It's just not April Fool's Day without some Disney rape, murder and prostitution jokes, eh?

UPDATE: Editor was asked to resign, she resigns.

UPDATE: The Daily Free Press posted its apology this evening.

The Daily Free Press at BU plans some sort of apology tomorrow for its April Fool's issue, which featured stories with leads such as:

Seven frat dwarves were arrested last night after they allegedly dragged and gangbanged a female Boston University student in an Allston Village cabin.

The female victim, described as the "fairest of them all," reported to have been roofied after drinking an appletini at a Beta Rho Omega fraternity party, according to Captain Robert Hook of the BU Police Department.

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    Comments

    Keep it classy, BU.

    By on

    IMAGE(http://cache.ohinternet.com/images/9/9e/HA_HA_HA%2C_OH_WOW.jpg)

    How seriously fucking stupid do you have to be to think an April fools story about rape is appropriate? Not only think up, but have it still seem like a good idea after 30 seconds, write into a story, and get an editor to approve? And not just a rape, but a gangrape, by a fraternity, involving drugging?

    Is it supposed to be amusing that the fraternity's initials spell "BRO"? Oooo, clever. Worked on that all day, did you?

    What's really perplexing is how this was possible given almost the entire staff and board of the DFP are women, save the managing editor and half a dozen of the board members.

    http://dailyfreepress.com/about/

    I'd say 1-2 seconds of thought should have been more than enough

    By on

    Perhaps the only thing that would have been more offensive/foolish/insensitive/etc. would have been to say that the dwarves wearing long metal blades on their feet and carrying wooden (or, I guess, aluminum these days) sticks that were hooked at the end.

    Cripes. All of a sudden those old "safety school" chants seem charitable.

    Let me guess: the newspaper

    By on

    Let me guess: the newspaper contributors also happen to play hockey for BU?

    So glad.

    That I dropped out of BU. I'm almost ashamed to admit I had anything to do with this shithole anymore.

    Their April Fools paper has gotten worse and worse over the last four years. I hope this is the year they finally get punished over it and the whole thing gets shut down.

    People need to get a sense of

    By on

    People need to get a sense of humor. Don't like fun things? Move to Saudi Arabia, you will fit in just fine.

    Before you know it , even jokes about the MBTA workers will be off limits, since someone will think it is in shockingly poor taste to make light of individuals that are work ethically challenged.

    I am arguing in favor of not

    By on

    I am arguing in favor of not pandering to the overly sensitive at the expense of everyone else having a good laugh. Witty humor is always going to offend someone, and holds its social power precisely when nothing is off limits. The paradox is that it is not offensive BECAUSE it offends everyone. When certain sensitive topics become off limits while other sensitive ones do not, that is when edgy humor can truly become offensive.

    If done right, rape is a perfectly acceptable thing to joke about in my opinion.

    The overly sensitive?

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    Like rape victims?

    Take it to a subreddit. There are plenty of walled gardens online where people of similar mind can exchange jokes about this kind of topic, but a rape joke is never going to fly with the general public.

    Why? Rape victims. The whole reason BU isn't finding this very funny is because of incidents of student rape and because of those who have been violated and still have to walk among the rest of the student body.

    They are what's getting in the way of everyone else's "good laugh," and with good reason. Great comedians, especially those who regularly work with rough material, succeed because they're aware of their audience. In a club or on a radio show where those most likely to be offended are least likely to be in the audience, the safety comes off. Stephen Lynch and other comedians who appeared on the Opie and Anthony show during its heyday were great examples of this. They has material for that show and its events and material for their college tours and other public appearances beyond the comedy club.

    That versatility is the mark of great comedy, not simply the power to offend. It's a tough balance and one that's not often struck in this town, but it's the difference between spending your life as some hack on the circuit or being a star in the industry. Bill Hicks made David Letterman admit he was wrong about pulling his bit about his friend in a wheelchair off the air. Denis Leary built his brand cribbing Hicks' cancer jokes. In each case, those jokes weren't built on puerile shock humor alone, but how the audience related to that humor. It's a level of sophistication that ill-equipped comedians like those at the BU paper seldom achieve.

    If done right, rape is a perfectly acceptable thing to joke about in my opinion.

    Your opinion is incorrect, but not solely for superficial reasons relative to offensive material. It's incorrect because it's just bad comedy writing. Think about this: Rape humor is a low-percentage shot. It's like shooting a three pointer from your own foul line. If you're working ahead with the crowd, it can bring your momentum to a dead halt. If you're already struggling, it can be the difference between having a bad night and outright bombing. The BU students just got heckled off the stage because their act was terrible, because they decided to tell Towering Inferno jokes in a burn unit, because they tried to tell The Aristocrats but forgot the intro and ending that framed the joke.

    The issue of rape jokes and comedians' relationship to rape culture isn't exactly new to this site or to comedic debate at large. The nature of that debate, however, is worth considering. When you look at those defending rape humor, it's never a great comic or even one that is arguing their point based on the merit of their other, similarly strong material. It's always some hack who uses rape jokes or "retard" jokes or other well-trod material usually left on the playground as the cornerstone of their set. They can't be "funny" without it, so they make some ill-conceived argument about broader free-speech implications and falsely state that it's either all funny or none of it is funny.

    Their point most recently flew out the window when Daniel Tosh appeared here recently and did an entire set without his more rapey material. Why did Tosh change it up? Simple: He knows what he's doing. If you want to pick from the low-hanging branches at half-rate comedy clubs or on niche radio shows, you use your lowest-common denominator material. When you want to broaden your audience and confirm Comedy Central's decision to give you a show with a cushy slot near Colbert and Stewart, you realize that portions of that low act aren't going to get you very far. You change the game, you write better material and you watch the cash and fans roll in.

    I loved listening to O&A probably for the same reason the anon did: Because it gave raunchy, working-class comedy a space in the spotlight. It gave Jim Norton, Patrice O'Neal, Nick DiPaolo, Joe Rogan and others a chance to expose a wider audience to their brand of humor. Yes, Stephen Lynch's "Altar Boy" was an example of a rape joke, but it was performed in an echo chamber and with far more subtlety than what we're seeing from BU's paper and for other Boston outlets. Lynch also doesn't perform it for wider audiences.

    It was also an exception to a rule. Rape humor, even among edgier comics, isn't a go-to or even a specialty. Its either reserved for when they're opening for John Valby or it's not used at all. "Done right" is a tough standard and when it comes to rape humor, most comics can't reach that standard. For that reason, in the overwhelming number of sets, rape humor isn't "perfectly acceptable." It's a bad move for the comic made even worse when that comic's playing to a mixed audience.

    SNL

    By on

    but a rape joke is never going to fly with the general public

    It's always some hack who uses rape jokes or "retard" jokes or other well-trod material usually left on the playground as the cornerstone of their set.

    Rape humor, even among edgier comics, isn't a go-to or even a specialty.

    Keenan Thompson and Jason Sudekis have been doing the prison rape sketches for years. Not defending BU or SNL, but the acceptance of prison rape jokes totally defeats your argument.

    Does it now?

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    the acceptance of prison rape jokes totally defeats your argument.

    You're really going to use those sketches as examples of rape humor being "funny" and "acceptable?" The more common description of them I'm used to hearing is "terrible," "formulaic" and "filler."

    You won't be 'home alone.' You'll be in prison, getting boned."

    That's just flat-out bad writing and SNL is one of the worst offenders when it comes to taking a marginal-to-bad concept and driving it into the ground. The "It's Pat" and "Daily Affirmations" sketches come to mind.

    These sketches are also roundly criticized every time they appear. Seth Abromovitch at TV.com said it much better than I: "I'll instead say that the vast majority of rape jokes are not funny, and, without a doubt, that these particular rape jokes are very, extremely not funny. It goes without saying that had three women been sitting in those chairs, the sketch would never have happened."

    The core of my argument, that rape jokes are low-percentage comedy that just about never works and is defended by only the least creative and least funny writers and performers, still stands. The SNL prison rape sketches are hackery, and the reaction to them backs it up.

    Huh?

    By on

    I never said they were "funny." I don't know who Seth Abromovitch is and I have never even heard of TV.com. All I know is those skits have been going on for years without any backlash comparable to the BU or Barstool sports controversies. There clearly is a double standard.

    Double standard

    By on

    I don't think you're quite clear on what that means.

    The standard, as set here by BU, is that rape jokes at BU will cause a huge backlash because of the sexual assaults committed on campus and sexual assault allegations against members of the student body. A "double standard" at SNL would appear if there was no outrage after Thompson and Sudekis performed the prison rape sketch knowing that members of the SNL staff and crew had been raped in prison or while those staffers were carrying out criminal proceedings against people they've accused of raping them in prison.

    You're also assuming no backlash in the SNL case. Again, Google will prove you wrong on this. Just type SNL Prison Rape into the search field. There's been plenty of backlash, but since there's no direct tie to an event at SNL or on NBC, that backlash is diffused.

    The double standard isn't clear at all: It's nonexistent. However, there's one clear connection in both cases: Neither rape joke was funny and neither was well-received by the intended audience.

    Still a double standard

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    I can guarantee you there will never be a KO SNL march like there was on Lansdowne Street a couple months ago. Google outrage, whatever. SNL is still running new versions of those skits and they continue to get big laughs from the audiences. Rape is rape. You can't have it both ways, either it is banned speech (in your eyes) or it isn't.

    A few thoughts - one, the SNL

    A few thoughts - one, the SNL jokes are a lot less blunt than a multi paragraph 'satire' about drugging and gang rape. A lot of people watching SNL aren't going to identify it as a rape joke. Which says something pretty gross about our culture.
    Nobody here is asking for a banning of ANYTHING. I'd like to see a little empathy and sensitivity. I don't think I've ever heard a rape joke that was funny; it's not a topic that encourages humor that pushes the envelope - in fact, I would argue that rather than opening people's eyes, rape jokes like this story are desensitizing. They trivialize the horror of rape.
    Finally, your argument is a straw man. There is no fairness requirement for outrage. I don't have to be equally outraged about SNL and the BU article. There's no all or nothing. Also, while NBC is making money off of SNL ads, it's not being funded by student activity fees like this newspaper.

    Srsly?

    By on

    Those SNL jokes are pretty graphic and gruesome. But I'll leave you to be the arbiter of what is or isn't offensive.

    Finally, your argument is a straw man. There is no fairness requirement for outrage. I don't have to be equally outraged about SNL and the BU article. There's no all or nothing. Also, while NBC is making money off of SNL ads, it's not being funded by student activity fees like this newspaper.

    It's called being consistent. You can pick and choose what is acceptable and what isn't but then you lose any credibility you thought you had.

    NBC/Comcast get plenty of tax subsidies, so not that different. Also, I'm pretty sure the majority of DFP's budget is from ads.

    I think they're both gross,

    I think they're both gross, and I don't care what you have to say about my credibility. But the argument that nobody can complain about the BU article because SNL is on the air is both ridiculous and false.

    Huh?

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    But the argument that nobody can complain about the BU article because SNL is on the air is both ridiculous and false.

    Seeing as I never made that argument, I don't know what you're talking about. All I've said is there isn't an equal response, which isn't justifiable.

    You're easily confused

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    You not only made that argument, but you just made it again. By calling for an equal response to two pieces consisting of different material created in different context, you're basically saying that if you're protesting the BU piece, you have to protest SNL as well.

    Mularkey. SNL doesn't have any pending rape cases within its community or members of its community who have been sexually assaulted. SNL's subjects, convicts, are also viewed far differently than college students. That doesn't justify a terrible sketch, but it explains the lack of hue and cry.

    You couldnt argue your way

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    You couldnt argue your way out of a wet paper bag. I "basically" said something. Nice try.

    And it's spelled MALARKEY genius.

    Worst way out ever

    By on

    Arguing with a wet piece of paper wouldn't be very effective. I could make my point all day and still not get through. The wet bag isn't listening or absorbing anything other than water. It just sits there, unyielding. Sounds strangely familiar...

    Thank you for not reading

    By on

    It is not a double standard since the works in question and the context of those works in no way resemble each other. Each received a negative reaction, but BU more so in light of events on campus.

    You seem fairly entrenched in this position and far be it for me to attempt to extricate you. Just realize that neither myself nor anyone here has attempted to ban rape jokes. We're just saying there are consequences for those jokes that range from stopping a previously hilarious set in its tracks to the resignation of an editor in chief.

    A comic has a right to free speech, but the audience also has the right to disagree, tune out or, worse, demand their money back. Freedom of speech isn't freedom from dissent.

    There are only consequences

    By on

    There are only consequences when the victim in the rape jokes is female, hence the double standard. Snl could never run that skit with female victims. But you can't see that with your head up your tight ass. Continue defending rape on men idiot.

    Yep, that's clearly it

    By on

    Somebody says that male prison rape jokes aren't funny, so obviously he/she is "defending rape on men." Your logic is baffling.

    By the way, since you're such a proponent of free speech, why don't you start a protest of SNL? You have a legitimate point and I bet they'd stop the sketch if enough people expressed outrage to NBC or the sponsors.

    In the meantime, folks getting on BU's case about this paper have every right to -- especially in light of recent campus events centering on sexual assault.

    In one breath outrage over BU

    By on

    In one breath outrage over BU satire. In the next breath defense of man on man rape jokes. Self righteousness fail.

    Please...

    By on

    stop feeding this troll.

    Prison rape is never funny

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    Seriously, think about any movie where prison rape factors in as a comedic bit. Are any of them good?

    Let's Go To Prison, Big Stan, Naked Gun 33 1/3, Little Nicky, Half Baked... not exactly comedic gold and even when those films are appreciated, the prison rape scenes are low points in each.

    The SNL example doesn't defeat that argument, it just strengthens the fact that rape jokes by and large aren't funny.

    Uh duh

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    I never said they were funny! I said they are generally socially acceptable unlike the other way around.

    "Generally socially acceptable"

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    The reaction to those films says otherwise. Audiences don't always react with petitions and pickets. Sometimes they just let their wallets do the talking.

    Let's Go To Prison was horribly reviewed and didn't even recoup its budget when you factor in promotional costs. General society didn't accept it and has developed a lower tolerance for "don't drop the soap" humor overall. Frankly, I'm glad to see it. Instances of male rape in film were unsettling in Deliverance and became only more so in Shawshank Redemption and other dramas.

    When male filmmakers start treating male rape and prison rape in as grave a fashion as the rape scene in The Accused and male audiences stop snickering at male rape jokes because they somehow call masculinity into question, then maybe rape as humor will become as dated as the Blue Oyster Bar scenes from Police Academy.

    Naked Gun 33 1/3, Little Nicky, Half Baked

    By on

    These movies are on cable fairly often.

    General society didn't accept it and has developed a lower tolerance for "don't drop the soap" humor overall.

    I disagree and it continues to be acceptable versus the other way around.

    Ishtar and Gigli...

    By on

    still appear on cable. It says nothing about their entertainment value and everything about cable stations' need to fill airtime cheaply.

    As far as disagreeing with lower public tolerance for comedic prison rape, that's fine. You've been wrong this entire thread, so why stop now?

    Fact: if the DFP satire was

    By on

    Fact: if the DFP satire was about men on the hockey team or in frats being raped there would be no outrage. The pc police selectively enforce their pathetic ideology.

    "The PC Police"

    By on

    Do they work in the same precinct as the Dream Police?

    The DFP "satire" wasn't about those topics, so we'll never know. Besides, last I checked, men in BU fraternities and on the hockey team didn't have to file sexual assault charges against fellow students in the last few months. BU women did.

    Agree

    By on

    I agree that they are never funny, and would like to offer some opinions on why they are considered acceptable.

    They are targeted towards men:
    When Dennis Leary chain smokes and tells jokes about cancer it is acceptable because he is offering himself up as a potential future victim. Likewise, when men tell jokes about male rape they are in the "potential victim" role and are therefore offered a bit of leeway that would not be available if they were telling jokes about female rape in which they can only be the attacker. Women rarely make jokes about female rape, but if they do they are also given more slack about it for this reason. It's OK to joke about what scares you. It's OK to joke about hurting those in power (your boss, "the rich," politicians, etc.) It's not OK to joke about kicking people you have power over, that just comes off as mean-spirited.

    They are targeted towards criminals:
    This breaks the "kicking people you have power over" rule above, but for a specific reason. We think the victims deserve it. Many people believe that once you are convicted of a crime and sent to prison you deserve any and all punishments inflicted on you. Even if these punishments are doled out by other prisoners. This is very similar to making a female rape joke and having the punchline being how the victim was a slut. She deserved it in the eyes of the joke teller, so she doesn't deserve sympathy. Same with prison rape.

    Wow

    We're not talking about some overly-PC reaction to a slightly off-color joke that went unexpectedly blue. We're talking about gang rape. Jokes about gang rapes on a campus that has recently had several serious rape allegations due to the exact culture that allowed this paper to go to print thinking it was "funny."

    If you're not a troll then

    By on

    If you're not a troll then you must think "jokes" about The Holocaust, lynching and AIDS are also hilarious "if done right". Maybe you should try telling some Trayvon Martin "jokes" and see how that goes over. Then try telling the people you offend with these "jokes" that they are being "overly sensitive". Good luck!

    OT: Subject matter of humor

    By on

    OK, this is off topic because I haven't read the BU paper.

    But, yeah, in fact, awful things are often the subject of humor; humor is one of the ways people deal with issues that are hard to deal with any other way. Humor is often about things that frighten us or about which we are deeply insecure, ranging from the banal (a trip to the dentist) to the profound (race relations, sex, disease, nuclear war, etc.)

    Now my line of argument is not meant to defend rape jokes in general or the BU editors in particular; I just wanted to point out that all of the items you have mentioned above (Holocaust, lynching, AIDS) have been the subject of powerful, effective humor.

    Indefensible

    "my line of argument is not meant to defend rape jokes in general or the BU editors in particular"

    ...then why are you doing it? This idiotic, rapey culture is becoming acceptable exactly because people don't stand up and call it out for what it is: culturally sanctioned violence against women. And you know what? This toxic mentality spills out beyond BUs borders and affects ALL of us. Allston is home to lots more people than just BU students.

    I see what you did there...

    ...link to more rape jokes!

    Yep. Still not funny.

    Guess I'll just have to join the "Outrage Society" with the other uncool people who "just don't get edgy humor" and "want to curb free speech." And speaking of jokes, Bill Maher's a big fucking joke.

    I'll stand by it.

    By on

    Nuclear war is unacceptable and horrible. Comics make jokes about it.
    Rape is unacceptable and horrible. Comics make jokes about it, too.

    These comics who make jokes about nuclear war are not bringing us closer to nuclear war any more than comics who make jokes about rape are promoting rape culture.

    Q: How many 1970s feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A: THAT'S NOT FUNNY, you misogynistic enabler of the patriarchy!

    Aw shit anon...

    ...you really schooled me there. "unacceptable and horrible" false equivalencies really DO justify rape humor! You're so right, this mentality is most definitely NOT promoting rape culture because women at BU are not *really* experiencing this shit in their real lives, amirite?

    Thanks for setting me straight, bro. Sometimes my liddle ladybrain can't see how hilarious violence really is!

    Wow, Mel Brooks has had some

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    Wow, Mel Brooks has had some pretty amuzing things to say regarding the holocaust, maybe his way of dealing with such a tragedy, like therapy. Either way, it shows that movies like The Producers" (one of my favs) would never be made in this day and age. What a shame.

    Besides, I don't think anyone here is condoning rape.

    "wow." so your defense of

    "wow." so your defense of these articles is that the people who wrote them were "dealing with such a tragedy, like therapy." Are you kidding? Have you ever heard the term "triggering?" This shit was NOT written by sexual assault survivors. I'm sorry that you feel that "this day and age" is so PC that these hilarious rape-themed knee-slappers are met with disgust by many women. You're probably bummed that other "jokes" (like blackface) are considered socially inappropriate now too.

    You're going off on a tangent

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    You're going off on a tangent here, blackface? I have no idea where you got that but yes, I find that very offensive. The subject kind of got off the track from rape to other areas and it is that to which I was referring to. Please take a breath, rape is bad and I think everyone will agree on that but I do think people do use laughter as a mechanism to deal with horrible things. IMHO, this BU "joke" was stupid and I wouldn't expect it from a college newspaper, especially one that has had these type allegations within their own student body.

    You are jumping to conclusions as to what I think.

    Peruse Comment 44

    ...In which you justify rape humor as a "like therapy."

    Here, Ima show you:

    "Wow, Mel Brooks has had some pretty amuzing things to say regarding the holocaust, maybe his way of dealing with such a tragedy, like therapy. Either way, it shows that movies like The Producers" (one of my favs) would never be made in this day and age. What a shame.

    Besides, I don't think anyone here is condoning rape."

    You defend rape humor to the ridiculous point where you suggest that it may be "like therapy" and are challenged on that point. Then, instead of addressing my questions, which by the way are:

    1. HOW, EXACTLY IS "SPOOFING" GANGRAPE THERAPEUTIC?"

    2. HOW IS MAKING RAPE JOKES ANY DIFFERENT FROM MAKING RACIST JOKES IN THAT BOTH ARE HATEFUL AND PAINFULLY UNFUNNY?

    you claim that I've gone off on a tangent. You cannot identify the connection between rape humor as inappropriate and racist humor (such as blackface)as inappropriate. Check your privilege.

    Let's not get so offended

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    People should not let themselves be so easily offended. It sounds like most people think they are "protecting rape victims." Protecting from what? A bad joke? Bad memories? Or perhaps even the sad reality that rape happens every day all over the world? Rape, murder, and war are not funny things, but to cope with the fact that humans can be terrible creatures sometimes, humor seems to be a wonderful outlet.

    If you don't like the joke, that is fine. But getting the pitchforks out because this editors humor was a little much for your sensibilities is a lot more offensive than a rape joke.

    If you don't like the joke,

    If you don't like the joke, that is fine. But getting the pitchforks out because this editors humor was a little much for your sensibilities is a lot more offensive than a rape joke.

    No, it's not. Not in any scenario, and DOUBLY not in a college newspaper on a campus that has been plagued with sexual assault scandals.

    Limit?

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    Nope, they're just responding to some dope's free speech with their own speech. That's how free speech works. It protects you from bans and censorship, but it doesn't protect you from the public consequences of that speech.

    Oh, and starting sentences with "Wah?" Great debate maneuver. Always a viable option for indicating the validity of your retort.

    Free speech doesn't enter into this

    By on

    Regardless of how you feel about the joke, nobody is going to be charged with a crime or go to jail.

    Some people exercised their freedom of speech to tell a joke, and some people exercised their freedom to criticize the joke. Then the editors exercised their freedom of speech to apologize to the people who felt insulted, probably because they realized what they said wasn't nice.

    Whether or not that was appropriate might be a topic of discussion of interest to the community, but it doesn't have any bearing on the question of free speech.

    To Be Seen As Truly Offensive, Discussion Of It Must Be Allowed

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    To be clear: I'm not arguing that the article was funny or that it was not funny. I truly don't care. And the alleged humor of the piece is secondary to what is actually important in this discussion.

    For anyone to argue that it is impossible for a topic to be used humorously, and that it is such an offensive topic that it should never be discussed in any way except with utmost seriousness, is precisely the sort of attitude that encourages proliferation of the offense, not the opposite.

    By making any topic off-limits, we automatically make the commission of the actual acts involved more powerful to the perverse, not less so. It's simple human psychology. Forbidden fruit always has a strong appeal to a certain segment.

    The forbidding of discussion of something horrific, due to some worry about hurting people's feelings, will therefore likely lead to more of the truly horrific acts happening. The less something is discussed, and perhaps criticized, the fewer will be the instances of possible future miscreants considering that they will have no excuse for their despicable actions. If actual rape is somehow becoming more acceptable (something an earlier commenter seemed to be theorizing, although I find that extremely hard to swallow) then we need to discuss it more, not less. And doing so via humor - whether any one person finds that humor sick and disgusting - is just as viable an outlet for doing so as any more serious forum.

    The counter-argument seems to be that being humorous about something leads to a desensitization concerning the act. I totally disagree. The more something horrific is discussed, and the more it is brought out into the open, the more likely it is that people will come to consensus concerning the disgusting nature of that horrific thing. Censorship accomplishes nothing quite so much as not allowing us to truly get at what is right and what is wrong, instead prompting us to walk around piously, with our thumbs up our asses, pretending that everything is just peachy.

    As misguided as the humor may have been, even those most opposed to it would have to agree that the article has accomplished something good, not bad. It has begun discussion. And the final outcome will likely be positive, concerning rape and rape victims, rather than detrimental.

    No matter which way you want to look at it, censorship never accomplishes such.

    Suldog
    http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com