Of course, it’s not simple to create comedy about gruesome things, like rape or mass murder. But it’s the job of comedians to find ways to have people laugh about absurd aspects of life, including evil, so they’ll try.
The Netherlands has a wide and beautiful tradition in comedy, as I reported before. It seems that Dutch jokes are often less vulgar than those of the Brits but more provocative than US jokes.
Last Sunday night, the most satirical Dutch TV program (Zondag met Lubach) at the most free-thinking Dutch network (VPRO) tried its hand at the Weinstein accusations-initiated avalanche of sex scandal revelations.
It presented an upbeat song advocating several verses long: If she doesn’t want, he should retreat and self-gratify. One guy even sang to a horny one: otherwise marry me. The studio audience loved it. So many years after secularization of most of the Netherlands from strict Calvinism, any mentioning of sex is still experienced as tremendously liberating. (Many of modern Dutch comedians have a foul tongue.)
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think that masturbation is an innocent harmless past-time. NB: I base this on psychological reasons, not on religious dogma or superstition, and I’m against preaching guilt or asceticism. Solo-sex addicts and it alters sexuality from attaching deeply to someone else into a solo trip, enlarging isolation and craving for sex. It distorts, reduces a deed of giving and receiving to an attempt to take.
It is definitely better to hurt yourself than someone else, but I still wouldn’t advocate self-flagellation as alternative. Even not as a joke.
More fundamentally, the jolly joke reiterates the misunderstanding that sexual violence would be caused by oversexed-ness. Rather, it’s aggression, overpowering people. The solution is not “a lesser sex drive,” but rather: “more respect and protection for weaker people.”
Rape is an act of grabbing; and so is solo-sex, as I mentioned above.
After yet another mass shootings, in which the murderer ends up killing himself, I often thought: They should change the order of things: first kill themselves. That would prevent a lot of heartache. But also that is not the alternative to strive for.
And jokes that hurt the victims are per definition unethical and uncouth.