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October 15 2008

PG Porn Says "No" to Nudity and "Yes" to Violence Against Women. A blogger claims that the cast and crew are perpetuating "another example of violent misogyny self-righteously disguised as humor". James Gunn responds here. Contains mature language and subject matter.

My personal feeling is that she just doesn't understand the humor, or what exactly is intended to make it funny and is instead reading into the film as something else entirely.

It's definitely male humor, on the rough side.
Kay, so there's one who doesn't get the joke. The joke isn't "ha ha, woman gets hurt". The joke is that violence is more "okay" than sex in the film rating system. Misogyny is hate against women. A mysogynous story is a story portraying women in general as something to be hated or disrespected in some way. The "Nailing your wife" sketch clearly doesn't condone violence against women or make fun of women. If anything, it makes fun of the man's inability to keep his head straight when sexually aroused and his inability to deal with the situation after it goes horribly wrong. So the joke's on Nathan more than on Aria, I'd say. Does that make it anti-man? No, it's satire making fun of the film rating system.
And anyone who thinks it's intended to be sexy is a complete idiot.

[ edited by GreatMuppetyOdin on 2008-10-15 17:30 ]
Wow....as a chick....this chick really gets on my nerves. I am a member of the CSTS team here in Dallas and I found NO offense to the "porn"..hahaha. I thought it was funny.

Then again, I'm a lesbian and my outlook on "male humor" may differ from some other women.
The idea of sexy but non-explicit scenarios

Er, no, I don't think that was the idea. Talk about missing the mark.
Or, what gmo said.
Yes.. and Joss Whedon hates women.

And saying "the" means you're against cookies.

And if you wear white shoes after labor day - you're a Democrat.

(insert eyeroll here).
Isn't the violence supposed to be jarring? Isn't that the point, that that gets a more favorable rating than something positive but involving sex?
Brian Gunn's response--in the same blog, just after James's--is pretty much perfect. James's was understandable, consider he'd presumably tried to post respectful messages thrice and been rejected. But Brian's does a better job actually responding. Either way, an entertaining read for all.
*Takes out tiny violin.*
And "those of us who work in fear of the Department of Justice dialy" i don't want to get too partisan here but gimme a break, this is more of the whole "Writing in an age of silence" mind-set which which, judging by editorial pages, is a rant against something that isn't happening.

Betyond that, I can't defend the film b/c I'ven't seen it nor plan to.
i absolutely agree with her. watching that pg porn was so upsetting mostly because it made me uncomfortable, and then mainly because nathan fillion was involved in something that made me uncomfortable.

i think its a clever joke against the MPAA--- but its entertainment factor is very heavily problematic.

I also love how this poor reporter is getting sarcastic remark after sarcastic remark because god forbid someone speaks out and shares an opinion that something is misogynist. Jokes can be misogynist. yes they are still funny but they are still perpetuating themes of violence against women. james gunn's response is also so... middle school.
This is a similar problem to the "torture-porn" label IMO - she apparently thinks it's actually meant to be porn (albeit with a PG rating) because it has the word "porn" in the description. The whole point is that it's not porn, it's basically got nothing to do with sex and everything to do with taking the piss out of a certain type of film.

Until reading the article I hadn't considered that the death was meant to be sexy, it's just meant to be jarring in order to sort of shock you into laughter. Then as you're laughing you get the pun and you laugh a bit more. Maybe it doesn't have great longevity because it partly relies on shocking the viewer but then it's just meant to be a joke, not a comment for the ages.

(I can understand James Gunn being angry BTW but personally I don't think he's done himself any favours with that response - if someone was trying to make a case of misogyny then he's probably given them some ammunition there and she's certainly not gonna listen to him now)
I thought it was funny. After reading her article, I see her point. I am somewhat dismayed that I accepted the violent humor without also critically noting the misogynistic violence. And for me, Mr. Gunn's angry and profane response is a real turn-off. I would have preferred that he had withheld his reaction for a few minutes and cooled down first.
Among other things, to use a "you're just fat" attack makes me think of James Gunn as little more than offensive scum and reinforces the whole bit about him being sexist IMHO

(Edited to fix typo I didn't notice till my response was quoted, I know how much everyone hates people using "your" instead of "you're"...bugs me too... it was a typo, not a spelling error)

[ edited by Beth'll on 2008-10-16 13:54 ]
I am somewhat dismayed that I accepted the violent humor without also critically noting the misogynistic violence.

Why is it misogynistic ? Just because the victim's a woman ? Doesn't it take more than that ?

Is ALL screen violence against men misandry ?

[ edited by Saje on 2008-10-15 18:41 ]
James Gunn often ends his myspace blogs with, "Go f@ck yourselves", so I guess if you are not used to his style of writing, it will be jarring to some. This blog was tame compared to others. Be advised. Or whatever.

I also would like to know what people were thinking when they clicked on something with "porn" in the title, then are shocked by it.
I just thought that I'd be better at it, Saje. As I reviewed my initial experience I recalled enjoying humor but the violence barely registered. Misogynistic or no, I am less adept at critical viewing of entertainment media as I had previously assumed. In other words, I have come to realize that I have been inured to violence to a greater degree than I would like.
Ah, I get you. So one of the points it was making has really hit home with you then napua i.e. our exposure to screen violence is far higher and thought of in less appalled terms than our exposure to screen nudity (partly because of the way ratings work, especially in the US from what I gather), to the extent that many of us become desensitised to it.
I unfortunately couldn't get the link to Gunn's response to load, but I have to say, that writer is way off. She seems to have somehow gotten it in her head that PGPorn is supposed to be titillating, that people are getting off on the violence. Which is just ridiculous.
I did watch the episode and I was really taken aback by the end.
I did actually think that Nathan Fillion and Aria Giovanni were very cute together and kind of sexy in a silly, over the top way.

I think for me, the having a gory death in the end of something that is supposed to be PG (or pseudo-PG) was really unsettling. I think the visual is really jarring and way more explicitly violent than I expected—and the fact that you can see someone shot in the head with a nailgun who lies there bleeding and dead but no Captain No-pants or Naughty Companion Aria (I wish) strikes me as kind of a sad commentary on what is considered okay to show.

(I can't speak to if this is what the creators meant, of course but if it was, I don't know if it came across as they wished.)

I expected more of the naughty joke, handyman actually fixes shelves! type of thing -in my view, a pratfall or her watching him fix the shelves would have been really funny and truer to the idea, but this turned it really weird and not like cheeky, naughty fun.

It just seemed like it didn’t fit and it did feel unpleasant, especially with the moving the nail gun at the end.

Granted, I don’t expect class from something called PG Porn but I also don’t expect surprise accidental bloody death either.

Again, that’s how I felt—sad and mostly disappointed, since I thought Nathan was such a hoot.

[ edited by JessicaMelusine on 2008-10-15 19:43 ]
James Gunn's MySpace page is down right now, and so, I can't read his response. Because someone said he's written about sexual violence before, I Googled his name and "sexual violence," and one of the hits was a site of videos depicting rape scenes for the viewer's titillation. Nice.

Saje, do you not understand that torture porn is about sex, in the sense that a lot of guys get off on seeing women abused? There doesn't have to be actual sexual intercourse to make something worthy of the title "porn."

PG Porn raises a few red flags for me: So far, it looks like porn actresses paired with non-porn men. We know Nathan Fillion is pretending that he can't act. But the porn actress doesn't seem in on the joke. I hope this doesn't feed into the usual dynamic of men vis-a-vis sex workers. The men desire the women but look down on them.

In a world where men commit most of the violence against women; where sex and violence against women often are linked; and men predominate as writers and producers of media, some women won't find "hahahaha, he shot her in the head" so funny.
without also critically noting the misogynistic violence

Misogynistic or no


These two quotes point out a problem to me. Women dies does not automatically mean misogyny. I am also confused by the writers continued insistence that she gets the joke and then having her keep trying to make this into what its making fun of to reinforce her points about sex and violence (which are shockingly similar to the points the Gunns are making). It is a commentary on how Hollywood sees sex and violence. That's the whole point - ITS IN THE TITLE. Sorry, attack of all-caps-itis, there.

Sort of like watching "Funny Games" and the response being "That movie wasn't funny at ALL!"

The problem with rooting any statement in subversion, irony and sarcasm is that there will be tons of people who miss it. Not because they're dumb, but because they don't think that way.

On the other hand, it might not even be that deep...it could just be a case of James Gunn making a parody of pornography and the murder is just making a pun out of the title (titles with puns and horrible wordplay are certainly not alien to porn). Either way, you can say an awful lot about how the violence made you react (sort of like the ending to Dr. Horrible), but it would have been just as funny if she shot him. Misogyny or a matter of who was already holding the nailgun? For that matter, you could say it's a statement against cheating on your spouse (which is something pornography seems to glorify).

As for the "torture-porn" label, Sage, I'm not sure why people get bent out of shape about it. Horror movies have ALWAYS coupled sex and eroticism with violence and death. They've also always been about being shocking. The term is shocking, so there's no reason for the current wave of filmmakers it describes to want to distance themselves from it. If it offends people before they even see the film, then it has done half the filmmakers' work for them! The term seems most often used by detractors of the genre. The people who talk about disliking the term seem to be fans, which I don't understand at all. I mean, your tastes seem to have offended someone...you're watching HORROR movies, of COURSE they have! You COULD be offended by the fact that there are other films that would more accurately be described that way (s&m film or Japanese ero-guro (do NOT look this up if you are easily offended or faint of stomach)), but it certainly doesn't warrant the reaction the label seems to give.

In the end, people like labels and genres. The current wave of horror films are characterized by pretty graphic violence and gore (not unlike underground splatter films, but they have the budget to make it convincing, not just conceptually disgusting). Torture-porn might not be the most strictly accurate description, but it does evoke a visceral reaction which IS what the films seem to be going for.
About mysoginy and James Gunn: if you have seen Slither (which also combines sex AND violence AND Nathan Fillion ;) ), I think you can understand that Gunn is not mysogine; there are quite strong women in Slither - in fact, more than men (just look at the survivors at the end, and what they did throughout the film).

This being said, I think the reactions to PG Porn strongly depend on the culture (even for close cultures). Sex, violence and humor are perceived differently throughout the countries: I can be wrong, but I do not think many french people would find this short movie very shocking since its intent clearly is humoristic.

Anyway, a great french stand-up comedian once said "you can laugh of anything, but not with everybody" (original version: "On peut rire de tout, mais pas avec tout le monde"). Perhaps this can apply here: coming from Gunn and Fillion, I laugh at that movie; coming from other kind of people, this would perhaps be less funny.
Meh. I don't know that I'd criticize PG Porn for mixing sex and violence for the sake of titillation, like Basic Instinct. I'd just criticize it for being the sort of lame humor one could expect out of a gaggle of fifteen year old boys. I liked Slither a lot in part because it was really witty and cleverly subverted the sexual stereotypes from the old monster mash movies by having the damsels-in-distress save the dumbass hero. But this new little project just seemed kind of pointless and unfunny. At least unfunny to someone who used to work in the construction business and spent too much time going through insurance reports for workers' comp claims.
Narse—You bring up some good points. Its funny that you mention Dr. Horrible's "violent" ending...I recall the posts and subsequent discussion about how the ending proved that Joss was a misogynist. As you might guess, I find this to be ludicrous.

You also mentioned that people like labels and genres. Personally, I think people's affinity for labels is way out of control. Why does every complaint have to become a part of some bigger loaded issue?

People of the world take note; we have been subconsciously (and overtly) conditioned to make the jump from "This thing is bad" to "This thing is bad and naturally it follows that its only one tiny little part of a huge problem." Whether it is or isn't a part of a bigger issue, it becomes very hard to argue against it. If you’re against labeling something as misogynistic, then it goes without saying that you yourself must be a misogynist. It applies to race, religion, politics and any other “serious” topic. Is it possible for a Caucasian police officer to beat-up an African-American criminal that’s resisting arrest and not be about race? The fact is that the character got a nail to the head and the character was a woman so the knee jerked and it must be labeled misogynistic. The author didn't say there are “misogynistic overtones” rather, the author made blatant (and apparently incorrect) accusations about the creator’s intentions.

I know the discussion has gone a different direction but it seems this mindset has permeated the entirety of our society. It has become a blatant tactic and it’s just everywhere. Obviously its a very powerful tool that can be used to control people. I seem to recall several WGA members using this very method of labeling to their advantage during the writers strike. Are ALL Hollywood executives money grubbing, self serving art haters? Of course not but painting all Hollywood execs with that image brings sympathy to the writers cause.

This discussion reminds me of one of my favorite loaded questions, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Yes means you used to beat your wide and No means you still do!
Saje, do you not understand that torture porn is about sex, in the sense that a lot of guys get off on seeing women abused? There doesn't have to be actual sexual intercourse to make something worthy of the title "porn."

I understand that that's your claim Suzie, we may "understand" differently as to whether that's actually true or not (apart from needing to know what "a lot" means in that context i'm not particularly convinced we need a different explanation for 'torture-porn' than we have for other sorts of horror). And not only does 'pornography' not need to explicitly feature sex, it doesn't need to have anything to do with sex at all (i.e. 'torture-porn' fits the "lurid and sensational" meaning of 'pornography' at least as well as it does the "sexually explicit material" meaning IMO). And of course, people (fans and detractors alike) hold up "Hostel" as an exemplar of the sub-genre, even its originator (since the review where the term was coined was of 'Hostel') despite that featuring the torture of men (or so i'm told, never seen it).

(my main problem with it as a label is that it's a way of dismissing something or justifying a knee-jerk reaction against it without having seen it. As a descriptive term it has a judgement built in, just like alexreager's example of the age-old classic loaded question)
Zeitgeist: Hollywood considers Aria getting shot in the head to be PG, but if she had got her kit off, oh no, must rate it R or worse!

Yes, I know, but some women are tired of men making their points at the expense of women. This also assumes that porn is about women's sexuality, when really, the great majority caters to what gets men off. I doubt PG Porn is arguing for more restrictions on violence, i.e., an R rating for violence. Instead, it's arguing for looser standards on sexual stuff that just happens to cater to guys.

I'm not saying Gunn hates women (misogyny). I'm explaining why some women might not enjoy this video, in the context of the real world.
Certainly, if Nathan happened to "nail" Aria on purpose, and saw that as sexually arousing, I would understand the criticism. Really though, it's clear that the nailing is an accident, and, as GreatMuppetyOdin pointed out, that reflects strongly on Nathan's character's inability to think straight when aroused. It's more critical of the male character than the female character.

My other thought: I think that whoever is the pursuer is probably the more likely to be hurt/killed in these clips; it creates a bit of a "be careful what you wish for" situation. I fully hope to see a man as the blatant pursuer being killed by a willing but clumsy woman next.
I think for me, the having a gory death in the end of something that is supposed to be PG (or pseudo-PG) was really unsettling. I think the visual is really jarring and way more explicitly violent than I expected—and the fact that you can see someone shot in the head with a nailgun who lies there bleeding and dead but no Captain No-pants or Naughty Companion Aria (I wish) strikes me as kind of a sad commentary on what is considered okay to show.

Assuming that there was a point to PG Porn (still can't read James Gunn's blog post), perhaps he was trying to get at the MPAA's hypocrisy when it comes to giving violent "kid" movies like Transformers or The Incredibles PG-13 and PG ratings, but NC-17 ratings to movies involving sex. This issue was covered in great detail by the fantastic documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, in which they discuss how the director of Boys Don't Cry was forced to cut a shot of nothing more than the camera on a female actor's face while she enjoys being on the receiving end of oral sex. But all of the stuff about killing the transgendered teenage girl was OK.

That said, count me as one of those women suzie mentions who doesn't get what's so funny about a chick getting a nail gun to the head.
This also assumes that porn is about women's sexuality, when really, the great majority caters to what gets men off.

I think her death is a mix of funny and horrifying exactly because it's using a male perspective. They're playing along with the usual ground rules of porn, only you get violently jolted out of this guy's fantasy scenario when he accidentally kills her. The narrative pivots from wish fulfillment to panic within a second.

It's sort of like when Buffy uses horror tropes to poke fun at women's roles in horror movies. You have to play along with the rules before you do the unexpected thing that calls attention to why the rules are a problem.
Yes, I know, but some women are tired of men making their points at the expense of women. This also assumes that porn is about women's sexuality, when really, the great majority caters to what gets men off. I doubt PG Porn is arguing for more restrictions on violence, i.e., an R rating for violence. Instead, it's arguing for looser standards on sexual stuff that just happens to cater to guys.

I'm not saying Gunn hates women (misogyny). I'm explaining why some women might not enjoy this video, in the context of the real world.


My statement didn't assume anything about porn. It was simply using the context of the fact that Aria was the one shot in the head. The only point its arguing from what I can see is that its ludicrous to say that sexuality deserves to be restricted far more than violence. Ones opinions about who enjoys porn and why are probably irrelevant.

That said, count me as one of those women suzie mentions who doesn't get what's so funny about a chick getting a nail gun to the head.


Its a stupid pun based on common vernacular especially as associated with pornographic film titles. I don't think its supposed to be funny ha ha so much... I think its a gotcha moment a point about MPAA ratings after playing as stereotypical porn for the first part.

ETA - er, what Sunfire (and Saje, natch) said.
It is funny to me. But after the fact. That was my delayed reaction to the plot twist. Seeing her die was horrifying, but Nathan's swift staging of a suicide was what made it a bit funny to me. It wasn't so much ha-ha funny as ironically funny. Also I enjoy puns.

ETA: And Nathan playing unintentionally ironical. <3

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-10-15 21:49 ]
See how hurried and clumsy my posting is today? Good thing you are here to clarify what I was trying to say :).
Back to the "this is satire" defense the Gunn bros have raised, that claim looks a little disingenuous given the distribution channel they used for the project: Spike.com. (Warning - link may be NSFW.)

Whether or not you like that site or think it's socially acceptable, it's hard to argue that Spike.com's target audience is in the market for subtle and satirical social commentary. Whatever the filmmakers actually intended, when you view a film about a chick looking to give a stranger a blowjob and getting a nail to the head instead in the context of an entertainment site featuring half-naked women and jokes about alcohol making women dumber, it gets a little harder to swallow the satire defense.

And yes, those puns were totally intended. :-)
It is funny to me. But after the fact. That was my delayed reaction to the plot twist.

I laughed straight away, just from nervous shock (used to giggle if I slipped while climbing - I actually do literally laugh in the face of danger, just not due to bravery ;) then I laughed a bit more when I got the pun. I doubt i'd laugh again because I know what's coming but there you go, some jokes are one-offs. Seeing a woman shot in the head isn't funny per se - the situation can make it so though, depending on your sense of humour (knowing it's not real helps a lot too obviously).

I think her death is a mix of funny and horrifying exactly because it's using a male perspective. They're playing along with the usual ground rules of porn, only you get violently jolted out of this guy's fantasy scenario when he accidentally kills her. The narrative pivots from wish fulfillment to panic within a second.

It's sort of like when Buffy uses horror tropes to poke fun at women's roles in horror movies. You have to play along with the rules before you do the unexpected thing that calls attention to why the rules are a problem.


Yeah but this has the word 'porn' in the title Sunfire, which means it can't possibly be that clever. See ?

Assuming that there was a point to PG Porn (still can't read James Gunn's blog post), perhaps he was trying to get at the MPAA's hypocrisy when it comes to giving violent "kid" movies like Transformers or The Incredibles PG-13 and PG ratings, but NC-17 ratings to movies involving sex.

Brewbunny, the linked article has a response from Brian Gunn (one of James' brothers and co-creators) which talks about exactly that.

(frankly it's less offensive and makes more salient points than JG's anger fuelled response. We'll never know what his originally submitted responses said - which the article author apparently refused to allow - but if they were anything like as vitriolic as the one you can't see right now then i'm not surprised she deleted them)
Whether or not you like that site or think it's socially acceptable, it's hard to argue that Spike.com's target audience is in the market for subtle and satirical social commentary.


Thus the subversion. It's precisely the audience that needs to see it. Puns, ahoy!
Satire works best when your audience is familiar with what you are subverting. And frankly if you're trying to make a point, that's where the people you need to convince are to be found, anyway.
This is a little eerie.
I dunno. My impression of the WB when I was younger was that it was a channel of stupid teen dramas. But we know how well Buffy fits into that category (and, admittedly, I was probably generalizing a bit with regards the the WB's content). If I had to guess, it was more of a, "They'll show it, so let's use them" situation than anything.
LOL @ Sunfire - it is a bit, yeah.
Have to agree that the original article's writer has simply missed the point. I understood better what she was trying to get across after reading her posts in the comments section - she's trying to directly compare PG porn and actual porn (roughly: why is it ok for it to use violence when actual porn can't, but have a look at the comments section for yourself). The purposes for which PG porn and actual porn are created are so different that the comparison, IMO, is just not valid.
Apparently something is wrong with me, because I found "Nailing Your Wife" funny as hell. I loved how cheesy it was, and how the acting was done so that it would look like bad acting, and the ending was a complete surprise to me. I thought it was a clever satire of the ratings system and the porn industry and was one of those things that makes you go "Did that really just happen?".

I didn't take it for any deeper meaning, other than the satire on what I mentioned above.

I found the whole thing hilarious, really.
Zeitgeist & Sunfire, Is their aim to subvert/satirize the attitudes of dumb young males who are into cheap pseudo-porn, or the hypocrisy of the MPAA and the studios and distributors who give the MPAA its power? If it's the former, then Spike.com is an ideal distribution channel, but if it's actually the latter, the Gunns may have missed their mark.
I think as long as they get attention, they're succeeding. I imagine the main idea is to drive traffic to the website so this becomes viral and spreads on its own. Which seems to be happening, I think. Spike.com seems like a great place to jumpstart that.
Nothing wrong with you, HowlingLupe. Some folks look to project their own worldviews onto to things that aren't there and inaccurately project authorial intent as to what they would like to protest against that day.

I just laugh at the funny. Thanks for joining in.
As with much satire, the likely answer to "Is it X or is it Y?" is probably "both". There is the pun and the subversion of expectations and there is the message of MPAA idiocy and the two aren't mutually exclusive. Either way I don't see why the Spike.com audience is a bad one. This goes somewhat tangent to the passage of the ludicrous PRO-IP law in the US recently. Hey, at least they removed the part where the Justice Department became the unpaid attack dog of the RIAA and MPAA.
I agree, those guys should totally get paid for doing such a needed and important job.

...

That's what you meant, right ?
zeitgeist, thou speaketh in code. Huh?
Yeah, Saje... or NOT. A new intellectual property law that does things like raise the limits that the RIAA can sue for downloading mp3s so that its now effectively 36,000 USD per album. It also established a new appointed position of Intellectual Property Czar. It would've led to the Justice Department acting as pro bono lawyers for all intellectual property owners. Sorry to drag this offtopic a bit. More here (refers to the bill's original form) and here (on the bill's actual signed form. Its also based on blatantly dodgy statistics.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-10-15 22:28 ]
I thought the idea of PG porn sounded very funny.

Sadly the first episode failed to amuse me.

Now if Nathan had accidentally nailed his knadgers I'd have giggled :)
Well I thought it was hilarious, but I just took it as stupid, cheesy, albeit dark, comedy. I don't think there was any intention or desire to be misogynistic, because Gunn had established that Nathan's character was stupid and incompetent. The bad acting reaffirmed that this was a very silly spoof of typical old fashioned porn (the kind I saw back in the 1970s... I haven't seen any since). It seems to me that further reflection is kind of imposing a POV on the material.
More here (refers to the bill's original form) and here (on the bill's actual signed form. Its also based on blatantly dodgy statistics.

Scary stuff. Man, just imagine if the RIAA's lobbyists used their powers for good ? What they couldn't achieve ...

I was just reading that Ars piece the other day, John 'Kung-Fu Monkey' Rogers linked to it - it's a good bit of work by them, takes the 'Wired' article and runs with it (not that anyone will care of course, it's not an issue that people let those pesky facts get in the way of, far easier just to label it theft, claim it supports organised crime and terrorism and leave it at that).

Now if Nathan had accidentally nailed his knadgers I'd have giggled :)

Yeah but the title 'Nailing Your Nadgers' kind of gives the game away ;) - at least on this side of the pond anyway. It's not so much a pun as a ... what's the opposite of pun ? Literal statement ?
Oh you could have just called it NAILING
I'm just upset PG Porn was misleadingly titled. It wasn't PG at all!

That SFW porn was more PG than that.
I got the satire, I get the subversion - but because of what it was - nailgun shoots woman kneeling to give b.j. - failed to hit my funny bone in major way. No big judgment there, but not surprised - not likely too. (God, I sound like Rorschach. Urm.) You can be trying to do all those things some of you and the Gunns say they intended with the piece, and still end up looking a bit too much like the thing you're making fun of. I mean, you need to in some ways for the satire to work, but you always run the risk of carrying too much of the original into it. I also think it was a poor choice for his inaugural episode.

I read James' twitter comments about this and other such reactions to "PG Porn" and I found them to be more offensive than anything in either the film or Theresa Darklady Reed's screed. Not sure why he got so bent out of shape about her reaction, if he was confident about his intent and having achieved it, nor why he had to be so nasty. If, as Saje mentioned, his comments to her post were similar, I too am not suprised she didn't post 'em. I wouldn't.

I know that his reaction is typical of his style - the ranting and the swearing part of his FU schtick - but I didn't find it in this case particularly convincing or persuasive. It was his reaction - the violence of it, and the crudity, that made me look twice at the film for anger against women. I've read & enjoyed his blogs for several years, and follow him on twitter, so am quite used to his style, but his personal-sounding animus in this made his overall position unconvincing.

So far, I find PG Porn mildly funny and mildly offputting - but the whole thing has left me kinda soured on the project.
Nailing the twins?
zeitgeist, at least we can take comfort that John "Maverick" McCain is now joining us in the fight against overreaching IP police:

After seeings its videos repeatedly removed from YouTube, John McCain's campaign on Monday told the Google-owned video site that its copyright infringement policies are stringent to the point of stifling free speech, and that its lawyers need to revamp the way they evaluate copyright infringement claims.

"We fully understand that YouTube may receive too many videos, and too many take-down notices, to be able to conduct full fair-use review of all such notices," wrote Trevor Potter, the campaign's general counsel, in a letter to YouTube and Google. "But we believe it would consume few resources — and provide enormous benefit — for YouTube to commit a full legal review of all take-down notices on videos posted from accounts controlled by (at least) political candidates and campaigns."

Nailing the twins?

Now that made me snort Diet Coke out my nose!

ETA: Does the fact that I find the thought of Nathan Fillion nailing his own nutsack funny mean that I secretly hate men? Things that make feminists go hmmmm ...

[ edited by BrewBunny on 2008-10-15 23:01 ]
I mean, you need to in some ways for the satire to work, but you always run the risk of carrying too much of the original into it. I also think it was a poor choice for his inaugural episode.

I kinda agree with that QG. If he's going to do some with men getting hurt/killed then it might have been wiser to have opened with one of those (it being perfectly acceptable for dying men to be amusing ;). I reckon a case could be made that he shouldn't have to but sometimes it makes sense to head potential criticism off at the pass and show good faith upfront, people are gonna be more willing to extend the benefit of the doubt if he's got a little credit in the bank. Err, not that sort of 'bank', you get that, right ? ;-)

Oh you could have just called it NAILING

Or 'D.I.Y' ? Then you wouldn't even have needed Aria Giovanni, controversy avoided.

Nailing the twins?

Hee ;). Or put Nathan in a postman's outfit and call it 'The Nail Sack'. Ba dum dum ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-10-15 23:01 ]
Nailing the twins


You win the internets!!
Why is it that anytime a woman get's killed in a film or tv show some people call it misogyny? Killing women isn't misogyny. Killing them BECAUSE they are women is. Hating women because they are women is. Not hating A woman because she killed your puppy. why is it okay to laugh and a man getting hurt but not a woman?
Cos all men are bastards ?

ETA: Does the fact that I find the thought of Nathan Fillion nailing his own nutsack funny mean that I secretly hate men? ...

Only by your own reasoning Brewbunny ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-10-15 23:07 ]
For some reason it bothers me more that all the men in the project are mainstream actors and all the women are porn stars. At least, all the ones I've read about thus far.

Ditto Zach and Miri (except for Elizabeth Banks).

However, I found both Nailing your Wife and Zach and Miri very funny.
redeem147, the casting is quite purposeful. Not sure why it bothers you.
Oh please! It might help everyone to put this into perspective if they understood that James Gunn is perpetually 17 years old, and these PG-Porn episodes are essentially the director's equivalent to those silly flip-book stick-figure drawings everyone made in school.

You guys howl at the nail gun death, wait til you see the Peanus episodes.
Redeem147, funny that never entered my mind. You have to ask yourself does ANYONE ever really want to see a male porn star? (let alone in a mainstream entertainment project)

I think its the same reasoning why the name Jenna Jameson is recognized by most anyone under the age of 70 and you'd have to go back to the 1970's to provide a male porn star thats a household name (John Holmes). Although you gotta give credit to The Hedgehog, Ron Jeremy as a close second.

(And Hmmmmmm, DisChunk, are you privy to inside scoops that we are not aware of???? Are you maybe somehow associated with the project and playin' it cool, lurker-style?)
ETA: Does the fact that I find the thought of Nathan Fillion nailing his own nutsack funny mean that I secretly hate men? ...

Only by your own reasoning Brewbunny ;).


But only if my reasoning were of the sort that missmuffett describes, namely that any fictional act of violence against a woman is misogyny. But in my case, my concern runs more to the fact that our entertainment industry leans heavily towards exploiting women's entertainment value as objects of violence or sexual gratification, whereas men, on the whole, seem to be afforded far more opportunities to be entertaining in other ways. Viewed in that context, the producer of one more (mini)movie showing a woman getting a nail in the head in exchange for trying to give a blowjob arguably bears the burden of proof in arguing that the flick is not misogynistic. Maybe the Gunns have met that burden, maybe not. Frankly, in the even larger context of all the crap in the entertainment world that feminists could take issue with, I'm having a hard time working myself up into a lather over this one.
"Hmmmmmm, DisChunk, are you privy to inside scoops that we are not aware of???? Are you maybe somehow associated with the project and playin' it cool, lurker-style?"

Absolutely not.
So I finally got to read James Gunn's own response on Myspace:

I tried to be somewhat kind in my response, understanding that Ms. Reed may be mildly retarded.

Ugh. Please, please can we get away from using "retarded" as an epithet? It's demeaning to people who live with cognitive disabilities, and at this point it's such a tired cliche that it's not even funny.

And, fourthly, in your picture, tilting your head like that and cutting off the frame right below your chin doesn't trick anyone into thinking you're not fat.

Wow. And are we supposed to believe that this retort is not misogynistic but is instead supposed to be some kind of subversive, subtle, and socially-minded satire?

I used to love James Gunn, potty mouth and all. Not so much anymore.
I'm a woman, I didn't have a problem with PG Porn, and I thought it was funny.

But James Gunn's response? Yeah, I have little to no respect for that. That article did not warrant the kind of response that you would get from a bratty teenager/internet troll.
I am quite taken aback by the response of James Gunn. It speaks much louder to me than the blog he is responding to - and not in a good way.
Just watched it and I have to say I did find it a bit horrible. Admittedly, I knew what was coming so the shock humour wasn't going to work on me. Still, I'd much rather she'd just taken her clothes off

The problem is that the satire of the ratings system that some of you have mentioned is far from obvious. I didn't get the satire until I came here, and presumably many of you had read interviews with Gunn.

Edit: looks like the article's author made the same point in the comments. "Since nobody I know who works in or covers the industry got PG Porn's "point," perhaps it needs to be refined a bit so we can laugh along?"

[ edited by Let Down on 2008-10-16 01:18 ]

[ edited by Let Down on 2008-10-16 01:19 ]
I'm inclined to agree with QuoterGal, FunkyBeccaBecca, and a number of other women on this.

Also, "Among other things, to use a "your just fat" attack makes me think of James Gunn as little more than offensive scum and reinforces the whole bit about him being sexist IMHO."

James Gunn doesn't even remotely come close to Joss in terms of talent, humor, or going against the norm in Hollywood when it comes to the portrayal of women. He reminds me of a psychopathic cousin of mine who once played a "funny" practical joke on me that landed in the hospital.
While I enjoyed Nathan's performance, I thought the video was pretty stupid.

First of all, nail gun injuries are almost never fatal. The death rate is something like 1 in 40,000 among injuries serious enough to require a trip to the ER. There are only a handful of known cases.

Second, the victims of construction industry nail gun accidents are almost always men. A 2002 US Government Safety Report on nail guns found that the number of women seriously injured in occupational nail guns accidents was not even statistically measurable. It was 100% men, at the rate of around 50 a day.

Third, construction industry fatalities are almost always men, at around 99%. Overall, and across all sectors, men are nearly 11 times more likely to be killed on the job than women, in the US.

Every year, tens of thousands of men are killed or maimed working in male-dominated high-risk jobs, like construction. I think it's really disrespectful towards men for James Gunn to suggest in his video that women are the ones putting themselves at risk. (how's that for putting a different spin on things!)

Yup, it totally should have been Nathan's nutsack that got it. :-)
Bit dodgy that she didn't allow Brian's follow-up comment
I didn't find it funny at all. I found it disturbing. I also found it disturbing that so many of the posters here whose opinions I tend to respect thought it was funny.

But most disturbing to me is James Gunn's response to a dissenting opinion.

Yuck. I feel a little dirty. And I'm not in the porn business either.
Bit dodgy that she didn't allow Brian's follow-up comment

Might want to check HuffPo's Comments Practices before criticizing the individual blog author over how the Huffington Post's editors handle comments on blogs hosted on the site:

Q: What is the Huffington Post's Comment Policy?

Huffington Post pre-moderates comments on our blog posts and post-moderates comments on news stories. We never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view. We only delete those comments that include the following transgressions:

• are abusive, off-topic, use excessive foul language
• include ad hominem attacks including comments that celebrate the death or illness of any person, public figure or otherwise

• contain racist, sexist, homophobic and other slurs
• are solicitations and/or advertising for personal blogs and websites
• thread spamming (you've posted this same comment elsewhere on the site
• are posted with the explicit intention of provoking other commenters or the staff at Huffington Post.

Q: I posted a comment. Why can't I see it on the site?

A: There are two scenarios for which your comment may not appear:
1. It may be pending approval. Comments on the blog are moderated BEFORE they appear on the site, and this takes time. Since the volume of comments on the site has grown rapidly, there is often a delay between a comment being posted and it being approved, especially during peak hours. We appreciate your patience and ask that you refrain from posting the same comment repeatedly.

2. Your comment violated the policy above. We pride ourselves in providing a medium for engaging and thought-provoking stories and encourage our users to speak their minds freely, provided comments fall within our commenting policy. We must respect our writers and protect them from vicious and inflammatory comments. They too are entitled to free speech- the right to share their opinions without being subject to scathing and mean-spirited remarks.

I would bet that with the presidential debate going on right now, the HuffPo editors are a little busy and may not have had a chance to approve the second comment from Brian. And if James Gunn's own blog is any indication of what he tried to post on HuffPo, it was probably disallowed for being both profane and an ad hominem attack.
But I wasn't talking about James Gunn's comment which certainly was abusive and makes me think he's a mean-spirited and pathetic little man. Personally, if I were her I would have put his comment up. If nothing else, his moronic diatribe strengthens what she has to say. But it's absolutely fair enough that she decided not to post it.

I was talking about Brian's second comment which you can see on James' myspace page. Whether or not you agree with it, it's reasonably worded and not a personal attack. It doesn't violate those rules you very kindly laid out for me

And it doesn't seem likely that they just haven't got around to approving it given that they've approved other comments made after it.
C'mon, people. It's just a comedy short.
This sort of situation always brings a smile to my lips, as it reminds me of one line from Warren Oates:

Psycho: The name's Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you.

Leon: Ooooooh.

Psycho: You just made the list, buddy. Also, I don't like no one touching my stuff. So just keep your meat-hooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill you. And I don't like nobody touching me. Any of you homos touch me, and I'll kill you.


Sergeant Hulka: Lighten up, Francis.
DisChunk: That totally made my day. Almost no one I know can quote Stripes. I love that bit!

I agree, it was just a comedy short. I wasn't offended in the least.
Wow, James Gunn does not paint him in a good light at all. He just comes off sounding petty for attacking the author so personally.
In Mr. Gunn's work, I didn't see a video commentary against MPAA ratings. If that was the intent then I missed it.

I watched to see Nathan's work. Nathan playing that character amused me, the character didn't.

Did the video portray violence against women? No. Against a woman. By who, men? No. By a man. A horndog woman and a horndog man; the man being an idiot - the point of the video, for me. I have been an idiot (a long, long time ago, never would such a thing happen now..riiiight) in search of getting laid. Yes, it's terrible and simple of me and I wish I could deny it but I cannot. So I see a video about an idiot who fails to think and the result is a huge disaster. I think it would have been funny if he'd nailed his own testicles. Whichever the resultant disaster is doesn't really matter as long as it is really big and scares us (men) away from being idiots for sex.

This video isn't violent toward women. It's violent toward the whoa-less, those who got no (or damned little) whoa, and that's men. In reality we have whoa - but we all remember a time when it up and left. This video reminds us of those dumb parts of our past (that are tied to, by default, probably something alluring) and in doing that, and given the consequence in this video we can all laugh a nervous sigh of relief. At least it wasn't that! You know what 'doubt' does to a person? It kills em real slow. This video reminds men of their idiotic tendencies and that undermines our confidence and strokes our doubt. This vidoe's violence against men frightening in scope.

Gunn hates men. That's probably why he loves a woman. This is all making so much sense. I mean it's right there all anyone's got to do is open their eyes and see it.
Well, James Gunn's response pretty much clarifies it then - he's a jerk who cannot take criticism and is unapologetic about the misogynist crap he makes.

The violence is clearly NOT a comment on what the PG rating does or doesn't cover - it's merely a meager way of promoting his sexless porn, wherein the sex has been replaced by violence.

And putting it on SpikeTV means the audience some people think need to learn from this likely won't - because all they will be satisfied by is the bad "nailing your wife" pun.

This just makes me sick.
Well, thank goodness the Maverick is lending his Mavericky Maverickosity to the cause now that IP legislation is preventing his attack ads from depleting voter goodwill further :). Thanks for the heads up, Brew! As far as the rest of it, I didn't enjoy SLiTHER at all, but I'm willing to defend Los Bros Gunn's attempt at pointing out absurdity. Okay, I've now read his post and it seems like James Gunn being James Gunn. IOW, I think he was trying to be funny/ironic about his reply. The we all know you're fat thing is so clearly a riff off the misogyny allegation. Do I know any of that for sure? No, but it sure seems that way to me. Tempest meet teacup.

ETA - I would remind everyone that they are free to state their opinion, but no name calling, please.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-10-16 06:11 ]
"Whichever the resultant disaster is doesn't really matter as long as it is really big and scares us (men) away from being idiots for sex."

Gah. That's a frightfully moralistic reading. I really don't think that was the intention and I'm pretty sure it's not going to stop anyone from having sex

"The violence is clearly NOT a comment on what the PG rating does or doesn't cover - it's merely a meager way of promoting his sexless porn, wherein the sex has been replaced by violence."

We can't be what was the intention of the creators (though you may well be right) but I think we can say that if it was supposed to be a comment on the rating system it failed. I don't think it's a successful satire when to understand it viewers need to read interviews or the creators' response to backlash of people who didn't get it

The idea that it's satire does smack a little of the obligatory mention of 9/11 and Iraq that makers of movies like Hostel make when asked why they make those movies. I still haven't got my head around how Saw et. al. are a comment on the war on terror, but there you go
I did wonder if James Gunn's response was yet more tongue-in-cheek, and this time he was making fun of the internet... but perhaps not. Having been on the receiving end of "Can't you take a joke?" a few times, I do get a little nervous about it.

I chuckled at the video, because I found it to be amusingly literal. But then I also laugh at Robot Chicken and George Carlin. I feel guilty and dirty afterwards... but I do laugh.
Please don't lump the original Saw in with Hostel. The sequels, as I understand it (as is so often the case with a studio sequel money grab) quickly jettison all original personnel and ideas and go a-wandering. Hearing that, I avoided them; the original was fairly awesome, however.
When is James not tongue-in-cheek?

Society and ratings tell us violence is good and sex is bad. That's the point of the short. The death should be jarring. Showing blood oozing out of a fatal head wound is perfectly acceptable. The point: Why is this okay and this other stuff not okay? I applaud the Gunns for finding a humorous way to express their concerns.
James Gunn's response was deeply offensive.

If he can't respond to criticism without resorting to insults then I'm not about to give benefit of the doubt on any allegations of misogyny.

Because a man calling a woman who disagrees with him fat and retarded?

Game. Set . Match. Case proven and I won't be bothering to watch any more PG Porn
I think the main lesson here is that he should let his brother do the speaking for them in the future.

ETA this disclaimer/disclosure: I very much enjoyed Slither, but usually very much do not enjoy any time I see James Gunn speak (it might have to do with it always seeming to be him and Nathan making rape jokes, which seems an odd subject with which to be humor-obsessed).

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-10-16 08:13 ]
Shall we take a look at the definition of the word violence, and then see if any of these definitions apply to the situation in the video? Yes, we shall:

Dictionary:
violence (vī'ə-ləns)
n.

1. Physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing: crimes of violence.

I think the word 'purpose' here disqualifies this definition, as the incident in the video is clearly accidental.

2. The act or an instance of violent action or behavior.

Again, I think we have to disqualify this definition based on its inclusion of the word 'behavior', which in itself implies purpose.

3. Intensity or severity, as in natural phenomena; untamed force: the violence of a tornado.

This one's a definite possibility; the incident in the video is certainly a calamity. 'Natural' is up for debate.



4. Abusive or unjust exercise of power.

No, can't really use this one, because it again implies purpose.

5. Abuse or injury to meaning, content, or intent: do violence to a text.

This one MIGHT squeak in but its implication is yet again one of purpose.


6. Vehemence of feeling or expression; fervor.

I think the focus of the fervor in this video is most definitely NOT violence.


All right, then, we've looked at several definitions of the word 'violence', and we see that most of them do not really apply to the situation in the video because they imply purposeful action or intent, and while it was clearly the intent of Chris to 'nail' Mrs. Grimes, and indeed Mrs. Grimes did end up with a nail in her person, it's pretty clear that this result was not the intended one and that the action that caused the result was unintentional. This precludes the application of definitions 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 outright, and leaves us with number 3.


I think that this video doesn't contain violence toward women, per se. I think if one insists upon terming the nailgun-to-the-head scene a violent one, then one must also term the opening scene one of violence as well. That poor Ikea bookcase got nailed not once, but THREE TIMES! CLEARLY this is gratuitous violence toward bookcases! And to make matters even worse, that innocent, defenseless bookcase didn't even REQUIRE nailing!

In my opinion, there is no violence in this video, nothing that could be sensibly construed as negative, and anyone seeing anything else in it is missing the point.

And if you're looking for RESPECT in a video making fun of PORN, you really need to adjust your expectations.
Prior to all of this happening I had not watched PG Porn. Having read James Gunn’s reply to the blog, I followed the link and watched ‘Nailing Your Wife’. I didn’t find it funny. I didn’t think it was particularly clever. However, I didn’t see anything to really offend me. I thought it was a little bit offensive, but this is probably influenced by my reaction to the response to the blog.

What worries me most is the defence of this response. If Gunn really was attempting to be somehow tongue-in-cheek and humorous, he failed miserably. At best, he is deeply offensive. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it was written in anger, but actually that doesn’t make it any less offensive.

I rather liked him prior to this. At the moment, I don’t like him much at all.

Just to make it absolutely clear, because the discussion is moving back and forth between two different things, I am describing a reaction to the response that James Gunn posted to the blog, not to PG Porn itself or to any debate about what does and what does not constitute violence or misogyny towards women - which I happen to think is rife, but I am perhaps prone to being over-sensitive in my reaction to what I see all around me.
Deeply offensive, yes. Also, entertaining to read because of that, and clearly as over the top as the actual PG porn episode this talk is about ("However, because she refuses to post my comment, I see no real reason to hold back here..."). And, honestly, constructive answers to something so out there is most likely a waste of time, any facts, comments and counters tend to get shut off by the fanatics, especially when arguing over the internet. Silly article, silly response. Just silly of a different kind.

About the article itself. I can easily see how the flick is not funny to somebody. I did laugh, and I'll watch the future episodes for sure. However, how can anybody think that was in any way porn, sexy or a turn on? Sheesh.
I finally got some sound back, and I wasted it and what time I had tonight on James Gunn's craptastic, ad-addled software. It's making me angrier than the allegations about misogyny, though I must admit I don't doubt them.
DisChunk, I think you've missed the point. It's the content of the video that has offended some people. You don't judge whether something is offensive by (a) deciding that violence is offensive and then (b) determining whether this fits into dictionary definitions of violence. That's an oddly legalistic argument. If it offends people, it offends them. In this case it offended some people because of how graphic it was and because of perceived misogyny. I don't think whether it's intentional violence really matters
"rape jokes"? Wow, that is upsetting as is James Gunn's blog post and all those repulsive follow up comments. I didn't like PG Porn at the time and I was sorry I had seen it at all.

This whole thing is icky.
FWIW, AFAIK the "rape jokes" are at the expense of Nathan (i.e. Gunn on Fillion). It'd be interesting to hear from anyone willing to be honest as to whether a man being the subject makes a difference to how they see the idea of making a joke about rape.

In this case it offended some people because of how graphic it was and because of perceived misogyny. I don't think whether it's intentional violence really matters

Yeah because the video was intentional. No-one is accusing Nathan's character of misogyny, they're accusing the film's creators of it.

I can understand negative responses to his response, I feel the same way. Maybe he was being tongue-in-cheek but in that case he maybe needs to consider that a lot of people that don't "know" him or his style will have read that and, basically, thought he was just being a dick.

I really don't understand the whole, "if you found this funny you're disturbed" point of view though. I might as well respond with "if you can't separate what's real and what's not and act appropriately then you're disturbed". Maybe interestingly, the people i've met with the darkest senses of humour are (in no particular order) doctors, police officers and firemen i.e. 3 sets of people that have basically devoted their lives to helping others. Maybe they're all disturbed of course but I doubt it.

But only if my reasoning were of the sort that missmuffett describes, namely that any fictional act of violence against a woman is misogyny.

Yeah, fair point Brewbunny, you do in fairness say "Meh. I don't know that I'd criticize PG Porn for mixing sex and violence for the sake of titillation, like Basic Instinct. I'd just criticize it for being the sort of lame humor one could expect out of a gaggle of fifteen year old boys.", i'd got your comments mixed up with someone else's, sorry ;). I guess the way I see it is, if you don't think it's misogynistic then you're basically "just" saying you don't find it funny or it's offensive because it's graphic. Well, that's fine, humour's highly subjective and different people consider different scenes too graphic. My issue with that is only if you then go on to say "... and if you do find it funny there's something wrong with you like e.g. you hate women".
Deeply offensive, yes. Also, entertaining to read because of that...


I must admit I did not find it remotely entertaining. I found it depressing to read, not least because it really lowered my opinion of someone I had previously quite liked.

If that message had been posted here it would have (hopefully) been removed - and rightly so. Whatever the merit or otherwise of the original blog, that was just an unpleasant response. At least, that's how I reacted to it.
Saje: I don't care who the joke is on, as far as I am concerned rape just isn't funny.
Saje, Where exactly are peole saying that anyone who laughed at PG Porn is disturbed? I personally thought that the video was not so much offensive as just unfunny - it wasn't misogynistic, as such, just casually sexist like most Hollywood entertainment.

It doesn't mean that everyone who laughed at the video is a misogynist - which, I might point out, no one has actually been saying - but it also doesn't mean that everyone who was offended by it is overreacting. The fact of the matter is that violence against women is still often concidered entertainment (Remember Joss' rant about the movie Captivity?) and by continuing that tradition, PG Porn is, however little, contributing to the idea that women are less important than men.

Would the video been more or less disturbing if Nathan's character had killed a dog and the camera had lingered on the bleeding body as long as it did on the woman?
@ ruuger no-one has explicitly said it but

Xane said: "I didn't find it funny at all. I found it disturbing. I also found it disturbing that so many of the posters here whose opinions I tend to respect thought it was funny."

which at least strongly implies it.

(sorry Xane, i'm not specifically singling you out - unless you're the only one that's said it, then I guess I am ;)

Other comments have the vibe that it's sick and/or disgusting and I submit that calling something sick or disgusting is implying that "right thinking" viewers should be sickened or disgusted by it - if you're not then you can't be (right thinking that is). If someone says they "dislike" something they're just saying it's not their bag, "disgust" implies a judgement of those that do enjoy it IMO (just as with torture-porn, though on that point people are happy to be more explicit in their accusations).

Saje: I don't care who the joke is on, as far as I am concerned rape just isn't funny.

Obviously I agree moley75 BUT there're jokes and then there're jokes. Some "jokes" make you laugh because they're so inappropriate, it's uncomfortable laughter. Also (and i've only seen one instance of the Gunn/Fillion rape thing so I don't know if this is the case with them) sometimes men in groups have a sort of one-up-manship thing going on which, over time during a friendship, can develop into seemingly being totally disgusting and/or inappropriate. The object is partly to not be disgusted by disgusting things, it's sort of hard to explain (and i'm no doubt doing a terrible job) but you can kid about a lot of stuff in the abstract that you yourself don't consider remotely funny in reality.

I do understand though that to some people (maybe most) there're just some things which can never even be associated with humour, even in the abstract (a friend of mine lost his kid sister in a car accident years ago and no-one in our group of friends is ever going to make a joke involving car accidents in his presence, that wound is always going to be too raw).
Tempest meet teacup.

Sometimes they meet and they have nothing to say to each other. Sometimes they seem made for each other. As with any relationship, timing and circumstance are everything.
It's the age old story: tempest meets teacup, tempest utterly destroys teacup with the full might of nature's fury, tempest is a bit sheepish but has learned from the experience.
True, catherine, true. Its just that I went over to James Gunn's blog expecting some horrific, insane, profane rant and I found James Gunn with his tongue shoved so hard into his cheek that it probably hurt. I never even cared for the guy or SLiTHER, so this was a perfect chance for me to join the villagers all lined up with their pitchforks and torches. In any case, its certainly been an interesting and I dare say enlightening discussion. I completely understand that his response was not the ideal way to handle it and almost certainly not the way that I would've done so. I am, however, in one small part of my brain wondering if half of the posters in this thread are in on another level of tongue in cheek meta response. Kidding, of course, it just seemed slightly surreal to me, given past discussion, in this thread and others.
Zeitgeist, even if we ignore the whole "is it sexist or not" discussion, no matter how deep in his cheek James Gunn had his tongue, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - that excuses his use of offensive language.

Retard is a word with so much bad history that to use it as an insult is ignorant at best. And if you don't understand why it's offensive (no "would be"s here, it is offensive, period), then that I really do find disturbing.

And yes, 'retard' was used as an insult on Buffyverse as well, and yes, it was equally offensive there. Just because Joss has done it, doesn't automatically make it right.
"Yeah because the video was intentional. No-one is accusing Nathan's character of misogyny, they're accusing the film's creators of it."

Saje, I was only responding to DisChunk who said that it shouldn't be offensive to anyone because it was violent and it wasn't violent because Nathan's 'nailing' of her wasn't intentional. So, essentially, I agree with you

"It'd be interesting to hear from anyone willing to be honest as to whether a man being the subject makes a difference to how they see the idea of making a joke about rape."

That'd be me. Rape of a woman is at least a little worse given the risk of pregnancy. Admittedly, any other particular revulsion I have to rape of women over men isn't someting I can justify on any logical grounds.

But the real reason I think jokes of rape of women are worse than those about rape of men is simply the fact that virtually all rape victims are women. Joking about a very common and very horrible occurrence is, I think, worse than joking about a rare but still very horrible thing.
I feel like I read a different comment than a lot of other people did here. I didn't even like PG Porn (I got the joke, I just thought it was kind of juvenile in it's execution,) but mysoginistc. I don't know about that. It seemed pretty obvious that the point was that violence is a-okay in a PG context but when sex comes into the picture it becomes inaccesible.

As for James Gunn's comment. I thought he pretty much was, well, James Gunn. He had his tongue firmly in cheek, and he was crude in a way that isn't all that dissimilar to Kevin Smith when he starts going after his critics. I mean he says "But mostly it pisses me off because you didn't provide a link to the video itself." It's a joke, an offensive joke, maybe even coming from anger at the article itself.. but I don't know if it makes him misoginstic (which is an awfully strong thing to be labeling someone you only know through a jokey online comment.)

Some people have really offensive senses of humor. Heck, one of the most popular shows on television these days is Family Guy, which revels in pushing boundries of political corectness and occasionally making you squirm with some really offensive humor. It's not for everyone, but I don't know how the guy who made "slither" and "PG-Porn" being offensive on his own blog is really surprising.

[ edited by rabid on 2008-10-16 13:47 ]
Zeitgeist, even if we ignore the whole "is it sexist or not" discussion, no matter how deep in his cheek James Gunn had his tongue, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - that excuses his use of offensive language.


You're right, nothing excuses his use of offensive language. Well, the First Amendment, but other than that, nothing ;). In any case I didn't say that it wasn't offensive (as designed? as perceived? an argument for another time, perhaps), I just said that he has a right to say it and I don't think that he was being serious. I completely understand why its offensive, though this also comes back to a discussion about living language (ie, "retard" is a word that is pretty much used exclusively to refer to persons who are decidedly not mentally handicapped in any real way, not that that makes it something we should all try to work into our day to day conversation, just a purely intellectual discussion point for some other time). I'm not making a value judgment about the word, I just find the evolution of language fascinating. The trend towards "more syllables is less hurtful", etc. Given the current thread temperature, however, it may not be the time to bring that up :).
Kidding, of course, it just seemed slightly surreal to me, given past discussion, in this thread and others.

What like specifically zeitgeist ?

... so this was a perfect chance for me to join the villagers all lined up with their pitchforks and torches.

Well, I haven't brought it with me today, have I ? That's bloody typical that is.


I dunno, let's assume his response is tongue-in-cheek. So he's made a response to a public article that only his "circle" are going to "get" which seems ill-advised. And if it's not tongue-in-cheek then he's just being offensive ('fuck you', 'retard', 'your drivel', the fat comment etc.). Either way it doesn't seem like a good idea and either way it provides ammunition to those that agree with the article's charges (either that it's too "in" a joke to be making the point that they're trying to make OR that he actually is misogynist or maybe just asshole enough not to care about that stuff). That said, even if it's serious, it's clearly born in anger and we've all said and done some pretty shitty things in those circumstances. Or maybe it's just me ;).

Saje, I was only responding to DisChunk who said that it shouldn't be offensive to anyone because it was violent and it wasn't violent because Nathan's 'nailing' of her wasn't intentional. So, essentially, I agree with you

Heh, yeah I was agreeing with you too Let Down ;). Reading it back I guess that's maybe not totally clear.

Your greater objection to rape of women comments makes sense too I think, just because, apart from anything else, it's more likely to be heard by someone directly affected by the subject. Unless people just see "rape" as one single thing, no matter who the subject is ? My own feeling is that that's probably not the case though.

...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - that excuses his use of offensive language.

This is just a difference of opinion thing I think. Satire for instance, if he was being satirical, would justify it to me. Satire isn't meant to be cosy, if it's not offending someone then I reckon it's doing something wrong.
zeitgesit, it might be that I am over-sensitive in my reaction to the message posted by James Gunn (I don’t think I am, but I am not necessarily the best judge of that), but I must admit to being a little surprised that you think it was simply a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun. Let’s assume someone were to post a message here in response to someone else on the board and included the following:

“…Tried to be somewhat kind in my response, understanding that X may be mildly retarded.”

“X: What in the fuck is wrong with you?”

“…In your picture, tilting your head like that and cutting off the frame right below your chin doesn’t trick anyone into thinking you’re not fat.”

“For that: Fuck you.”

I am genuinely curious, would you consider it to be a perfectly acceptable bit of light-hearted tongue-in-cheek banter or would you think it was something that crossed a line and required moderating?

Personally, I don’t think the response posted by James Gunn is tongue-in-cheek or humorous. Some of it might have been intended as such, but most of it doesn’t read that way to me.

To be honest, I think the worst bit is further down, in the stuff he added later. “Know when I’m drinking a cup of coffee, taking a shit, or making sweet, sweet love to Theresa Darklady Reed on TWITTER.” Quick, get the needle and thread so I can sew my sides back together. I am clearly not on the same wavelength as far as this humour is concerned, but I am rather relieved about that.
Totally agree that it wasn't the way that I would go, but I don't even think it was born purely out of anger (frustration, perhaps a little more likely, but I'm not sold). I think it was just more of the same from James.

Kidding, of course, it just seemed slightly surreal to me, given past discussion, in this thread and others.

What like specifically zeitgeist ?


Going too far down that road will only get me in trouble :) Suffice it to say a lot of people feel at home attacking other people's sacred cows, but we all have them and the reaction is different when its one of your own deeply/closely held issues/beliefs that is touched upon.

ETA - such as, you know, value judgments about people's speech from someone who is a little excitable about free speech ;). Guilty, as charged, me.
True, catherine, true. Its just...

oh, I was just being silly, not really providing a comment ;).
I am genuinely curious, would you consider it to be a perfectly acceptable bit of light-hearted tongue-in-cheek banter or would you think it was something that crossed a line and required moderating?


So, you agree that the world would be a better place if I were moderating it? That's very sweet of you :) The rules of Whedonesque are pretty much irrelevant to what James Gunn chooses to post on his personal blog. In any case you wouldn't be asking the question if you didn't already think that you knew the answer. It doesn't make the point that you think it does, however, especially divorced, as it was, from the context.

Some of it might have been intended as such, but most of it doesn’t read that way to me.


Ah, and back to the heart of the matter. Intent and perception. It seems like it was intended to be tongue in cheek. Whether anyone perceives it that way is pretty well up to them. The Twitter comment seems fairly passive aggressive, and supports the idea that this all comes from frustration, but its not far from the same vein as the earlier comments. Its very James Gunn, in any case. Which none of us are required by law to like or agree with.
oh, I was just being silly


Let's hope that your comment is perceived that way. You didn't use any objctionable words, though, so I think that you are safe :). Although, tea has associations with colonialism, so we'd both best be careful! Yes, that's me being tongue-in-cheek.

ETA - anyone else think I should send James Gunn a bill for my time :)?
Well, to be fair, I know I'm one person who doesn't know James Gunn that well (I never watched Slither because I don't like - not dissaprove of, just have a weak stomach - gory movies and haven't run into any of his other works). I, then, did get what 'PG porn' was trying to do and actually felt it made a good point.

Although I think part of what's upsetting people is not the point persé, which everyone seems to agree with (there's a strange discontinuity between the way explicit sexuality and violence is handled in our entertainment), but that it was done using something that should've been funny. I have yet to see the entire thing (my connection kept freezing up while playing the episode), but the reaction of many people seems to be 'ooh, look, joke', which - for the record - is perfectly acceptable to me, but which seemed to make people examine why it was funny to some and which made them come to the conclusion that - ironically - it was funny because of exactly the same type of attitude that the production as a whole seems geared against. Now I don't agree with that, because it lays too much weight on what was basically a throwaway 'bad pun' and because the authorial intent was so obviously the opposite, but in itself I do feel it's a fair point which makes sense.

Then there was James' response, which I felt was completely off-putting when I first read it. Only after reading zeitgeist's comments I considered the fact that it may have been tongue-in-cheek. My conclusion is that zeitgeist is probably right, after re-reading. But the way it was worded doesn't make that obvious (like 'PG porn' did for instance) and I'm still not 100% sure about the intent even now. If 'satire' and irony were the points, he should've made given more hints about his intent. I'd like to think I'm usually not slow on "getting" the joke, but in this case: not so clear.

Having said all this: I do feel this is one of those typical overblown internet reaction hypes to something rather innocuous of itself. But hey, that's all part of the fun, I guess ;).

ETA: yikes, for some reason I didn't see anything since zeitgeist's 13:18 CET post when I posted this. Let's see if my comment has since become completely redundant ;)

ETA 2: And it seems quite a few parts have. Ah well, such is life ;).

ETA 3: Yikes, I just saw I wrote 'wait' instead of 'weight' above. Which is just... I don't know the word for it, but it's certainly not a nice one ;).

[ edited by GVH on 2008-10-16 14:32 ]
I don't know for sure that he was being tongue-in-cheek, but having read things that he's said in the past, I'm fairly convinced that it may be his default mode of speaking.
Suffice it to say a lot of people feel at home attacking other people's sacred cows, but we all have them and the reaction is different when its one of your own deeply/closely held issues/beliefs that is touched upon.

He's 'avin' a go at the cows now ! Pitchforks at the ready ! Annnnd, front rank pitch ! Second rank fork ! Reload !

OK, I may have watched 'Zulu' too many times.

I think it was just more of the same from James.

Yeah, fair point. Maybe i've just forgotten what to expect from him, I don't read his blog or follow his twits (or whatever the kids are calling them).

Course, he's totally free to say what he likes (i'm assuming MySpace blogs are immune to the "'Fire !' in a cinema" restriction ;) and absolutely should be but at the same time, judging someone harshly because they call one of their critics retarded or say 'fuck you' to them doesn't seem all that bonkers to me. Saying it's just him being him is fine but judging him for being him is also OK IMO.
i'm assuming MySpace blogs are immune to the "'Fire !' in a cinema" restriction ;)


Social networks pretty much are burning cinemas, sir ;). Given my previous statements in the thread, you know that I am 100% fine with, and encoruraging of, people having a wide range of opinions about what he said and saying as much. When its someone's normal mode of speech to say things like James Gunn said in his post (tongue in cheek, incredibly sarcastic, caustic), however, I think it makes the argument that this particular post was an angry, vengeful screed that proves that he's a misogynist hold less water.

I will say that judging him for saying 'fuck you' to a critic without taking into account the context that what he is really saying is "what offended me most about your post is not the part where you failed to understand our intent, but the part where you failed to provide us extra traffic by linking us" seems a bit too quick on the draw to me.
Heh, just got the following message from whedonesque:

Due to a traffic spike caused by the release of Dr Horrible, our host has shut down our database. We have moved to a new server and are working to activate the new database and site. In the meantime, the forum at Whedonesque.org is still up and running:


Seems the 'PG porn' and 'Dr. Horrible' comparisons upthread hold more water than it would seem at first glance ;) Also: maybe it's time to update that message ;)

Oh, and for the record (not that anyone asked): I don't think mr. Gunn is a misogynist even if his myspace blog was completely serious. I think it's a term thrown around a little too easily. Saying someone hates women in general - even when working from a tasteless 'you're fat, yo!' statement - seems like something that needs a little more "proof" before it can be stated convincingly. And even then, there's an important difference between a mysogynistic statement and someone being mysogynistic.

[ edited by GVH on 2008-10-16 14:40 ]
Absolutely, and one problem with shouting misogynist at everything is that some people will feel they can safely dismiss it out of hand since "everyone's always saying that".
Yep, it waters down the concept, allows people that might be convinced in some circumstances to just blow it off. Also, I have to keep remembering that the 'i' comes first then the 'y' so the sooner we're rid of it as a concept the better.

I will say that judging him for saying 'fuck you' to a critic without taking into account the context that what he is really saying is "what offended me most about your post is not the part where you failed to understand our intent, but the part where you failed to provide us extra traffic by linking us" seems a bit too quick on the draw to me.

Well I guess i'm seeing it from the POV of the essayist. I doubt very much that she's gonna read that and just think "That Gunn, he's such a kidder, he doesn't mean 'fuck you' he means 'give us more traffic, i'm just joshing, haha'". I mean, clearly i'm not offended for me, it's not directed at me and it's been a long time since "bad words" by themselves have caused me any offence (I don't claim that as a virtue BTW, it just is what it is). COCKS ! <- See, not even an issue ;).
"Yeah because the video was intentional. No-one is accusing Nathan's character of misogyny, they're accusing the film's creators of it."

You nailed it Saje. Er....

But here:
"I really don't understand the whole, "if you found this funny you're disturbed" point of view though."

If you read my comment again:
Xane said: "I didn't find it funny at all. I found it disturbing. I also found it disturbing that so many of the posters here whose opinions I tend to respect thought it was funny."

You'll see that the only person I accuse of being disturbed is myself. I am disturbed that a depiction of a woman about to give a blow job getting killed by a nail gun to the head is found funny. I haven't changed my mind on that.

However, I never said that anyone who found it funny is disturbed. Different meaning of the word disturbed. I could have used the word upset and I guess my intent would have been clearer.
Dont have the time to read the last 40 posts before making this point so if its a repeat, please be forgiving....

James Gunn's response that has everyone so upset because he made some mean remarks about the author's weight and mental capacity, came AFTER his much nicer posts (which apparently NONE of us have read) were deleted by the author after several attempts to re-post.

I saw someone put in the TOS for the huffington post about posts but I thought blogs were controlled initially by the contributor.

I dont know if that changes anyones mind about James but I think he was feeling very offended that he was not given the opportunity to respond to the authors misinterpretation of his creation.
However, I never said that anyone who found it funny is disturbed. Different meaning of the word disturbed. I could have used the word upset and I guess my intent would have been clearer.

Yes but why were you disturbed/upset Xane ? Because you feel it says something you'd rather not know about those that found it funny, right ? Otherwise why is it relevant that the posters usually hold opinions that you tend to respect ?
"Yes but why were you disturbed/upset Xane ? Because you feel it says something you'd rather not know about those that found it funny, right ? Otherwise why is it relevant that the posters usually hold opinions that you tend to respect ?"

Yes. True. It upsets me that this is found funny. I am disappointed and confused. Really, how is a nail gun to the head funny?
I think there's some discussion of this upthread re: funny ha-ha/stupid pun vs. funny ironic/making a point.
I watched the video, thought it was funny, but didn't think that much more about it. Read the blog post, also thought it was funny- in the 'well, she doesn't get it and hoo boy is this going to cause a reaction on the black!'
Oddly, the one thing that really bothers me about the whole thing is this:

In the end, your article pisses me off because it's just another example of how every idiot thinks his or her voice is worth hearing on the internet.

And why not? Why is one persons voice any more important than anothers or more worthy of an audience? (Meaning, specifically, his.)

Also, a lot of people have mentioned that his response to the blog post says a lot about him and I have to agree. Yes, maybe his 'polite' response to her post wasn't accepted three times, but he could have just posted what he originally meant to say in his blog. He didn't have to go to the place he usually does. Also, just because it is in keeping with his usual tone doesn't mean he isn't a vengeful mysoginyst or whatever. Just means maybe people are understanding now that what he says and his humor isn't meant as jokingly as they previously thought. (I don't think he's a mysoginst, however. I just think he's a perpectual 12 year old and all talk.)
Also, just because it is in keeping with his usual tone doesn't mean he isn't a vengeful mysoginyst or whatever


Right, it doesn't mean he isn't; nor does it mean that he is. Probably not wrong on the charge of prone to juvenile humor, either.
I'm sorry , I've read everyone's responses here and the fact remains that if I were to post anything similar to James Gunn's Myspace rant on pretty much any moderated forum on the internet I'd get deleted and probably kicked off under the "No personal attacks" rule.

And no amount of saying "But I was joking!! I was making a point!!" would get me undeleted or unbanned

What might work would be an apology

And frankly I think James Gunn owes the blogger an apology.
Generally I never find physical humour that funny. Buster Keaton or Jackass never did anything much for me. Also Slither, nothing that special. If it didn't have Nathan in it, I wouldn't have had to sit through it. Same goes for White Noise 2. That was an exceptionally bad movie.

I'm surprised that no one has brought up that infamous car scene in Pulp Fiction, it is very similar to what happened in Nailing Your Wife. If you sit down and coldly analyse the scenes, then they're not funny. But it's the shock of seeing them for the first time that makes some people laugh and other people look away in disgust.

And it should be said that if you step outside your bubble on the internet, you can get shredded to pieces. This apparently is still a surprise to some people.
Sort of off topic here, but, zeitgeist said...
Please don't lump the original Saw in with Hostel. The sequels, as I understand it (as is so often the case with a studio sequel money grab) quickly jettison all original personnel and ideas and go a-wandering. Hearing that, I avoided them; the original was fairly awesome, however.

That's not actually true. They continue to explore the same ideas as the first with more persistent characters and themes than you have been led to believe. I didn't bother checking them out for a while for the same reason, but was really surprised how good the second in particular was (the third was individually weaker, but developed a lot more important plot points for the overall series...still haven't seen the fourth). I'm pretty sure I know why people felt the series went astray, but that'd be heavy into spoiler territory. If you liked the first, at least check out the second.

For the record, I wasn't crazy about Hostel either, and never bothered with the sequel.
I'm sorry , I've read everyone's responses here and the fact remains that if I were to post anything similar to James Gunn's Myspace rant on pretty much any moderated forum on the internet I'd get deleted and probably kicked off under the "No personal attacks" rule.


Depends on the forum, but a fair number of them you would, yeah. Which is entirely beside the point, IMO.

narse - thanks for the heads up, I may check out II, which at least had one of the original co-conspirators involved, as it were.
I wasn't going to get into this one, but you're all making it look like such fun! So count me in as another idiot who thinks her voice is worth hearing on the internet ;).

I think I'm with NYPinTA. When I heard of PG porn, I thought it was a completely hilarious idea. Having a "porn" scenario end up each time with a bloody, horrible death instead of sex (thus remaining PG, wink wink) is genius. Then again, in execution (hee), I chuckled but felt like... the idea is really funny but I don't think I'll bother to watch the rest of these.

The woman's huffpo blog seemed odd and a little silly to me... I stopped reading early on. But whatever, we all have our sacred cows as zeitgeist said and that's cool. I thought James Gunn's blog post was mean and rude, whatever he was "going for." Of course he can post mean, rude stuff on his blog if he wants. Tempests and teacups in love, the internet is practically a dating site for 'em.

So who is James Gunn anyway and what is the Jossian connection (besides Nathan Fillion)? (Or is there no "besides Nathan Fillion"?)
I think the only besides Nathan Fillion is that he was married to Jenna Fischer from the Office, which Joss has directed episodes of.
Depends on the forum, but a fair number of them you would, yeah. Which is entirely beside the point, IMO.

Not really

Mr Gunn's responses to the blog were deleted. The result was his Myspace post

Frankly we only have his word for what those responses contained. I'm going to make the assumption that they were , quite fairly, modded out.

And some of the comments on the Myspace blog made me ashamed for my fellow internet users.

If that's the audience PG Porn is going for then it's certainly not for me.

[ edited by debw on 2008-10-16 16:40 ]
I'm astonished by the length of this thread (so I'm making it longer). I agree w/ NYPinTA and catherine.

And, as for this:
... tempest is a bit sheepish but has learned from the experience.
Doesn't sound like any tempest I know. :)
Doesn't sound like any tempest I know. :)

hee hee!
And some of the comments on the Myspace blog made me ashamed for my fellow internet users.


That sounds like MySpace blog comments to me :). I see where you were going re: deletions now. Sorry about that, momentary eye crossing.
No problem

But the good thing about Myspace blog comments is that the original poster gets to reply to them. Mr Gunn would go up vastly in my estimation if he were to tell some of his more offensively over enthusiastic followers that it's really not cool to be making comments along the lines of "That woman is just bitter because she's a fat **** who can't get ****ed"

Just saying
Doesn't sound like any tempest I know. :)

Well, y'know, there's no such thing as the perfect storm ;).
I'm with ya there, debw.

Well, y'know, there's no such thing as the perfect storm ;).


Tempest apologist!
Oh sure, like the teacup is totally innocent. Come on guys! Open your eyes!
Teacups hold tea, therefore they are an expression of Perfect Love. This is a known thing.
FWIW, the First Amendment doesn't EXCUSE the offensive, it just PERMITS it. ;)
Ah, of course. You would take the side of the teacup, Saje (though for a moment I thought you might be leaning toward the tempest).
b!X - Yay, semantics :) Excuse is a synonym for justify which means: to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable. Waitm where was I going with that? The world may never know!
I just think he's a perpetual 12 year old

This, I think, is the deal. Gunn's response to the way PG Porn was taken by this one reviewer reeks of someone who reacts to criticism (and, like it or not, taking the piece by itself it's entirely reasonable for some people to take it/respond to it the way this one reviewer does) by getting angry and petulant. Like a 12 year old (or, really, even younger than that. Five?)

It's not particularly pretty watching a creator automatically assume there's clearly and obviously only one way anyone cold ever take his work, and if someone isn't taking his work that way they must be an idiot. Maybe the problem resides in the creator either not doing a good enough job at making his point with his work, or not doing a good enough job weeding out possible alternative/incorrect ways of taking his work when he wrote it.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-10-16 17:30 ]
Bah, semantics. You know what I meant. I have no problem with the offensive, but the point is that the law merely passively and dispassionately allows for it; only we get to decide if a particular instance of it can be actively excused or not, socially or artistically speaking.

ETA that I don't really give a rat's ass about PG Porn either way. It was worth a chuckle of the WTF was that variety, but was otherwise unremarkable. Except that everyone seems to be expending a lot of energy remarking upon it.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-10-16 17:36 ]
I'm just yanking your chain, b!X :). The First Amendment kinda means that our judgment of the value/excusability of speech doesn't matter (although law enforcement doesn't always see it that way *cough-support the CLBDF, EFF, etc.-cough*).
Depends on the frame of reference. Our judgment matters from a societal perspective, although even that varies depending on context. Offense is always legal, but not always welcome. What I might find acceptable around adults I might not find acceptable around a five year old (unless that five year old is James Gunn, of course). I only belabor the point because our judgment of the value/excusability of speech does matter, just not from the legal standpoint.

Maybe I should just go have my coffee now.
Such a small point, but I'm going to make it anyway:

This kind of reaction: "it's just a joke - don't take it so seriously. He/she/we were just kidding."

Ya know - all presented in the sanctified name of joking - I've listened to, and eventually learned how to object to every possible variation of: "A n*gg*r, a w*p and a k*ke walk into a bar..."

I'm not saying "PG Porn" is like these jokes - so please don't go there - but I'm saying "It's just a joke" is not a particularly meaningful or persuasive argument when stereotypes or concerns about misogyny, etc. are being discussed.

Jokes are one significant way in which such stereotypes are passed on and on and on - and, yes, they can also be a means to make fun of the stereotypes themselves, although it helps to be clear. But usually there isn't much added to the discourse by saying, "Relax - it's just a joke."

It's neither relaxing nor helpful. As always, imho.
zeitgeist said:
You're right, nothing excuses his use of offensive language. Well, the First Amendment, but other than that, nothing ;). In any case I didn't say that it wasn't offensive (as designed? as perceived? an argument for another time, perhaps), I just said that he has a right to say it and I don't think that he was being serious. I completely understand why its offensive, though this also comes back to a discussion about living language (ie, "retard" is a word that is pretty much used exclusively to refer to persons who are decidedly not mentally handicapped in any real way, not that that makes it something we should all try to work into our day to day conversation, just a purely intellectual discussion point for some other time). I'm not making a value judgment about the word, I just find the evolution of language fascinating. The trend towards "more syllables is less hurtful", etc. Given the current thread temperature, however, it may not be the time to bring that up :).

As the mother of a special needs child, I'd love to hear about why I should feel OK with someone using "retard" as a slur, even if it is said "with tongue firmly planted in cheek." Does that mean that someone can call Barack Obama a "n****r" as long as they intend it as an ironic commentary on racism?

As you say, James certainly has a First Amendment right to call people who criticize him "retarded." But if you're going to defend his right to do so here on Whedonesque, I'd appreciate you kindly indulging my own First Amendment right to call him a third-rate hack whose early glimmers of talent and wit have now been eclipsed his apparent ignorance and ego. He may fancy himself as a 21st century Lenny Bruce or Bill Hicks, but he's really nothing more than a cheap knockoff of Andrew Dice Clay.
I had also wanted to make a point much like QG's but was failing and so didn't try. Fortunately, QG made it for me.
BrewBunny, I think the point zeitgeist was making (and if not: it's the point I would've agreed with if he had made it ;)) was that the use of the word is shifting/has shifted in language. "Retard" is usually no longer used to refer to a special needs child, people with mental disabilities, etcetera. The meaning, instead, has shifted to an insult used for people who are - in fact - not mentally handicapped in any way or form.

Now this doesn't mean you shouldn't feel insulted when someone uses it, certainly when it hits so close to home. What you, or anyone else, finds insulting, is everyone's own business. In this case, I think we're still so close to the start of the shifting of the meaning of the word, it probably actually still is insulting.

But in the end of the day - in my humble opinion - words are just a means to an end and mean different things to different people. I suspect in a couple of years the meaning of the word "retard" will have shifted entirely and it'll only be of interest to etymiologist what the original meaning was.

Again, whether you feel the new use of this particular word is insulting or not, is up for grabs, but I think it is shifting so in a couple of years, the insult will very probably not be intended. In fact, I think that's already often the case now, if probably not always.

And this is where it differs from calling anyone a "n****r": the same shifting of the meaning of the word has not happened there. It's simply an insulting thing that can mean only one thing and is (almost) exclusively used as a negative desription of black people, where "retard" is now almost never used as a negative description of people with a mental disability anymore.
In any case you wouldn't be asking the question if you didn't already think that you knew the answer.


I actually didn’t know what your answer would be. I knew what my answer to the question would be, but I wasn’t sure if yours would be the same, which is why I asked the question. However, as you rightly pointed out, it is somewhat irrelevant – and I probably was trying to be clever and failing miserably.

It doesn't make the point that you think it does, however, especially divorced, as it was, from the context.


That assumes the point you think I think I was trying to make is actually the point I think I was trying to make. :) But, you are right. I was convinced at the time that I was making a valid (and watertight) point, but I am not so sure now. I hate it when I do that.

Ah, and back to the heart of the matter. Intent and perception. It seems like it was intended to be tongue in cheek. Whether anyone perceives it that way is pretty well up to them.


Do we actually know that the intent was to be tongue in cheek? I don’t think we do. That is an assumption, surely. My assumption had been that it was intended to be offensive. (I appreciate this has already kind of been covered).

Its very James Gunn, in any case. Which none of us are required by law to like or agree with.


This is very true. All I can reasonably do is say that I thought the comments, however they were intended, came across (to me) as being rather offensive. What I should not expect is for everyone else to agree with me. However, I am not entirely comfortable with the “Its very James Gunn” argument. In this instance there is no obvious harm done in the greater scheme of things – just people stating opinions, disagreeing, blowing off steam. However, if the same argument were to be applied in a wider context it would surely become more problematic. (Again, I appreciate this has already been covered in other posts).
"Retard" is usually no longer used to refer to a special needs child, people with mental disabilities, etcetera. The meaning, instead, has shifted to an insult used for people who are - in fact - not mentally handicapped in any way or form.

Oddly enough, I just last night was watching YouTube vids of the star of the web series Retarded Policeman, himself with Down syndrome, responding to critics of the show. Mainly I'm just tossing that into the mix to see how the various angles on the question of that particular word view that particular show, given its particular star.
QG- just a very quick comment on your post, a clarification to build on what you said, with which I completely agree. There is text and there is meta-text. A joke can be read as much more than a joke. Intent does not matter, since how we interpret or read the joke is really what does matters.
Retarded is a deeply offensive word that is not anywhere NEAR being reclaimed. If Learning disabled people choose to reclaim the word and use it ( much as other groups have choosen to use nigger, crip or queer) that's their right. That doesn't give the rest of us the right to use such words.


I work with learning disabled people and , trust me, "retard" hurts and offends them. See also " Spaz" " Short Bus" and "Mong"

I don't care how much someone thinks the use of the word is changing in some contexts.

It's always used as an insult or a put down

It's a word which wounds .

The language is not short on words

Pick another one

I choose not to use such words and I choose to challenge those who do. Up to and including Mr Whedon himself ( Yes I cringed when the chorus sang " If you're not a 'tard you will prevail" In Doctor Horrible.)

[ edited by debw on 2008-10-16 18:39 ]
BrewBunny, I think the point zeitgeist was making (and if not: it's the point I would've agreed with if he had made it ;)) was that the use of the word is shifting/has shifted in language. "Retard" is usually no longer used to refer to a special needs child, people with mental disabilities, etcetera. The meaning, instead, has shifted to an insult used for people who are - in fact - not mentally handicapped in any way or form.

I disagree with the "shifting meaning" view. "Retard" is not a new epithet; it's one that I can recall being tossed around the playground back when I was a kid in the early 70s. It is generally intended (and in James Gunn's case was clearly intended) to convey that the object of the statement possesses reduced cognitive ability and thereby merits derision and scorn. I guess my issue with it is that it's a cheap shot that tries to score points off an opponent at the expense of an unrelated group of people who don't deserve to be picked on. I'd expect it from a dumbass schoolyard bully, but when it comes from someone who makes a living as a creative writer and who could presumably find other words to demean an opponent, it's almost cruel.

bix, I haven't seen that video yet, but will try to look it up. There is also a good article about the debate from Salon.com here.

"People are comfortable using 'retard' as a dis because in the past no one has stood up and said anything in numbers worth counting. Most marginalized groups come from places of family pride and tradition. They are able to stand strong together out of their heritage and make a statement. But people with intellectual disabilities, scattered through different families, are not part of a celebrated culture," says Williamson, who saw "Tropic Thunder" as equal parts outrage and opportunity. "I think today's high-tech world has finally allowed us to take a stand. Perhaps the word has continued to grow in popularity, since there has been no public pressure against it," she suggests. "Until now."

That pretty much sums up why I now always make a point of trying to politely object to using "retard" as a slur. Many people do so simply because they don't know any better. And if people still choose to use it that way even after hearing about why some find it so objectionable, then that tells me something about them too.
That assumes the point you think I think I was trying to make is actually the point I think I was trying to make. :)


:))))

I don't, unfortunately have much time to discuss further right now, but the "well, then it must be okay to call Barack Obama a n*gger" strikes me as something approaching the fallacy of the slippery slope or at least related to it by blood. The truest answer I can give you on "Obama/n*gger" is that the public by and large is okay with people of the slurred minority using the slur. So, I guess the answer is "it depends,". The interesting this is that, unless I am mistaken, retard used to be used medically, much like the related term imbecile. Somewhere along the way it became pejorative and we use longer words for it now. I'm not telling you how you should feel about it or saying that people should use it, I'm just interested in the etymological tracing of that and where it leaves us now because language fascinates me. Since I have some distance from it, its probably easier for me to discuss it without any strong feeling either way. By the by, I do apologize if I caused any offense. It was certainly not my intent to offend anyone, but rather to pull it apart from the opposing side to see what makes these arguments tick. I don't think we ever get anywhere by sitting around agreeing, nor do I feel we truly understand our own feelings without discussion, so I applaud the civil discussion of this.

Dana5140 - the law disagrees with you in most cases on intent, from fair use all the way up to crimes of passion vs. crimes of premeditation and intent. I know this is all bound up in your theory that "the reader is all that matters and sod authorial intent" argument, but then you had to know I'd disagree with you on that. I also don't hold with equivalence of every "wrong" thing. Death, like virtue, has its degrees. Apparently we all agree that he is being juvenile, so thats a win, right? :)

Just as a point of order, the First Amendment (get ready to call me a Nazi) does not apply to private, moderated forums. So HuffPo and W-esque are within their rights to warn or ban for any reason under the sun.

I'm not saying "PG Porn" is like these jokes - so please don't go there - but I'm saying "It's just a joke" is not a particularly meaningful or persuasive argument when stereotypes or concerns about misogyny, etc. are being discussed.


Well, no one has to go there, because by posting these sentences together, you've conflated the two for us :). Is "It's a joke meant to point out the problem" meaningful or persuasive? Because that's what James' brother is suggesting is at hand.
NAZI !

Did we Godwin it ? Did we ?

Same with 'moron' I think, wasn't that originally a technical term for a certain IQ range ? *Googles* Yep, 51-70 apparently, 'imbecile' being 26-50 and 'idiot' being 0-25. Growing up we used 'retarded' to mean 'someone whose development has been retarded'. 'Spastic' wasn't really pejorative then either (though it became so as I went through school). In fact, the innocuous words 'Joey' and 'Deacon' became a pejorative here largely thanks to a segment on the popular kids magazine programme 'Blue Peter' featuring the story of a spastic man called Joey Deacon. And people doubt the transformative power of art ;).

Course, how a word used to be used doesn't necessarily reflect on how it's used now (or how it should be) but it's interesting in its own right.
Well, debw, I respectfully disagree. Again, it's not a word I'd use quickly in general conversation (apart from the fact that my native tongue isn't english :)), but words can change. By the way, I've never even heard of "Short Bus" or "Mong" (I think) and I wouldn't guess "Spaz" ('Jeez, I'm such a spaz') was particularly insulting, which just goes to show that the fact my main language isn't english, may be influencing my stance on this matter.

Having said that, when studying quantum electrodynamics, I used the term 'retarded potentials' all the time. The point of this rather random statement :)? : "Retarded" is a word unto itself, whatever the insulting meaning is that's been connected to it. Now, I'll also point out that quite obviously the "new" use of the word retard as an insult for the general populace rather than a particular group of people stems from the unsavoury earlier use.

I'd also assume that calling disabled people "retards" would be hurtfull to them. I am, myself, surprised that the use of the word when not referring to them is also hurtfull. I'm not challenging their right to be insulted, mind. I just find it surprising, though maybe I admittedly shouldn't. When you're in a group being perpetually insulted, any reminder of it would be hurtful. It's just that it's quite possible - maybe even probable - that neither the person using this particular word or hearing this particular word is thinking about anything else than an equivalent of saying "you're stupid", as it's slowly losing all connection to disabled people.

In the end, and this is apart from any judgement on my part on that devellopment, I think the shifting of the word is pretty much unstoppable and you'll probably see it popping up more and more if it keeps in "swing".

Not saying anyone should be happy about that or that anyone is wrong being insulted by it, mind. In fact, I feel that it's fine if BrewBunny and others with similar viewpoints succeed in 'educating' people about the word, thus reducing its rise (although, as you say BrewBunny, if the use of the word in this form has been around since the seventies, maybe it's never going to 'progress' so to speak, beyond this point). It's just that I don't have a problem with the use of a word "á priori". In my view, it has no intrinsic moral value, but rather it is the intention of the person using it that counts in most cases. And, like I said, I'm not sure most people even think of disabled people when using it these days.

Bix: I had not heard of that show. But I guess it goes to show that the 'shift', so to speak, is in no way complete.

And, finally, I'd like to say that what zeitgeist said also goes for me: having some distance from this means I can discuss it out of an interest in the gradual change of language and the meaning of words. I in no way mean any offense and if I unintentionally have offended by these posts, I humbly apologize.
Is "It's a joke meant to point out the problem" meaningful or persuasive? Because that's what James' brother is suggesting is at hand.

Not to steal a recently-used phrase, but it depends. If the joke is lost on some people, or is understood but seems poorly-handled to some people, or if some people don't even notice there s a joke but just laugh at the woman getting nail-gunned, it could mean (could, not automatically does) mean that "a joke to point out the problem" isn't actually working the way it's supposed to.

Which is not to subscribe to the argument that the only thing that matters is the audience, but it does mean -- for me, anyway -- that creative work with an intended point is about the dialogue between artist and audience. And if the work is very clearly failing for part of the audience, the reasonable response isn't to attack the audience but to try to figure out through that dialogie whether the audience failed, the work failed, some combination, or something else.

Using the argument that it's "a joke meant to point out the problem" only serves, or hsould serve, to open up the discussion as to whether or not the work actually succeeded in being a joke that pointed out a problem.

Arguably, in and of itself, the first iteration of PG Porn does not function as a joke to point out a problem, as evidenced by how much its creators have had to explain what they meant.
debw - I have to point out that in Dr. Horrible Joss placed the word 'tard in the mouth of a character that is meant to be seen as awful and douchey. I doubt he would have had a character that is supposed to be seen as intelligent and good say that because it's not something people should say. If that makes sense.

Also - in my experience people today never call someone who is ACTUALLY mentally retarded a "retard". That is generally seen as mean - most of the time when I hear it used it is refering to someone who is acting stupid but isn't actually mentally retarded. Not sure if that make it "better" or not but that's just my observation.
Arguably, in and of itself, the first iteration of PG Porn does not function as a joke to point out a problem, as evidenced by how much its creators have had to explain what they meant.

Hmm, how much are they having to explain themselves though, really ? As usual I think, we have one article and a couple of hundred comments from maybe as few as 50 different people (i'm going to the pictures or i'd count them. Shyeah, as frikkin' if ;) and that's supposed to be some sort of representative sample of the 750,000 (plus by now, presumably) people that've watched the video.

It's t'interwebs remember, where most vocal absolutely doesn't mean most people.

I agree though that there's a turning point where enough people don't get the joke for it, to some extent, to be the "fault" of the people telling it rather than the tellees.
The First Amendment text in its entirety ( boldface added by me ) :

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment is aimed at CONGRESS. No one else. This distinction is often lost.
zeitgeist: "Well, no one has to go there, because by posting these sentences together, you've conflated the two for us :).

As I imagine you know, I used my particular example of a racist joke intentionally as one that many folks could generally recognize/agree on as potentially harmful and unfunny to a lot of folks to underline my point that "It's just a joke" was a kindof specious & unhelpful argument, and not to conflate "PG Porn" with racism - which was not my point, as I stated.

Analogy and/or proximity doth not necessarily a conflation maketh.
Right, DisChunk, which is why I'm saying your first Amendment rights are not a thing to cry foul of (James Gunn or anyone who says that they have to be allowed to speak) when you are blocked fro expressing your opinion on something on someone's forum or website or what have you.

And if the work is very clearly failing for part of the audience, the reasonable response isn't to attack the audience but to try to figure out through that dialogie whether the audience failed, the work failed, some combination, or something else.


The work almost always fails for at least part of the audience. I agree, however, that at least one of Gunn brothers is failing to move that open dialogue along by his responses.

Analogy and/or proximity doth not necessarily a conflation maketh.


I agree, correlation is not causation, etc., but by putting the two in the same sentence and pondering "aloud", surely you are putting them out there together and then can hardly act shocked when people discuss the two in relation to one another. In other words, I understand what you were trying to do, but the examples you used overpower your desires in this case, or at least to some it may seem.
Brewbunny, you are my new hero!
zeitgeist, I appreciate your sensitivity to my own feelings about the word, but I should clarify that I choose to speak out against it not so much for my own benefit or the benefit of my child. Instead I speak out against it for the benefit of those who use those sort of slurs simply out of ignorance and who might choose otherwise if they had a chance to give the matter a little thought. If they do choose to continue to use them, whether out of some reasoned argument, simple indifference or actual malice, that's their perogative.

p.s. Thanks for saying that Nebula. :-)
The work almost always fails for at least part of the audience. I agree, however, that at least one of Gunn brothers is failing to move that open dialogue along by his responses.

Well, as I said in I think my first comment here, I do think the lesson here is to let not-James speak for them from now on. Not to beat the dead horse, but James' responses really doesn't seem to reflect a grasp of the idea that if you're going to produce Message Art, or Dialogue Art, then you've got to deal with the response like an at least partially developed adult.

IMHO.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-10-16 19:36 ]
zeitgeist: "then can hardly act shocked when people discuss the two in relation to one another."

Has that happened? - I mean either that projected discussion or my shocked reaction? I mean, other than your positing it?

I'll burn that bridge when I come to it, but I'm fairly sure people will have understood my intention & my meaning, and frankly, z., I think you are just nit-picking.

ET: remove one instance of "I mean" - repetition can be sooooo boring...

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-10-16 19:42 ]
So can repetition.
So can redundancy.
Come again?

*Yep, I'm taking it back to the dirty puns.*
HA!@Saje and I liked what you said above QG re. the uselessness of not-annoyed people telling annoyed people to lighten up. Except you put it better.

ETA and more HAs at the rest of yez ;)

[ edited by catherine on 2008-10-16 19:49 ]
QG - let's be truthy. If you mention them together, some people (yes, me, probably others) will assume you are bringing the two up together for a reason, regardless of any protest you might make to the contrary. Sure, I'm pulling your chain slightly because its fun, but I do believe what I said. That's why I've gone ahead and said it three more times. I ehard that's key ;).

Come again?

*Yep, I'm taking it back to the dirty puns.*


That's just one of the reasons we love you, Brew :))).
Just to add to the Dr. Horrible/PG Porn comparisons: Not only do both end with a dead woman, but Nathan Fillion accidentally killed both of them. And doesn't take the blame for either. There also seems to be trouble remembering both of their names...

And Joss Whedon and James Gunn almost have the same initials...

I smell a conspiracy, you guys.
z. - as a yellowy-orange, I notice you can edit without leaving a sign...

Anyhoo, I do find myself remaining happily unshocked at your conflation.
Oh, I just realized QG's comment re. "it's just a joke" upthread is what you and zeitgeist are back-and-forthing on, which makes me look like a space-case, bringing it up as-if-randomly. I don't see a conflation or anything beyond the very nicely-put point that somebody saying "hey it was a joke" (to make a point or whatever) isn't in any way appeasing if somebody was actually offended. Obviously it's a joke. Not the point?

ETA but if you can edit without leaving a trace zeitgeist how come you ehard somethin'? hee hee hee I'm SO OBNOXIOUS!

[ edited by catherine on 2008-10-16 20:04 ]
QG - in order - yes (but that power is only to be used for good) and loves it. I expect twittered conspiracy theories no later than 3:17 EST.

catherine - the creepy bit is I went back and added the typo. Why?!? OMG!!! CONPIRACY(sic)!!!
And yet funny, catherine, so that makes up for it.

ETA: argh, zeitgeist did it again! ;)

[ edited by GVH on 2008-10-16 20:11 ]
For a fairly serious thread, this one is full of laughs :)
That's Whedonesque!tm
Bitchbuzz weighs in: Bitchbuzz
"Also - in my experience people today never call someone who is ACTUALLY mentally retarded a "retard". That is generally seen as mean - most of the time when I hear it used it is refering to someone who is acting stupid but isn't actually mentally retarded. Not sure if that make it "better" or not but that's just my observation.
missmuffet | October 16, 19:16 CET "


It is indeed mean.

And it's amongst the commonest insult used against those with learning disabilities. So much so that Mencap have started a campaign against hate crime and hate speach.

Today I spent two hours with a young man who may never regain the confidence to use public transport again. He was on a bus to his place of work and was verbally abused by two teenagers doing poor impersonations of what the bus driver described as the " drooling idiot" variety and calling him .... you guessed it... a spaz ,a retard and a mong.
There was no physical violence, but they did such damage to that young man's self esteem and self confidence.

They'll get banned from that route and given a good ticking off by the police.

The young man may well have lost part of his hard worked for independance.


I wish it was uncommon

But currently I'm working with a group of 25 learning disabled people on an anti bullying project ( we're helping them to produce a theatre piece to take into schools and workshops) Every single one of them has been subjected to verbal abuse at some point

And the first words they came up with when we were discussing hurtful language were Retard and spaz.

[ edited by debw on 2008-10-16 21:51 ]
I'm still wondering how people view an actor with Down syndrome starring in a web series called Retarded Policeman.
Bix, I haven't seen the video you mentioned yet, but I think there is a big difference between someone who is a member of an oppressed minority trying to reclaim the power of a slur (like homosexuals adopting the name "Queer Nation") and someone who is not a member of that minority attempting to exploit it for their own benefit (like a couple of frat boys yelling "fag" at someone).

Unless you're privy to something that I don't know about James Gunn, I don't think that "Retarded Policeman" is really comparable to addressing a critic as "mildly retarded."
If the actor chooses to do that then it's his choice. I haven't seen or heard of this show so I don't know what it's aiming to do or achieving .

Much like a black actor starring in a web series called ... Oh you get where I'm going with this

There's a great theatre group called "The Tragic But Brave Caberet show" where disabled actors mock and subvert the stereotypes, that's fine, great actually.
That reminds me of the hilarious Dave Chappelle skit about the blind black guy who was a member of the KKK who after finally learning that he was black ended up dumping his white wife because she was a "n***** lover."

Oh what I would give to have Chappelle back on the air. Now there was a guy who really knew how to mix the funny and the profane and ended up creating something profound. ::sigh::
*g*

Oh dear!

Yeah, that's the way to do it :)
ZG- in fact, the law both agrees with me and does not agree with me and I was not contextualizing that in a reader-response framework. I teach in a college setting. Sexual harassment is in the eye of the person who feels they are being harassed. If I compliment a female student on her looks, I can get into some very real trouble, even though I meant utterly nothing by it and simply meant a compliment. If she feels that I am harassing her, I have to prove I am not, and that is not easy to do. How we interpret things does matter, and not in a reader response way.

I caught this comment: to convey that the object of the statement possesses reduced cognitive ability and thereby merits derision and scorn. I was reading earlier today about social justice and injustice for a class I am taking and the chapter was on how the mentally disabled are treated in the health care system, and the point was made that all too often the disabled are treated as if they are moral inferiors not worthy of the same effort and access to care that the "morally normative" are. The word "retard" is very much a reduction of the person to less than full moral worth- there is never an occasion to use it as an epithet. I do not know who James Gunn is, but I will never knowingly see anything he ever does.
Hey, it's "tempest in a teapot," at least in the U.S. A tempest would fly right out of a teacup.

Going way back in the thread ... rape jokes involving men usually 1) compare one of the men to a woman, as in making someone your bitch or 2) laughing uncomfortably about the idea of men having sex, as in being gay. So, yeah, we're all 12 again.
Aha! You're quite right about tempests and teapots Suzie. Apparently the Brit equivalent is "storm in a teacup." Does that sound right to anybody?

So the question is... does this change things?
Further googling (because I honestly have nothing better to do) suggests that tempests might take place in teacups OR teapots... or even tea-kettles. Either way, I say that storm and vessel alike are co-conspirators and nobody gets a free pass.
The Dutch equivalent is 'storm in a glass of water', so I guess that makes sense, yeah.

Also: yikes, look at the time. Time for sleep.
Honestly, GVH, you might as well just move to the US, you're living according to this time-zone! ;)
Rape jokes about men mostly involve situations where men are isolated from women for long periods of time, like in prison, or onboard a ship on a long voyage. It's the old "don't drop the soap in the shower" stuff. Cliche amd quite common.
Teacup/teapot, either way the tea requirement is met and Perfect Love is expressed.

('storm in a teacup' is more common over here but I prefer 'tempest' cos of the alliteration, even though it actually feels marginally less natural to say. Interesting that i'd just combined the two without realising, presumably because i've not really heard the 'teapot' version much/at all)
Alan, these jokes still have to do with turning one man into a woman or panicking over being gay. In other words, in prison, one man makes another his "bitch." I.e., the man who's forced to submit is akin to a woman, and comparing a man to a woman is always an insult.

Others are those nervous, giggly, "hahaha, you're so gay" type of jokes.
thing is, that 12-year-old isnide us who laughs at things like that,a dn the 14-year-old who might be motivated enough to look thru a keyhole, never compeltely dies. Part of being adult is not restraining those parts qua restraining but rather keeping them in their proper places in life.

Teacups, especially those in Boston, as Ralph Waldo Emerson found out, can be scary places to have tempests. Teapots too. If you like alliteration, storm in a sugar bowl would work on paper but not in speech.
I think one thing about satire is that while it appears to do things such as be misogynist and perpetuate themes of violence against women (or be racist or perpetuate themes of violence against children or whatever else offensive you can think of)... I think what a lot of people don't get is that it's funny because it's ridiculous because it's completely against those things. When something is satirical, it sometimes appears to approve of something awful (such as resorting to cannibalism in order to control the population) and that IS the joke. The author shares the viewpoint of the reader who is offended. The reader just isn't aware of that because the reader isn't picking up on the satire.

And a LOT of people really don't get satire or are too sensitive about the subject to appreciate it. On certain subjects, sometimes I catch myself getting pissed at a satirical piece before stepping back and realizing, "No, wait, the author AGREES with me. The humor relies upon its absurdity." I guess it depends on how easily you can laugh at something and still consider the serious subject matter to be very personal and significant. But that doesn't change the fact that it's satire.

I'd go so far as to say that because partially, satire relies on humor in absurdity, satire is almost exempt from accusations of being too offensive. What it CAN be is too obscure or too vague so that it doesn't reach its audience and is misinterpreted as offensive. And other times people claim that something is satirical because it is seen as offensive (such as that horrible Obama foodstamp - "It's satire!" Yeah, right, lady.).

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