Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

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Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby King Author » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:40 pm UTC

There's this place called Span's where I live, it's kind of a bar but not really (there's no age requirement to get through the door). Just a place to hang out. Anyway, there's a cork board that people post random stuff on all the time. Mostly it's adverts for roommates or stuff like that, but you'll find the occasional stupid political cartoon or newspaper cutout. They get taken down pretty fast if they're not funny or interesting.

Someone posted a hand-drawn, single-panel comic recently. Two teenagers (white, baggy pants, chains, upside-down-and-sideways visor hats on), one of whom is rolling his eyes, are walking down a city street, passing a woman clawing her way out of an alley. There's two text bubbles.

Woman: Help! I've just been raped!
Teen: Pff! That's so emo.

Yikes. That's really dark compared to the stuff normally posted up. I think the owner left it up because it makes a really valid point; since the dawn of America, having "feelings" has been uncool among young men. Since the year 2000 or roundabouts, however, the whole "mocking everything as emo" thing has ramped up this trend to 11. The scale was only 1-4.

Perhaps the comic is a bit extreme, suggesting that your average douche would dismiss a woman who's just been raped as "emo." But is it? I find it troublingly easy to believe.

Thoughts?
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby z4lis » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:52 pm UTC

From where I'm standing, "emo" was something that died when I walked out the doors of high school. The species became extinct at the university, save the few people who could pull off the fashion well.

As far as the stigma against young men having feelings, I'll call bullshit on that along with all the rest of the rot culture pushes around. I'm a human being, with a vibrant, mostly healthy, active emotional system. I get lonely, happy, excited, fall in love, want to dance, etc., and I'll happily share this with anyone who cares to know. I feel that anyone who denies this is making claims to be some mindless animal, a dead automation. The "emo" label applies more specifically to people who dwell on the negative. I've sort of come to view it as a derogatory term for someone who's actually feeling nihilistic and cannot adequately express the notion, despite glutting the whole of art searching for means of expression.

There's also a fair bit of attention-whoring and pity-mongering to be mixed in. This is what most people are actually annoyed with, I suppose. Those who play the nihilist card to summon attention and emotion from others really get the hammer, and so now this notion's spread in a most uncontrolled way. The original emotional problem associated with the term's been forgotten, and the word's being overused for anyone who seeks attention or help due to emotional stress. I suppose.

At any rate, it's probably just some kid who thought it was enormously funny to blow expectations out of the water and offend.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby General_Norris » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:27 pm UTC

Seems dark humor to me.

We see something bad happening to a character and the other character instead of horrorizing himself dimisses the act as something "emo". Seems your average dark humor to me. I thought it was funny (Cliche though)

I don't think it's an accurate portrayal. In fact it's funny because the cruelty of the guys is over-the-top.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby QwertyKey » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:00 pm UTC

z4lis wrote:...
There's also a fair bit of attention-whoring and pity-mongering to be mixed in. This is what most people are actually annoyed with, I suppose. Those who play the nihilist card to summon attention and emotion from others really get the hammer, and so now this notion's spread in a most uncontrolled way. The original emotional problem associated with the term's been forgotten, and the word's being overused for anyone who seeks attention or help due to emotional stress. I suppose.
...


Those who are really 'emo' don't seem to be seeking attention, unless over the internet, which is 50% useful help and 50% useless help.

Attention whores are attention whores.

I also don't think an average person would call a rape victim who cries for help emo, unless he is a real average douche. What do you expect from douches, anyway?

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby .Salo. » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:27 pm UTC

Alternative interpretation:
The author of the comic could have intended to make a commentary on the rising rate of rape. Maybe the exaggeration is there's so much rape that it's now equated to melodramatic bitching. As in, "Damn, I've been having a really harsh week. Broke my nail, fought with my hubby, and got raped in the parking lot of Arby's. What a drag." To which someone would respond in an understated way.

As for the analysis of emos in society: Emo's aren't the worst people. I prefer an emo to a gangster and a meathead jock any day. Probably because they are literate and don't pose much of a physical threat. Rarely do they carry firearms or turn violent from steroids. Emo's are mostly a danger to themselves. It's the goths that are worrisome (Columbine shooting was nutty goths, right?)

gangsters & meatheads & goths < emos < hippies

Hippies have an appealing combination of literacy, placidity, and optimism. Though they have little regard for property rights, especially when it comes to deserts high in fat content. They aren't carrying large amounts of childhood trauma and aren't piercing themselves as much. Brighter colors are always a plus, especially in the winter months.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Azrael » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:37 pm UTC

King Author wrote:... since the dawn of America, having "feelings" has been uncool among young men. Since the year 2000 or roundabouts, however, the whole "mocking everything as emo" thing has ramped up this trend to 11. The scale was only 1-4.

Hardly. For the 10 years prior to that it would've just been derided as being 'gay'.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Walter.Horvath » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

.Salo. wrote:Emo's are mostly a danger to themselves.
And rogue apostrophes are a danger to us all!
.Salo. wrote:It's the goths that are worrisome (Columbine shooting was nutty goths, right?)
They called themselves the trenchcoat mafia, rarely talked to anyone else, and planned their life around the Matrix. I don't think they were ever goth though, just outcasts that snapped.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby .Salo. » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:33 am UTC

Walter.Horvath wrote:
.Salo. wrote:Emo's are mostly a danger to themselves.
And rogue apostrophes are a danger to us all!



Only as long as people turn a blind eye and the perpetrator is absolved. Glad you're doing your part to preserve our systemic language. As for me, it's time for harakiri.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Eastwinn » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:49 am UTC

I wish people still knew emo as a genre and not an attitude.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Ivora » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:52 am UTC

Emo me. Day and night.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby chridd » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:27 am UTC

Eastwinn wrote:I wish people still knew emo as a genre and not an attitude.

Wikipedia still does. Which greatly confused me the first time I heard the word used and looked it up on Wikipedia.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby kgirlfae » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:55 am UTC

Walter.Horvath wrote:
.Salo. wrote:It's the goths that are worrisome (Columbine shooting was nutty goths, right?)
They called themselves the trenchcoat mafia, rarely talked to anyone else, and planned their life around the Matrix. I don't think they were ever goth though, just outcasts that snapped.
I'm going to second that the Columbine shooters weren't "Nutty Goths". At least I never heard either of them calling themselves goth. This is a perception which still bothers me when the media brings it up. Reading it still actually shocks me out of the flow of conversation enough that I have to stop reading for a bit.

As far as the emo thing goes - I really see it as a trend which is getting absorbed into the mainstream just enough that it is kind of like an overplayed pop song - something that comes up over and over again until you're sensitized to noticing it and having it bother you. Once you are annoyed by it you tend to pick up on every possible instance of it, blowing it out of proportion in your mind. This particular example is incredibly shocking, which from the description is what I think the artist was angling for.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby fyrenwater » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:57 am UTC

That comic is horribly fucked up. If I had been there, I'd have torn it down. And possibly punched the "artist" in the face. It's seriously offensive and troll-tastic. I don't know why you think they're using "emo" correctly in any sense of the word.

And goths? You've got the mopey goths and the serious ones. The mopey ones are what stereotypes are all about. The serious ones are normal people that happen to like goth music, or like gothic clothing, or just like to wear black.

Why the hell is this conversation drowning in horrid stereotypes, anyway? If it keeps going like this, it's probably gonna get locked soon.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:57 pm UTC

fyrenwater wrote:That comic is horribly fucked up. If I had been there, I'd have torn it down. And possibly punched the "artist" in the face. It's seriously offensive and troll-tastic. I don't know why you think they're using "emo" correctly in any sense of the word.

I think the comic was drawn by someone who was so familiar with teenagers calling things "emo" incorrectly that they thought that it would be obvious to the viewers that the comic was making fun of the teenagers, by showing how they use the defense of "that's so emo" to ignore real trauma.

"emo" was one of the nastiest stereotypes in the American high school I went to - describing something (e.g. a particular behavior) as "emo" basically gave the speaker carte blanche to ignore any real trauma that it was a result of. (I left my high school's GSA for this among other reasons - they wouldn't put up with stereotypes about homosexual people, but they couldn't stop themselves from making fun of "emos" and people who self-injure...) If you didn't grow up around this, or read the comic differently for any other reason, I could certainly see why it would look horrible to you.

fyrenwater wrote:Why the hell is this conversation drowning in horrid stereotypes, anyway? If it keeps going like this, it's probably gonna get locked soon.

I'm also pretty horrified that a thread that begins with "Jeez guys why are we still using this damn stereotype" so quickly attracted two people supporting/defending the stereotype... looks like the XKCD forums aren't safe from this either. :(
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby .Salo. » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:17 pm UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote:I'm also pretty horrified that a thread that begins with "Jeez guys why are we still using this damn stereotype" so quickly attracted two people supporting/defending the stereotype... looks like the XKCD forums aren't safe from this either. :(

Aren't safe from supporting/defending stereotypes?
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Hooch » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:31 pm UTC

...Wait, the term "emo" is still in widespread use?
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Elvish Pillager » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:16 pm UTC

.Salo. wrote:
Elvish Pillager wrote:I'm also pretty horrified that a thread that begins with "Jeez guys why are we still using this damn stereotype" so quickly attracted two people supporting/defending the stereotype... looks like the XKCD forums aren't safe from this either. :(

Aren't safe from supporting/defending stereotypes?
http://xkcd.com/280/ librarians against xkcd unite.

No. Safe from supporting/defending the "emo" stereotype in particular. I don't think that your particular stereotype about librarians is widespread and harmful.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby General_Norris » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:19 pm UTC

fyrenwater wrote:That comic is horribly fucked up. If I had been there, I'd have torn it down. And possibly punched the "artist" in the face. It's seriously offensive and troll-tastic. I don't know why you think they're using "emo" correctly in any sense of the word.


You are missing the point. This comic is identical to this joke:

A: Help me! I'm burning!
B: Meh, you are such a crybaby, it's not so bad.

It's funny because character B is incredibly cruel. He's so cruel that you don't expect it and thus, you laugh.

In fact the artist you want to punch is making fun of those who use words like "gay" and "emo" as insults, and all those trolls you mention. Look closely. There are two characters: Which one is symphatethic? The raped woman. Now, which character is shown to be cruel and evil? The one that says "Pff, that's so emo".

Hope it helps you to understand the comic

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby King Author » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:22 pm UTC

I think everyone after z4lis missed the point just a bit. I didn't intend to debate about the emo stereotype, but about the whole "emotions r dumb" thing that z4lis was talking about. The comic was implying that teenagers are so entrenched in their idea that having any feelings whatsoever is "emo" (which they're using as a random insult like "gay" or "lame") that they'd dismiss someone who had something legitimate to complain about.

So when I said "are we getting carried away with the emo thing" I was asking, "are we getting carried away with dismissing things as "emo" in the interest of pretending that having emotions is unacceptable?"

Erm, not to reprimand anyone. Interesting responses so far. Hmm, I should find out who posted the comic and ask what his intention was.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby axilog14 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:06 pm UTC

I remember there being a TV Tropes page about a related issue happening in fiction (wherein a character will be brushed off as "emo" even if his backstory was genuinely horrid and/or traumatic) but I can't seem to remember exactly which one. Maybe it was the Angst Dissonance article?

Probably part of the reason why the current culture has become so dismissive of shows of emotion in general is that depression, low self-esteem, psychological distress, et cetera had grown to epidemic proportions nowadays while remaining widely misunderstood by the rest of the population, meaning that it's not uncommon but is not a matter of national urgency either.

Of course I'm just approaching this from my own cultural context: around here there has been a growing number of kids and/or professionals becoming more self-aware when it comes to their own psychological issues, however because of the Asian ideal of propriety and outward social stability and stuff it is considered taboo or impolite for them to discuss their issues at a more open capacity (aka "airing out your dirty laundry" or something).

Another possible cause of course could be just the overall jadedness of civilization nowadays: we've become so used to daily threats like terrorist attacks, poverty and social injustice that we've become practically desensitized to closer-to-home issues like when someone close to you is undergoing a personal crisis or something else you're incapable of relating to. I'm not saying this applies to everybody, just that emotional isolation has become easier to grow into nowadays than decades/centuries ago when communities were more interactive and close-knit and stuff.

Am I making sense? :?
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby King Author » Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:55 pm UTC

@axilog14: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... lwaysWrong
Heh, I love TV Tropes. It's like Wikipedia, only all fluffy and warm with big, glossy eyes that just whimper, "Hold me. Hold me tight and never let me go!"

I'm not sure I'd agree that it's mere desensitization or jadedness, nor that we're more desensitized or jaded now than any given era before. I don't have the exact quote handy, but in one of his books, Aristotle (or rather, the character that represented his viewpoint) said something to the effect of, "I worry for the future. The young people these days have no respect for their elders. They piddle away their time on idle things, they are prone to impropriety of thought and of action and they do not afford our traditions and our State the proper honor and reverence." In other words, in 300 B.C., people were complaining that young people are douchebags.

I actually think we're getting more sensitive, more moral even. Things like the ASPCA, the UCLA, certainly the NAACP and the Jewish Defense League would have been laughed into oblivion a mere 200 years ago. Now, we have to be sensitive (at least ideally, and on broadcast television and in major newspapers and magazines) to people and can get into legal trouble for discrimination.

The extreme dismissiveness of emotion, even where it's legitimate, is specific to modern American youth culture. I don't think it's a general thing or a product of the times itself, it's just this specific viewpoint that's been let get out of hand. The question is, how did it get so out of hand and can it be reversed?

Out of curiosity, what's your cultural context?
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby fyrenwater » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:22 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:You are missing the point.

And you're missing my point. RAPE. IS. NEVER. A. JOKE. I don't care who's the victim and who's the asshole. It is NOT something to be used as humor. It's up there with joking about the Holocaust or 9/11. Yes, people joke about that. But it doesn't make it any less fucked up.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Jauss » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:42 pm UTC

This is something that has been annoying the shit out of me for the past several years. Ever since the whole "emo" thing (the more current definition) became popular and the backlash that followed people keep using the term to make fun of anyone who is sad about anything ever. Granted, being seen as emotional has probably never been cool in most circles, but it seems to me that it's worse now than when I was younger and applies to what used to be considered "legitimate" sadnesses, like a friend dying or your parents divorcing or being abused or whatever.

A trivial example that nonetheless infuriates me is when I read the comments (why do I do that?) of a show that I watch online where one of the main characters is often moody because basically his entire family and neighborhood were murdered when he was a small child and he was forced to watch the replay over and over and people are all, "God, he is so emo." :x

Then again, most of my encounters with these jerks have been on the internet, which can bring out the worse in people, so maybe they're more reasonable in person. Right?

So yeah, while the comic in the OP is (hopefully) extreme (as social commentary often is), I very much understand the artist's sentiment.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby EmptySet » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:23 pm UTC

fyrenwater wrote:
General_Norris wrote:You are missing the point.

And you're missing my point. RAPE. IS. NEVER. A. JOKE. I don't care who's the victim and who's the asshole. It is NOT something to be used as humor. It's up there with joking about the Holocaust or 9/11. Yes, people joke about that. But it doesn't make it any less fucked up.


I disagree, at least in this particular instance. My interpretation of the comic would be that it is satirical. It's not making rape a joke; it's pointing out how screwed up it is that some people dismiss other people's feelings and welfare as "emo crap", to the point of callousness towards those suffering genuine abuse and hardship.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Elvish Pillager » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:01 am UTC

fyrenwater wrote:
General_Norris wrote:You are missing the point.

And you're missing my point. RAPE. IS. NEVER. A. JOKE. I don't care who's the victim and who's the asshole. It is NOT something to be used as humor. It's up there with joking about the Holocaust or 9/11. Yes, people joke about that. But it doesn't make it any less fucked up.

You mean like this? :? I'm not trying to defend this joke or rape jokes in general, but I don't think the analogy to 9/11 or the Holocaust serves you here.

From your first post, I thought you misunderstood the comic because you also said this:
fyrenwater wrote:I don't know why you think they're using "emo" correctly in any sense of the word.

(when the comic is based on the fact that they're definitely using it incorrectly.)
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby xmrsmoothx » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:09 am UTC

fyrenwater wrote:
General_Norris wrote:You are missing the point.

And you're missing my point. RAPE. IS. NEVER. A. JOKE. I don't care who's the victim and who's the asshole. It is NOT something to be used as humor. It's up there with joking about the Holocaust or 9/11. Yes, people joke about that. But it doesn't make it any less fucked up.

Depends on what you think "fucked up" is. 9/11 and holocaust jokes can be funny, as can some rape jokes.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby fyrenwater » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:11 am UTC

Well, I see I'm going nowhere fast. Thanks for reminding me how much I hate people.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Zamfir » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:39 am UTC

Jauss wrote:A trivial example that nonetheless infuriates me is when I read the comments (why do I do that?) of a show that I watch online where one of the main characters is often moody because basically his entire family and neighborhood were murdered when he was a small child and he was forced to watch the replay over and over and people are all, "God, he is so emo."

I think that's a perfectly fine response. After all, it's fiction, and some writers decided to give the character a very graphic horrible past, just so he can sulk nicely on screen. That's about as "emo" as it gets. It's not a complaint about the character as if he's real, it's a complaint about the show writers who (in the eyes of the complainers) overdid the dramatic background.

I'd say this is typical of many times people use "emo" as an insult. They are suggesting someone is being emotional because of the drama, not because of real reason. And let's be honest, teenagers do that a lot.

Of course, from time to time people are wrong, and there was a good reason to be dramatic.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby General_Norris » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:42 pm UTC

@Fyrenwater

You don't understand why the comic is funny, at all. You don't get it, you disregard my explaination, go somewhere else to complain or read my post because you haven't read it.

You think that "rape is not a joke" ,the comic agrees with you and then you complain about the comic. You don't understand the comic or how black humor works. Read my post, I took a part of my precious time to teach you, don't waste that opportunity.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Elvish Pillager » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:22 pm UTC

General_Norris wrote:@Fyrenwater

You don't understand why the comic is funny, at all. You don't get it, you disregard my explaination, go somewhere else to complain or read my post because you haven't read it.

You think that "rape is not a joke" ,the comic agrees with you and then you complain about the comic. You don't understand the comic or how black humor works. Read my post, I took a part of my precious time to teach you, don't waste that opportunity.

Dude, not cool. Aside from the fact that there is no conclusive evidence that fyrenwater doesn't understand the comic (in fact, I would guess that fyrenwater does understand the comic), you're also ignoring the fact that even if they don't, that does not detract much from what they are saying. Hence why they said that you're missing their point.

And, "my precious time"? Seriously? It makes you look like a troll.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby General_Norris » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:06 pm UTC

Elvish Pillager wrote: Hence why they said that you're missing their point.


It's easy to make someone look like he is "missing the point" when you quote TWO WORDS and remove the rest of the post. He also never argued why "Rape is never a joke" , he just says it like if it's something tautological. If he doesn't like black comedy then he sould say it directly but don't go preaching that he wants to hit the artist because he made fun of sexism.

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby RequinB4 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:53 pm UTC

fyrenwater wrote:
General_Norris wrote:You are missing the point.

And you're missing my point. RAPE. IS. NEVER. A. JOKE. I don't care who's the victim and who's the asshole. It is NOT something to be used as humor. It's up there with joking about the Holocaust or 9/11. Yes, people joke about that. But it doesn't make it any less fucked up.


Seriously? Grow up. It's precisely because these issues are important are horrible and important that we joke about them - to sent a poignant message. Humor is a great way to make a point. Try to have a little better critical thinking skills than "You talked about X. X is evil. You are evil."

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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Elvish Pillager » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

RequinB4 wrote:It's precisely because these issues are important are horrible and important that we joke about them -

Don't play that card here. The comic was not making a point about rape.

You could also do with less exaggerating your opponent's argument and less insulting them just because they strongly disagree with you.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Dasboard » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:46 pm UTC

RAPE. IS. NEVER. A. JOKE.


I cannot resist.

As image under a spoiler is fucked up thanks to freaky width of image. Here's a link.

http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/9734/philipzimbardo.jpg

Yes this link both includes Philip Zimbardo and rape.

Also, carry on with your serious conversation.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby SpecialKRJ » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:38 pm UTC

Two cents:

Rape isn't something to make light of. However, rape was not the subject of the comic. The apathy towards the rape was the subject. The humor was being used to show how appalling apathy in such a situation is, in order to highlight how society is becoming increasingly less empathetic. A comic like this would probably be used to increase sympathy and understanding towards a victim of rape and other violent crimes. The entire point of the comic is not to have you laughing at the victim, but to have you laughing awkwardly in disbelief at the kids, in a, "what the hell is wrong with them?" sort of way. And when that happens, you are, in a sense, coming to the defense of the rape victim.

A Modest Proposal was funny because it was disturbing to even consider infanticide and cannibalism in order to feed the poor, and the disbelief and shock felt upon reading it led to a sense of empathy toward the poor. That's kind of the entire point of satire.
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Re: Are we getting carried away with the "emo" thing?

Postby Jacque » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:13 pm UTC

Back to emo now.

Man, those emo kids and their mopey music, they're something else.


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