From the Archives: Patton Oswalt and Mike “Gabe” Krahulik

Archive Notes: This is going to be an irregular series of posts from me, because the censors are fairly forgiving and not a lot of things get push to the side for many reasons.  If it’s written too poorly to post, it either gets edited heavily or else it gets pitched.

But occasionally there are posts I write that we decide I’ve waited to long to put up, or we fear are crossing a line for any reason (and you know that we have a good distance we’re willing to travel before we can even see the line, much less cross it).  Sometimes we write posts and re-read them only to say, “No, that’s not the message I wanted to send.”

I do not see this 'line' you speak of...

I do not see this ‘line’ you speak of…

This particular post was originally written July 14, 2013, but we decided that we had covered the topic it spoke of too much at the time and we hesitated before putting it up.  By the time we decided we could post it up, we realized the window of opportunity had passed and it was no longer topical.

Now with the recent controversies over Anita Sarkeesian’s criticisms of Video Games (particularly, for some reason, Hitman Absolution), the continued assaults on Zoe Quinn, and the recent ‘Celebgate’ hacked release of dozens of female celebrity’s private nude pictures…we’ve decided that this is somewhat topical again.  We’ve gone through and re-written small parts of it to add a topical nature to the commentary, and adjusted the links in case something we referenced is no longer active.

Aside from a few small alterations, this was going to be posted in July of 2013; that’s over a year ago.  So now see it all it’s glory (or lack thereof), having been rescued…

From the Archives!

I recently [in July of 2013] read a scathing review of Patton Oswalt’s career which was pretty entertaining.  Why?  Because it was written by Patton Oswalt, and I enjoy his self-deprecating style of humor.  This line sums up his self-deprecating genius:

“In 1992 I was in the San Francisco International Comedy Competition. Out of a field of 40 competitors, I think I came in 38. Maybe.”

It’s a good read, I definitely suggest it.  He talks about three major subjects, a long diatribe on joke thievery, a shorter tirade on heckling, and finally his third topic is Rape.  Although he really talks about a bit more than just rape jokes, but that’s the mainstay of the topic.

If you don’t feel the need or desire to read the whole thing (it is rather long, but enjoyable and enlightening nonetheless), then I’ll try to summarize his main point about rape jokes.  He says that he defended Daniel Tosh’s rape jokes, initially, because he didn’t believe there was a ‘rape community’ in this country because he didn’t want to commit rape.  Here’s the takeaway to what he says:

“The comedians I’ve known who joke about rape – and genocide, racism, serial killers, drug addiction and everything else in the Dark Subjects Suitcase – tend to be, internally and in action, anti-violence, anti-bigotry, and decidedly anti-rape. It’s their way – at least, it’s definitely my way – of dealing with the fact that all of this shittiness exists in the world. It’s one of the ways I try to reduce the power and horror those subjects hold for me.”

For those who have followed along to my humor, you’ll know that I feel very similar to him.  Now of course Patton Oswalt goes on to say that he was wrong about there being no rape culture and decides that rape jokes should not use the victim as the target of the joke.  He admits he was wrong about his beliefs and moves on, stating that he has learned from his mistakes.

As a side note the site I found the link to Oswalt’s took the wrong message from his letter and took it to mean that Oswalt had changed his opinion and believed rape jokes were wrong and nobody should ever make them.  Except that Oswalt says the exact opposite; which tells me the news site that linked to him didn’t actually read it.

As a matter of fact the whole thing was about Mike Krahulik (the ‘Gabe’ from Penny Arcade) and his recent [as of July, 2013] hooplah with the transgendered community.

To summarize it, he said that women have vaginas and men have penises.  He said that in response to a game devoted to helping women masturbate more efficiency, which was getting a bunch of vitriol because it didn’t have penises in it.

no penis

I fully support the Transgendered movement (or whatever you want to call it) and believe that transgendered people should be allowed to call themselves whatever they feel.  If you identify as a woman?  Dress and act like a woman.  If you identify as a man?  You can still dress and act like a woman, I really don’t care.

Besides, I don’t really consider your style of dress to denote your gender.  My fiancé [now, wife] wears men’s jeans, because she says that women’s jeans don’t have big enough pockets for her phone and wallet.  I know of several guys who wear a skirt, because they may be of Scottish descent and feels that ‘kilts’ are way more comfortable/acceptable than shorts when it’s hot out.

If you have a penis and identify as a woman, then that’s fine, psychologically you are a women and I will refer to you as ‘she/her’ if you want.  I don’t really even mind if you use the lady’s room at a restaurant or school, or if you play football.

I don’t believe in men’s clothes, men’s jobs, men’s duties, men’s music, men’s games, men’s books, or men’s sports.  But I do believe in men’s genitalia.  If you have a penis and identify as a woman, I’ll let you stand in the lady’s room and piss in the stall; but you are physically a man.  Biologically you are male, and 99% of the people who are like you biologically are identified as male.  I believe in the majorities for terminology.

Do I think those 99% of penis-bearers should harass or exclude you?  No.  Do I think that they should refer to you by whichever gender you feel more closely associated with?  Yes, if only to be polite.  Honestly if you wear a cloak and a crown and refer to yourself as Duke/Duchess of your house I will probably humor you with a curt bow when first introduced to you.  Do I think that we should call men’s pants as Men or Transgendered Women’s clothes?  No.  The majority of men’s pants are designed for the biological identification of men, which have penises.  If we want to be politically correct and change men’s pants to Penis-Bearer pants, I actually find that acceptable.  If you’re a man who was named Christopher at birth, who identifies as a woman, but has to wear men’s pants because you still have a penis; I will buy you men’s pants for your birthday* and tell your partner, “These are for Christine, I hope she likes them.”

But if you complain because the waistband says men’s pants on the label, I will laugh at you.  Just like I laugh at my [wife] when she scoffs at women’s pants and buys men’s pants.  Just like how I laughed at myself when I got an ingrown hair on my inner thigh and had to wear lady’s thong panties for a couple days because the fabric of my boxer briefs agitated the spot.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I find humor in horrible things because I am astounded that those things occur.  I find rape horrible…murder, theft, bad driving, picking on handicapped people, miscarriages, suicide, etc…all horrible, terrible things.  But I like rape jokes, murder jokes, jokes about stealing things, etc.

That is where Patton Oswalt and I have a small difference of opinion, though.  He says that we need to stop making rape jokes where the “victim is the target” of the joke, or particularly the victim is the punch line.  But I feel that doing so is a faulty idea.

Yes, the victim of a rape shouldn’t be part the target of a rape joke.  And I would never make a rape joke while I was giving a victim a rape kit, if I was his/her nurse.  I would not joke about him/her after my shift was over or anything like that.  But I might still buy a Dickwolves shirt from Penny Arcade.

One of the best holocaust jokes I know came from a friend who is half-Black, half-Jewish.  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again.  She introduces herself as half-Black and half-Jewish and then says, “It’s horrible, I have to stand in the back of the oven.”

The holocaust is one of the worst things to occur in semi-modern history, and it’s actually very poorly named because it wasn’t anything remote to a holocaust; it was a quiet, somewhat secretive campaign to slowly and steadily expunge an entire race.  Hiroshima and Nagasami were holocausts.  But that’s an entirely different topic.  Although…it does bring up a good point.

I hate that we used nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; especially Nagasaki.  I will admit that in President Truman’s position, I can’t promise I wouldn’t have made the same decision to utilize the bombs; I am thankful it was not my decision.  But I feel that we violated the rules of warfare, especially in Nagasaki, by dropping such a powerful weapon on civilians.  I feel that, as an American Citizen and a former member of the U.S. Armed Forces, that the Fat Man and Little Boy bombings are one of the darkest moments in our country’s history in the past century.

But that didn’t stop me from making an “Enola Gay” joke the other day when I watched a game commentary video and the guy in the video had a bomb dropped on him.  I don’t even remember the joke now, but it was a Hiroshima bombing joke of sorts.

No joke is off limits and nobody has the right to determine what jokes someone is or is not allowed to say; especially in the U.S.  You do, however, have every right to not enjoy the joke and to say so.  You have every right to not follow me and my site because I support rape jokes, although if you laugh at them then you’re an extra super-duper asshole for being a total hypocrite.  And I know a lot of hypocrites out there; people who got on Daniel Tosh’s shit, then laughed at more thinly veiled rape jokes and sexist jokes and stuff.

This guy is a comedic genius.

This guy is a comedic genius.

Seriously, though, read Patton Oswalt’s letter, it’s really interesting.  And Mr. Oswalt…I’ll let you know right now, that two of my favorite stories were written by you.  I use those anecdotes of yours a lot and I’m sure I don’t do them justice, but I always credit you as the original writer of the joke, because that’s how ‘stealing’ a joke should be done.

But once again, that’s a totally different topic.


*Note: That analogy is faulty in that…I don’t buy gifts for people’s birthdays.  And I don’t want you to buy me anything for my birthday, either.  Unless I am marrying you or in some kind of close, preferably blood, relation to you…your birthday and mine do not equate to a gift exchange.