Monday, June 15, 2009

On the Letterman-Palin flap; the real outrage should be that A-Rod was jokingly accused of rape

We previously explained here that Palin is dead wrong to suggest that our society only laughs about the statutory rape of girls. Our society generally treats rape of females -- statutory and otherwise -- with the somberness of a national epidemic. In contrast, our society treats the rape of boys and of male prisoners as a punchline.

My FRS collaborator, Steve, has made a brilliant, fundamental point that needs to be highlighted here: "The thing that bothers me the most in all of this, is that the joke calls A-Rod a statutory rapist, and there is absolutely no outcry over this. Welcome to the dismissal of men accused (even if only in a tasteless joke) of rape in our society."

Bingo! And he's right -- everybody has overlooked it.

And, yes, this reaction mirrors real rape claims. If if were alleged that one of the Palin girls had sex with A-Rod, the entire focus of the wagging tongues on the television news shows and of the nimble fingers typing away in the blogosphere would have been on the girl. A-Rod would be assumed to be guilty, and there would be little concern about the damage to his good name.

It frightens me that most of us are not at all shocked at the joking suggestion that a man, who has shown no indication of being a rapist, would rape a teenager. I suggest the reason so few of us are startled by this sort of "humor" is that most of us figure, "hey, he's a man -- it's not such a stretch."