Ryan Gosling’s snickers are another victory for rape culture

Mashable thought this was pretty funny:

This seems like a pretty typical reading of an alien encounter and a live sketch where Ryan Gosling couldn’t keep it together. Hilarious, right?

Except there’s one thing that is particularly disturbing.

Why are we just okay with the narrative here? Taken at face value, we have three individuals who have been kidnapped, one of whom describes in fairly graphic detail waking up half-naked, being observed on by multiple onlookers who are — according to the narrative — taking pleasure in peeping and watching her urinate, and who, later, get in line to take turns fondling her breasts. And this is so hum-drum that the flat retelling of the story in a comedy sketch becomes chuckle-worthy of the actors on stage.

What the actual fuck?

The alien abduction and sex trope may have started with Whitley Streiber’s Communion — a supposedly true account of a man being taken in an alien space ship where they performed experiments on and explored his body — including sexually. When the book came out, it was pretty universally seen as a) a joke and b) a pretty entertaining piece of fiction. In the book, the sexual experiences are not told with any degree of regret or disapproval (in fact, the narrator becomes fairly attached to the aliens who are doing this to him), but never was there any degree of consent. The aliens never said to him (telepathically or otherwise), “hey, is it okay if I make you orgasm for science?” And among the backlash about the book, not once do I recall it ever opening a conversation about male rape or Stockholm syndrome (where the victim falls in love with or empathize with their captors).

And this trope about being abducted with aliens has been so widespread that now it’s just assumed that when anyone talks about being abducted by aliens, it’s obviously for sexual experimentation. So much so that we have the backstory for the SNL sketch above.

Consent is consent. Sexual activity without consent is rape. Whether you were sort of okay with it at the start or you didn’t actually hate it afterwards, if you did not expressly voice consent, it is rape. And this joke isn’t funny. The fact that we think it’s funny is just evidence of how ingrained rape culture is and how messed up our views on sexual consent and ownership of our own bodies are.

Mashable posting this as a ha-ha funny sketch is also troublesome. Not that Mashable is a beacon of light in the darkness of sexist media, particularly, but, in general, they try. Recently, they celebrated a feminist on Tinder who actively trolls the most sexist suitors. They don’t see why this scene is more evidence of rape culture, either.

Surely I’m not the only one, right?

In the SNL sketch, after the abductors were finished, they abandoned the victim on the roof of a Long John Silver’s, still without her pants (and presumably, based on the story, her underwear), which they dropped in a tree several feet away. Again, take this out of the context of the scene for a minute. A woman is abducted, undressed, forced to urinate while others watch, has multiple captors touching her body, and when they are done, they abandon her, half-naked, where she will need to expose herself to others in order to cover her body and go home. There’s no one she can talk to — obviously going to the police in this case would be ineffectual, they are aliens after all — and she can’t even really explain where she’s been or how she got there.

I’m just wondering where the joke is in all this.

“One Big Ass Mistake, America”


That’s what I saw gracing the back of an old Ford pickup truck as I took the cat to the vet on Thursday.

it immediately made me think of a Saturday Night Live sketch from last week that we just saw the night before.

my first thought in response to the truck was: “wow, yeah, because health care reform really is a horrible idea.  what could we be thinking?”

my second thought in response to the truck was: “gee, conservatives and republicans don’t know anything about spending lots of money on special projects.  oh wait, i’m being sarcastic.”

the point that was made in the SNL sketch (well, there were several, this is just one of them) was that we’re in the middle of a global financial crisis, and here we are, spending an assload more money on new stuff with the hope that it might help boost the economy.  and that’s all it is, a hope.  because the market is volatile, and it’s based entirely on people’s perceptions, because people’s perceptions are what is going to cause the economy to thrive — consumers believe that the economy can and will bounce back, and spend money as normal, thereby boosting small and large businesses and rebuilding the economy — or fall further into recessions — consumers feel that there is no hope for recovery and hole up, pull their money out of the bank and start stashing it under the bed like it’s the 1920s, thereby causing more banks to go under, more companies to close shops, and the global economic crisis to escalate until we live in a Mad Max-ian alternate reality where socoiopathic daredevil types hotrod their cars into killing machines and rampage the highways stealing gasoline, the only remaining currency.

on one level, i can empathize with people who are suspicious of spending more money on things that seem unrelated to the economic crisis.  and i read 2 different references in the past week to the great firewall of china; given our financial debt to china, it does seem a little snotty of us to get persnickety about their…well, just about anything they do, really.

but the old business saying that “you’ve got to spend money to make money” is true, and while health care reform seems unrelated, it’s, uh, not.  if people are healthier, or feel like they’re covered in the case of an emergency, they’re more likely to dip into that “rainy day/in case my liver explodes” fund they’ve been hanging onto for the last 10 years.  and the thing is that taking potshots on spending loads of money…isn’t that a bit unfounded.  it’s not like republicans don’t like spending money.

the difference is what the money is being spent on, although i challenge anyone to convince me that creating competition for major insurance companies is a bad thing, or that creating more checks and balances so people who, for example, have horrible pre-existing conditions (like, um, pregnancy) can’t be refused coverage.

so yeah, seeing someone scrawl “One Big Ass Mistake America” on the back of their truck irked me a bit.  it also made me wonder what kind of horrible crap this dude is listening to to believe that?  probably sean hannity, who — as i’ve mentioned before — is known for his accuracy and truth in reporting.  and it made me sad that there are people out there who don’t see the good that a lot of these Obama-driven initiatives will come to, and will probably never see it.  it makes me anxious to get this stuff started — to be able to afford insurance for myself and my family, to see electric cars on the street, to get the frak out of the middle east and start rebuilding relationships with countries that we alienated thanks to g-dub.

and it makes me worry for 2012.