What Fresh Hell Is This?

July 18, 2008

Senator McCain's Sense of Humor

On rape:
Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, 'Where is that marvelous ape?'
This got me thinking about the joke itself. First off, why would a gorilla rape a human being? I have read about people getting too close to a gorilla exhibit at a zoo and being injured so the "beaten senseless" part didn't seem so far fetched. But why would the gorilla be on the street? If a gorilla had escaped from a gorilla exhibit at a zoo, wouldn't the authorities be out looking?

Unless the "gorilla" part of the joke is a metaphor.

Hmm, now what sort of metaphor would a gorilla be?

A few commenters at crooks and liars point out that in some parts of the country, "ape" or "gorilla" is racial code. And in that setting, the joke is not about a victim of interspecies violence, but about a woman who's raped, beaten and left for dead by an African-American male.

The recent Lebron James cover of Vogue sparked a bit of a discussion of the "ape=black male" racial metaphor (especially in King Kong imagery) which led me here. At the beginning of a lengthy discussion of the 1933 RKO film King Kong, David Rosen writes:
It doesn't require too great an exercise of the imagination to perceive the element of race in KING KONG. Racist conceptions of blacks often depict them as subhuman, ape or monkey-like.
Now go back and reread the joke with the translation of its (possible) codeword in mind.

I'm not saying that Senator McCain (who doesn't claim to have never said the joke - only that he doesn't remember ever saying it - a non-denial denial if ever there was one) told a racist joke or even thought of the joke as a racist joke.

Just saying that someone growing up in the middle of the 20th Century would probably know the codeword and knowing that, shouldn't have told the joke in the first place.


cathcatz said...

i'm waiting for the outrage on this one, from the PUMA's.

when will they admit that a vote for mccain is a bad idea?

Anonymous said...

Cathcatz, that was my first thought when I saw that. The only thing Clinton and McCain have in common is they both had/have the same opponent.

I'm not sure why that joke would be funny. Maybe that was still funny back then.....

- Whampa

Richmond K. Turner said...

Is that "1986" or "1988" in date of that newspaper clipping that you linked to. The print quality is so poor that I really can't tell. Either way, it was at least 20 (possibly 22) years ago.

Secondly, it was a quick joke -- told 20 years ago. I gotta be honest here. I may (or may not) have told an offensive joke about something that would really piss people off 20 years ago. In fact, I may have (and probably did) tell a joke 20 years ago that, if I could remember telling it, would really piss *me* off. I was in college all the time. My dorm floor was basically an all-white, all-male environment. I'm sure that some extremely offensive jokes were told, even by me.

But I can't remember the details of even one of those jokes. And if you repeated one back to me, I couldn't confirm or deny that any specific joke was told, or whether I, my roommate (who, as I recall, was extraordinarily anti-semitic as well), or one of the other idiotic 20-somethings on the floor was the one who told the joke.

I guess that makes me unfit for office, too, then. Not only because I told or listened to these jokes, but because I can't remember the details of these 15-second long conversations 22 years ago and thus could only offer up one of these disqualifying "non-denial denials" that are proof positive of what a pig McCain really is.

Oh fine, let's stipulate that McCain was a sexist pig back in 1986. But is this really the best we've got? A freaking joke for 20 (or 22 long years ago)?

Let's not miss the forest while we are busy looking not just at individual trees, but at the inch worms munching on one of the leaves of a single tree. There are clear, obvious, and glaring reasons to vote against McCain today, regardless of what he did (or how much he can remember of what he did) for 15 seconds 22 years ago. Hell, that Gas Tax Holiday idea of his (and Hillary Clinton's), just by itself, is reason enough to go against him.

If you pile onto minor shit like this, which took place so very long agon, it makes it much harder to take you seriously when you discuss issues that really matter today. Let's keep our powder dry, shall we?

Anonymous said...

John K: You left wingers read race into everything. Which is not suprising because if you figure you can control the language you can control the debate. As anyone in here knows, that does not work with me. LOL LOL LOL
As for waiting for the outrage. Get real, you folks get upset when a conservative wakes up in the morning. My question, (yawn) what else is new? LMAO

Eric W said...

"You left wingers read race into everything. Which is not suprising because if you figure you can control the language you can control the debate. As anyone in here knows, that does not work with me."

Of course not. That would require you to have a grasp of the English language beyond that of snot-nosed brat. ;)

(I agree that the Left is hypersensitive about race, but you're the last person who ought to be criticizing anyone about language control, John.)

Fillippelli the Cook said...

I have to agree, RKT. It's fairly obvious that McCain is a sexist, but I don't think it's going to gain any traction because of the media's love affair with the guy. Going back 20+ years for something like this does smack of desperation and there are plenty of current issues that are far more important and speak to this guy's lack of character: e.g., faulting Obama for only attending one hearing on Afghanistan during the last 2 years when he himself attended ZERO.

Hopefully we'll see some ads showing him calling social security "a disgrace" and flip-flopping on tax cuts and torture, things happening in the here and now that, in the larger scheme, really matter.

Not excusing his joke or the idea of even joking about rape, just saying spending so much time on it -- KO dedicated a segment to it, I believe, the other night -- smacks of desperation, as if there is nothing "real" to attack him with. And, my gosh, there is so MUCH to attack him with.

EdHeath said...

I basically disagree with the Admiral's comment. I think it is reasonable to consider a candidate's racist or sexist views. Different ethnic groups (and women) want a President who will instruct his/her Attorney General to enforce our anti-discrimmination laws. The ethnic groups (and women) have reason to wonder whether the election of someone who casually offends one group or another is committed to the defence of that group against discrimmination.
Compare McCain to John Glenn in this regard (and I freely admit most of what I know about John Glenn comes from the book "The Right Stuff").
Meanwhile, I entirely agree that in the last six months or so McCain has advocated policies I totally disagree with, including extending the Bush tax cuts, the gas tax holiday and drilling in the OCS.

Fillippelli the Cook said...

To state further, I don't mean to insinuate that rape is not "real." Personally, I think it's the equivalent of murder, or about as close as you can get, and should be treated nearly the same under the law.

cathcatz said...

not to pimp another blog at this blog, but hell... at least it's on topic.


*er, i've never quite figured out how to link to a url in blogger. sorry.*

Anonymous said...

John K: How short the memory of a left wing liberal. It was Hillary Clinton and her hubby who introduced race into the campaign. She is also the one who brought up the stuff about Hussein Obama and possible ties to Islam. But, since your memory is so short, just blame it all on McCain. LMAO LMAO Memories for liberals begin when they wake up and adjust all their thinking for how the feel about things for the day.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Yeah, this twist seems way out in left field.

jayhusseinwillie said...

Far worse is McCain showing absolutely no judgement in leaking details of Obama's Iraq visit, after his own visit wasn't released for security reason and after he complained about the media releasing details of his son serving in Iraq.

But we don't have to go back 20 years to find disgusting comments by McCain - there's the time he called his wife a "c**t," the disgusting joke he made about Chelsea in the late 90's...honestly, shouldn't children be off limits from viscious attacks?

All of it adds up to show that McCain has no judgement, a very poor character and certain qualities that make him unfit to occupy the Oval Office. I suppose if we were electing the "Jerk-in-Chief" he'd be a shoe-in.

But I'm not sure what's worse - people making this a bigger deal than this one incident might be or the people making an even bigger deal over the people making a big deal out of it.

I'm certainly not going to try to rationalize a joke about rape, as some seem to attempt here. It's quite a different matter when you know someone who was brutally raped as I do; it's hardly a laughing matter.

But if he's going to make a play for female voters, I suppose they have every right to know what a disgusting mysognist he is.

As for the memory of liberals, at least we know that Czechslovakia ceased to exist as a country a long time ago...

L.K. said...

Anyone who thinks that such a "codeword" exists... is perhaps HIMSELF the racist. Don't you think? Never in my life would I have ever thought of this "ape=black man." Never! But apparently someone out there made the connection. That smacks of racism as much as anything else in your accusation of McCain.

By the way-- of course, the joke is horrible. But not because McCain may or may not have said it, and not because it has racial overtones.... but because violence to women- or to anyone- is not funny. Especially violence like rape.

But I do commend the folks who posted their thoughts about how unimportant this "15-second conversation" really is. Thank you for giving us all a dose of reality.

Julia said...

McCain is trying to be funny. Too bad he fails miserably.

God, if McCain gets elected I think I'll be moving overseas.

Anonymous said...

John K: McCain did not leaks squat. With over 200 reporters and the anchors from the three networks going you think this was a secret. I read his itnery on the AP website. LMAO LMAO Czechslovakia may have ceased to be a c ountry, but I am stil looking for the 57 States that Hussein Obama claims exist. LMAO LMAO

Anonymous said...

John K: Jaywillie has to go back 20 years to find a negative statement about McCain? LMAO We would like to go back 20 years on Hussein Obama but he has only 143 days of service in the Senate. LMAO LMAO 143 days eh Jaywillie. So tell me Jaywillie, in the words of Mrs Hussein Obama, "whose your baby's daddy." LOL LOL LOL I got yah!

Sherry said...

i never even thought race and that isn't the main issue.

the freaking beaten senseless and raped part and then being thrilled about it cause he was so fucking good at it.(even the beating) damn that is the issue.

it's an offense "joke" 20 years ago or now or tommorrow.

republican or democrat or what have you. it's sick.

it's sick.

Anonymous said...

Neither story passes the "switch" test.

Imagine for a moment if someone found a similar "joke" told my Barack Obama 20 (or even 15 years) ago. Sean Hannity would STILL be talking about it.

And imagine if Senator Obama leaked ANY details about an overseas trip Senator McCain was going on.

I'd bet our John K would be calling him a traitor for leaking classified material.

As they say, It's OK if you're a republican (IOKIYAR)

Not shitrock

Anonymous said...

This is old news and a pretty low-profile reference. I doubt it will amount to anything.

However, I still don't understand, even in a really sick way, how it could be funny....


Anonymous said...

John K: I would like to agree with the left wing kooks that the joke is sick. Except for the fact that ten years ago Clinton was actually committing the very act and then lying about it, relying on the defense of the people in this blog to bail him out. So in real world politics, it is only sick when a Republican (McCain is not a conservative) does it applies here. The Democrats can do whatever they want.

Anonymous said...

John K: Not quite, 200+ reporters are going along with Obama. The press leaked the info. I got it off the AP wire. And besides, FOX and CNN have clearly pointed out, when McCain visited those regions, reporters did not go along. So just who is leaking what? Try again Homer. Wonder if Hussein Obama will wear his muslim turbin again as he did in a previous visit to Kenya. After all Pelosi put on a Burkha. Sherry would look so good in a Burkha. LMAO LMAO

Anonymous said...

To John K;

Did you really just say that Clinton beat a woman, left her for dead after raping her 10 years ago?



Anonymous said...

Wow John K,

So the joke is ok or can be excused because you can make a false claim that Clinton is a rapist?

That is very novel.

Why don't you just honestly comment on the issue at hand instead of making insane accusations to deflect criticism.

I think this is a minor issue due to the fact that it is 20 years old and a low-profile reference. I'm still not sure why he would find in funny....


Anonymous said...

John K: Facts... Bill Clinton and rape were defended by the left. Now Kathleen Willey was beaten and raped. By Bill Clinton. And the left defended it. End of case.

Anonymous said...

John K: Clinton lied about a sexual attack and committed perjury in the process. No less than 10 years ago. And you are telling me that is a minor incident. Along with the other women Bubba attacked. LMAO So if deem to take that seriously, perhaps I would take the McCain comment seriously. But, if you lefties think it is okay then you have to be fair. LMAO Did I just say that? A left wing kook being fair. LMAO

Anonymous said...

to John K;

You're going with KATHLEEN WILLEY?


SHE'S the one you're saying was beaten (though not, obviously, left for dead) and raped?

You do realise, of course that the final report of the OIC investigating the whole Clinton Lewinski affair declared that she'd lied to them during their investigation?

The fact that you're STILL among those who still believe that drivel tells us even more about you.

You'll believe anything as long as it fits your hypocritical inconsistent world view.

Anonymous said...

John K: Uh how are Willey and Lewinski the same person? Read your post loon. And Bubba did lie about Lewinsky and no Willey was not proven a liar. So when you left wing kooks stop denying Clinton and his bad behavior toward women, as well as Kennedy, as well as Dodd and few others, then we can talk about McCain. Until then read your post and determine who the OIC investigated. LMAO Man are you confused. But it is fun to watch you left wing kooks defend Bubba and his rapes et al. Like I said, liberals have their own standards. LOL

Anonymous said...


From the OIC report:

Following that first immunity agreement, Willey gave false information to the FBI about her sexual relationship with a former boyfriend, and acknowledged having lied about it when the agents confronted her with contradictory evidence. Following Willey’s acknowledgement, the Independent Counsel agreed not to prosecute her for false statements in this regard.

She LIED to the FBI and so was not a credible witness.

What part of that don't you understand?


Anonymous said...

to John K;

Ok, let's see if we can settle a few things. Who, exactly in your mind was raped by Clinton?

We already know it WASN'T Monica Lewinsky and since Kathleen Willey's testimony has been proven BY THE FBI to be untrustworthy (see above) who are all these women Clinton was supposed to have raped?

C'mon I wanna hear it.

Not-shitrock (again)

Anonymous said...

Too bad for John K that this has nothing to do with Clinton but it is a good way to change the subject.

I still don't understand how McCain could find that joke funny, even if he was telling it to his frat brothers......


jaywillie said...

Reuters would disagree with you, John K.


"The White House, State Department and Pentagon do not announce senior officials' visits to Iraq in advance." So, why was McCain talking about it at a fundraiser before the networks announced late last night that he was in Afghanistan? Yes, many in the media knew, but they also agreed that "Mum's the word" until he touched down, as they do for all high level government officials that travel overseas.

It just shows that McCain is a hypocrite.

And if you actually read what I wrote, I said, "But we don't have to go back 20 years to find disgusting comments by McCain." You know, like calling his wife a c**t or ridiculing a child of an opponent. What kind of a sick fuck verbally attacks a child, regardless of who that child's parents are?

But, as I said, if he's going to make a play for female voters, they have ever right to know what a disgusting mysoginist he is.

You can drag Clinton into this but as others have pointed out a) Willey was proven to be a liar and b) the affair with Lewinski was a consentual relationship between adults.

But we can talk about marital infidelity - we can talk about how John McCain, the "hero," threw his first wife, who was disfigured in a car accident, to the curb for a younger woman. You know - Cindy, McCain's "Sugar Momma."

jaywillie said...

And you're still trying to rationalize a joke about rape, John K., so at best you are guilty of the same hyprocrisy that you are accusing others of.

Either it's sick or not; a person of "principles" wouldn't need to qualify that with, "Well, I'd agree, but Bill Clinton blah blah blah..." Why does your opinion of the joke have to revolve around what Bill Clinton did? Why is it conditional for you?

So, how are you exactly better than the people you are attacking here for defending rape? It's ok because someone else defended a (phantom) rape (that never happened)?

I just don't get it, John. If you think it's sick, it's sick; you don't add conditions to that statement as you do.

Maria said...

I have been meaning to write about this myself and haven't had the chance (I may still yet), but I have to say regarding RKT's and Fillippelli's remarks:

- In 1986, John McCain wasn't a student in a dorm room. He was 50 years old.

- Moreover, he was an elected official -- a US Congressperson -- who represented his district and our country; over one half of which is female and the target of this "humor."

- The "joke" wasn't made in some private conversation with friends. He made it at an appearance before the National League of Cities and Towns. I have to think that he was invited there because of his official capacity as a member of Congress.

- He was criticized for it at the time and a non-denial denial was also issued back then, when it should have been a little more fresh in his mind.

- While some may think that mention of this "smack of desperation," every last women who I've mentioned it too are horrified/dumbfounded by it and that includes at least one PUMA.

- If Barack Obama had made the same joke twenty-two years ago and it came out now, I have no doubt that the story would make the nightly news and be on the cable news channels 24/7. (The same goes if it was revealed that he had called his wife a cunt in front of reporters.)

- While we have 24/7 coverage of mention of both N words by a non candidate -- a la Jesse Jackson -- and the words used eventually come out, there is somehow a pass given when one gets really nasty about women and the excuse used is that the words are too, well, nasty! Witness the relatively small amount of coverage given to the anti Clinton 527 group C.U.N.T.; McCain calling his wife a cunt; and even when McCain made his joke against the then teenage daughter of the Clintons' most papers refused to tell the public what he actually said: "A joke too bad to print?" The lesson to be learned is if you want to diss women, just make sure you are as ugly and nasty as possible when you do it!

Sherry, your comment is spot on.