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“Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It,” White Men and Freedom of Speech

Rape of the Sabine Women, by Ceri Richards

 Rape of the Sabine Women, by Ceri Richards

I blogged last night about the Connecticut Central State University newspaper publishing an op-ed article entitled Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It.    Since the article was published on February 7,  the head of CCSU’s PRIDE group and other school leaders have organized rallies and have called for the resignation of Mark Rowan, editor of the student newspaper, The Recorder, and of its opinion editor, John Petroski, who is the author of the offensive editorial.   Although Rowan and Petroski have offered apologies, Rowan also defended Petroski as a “bold satirist whose message fell on deaf ears,” and chided outraged, demonstrating students for not “directing their anger appropriately,” calling them “laughable.” 

Following is the text of Petroski’s article from the February 7, 2006, issue of The Recorder:

Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It

John Petroski
Opinions Editor

Most people today would claim that rape is a terrible crime almost akin to murder but I strongly disagree.  Far from a vile act, rape is a magical experience that benefits society as a whole.  I realize many of you will disagree with this thesis but lend me your ears and I’m sure I’ll sway you towards a darkened alley.

If it weren’t for rape, Western Civilization might not exist as we know it today.  When the Romans were faced with a disproportionate ratio of women to men in the early kingdom, they had to do something, lest their fledgling society die for lack of sons.  To solve their little dilemma, they did what any reasonable man would do:  they threw a festival for their Sabine neighbors, and then stole and raped their women.  It’s quite logical; in fact I don’t understand why the settlers at Plymouth didn’t do the same to the local Indians.  It certainly would have saved on shipping costs.

Obviously, in the case of the Rape of the Sabines, rape was a tremendous help to society.  The Sabine women, for their part, didn’t seem to mind so much, as they threw themselves between their brutish old Sabine husbands and their charming new Roman ones to prevent bloodshed when the Sabine men came to reclaim their wives.  Yet even when society was totally against a rape, the raunchy act has benefitted society too.  Where would the Romans be, after all, if it weren’t for the Rape of Lucretia infuriating the people to the point of overthrowing their last king, Lucius Tarquinius Soperbus?  If it weren’t for that event, the world might never have had the Roman Republic for a pristine example of a flawless government.

Rape’s glorious advantages are not, however, exlusively found from 2,000-year-old examples.  In actuality, rape’s advantages can very much be seen today.  Take ugly women, for example.  If it weren’t for rape, how would they ever know the joy of intercourse with a man who isn’t drunk?  In a society as plastic-conscious as our own, are we really to believe that some man would ever sleep with a girl resembling a wildebeest if  he didn’t have a few schnapps in him?  Of course he wouldn’t, at least no self-respecting man would, but therein lies the beauty of rape.  No self-respecting man would rape in the first place, so ugly women are guaranteed a romp with not only a sober man, but a bad boy too, and we all know how much ladies like the bad boy.

Ugly women are not,  however, the only people who benefit from rape– prisoners enjoy its many perks, too.  What, after all, would possibly be more boring than spending years of your life confined to some tiny cell 23 hours a day?  The answer, of course, is spending years of your life confined to some tiny cell 23 hours a day and never getting some hot action.  With rape, prisoners never have to worry about that.  Instead, they merely need worry about treating their rapists with enough love and respect to earn a quick reach-around. 

But if there is one bread and butter reason for why rape should not only be accepted, but even endorsed, it is because our news editors are in dire need of interesting stories for our front page.  Bookstore stories?  Fossils?  One dollar coins?  Please.  Now, some saucy circle jerk rape action?  Yeah, that’s the ticket. 

Students calling for Petroski’s and Rowan’s resignations say they have felt victimized by the editors, because Petroski and Rowan, they say, make fun of lesbians, gay men, Jews, “everybody,” except, of course — based on what I’ve read — white, conservative heterosexual men, like themselves.

On the same page as the rape essay, there is an article entitled, Horses Are People Too, about the recent euthanization of Barbaro, the American thoroughbred who won the 2006 Kentucky Derby and who was believed by many to be the next Secretariat.   Following are excerpts from this article:

Little effort was made to preserve the animal’s life, albeit one of perpetual pain and agony.  This is just another example of our society’s willingness to interfere with God’s divine plan.  I for one am outraged that while Barbados passed peacefully and relatively painlessly from the world, our national leaders made no attempt to stop it…

How can we be so careless with a life?  The animal had many long years of heavy medication and agonizing physical treatment to look forward to.  I suppose in our modern society with  its iPods and hybrid cars, no one has the time to nurse an indisposed horse for 30 years.  Readers, the next time you’re brushing your teeth, feeding your dog, eating a bowl of Jell-O or just gluing together a broken teacup, think of Barbaro, won’t you?

Petroski wrote another article for this issue entitled The True Path to Equality about February being Black History Month. 

What is amusing is that many of the people who scream for equality are the very ones who support policies that make a mockery of the term.

Before I step on my soapbox… it may be prudent for me to clear a few things up.  I am a white male who does not agree with affirmative action, reparations for black citizens or even banning the “n-word.”  Nonetheless, despite what some people would like to think, being white and having such beliefs does not make me racist. 

Indeed, I’d argue that the true racists are those who argue for affirmative action or for limiting freedom of speech, for they are the ones who continue to insist that a man continue to be judged based on the color of his skin, rather than the content of his character…

…Naturally that’s not a very popular way of looking at things.  It’s much easier to play the victim and ask for certain advantages… not because they seek equality, not because they seek to “even up the score,” but because they seek an edge. 

…That is not what America stands for and that should not be our goal.  This is a land where all men are created equal, not kept so by artificial means.  This is a country that values competition, tenacity and drive, not handicaps, callowness and complacency. 

The “Editorial” for this issue, which is unsigned, begins:

Before anything else is said, we must make clear to our readers that as we write this, the news has just broken…According to the admittedly suspect Iranian Fars news agency, “after seven long years of arduous work, Iranian scientists here on Saturday introduced a medicine which cures Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.”  …

In fairness, Fars also recently reported news that a UFO crashed in Iran and claimed that Israel was practicing genocide against their Lebanese neighbors with poison-filled birthday balloons….

While the president of CCSU, Jack Miller, said the rape article was “hurtful and offensive,” he also defended Petroski’s “freedom of speech to offer his opinions.”  Of course, Petrovski and Rowan have also defended their rights to freedom of speech.  In comments threads relating to this incident, the first issue which is raised — nearly always by white men — is the importance of the editors’ freedom of speech– even when they are dismissing an article trivializing rape as “satire.”

These are all white men who are busy defending the free speech of white men.  Within their college community they all occupy positions of comparative power:  Editor of the school paper, Opinions Editor, President of the school.    In the larger community, they also occupy positions of comparative power as white, heterosexual men.   For this reason, their speech, exercised “freely” in a society and culture originally premised on the view that white, heterosexual men should rule over all other men, women and creatures, and in which white heterosexual men have ruled over all other men, women and creatures for centuries, can and does cause real harm in the world for all who are targeted, made the butt of jokes, belittled, demeaned, dehumanized, objectified.  In the course of these few articles from which I’ve posted excerpts, black persons have been dehumanized and degraded, a beautiful horse and the persons who cared for him and who care for all animals have been dismissed and belittled, Iranians, Palestinians, and those suffering from AIDS have been made to be the butt of jokes in a time of  life-shattering trauma, genocide and incurable illness in their lives, and men, raping women, has not only been trivialized but called a good thing, with “ugly” women degraded and dehumanized in ways which are terrifying.  The truth is, justice cannot be accomplished in the world, revolution cannot be made, without restraints on the “freedom of speech” of white men. 

Social inequality is substantially created and enforced — that is, done — through words and images.  Social hierarchy cannot and does not exist without being embodied in meanings and expressed in communications.  A sign saying, “White Only,” is only words, but  it is … [legally] seen as the act of segregation that it is…Segregation cannot happen without someone saying “get out” or “you don’t belong here” at some point.  Elevation and denigration are all accomplished through meaningful symbols and communicative acts in which saying it is doing it. 

Words unproblematically treated as acts in the inequality context include “you’re fired,” “help wanted– male,” “sleep with me and I’ll give you an A,” “fuck me or you’re fired,”  “walk more femininely, talk more femininely, dress more femininely, wear makeup, have your hair styled and wear jewelry,” and “it was essential that the understudy to my Administrative Assistant be a man.”  These statements are discriminatory acts and are legally seen as such. …

…Discrimination does not divide into acts on one side and speech on the other.  Speech acts.  It makes no sense from the action side either.  Acts speak.    In the context of social inequality, so-called speech can be an exercise of power which constructs the social reality in which people live, from objectification to genocide. …Words and images are how people are placed in hierarchies, how social stratification is made to seem inevitable and right; how feelings of inferiority and superiority are engendered, and how indifference to violence against those on the bottom is rationalized and normalized.  Social supremacy is made, inside and between people, through making meanings.  To unmake it, these meanings and their technologies must be unmade. 

–Catharine A. MacKinnon, Only Words, 1993, pp. 31-32





89 thoughts on ““Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It,” White Men and Freedom of Speech

  1. I’ve been lurking a while, enjoying reading, but am finally jumping in.

    I teach at a university, so this specific example caught my eye.

    What strikes me about the situation here is one that’s fairly common: privileged person posts or publishes something. There is disagreement, expressed through speech and occasionally action (many forms of action are in fact protected as free speech–not all are, just as not all speech is).

    Privileged Person (PP) then retreats claiming “free speech.”

    I see this pattern in fandom all the time: I have free speech! which translates to “you’re not supposed to disagree with me or say mean things about me!”

    (Of course in fandom, there are many not in the U.S. who point out that the Constitution is nation-specific). But what those who claim that as a defense never seem to realize is that their opponents have that same right.

    In a culture based on free speech (not sure the US is for practical purposes, there are so many limits on people, but for the sake of argument, let’s say we are), then everybody has it.

    And the best “opposition” to speech with which one disagrees is….speech.

    The right to free speech does not guarantee anyone a captive audience who cannot disagree (though in the past, some groups had that privilege).

    It does guarantee all those who disagree with what was originally said the right to disagree and to express that disagreement freely.

    In speech!

    Posted by rrede | February 10, 2007, 9:48 pm
  2. And the best “opposition” to speech with which one disagrees is….speech.

    The right to free speech does not guarantee anyone a captive audience who cannot disagree (though in the past, some groups had that privilege).

    It does guarantee all those who disagree with what was originally said the right to disagree and to express that disagreement freely.

    In speech!

    Exactly! Including in speech that says, “I’m calling for their resignation!” I mean, yeah, they have free speech, obviously, and they exercised it! And people are saying they’ve gone too far, and I have to agree.


    Posted by womensspace | February 10, 2007, 11:23 pm
  3. I don’t know, I think it’s pretty clear that all this stuff is satirical in nature. Not necessarily funny, mind you, but definately satirical. It brings racism, misogyny, and other forms of hate to their absurdist extremes, helping to underline the existence of these forms of hate to begin with. Coming as it does so close to Valentine’s Day, I think the rape article was in poor taste, however, it is still a satirical work & absurdist work.

    Posted by Miko | February 11, 2007, 12:07 am
  4. “People seem inordinately confused as to whether sexism in satire renders it sexist satire (it can and usually does): even when confronting misogyny and male privilege is not the focus of the work, the sexism only present to add spice, many readers approach the text as a total inversion of reality even if not all of the work’s elements function ironically.

    That is, readers who might accept sexist content at face value, reacting to it as such—or even enjoying it as such—rather than “inverting” it, will often find themselves claiming that the sexist content is not sexist precisely because it is located within the category of satire. A spectrum of arguments states that such sexism is, at worst, not to be taken seriously (only the most “humorless” of feminists would dare object), and frequently, is purportedly actually anti-sexist in its result, regardless of the author’s intention. Many often claim, rather incongruously, that it is the very best variety of feminist polemic because that feminism is accessible for use by everyone, never mind that patriarchal apologists are counted among that number.

    Thus critics of such satire often have to battle uphill when confronting it in public venues, even against other feminists and pro-feminists reliant upon a more simplistic reading of the material: oddly enough, it was the latter who were armed with vicious condescension. Those sophisticated enough to understand that “Where the White Women at” operates on a number of levels, and can be framed in different ways when weighing the competing factors at play in its creation, transmission, and reception, were often treated as grade-school children in need of basic dictionary definition of “satire.” Patriarchy has certainly taken notice of this confusion, making the medium the favorite for a number of roles, including racist propaganda; see any number of both apologias and critiques of the white “underground” comic artist, R. Crumb, who has published stories such as “When the Niggers Take over America.””

    Just a link and run as a shortcut.

    Posted by Rich | February 11, 2007, 12:30 am
  5. In short: Does the article “confront misogyny and male privilege?” That’s what it would have to do in order to accomplish anything satirically in the way Miko propeses. As it simply offers historical examples of misogyny and male privilege in order to set up a punch line, that doesn’t make it satire. That’s shits and grins for the sake of shits and grins. It’s rather disinegenous if not plain old full-out stupid to suggest otherwise, that it was attempting to “underline” something, besides the author’s own belief in his own cleverness.

    It ain’t Jonathan Swift just because it’s white and has a dick.

    Posted by Rich | February 11, 2007, 12:38 am
  6. “Coming as it does so close to Valentine’s Day, I think the rape article was in poor taste…”

    Yes, Halloween would have been a much more appropriate time for this article. (need eye roll emoticon here)

    For the record, I think I have a good sense of humor. (Of course, most all people think that they have a good sense of humor and not all of them to, but that’s not the point.) Further, many comedies and comics that most feminists find offensive, I admit that I find funny. Let me also say that I didn’t necessarily agree with Heart about the other pieces from their other articles that she has copied here, meaning that my opinions are my own and not dictated by Heart or anyone else.

    Having said all of that, I read the article with an open mind and didn’t allow my perception to be swayed by Heart’s introduction of and criticisms of the article. If this is the entire article with no text omitted and nothing added, if this is it as it appeared in the college newspaper, then I can see clearly why students are demanding resignations from the paper’s editors.

    The article is not funny. It’s not at all humorous. It’s offensive. Not funny yet offensive. Not offensive but still kind of humorous. It’s offensive. And it’s hateful. And Heart is right in that it points it’s hateful finger in ridicule at everyone mentioned in it yet never at those who are like its author, a well off, white hetero male. In my opinion, the article can be appreciated only by well off, white, hetero males who believe themselves to be superior to all others and hate all others for being inferior to them.

    As for the editors and their free speech, I haven’t a clue how college newspapers are staffed, run, circulated, funded, etc. If they are independent and are funded as such, then I’d suggest that the students stop buying it and watch it go out of business. If, on the other hand, it’s funded by students via the tuition money, in other words, if a small part of their tuition money goes into an account that is then used to help fund the school newspaper, then they have every right to demand that the editors resign. The students shouldn’t be forced to help fund a college newspaper whose editors write articles that offend them. I do believe that is their right.

    Posted by CoolAunt | February 11, 2007, 12:53 am
  7. “As it simply offers historical examples of misogyny and male privilege in order to set up a punch line, that doesn’t make it satire.”

    Exactly! I was waiting for something toward the end that would turn the whole article on its head, not a punch line to turn the article into one, big, funny, ha-ha, rape joke. It wasn’t there. The article isn’t satire. It’s just offensive garbage.

    Posted by CoolAunt | February 11, 2007, 1:05 am
  8. One day I will live in a world where people understand that their right to Freedom of Speech means everyone else has Freedom of Speech, too.

    There’s also an air of “ha ha, y’all fell for it! We’re so much *smarter* than you! We’re just saying stuff, and you actually *care*” to this whole thing that makes me angry.

    It’s amazing how many white hetero males I meet that have that attitude about things.

    Yeah, buddy. I strangely *care* about rape. Thanks for noticing.

    Posted by Anna | February 11, 2007, 1:19 am
  9. What a dreadful piece of writing – not correct, not clever, not witty or satirical in any way that hasn’t already been abused by wannabe stand-up comics at Open Mic night. It should certainly not have been printed in university press to be read by impressionable students; at least, not without a serious, follow-up dissection of the issues raised and a size 38 font warning that reads: THIS IS A (TERRIBLE) JOKE. This comment “our news editors are in dire need of interesting stories for our front page” seems to sum it up, and yes, the parties involved should be fired.

    Offensive or nay, the fact that university staff are defending Petroski’s presumed intellect and rights to ‘free speech’ is absurd. They should sack him solely for writing such phoney, trying-to-be-controverisal tripe; he is supposed to be an academic! The fact that the writer is a white male with some fairly radical opinions make the ‘satirical’ defense totally void; it is nothing but the mad rantings of a bigot.

    The points he raises are completely spurious and absurd. Do ugly men (like Petroski, no doubt) deserve to be bum-fucked so they will ‘experience the joy of intercourse with a man’? If Petroski wanted to say something controversial about rape he could’ve examined whether binge drinking affects women’s ability to remember sex encounters with any kind of accuracy, or whether the blurry shame of one-night stands is often misinterpreted as violation. I’m sure there’s plenty of inappropriate humour fodder there.

    And this?: “The true racists are those who argue for affirmative action or for limiting freedom of speech, for they are the ones who continue to insist that a man continue to be judged based on the color of his skin, rather than the content of his character. […] It’s much easier to play the victim and ask for certain advantages… not because they seek equality, not because they seek to ”even up the score,” but because they seek an edge.”

    Affirmative action is a preventative measure against ‘white man’s’ discrimination, not a way to ensure that Black people continue to be identified as such for their own benefit. To those who cry “equal opportunities in the workplace are a farce; people should be hired on merit!” – remember that affirmative action exists to make sure that companies represent the factual spectrum of America’s diverse population.

    Posted by unitednation | February 11, 2007, 1:55 am
  10. I admit I didn’t read the article with complete openness as CoolAunt did, but with some degree of openness nonetheless.

    It is neither clever enough, or funny enough, nor is it remotely satire. It is however, the entitled ramblings of an MRA rich white boy defending his right to rape (in a rape-infested campus environment).

    I wish I could think of a funny/clever way to finish this comment, but that article sucked the humour right out of me. 😕 [where’s the barf emoticon?]

    Posted by stormy | February 11, 2007, 2:15 am
  11. This reminds me of “Borat.” I went to see it because “everyone” (I guess pseudo-lefty white men, in retrospect) said it was hilarious and right on. It wasn’t. The satire didn’t do what it was supposed to–all it did was provide an opportunity for jerks and bigots to say out loud, and laugh at others saying out loud, the things they’re normally “supposed” not to say. Despite what so many white men seem to think, satire is NOT a vehicle for racism, misogyny, and poop jokes. Get an f’n’ clue.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 11, 2007, 3:11 am
  12. I sent a letter to the college expressing my feelings and the idea that, if I were a woman at the school, I would feel abused, incensed, and patronized. Thank you for mentioning this.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 11, 2007, 5:10 am
  13. I’m sort of on the fence about Borat. I thought it was insanely funny at times, but at other times, it made me uncomfortable and I realized that the satire wasn’t accomplishing what it set out to do. I mean, the movie did a good job poking fun at ignorant bigots and misogynists, but at the same time, I sometimes got the feeling of “are we laughing with them or at them?”

    As for the article, if it’s satire, just who is it supposed to be satirizing? I like the way Molly Ivins put it. She said that satire was particularly cruel and immoral when directed at people who aren’t in power, people who aren’t on top in society. Satire like this is about as funny as beating up a homeless person.

    Posted by Metal Prophet | February 11, 2007, 7:12 am
  14. This is a great article about this debacle. I like the point she makes that whenever this kind of thing happens, the culprits know they have to apologize and they know what to say but they aren’t really sorry. They don’t even know what they did. She said the Editor, Rowan, after apologizing, when he talked to her on the phone, said something like that they should have published this on April Fool’s Day, maybe. Um, no.

    She also gets into something I was thinking of getting into with this post, i.e., all the many similar incidents of racism and sexism at universities lately excused as “satire,” blackface incidents, etc.

    Posted by womensspace | February 11, 2007, 1:37 pm
  15. To do satire the author has to understand who the perpetrators of the inhumane behaviour are and then target them. The guy in this piece has gone after the victims instead, and compounds his cluelessness by squealing “freedom of speech”.

    His basic, and common misunderstanding being that FoS is not about being able to spout what you like with no reaction from anybody.

    Posted by therealUK | February 11, 2007, 1:53 pm
  16. “She also gets into something I was thinking of getting into with this post, i.e., all the many similar incidents of racism and sexism at universities lately excused as “satire,” blackface incidents, etc.”

    I hope you write about this Heart. Some of the fun in satire comes from its brazen and dangerous mockery of the powerful. When the more powerful mock those with less power, it is simply to enforce power not challenge it. I think we have enough of that already. It isn’t funny; it’s arrogant and predictable. Humour is unpredictable. The powerful mocking the less powerful is very predictable, expectable, ordinary. It’s just business as usual. Closer to tragedy than comedy I would say.

    Posted by jfr | February 11, 2007, 1:58 pm
  17. When people mock rape victims and the harm that comes from rape they do have two receptive groups who will find their satire funny. Rapists and those who have a high tolerance for rapists because they’d rather be associated with the perpetrators than the victims.

    When you mock the victims of rape you are celebrating the attitudes and actions of rapists. Adding a satirical wink at the end changes nothing. What it does is expose elements of people’s character that they will deny if challenged directly.

    Dirt packaged in a candy shell is still dirt and doesn’t magically become candy. That means the problem contained in this “satirical” piece is more than bad writing skills.

    Posted by abyss2hope | February 11, 2007, 3:22 pm
  18. This pisses me off quite alot. he has no right saying being raped is a magical thing. did he get dropped on his head as a baby or something.

    My Girlfriend was raped and she knows it wasn’t “a magical exsperience”.
    God..stupid ass$£%^&.

    Posted by marielovingemmaalways | February 11, 2007, 5:13 pm
  19. I understand that this is probably covered under the First Amendment, but if I’m understanding what this man/boy wrote about I’d like for it to be put to the Miller test!

    I’m sure this boy has never been raped. I’m sure he thought he was being funny/satirical.
    He was offensive.
    He was sick, morbid and shameless. in other words: prurient
    He was patently offensive.
    His work lacked serious artistic, literary, political, and scientific value.
    He raped people everywhere.

    Posted by T | February 13, 2007, 9:07 am
  20. I couldn’t sleep at all last night after reading this.

    While several have said they do not think he has raped, I must disagree. I see no possible way his intentions could be satirical. He was attempting to support his point of view.

    I believe he has raped and will in the future. People do not express these type of candid thoughts without having had a lot of time thinking about it. I am infuriated. But, also grateful that we are able to see inside the mind of a future rapist and possibly a pedophile.

    This man (or lack there of) definitely has some arrogant and disgusting feelings. But, he wanted a write some controversial to get attention…boy did he get it. I hope this fills his narcistissistic need to have people focused on him.

    Let me add one more thing. After reading this article and a couple others he has written, I realized that his controversial content is the only thing that got him published to begin with. The actual writing is that of a high school student…not very impressive!

    Posted by LadyInRed | February 13, 2007, 1:59 pm
  21. I realize this is a bit of a digression, but…

    After some checking around it appears that Iran really did claim a cure for AIDS, and make the balloon accusation. (The Iranian government does a good job of inadvertently ridiculing itself.)

    So that probably shouldn’t be used as an example of the otherwise insane things the Recorder has publised.

    Posted by Egghead | February 13, 2007, 3:27 pm
  22. Sickening….let’s see if his opinion would change once he (and his white, ignorant followers) is raped, abused, beaten, sodomized or killed…..I pity his mother, sisters and anyone related to him in any way-look at the trash you’ve raised-pathetic he’s a part, albeit small and disgusting part of the next generation. See what it’s like to live in fear post-attack, wondering if you have an STD or AIDS for months to come. I am truly sickened and he should be led out of the university so we can see THAT on the front page of CNN.

    Posted by M K JONES | February 13, 2007, 5:45 pm
  23. “The truth is, justice cannot be accomplished in the world, revolution cannot be made, without restraints on the ‘freedom of speech’ of white men.”

    Wow. What a backwards, repugnant, Stalinesque suggestion.

    Why stop at white men? Clearly the words in question do harm regardless of the gender or race of the speaker. So if “justice” is your goal, why not limit freedom of speech across the board for all speech that might be “offensive” or “hurtful?”

    The kids wrote a terrible series of articles. The community has responded. Not surprisingly, this isn’t enough for some members of the community. Unsatiated by the exercise of their own right to speech, they demand that another’s right to speech be limited.

    We should all be deeply troubled by such suggestions.

    Posted by Daniel Adams | February 13, 2007, 7:20 pm
  24. In fact, freedom of speech is already limited across the board for much speech that is offensive and hurtful, as I said in the blog post there up at the top.

    White men’s speech ought to be more subject to restraint than others’ because white men are the class in the U.S. and Canada with the money and the power to see to it that what they say happens, or doesn’t, and we live in a racist, heterosexist culture which white men have created and benefit from.

    Having said all of that, I’m getting many comments which are anti-woman, misogynist, anti-feminist, off the wall, hateful, and so on.

    And just really not concerned at all about women. Like the comment I just got in which a woman is aggravated because women might view this guy’s essay as evidence of women’s oppression. This is someone who grew up a feminist, she says.

    Honestly. She said that.

    Comments moderation is severely ON therefore, if you end up in moderation even though you comment all the time, please don’t take it personally.


    Posted by womensspace | February 13, 2007, 7:37 pm
  25. If this article were truly intended to be satirical then why have the title, “Rape only hurts if you fight it”. That in itself is extremely insensitive to the throngs of women (and men) that may have been victims of rape. I live in North Carolina and there is no way in h3ll that an article like this would be published on any of the university campuses here. We’ve all heard about the “Duke Rape” (whether it happened or not) and after the uproar that caused I can’t imagine why anyone would ok this article. I read the above insert and regardless of what the intentions were rape is nothing to be amused about.
    I’m sitting here rather bewildered because I am really trying to find the satire in the article but when I went back and re-read the part about ugly women I literally threw up alittle bit in my mouth. The author of this article is sick and should seek a mental evaluation. Michael Richards says the “n****”…he’s encouraged to seek help. Isiah Washington says “f****t”…he’s encouraged to seek help. This dude makes a satirical claim that rape is for the betterment of society and…..

    Also, HIV is a disease that breaks down the immune system. Many societies’ solution is conduct clinical trials which test experimental drugs on persons living with HIV. Chemical drugs typically break down the immune system. Now I’m no scientist but it seems obvious that in order to combat the disease to have to stop the immunodeficiency progression. Bravo to Iran for tackling the HIV/AIDS issue without blinders on.

    Posted by Canopy Jones | February 13, 2007, 7:59 pm

    The Record’s opinion header, advisor, and editor in chief should all resign. You have to draw the limit somewhere.

    Posted by name | February 13, 2007, 10:13 pm
  27. “Michael Richards says the “n****”…he’s encouraged to seek help. Isiah Washington says “f****t”…he’s encouraged to seek help. This dude makes a satirical claim that rape is for the betterment of society and…..”

    Best point I’ve read all day.

    Posted by Rich | February 13, 2007, 10:32 pm
  28. Have we as humans really regressed this far? Is the importance of being able to print what you want…simply because you can…is that worth damaging other people? Is that really what we have become?

    Posted by Brandie | February 13, 2007, 10:41 pm
  29. Rape is primarily a male crime committed by males and used to assault or degrade a person, usually a female. To see a male boast and belittle this male crime is outrageous and extremely offensive to both women and men alike. One has to wonder what kind of skewed view of the world and values this idiot has to truly think it would be “ok” to publish something like that in a college editorial. College editorials should be respectable publications. I’m sure there is a place for his “free speech”..scrawled on the inside of a prison wall.

    Posted by K | February 13, 2007, 11:17 pm
  30. Brava Heart!

    Finally someone has the courage to stand up to these mysogynist pigs who speak freely and then hide behind the mantle of “free speech”. I applaud that you have the courage to say “free speech should not apply to everyone!”.

    However; I feel that you have not gone far enough. Merely tossing these patri-fascists from their positions will not stem the flow of bile from their pens. They will only move on to other vile rags such as National Lampoon, MAD Magazine, and the New Republic.

    No, I say that speech such as this should be dealt with head on. Let’s see how these pigs write their editorials without their index fingers. Let’s see how they respond to press inquiries without tongues. Let’s…no wait, if we do that they will be “physically challenged”. That will grant them a pass on our free speech restrictions.

    I’ve got it! Let’s shut down the publication as a whole. We can charge them with sedition. Then we will move on to whichever publication lowers themselves to hiring these rapists.

    Yes, I say rapists because that’s what they are. There is no difference between writing this so called “satire” and the act of physically restraining a woman (or fellow prisoner) and sexaully assauting them; absolutely no difference. They are no less guilty than the Romans they discuss in their “editorial”. Twice!

    The more I think about, let’s go back to cutting off their appendages. And we’ll add another. Guess which one, boys!

    Wait…will they be trans-gender then? Middle sex? Have we created an inclusive term for eunuchs yet?

    Screw it, off with their heads!

    Thanks for listening.

    Mary Beth

    PS – Love the blog. Needs more umph though. Less MLK, more Malcolm X, you get me?

    Posted by Mary Beth | February 13, 2007, 11:22 pm
  31. I also don’t see where it is Satire. Perhaps its supporters could show me. Just because a person calls something satire or satirical, doesn’t make it satire. Only a person with no understanding of the word would buy that.

    Posted by K | February 13, 2007, 11:30 pm
  32. Especially since the author claims it is a satire against the sensationalist media? Whatever.

    Posted by K | February 13, 2007, 11:32 pm
  33. I mean i am a very open minded person. It takes a lot to offend me but reading this article, its just very very poor taste. The guy is an idiot. period.

    Posted by Emily H | February 13, 2007, 11:49 pm
  34. CNN has picked up on the story – just to let people know that it’s now getting national attention, which I think is a good thing. There’s a video link on the front page.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 14, 2007, 12:45 am
  35. Granted that it is easy to piss me off this story really pushes my buttons. I have a 2 month old daughter and i love her very much, but if someone were to hurt her i would castrate them myself! I been have raped and molested by the people that mean the most to me and not only does it hurt you physically it hurts you mentally, and scars you for the rest of your life. That pain will follow into my parenting, I will be over protective, and more paranoid for my daughters safety than a woman who hasn’t been raped. So not only does rape hurt the victim, it hurts her parents, her children, and her relationships with any man in her life. It takes a lot of therapy to fix what has been done and any man that rapes a woman should be put to death, he may not have killed her but he has destroyed the rest of her life.

    Posted by Patsy | February 14, 2007, 12:57 am
  36. I am constantly amazed at what actually offends, demoralizes and creates national discussion. I have read the article 3 times. At times, I understood the satirical nature of the article.

    Most of the time, I thought it was poorly written and misguided. Regardless, “offensive speech” is protected speech. Instances such as this correctly frame what was intended to be protected: speech that was unpopular or downright offensive.

    If you do not believe it was satirical, that is your own belief. The artist in this instance wrote a piece of literature that disgusted, offended and belittled. What was the intent? I am not certain. However, I am certain that he maintains a fundamental right to his speech. As a lawyer, I am a guardian of the Constitution and take that responsibilty with the utmost regard. The mere fact that he has created a debate regarding his work is evident that his speech should be protected.

    If this article offended you, I would not recommend you watch Monty Python’s old comedies, SNL, The Daily Show, the Colbert Report or even the Dave Chapelle show…

    Posted by Devil's Advocate | February 14, 2007, 1:09 am
  37. I can just barely see, and I mean barely, how this could be considered satire. I’m a satire writer for my high school newspaper, and I know that in order to keep things safe to get past the school administrators, it has to be blatantly obvious that the article is a joke. There was an article with the headline, “Shirt Comes Out of Closet,” poking fun at how teenagers react to the gossip of a student “outing” themselves. The administrators barely let it slide, and it was a very light, good-natured article.

    The point of my story, I suppose, is that their editor should have known better. The article was written in poor taste, it was poorly written, and it never should have made the final cut. As far as freedom of speech goes, I think you guys have worded that much better than I could.

    Posted by Matthew Killgannon | February 14, 2007, 1:21 am
  38. I first want to say that I believe rape is a horrible act and should be punishable by removing the man’s member. Secondly, how can I read more from what these guys have wrote? They are hilarious! I was saddened to hear about the Duke lacrosse rape story but would it have been in the news every day for months if it were a white on white crime or black on black? The charges would not have been less seriously but they would never have made national headlines. The uproar over something that was proved to be a lie. We all want to be colorblind but we keep distinguishing by color just to remind people that if you are white, heterosexual male you shouldn’t speak lest you be deemed racist, sexist, or homophobic. Oh, my favorite is ignorant. Why wouldn’t a white guy be able to make a show like Chapelle’s show? “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” Noam Chomsky
    The second subject of that stupid horse: People, your animals don’t love you. You are only their food provider and someone with fingers that can scratch their bellies. If they hadn’t lost all their natural instincts from years of domestication they wouldn’t need you. The only reason that horse wasn’t immediately killed after he had broken his leg was because he would be worth more alive selling his sperm straws to breeders. By supporting the fixing of barboro’s leg one is actually advocating the future torment of other horses that are forced to run, only to be thrown away if they aren’t fast enough. It is easy to adopt a greyhound but not as easy to adopt a horse.

    Posted by J | February 14, 2007, 2:57 am
  39. I don’t know why I’m wading in here, but I am.

    I was a humor magazine editor in college, and we got into scrapes like this. They were FAR less severe, but they happened. So I’ve had some experience in the position that these morons currently occupy.

    To everyone who is dissecting the wording and deciding that such things are not satire, let me put it to you this way: Comedy is hard. Everyone thinks they can do it, but a lot of them are wrong. There are about a million unwritten rules and customs that take years to fully internalize. You’re all right in your analyses of their errors, but I think one should at least entertain the possibility that they were in fact trying to satirize rapists, but that they simply did about as horrible, inept, and idiotic a job as is humanly possible.

    The article is an abomination. Of this there is no doubt. Any good piece of satire that purports to defend the indefensible should clearly express between the lines that it is actually taking the side of righteousness. Their failure in this regard is total, and they deserve every bit of personal hell they’ve endured for that failure alone.

    I would, however, disagree with the assertion that satire can only be directed at the powerful. It can also be used righteously against those with illegitimate grievances, or those who seek redress for their grievances in an improper manner. Any time someone is deluded or unjust, they are a target for satire. (I’m not neccessarily talking about you nice people, I’m just being general.) Pro-lifers honestly believe the government is sanctioning murder. I don’t agree with them, but they honestly believe that. Therefore, in their minds, they are victims and they are powerless. But their behavior, methods, and arguments are ripe for satire.

    Also, as to the point that these guys actually mean to defend rape, and that they have in fact committed rape, that’s speculation. Convicting people in such a way is no better than the Salem Witch “Trials”. But as to the theory, I suppose it’s a possibility. But that’s all. A possibility. If you firmly believe this to be the case, you’re jumping to a very dangerous conclusion.

    What disturbs me is the obsession (and that’s the only word for it) with white male-ness. To suggest that this is a white male problem cheapens the debate. Anyone is capable of writing or saying something that steps beyond the pale. We all have a duty to learn how to express ourselves properly in society, to understand that freedom of expression, like all freedoms, comes with responsibilities.

    The nitwits who wrote and published this crap cannot defend themselves with freedom of speech not because they are white men, but because freedom of speech is no defense at all. The First Amendment only protects you from being silenced by the government, not from the recriminations of a society that may decide you’re a fucking moron and decide not to listen to you anymore. Technically, at least some colleges are private institutions, and as such can make those choices for themselves. However, I would suggest that a good college should prepare its students for the outside world, in which there is no administration to make sure nobody offends anyone.

    I know it’s tempting to take freedoms away from people you feel have abused them in the past. But there’s a process for taking someone’s freedom. It’s called the criminal justice system. You have to prove your case against the person who specifically committed the outrage. If you want to take away the freedoms of an entire gender or race purely on the basis of past misdeeds by some of them, you have to think about the consequences of institutionalized bigotry. They will be far worse than a few idiotic editorials. The United States is still paying dearly for institutionalized bigotry against women and African Americans.

    It sickens me to think of rape survivors and people close to them who were hurt by this article. The writers’ ineptitude caused real pain, and they should have known that they were walking on thin ice when they stepped up to the big microphone. But to suggest that this is actually as bad as raping someone is taking things too far. We don’t know their intentions. If we can prove that they set out to hurt rape survivors, then I imagine it’s actionable in some way (though not to the degree of an actual physical assault). But until then, we can’t start throwing people in jail.

    I know many of you are hurting, and you’re right to feel that way. But this is what freedom is. When military recruiters say “Freedom isn’t free”, they’re right, but in a different way. Freedoms make life complicated. Freedom of Speech means you’re going to hear things that piss you off. Freedoms against summary judgement, unwarranted searches, the revocation of habeas corpus, etc. make it harder to fight crime. But we need those freedoms because the alternative is far worse.

    So go on damning these fools. They have no business writing for an audience, and they should know it. But don’t do so by destroying the most fragile and valuable thing on earth. Human liberty.

    Posted by Doctor Suarez | February 14, 2007, 3:09 am
  40. As someone who just found the CNN link, I both agree and disagree. I agree that more public conversations neet to be fostered on how we talk about rape in this country. Petroski demonstrated some of the worst in his article, but I also struggle with how CNN nicely wrapped up the story with a bow at the end. Not only will Petroski attend a ‘take back the night’ event, but he ‘is not a bad person.’ Even his well crafted repetious statements about how he didn’t know women would be hurt or want to commit suicide felt like the savvy political speech I use to write on the campaign trail. Hech, they even show him shaking the hand of a female advocate to drive home the point.

    Does CNN’s own editorial staff, like the paper’s editor, feel better if the story has everyone literaly and figuratively holding hands in the end. One one side we have the rape victim getting her standing ovation and on the side, the perpratrator “a better man because of this…”. Give me a break. This isn’t real life and it certainly isn’t equal. There wasn’t one women offended, he offended a nation of women. Thanks to his poor choice, (and certainly not well written satire, countless women have to be reminded of perhaps their most painful memories.

    Where is the more important story about the pervasiveness of rape (and clearly continuing myths about rape) in the United States? When we so easily let men like Petroski off in the media for thier actions or worse, hint at our admiration for their so called englightment, are we not once again victimizing women for being outraged in the first place? Like the less than 10% of rape victims who go to trial to only have their attackers not found guilty or given limited probration, where is the justice? Where is the strong, united stand for women? Why, once again, is the attenton more on the attacker than the reciever? Yes, they portrayed the woman, but he wasn’t her attacker. It wasn’t a he verses she. It was a he verses women worldwide (and from his own words), throughout history.

    Basically, without being blatanly cheesy, like the Dixie Chicks, “I am not ready to make nice” to this reporter. And yes, to those of you that will inevitably question my rant and wonder, as I have sadly learned people do when woman try to speak out about sexual assault, I am a survivor and a victim. I survived my rape and became a victim of the justice department when the man who raped me walked with a one year probation (despite his own admission that he had to ‘help things along.” Ironically, the police, attorneys and judge all behaved much like the editor, president and I would argue CNN in this situation. They said that my rapist was taught a lesson and I should feel gratified. I was not pleased. I was angry and disappointed that the attention was on what ‘he learned” and not how I, nor women across america, are hurt. My rapist may have served one year, but I serve a lifetime. This reporter may attend one ‘take back the night event,’ but rape victims will remember thier night forever.

    Thanks. just needed to get say this so I can sleep more soundly tonight.

    Posted by Disappointed | February 14, 2007, 3:27 am
  41. I think (being the movie buff that I am) that Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepard said it best in, “The American President”:

    “America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.”

    While I will, everyday, use my freedom of speech to stand up and out against sick, twisted points of view like Mr. Petroski, he has the same right to express his points of view as I do to state that he is wrong.

    I feel very strongly that rape is a terrible problem, one that should be punishable by the death penalty in certain circumstances. There is nothing funny about it. Nothing even remotely entertaining in it and I believe that anyone with those opinions should sit down with a psychiatrist and re-evaluate their lives. I say this with the full knowledge that I am sure someone out there disagrees with me, and probablly to the extent that I feel rape is wrong and an evil act.

    Sorry for the rant…and I certainly hope you all got my point.


    Sean (

    Posted by Sean | February 14, 2007, 3:35 am
  42. So rich white teenagers may be the only ones who find this in any way funny? I think you mean to say rapists may find this funny. The only humor (if you can call it that) is the title. The only question I have to wonder about, are websites like worth laughing at? Also, anything that offends or creates a mood that is uncomfortable for anyone cannot be viewed by humor? In other words, where does being politically correct exactly come into play in the world of humor (especially satire)?

    Posted by John Bohannon | February 14, 2007, 3:44 am
  43. I found out about this story through the CNN site. In that video, the author stated that the piece was satire. So when I read content of the article, in the back of my mind I was trying to figure out what point he was making. When I got to the end and read the part about needing interesting stories for the front page, I was thoroughly confused. All throughout the piece he is satirically “justifying” rape and ends with a point about media sensationalism? Even under the guise of satire, it makes no sense.

    The debate about defending accusations of being insulting with the “free speech” argument reminds me of a child defending his teasing of a victim as “just joking.” Hence, one has the right to be hurtful under the guise of humor and the object of the humor is in the wrong for feeling hurt.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of free speech for everyone. Yet to be truely free, it cannot be legislated by government, even in an effort to offset the bias of that government. But it does need to be treated with respect. So what should guide free speech? The answer that came to me is that it needs to be guided by one’s moral compass.

    So getting back to the subject at hand, the optimist in me hopes that the author’s moral compass is such that to him, the idea of rape being justifiable on any level is so ridiculous that everyone reading his words would have know that it was not serious.

    Posted by Cyndi D | February 14, 2007, 4:05 am
  44. According to Literature Reading, Reacting, Writing— Kirszner & Mandell (Compact Fourth Edition) 2000.

    Satire—bitter humor that diminishes a person, idea, or institution by ridiculing it or holding it up to scorn. Unlike comedy, which exists simply to make people laugh, satire is social criticism, deriding hypocrisy, pretension, and vanity or condemning vice. At its best, satire appeals to the intellect, has a serious purpose, and arouses thoughtful laughter.”

    So who and what are being diminished in this piece. The rapists? The institution of rape? Not hardly, more like the women who are raped. Good satire never targets a traditionally oppressed group, never. Like totally duh!

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 14, 2007, 4:30 am
  45. Do people actually believe that the author is arguing for rape? I agree it is completely in bad taste, but i believe that is due to lack of talent and judgement not due to hatred. He is completely offensive and distasteful, but mainly because he can’t pull it off because there isn’t a way to have levity when mentioning rape.

    He clearly sets up the narrarator as a vile person with the first paragraph–someone’s values you should clearly loath: “Far from a vile act, rape is a magical experience that benefits society as a whole. I realize many of you will disagree with this thesis but lend me your ears and I’m sure I’ll sway you towards a darkened alley.”

    A very poor foil to illustrate how vile rape is. The rest of the article does a very poor job at making you laugh at the narrarator because it is very poor and distasteful, but no one do i see the author actually promoting rape or supporting it.

    Posted by rox0r | February 14, 2007, 4:47 am
  46. Satire or not it has been my experience that white heterosexual men can dish it out, but can’t take it.

    Posted by Diane | February 14, 2007, 5:00 am
  47. “but no one do i see the author actually promoting rape or supporting it.”

    The promotion is in the indifference, the cruelest, the lack of compassion.

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 14, 2007, 5:43 am
  48. How dare you take the pain and misery of so many survivers of rape and make a mockery of it to make yourself look good. Rape is not a joke and I am glad to see you’re are getting what you deserve for saying something about Rape which you obviously know nothing about. I only wish I were there if they boot you out the door.

    Posted by Jami Daun | February 14, 2007, 5:46 am
  49. “Free speech is bigger than a right; it is a theme park in which pimps and esteemed writers alternate “Discourse” with Spin-The-Bottle: one-handed art, one-handed sex–the sound of one hand typing. It’s like a utopian summer camp for spoiled brats: once you enter Free Speech Park you can go on all the rides you want and nobody can stop you; so there.

    My colleagues–writers and feminists–proudly call themselves First Amendment fundamentalists or absolutists, in self-proclaimed philosophical and pragmatic accord with those who learn rules by rote, recite dogma without deviation, and will not think. History moves and society changes but forgetfulness is both blissful and patriotic. In Amerika, optimism and amnesia are forms of nationalism; and so is First Amendment fundamentalism–a happy loyalty to the status quo; we live in the best of all possible worlds. A country devoted to the eternal present is, of course, a perpetrator’s dream come true; and Amerika does spawn perpetrators. Memory means accusation, recognition, discontent. In the Free Speech playground, one might rebel against being the pimp’s ride, or even the esteemed writer’s: don’t fuck with me, one might say, spoiling the fun. The players, certain of their right to bang at will, might feel really bad: like, ‘censored.’

    The problem–from the point of view of those who value rights–is both structural and purposeful. James Madison–brilliant and cunning, contemptuous of ordinary (not elite) men, and an enemy of direct democracy–engineered the faux Bill of Rights so that it gave freedom from, not freedom to….Freedom from protected an armed, landed, moneyed, white male ruling class from the projected incursions of a potentially bigger power, a central government. Speech and guns need to be thought of as forms of wealth analogous to land, slaves, money, women. If you had them, the federal government could not interfere; if you did not, Madison’s faux Bill of Rights did not give you the right to them.

    So, every time African Americans or women have needed a right in order to exercise liberty, we have needed an affirmative right–backed up by federal power: the opposite of what the Bill of Rights allows. Each time, we go against the way the Constitution was framed and freedom was conceived. For blacks and women, the states have been the tyrant; but both groups have needed affirmative rights that no government could trump.”

    From “Race, Sex, and Speech in Amerika” by Andrea Dworkin, from Life and Death: Unapologetic Writings on the Continuing War Against Women (Free Press, 1997).

    Required reading for any (coherent) discussion of free speech, the constitution, bill of rights, or “liberty” in a feminist context.

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 14, 2007, 6:01 am
  50. Also this:

    “Strictly speaking, the intended scope of liberal individualism never has been universal. Those who proclaimed the freedom of the individual were nearly always men addressing themselves to other men, notably to the real or abstract paterfamilias in whose person a wife and children, along with other “possessions,” would be included. The idea of women and children as holders of rights, conceived apart from the men in whose identity their own interests were allegedly merged, is a comparatively new phenomenon. Indeed, it is partly because women have begun to claim rights and freedoms for themselves that some of the implications of liberal theory are becoming evident.”

    full article here

    Posted by Amy's Brain Today | February 14, 2007, 6:02 am
  51. For any of the idiots above that thought he was seriously doing satire, and not just defending his patriarchy-given right to rape, take a look at his other little gem:

    I agree with one commentor above, who said she thought he had probably raped before, or would certainly in the future. Petroski has the mindset of a male-supremacist, and this is the No.1 mindset of rapists.

    His body of work condemns him.

    Posted by stormy | February 14, 2007, 11:39 am
  52. Dr, Suarez, this young man wasn’t trying to satirize rapists. His target was media sensationalism (probably a reaction to the Duke case) and his way of mocking that coverage was to mock the suffering of rape victims by turning that suffering into something “Good” for the victims and “Good” for all of western civilization.

    His article said, with a satirical wink, “Got raped? Good. Now shut the **** up about it. I don’t care.” Those who who didn’t understand why that satirical message was offensive probably don’t get why people can find their attitudes about rape and rape cases offensive.

    The bottom line is for someone to force themselves sexually on another human being they need to have rationalizations which make their actions so good that they could pass a lie detector test proving their innocence. From the title of this piece to the last paragraph, it was filled with some of the favorite rationalizations of rapists.

    Yet it wasn’t those who make these rationalizations which were being mocked it was rape victims and those who actively oppose rape.

    For those who say the problem is that those who fight rape have no sense of humor, read this bit of satire I wrote over the weekend.

    Posted by abyss2hope | February 14, 2007, 2:42 pm
  53. rox0r, the problem with your POV on this piece is that the vile narrator is never mocked. Instead the writer is allowing his narrator to mock rape victims and is then calling that satire.

    Posted by abyss2hope | February 14, 2007, 2:56 pm
  54. I confess I’ve not read every post in the thread. In case no one else has pointed this out, I am appalled at a university which turns out an arts/humanities graduate who has no idea what satire is and how it is constructed, and who aspires (presumably) to a career in writing.

    Posted by MedeaOnCrack | February 14, 2007, 5:42 pm
  55. I thought it (the “satire””) was gross, vicious and cruel.

    I think the writer of the article and the editor of the paper need to strongly consider resigning from their posts.

    I support and strongly believe in the protections that the First Amendment provide to us all.

    This whole horrid story (and its implications for gender relations AND for freedom of speech issues) makes me uneasy.

    One thing I DO know for sure: I won’t soon forget the sight of that girl going up to the microphone in tears to have her say against the authors of the offending article at a campus meeting. It broke my heart. I know someone who was raped. Someone dear to me. I guess I just want to know how you have to be brought up as a child to come away thinking somewhere in the back of your mind that rape an appropriate target for “humor”.

    Sarah Silverman doesn’t get a pass with me, and neither should these guys.

    The whole thing’s just a horrid, horrid mess.

    What can people who want to make the world a better place do?

    Posted by mannabozo | February 15, 2007, 1:38 am
  56. To everyone who is dissecting the wording and deciding that such things are not satire, let me put it to you this way: Comedy is hard. Everyone thinks they can do it, but a lot of them are wrong. There are about a million unwritten rules and customs that take years to fully internalize. You’re all right in your analyses of their errors, but I think one should at least entertain the possibility that they were in fact trying to satirize rapists, but that they simply did about as horrible, inept, and idiotic a job as is humanly possible.

    So we should be more understanding about it because he freaking sucks at it? The importance of discussing the editorial is identifying where the sentiments in the article were coming from, because they were coming from somewhere. The discussion of “white male-ness” or patriarchal oppression is a more than valid subject to discuss because of the connection it has to everything the author said in his piece, whether it was deliberate or not. To avoid the connection because of the perceived negative connotations of such phrasing would be irresponsible.

    Doctor’s have hard jobs. Teachers have hard jobs. Comedy may be an art, like all other forms of writing, but to say, “You don’t know how hard it is to write comedy…” is a ridiculously idiotic cop out. What he did transcended writing bad comedy; it was offensive in more ways than not being remotely funny, which anyone with any talent for comedy would’ve been able to identify after glancing at it.

    Free speech is incredibly important and should always be protected. I think he had every right to write what he wanted and, if the editor wanted to publish it, then congratulations to them for being so monumentally stupid and allowing the public to see them for what they are. Hate speech is not protected, and I, as well as everyone else in the country, have every right to rail against it and call for his ousting.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 15, 2007, 6:45 am
  57. I guess we are dealing with ignorant individuals writing aricles that can cause harm to others and encurage this behaviours. It is unbelievable that we have individual printing this and being allowed to do so, as you can see, they sound racist, ignorant and troubled. Students are supposed to attend college to learn but we have individuals with distorted believes writing ignorant articles for them turn them into believing like them especially those that are weak. It is very sad and hope something is done to stop this and not allowed again.

    Posted by sz | February 15, 2007, 5:46 pm
  58. Excellent reading comprehension. Never mind that I said “At least entertain the possibility” as opposed to “this is clearly what happened.”

    Read entire paragraphs. Don’t just stop at the parts you think offend you.

    Posted by Doctor Suarez | February 15, 2007, 5:56 pm
  59. “Hate speech is not protected, and I, as well as everyone else in the country, have every right to rail against it and call for his ousting.”

    You do know that that is EXACTLY what I wrote at the end of my entry, right?

    Again, read, consider, then reply. Stopping halfway only makes things worse.

    Posted by Doctor Suarez | February 15, 2007, 6:01 pm
  60. Doc, meet banhammer.

    Posted by Rich | February 15, 2007, 6:27 pm
  61. Heh.

    Well, I was trying to decide whether I should create a new post to say what I’m about to say, or whether I should just add it here. Guess I will just add it here.

    I have spammed, oh, 50-100 or so comments which said some version of the following:

    1. I hate rape and take it seriously;
    2. I would never rape;
    3. I think this guy’s article was wrong/hurtful/offensive/stupid;
    4. I think he deserves what he’s getting.


    (and now we get to the ACTUAL reason for the comment):

    Not all white hetero males are like that!
    I’m not like that!
    I would never do that!
    You are being a racist and a sexist because you type the words, “white heterosexual males” without adding sufficient numbers of disclaimers that I can feel comfortable in the knowledge that I am excluded;
    You are an evil censor because you say there should be restraints on what white hetero men say! (even though it’s clear from my context that I mean restraints like this particular discussion!)

    In other words, I have spammed maybe as many as a hundred comments which would have made this thread, not about rape or jokes about rape or the content of this really sexist, hurtful essay, but about white men’s hurt feelings.

    Of course I’ve also spammed probably 50-100 comments which defend the guy. Some go so far as to say that rape is no big deal, it’s true that all women have to do is relax and they won’t get hurt, and which call rape victims “rape whiners.”

    I let Doctor Suarez through because at least he actually was talking about the contents of the guy’s essay and was hence on topic (despite the fact that I think he’s going to get into bickering over stuff that ultimately would become a diversion if I allowed it, which I won’t.)

    One of the lines I liked most in Lee Lakeman’s article, excerpts of which I posted this morning, was that women need woman-only space because they need to be free to make generalizations about their abusers without being told some version of the above: “not all men.” “not all white men.” “not all het men.” For abused women, all of that is irrelevant. All white hetero men who matter in their lives did, in fact, abuse them. Rape them. Hurt their kids. Whatever. They absolutely must have full freedom to say precisely that without the real censors, namely guys like the guys who thought they were going to show up en masse to turn this thread into a thread about white hetero men, telling them they’re wrong and should be talking about what nice guys some white hetero men are.

    I’m not going to post excerpts from these guys’ comments or give them any more attention than I’ve already given them. They already regularly turn what could be good, decent feminist blog discussions into three-ring circuses regularly, often with the help of plenty of feminist women. I’m just saying, there’s a lot lot lot of that out there, a lot of men who think that what is most important is not that John Petroski said what he said and it was published, is not how that affects all women, and all men, for that matter, but that what’s most important to say is that not all white hetero men are like that. Particularly not *them*. Everything, you know, is all about them.


    Posted by womensspace | February 15, 2007, 6:39 pm
  62. I fully read your post. The argument you made, prefaced by “at least entertain the possibility…” would warrant my response. In fact, more so, since you began by basically lecturing people about how they may want to cut the guy some slack because comedy writin’ ain’t easy.

    What I see at the end of your post is another semi-patronizing lecture on the merits of free speech. Guess what? I can comprehend the nature of free speech, and the scope, and I am also familiar with the fact that free speech means hearing things you don’t like. I didn’t take issue with the fact that they chose to publish it – I take issue with the fact that their choice to publish it represents how irresponsible and intellectually bankrupt they are. On one level, I’m glad they chose to publish it because it has brought this discussion to the forefront of debate once again, and shows that these cavalier attitudes towards rape are still prevalent in modern American society.

    You censured the people here for responding to it in a larger societal context – as the product of a patriarchal mindset – which was ridiculous. In your entire response, I saw an undercurrent of condescension, which was part of the problem with the original editorial as well as the ‘apologies’ and responses initially given after the incident.

    I read. I comprehended. I responded. Perhaps in the future you could read, comprehend, and follow your own advice.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 15, 2007, 6:58 pm
  63. I responded before seeing your post, Heart. I have no intention of continuing the conversation.

    Posted by gingermiss | February 15, 2007, 7:01 pm
  64. Hey, I appreciated everything you had to say, gingermiss and probably should not have approved the good Doctor’s latest exercise in condescension at all, so for that I apologize!


    Posted by womensspace | February 15, 2007, 8:31 pm
  65. No one “got it” because the writer is NOT a brilliant satirist, but an immature writer with amateurish skills.

    Posted by mimici06 | February 15, 2007, 11:51 pm
  66. I think Heart makes an important point about, how the “free speech argument” is a knee jerk reaction every time these kinds of so called satire are questioned and challenged.

    And to be frank almost all of the people using the free speech defense are white guys. I obviously don’t think all white men think this, but a very large percentage of those who make that free speech argument are white guys. Whether people like it or not this is part of a pattern….

    Even the white women who tried to defend the blackface cases Heart alludes to did not use the free speech argument. They used some other equally uncompelling racism apologist argument, but not the “I can say whatever I want without consequence” point of view that seems to be very common among a large segment of the white heterosexual male population when racism and sexism come up.

    As for the debate about whether or not Petroski is a rapist….after reading that piece how can you not ask that question? I sure did, and then when you follow it up with his pattern of misogynist statements, I couldn’t help but go there.

    The only good thing that came out of this is that this fool’s name is everywhere, and all the women who hear about this can avoid his ass like the plague. In fact, I saw a really good exchange on one of the facebook groups set up against Petroski. The posts of the group had been taken over by rape apologists, and a young women, who is still in high school, bravely entered the discussion to reclaim the anti-rape position. She talked about her friends who had been sexually assaulted, and then she suggested that Petroski must have been a rapist because only a rapist trivializes rape like this. The rape apologists jumped all over her, saying how could she saying this because she’s never been around this guy. He’s such a nice person. She snarked back, “Yep, I’m really glad I haven’t been around him. It makes me feel much safer that I live a 1000 miles away from this nice guy.”

    Last point, the piece was supposedly about how the media promotes too many sensational stories. Apparently, Petroski thinks rape is just a sensational topic not worthy of media attention. If you read the piece as he suggested, that’s exactly what it comes out meaning. He’s a rape apologist of the first degree and a top notch misogynist too.

    Posted by Rachel | February 16, 2007, 3:22 am
  67. Have you ever wrote something simply to get a reaction out of people? Simply to get noticed? To provoke them into thinking? That’s what I see this as. The man that raped me saw the incident as “magical” too. So magical he claimed that we “made love” but I just wasn’t into it. This piece broke my heart. This writter is a rapist. Wether he ever touched another person or not. He just spit on the thousands of women who ever been raped and said they were lucky they were getting laid. By saying these words he has revictimized every woman that has ever been raped. And for what? A headline. At times the power of the press and the freedom of speech just makes me cry.


    Posted by silentdreams | February 16, 2007, 6:13 pm
  68. The freedom of speech is designed to make you cry. It was designed to protect speech considered so heinous to societal standards that, were it not for the freedom of speech, it would be banned.

    As an example, burning an American flag is considered by some in America to be just as offensive if not more offensive than trivializing rape. This act has been declared legal in the United States thanks to the actions of a revolutionary you may be familiar with, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the first amendment.

    In a society that did not have free speech, the mere position that one should make revolution (as in overthrow the government) would be considered an arrest-able offense. To mock the “free speech defense” of white males being offensive is not far removed from mocking the “free speech” defense of revolutionaries or anarchists exercising their right to disseminate an opinion.

    It does a disservice to radical feminists to call for the censoring of their opponents opinions, Whether that be through threats to their employment or otherwise. It would be far more effective to point out the poor quality of their satire or the inaneness of misogyny.

    I live in a country full of severe misogynists. The government has just been overthrown, and I for one hope that the revolutionaries who will be coming to power soon (with the promise of overthrowing this patriarchal order) have a different understanding of free speech than you. I fear that their understanding is the same.

    Posted by nhorning | February 17, 2007, 11:52 am
  69. nhorning, it does a disservice to all men when men call for women to censor their criticism of men who mock rape victims in the name of free speech. The men who invoke free speech as a defense of the otherwise undefendable and as an offense against their critics are notably inconsistent in their application of this basic tenet.

    One example of this inconsistency was the demand by conservatives that John Edwards fire Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan for exercising their right of free speech. I saw no similar rallying behind these women’s right to free speech and I saw no similar rallying about how wrong it was to demand that these women be fired.

    This shows me that the free speech rhetoric is just that — rhetoric — and not grounded beliefs that apply to all citizens.

    If men get to be protected by free speech and women don’t, that’s sexism not freedom.

    Posted by abyss2hope | February 17, 2007, 2:45 pm
  70. In Animal’s world, mating mostly in forms of Rape, male conduct sexual intercourse on female by force. Mankind are civilise society, we have law to protect the weaker.
    There is no doubt that in the early old days, raping were common acts. To-day ‘s modern America were built on Red Indian and Black slaves blood, are we saying to-day’s law or moral standard still can accomodating it ?

    Posted by wengdesheng | February 18, 2007, 4:09 am
  71. nhorning,

    I understand exactly the power and purpose of freedom of speech. It is the force that allows any man in the world to call me a cunt, a bitch, or a slut simply because I have a vagina between my legs. I do not take this freedom for granted nor do I attempt to trivalize it through saying it makes me cry. Nonetheless it makes me sad to see this freedom used in such a manner. As a writer the author failed to make his work into a satire. There is no humor behind rape.

    I assume that from your calloused remarks you have never been raped. The very title of this man’s article is a lie for me. Since I was raped every time I have sex it hurts. I have scars that make sex nearly impossible. Sadly rape does not only hurt if you fight it. Perhaps if you were raped you would understand.

    Posted by silentdreams | February 18, 2007, 5:16 am
  72. “I understand exactly the power and purpose of freedom of speech. It is the force that allows any man in the world to call me a cunt, a bitch, or a slut simply because I have a vagina between my legs.”

    In the city where I live it is against the law to call a black person a racial slur and against the law to call a gay person a homosexual slur. You can be charged with a crime if the hate speech is reported. However there is nothing you can call a woman that the men who rule my city consider hateful and discriminatory enough to warrant any societal reaction.

    For further proof of the true purpose of “free speech”, consider that despite these hate speech laws pornographers are allowed to advertise and sell media calling black people n****** and gay people f***** as much as they want without the hate speech law applying to them. Capitalists are protected for actions that would get citizens are charged with a discrimination crime.

    Posted by Sam | February 18, 2007, 4:48 pm
  73. To any of you here defending this guy’s right to write his misogynistic crap as “free speech” let me just say that the First Amendment was never made to protect the speech or voices of marginalized peoples such as women and minority males (I write “minority males” because when I say “women” I do not imply just white women, I mean ALL women). When a group of people already has power and thus control over the media, advertisement, institutions, etc. that means that what they say goes, in most cases. SO, when underprivileged groups such as women and minority males speak out their voices are scorned and drowned out by the dominant discourse created and run by white hetero middle/upper class males. Understand that white males are very afraid of their privilege being exposed when women and minority males exercise their right to speech (privilege only functions when invisible). This is why they get so freaking defensive when feminists and others call writers like Petroski out for their misogynist, classist, racist, homophobic, heterosexist BS.
    The crap this guy at The Recorder wrote is absolutely and definitely hate speech of the most despicable kind. It is NOT free speech at all. Argh! I don’t think I’m going to be able to sleep tonight after reading all this!

    Posted by Lara | February 19, 2007, 5:34 am
  74. “Rape’s glorious advantages are not, however, exlusively found from 2,000-year-old examples. In actuality, rape’s advantages can very much be seen today. Take ugly women, for example. If it weren’t for rape, how would they ever know the joy of intercourse with a man who isn’t drunk? ”

    Ok…I copied the above remark from Mr. Wanna-be intelligent theory. First off…rape is NOT sexual intercourse you twit (please contact me and I will be SURE to educate you on THIS)…it is a crime about anger and control. As for the rest of his theory…well let’s just say he had his 15 minutes of fame…now lets all go back to our normal trolling and let him amuse himself by listening to his own uneducated dribble.

    Posted by rebelsanjel | February 19, 2007, 9:11 pm
  75. This was one of the most deranged articles, if not the most obscene and barbaric forms of “free speech” that I have ever read. In truth, however, some white men still feel inferior to other white men and take it out on others. I really think those whom believe this is “tasteful free speech” lack any virtue whatsoever and need to be reminded that what they are saying is hate speech and promoting and justifying violence. This type of speech should never be accepted and always condemnded as is being done here. I am a white male and reject everything that these so called student “journalists” have said about people with AIDS, women, and other minorities. I found the article on race to be equally repulsive as the one that said rape was okay. The CCSU Recorder belongs in the garbage can.

    Posted by Casey | February 24, 2007, 9:33 am
  76. this only shows how stupied today’s men are!

    Posted by celeste | March 6, 2007, 1:56 pm
  77. Can this be an attempt at satire? Is John Petroski making fun of a stance that might possibly, actually, be sported by someone with brain activity? It’s possible, there were/are people in favor of genocide and torture, who have actually written books on these subjects.

    However, his essay only serves to nauseate. And if he were to replace the subject of rape with that of torture or genocide the essay would still leave the same impression: ludicrous and nauseating.

    The essayist would do better to demonstrate the truth alongside the fiction to contrast it and provide an alternate frame of reference. But he leaves that part out, supposedly assuming that we already know it… although if we do, then what is the point of this article?
    Shock value?
    Looks like sensationalist trash to me.

    Posted by Mirinda Fleenary | August 19, 2007, 9:06 am
  78. this makes me sick to read this. i dont give a shit about satire and whatever the hell he is attempting to say. he has no idea what its like to be raped. this truely makes me siick to my stomach.

    Posted by KK | October 27, 2007, 9:41 pm
  79. This article or so-called satire is just another example of what white men feel they can get away with.

    Not knowing what rape is, men can say these things. Unless of course they too have been raped at sometime in their lives.
    People were shocked to death at “Deliverance” and that rape scene– because a man was raped, for example. This is very rare in movies, however.

    Use this as an example of patriarchy in its classic form, and most of the time most men agree with all this stuff. They love to humiliate women in these satires, because every time men attack women like this in print or in real life, they know they can get away with it.

    But then there comes a time, when a woman stands up to an oppressor, or when a group of women surround their enemies, or when men are sued for millions of dollars for their crimes… well then the oppressors step back a bit.

    A strong and united feminist movement meerly keeps these oppressors at bay, but it never changes them.

    This is what you have got to understand about men. As women, don’t be fooled by their silly agreement with feminist principles. Men don’t have the courage to be feminists at all, and they don’t have the strength to endure the kind of insults women put up with everywhere.

    When a man says he is a feminist, I think, “Am I strong enough to strangle him in a fight if I had to!”

    Every now and then we have a victory. Every now and then a pig in patriarchy will go too far, and then the Larry Summers of the world go crashing down, or the Don Imus’ of the world get fired. Men’s reputations can get ruined, and you can embarrass them in public… a good tactic for white middle class men.

    How many women will actually vote for Rudy Guiliani after all he has personally done to women married to him, for example! Women should be outraged and refuse to support any man who is found out to be hurtful or hateful to women in private. But women will and do vote for him. Women vote for men who have harrassed women and humiliated them in private, and this has got to stop.

    We are in a war against patriarchy, and the amazing thing is, women have such a hard time understanding this.

    Would a lynching parody of black men be allowed? Take a look at the people of Jena. Would spray painted swasticas be allowed on Jewish temples? We’re talking about Jewish men being attacked by this. When people stomp on oppression, it is over the oppression of men.

    Note these examples like the Sabine women; it has a long tradition. ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is a 1950s musical based on the rape of the Sabine women, and this is still being performed. Rape as satire and entertainment has been around a long time.

    Rape is the tool of male terrorism in the world, and men who condon rapists are terrorists who desire the destruction of women’s souls.

    Feminism meerly succeeds more when this slimy stuff comes to the surface, just as the screaming white people in Little Rock, AK in 1957 revealed the true face of white supremacy.

    Feminists pushed very hard, and men continue to back down. Let’s keep pushing the pigs, and eventually their backs will by up against a wall, or they’ll be shoved into the sea for sharks to feast on! Oh, that’s just a joke guys… can’t take a joke, here sharkey sharkey!

    Posted by Satsuma | October 28, 2007, 5:16 am
  80. Isn’t it strange how people who complain about wanting to exercise their “right” to free speech that badly affects others suddenly seem to have a problem with free speech when it’s directed at them (the editors having a problem with the protestors). This is why one reason I like somethings about England better than the USA – there’s a reasonable limit to free speech… though this article would probably still be legally allowed

    Posted by PJ | November 11, 2007, 3:50 pm
  81. i hope the writer of this gets raped so he/she would knohow it feels

    Posted by THIS ESSAY is CRAP | February 29, 2008, 12:04 am
  82. If these “men” think rape is such a magical experience, why don’t we allow them the opportunity.. there’s plenty of lonely men in prison just waiting for fresh meat. You never know, maybe they’ll meet my rapist… dumb a** B******s.

    Posted by Hayley | April 29, 2008, 10:58 pm
  83. ^ #77
    This article is bullshit. It’s downright offensive and this writer have lack of knowledge of how a rapist can give a horrible and traumatic experience to the victim.
    I don’t sense any satirical about rape. You will know how a woman feels about being raped when your body is against it. And how painful it is to shove the man’s dick to your pussy. And the conclusion goes down to how men just wanted to fulfill his sexual lust and not some nonsensical “magical experience” he’s about to give to the victim.
    Some girl in my school was raped by 2 sick rapists and what was her reaction? I can assure you, she didn’t undergo the magical experience crap you’re asserting. She was traumatic to the point where she didn’t appear to school again and her life was shattered because of it. How would you, if you are a parent, which I highly doubt it, would feel?
    “Rape is the tool of male terrorism in the world” – That statement speaks for itself. The freedom of speech and how lack of control of it makes me sad.

    Posted by stranger | October 31, 2008, 5:19 pm
  84. This!:

    “Michael Richards says the “n****”…he’s encouraged to seek help. Isiah Washington says “f****t”…he’s encouraged to seek help. This dude makes a satirical claim that rape is for the betterment of society and…”

    It says it all.

    The Reporter’s article is stupid. It’s not funny or smart. It doesn’t make any point at all. It is what it is: an article written to cause a stir by a couple dumb guys. Ho hum. Seen it before.

    The point should be, though, that women remain the one identifiable group in society which is still subject to such blatant hatred – fake or not – which is, for the most part, tolerated. Think of any group about which a similar article would be defended. Any race? Nationality? Religion? Sexual orientation? No. Promoting hatred – again, fake or not – toward any of these groups is not tolerated. Promoting hatred toward women still is. Blonde jokes are still popular – hardy har. Rape is funny – ha ha ha.


    Posted by Breathe | December 31, 2008, 7:34 pm
  85. These men need to resign. How can you say rape is a good thing? Am I to understand that you would like your female cousin, mother or daughter get rape?? Do you know the suffering, the hurt, the life shattering don’t want to live always afraid and damaged experience rape victims undertake? Here you have a bunch of assholes bringing down these persons, exalting the perpetrators and giving encouragement to the potentials.

    This is a very distasteful article. Free Speech doesn’t justify you saying horrible and inhumane words and better yet to publish it. Scum of Earth

    I will not even comment on his racist comments as I’d be here all day

    Posted by Kymi | May 5, 2012, 2:51 am


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