Rachel’s on thin ice. And yet, she wants company.

No, it’s not Wednesday.  Yes, it’s about rape.  Just warning you yahoos up front.

So, Rachel got this bizarre comment and she asks for commentary.  Since I would have otherwise been forced to write about how I got stuck in the Professor’s apartment because I am afraid of stairs, I’m glad to have a topic for this evening.

Oooooooo! You’re stepping on thin ice here. Feminist don’t like the idea of women taking responsibility for their own actions. Guys know better than to venture into dangerous plces because guys knw if something were to happen, we’d hve to defend ourselves, so we stay out of dark allies and other areas known for dangerous activities like drug sales etc… But women, according to feminist, have the right to be anywhere, and if something bad happens, it’s not there fault because it’s her right.

I get upset with this drinking and sex. If she was too drunk to consent to sex, how do we know that he wasn’t too drunk to notice?

(Just as a side note, I notice that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named the Lesser* has been appointed honorary Proofreader-in-chief over at Kleinheider’s.  Why doesn’t he pimp out his services to all the anti-feminist folks on the internet?  Poor Anonymous could run his comment by HWSNBN the Lesser and get some of the grammar problems straightened out before he tried to school us girls on how stupid we are.)

Okay, I actually think that Rachel’s parsing of the problems with this comment are right on and about as thorough as anyone can be, so I’d just like to spend a moment on "taking responsibility."

You hear this a lot when it comes to rape–the woman needs to "take responsibility" for what she wears or where she goes or who she associates with.  I think, in a way, this is the back side to the "men are monsters" school of thought.  The woman has to take responsibility because the man cannot help but be a monster.

On the one hand, it’s good that we’re to a point as a society where we can recognize that rape is bad.  It wasn’t so long ago that women were told that, if they found themselves being raped, to just sit back and enjoy it, and that it was a common insinuation that a girl who liked sex–a slut or a whore, for instance–couldn’t really be raped.

At least we’re to a point where most people recognize that, regardless of how a woman feels about consensual sex, she’s not going to appreciate being forced to have nonconsensual sex.  That’s an important change.

But, on the other hand, we’re still at the point where we can acknowledge that something bad happens when a rape occurs, but we still want to view it like we view, say, a car accident–yes, the guy in the red car hit you, but you ran the red light; yes, that guy raped you, but you were wearing that short skirt.

We want to treat rape as one of those inevitable things that happens, in part, because of carelessness.  So, let the police come and sort out who is responsible for what part of it–again with the insinuation that both parties are somewhat responsible for the rape–the woman didn’t deserve it, but she did such and such; the man shouldn’t have done it, but he was provoked in these ways.

But rape is not an accident. 

Rape is an assault.  And when you start talking about victims of assault "needing to take responsibility" for what happened to them, it sounds like you think that they deserve what happened to them, at least in part and that they need to accept that they did something bad for which they deserve to be punished.


*With Lord Voldemort being the Greater.

My Dog Thinks All Guests are Hers

So, the interview yesterday evening went fine, I think.  Mrs. Wigglebottom was so rude and it was just cracking me up.  She was panting into the microphone and laying all over the playwright and behaving, in general, like a wild yahoo.

And after the playwright left, Mrs. Wigglebottom almost instantly fell asleep right in the middle of the room.

She clearly had a great time, and I don’t think it ever occurred to her that this wasn’t a play date for her.


Flight 93

I’m not going to see this movie–ever, if I can help it.  I can’t even bear to watch the commercials.  They start and I leap for the remote or run out of the room.  I just can’t stand them.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go see the movie.  It’s just that I can’t.

Like the vast majority of Americans, I didn’t know anyone who died in the attacks on September 11th.  I have a cousin who’s a flight attendant on American and the Butcher was working out at the airport and though both of them were fine, obviously, I cannot forget how it felt that morning when no one knew how widespread the tragedy was going to be and what all it might involve, and whether it would involve people we knew and places we’d been.

We’re big storytellers.  And I understand the deep need for people who were affected to tell what happened to them.  I even understand why playwrights and artists in New York and Washington would feel that it’s time to explore those events in art.  But those types of artistic expression can be open ended and uncertain and faltering, which they must be, I think, in the face of something that terrible and raw.

But a Hollywood blockbuster has a certain shape and a narrative arc and larger than life heroes and certainty, especially certainty.  By putting it up on the screen in the same way as Die Hard or The Day after Tomorrow, it says, in some way, this is like that.

And don’t get me wrong.  I can see the benefits of that as well.  Putting events in an understandable framework can make them seem manageable.   Maybe most Americans are ready for it to seem manageable.  To seem like a movie.

But it’s not a documentary or some kind of strange art film.  It’s not trying to understand what happened or how we feel about it.  As a regular Hollywood movie, it must assume that what happened is knowable and how we should feel about it is obvious and go from there to tell a certain kind of story.

For reasons I can’t quite articulate, I find that gravely insulting.

And I’m not ready to see those people, those real heroes, turned into characters, reimagined as action heroes.  It just seems wrong.