Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Responses To "Rape Joke"

When you publish a poem like "Rape Joke," you take it for granted that two things will happen. One: that people will share their own stories with you, which is wonderful; and two: that people will barf all over their keyboards at you, which is interesting. Here is a selection of the most notable barfs I encountered in the wake of the poem's appearance.

• Another FAIL for the moral butthurt brigade.

• Please stop calling this a "poem."

• Should we also ban all 'man walks into bar' jokes because of sensitivity about alcoholism?

• When I backpack through northern Washington or Montana, I don't do so without carrying protection. I also don't smear my clothes with blueberry juice and salmon oil.

• The same readers who take offense to rape jokes probably had fifty status updates last week screeching about they want to cut off George Zimmerman's penis and light him on fire.

• The rape joke is being told you "look like a rapist." When you're a gay male with no interest in raping women.

• So…you don't like rape jokes then? I don't like onions – but I don't think that McDonalds should stop putting them on your hamburger.

• Someone should write a poem about the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld because, for every laugh that episode has had, a real person was killed in World War II.

• Patricia Lockwood totally raped rape jokes.

• Great job Patricia, you capitalized on some sort of twitter uproar over rape jokes by writing a bad poem called "The Rape Joke", which details your (1) experience with rape by your white trash BOYFRIEND and posting it on some crap website. I now FINALLY understand why rape jokes aren't funny!

• The rape joke is Pet Sounds because of the ANIMALISTIC sounds you made as you were made love to, not raped.

• Knock, knock
Who's there?
A lengthy poem about rape
A lengthy poem about rape who?

• This reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry became convinced that one of his rivals got raped just for the jokes.

• "Destroyed cherry" would have been funnier. Good writing though.

• oh, get over yourself, you attention whore. he was your boyfriend. you were drunk. he was drunk. that aint rape. you're not a survivor, you're not important and no one feels bad for you. you're the rape joke.

• I'm not particularly pleased with the Pet Sounds association with rapists. If it's a fact, that's one thing. If it's supposed to have some meaning in the context of poetic license, I'm not sure if I like the connection that might arise in the minds of some young women who read this poem and later may receive it as a gift from a man solely for its musical merit.

• Rape joke, rape joke rape joke. Rape joke? Joke rape. Jokes about rape. Grow up Amerikkka,who is wearing the rape mask? The cis man, in his rape van.

• It was as if I was right there being raped with you. Except I wasn't.

Patricia Lockwood is the author of Balloon Pop Outlaw Black (Octopus Books, 2012). Her next book, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, is forthcoming from Penguin. Follow her on Twitter at @TriciaLockwood.

63 Comments / Post A Comment

96498932@twitter (#246,395)

You republished people's comments without giving them credit, which is theft of material and is morally wrong.

Tully Mills (#6,486)

@96498932@twitter You should go outside for a walk today!

rustyspatula (#240,895)

@96498932@twitter Don't worry, I'm pretty sure if you revisit the original post, they (and many others' comments) are still there.

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

@96498932@twitter Which one of those statements are you proud to have associated with your anonymous self? (That's a completely rhetorical question, I don't care.)

s. (#775)

@96498932@twitter Thank you for reminding us about the real victims here: uncredited internet commenters.

@96498932@twitter You mean ethically wrong.

Mike_B (#239,283)

@96498932@twitter what a dweeb

Faintly Macabre (#235,741)

@96498932@twitter I don't know if "credit" is the right word.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

@Tully Mills Dude. Check your assumptions about him having legs!

Satiremisfire (#246,468)


THIS. is why I come to the Awl.

For satire that is simply sublime. Haha, I see what you did there!

No……..? You weren't serious? Mon œil! Still, tho, why I come to the awl… where a comment like this would be satirical.


I'm pretty sure The Rape Joke will become a Meme, and, perhaps, a quite powerful one:

: The rape joke said, "I hope nothing bad happened because of what I did."
: My rape joke gave me yellow roses and robitussin the next day. He's now an Ob/Gyn.
: My rape joke was my husband. I divorced him and I haven't spoken to him in years, and even then, he insisted I remembered our marriage differently than he did.

Kind of nicely puts things into perspective, and removes some of the stigma from the victim and places it back where it belongs.

If rape to some extent is about domination and power (and I'd argue that it can be an even more complex cocktail) this does a good job of placing the power back in the hands of those who were denied agency, but who are entitled to it, and reducing those who would seek to diminish and rob others as the real punchline, so to speak, the truly debased/diminished/sullied entity. The Joke. Haha. Funny, but not funny. Scathing, biting black humor. Which is some of the best kind!

deepomega (#1,720)

Well, I am 100% ok with associating Pet Sounds with rapists, so my opinion balances his out. Go for it!

Art Yucko (#1,321)

they do go for tit (Pet Sounds), generally.

412748100@twitter (#246,397)

why haven't you given credit to the commentors.

Tully Mills (#6,486)

@412748100@twitter Probably hasn't heard about the Curator's Code. :(

Tuna Surprise (#573)


If you're upset about not getting credit, why don't you just repost your outrage here? We'll happily give you the credit you deserve.

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

@412748100@twitter I'm just going to go ahead and assume you authored half of those. Happy?

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@412748100@twitter "And the Academy Award for saddest loser goes to… 'Comment Deleted By User'! Congratulations on your 3rd year in a row!"

flamingolingo (#246,401)

@412748100@twitter Yeah, let's all be concerned about how these misogynistic and shitty comments aren't getting credited to the right pseudonymous internet accounts.

Multiphasic (#411)

@stuffisthings Uh, actually the "Deleted by User" comment was from me, and was about how, if someone throws shit at you, there's no ethical obligation not to present said shit to the whole world (hygienic issues are another matter). When I realized that dipshit@twitter was going to change accounts and spam the comments section with false outrage, I decided not to feed the animals.

Though I do feel somewhat sad today, thanks for noticing.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@Multiphasic No I meant on the original post. And I think a lot of them were actually "deleted by Choire" to be fair.

Multiphasic (#411)

@stuffisthings TOO LATE I'M EVEN SADDER NOW.

Yeah, I read Ms. Lockwood's poem when it first went up, and assumed that The Awl was still it's own weird bubble and would remain immune from MRA and general dickhead outrage. Didn't check the comments until this morning and… whoops.

Welcome to the big leagues, and just like in the big leagues, your green fields are now full of tender egos, bloated galoots, and weird brown spittle.

jfruh (#713)



the cis man in his rape van you guys

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@jfruh And the original comment looks like it was deleted SADFACE.

@jfruh The cis man in his rape van, listening to Pet Sounds.

boxes (#75,654)

@jfruh The Peoples Poet strikes again

Leon (#6,596)

Can I smear my clothes with blueberries and go backpacking in southern washington tho? For realsis, I am a MESSY blueberry eater lololo

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@Leon Sure I'll drive you. I'm a cis man, get in!

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@Leon I hope you like Beach Boys btw.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

No but seriously guys. Van jokes are NEVER funny.

Multiphasic (#411)

@stuffisthings I tried really hard to come up with a Van Halen joke, and you're right—it was totally not funny.

I didn't know there was a contest. I coulda been a contender.

Alex Cline@twitter (#242,559)

Someone needs to design a CAPTCHA that filters out MRAs

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@Alex Cline@twitter "F-R-I-E-N-D-Z-O-N-E-D"

KarenUhOh (#19)

The Soup Nazi episode only got 60 million laughs?

Grow up Amerikkka.

@antarctica starts here WHO IS WEARING THE RAPE MASK?

Smitros (#5,315)

The comments collected in the post demonstrate the necessity of the poem.

pigeon (#246,400)

I like that the point of this article seems to be, "Don't worry that you didn't comment on the original; here's a bunch of people that made your point better than you could've anyway." So, thanks everyone.

bluebears (#5,902)

"moral butthurt"

sometimes words are nonsense.

Sandy B (#247,205)

@bluebears watch the show "Workaholics", they demonstrate excellent usage of the term "butthurt"

jolie (#16)

I know Choire is busy being a BOOK AUTHOR PERSON and Alex is busy not giving a fig about any of this or anything at all really, but I am still so confused as to how that comment section even happened. And truly, I want Choire to focus on BOOK AUTHOR PERSON stuff and not the site analytics because woof, but there's no one else to ask this of:

Was the piece linked to someplace insane? Where did those people come from, because obviously that's not at all a normal thing to happen here. Sure, we can pile on with the best of them (D'Addario/Cherette, Bustillos and her pet PUA, Neel Shah, etc.), and of course we get our trolls (MISS U EVERY DAY, JEFF BAREA) but that was unlike ANYTHING I've seen here and I've been here since before the beginning. What gives? I ask because I do actually still care about this site and this community, as absurd and lame as that is, and that display was staggering in its affront to my former home.

@jolie well one dude specifically said he came after a webcomic artist he liked tweeted the link soooooo

jolie (#16)

Ahhhhhh. Well that does make some sense, sadly. Anyway, Patricia, I'm sorry that it happened and even more sorry that it happened here, which makes no difference really except that maybe it's still worth saying.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@jolie I mean the piece got linked all over the broader internet. I think there really is an army of men out there who see something relating to rape is trending and cannot resist sharing their valuable opinions. Like they're scrolling through Twitter or Reddit or whatever and suddenly their eyes bug out: "RAPE?? That's not a real thing! I bet those people over there don't even know I must tell them! With my logic!"

ETA: Oh and second what @jolie said, it was a really wonderful/terrible piece and I'm glad I got to read it in the hours before the bullshit began to appear.

Multiphasic (#411)

@jolie Per Flavorwire, the article had been shared "23,710 times … on Facebook alone," so yeah, I think this one got way away from everyone.

minijen (#234,898)

@jolie – Are there any other moderators on the site that can get rid of the filth? Can "report" flags be added to user profiles, so other readers can flag, comments are held and moderators can release or deny? I'd hate to such a beautiful network brought down by hate.

jfruh (#713)

@jolie the thing that startled me the most and opened my eyes in ways that I didn't think they needed to be further opened is that the poem contains very few details of the assault itself, and usually it's those sorts of details that rules-lawyering rape apologists seize ("oh, you only said no once and then assented by not saying it again," etc.). There was nothing like that in the poem to latch onto other than that she was drunk and he was her boyfriend, which I'd think that even the worst trodgylite wouldn't have the balls to say "there, you just de-raped this situation with this information." But apparently if you genuinely believe that rape as a concept is some vast misandrist conspiracy then all it takes to get people riled up is just someone talking about it as a thing that exists and causes trauma (to someone who isn't a man falsely accused of rape, and rape isn't even a thing so how could anyone be truthfully accused, it just doesn't make sense).

Art Yucko (#1,321)


stuffisthings (#1,352)

@minijen I mean they could just stick solely to posts about tipping.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

@stuffisthings try getting pick-up-artists to leave a tip on the internet.

stinapag (#10,293)

@Multiphasic @jolie, The number of comments from people with #246,000+ was pretty high. Lots and lots of new people all at once can be hard to manage.

Art Yucko (#1,321)


jolie (#16)

@stinapag No I know that, and I don't think that any of us could expect the influx to have been managed (the site is down its Managing Editor, they still need to find us a New Mommy, Choire is in his exciting book crunch, it's officially August which means that Alex will be upping his not-giving-a-shit game, etc.) I was more curious how these people ("people") got here.

stinapag (#10,293)

@jolie Ah. Well I saw the article linked in at least 10 other sites (most of them effusive about the poem), so I imagine that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Anarcissie (#3,748)

I was reading here and there that some fellow I had never heard of called 'Don Draper' was the most admired and desired man in America, so I found out who he was, and started watching Mad Men (downloaded) from the beginning, very earnestly. I found out that Don Draper is a psychopath, a kind of pretty reptilian monster, living in a time which gave a lot of scope for his games. So this is what is most desired and admired. Evidently, we live in psychopathic times. The barf noted above is just a little scurf from the surface.

Mr. B (#10,093)

No substantial aesthetic criticism in that comment thread though, so you know you're solid craftwise.

PistolPackinMama (#231,054)

Ah, well, it's good to know that rapists= animals with no rational self or capacity to understand morality…

Or the ones that live in Washington really like salmon, I guess?


That barf commentary sent my heart right *right* up.

586434113@twitter (#246,470)

Is it really that hard to not get raped, though? If you're genuinely afraid of something, you protect yourself. It's common sense. For instance, I'm afraid of talking to a woman in real life. So I protect myself by staying in my basement and typing misogynist comments all day. It's just logic. *tips fedora*

shostakobitch (#1,692)

Will there be a Responses to Responses to Rape Joke post, ad infinitum?

dialogues (#246,495)

• Ooh! Look, I raise your rape joke critique with another rape joke. (FAIL)

• Your self expression is not validated by my misapprehension of literary genre

• I failed the SAT portion of "this is to this as that is to that" analogy questions. Badly.

• Put a gun in your vagina. Problem solved, was that so hard? Why u complainin? Mansplain.

• My dreams are generally nightmares. Dark stuff. The drugs, I did them/need them.

• People think I'm creepy… Is it me?

• I like dead baby jokes, and McDonalds. I have a poor understanding of social mores. I also failed the SAT analogy portion.

• I have a poor understanding of subtlety and I watch a lot of tv. Probably unrelated.

• I am marginally derisively witty. I like to get in there quick with the most obvious quip (that's what she said).

• You have disappointed me by not being raped more often. Dilettante! Than again, you're poor so it's not surprising. Also, I have poor discernment of web fare quality.

• I am a freak. But not in a good way. People do not want to make love to me twice (or even once).

• Cultural and social goings on hold little interest to me. Unless or until they directly affect me. Then it stops being a joke and gets real. Obvi. This makes perfect sense to me and I see no need to change.

• I, too, watch a lot of tv.

• I think I am funny, but other people do not, somehow? I like to think up imaginary band names for my imaginary band.

• The world I inhabit is a cold, cruel one. You would not like it here. I am used to it, so it doesn't bother me/I don't notice how shitty it is. It's just "the way it is". I've adapted. I no longer recognize human kindness, nor do I long for it (except sometimes, maybe, in dreams which I forget immediately upon waking).

• My mom gave me a Pet Sounds album. Does she want to rape me? I am confused and have a difficult time reading social cues, and making logical connections with cultural content. I try to fake it but I know people know, but maybe they don't know? Life will be hard for me. This is unfair, and we need stronger/better special ed. programs for developmentally differently abled people like me.

• The muse visits me. I am a vessel and do not know what to make of the imagery that springs forth from my mind, but it is often very vivid, with colors and soundtracks. What I say often does not make sense, even to me.

• I am an extreme asshole. People do not like me once they get to know the "real me" and often long before. I do not understand why.

asher (#246,664)

@dialogues do you do parties? i have life savings i'd like to give you.

;asdfjakl;s (#246,548)

When you publish a poem like "Rape Joke," you take it for granted that two things will happen. One: that people will share their own stories with you,Thomson Three

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