Hypnosis Is Bad, M’kay?
(Warning: This blog post contains possible triggers for those who’ve experienced extreme stress)
A couple days ago, I made a dumb joke on twitter. It went as follows…
“I’ve gotten laid before, but I’ve never gotten laid using only the power of hypnosis. But one day I will. Oh yes, I will.”
Is it a funny joke? Meh. Is it offensive? No. At least that’s my opinion. However, a couple people on twitter expressed their disapproval for what was called a “rape joke”.
“A rape joke?” I thought. “This isn’t a rape joke, this is a joke about how funny it would be if I actually thought that hypnosis could get me the ladies”. Nevertheless, a couple folks were upset. I spent forty-five minutes debating with someone online about whether or not my joke was offensive. Then I got an email. Then two emails. Then three.
My stance is that no person on the planet has ever been forced into sex via hypnosis. Ever. It is impossible for someone to make someone else do anything that they don’t want to do by using hypnosis. So how can this be offensive when it’s an imaginary crime? Well clearly people are offended and if they’re offended, shouldn’t I apologise? I mean, whether I understand it or not, I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone.
There is another issue here though. Basically, we’ve got two potential offenses colliding. You see, there are those who find a joke like the one above to be offensive, but there are others who find the idea of comedic censorship offensive as well. The idea of a joke that might send someone into a tailspin of traumatic memories is certainly not one that I want to tell. On the other hand, if I choose to recant the above joke and apologise, how far do I then allow this censorship to extent? Is it just jokes that could possibly be seen as “rape jokes”? What about the Hamburglar? That little bastard steals food from hungry children. Surely the concept of starving children isn’t funny at all. What about jokes about the pied piper? Children are kidnapped on a daily basis and no one can truthfully say that that hasn’t left a lot of people permanently traumatised. But again, I don’t want anyone to read my dumb, little jokes and be triggered into feeling stressed or upset. It’s definitely a complicated issue.
Being a dude, I’m very lucky in that I’ve never had to deal with something as traumatic as rape (EDIT: Everyone yelling at me because “dudes get raped too!” can just back off. What I mean is that rape is very uncommon for a male and that statistic plays a major role in why I or any of my guy friends have been raped). Nor have I had to deal with the tragedy of having someone close to me raped. So I’d be lying if I claimed to understand the kind of trauma that those victims are forced to go through. Therefore, morally I don’t have the right to say “it’s not that bad” or “suck it up, it’s just a joke”. Maybe it is that bad.
But if it is that bad, what happens to these rape victims when they’re flipping through the channels on their TV and they come across that episode of He-man where Skeletor kidnaps Teela in an effort to force her to marry him? Sure, Ol’ Skull-face never actually says that he’s going to have sex with Teela, but what do you think would happen if He-man died at the end of Skeletor’s sword and Teela was forced to become Mrs. Skeletor? You think he’d respect her personal space? Hell no. The implication for rape is there. So do rape victims curl into a fetal position and cry for two hours before demanding that all copies of that cartoon be destroyed? (EDIT: This is a serious question and NOT an attempt to make fun of people in this kind of pain!)
My own comic contains a rapist. If the reason for removing my dumb tweet is because it may possibly trigger a victim into extreme stress, then surely I’d have to remove all scenes in my comic that portray Goblinslayer as a rapist, right? If I don’t have the moral right to say “my hypnosis joke is okay, let it go”, then offended parties shouldn’t have the right to say “the tweet must be censored, but Goblinslayer can stay because I like the scene in which he’s thrown out the window”. They’re all possible triggers. So should these victims fight to have any and all jokes, stories, artwork that contain possible triggers destroyed/censored? Or should they accept that (however unfair it is) the world is full of triggers and instead try to learn how to cope with these details and move on?
This sort of debate has been going on long before I was born and it’ll continue long after I’m dead. I’d be a fool to think that I could solve it here in this blog entry. So instead, I’ll just do my own little part…
I’d like to apologise to anyone that I’ve offended with my hypnosis joke. I was being insensitive and I’ll take greater care when making jokes in the future. (EDIT: Removed the phrase “It’s possible I was be insensitive” because that was further offending people) I’d like to state whole-heartedly that I find the concept of rape and other such crimes to be offensive and not at all funny. The intent with my jokes is to make someone, somewhere smile and I will continue with this personal goal of mine. This may cause me to accidentally offend someone again in the future. If this happens, I ask any offended parties to show as much respect for my right to humour as I believe should be shown toward your own, person pain due to past experiences.
As always, thanks for reading.