there is no doubt in my mind that joking about the rape of a woman is a no-no, which is like joking that you will kill a faggot. these are black and white, they are premised on gender discrimination, these are violent thoughts we do not think, and do not think to articulate when we actually do think about them out of anger or spite.
and yet i get it, too, that really fantastic comedy, the kind that’s intelligent enough to be irreverent, can talk about rape without it being an attack on women, as it does become an attack on the men who think it correct. Vice Ganda was far from intelligent about this joke, and as such there is no saying that members of the audience “didn’t understand it.”there was no depth here, and please do not even invoke irreverence: that joke about how Jessica Soho would be gang raped, was offensive because it was crass and flimsily premised on her weight. this was no intelligent comedy. this was good ol’ crass comedy, one that is anti-woman. because would Vice Ganda joke about a man’s weight? would he joke about raping a man?
and only the foolish and ill-educated about popular culture and the iconography of Vice Ganda would think this whole brouhaha over that joke to be merely a matter of (mis) (not) understanding what kind of comedy it was:
Farces and absurd dramas, by nature, are always politically incorrect; they always deal with extraordinary and larger-than-life characters. Vice Ganda’s performance was never meant to be realist, or to be taken in a realistic set-up. The purpose of that kind of humor is precisely, if not solely, to defy political correctness — and, yes, he succeeded.
where in that video clip did you see slapstick at all? and outrageous? what about some larger-than-life characters? Vice Ganda was Vice Ganda on that stage. and no, there was no indication that she was going for the fantastic, i-am-not-myself, impersonation that say, you would get from the more intelligent comediennes like Willie Nep and Jon Santos. this set up was nothing but realistic, in fact it was stand-up comedy as we know it to happen in this country, in those comedy bars where comediennes make fun of the members of their audience.
where comediennes like Vice Ganda become famous and move on to TV because they are themselves. that is not an act. and this is why it’s even more dangerous.
because Vice Ganda’s iconography has become about Showtime, and it’s become about noontime TV and the kids that watch that. granted that this joke didn’t happen on nationwide television, in the age of phone cameras and youtube uploads, a star of her stature should’ve known better than to think a concert would get anything less than the same mileage.
in fact that this was posted at all as a video clip, is telling of how, while Vice Ganda’s got an audience that will pay to watch her in concert, they will also have the sense to be critical, if not to be offended.
but also it is this notion that we were offended because we just didn’t understand the joke, or because jokes will be acceptable to some, and not to others, that just made things worse for Vice Ganda and this mistake. because this was not a matter of who or how many of us took offense. this was a matter of whether having joked at all about rape was right, given the context in which it was done, the kind of comedy it was within.
and the answer is no. the apology should have been about delivering that message. the apology should have said: i am sorry for having made a joking matter of rape. rape and all other forms of violence should not be used to get some laughs. the apology should have told the young kids watching Vice Ganda on TV every day, that she made a mistake in talking about the rape of woman, and for that she is sorry.
anything less than that, is missing the point. it is also making a mockery out of the task of apologizing, as it does make fools of us all, falling back as it does on the idea that once you ask for forgiveness, then all should be okay, and the burden is now on those who do not want to accept your apology.
no, the burden is not on us who cannot and will not forgive based on what is a non-apology. the burden is still on Vice Ganda. because she might think herself forgiven, she might have friends and fans who will defend her, but in the long run, there is no denying that here is a comedienne who made fun of a woman, by talking about her rape.
that goes for everyone who thought this joke funny. that includes you, Charo Santos Concio.
ni Ruth Elynia Mabanglo
Ginahasa ako ng mga salita,
Hanggang magutay ang diwa.
Buntis ang alaala
Sa mga alimura,
Pasa-pasa ang puso’t
Ginahasa ako ng mga akala,
Hanggang pagkatao’y mapariwara.
Pumintog sa puson
Ang haplit ng tinig,
Bitak-bitak ang bungo
Sa madlang hagupit.
Ginahasa ako ng pasya,
At nagiba ang pag-asa.