Maaaaaan, just last week I promised myself I was going to take a (permanent?) Sandals Jamaica vacay from writing about rape in comedy, but I just can't sleep on Jessie Kahnweiler's short film Meet My Rapist. It's a brilliant, troubling example of how "rape jokes" can be cathartic and complex and difficult and empowering—for victims and allies, not for the predatory and indifferent. As I've said many times before, I don't want to ban rape jokes; I want to see more rape jokes, everywhere, targeting rape culture instead of perpetuating it. Because nothing punctures and deflates hypocrisy like humor. Nobody speaks truth to power like a sharp-toothed goofball.
There are some moments in Meet My Rapist that don't go down so easily (she discusses those parts and the film in depth with Emma Carmichael over at the Hairpin). But that's precisely the point here—he's HER rapist. This is Kahnweiler's trauma to do with what she wants, to process however she chooses, to share as loudly as she likes. She's under no obligation to sanitize her truth, or craft some pointed object lesson, or even cast herself in a flattering light. Instead, with veracious candor, she just dumps all the feelings at once—confusion, pain, distraction, rationalization, callousness, wine-dark laughter.
This is using humor to grapple with the horrors of life. This is laughing on the gallows. This is "edginess." The toxic inanity that most free speech warriors have in mind when they fiercely defend "rape jokes"—you know, stuff like this—is tepid, spoiled pap compared to Kahnweiler laughing in her rapist's fucking face. More of this, please.