Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
While I think the rape simile is way out of line, bordering on the Godwinesque

strangely enough it was not a random rhetorical flourish, but anecdotal, based in personal experience... my life is long enough that I can remember when male professors routinely made rape jokes as part of lectures, when female employees were considered "troublemakers" if they reported sexual harassment or filed grievances, etc.  I can remember what it was like trying to engage in dialogue with men who sincerely believed there was absolutely no such thing as rape or that if there was, it was the woman's fault and/or funny.  [unless of course it was their own wife or daughter, in which case hanging was too good for the jerk, etc.]

so I remember the flavour and mood of those conversations, the "aww where's your sense of humour honey" and other "witty" comebacks and dismissals that covered up for, I think, a real sense of threat and disturbance at having deeply-rooted social norms challenged.  and there are certain similarities with conversations I had slightly later in life, in restaurants or at parties, with meat-eating friends. sometimes they would engage in similar joshing and shuffling and sometimes anger or defensiveness if (when asked why I wasn't eating the meat dish) I would recite some of the statistics on meat production -- in the same earnestly informative way I would recite the stats on rape or domestic abuse (or fossil fuel depletion for that matter).

some information is not welcome, and perhaps we all have the same socially-acceptable mechanisms for deflecting or warding off unwelcome information, information that by tickling our conscience suggests to us that we should act or be or buy or consume differently from our comfortable habits.  any "inconvenient fact" that tickles the conscience perhaps produces the social equivalent of a scratch or a sneeze, a quick irritated reflex to make the itch go away...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Jan 26th, 2006 at 06:54:15 PM EST
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