Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Can’t Control Something? Then Control The Language Instead…

Kira Cochrane (women's editor for the ‘Guardian’) is annoyed at some meathead’s ‘poor choice’ of language:
He was given every chance to apologise.
Subtext: And he better take it, if he knows what’s good for him!
… when asked by a Today presenter whether he would like to issue a mea culpa, and address his allusions to rape, Haye ducked the question and simply offered this strange explanation: "You'll have to wait and see the fight first," he said, "I'm talking about the one-sidedness of the fight." He wasn't actually going to gang rape Harrison, he added, which was certainly good to know.
Wouldn’t draw the same sort of audience on pay-per-view, love….
By dodging an apology, Haye implied he hadn't said anything wrong
I just love the way that bald statement implies that of course he did something wrong, who could question it, it’s a given, isn’t it..?
…earlier this week he tweeted: "If I apologised for every stupid/ignorant thing I said, I wouldn't have time for anything else during the day! "
Maybe I was a bit hard on him. He’s no ‘meathead’ after all.
Just as the word "gay" has been twisted by pop culture, used to refer to someone or something a bit uncool, the word "rape" is now regularly used where "nightmare" or an apt expletive would previously have been in order.
In other words, speech codes don’t work. But if you just try that little bit harder…

Can we have some examples?
An example of so-called rape talk? Coming out of an exercise class recently, a guy turned to one of my friends, sweating and breathless, and heaved a sigh of satisfied exhaustion. "Wow, that was just like being raped, wasn't it? " he said. My friend stood motionless, blinking back at him. Another? In the July issue of UK Elle, the Twilight star Kristen Stewart talked about being trailed by the paparazzi, saying that when she sees the resulting photographs: "I feel like I'm looking at someone being raped." (Stewart later apologised for the comparison). Online, there has been a lot of talk about "Facebook rape": a term used to describe a third party getting access to someone's Facebook account and changing their details. Almost 1.3 million people are fans of the Facebook page "Thanks wind, you have totally raped my hair", where photos of windswept women are posted.
Oh, wow! Clearly, indicative of the degeneracy of our civilisation….
Another part of this phenomenon is the popularity of out-and-out rape jokes... It's never a good sign when an evening ends with you and your friends bellowing, "No more rape jokes! No more rape jokes!" from the back of a bemused crowd.
It’s clearly a sign you chose poorly when selecting an entertainment event (unless you went there specifically for the purposes of being offended so you could stage your protest, of course…), and that you have no regard for your fellow audience. If you didn’t like it, you could have left quietly.

Your desires are more important than their enjoyment of an event, though…
As Sandy Brindley, national co-ordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland, says: "Rape is so particularly traumatic and so meaningful in so many ways, that there's something about using the word in other contexts that diminishes the reality of it, and the impact it has on women's lives. Rape is a powerful word, and it's powerful for a reason, because of that devastating impact."
Ah. Guess we’d better remove from all libraries books containing Alexander Pope’s ‘The Rape of the Lock’, right?

Those yellow crops we grow every year for oil better get a rename too. Or we could stop growing them, which would please hay-fever sufferers…
In telling rape jokes, or throwing the word casually into conversation, there is an assumption that the person you are talking to won't have experienced this – or that, if they have, you just don't care about the memories you might provoke, the anxiety you might trigger. "I think people don't necessarily realise how common rape is," says Brindley, "and that when they're speaking to an audience there will definitely be people there who are rape survivors. On that basis, I think you have to have some recognition about the impact of what you're saying."
Perhaps referring to women as ‘rape survivors’ is where you are going wrong? Just a thought…

Or, as Jackart points out:
"If she's suggesting that drunken hubby-humping or a squeeze of tit by a pervert on the tube, is 'rape', or even 'sexual violence', or equating domestic violence with rape, then it is not the comedians or bloggers who are belittling rape & sexual violence. It's her."


Smoking Hot said...

Rape also used as a sub-division of the county of Sussex. Rape of Arundel etc

Dick the Prick said...

I heard that interview and laughed my head off. 'I'm gonna make him feel like he was gang raped' - I think she's forgetting too that blokes get gang raped in prison which undoubtedly these chaps have chums who know. Rape ain't just lasses.

I do quite like the similie 'ee, by gum, I were sweating like a rapist on the run'.


Chuckles said...

'Those yellow crops we grow every year for oil'

Canola if you please, canola.

Pods said...

Yep. And phrases like 'I could murder a kebab' belittle the crime of murder. Although, we don't have the sensibilities of 'murder survivors' to worry about, natch.

NickM said...

On the subject of the third meaning of gay...

I have heard a lot of gay people use it in precisely the context of "a bit crap really".

It offends no-one but the professionally offended and they are offended by everything. It being their job and all.

Blognor Regis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blognor Regis said...

The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay

Anonymous said...

and, don't forget, all parents that smoke inflict 'child abuse' on their offspring.

Anonymous said...

curious then that such a uniquly and especialy damging crime attracts such a lenient sentance when an individual is shown to have made a false a accusation. Similarly that victims of false accusations recieve little or no support or compensation from any organisation. How does using the word rape in any other context other than the one that involves a sexual assault has the ability to cause more insult and suffering than any other word used to describe a violent crime?

JuliaM said...

"Rape also used as a sub-division of the county of Sussex. Rape of Arundel etc"

Oh, I'd forgotten that.

"I think she's forgetting too that blokes get gang raped in prison..."

I think feminists ignore this as much as possible. They don't like the consequences for their idealogy..

"Canola if you please, canola."


"And phrases like 'I could murder a kebab' belittle the crime of murder."

That'll no doubt be the next outrage!

JuliaM said...

"It offends no-one but the professionally offended and they are offended by everything. It being their job and all."

That's why I always ignore them when they start - if only the media did the same...

"The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay"

When they start censoring Sinatra, we're doomed...