Wednesday, July 16, 2008


An Arizona blogger notes that, according to a 1986 article in the Tucson Citizen, John McCain made the following joke at a speech in D.C.:

Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, "Where is that marvelous ape?"

The 1986 article is here (PDF). The reporter who wrote the story, contacted by the Huffington Post, stands by it ("...something was said. Some joke involving a rape and ape was said. Enough women repeated it to me at the time and the McCain campaign had a non-denial denial"). The left blogosphere is incensed.


But hey, where's your sense of humor, left blogosphere? It's satire. What I think it does is hold up a mirror to the prejudice and dark imaginings of rapists and apes. The idea that John McCain would say these things literally, I think, is just not in the vocabulary of what he does and who he is.

As my close personal friend Rush Limbaugh was saying the other day, liberals have lost their sense of humor. Vast swaths of the left have apparently been so traumatized by rapists that they have come to regard all images or texts that contain snickering references to rape as too politically dangerous to run. If you satirically depict rape, in this view, you are only reinforcing and giving broader currency to the deeds of rapists. Since the essence of satire is exaggerating negative stereotypes, this means that satire itself is off limits. Or, at least, all satire except that which the cowering -- but oh so semiotically sophisticated -- left-wing commentariat deems to be sufficiently broad-brush and polemical to pass its funny test.

So now that I've declared the joke to be satire, you're required to find it funny. If you don't, you're a Prius-driving prig, and irony is dead because you killed it.

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