A Virtual Rape, A Reversal of Discrimination and A Learning Experience

1st : This is a very sensitive subject .

2nd : I will do my best to not offend or make light of this topic. (very hard since when I am uncomfortable, I make dumb jokes)

3rd : Remember … THIS IS A PLATFORM FOR COMMUNICATION BUT IF YOU WANT THINGS TO CHANGE, YOU MUST GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

So you can understand where I am coming from: I’m a father of 2 (1 boy and 1 girl), a husband,  the youngest of 3 sons, a future teacher and friend to many.  That being said … I am not and will never see RAPE as a “good” thing.  Sounds dumb for me to say, right?  Wait I’ll explain.

Picture this, a large auditorium class at the University of Texas at Arlington, in the Spring of 2012, our class is discussing the “Topic of the Day” when a female student brought up the Susan G Coleman and a Planned parenthood issue from the news.  This sparked an intense and rather lengthy conversation about Planned Parenthood and also RAPE and the laws directed at RAPE.  My group partner and I got angry at how stupid one of the rules for catching a RAPIST was that when our Professor asked why we were shaking our heads … my friend answered,”so I guess the victim will have to now provide video evidence that they were being RAPED now?”  Which I added,”but it would be thrown out since the RAPIST did not sign a written contract or release the rights to their image and that is also a stupid law in Texas.”

Why was this story told, you may be asking your computer screen now? Well later that class period my group partner was tapped on the shoulder and handed a note which read :

“Watch what you say about RAPE, there are students in this class that have been RAPED.  Asshole!!!”

At that moment, I was offended for what the student thought we were trying to say.  
It’s not like we were trying to make fun of the act of RAPE.  We were just trying to show how stupid our legal system is at handling this horrible topic.  It’s not like we were joking about it.

I try to find humor in almost every bad situation but when I told my wife about this topic, she put down her phone,  muted the TV, turned to me slowly and said,”you can not make this funny.  there is nothing funny about this and you have to censor yourself if you ever want to get a teaching job … understand?  RAPE is not a funny thing.”  To which I responded, “but George Carlin (GOD rest his soul) joked about it.”  That made her smile and say,”You’re NOT George Carlin.”

She’s right, I’m not George Carlin, Aziz Ansari, Louis CK  or Daniel Tosh but in my “Empty Mind” (see what I did there), there can be a semi-comic way to cover the subject.  These comedians use the word RAPE in their comic routines but Daniel Tosh pushed the limit during his last stand up show.  At this show, Tosh snapped at a female heckler by saying “she needed to be RAPED by at least 5 people”.  Many other comedians stood up for Tosh and even Jim Norton offered this quote, “Why is it okay for an Actor to play a RAPIST but not for a comic to tell a joke about it?”  If the topic of RAPE is always handled with anger and brutal images, then you’ll get reactions like we did in class of some students doing other classwork, others surfing the web and even others falling asleep.

There was a picture that I wanted to include that had a positive message stating that “A RAPIST might be someone you live with”.  the picture was a large house cat mounting a German Shepard puppy.  The image looks playful and innocent but the caption speaks volumes of truth that would probably be easier on the eyes and ears for our youth than the local political ads that play every 10-20 minutes about some politician either supporting or not supporting RAPE kits.

It’s not cool for images like this to circulate but our advertisement agencies feel that images like this perfume ad for Dolce & Gabbana are okay.

Does this seem fair?  Sexy sells, right?

It doesn’t make any sense but that is how our “male run” government responds to everything.  Que the 1988 movie, The Accused.  This movie if rather graphic but shows the mental thought process of almost every guy that has been in that situation and as we see, only 1 out of all those guys is on the side of the victim but he didn’t do a damn thing until the law got involved.  I still can’t look at a pinball machine in the same light since watching that movie.

But when the tables are turned in the 1994 film Disclosure, this movie was damn near laughed out of the theaters since “A man can’t be RAPED by a woman”.  Sadly enough, as my classmate stated Friday, it happens far too often but rarely ever gets reported due to shame.  I can honestly say that, in a drunken state my senior year in high school … a young lady tried to take advantage of me (shocking I know and no she wasn’t blind).  I had to push this girl off me and got injured getting away but I can now talk about this without any issues.  I’ve also been accused of forcing myself onto a young lady earlier that year.  In my defense, I wasn’t even in town for said event but that didn’t stop the rumor from growing legs and running all over town.

I guess that because I have been on both sides of this spectrum, I can see it a little clearer.  I can also teach my kids the right and wrong things to do and pray that they never have to be in this situation.

Maybe this topic got a little too real for us in class or maybe I just shared a few personal events in my life but I know I learned from them and I hope you can too.

And if you didn’t notice … I made sure the word RAPE or any form of the word stood out.

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“I always feel like, somebody’s watching me” – Rockwell

For as long as I can remember, my parents have threatened me to “behave” by telling me that a creepy, fat man who wears a red suit and watches all the boys and girls around the world will determine whether or not I will get any Christmas presents.

Little did I know that Christmas Eve of 1991, I would finally see that my parents were working for this guy named Santa.  Sadly enough, I do the same damn thing to my kids.  My key is, “when you stop believing in Santa Claus, you stop getting gifts”.

The weird part is that my eyes and Santa’s eyes don’t really have to work too hard anymore.  The amount of gossip given from friends, family, teachers and our beloved Facebook make it really easy to “monitor” our little ones.

As Siva Vaidhyanathan stated in her article Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’,most of these kids in our current generation are aware that they are being monitored … they still act a fool, ignoring the repercussions of their actions.

What are they going to do?  They hear stories of how grandpa and his friends moved cars from the parking lots onto buildings for fun, grandma and her friends traumatized freshman by initiations on school grounds but they are being watched.  Oh that sounds fair … right?

 
I don’t know if you’ve seen The Dark Knight or The Dark Knight Rises but if you haven’t … YOU NEED TO!!!!  Nolan introduces the concept of our government constantly watching us by using the surveillance cameras mounted as traffic cameras and every cellphone linked to a wireless network.  You might be thinking, “but that’s just in a movie about a fake city wear a multi billionaire fights crime for fun.”

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!

This already happens.  Take a look at your car/house keys right now (go ahead, I’ll wait).  Those little plastic tabs that the super store gives you for extravagant discounts links you to your purchases.  Why else would anyone really care if I go to Kroger to buy the store brand toilet paper instead of Charmin?

They do this in order to know how to stock their shelves, which coupons to send you and yes … to get those extra 3 cents off the fake Vitamin water that actually tastes like sugarless Kool-aid.  They disguise it as market research.

“As a result of all that cross-referencing of so many data points, ChoicePoint knows me better than my parents do which explains why the catalogs that arrive at my home better reflect my tastes than do the ties my father gives me each birthday.” – Siva.

If you look at the cash register in the picture to the left, you will see that it reads “IF YOU PLAN TO SHOPLIFT, LET US KNOW. – THANKS”.  Sounds silly, right?

According to Dante’s character, “Theoretically, people see money on  the counter and nobody around, they  think they’re being watched.”

This generates “Honesty through paranoia.”

The ability to govern ourselves by constantly feeling that you’re being watched is what our world is coming to.

If you don’t believe that, then you are sadly mistaken.

Try going to Mardi Gras and show your stuff for some beads or go to some “high-end” bars in San Francisco and then go back to work on Monday to see what your friends now think about you.  You would hope and pray that nobody sees you doing anything dumb but what if they do?

Can you remove yourself from that situation?  According to the Online Privacy Blog … you can and it doesn’t take millions of dollars.

“If you had a delete button for your life, would you use it? What types of things would you erase?” – Sarah Downey

 

You’ve Got The Whole World In Your Hands!

What do you think about when someone actually says the words, “the World Wide Web”?

In today’s world it is usually called “dub-ya,dub-ya,dub-ya, dot : fill in the blank of whatever you want to look at”.

When people have conversations about certain a web site that they like, they refer to the site as “Twitter.com” or “BestBuy.com” : completely leaving off the WWW at the beginning of the web address.

We mindlessly type and click our ways to our favorite sites and rarely worry about what is actually happening behind the scenes.  If you have ever seen the movie The Fast and The Furiousthere is a scene where they use CGI to show the audience how the burst of Nitro Oxide rushes through the fuel line and the motor in order to give the car a huge horse power boost.  This same look can be taken at our computers in the classic Angelina Jolie film, Hackers. You type in the required search and press Enter, sending the electronic pulse through yards of circuit board wiring; then out the Ethernet cable and onto the information highway.

 

Hand shake after hand shake after hand shake, over and over again until your request hits the network and is bounced right back to you with all your answers  in less than half a second is pretty impressive.  What about all the extra links and information that gets dragged along with your answers?

 

Try going to Google and search for “jelly beans” (the best candy ever).  Your first three responses are places to order them and a delightful Wikipedia break down that defines what jelly beans really are.  The fourth link is for a Roller skate center in Raleigh, North Carolina which is then followed by the new android operating system and links to the Harry Potter “magical jelly beans”.

Why do these extra links pop up?  The quest for the “needed information” can be confusing but it does take many sharp, hair pin turns, links to hundreds of like responses to your search.  Wouldn’t it be easier to search for only things that you were actually looking for?

Imagine the possibilities of actually only getting the information that you wanted when you searched for something.

Thank you Mr Lee for envisioning a future of web access that would be really useful.  Sadly, his vision was just far too complicated for us to handle.  We always need to make things simple but I believe that he had made it simple.

 

Who am I to judge? I’m just a user … I’m nowhere near a professional.

 

Now point and click your way into your fun and games and I’ll see you on the other side.