This Is Awesome: The Onion and Rape

This Is Awesome

It’s been an exciting month for rape enthusiasts. First, Daniel Tosh made a scorchingly hilarious joke at the expense of a heckler in which he said – you can’t make this shit up – “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now?” I, for one, am in tears! Then this weekend, in case you haven’t seen any news at all or been on Facebook or even come close to a human being with a conscience since then, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri (who is currently running to unseat Senator Claire McCaskill) made the following purely scientific and not at all fuckwitted statement:

If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

So that happened.

But I’m not here to rake these assholes over the coals for their misdeeds, because someone has already beaten me to the punch. And that someone is the Onion.

Guys, this is a fluff piece, but it is the best kind of fluff piece, the kind that we initially envisioned our fluff pieces to be: a fluff piece that serves to make sure that our readers see the best that the world has to offer. And this week, the Onion is hands-fucking-down the best thing that the world has to offer. First, witness their article about Daniel Tosh.

The other night Sarah and I had a discussion with friends about this incident and why we thought it was inexcusable. The friends in question are huge stand-up comedy buffs and had a wide variety of arguments about why freedom of speech is important and the comedian’s role as an envelope-pusher. Make no mistake, I am all for pushing the envelope – I like to think we do it here from time to time – but Sarah’s rebuttal was that Tosh’s word vomit wasn’t comedy. He was reacting to a heckler who called him out for making a tasteless rape joke, and thought that obviously the best way to do that was to say something even more tasteless that was not a joke, but rather a public call for the woman to be brutally gang-raped. I submit the Onion article above to be proof of concept: it is both funny and brutal, and most importantly has a point. Good, envelope-pushing comedy needs to have a point or else it’s no different than a four-year-old who learns she can get a laugh by saying “fuck” in a crowded room. Think of George Carlin or Bill Hicks. In fact, don’t bother thinking, just watch:

This is how it’s done, Tosh. Now go back to your “America’s Funniest Videos” ripoff and shut up.

Now watch this:


See the difference? Carlin is discussing rape in the context of social issues, freedom of speech and complete absurdity. Tosh is discussing rape in the context of real people and actual brutal assault with absolutely no social context at best, and wishing it on an audience member at worst. It’s not the same thing, and it’s not funny.

Moving on, let’s talk about Todd Akin for a moment. Let me give you a little more context: Akin was asked in an interview with a  local television station about his no-abortions-ever-no-seriously-not-ever stance, even in the case of rape. His full response was:

People always try to make that one of those things, ‘Oh, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. It seems to me, first of all, what I understand from doctors is that’s really where—if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.

Ok, let’s just dispense with the semantics of calling a lump of mostly undifferentiated cells a “child” for a moment, if we’re even capable of that. What fucking doctor told you this, Todd? And where can I file the papers to have his medical license revoked? Please tell me it was Rand Paul. That fucker’s been begging to be banned from practice. Wait, I’m getting word from the investigative department here at One Downflaw Plaza…yes…wow, this is exciting, folks. We’re about to give you an exclusive: Fatal Downflaw has obtained photographs of the doctor who taught Rep. Akin all he knows about the female anatomy:

Hi, a woman's right to make decisions about her body!

So yeah, Akin is a dickbag and a moron and pretty much every terrible thing you can say about a human being. Enter The Onion, who ran three stories about him yesterday in increasingly hilarious iterations. I highly encourage you to follow these links, because this shit is GOLD. First:

I never get tired of seeing Boehner and McConnell's faces under terrible headlines.



And finally:

Truer words, Onion...

To my mind, this all-out assault on Akin is one of the greatest things The Onion has ever done, possibly even greater than this amazing video from several years ago:

Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck
…and that, my friends, is the highest possible praise.

Before I close this out, I want to say a word about the reaction to Akin’s comment. Of course there was enormous public outcry from Democrats, women, rape victims, anyone with a soul or a conscience, and even his own party. Such forward-thinkers as Scott Brown, Joe Scarborough and even Sean Goddamned Hannity have publicly renounced him. And when Hannity refuses to stand behind a Republican who’s said something massive-childhood-head-injury stupid, you know the excrement has well and truly been applied to the cooling appliance. But Akin’s got people in his corner, too. Important, respected people. Like Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (labeled a hate group by the SPLC in 2005) and Kirk Cameron who people used to like because he was on, like, Charles In Charge or something about a million years ago but is now best known for his propagation of the Crocoduck. When this guy…

He looked so harmless then.

…is your strongest supporter, you should probably just go ahead and leave the public eye.

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About Andrew Nienaber

Andrew has been a bartender, ice cream truck driver, teacher, critic, writer, all-around theater professional and director of operas. This is by far the most exciting and least lucrative job he's ever had. He also has a novel called Truly, Deeply Disturbed, which is available on Amazon and other fine book-selling outlets.