a lot of World of Warcraft players make, in a sense. In WoW, you'll often get quests like "Kill 10 of these terrible people" or "Save five prisoners". Because the game has millions of players all existing in the world who will do that quest, even if you kill all the bad guys and free everyone, they'll reappear against quickly, so the next person can do their good deeds. It's a silly conundrum if you let your suspension of disbelief lapse.
"Survivors Are So Sensitive" @ Shakesville:
No, one rape joke does not "cause" someone to go out and commit a rape. But a single rape joke does not exist in a void. It exists in a culture rife with jokes that treat as a punchline a heinous, terrifying crime that leaves most of its survivors forever changed in some material way. It exists in a culture in which millions and millions of women, men, and children will be victimized by perpetrators of sexual violence, many of them multiple times. It exists in a culture in which rape not being treated as seriously as it ought means that vanishingly few survivors of sexual violence see real justice, leaving their assaulters free to create even more survivors. It exists in a culture in which rape is not primarily committed by swarthy strangers lurking in dark alleyways and jumping out of bushes, but primarily by people one knows, who nonetheless fail, as a result of some combination of innate corruption and socialization in a culture that disdains consent and autonomy, to view their victims as human beings deserving of basic dignity.

That is the environment into which a rape joke is unleashed—and one cannot argue "it isn't my rape joke that facilitates rape" any more than a single raindrop in an ocean could claim never to have drowned anyone.
"How not to reply to an accusation you think is unfair" @ Pandagon:
Turning around and committing exactly the offense you were unfairly accused of is exactly the stupidest thing you could have done. To the guys at Penny Arcade, I would suggest that next time you want to run a comic like that, maybe email me or someone like me and ask if what you’re about to say is truly fucked up. Looking at this from various angles, I feel like the best thing they could have done was ignore the whole thing. I sympathize---sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a situation where a response will be helpful from one where your critics have put you in a spot where there’s nothing you can really say or do. But whatever you do, don’t then go do the very thing that you were accused of doing in the first place.
Tags: border house, geek feminism, links for geeks, penny arcade, trigger warning
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