Open Thread: The Horribly Slow Murderer With The Extremely Inefficient Weapon

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19 Responses to Open Thread: The Horribly Slow Murderer With The Extremely Inefficient Weapon

  1. 2
    Mandolin says:

    That could have benefited from radical shortening. But I guess that’s part of the joke.

  2. 3
    Jake Squid says:

    This is now my favorite short film ever.

  3. 4
    Plaid says:

    More “rape is awesome, double standards” stuff, since I’m thinking of Jeff Fecke’s NYO part the first. It’s playing on the original context of the song, but still.

    A GAP commercial that sells with possible rape, with Baby It’s Cold Outside:

    Kind of weird that they’re selling clothing with it.

  4. 5
    Quill says:

    There were two Dollhouse episodes last Friday. I generally enjoy Maia’s reviews of Dollhouse, and am curious about when the reviews for the latest episodes will be posted. Poking around here, it seems that Maia hasn’t posted at all since the last review in late-October. Is more writing from this really cool blogger forthcoming when Maia gets around to it, or has something gone wrong personally or otherwise that’s interfering with their writing?

  5. 6
    Elusis says:

    @4 – the word “rape” seems too strong for that commercial, like it has the potential to distort the word beyond useful meaning. Other than the incredibly stupid, retconned “what’s in this drink”? line (which, note, he doesn’t drink), the only thing out of the ordinary about the song is the reversal of the genders. Now, there is much hay to be made about a “classic” song based on pressure and repeated pleading in the face of “no” but that’s a theme common to many more songs than this one. I am loathe to say that “don’t go”/”but I gotta go”/”but don’t go” equals “possible rape.”

    What makes me nuts about the commercial is Rainn Wilson. Because it’s 2009 and a guy who happens to be funny but who looks like a frog can be paired with a conventionally-thin, conventionally-attractive woman, but it’s still a cold day in hell (or San Francisco) before you’d see the reverse pairing. There’s some sexism I can warm myself up with rage about.

  6. 7
    Plaid says:

    @6 – Whereas I see this commercial as the GAP selling clothing by showing off the same situation of how *I* was raped.

    I have exactly been raped in the way of that commercial, with genders reversed, just as the song goes. Are you saying that just because there’s an original song, that the situation is less “rape-y”? One person wants to leave, the other person forcefully finagles the person to stay, and eventually sleeps with them despite constant “no”s from the other person. (For any reason, including the drugging in the song or in my case, being otherwise afraid of violence from someone who is not letting you open the door to leave — something that is actively happening in this commercial, with genders reversed.) How does the word rape, when applied to this situation, lose meaning? If that commercial’s situation happens to me + sex, am I or am I not a victim of rape?

    Similarly, the best message I can see from that commercial is something like “GAP: The most fashionable clothes for your holiday rape!” or “If you wear enough layers maybe you’ll get out of there in time”. Not that I buy GAP clothing anyway, but it doesn’t keep me from finding the commercial hella creepy and triggering.

  7. 8
    Radfem says:

    The jury finally came back on the case I’ve been blogging on.


    1 count felony oral copulation under color of authority
    1 count misdemeanor theft

    Not Guilty:

    Felony count Oral copulation under color of authority

    Hung jury:

    Felony Sexual Battery

  8. 9
    Doug S. says:

    @6: Is it just me, or does Rainn Wilson look absolutely adorable in that commercial? It’s like he belongs on Cute Overload.

  9. 10
    Elusis says:

    Plaid –

    I’m sorry that happened to you. And I’m sorry that commercial, apparently, triggers memories of it for you.

    But I don’t see someone “eventually sleeping with [someone else] despite no’s” in the commercial (it never goes that far), or someone being “afraid of violence.”

    What happens next isn’t shown, and the situation itself is ambiguous – is he worried about staying with her because he’s afraid of being judged by others? (which is in the lyrics.) Because he has to be somewhere else? (also in the lyrics.) Because he’s nervous and uncomfortable with himself? (which is somewhat implied in his performance.) Because he doesn’t like her and isn’t interested? (which doesn’t seem to be in the performance to me, but I could see someone saying “that’s my take,” which would definitely be more problematic.) Because he’s afraid of her? (hard to read that, but again, people have different readings.)

    I agree that the song has issues and comes from a “male as pursuer/women as guardian of virtue” culture, feeding directly into the “no means yes” issue, but there is a big grey and messy area between “do you want to?”/”yes I do!” and taking sex through force or threat. In that messy area are many things that some would label “seduction” and others would label “coercion,” and those labels are to some extent personal, to some extent co-constructed with the other specific person.

    To paint the whole area with the word “rape” not only makes it hard to talk about the actual crime of rape in a meaningful way, but also re-labels other people’s experiences for them in a way that may be devaluing. To say “this commercial relies on a song that, taken one way could be fun but taken another way could be really gross” is one thing, but to imply that the commercial is promoting rape is, in my opinion, an overstep.

  10. 11
    Mandolin says:

    Can we resolve this with some ambiguity? The scene plays uncomfortably into narratives of rape culture. It depicts what may or may not be rape, but while its lack of context gives it plausible deniability, it also keeps it in a troubling area.

    (This is not necessarily different from what Elusis is saying in her last post.)

  11. 12
    Ampersand says:

    Quell @ #5:

    Maia recently moved, and doesn’t have internet access. She says to tell you:

    If you could just say thanks a lot – and I’ll be round when I get internet access at home or persuade the university that: “Adult/Mature Content;Political/Activist Groups;Newsgroups/Forums” isn’t a bad thing.

    Meanwhile, I’m happy to say there will be a new Dollhouse review from Maia very soon.

  12. 13
    Elusis says:

    Mandolin – I’d go there with you.

  13. 14
    Quill says:


    Fantastic, she’s very welcome and I’m glad she’s okay.

  14. 15
    Radfem says:

    Just some thoughts on the partial conviction of a local police officer for sexual assault under the color of authority. I’ve had some interesting conversations with law enforcement officers on this issue before including this particular case.

  15. 16
    Plaid says:

    In regard Mandolin and Elusis: OK, I’ll go with you all and it’ll be my last post on the matter, and I’ll talk it over we ever meet at Myca’s house (@mandolin). Alas is far from a safe place for me if I have to explain that no != yes.

    I see no plausible deniability in the song lyrics. “don’t go”/”but I gotta go”/”but don’t go” is soft, but it does not equal consent. I wouldn’t take that as consent, would you? The whole thing is paired with with plenty of “no”s, “no really, I need to leave”, and no “yes”s, save “I’ll have another drink more” as the man moves across the room with purpose to get away. Even at the end, the man whispers “no” to the audience at the end of the commercial.

    Where do you see consent in any of this? I don’t think I get to assume that there’s a safe word in here or something.

    Or put another way: a “soft no” != yes to me, even if the original song had a different context when it was released. Saying that this song gets a pass from scrutiny, because maybe the person means yes when they’re saying no, brings up a lot of problems for me.

    I still have to explain why the original song isn’t just a rape song to people who are foreign to American culture. And that tells me something, if people outside the American culture do ask me why it’s played in stores here.

    One other point: part of why I responded so quickly to Elusis’ first post is the allegation of devaluing the word “rape”. This is a interesting issue for me, and became deeply personal when paired with something I could relate to.

    How do we devalue a word? Rape has a meaning: it is non-consentual sex. What do we do if viewing something as a non-consentual sexual situation and saying so devalues the meaning of “non-consentual sex”. Are there forms of rape that don’t count?

    The whole issue gets messy quickly, and I don’t think that there’s an easy answer, but I felt like the only way I could point out my position is that, yes, people do get raped this way, even if you view it differently. Hence — how can suggesting this leads to rape “devalue rape”?

  16. 17
    Radfem says:

    My thoughts led to an interesting email and essay sent to me by a police union board member of what it means to be a police officer. I’m working on a response to this essay which was sent out to a number of individuals involved in police accountability as well as the police commission.

  17. 18
    Myca says:

    I’m just returning after a fairly long commenting and posting absence (finals), but I did want to come down on Plaid’s side on this.

    I’ve actually found the original song uncomfortably nonconsensual (say, what’s in this drink?) for a long time, but depending on how it’s done it can be more or less … I mean, if the singers make it clear that it’s all part of playful flirting, that’s one thing, but if, as in this case, one singer is blocking the door as the other tugs on it, that’s another.

    I do think that the genders and relative attractiveness of Rainn Wilson and Selma Blair has a lot to do with why there’s even a question here, because of the cultural narrative that says that a man who looks like Rainn Wilson would never turn down a woman who looks like Selma Blair.

    I think that mentally reversing their places in the song might make the objection a little more clear … Selma running for the door that Rainn is blocking … wondering whether he’s put something in her drink … he tugs her back by a scarf wrapped around her neck. Eesh.

    I just find the whole thing creepy as fuck.


  18. 19
    Doug S. says:

    Been a while since the last Open Thread, so…

    I just saw Avatar. Indeed, it’s Mighty Whitey IN SPACE!

    Three years from now, it’s going to be even more despised than Titanic.