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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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94 Responses

  1. julian
    julian December 4, 2009 at 4:30 pm |

    So could Josh/the paper be considered accessories to any rape that does occur after the publication of this?

    I mean, the student paper said it was ok!

  2. Michael Hussey
    Michael Hussey December 4, 2009 at 4:51 pm |

    College newspapers produce crap writing. College newspapers will avoid university corruption, for fear of losing their funding. Sadly, I am not surprised this was published.

  3. oldlady
    oldlady December 4, 2009 at 4:51 pm |

    This is the second college boy (who’s been publicized; there could be more!) who has thought writing a guide to raping a woman is a funny thing to do. Remember? The other one wrote about the woman’s “walk of shame” down the hall of the dorm. And this is the second college newspaper that has printed such crap. Wonder if there are any women on the staff of the papers? Wonder if the writers send their columns home to mom to read so she can be proud of what junior is doing in college.

  4. Personal Failure
    Personal Failure December 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm |

    O_o

  5. ABF
    ABF December 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm |

    What horrible timing considering the Center for Public Integrity just released a series about how college campuses overwhelmingly mishandle and hide student-student rape cases. I hope the school’s prepared and know how to handle their sh*t.

  6. kristen_
    kristen_ December 4, 2009 at 5:07 pm |

    the writer has issued a response/apology in the comments… he confirmed it, we can all file this little gem under the guise of “satire.” puhleez.

  7. Thomas
    Thomas December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |

    He’s telling us who he is and what he does. He self-identifies as a perfect fit with the predators in Lisak’s research, which I’ve discussed in prior posts. My take here.

  8. SlackerInc
    SlackerInc December 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm |

    I was agog as I read the piece, until the last couple sentences (and the fact that it took until then is a serious flaw with the author’s approach). However, those last two sentences (which were not excerpted above) make it clear (as does his apology/clarification, found in the comments section) that the columnist’s intent was to strongly *criticise* college guys who look at “scoring” with a girl (including date raping her) to be a worthy goal. He clearly thinks these kinds of guys are complete assholes, and lampooning their atavistic approach to sexuality is his actual goal. Here are the two sentences which close the piece:

    “It’s all pros no condoms, man, riiiight?. Check it out: you may have just lost a great friend, divided all of your acquaintances, defiled a neighbor’s home, lost the trust of everyone close to you, and cried yourself to sleep the following evening, but who cares, dude, YOU JUST HAD SEX!”

  9. Julie
    Julie December 4, 2009 at 5:41 pm |

    To be honest, I read it as satire. It’s true that it’s mediocre at best, but I think the clues are explicit enough that the piece is clearly condemning date rape. I think the main problem with it is that, as you said, Jill, the effect of sexual assault on the victim is absent.

  10. roses
    roses December 4, 2009 at 6:01 pm |

    He apologized in comments, I don’t know how to link directly to his apology but here’s a couple excerpts:

    First things first: apologies are needed for this article on behalf of me, the columnist. I’ll attempt to explain myself, but I accept that this is failed satire, and that’s that.

    This began as an attempt to satirize the men whose main goal in college life is to “score,” to go out and – as I’ve heard men say before – “slay” women at the bars or at the clubs. [...] I’m no Swift, but I attempted to use date-rape as the extreme example of men who go too far. I did not, though, consider the fact that I – as a male – have privileges that women living in our patriarchal society do not. I did not consider that women who have been raped might read this. That was a gross oversight, and to be honest I’m feeling pretty terrible about the whole situation. I apologize. I cannot stress enough that my aim was off – way off – and that the tone used in this article is much too light.

  11. Jadey
    Jadey December 4, 2009 at 6:14 pm |

    I’d rather these satirical gentlemen (and there are many, many, many, many of them), if biting political commentary is their true goal, to for once just SAY IT STRAIGHT. If you want to call out bad behaviour, forgo the guise of humour and just call it what it is, dammit. I would value that immensely. Hell, even Jon Stewart has had moments where no joke was enough to express the profundity of his disgust. It’s not a crime to lose the punchline.

    This is, of course, generously presuming that the attempt at satire is genuine, and not merely a lazy cover in the face of critical backlash. There’s more “satire” on rape out there than actual, real condemnation from these sources.

  12. Penny Bloom
    Penny Bloom December 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm |

    There are some things that are simply never funny. Never. There is certain ‘humor’ that simply misses the mark. Generally, it takes wit and intellect to find the right balance. We must assume that Mr. Brorby lacks both, apparently so does his editor.

    This ‘gentleman’ should consider himself not only an inept humorist, but an extraordinary fool for trying. If his intent was to make a stance against this sort of behavior, he failed, miserably.

    Still, he did satisfactorily prove that there is an over-abundance of insensitivity in this world; but we already knew that, Mr. Brorby.

    His article is therefore profoundly unnecessary.

    Advice to Brorby: Next time, try a spin where some idiot tries something like this, picks the wrong girl entirely, and winds up castrated, and grossly marred for life. We would all have a good laugh with that. The message “don’t be a jerk” would be better communicated. Too “painful” for you to describe? That’s the point.

  13. Erica A
    Erica A December 4, 2009 at 6:26 pm |

    Too many college journalists (and people in general) conflate satire and sarcasm. Truly, I have no doubt that Mr. Brorby is not actually advocating for individuals to go out and inject others with incapacitating drugs. Nonetheless, his “satire” not only lacks wit, it also lacks the necessary critique of the problem he’s “satirizing.” The last two sentences really don’t cut it–you made your friends angry because you acted like a jerk? That could maybe describe some of the aftermath of sexually assaulting someone, or the aftermath of drinking the last beer in the fridge, bro. (See, that was sarcasm, but not satire).

    The problem with any kind of rape joke is that there will very likely always be someone in the audience who doesn’t get the “joke.” The joke isn’t funny to these people, either, but for a different reason–it’s just a validation of the beliefs and attitudes they hold about sexual assault. This is the biggest problem with Mr. Brorby’s piece; regardless of his intentions, a whole slew of people (you’ll find them commenting at the end of the piece) just saw their weekend legitimized in print.

    I’ll be interested to see how he responds in his next column, which he says he’ll do in his comment.

  14. Jewell
    Jewell December 4, 2009 at 6:31 pm |

    I’d like to note that though he did apologize and this is important, it does not undue the damage done to women on our campus who have read this. To point out an apology at the top of a article is not productive in my eyes. The writer still must be called out regardless of apologizing. If anything, the apology should be at the bottom of the article. How is there anything decision to be made about the article itself? It’s still an appalling rape satire and perpetuates the cycle of victimization and smothers the voice of victims by glorifying the voice of a abuser. I’ll be looking for Brorby’s article on Tuesday and I support him through personal emails, but he still must be called out and take responsibility for the misgivings of the article.
    The big issue today was the editors response to the article in today’s paper, a response basically saying, “we’re sorry people feel the way they do about the article”. http://www.dakotastudent.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticle&ustory_id=bdd56e2b-a190-4fff-9264-36e27b975435

    As a student of UND this is disgusting. Brorby’s apology will be welcomed in Tuesday’s paper, but many student on campus here are still outraged that the editors themselves see nothing to apologize for.

    Six years ago a student at UND was murdered and raped. Dru’s death is still very present in our hearts and minds. … I have nothing else, this is so pitiful.

  15. Criss
    Criss December 4, 2009 at 6:47 pm |

    Well, at least he realizes it is FAILED satire. So, so, SO failed.

    And WTF with “I did not consider that women who have been raped might read this.” EXCUSE YOU??? Hast thou a brain? Seriously! Did you just not think WOMEN would read it?

    Satire is not easy. And if you’re going to play with such a sensitive subject, then you need to be extra careful — and extra skilled. This joker was neither.

  16. Jay@racialicious
    Jay@racialicious December 4, 2009 at 6:49 pm |

    There’s more “satire” on rape out there than actual, real condemnation from these sources.

    I wonder why. It’s possibly a fear of social harm? What does that say about our society if we can’t say “rape is wrong” without opening ourselves up for attack?

    I agree with Thomas’s assertion in his blog post, and it makes me cynical since we can almost pick any scenario, no matter how extreme, and still have people agree with it.

  17. Shinobi
    Shinobi December 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm |

    I agree Criss, wtf? He didn’t consider women at all, he considered his own annoyance with some guys. Any consideration of actual women is completely absent from this article.

  18. Shinobi
    Shinobi December 4, 2009 at 8:03 pm |

    Also, what about women who just want to get laid? I mean I know the methods he’s describing here are clearly a sexual assault parody. But finding someone who is also drunk to have a consensual one night stand because you want to get laid is not something only men do.

  19. Jadey
    Jadey December 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm |

    I wonder why. It’s possibly a fear of social harm?

    It is certainly a question I’d like to know the answer to. In the case of a hypothetical individual who really does want to speak truth to power, but is too clueless to do so effectively or without perpetuating the systems we are steeped in, I think that fear or nervousness plays a part.

    Ambiguity is a central element to humour (someone once defined humour to me as cognitive dissonance that releases tension instead of creating it), often involving the impossible collision of two incompatible expectations (e.g., puns that require us to simultaneously think about two different and mutually exclusive meanings of the same word or phrase). This can lead to powerful realizations as our perspectives on the realities we inhabit are tilted sideways and shaken about; hence, the power of good satire. But the same tactics of ambiguity can further obfuscate the already murky relationship between intent and effect. Hence the quick cover, “It was just a joke!” It’s not uncommon to use this kind of surreptitious, tentative humour to test the waters in social situations. By packaging something as “satire” or an ill-conceived joke, I think these writers hope to tread the line between expressing their political views and not alienating the perceived mainstream. It’s a lose-lose, though, if they aren’t clued-in enough to understand how to make subtle jabs at the system without doing more damage to their own side.

    I wish we were willing (and able) to say, “Rape is wrong” (or, hey, “Racism is wrong”, “Gay jokes are wrong”, etc. ad naus.)and say it often, instead of spending time and energy on being “clever”. I wish these writers realized that when their buddies talking about “scoring” and “slaying”, a few words from them then would be worth 1,000,000x as much as any satirical news column. Instead, we privilege the laughter.

  20. Jadey
    Jadey December 4, 2009 at 8:35 pm |

    Any consideration of actual women is completely absent from this article.

    Or he doesn’t remember the women who are raped are also the women he knows, who attend his institution, and who read, and not just some abstract concept out there in the aether. Someone needs to link him some stats, stat.

  21. umami
    umami December 4, 2009 at 8:47 pm |

    Probably because I read the apology before I read the piece I’m feeling oddly sympathetic to this guy.

    I guess it’s because unlike other asshole college columnists you’ve quoted here he really doesn’t seem to buy into rape culture, or he wants to find his way out of it. He’s not using “satire” as an excuse when he actually espouses the attitudes in his piece, he genuinely was attempting satire even if he did fuck up epically. I think he was trying to stand up against rape culture as he has observed it. That’s actually sort of brave. It doesn’t excuse his horrendous insensitivity and thoughtlessness, and seriously dude, didn’t it occur to you to get a female friend to read it? But… sympathy, here. Am I nuts?

    I know good intentions aren’t an excuse when well meaning people fuck up. But I do think this guy’s heart is in the right place and he shouldn’t be lumped in with, fr’example, that “I took Women’s Studies” fuckstick.

    The editors, though, who let it through and who wrote that assholish fauxpology dismissing all their critics, as linked to by Jewell? Douchebags. Their hearts are probably in their asses or somewhere.

  22. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl December 4, 2009 at 10:51 pm |

    If this were satire, wouldn’t he be satirizing the rapist and not the rape?

  23. The Chemist
    The Chemist December 5, 2009 at 3:20 am |

    I think his failed satire and sincere apology are being dismissed far too readily. He’s writing for a college paper, which unless I’m mistaken, many students write in to hone their skills: As in, their skills are un-honed to begin with. Let’s not get into the habit of giving people reputations based on the crap they generate during the learning process. 0

    As for harm, if that paper is anything like the one at my institution, very few people (especially those of “the score” mentality) likely read it in the first place. Look at the commenting trend for other articles. 15 comments is a lot for the paper. This one weighs in at 100+ likely because of this blog.

    I guess it’s because unlike other asshole college columnists you’ve quoted here he really doesn’t seem to buy into rape culture, or he wants to find his way out of it. He’s not using “satire” as an excuse when he actually espouses the attitudes in his piece, he genuinely was attempting satire even if he did fuck up epically. I think he was trying to stand up against rape culture as he has observed it. That’s actually sort of brave. It doesn’t excuse his horrendous insensitivity and thoughtlessness, and seriously dude, didn’t it occur to you to get a female friend to read it? But… sympathy, here. Am I nuts?

    This is also key, that satire is not the defense in and of itself. The intent of the satire is important, whatever the lack of skill. Ultimately, he fucked up, he know it, and had the decency to acknowledge that. Continuing to criticize him now smacks of a kind of costly parochialism. With the thousands and thousands of actual rape defenders out there, shining the spotlight on a lesson learned seems petty.

  24. Naamah
    Naamah December 5, 2009 at 6:17 am |

    “I did not consider that women who have been raped might read this.”

    Golly, durp durp I don’t see any women around here wearing giant red Rs on their shirts hurfle burfle I guess I don’t know any rape victims blah blah blah and none of them for sure would be reading the student paper!

    Yeah. Good one, you fucking ignorant asshole. Get a goddamn clue. Victims of rape, abuse, and other violent crimes really do fucking exist, and just like the asshole rapists you’re “satirizing” and who create far too many of these victims in the first place, you can’t fucking tell who is one by looking.

    Fuckneck.

  25. P.T. Smith
    P.T. Smith December 5, 2009 at 8:39 am |

    @ Naahmah

    Seriously? Seriously? How in the world is it helpful to lump evvvveryone together into one category of “fuckneck?” and “fucking ignorant asshole.” Do you have any idea how much that lessens the chances of people changing their behavior or learning any lesson. And do you notice how you had to pick that quote out of the actual, full apology to get to that anger. He raise the issue of the damage that our society does to men, and white men in particular, it lets us remain ignorant of everyone else and of what advantages we have. He was able to write an article like this without thinking about how it would affect people, because our society runs on the assumption that you are speaking to a white, straight male, and when you are a white, straight male, unless you train yourself, or have an experience like this to really force awareness, you continue to run in that assumption. I would be willing to bet money that the person who got him to write this apology didn’t fun around calling him a fuckneck, but sat down and talked to him.

  26. SlackerInc
    SlackerInc December 5, 2009 at 8:42 am |

    “I think he was trying to stand up against rape culture as he has observed it. That’s actually sort of brave.”

    Yes!! That is what is really sad about all this: this guy was actually taking a risky stand (and not in the way it appears at first) and he gets reamed for it. As I see it, the only truly autobiographical part of the piece is at the end: he probably has at least one good female friend, someone whom he genuinely cares about, who was at the very least treated poorly and more likely assaulted, and the alienated friends (of the cad) referred to in the piece include the columnist.

    I also think he was trying to set a trap for the guys that buy into that rape culture (and this is why the sarcasm is subtle at the beginning). He wanted them to nod along as they read, sort of mentally giving themselves high fives for seeing themselves in what the columnist was apparently lionizing. But then when they get to the end, the trap is sprung and they are the goat.

    Really a shame most of the rest of you are denouncing him so fiercely.

  27. Natalie
    Natalie December 5, 2009 at 9:16 am |

    I do appreciate the apology, and I do think there’s a difference between his pieces, which was clearly intended to disparage this behavior, and the walk of shame piece which was clearly encouraging it.

    That said, it was still a big mistake to publish this and to not call rape what it is and imply that the real fall out of unnamed sexual assault is inconvenience to the man.

    And PT Smith and SlackerInc, Brorby says himself he was wrong, why not take him at his word and not try to give him a cookie for good intentions?

  28. lisa
    lisa December 5, 2009 at 9:41 am |

    I agree with everyone who said there’s a difference between his piece and a lot of the other frat boy rape apologia that shows up here. I do consider his apology acceptable, for me personally at least (not trying to disparage anyone who feels differently, as that’s their decision to make), because it seems apparent – again, to me personally – that the article was intended to be satire from the beginning, albeit very bad satire.

    I do think his comment about not considering that women who had been raped might read it smacks of, if not male privilege, then at least a male-as-default mindset that I really, really hope he learns from enough to start seriously considering female viewpoints, and to start calling rape what it is. That really made me go “WTF?,” but I felt the rest of his apology was solid. But I think he meant well from the beginning, although good intentions don’t negate your ability to fuck up. And he did fuck up, but he also admitted he fucked up, which is good enough for me.

    I do kind of wonder how his editor could let this go to print, though. Could nobody see what a horrible idea this article was?

  29. Lizzie
    Lizzie December 5, 2009 at 9:51 am |

    Here are the names of all the editors of this “newspaper”. Email addresses seem to be mostly firstname.lastname@und.edu

    Editor in chief : Michael Thomas michael.thomas@und.edu
    Op Ed editor: Mitchell Molstad mitchell.molstad@und.edu
    Features editor: Derek Scott derek.scott2@und.edu (note the 2, obviously there’s another one who one would not want to wrongly address!)
    News editor: Allison Krause allison.krause@und.edu
    Media editor: Luke Johnson dakotastudentmedia@gmail.com
    By associaton I imagine josh.brorby@und.edu or joshua.brorby@und.edu would probably work.

    I would think this was either in features or op-ed. Either way, buck stops with the editor in chief.
    http://www.dakotastudent.com/home/generalinformation/

    Good news is, now people can know now firstly to never hire these people, and secondly, if Brorby or his accomplices are ever up on rape charges, they’ve handed their prosecutors a mighty stick with which to beat them. Most rape apologists who later go on to rape (or who already have), are not so generous.

    Also working there but I’m not sure they’d have had any say in the matter, but here are their names/contacts:
    Sports editor: Alison Kelly alison.kelly@und.edu
    Photo editor: Andy Cuilla andrew.ciulla@und.edu

  30. Lizzie
    Lizzie December 5, 2009 at 10:35 am |

    SlackerInc – with this issue being what it is, it is the pulling of all his punches at the end that means it fails to achieve what you believe it intended.

    Here’s how this would have gone, if it WERE satire, or competent satire. Exactly the same, all the way through, then this (TRIGGER WARNING):

    “You just had sex! Now, pass on your wisdom. Teach your buddies!

    Then, it’s a year later, you wake up in the night, and your girlfriend is sitting up in bed, staring into space. She’s beautiful, funny, kind; the love of your life. You’d do anything for her. She’s got tears in her eyes, and you can’t bear to see it; it makes you cold to your core. You knew something was up, because sometimes she’s distant, or she cringes when you touch her unexpectedly. But you don’t know what. So you take her hand and you implore her to tell you what’s wrong. And that’s when you find out, the target your friend chose, the owner of the body he violated and the life he ruined… was her.”

    That would’ve made clear whose side he was on.

  31. oldlady
    oldlady December 5, 2009 at 10:52 am |

    I think the point that has to be made is that some topics just can’t be satirized or made the object of humor: rape, child molestation, and the holocaust, for example. People seem to recognize that about the last two but not about rape.

  32. lisa
    lisa December 5, 2009 at 12:09 pm |

    oldlady, I think rape can be made the subject of humor – I know some rape survivors who used black humor as a coping mechanism, and it worked for them. However, I do think rape can’t (or shouldn’t) be made an object of humor by people who have never experienced it, especially not in a large public forum with little to no warning.

  33. amandaw
    amandaw December 5, 2009 at 12:13 pm |

    I think the mistake he made is trying to satirize something that is widely accepted and practiced already. Eating babies was not widely accepted and practiced. Rape and sexual assault is. That’s why it failed so hard.

    I can see where he was going — note I read the apology first, so that colored my view of the writing. I can see what he was trying to do, and identify the areas where it veered off-course or didn’t take the right approach.

    But regardless, there’s no good way to write what he intended to write, because it’s not satire if you’re just describing something that already happens every day to people across the world, across your country and across your campus. There is no way to satirize that. Satire is making a point about something that does happen by making it so extreme that it is no longer what actually happens, but a grossly exaggerated distillation of it that illustrates what makes it so wrong.

    He’s describing something that is exaggerated as it happens already. Which means there’s no way to take it down with satire. If you want to take it down, you’re going to have to be straightforward. Almost like… an advocate.

  34. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl December 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm |

    @ PT Smith

    “He was able to write an article like this without thinking about how it would affect people, because our society runs on the assumption that you are speaking to a white, straight male, and when you are a white, straight male, unless you train yourself, or have an experience like this to really force awareness, you continue to run in that assumption.”

    No, we’ve moved beyond this point, which is why it is so easy to spot men behaving badly because they are the only ones holding on to this dying canard of white male supremacy. Women aren’t here to raise the consciousness of men; we’re here to raise our own consciousness so that we can collectively learn what our worth is – we define rape for ourselves and we define which men are offensive to us vis-a-vis our worth.

    If, as you claim, white, straight men are incapable of self-reflection, then so be it. That’s a rather self-limiting trait, one with out much social value, and not likely to be generally supported. If, however, men are capable of self-reflection (something that I believe), then the continued use of “satire”, in regards to those actions that *most* damage women’s worth, is bald in its misogyny.

  35. Ergo
    Ergo December 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm |

    On the bright side, at least this piece makes it very, very clear who’s *responsible* for the rape. Hint: it’s not the woman who’s been drugged unconscious.

  36. James Martin
    James Martin December 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm |

    This guy is obviously inexperienced at writing. He does set up an ambiguity, however. He does not know how to distance himself from the criminal actions of his 1st person protagonist. It’s not only poor writing, it calls into question his motivations, experience, social world, and what he really meant when he wrote the alleged article.
    He ought to be forced into a basic writing course.
    It would also be instructive to all the people responding to this to take a good look at the atmosphere in which crimes like these are committed, encouraged, appear to be a rite of passage, etc.

  37. Erica A
    Erica A December 5, 2009 at 4:24 pm |

    My initial read of this piece was pretty negative, and I’ve already commented on that aspect; however, I have been thinking about this (I’m a college columnist myself) and I do want to say one thing in support of Mr. Brorby.

    Though this piece missed the mark, to put it mildly, he has an opportunity to do something extraordinary here. There is not a doubt in my mind that he did not mean the words of his column to be taken literally. But now eyes are upon him, and in a lot of ways, he’s being given another chance to make the critique of the attitudes that intertwine sex, alcohol, and power, and that critique will reach a far broader audience than he ever intended.

    Calling him names and accusing him of being accessory to rape will only enhance his temptation to write an apology which explains himself, his opinions, and why he’s not a rapist. The way to fix this is to take a stand against rape. No jokes, no humor, no satire, no sarcasm–just a straight-up discussion of the misogynistic attitudes which surround rape and sexual assault.

    I agree with the assessment that this piece was inconsiderate and poorly thought-out. But we ourselves can look at this as a kind of opportunity. Feel free to disagree, but I think Mr. Brorby wanted to make an argument against these attitudes. Instead of tearing him apart for his initial failure, we should be explaining to him why he missed the mark, and how a piece which truly decries rape culture would have a far more powerful effect than any attempt at explaining himself.

  38. Andrea
    Andrea December 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm |

    Erica A, well said. Of course the article was horrible, but I agree with you that there’s room for constructive growth here, rather than irate name-calling (which I’m rarely a fan of anyway). I couldn’t agree with you more. Hopefully he’ll take your advice to heart and actually follow through.

  39. P.T. Smith
    P.T. Smith December 5, 2009 at 7:13 pm |

    @Natilie

    And PT Smith and SlackerInc, Brorby says himself he was wrong, why not take him at his word and not try to give him a cookie for good intentions?

    I never tried to give him credit for any intentions. I defended his apology. Besides, there is a difference between the person at fault defending himself instead of apologizing, and outside people pointing out the complications of his original mistake.

    @lisa
    I do think his comment about not considering that women who had been raped might read it smacks of, if not male privilege, then at least a male-as-default mindset that I really, really hope he learns from enough to start seriously considering female viewpoints, and to start calling rape what it is. That really made me go “WTF?,” but I felt the rest of his apology was solid.

    I agree with most of what you said here, but I’m still not sure why people keep on taking that quote out of its context in the apology. Right before it, he admits to having slipped into lack of recognition of male privilege. That admission shades the whole apology as him recognizing how he has taken advantage of male privilege. When people take that one line out of the rest of the apology, it denies that recognition.

    @ Q Grrl

    How in the world do you think we have moved beyond this point? That is an absurd claim that does damage to any attempt to actually move beyond this point. Along with that, you pull a really low move in any argument, take what one person said, mangle it into an easily defensible point, and defend from there instead of defending what the person actually said. It’s this type of stuff that usually prevents me from wading into any Internet argument, but I’ve already done the wading, so here goes.

    Our society still does run on the assumption that the audience is a white, straight male. Look at the marketing of any film, book, video game, anything. They are targeted in a whitewashed way, because the assumption is that if any sort of realistic diversity is emphasized in the movie, then it becomes a “black” or a “woman’s” movie so that the white male demographic will have no interest in seeing it. At the same time, it is assumed that, since this is how things are done, everyone else will still see it. There was a YA book recently, by a black author, with a black character, that had a white girl on the cover, because a black girl will still buy a book with a white girl on the cover, but if a white girl sees a black girl on the cover, she won’t be interested.

    Making it more specific – I work in an office that is biased against younger people, especially against woman. My friends have to much, much more careful than me of how they stand up for themselves, how they argue any position, because they are young woman. Simply, I can get away with more than them. In a utilitarian sense, there is NO reason for me to notice this. I can easily get by without noticing, because it doesn’t affect me. This is not a lack of self-reflection, in fact this position would only be self-reflection. If, before I noticed this, someone just attacked me for taking advantage of this position, without even knowing it was a position, I would just be offended, defensive, and pissed off. But because I’ve tried in general to be more aware of this, and because all my friends at the office are woman and they have brought it up without ever attacking me, I am able to respond better to the whole situation. When someone makes an awful mistake because they don’t see how other people are being affected by the assumed language of the world they are living in, and then they get attacked and called a rapist, you know what you get? You get the “apology” the editors offered. When you take another path you get the apology the author gave, and then the change he will likely make in the future.

    Another point. I never said women should be raising anybody’s consciousness, so don’t set up an argument I never made so it can be easily knocked down. Anyone, anyone, who is aware of white, straight male as the assumed language, when noticing someone acting terribly, without awareness of that state, should, if they care about changing that, act – that includes us privileged bastards who could, if we chose, benefit from it.

  40. ripley
    ripley December 5, 2009 at 7:56 pm |

    PT, you say “I never said women should be raising anybody’s consciousness, so don’t set up an argument I never made”

    but before that you said
    “because all my friends at the office are woman and they have brought it up without ever attacking me, I am able to respond better to the whole situation. ”

    this is in fact you suggesting that women should raise men’s consciousness. You are saying that women should not “attack” men or else what? men won’t care or won’t notice what happens to women? Men respond badly? you make it sound like it’s the women’s fault if you didn’t learn something about sexism.

    But what is sexism? it is a system that places women at a disadvantage. So by ALSO making it women’s fault if MEN don’t learn about sexism, you doubly burden women.

    Look, it is nice that women took the time or had the energy or liked you enough or whatever, to present the issues in ways that didn’t make you feel like you were being attacked. But women do not owe you or any man this. Yes, it would be nice if everyone did this. But look at the specific issue of sexism – sexism puts women under more pressure than men, it makes them more vulnerable and more in danger of a lot of things.

    The problem is women are ACTUALLY being attacked, all the time, verbally (with the threat of sexual attack or job loss or what have you) and with things like rape and other violence. That is the big problem. That is the sexism. So sometimes that atmosphere of constantly being under attack means women don’t have the energy to manage whether men feel attacked or not by being told that women are being attacked.

  41. Comrade PhysioProf
    Comrade PhysioProf December 5, 2009 at 8:49 pm |

    The reason his putative attempt at satire fell flat is that the reality–how some college douchebags actually think about “getting laid”–and the intended satirical version of reality–how an extreme stereotypical version of a college douchebag thinks about “getting laid”–are indistinguishable.

  42. seriousfluffy
    seriousfluffy December 5, 2009 at 9:23 pm |

    It seems very obvious from the very beginning of the piece that it is criticism of the culture that makes date rape so common. I really can’t see how it could be missed. At the start he says that this course of action requires a total “lack of respect for yourself and your victim” and a disregard for the law.
    I really think the outrage is mostly because of his age and gender, not the actual article. At no point is this behavior genuinely endorsed, nor is is there any basis to insist he engages in this behavior.
    I understand the need to prevent rape from being used for humor, but this was not a making fun of rape or rape victims. It is making fun of “dudes” who are in reality rapists and deserve ridicule.

  43. SlackerInc
    SlackerInc December 5, 2009 at 9:28 pm |

    “if Brorby or his accomplices are ever up on rape charges, they’ve handed their prosecutors a mighty stick with which to beat them.”

    Jesus, get a clue. Can’t believe anyone is still taking this tack this deep in the comments. Did you take the time to read other comments as well as the full column while you were taking the time to get all these email addresses? I think most other commenters by this point realise (though the original excerpting was frankly irresponsible and unfair to the author) that even if they think the column was a dud, it is not actually promoting rape or describing the columnist’s own behaviour, but rather behaviour which he is DENOUNCING.

  44. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm |

    “I would be willing to bet money that the person who got him to write this apology didn’t fun around calling him a fuckneck, but sat down and talked to him.”

    and

    “Jesus, get a clue. Can’t believe anyone is still taking this tack this deep in the comments. Did you take the time to read other comments as well as the full column while you were taking the time to get all these email addresses?”

    Hey, I have a question. Why is it that whenever a man makes light of rape and women get pissed off and call him out for his assholishness, other men always show up to criticize the women who get pissed off and try to admonish them as if they are the ones with the problem for expressing their quite righteous anger?

    If this man really wants to understand how much he fucked up, what he needs is to hear from women just how much he fucked up.

  45. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 5, 2009 at 10:00 pm |

    “I did not, though, consider the fact that I – as a male – have privileges that women living in our patriarchal society do not.”

    Gosh, ya’ think?

  46. P.T. Smith
    P.T. Smith December 5, 2009 at 10:24 pm |

    @ Ripley

    Are you only reading what you want to read? I still have not made the suggestion that women are responsible for raising anybody’s consciousness. You blatantly cut off what I said to fit your false argument. You don’t even finish my sentence, much less the point of the paragraph:

    “Anyone, anyone, who is aware of white, straight male as the assumed language, when noticing someone acting terribly, without awareness of that state, should, if they care about changing that, act – that includes us privileged bastards who could, if we chose, benefit from it.”

    Anyone does not mean women only. I don’t get how you can even think that is what I suggested, when I state otherwise.

    @ Faith from F.N.

    You’ve rearranged the order of the discussion. I am not in any way defending the original article or arguing against any rightful anger at it. I am only defending the apology against the attacks on that.

    And you say that he need to hear from women just how he fucked up, are you suggesting women are responsible for raising men’s consciousness? (I think I’m having trouble making that sound not like an attack. It’s not meant to be, just trying to get another aspect on that discussion)

  47. wiggles
    wiggles December 5, 2009 at 11:03 pm |

    “…it is not actually promoting rape or describing the columnist’s own behaviour, but rather behaviour which he is DENOUNCING.”

    Go tell it to the commenters on the original piece who are clapping him on the back and blaming rape victims.

  48. seriousfluffy
    seriousfluffy December 6, 2009 at 12:18 am |

    “Hey, I have a question. Why is it that whenever a man makes light of rape and women get pissed off and call him out for his assholishness, other men always show up to criticize the women who get pissed off and try to admonish them as if they are the ones with the problem for expressing their quite righteous anger? ”
    I’m not actually sure if this was directed at me, but I am a woman. I just think the anger is misdirected and doing more harm than good.

  49. umami
    umami December 6, 2009 at 12:51 am |

    I just want to distance myself from the views of some of the commenters who quoted and agreed with me above.

    I do not think that coming into a feminist space and telling women who were quite justifiably enraged by this piece not to be angry, or not to express their anger, or whatever, is helpful or useful in any way.
    The guy didn’t think about rape victims reading it when he wrote his column about rape. Some commenters here still don’t seem to be thinking about that or need to stop and think about how “oops, sorry, I forgot you* existed” is just rubbing salt in the wound.

    And on a personal level, I thoroughly dislike it when men tell women not to be angry. I don’t really get why so many men find specifically female anger threatening, given how much more rational it would be for them to be frightened of male anger instead. It’s not that any individual commenter on this thread is necessarily part of that pattern, but it’s a common one I’ve noticed and when I see something that looks like that it really bugs me.

    *or your sister, or your best friend, or your mother…

  50. Li
    Li December 6, 2009 at 1:33 am |

    SlackerInc:
    “Yes!! That is what is really sad about all this: this guy was actually taking a risky stand (and not in the way it appears at first) and he gets reamed for it.”

    I have other things to say, but first: I am astounded that you thought it appropriate to use a sexual violence metaphor to describe critiques of Brorby’s failed rape satire.

  51. SlackerInc
    SlackerInc December 6, 2009 at 2:44 am |

    @wiggles: Are you suggesting that a writer of a column (or a blog post, like the one here) should be held responsible for the comments posted beneath it?

  52. Chally
    Chally December 6, 2009 at 3:32 am |

    Okay, SlackerInc, you’re pissing me off, and you are going on mod. And P.T. Smith, please watch yourself.

    Also: Irrespective of Brorby’s intentions or personal behaviour, irrespective of how obvious his intent might be to anyone here, many, many people are going to only pick up that sexually assaulting women is okay. He should have realised that, and that is a good bit of the problem here. That is why his apology, while important, isn’t enough.

  53. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 6, 2009 at 10:12 am |

    “I am only defending the apology against the attacks on that.”

    Irrelevant. It’s part of male privilege to believe that a man can simply apologize and that’s the end of it. His apology doesn’t necessarily mean anything. What matters is whether or not he will truly learn from the experience. For starters, no one even knows for sure if his apology is sincere. Perhaps he is just trying to cover his ass.

    “And you say that he need to hear from women just how he fucked up, are you suggesting women are responsible for raising men’s consciousness?”

    I don’t believe women are “responsible for raising men’s consciousness”. I do believe that women are fully entitled to express their anger. I also -do- believe that it is men’s responsibility to actually -listen- when women express their anger.

  54. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 6, 2009 at 10:14 am |

    “I just think the anger is misdirected and doing more harm than good.”

    How could it possibly do more harm than good for women to express their anger? How can you say that women should not express their anger when a man makes light of rape? Do you have any idea where you are posting?

  55. kiki
    kiki December 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm |

    People, I don’t get all the outrage over this article. It was clear from the beginning (to me at least) that it was arguing against rape culture. Yes his piece had many flaws and lacked subtlety. No doubt about that. But wouldn’t it be better to point out what it lacked than to scream that it promotes rape culture, or that the author himself is a rapist, when it so very obviously was not the intention? I think the reaction I’ve seen on this blog is incredibly harmful. One of the biggest reasons people don’t write about rape more is because it is such a delicate subject. If they don’t do it just right, and everyone has a different opinion of what just right is, they will be ripped apart by angry feminist. They will be accused of aiding rape culture or they will be called a rapist. Who wants to deal with that? Comments like many on this blog only discourage others from attempting to write about rape.

  56. Jadey
    Jadey December 6, 2009 at 1:26 pm |

    Comments like many on this blog only discourage others from attempting to write about rape.

    For writers out there who are uncertain enough about their ability to write successful satire about rape culture that comments by strangers on a blog are sufficient to discourage them… Good. BE DISCOURAGED. Don’t tackle *that* topic in *that* way unless you seriously, seriously, seriously understand what you are talking about. Either write satire about something less intense or, and I would appreciate this, just come out and criticize rape culture, without trying for the humourous appeal.

    Incidentally, criticizing rape culture isn’t that hard (okay, harder when one is working through the lenses of privilege, and I’m not just talking male privilege either). Doing it satirically is.

  57. cacophonies
    cacophonies December 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm |

    Leaving out the last couple sentence was really disappointing.

  58. kiki
    kiki December 6, 2009 at 1:44 pm |

    #59

    Yes criticize the writing. Thats what an intelligent reader would do. But don’t accuse the author of aiding rape culture or of being a rapist.

  59. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 6, 2009 at 2:03 pm |

    “Comments like many on this blog only discourage others from attempting to write about rape.”

    What Jadey said.

  60. Jadey
    Jadey December 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm |

    Kiki, I just took half an hour and re-read this entire thread. Only once did a commenter suggest that Brorby sounded like a rapist himself (Thomas @ 7), and that was *before* it was established that this was an attempt at satire, in which case Thomas correctly recognized that Brorby was indeed trying to sound like a rapist (succeeding magnificently, clearly). No other commenter called Brorby a rapist or implied that he was one, so kindly stop referring to this non-existent argument.

    As for reinforcing rape culture, yes, bad satire does that when people take it seriously instead of recognizing it as satire. While some people were able to glean Brorby’s actual intent, he missed the mark with a lot of people otherwise. Part of criticizing the writing is criticizing the effect.

    But even more than the clumsy reinforcement of beliefs people already have about rape through sloppy writing, I’m frustrated that his ignorance led him to write such awful, triggering things, completely clueless about the number of his readers who have been raped in exactly the scenario he described in such loving detail. And the silencing responses to criticisms of his article (“he didn’t mean it, just leave him alone, stop being so mean, this is why nobody likes you, because you can’t take a joke”) do a lot more to promote rape culture than just a bad news column.

  61. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm |

    “Yes criticize the writing. Thats what an intelligent reader would do. But don’t accuse the author of aiding rape culture or of being a rapist.”

    As for accusing them of aiding rape culture, I fail to see any reason why anyone shouldn’t make that accusation if it seems that they -are- aiding rape culture. As to accusing them of being an actual rapist, I’d say it does go too far to accuse someone of actually being a rapist without a very solid reason to believe such a thing. I wouldn’t say that it goes too far to state that a person -sounds- like they -might- be a rapist. Or perhaps even state that it’s -likely- that the person is a rapist. Not saying that is the case with the author of this article, but I have certainly read many similar articles written by men where I would bet a serious amount of money that the author was a rapist.

  62. Melissa
    Melissa December 6, 2009 at 2:48 pm |

    I’m going to agree that, although the article was offensive and poorly written, it’s time to give this guy a break. All the college newspaper rape apology that shows up (and there seems to be A LOT, gee, wonder if that has anything to do with the terrifying rape stats on college campuses?) is followed by an insincere apology which basically amounts to “I’m sorry YOU were offended”…and usually also “I’m sorry YOU didn’t get it. I’m sorry YOU couldn’t understand my brilliant humor.” The “apology” from the editors sounded a lot like that.

    The author’s apology, though…it just wasn’t that way. It was more like “Wow. I screwed up. I’m sorry I did that. I’ll check my privilege in the future.”

  63. wiggles
    wiggles December 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm |

    SlackerInc 12.6.2009 at 2:44 am

    @wiggles: Are you suggesting that a writer of a column (or a blog post, like the one here) should be held responsible for the comments posted beneath it?

    I’m suggesting that you’re spending a highly disproportionate amount of time here defending Brorby’s intentions rather than over there explaining to rape apologists and advocates that they’re being ridiculed and condemned.

  64. Sailorman
    Sailorman December 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm |

    There are two conversations going on here. One is subjective (is it OK to be angry?) and one is objective (what type of result is an angry response likely to produce?)

    It makes no sense to mix them up. Of course it’s OK to be angry. We can all be angry at pretty much anything we want; we can all make our own judgments about whether intent matters, or whether this article is a net harm or net gain.

    But just because the anger is valid doesn’t mean that it is going to produce the perfect result.

    I don’t know if this particular person will respond well or not. I do think, though, that generally speaking we need to give more slack to people who are just starting to lean in the right direction, because most people take baby steps at first. If we require giant steps at first, then fewer people will make it out of the pool at all.

    This seemed to me like a baby step. It was a (bad) attempt to write an article. Perhaps it was the first attempt he’s ever made to put something in writing which amounted to an anti-rape message. And he didn’t do so well, nope: but the reactions may mean he won’t try again.

    Being male may mean that I shouldn’t post an opinion on whether he should try again, or whether the article was a net gain or loss to anti-rape thinking on that campus. So i won’t.

    But being male has nothing to do with the other analysis: If making what appears to be an attempt to write against rape (or anything) is viewed (correctly or not) as dangerous to try, then fewer people will do it at all. If there are topics that can be printed quickly, and other topics that require multiple editors to review them for political issues, then the papers will simply tend to stick to the easy topics.

  65. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl December 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm |

    I think what’s been missed by Brorby and his defenders can be summed up in the difference between someone saying:

    “Comments like many on this blog only discourage others from attempting to write about rape.”

    as opposed to writing something more truthful, like:

    “Comments like many on this blog only discourage men from attempting to write about rapists.”

    I’ve yet to see *anyone* truly discouraged from writing about (other people’s) rape. It is prime fodder for news and entertainment – from TV, to music, to video games. People write about and otherwise depict (other people’s) rape daily.

    What we don’t write about with any conviction is the rapist. Brorby himself does this in both his failed satire *and* his apology. I mean, who the hell does he think raped all those women (who have been raped) that he forgot to think about prior to publishing his opinion?

    Both the original piece and his apology leave me with the sense that Brorby is ever so slightly jealous of those other guys’ sexual forays – to the point that he wants to moralize what is good and what is bad sexual behavior for college aged men (all without even once considering that women in his reading audience have been raped!). Brorby seems much more interested in reinforcing the objectification of women as something to be (eventually) obtained for men’s sexual gratification – only, guys, make sure u r doin’ it right; don’t be a pathetic loser rapist!

    Mr. Brorby: you don’t own us either.

  66. Meg
    Meg December 6, 2009 at 6:57 pm |

    I like Brorby’s apology far better than the one from the Dakota Student Editorial Board:

    “Some have labeled it as a guide on how to commit rape, while others have criticized the article for joking about abuse.

    While Mr. Brorby’s column fits neither of those criticisms, we nonetheless feel the need to address the responses it has provoked.”

    http://media.www.dakotastudent.com/media/storage/paper970/news/2009/12/04/Opinion/Response.Brorby.Column-3845985.shtml

    Awha?

  67. SlackerInc
    SlackerInc December 6, 2009 at 7:24 pm |

    What does “going on mod” mean?

  68. Chally
    Chally December 6, 2009 at 9:02 pm |

    It means that your comments will now all be subject to a moderator’s approval.

  69. Li
    Li December 6, 2009 at 9:18 pm |

    Sailorman, I disagree.

    I don’t think the anger of survivors in this case is just emotionally valid, I think it’s politically vital. There is, almost constantly, a push to engage in discussions like these in a calm “lets have a debate” manner. Not only is this considerably more difficult for survivors, but it actually gives equal weight to both sides. Our anger, our rage, our sadness; all of these demonstrate the profound hurt rape culture causes. They demonstrate that survivors are real people with real lives, that we aren’t merely statistics or academic ideas. Emotion is vital in demonstrating this.

    People are empathetic as well as rational, and while I can’t speak for Josh Brorby, I suspect that it is survivor’s anger at him, as well as people’s more calm responses, that demonstrated to him that he fucked up. I also suspect that he has the maturity to take that anger on board in the long term. If Brorby is committed to making up for this, then his ethical obligations aren’t just to listen to the calm people, it’s to hear the angry people.

    And just so people know, I write this as someone who is a former student publication editor, as someone who has fucked up as a writer, and editor and an activist, and as a survivor and a man.

  70. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 6, 2009 at 10:42 pm |

    “If making what appears to be an attempt to write against rape (or anything) is viewed (correctly or not) as dangerous to try, then fewer people will do it at all.”

    Writing about rape is “dangerous” in a sense. It is a very delicate and very complex subject. If a person is not prepared to handle criticism and anger that is directed their way when writing about rape, then they are not prepared to write about rape.

    It really is that simple.

  71. Ergo
    Ergo December 6, 2009 at 11:45 pm |

    “Both the original piece and his apology leave me with the sense that Brorby is ever so slightly jealous of those other guys’ sexual forays – to the point that he wants to moralize what is good and what is bad sexual behavior for college aged men (all without even once considering that women in his reading audience have been raped!). Brorby seems much more interested in reinforcing the objectification of women as something to be (eventually) obtained for men’s sexual gratification – only, guys, make sure u r doin’ it right; don’t be a pathetic loser rapist!”

    Where are you even getting this from? People have been pointing out places where he explicitly criticizes this behavior in the original article all up and down this thread. This is illogical and unproductive.

    He also explicitly noted his male privilege and resulting naivete in his apology. I think we can all go find something else to discuss now, since we won’t know if he’s actually changed his behavior until he writes something else.

    Also, seriously, authors are NOT responsible for other people misinterpreting their work. If someone is so goddamn stupid as to read that article and take it as an endorsement or instruction to go out and rape women, then it’s their own fault. Blaming the author for writing the misinterpreted material is like the Beatles being blamed for Charles Manson, to use an extreme example.

  72. P.T. Smith
    P.T. Smith December 7, 2009 at 12:29 am |

    @ Ergo

    Gah. Before anyone attempts to put me in the same boat as you.

    Couldn’t you have stopped after the second paragraph you wrote? Because till then it was something intelligent that I agree with. Then you went all wacky, insulty, and used a false simile. An author is responsible for interpretation to a degree. The author has no control over interpretation, but does have to try to control to some degree. If every single person who reads your work thinks there is one specific meaning in it, and you sit there going “No, no! I meant this other thing!” Guess what? Shitty writer, and that piece doesn’t mean what you wanted it to mean.

    The simile is bad because Charles Manson wasn’t a large number of people with their full mental capacity. He was a single, disturbed individual. Any interpretation that is held by a significant number of readers, and actually responds to what is in a text is valid. An author has every right to respond to that by pointing to all the other interpretations and dismiss criticism, but considering where the criticism comes from in this case, and why, he’d be a huge jackass to do so. And he didn’t.

    You claim that there has been some illogic and unproductive in this thread, then you try to backtrack the discussion to a point that most everyone here has already agreed on and tried to move forward.

    I don’t really even have any sides in this damned thing anymore since I got told to watch myself for participating, but I still want the discussion to hold to logic and people responding to what people actually said. No more shifting goalposts, please.

  73. SlackerInc
    SlackerInc December 7, 2009 at 1:35 am |

    First, a couple loose ends to clear up: I apologise for inadvertently using a word (“reamed”) that apparently has a historical connection to rape in an earlier post–that was certainly not my intention as I only ever hear this word in its modern usage as a synonym for “harshly criticised”. And @wiggles #66, I see your point. I did not see the posts you are referring to, but I will confess that I only read a dozen or so comments before posting over there.

    @cacophonies #60: This is an important part of this imbroglio that deserves more attention. This post may never see the light of day (since I’m “on mod”), but bloggers have a responsibility to not only obey the Fair Use doctrine when excerpting source material, but also to be responsible about how they excerpt so as not to gin up a controversy by being unfairly selective about their excerpting choices.

    There’s a lot of discussion on this thread about the editors of the student newspaper (and just to be clear, I’m not saying there shouldn’t be); but what I haven’t seen much of (perhaps because such posts are removed?) is a discussion about the the editing of this blog.

  74. Chally
    Chally December 7, 2009 at 2:58 am |

    That… is ridiculous. You are “on mod” largely because you used a rape metaphor in, guess what, the comments on a post about rape. Moderation is about ensuring the safety of our readers, not about silencing objections, so there is no reason your latest comment wouldn’t have been let through. I haven’t seen any comments that haven’t been let through concerning the editing of this blog.

  75. SlackerInc
    SlackerInc December 7, 2009 at 6:55 am |

    I’m glad to hear that, Chally. The whole “on mod” issue seemed rather opaque from my perspective, so it’s good to know that it is not used to silence criticism of the blog owners and editors.

    As for the “rape metaphor”, I hope you understand that the use of that word was completely innocent on my part; I had no idea that anyone used it as a rape metaphor.

  76. Sailorman
    Sailorman December 7, 2009 at 8:51 am |

    Li,

    I agree with you. But I think there is too much flak flying around here to respond any more in this thread.

  77. Andrea
    Andrea December 7, 2009 at 1:07 pm |

    Are you serious? SlackerInc got put on mod for using the word “reamed”? I looked it up online, on Merriam Webster, and nowhere in the definition did it mention rape. It did say “victimize” but I read the comment, and it didn’t sound like a rape metaphor to me (and I am a survivor of sexual abuse, by the way, before anyone tries to silence me because I “don’t understand.”) Not everyone can be an expert in etymology, and this is not one of those obvious ones like “crazy” and “idiot”. Accusing SlackerInc of using a “rape metaphor” just seems silly. By the way, I ream oranges all the time because I like juice. I even ream limes for salad dressing.

  78. Renee
    Renee December 7, 2009 at 2:19 pm |

    I offer this information without any apology for the writer, but to herald the great work of the local domestic violence and rape crisis program. Apparently they reached out to the writer and have decided this is a learning opportunity for him, the paper’s staff and the campus as whole. Apparently all involved have been quite receptive and productive. There is much to be learned in how to move from anger to conversation. They did such a good job that defenses were removed and education occured. Kudos to the Community Violence Intervetion Center.

  79. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 7, 2009 at 2:24 pm |

    “Not everyone can be an expert in etymology, and this is not one of those obvious ones like “crazy” and “idiot”. Accusing SlackerInc of using a “rape metaphor” just seems silly. By the way, I ream oranges all the time because I like juice. I even ream limes for salad dressing.”

    Yea, that was totally necessary. Overreact much?

    FYI: Ream is often used as a synonym for rape. Merriam Webster is not the ultimate authority on language. I’m sorry to have to inform you of this fact.

  80. Andrea
    Andrea December 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm |

    Really, Faith? So you think he was using the word as a metaphor for rape? Because I think if we’re going to go around accusing people of rape metaphors, we should be pretty sure that’s what they’re doing. No, I guess the OED is the ultimate authority on the the English language, but geeze are those entries long and cumbersome. I just don’t understand why someone would be put on mod for using one word to mean “heavily criticized”. I think that’s the overreaction.

  81. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm |

    “Really, Faith? So you think he was using the word as a metaphor for rape? Because I think if we’re going to go around accusing people of rape metaphors, we should be pretty sure that’s what they’re doing.”

    I didn’t say he was using it as a metaphor for rape. I said it -was- a commonly used metaphor for rape. Especially in conjunction with Slacker Inc.’s overall behavior on this thread, I fully understand the decision to put him on mod. As someone who is also a rape/sexual abuse victim, I found his attitude irritating and either bordering on or actually disrespectful of rape victims. If you didn’t feel disrespected, fine. I did. I’d wager many other rape victims reading likely did as well.

  82. Faith from F.N.
    Faith from F.N. December 7, 2009 at 2:52 pm |

    “Apparently they reached out to the writer and have decided this is a learning opportunity for him, the paper’s staff and the campus as whole. Apparently all involved have been quite receptive and productive.”

    Awesome.

  83. Andrea
    Andrea December 7, 2009 at 2:54 pm |

    Faith, fair enough.

  84. Nickelas
    Nickelas December 7, 2009 at 3:01 pm |

    “But it does seem like he actually thinks a one-night stand involves getting someone so drunk they can’t consent to sex and then having sex with them. And that’s a problem.”

    I thought he was obviously making the point that “bros” don’t think of this as rape, that they feel so entitled to sexual access that such actions would fall under the definition of a one-night stand.

  85. P.T. Smith
    P.T. Smith December 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm |

    “Apparently they reached out to the writer and have decided this is a learning opportunity for him, the paper’s staff and the campus as whole. Apparently all involved have been quite receptive and productive.”

    “Awesome.”

    Dittoed.

  86. Sammy
    Sammy December 7, 2009 at 7:28 pm |

    Hmm, to be honest, I read the piece and I think it was obvious that he was criticizing the behaviour he was writing about. It’s not particularly clever satire, but it’s satire as it’s clearly so over the top it’s obvious – at least to me. Take the end – how is that even alluding to condoning any of what he satirically advised? I don’t think it is.

    “Check it out: you may have just lost a great friend, divided all of your acquaintances, defiled a neighbor’s home, lost the trust of everyone close to you, and cried yourself to sleep the following evening, but who cares, dude, YOU JUST HAD SEX!”

    I don’t know. I’m not from the US and English is not my native language. And I was more than stunned when an American girl I once met asked me to watch her drink so nobody would put a date rape drug in it when she went to the toilet. I had never heard of that in the real world – she said where she’s from police regularly pick up date-raped women outside of night clubs. So maybe my cultural background makes it obvious to me that the guy wasn’t serious about what he wrote, but maybe – if he’s also living in the realty of this American girl I met – he should have known that this may not be a particularly appropriate topic to practice sartirical writing.

  87. Li
    Li December 7, 2009 at 8:39 pm |

    I don’t want to continue the derail, so I will be short, but if you want to know why I reacted so strongly against that word, I suggest you google “urban dictionary reamed”. It will probably explain why more conservative dictionaries don’t carry that definition as well. I am absolutely not repeating the definition here. It is also absolutely a rape metaphor, in the same way that saying someone was “burnt at the stake” is a witchhunt metaphor.

  88. Emily
    Emily December 7, 2009 at 9:09 pm |

    I just saw this on a former classmate’s Facebook and I was pretty thoroughly disgusted and disappointed with the staff of the Dakota Student. I do believe that Brorby’s intentions were good, if pathetically misguided, ill-thought-out, and poorly executed. However, this does not excuse the paper from publishing this, nor does it excuse that horrible editorial response. Student journalism is often clumsy, and the UND School of Communication, from which many members of the school paper staff traditionally hail, has been struggling to fulfill its educational mission for years, while dealing with its own controversies, tragedies, and public embarrassments; but I had no idea that things were this bad. Members of the editorial staff should resign over this, and the university should use this as a teaching moment to talk about rape and sexual assault, topics that received surprisingly scant coverage while I was there (I do believe John Hoff had a good column or two on the topic–I wonder what he would have to say about this).

    As far as Jewell’s comment mentioning Dru Sjodin, while it’s true that it was a horrific incident that has negatively affected the campus community for years (I was at UND when she was killed and I remember how everyone reacted, myself included), it’s by no means the only sexual violence to ever happen in Grand Forks, yet it often seems to be the only thing we can talk about when the topic of rape is mentioned. I worry now, as many people did then, that her death will eclipse all other violence in the memories and dialog of the campus community. Many other women have been victims of sexual violence in this community, and I hope we also think of them, and not just high-profile cases that are most likely to be brought up. They, and their families and friends, are hurting, too, and as others have eluded to in the comments here, I wonder if more awareness of them (beyond token events like the Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night) might’ve prevented Brorby from writing this column or prevented the Dakota Student from publishing it.

  89. ACG
    ACG December 8, 2009 at 11:27 am |

    1. Josh Brorby is a shitty, shitty, shitty satirist. Purely from a writing perspective, satire is really hard, and unless you’re a spectacularly good writer, your safest bet is to play it straight, especially on sensitive subjects such as rape.

    2. Josh Brorby’s editors are shitty, shitty editors. The fact that not one of them said, “Josh, this could be seriously hurtful to people,” “Josh, this is shitty satire,” “Josh, there’s no way we’re going to run this as-is so either write it better or find a new topic” is a huge black mark on their records. It appears that both the EIC and the opinions editor are men, but it could be argued that the least they could do is see that it’s a sensitive subject and run it by one of the women in the office and say, “Hey, does this seem horrible to you?”

    3. The fact that Josh Brorby wrote a column about rape without considering women at all is staggering. It’s as if his brain took him as far as “rape is wrong” but never considered why rape is wrong. The fact that he never considered that rape victims might read it and be hurt or included, in his satirical rundown of the negative consequences of rape, the impact on the rape victim herself is shocking and disappointing. And as umami said @52, an apology of, “Whoops, I didn’t even think about you” is a salty one.

    4. Josh Brorby’s saving grace here is that his apology seems sincere, if naive, and that he recognizes in so many words his privilege as a man in our patriarchal society. It’s not an excuse, but it’s an explanation. While it doesn’t make it better for the numerous people he’s hurt with this column, he’s probably had a significant learning experience here and hopefully will put that new perspective to positive use. We could suspect that his apology was only a CYA or that he was guilted into it by a female friend or whipped into it by an editor, but my hope for a better world relies on him feeling really, sincerely shitty about the whole thing and working his hardest to make what amends can be made in the future.

  90. Erica A
    Erica A December 9, 2009 at 5:16 pm |

    In giving this whole clusterfuck a fair analysis, the following piece needs to be examined, too:

    http://media.www.dakotastudent.com/media/storage/paper970/news/2009/12/08/Opinion/An.Apology.And.Response-3847712.shtml

    I, for one, am pretty pleased.

  91. invisible_hand
    invisible_hand December 10, 2009 at 9:55 pm |

    i am writing after the author’s apology was printed, so my comments are skewed by more complete knowledge.
    it seems to me that the writer’s primary fault was a lacking in perspective. he declares his intentions as a satirical description of a man’s point of view who sees such things as normal and ok.
    the writer assumes that such a perspective is absurd, given its inhumanity and cruelty. however, since he is attempting to comment on a real social problem, this sort of thing is not absurd at all – it’s real, and it’s traumatic.
    however, the assumption that he endorsed such an attitude appears to be inaccurate.

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