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Old 06-28-2006, 12:47 PM   #16
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I haven't seen it, and I hate to make judgments without having seen something for myself. But I have to admitt it sounds pretty bad.

I've only seen a few episodes of this show last season, and I didn't care for it. It was just too cynical, too "dark" for me.

Tommy is definitely an anti-hero, but here's the thing about anti-heros. They're still our heros. We still root for them. People won't watch a show with no one they can "root for." The antihero is someone we "cheer on" even when what he's doing is wrong. It's like the thieves in so many chase movies--these flashy, charming, debonaire men and women, who we wish every success as they take what does not belong to them. As much as I enjoy films like this as much as the next person, it's always bothered me a little bit because A) Stealing isn't so "cool" when I've been robbed. I should know because I have been robbed a few times. B). Real criminals aren't like this--"good guys who just happen to steal for a living" They are selfish, mean, assholes. That's why they steal.

It would seem Rescue Me has taken this whole formula still further, and taken it too far. Because at the end of the day it is perpetuating the worst kinds of myths about rape and viewers (especially male ones) will take that home with them.

But it's "art" some will say. . .

And for me this raises the question: Does art have any responsiblities? And if so what are the responsibilities of art? Are there certain messages about humanity and life that art is required to communicate or can it "say anything?" Can art communicate evil, offensive, and wrong messages, or is that no longer art? Is all art okay? Or is some art "unacceptable" and if so, who decides what is acceptable and what is not?

I don't know the answers to these questions but I'm curious to know what others' thoughts on this are?
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:05 PM   #17
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And for me this raises the question: Does art have any responsiblities?
I'll answer this, if mods feel like this will be taking the thread off subject let me know and we can do a separate thread.

Does art have responsibility? NO! The artist should create without any self censorship. Distributers of the art have the choice whether to censor or control when and where the art is to be heard or seen.
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:19 PM   #18
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I don't think art should be censored, but I do believe in some self restraint and introspection in some circumstances. When it comes to an issue such as rape, I think the writers and producers of a TV show (which is the lowest art form in my humble opinion , some much lower than others) have a responsibility to their audience to be as accurate and responsible as possible in their portrayal of the issue. To do otherwise can be dangerous and disrespectful. Yes the ultimate responsibility lies within the viewer- to be educated and discerning.

Like I've said I haven't seen the episode, but from what I've read it was irresponsible. She fought him until he was bleeding, and to turn that into just some extension of their relationship is just gross in my opinion-rape is not just a "technical term". I would love to know how the mostly male audience of that show views it. Do any men still believe in such a thing as "rape fantasy"?
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:27 PM   #19
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Originally posted by maycocksean


And for me this raises the question: Does art have any responsiblities? And if so what are the responsibilities of art? Are there certain messages about humanity and life that art is required to communicate or can it "say anything?" Can art communicate evil, offensive, and wrong messages, or is that no longer art? Is all art okay? Or is some art "unacceptable" and if so, who decides what is acceptable and what is not?

I don't know the answers to these questions but I'm curious to know what others' thoughts on this are?
^
some ideas i have

* Art in general has a responsability as a manifestation of the Human's nature. I mean, through art we will see how people used to perceive the reality (Humans symbolize their own reality) in a certain era. Obviously, art can't be all around the beautiful and the light, it explores our dark and ugly side too and that whats makes art so icky for many people. To deny the ugliness and the cruelty in art is in fact deny the ugliness and the cruelty in our lives.

* when you talk about art that doesn't "mean" anything, we can talk about an aesthetic research: the inner "beauty" of the piece of art. But even if that piece isn't intended to mean something it has to produce some emotional reaction, and the public will relate that piece with many of the symbols that they have in their heads. When you give a piece of art to the world is not your piece anymore... maybe you had an argument behind that piece, but all the ones who will look at it will give their own arguments too.

* there are many artists who want their art to be "unnaceptable" and that's a part of their artistic position. Many artist want to generate visceral reactions in their public and that reactions are part of the piece, it is not complete without the rage, the disgust of the people who will see it. Obviously the artists has an ethic who will restrain them to certain point.

*Art sometimes is like and open wound... it hurts, and it is ugly but it let us to take a peek inside of ourselves, the flesh and the maggots.
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:27 PM   #20
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a video report on cnn.com

http://www.cnn.com/video/player/play...ape.scene.affl

Denis Leary says something like "some people got it and some people didn't, that's the difference between those who should watch the show and those who shouldn't" That's quite an arrogant statement. Hmm what exactly does he mean by that?

It sure looked like a violent rape in that scene, they even put a graphic content warning on the report.
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:31 PM   #21
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Originally posted by Muggsy

^
some ideas i have

* Art in general has a responsability as a manifestation of the Human's nature. I mean, through art we will see how people used to perceive the reality (Humans symbolize their own reality) in a certain era. Obviously, art can't be all around the beautiful and the light, it explores our dark and ugly side too and that whats makes art so icky for many people. To deny the ugliness and the cruelty in art is in fact deny the ugliness and the cruelty in our lives.

* when you talk about art that doesn't "mean" anything, we can talk about an aesthetic research: the inner "beauty" of the piece of art. But even if that piece isn't intended to mean something it has to produce some emotional reaction, and the public will relate that piece with many of the symbols that they have in their heads. When you give a piece of art to the world is not your piece anymore... maybe you had an argument behind that piece, but all the ones who will look at it will give their own arguments too.

* there are many artists who want their art to be "unnaceptable" and that's a part of their artistic position. Many artist want to generate visceral reactions in their public and that reactions are part of the piece, it is not complete without the rage, the disgust of the people who will see it. Obviously the artists has an ethic who will restrain them to certain point.

*Art sometimes is like and open wound... it hurts, and it is ugly but it let us to take a peek inside of ourselves, the flesh and the maggots.




great post.

i've been thinking about these questions, and i'll come back later with a response (am having a very busy week at work)
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:37 PM   #22
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Do any men still believe in such a thing as "rape fantasy"?
Unfortunately yes. I started to write about this sooner, but then decided I didn't want to get into it. But I brought this episode up to one of my friends last night and we discussed it. Her friend is in a relationship like this, they fight, it gets heated, they start getting rough and then it turns into rough sex. So I told her that it didn't sound too healthy. I asked her if she thought it was rape. I was a little shocked from her response. She said it's just like when you're young and your boyfriend starts tickling you, you fight it off and push him away but then it leads to making out. My response was

So to me, there's obviously issues on both sides of a relationship like this. Usually rape is a one sided assault, the perpetrator we see as the one with the issues. But in this scene where we actually see the woman submit and maybe even enjoy we see that both have issues. Maybe this was the point of the artist, I have no clue.
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:37 PM   #23
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Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Probably a bit of both, IMO.

There was a dark comedy element to Rescue Me earlier on that made the characters into caricatures superimposed onto real life in the stories...very similar to Denis Leary's stand up comedy - an unsymapthetic caricature of an a**hole. I thought the show always walked a fine line between making fun off these pathetic characters and saying this is life the way it is for these people you think are your heros (firefighters and cops), deal with it.

Haven't seen it in a long while but it sounds like the cheeky element is gone and it just jumped completely to the dark side. Men rape their wives, it happens and exploring that dark side to push boundaries is one thing but only remotely acceptable when it is shown to be clearly wrong.

WOMEN DON'T ENJOY RAPE

Leaving anyone in the audience with the impression that some do is disgusting and irresponsible.
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean


And for me this raises the question: Does art have any responsiblities? And if so what are the responsibilities of art? Are there certain messages about humanity and life that art is required to communicate or can it "say anything?" Can art communicate evil, offensive, and wrong messages, or is that no longer art? Is all art okay? Or is some art "unacceptable" and if so, who decides what is acceptable and what is not?

I don't know the answers to these questions but I'm curious to know what others' thoughts on this are?
You raise some compelling questions.

I try my best to fill my mind and meditate on things "true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse..." I do not do this perfectly, but I certainly try.

I think our minds behave in a way similar to a computer's hard drive and RAM. It is built to have "faster" access to the things which are "most" accessed. Eventually, it can become our default way of thinking. Filling one’s mind with such scenes probably does not do much for the good and very likely contributes to the bad.
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Old 06-28-2006, 02:59 PM   #25
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I try my best to fill my mind and meditate on things "true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse..." I do not do this perfectly, but I certainly try.
.
*sorry if I take this away from the original thread *

that reminds me a lot the things that we talk about in my Children's literature class. the parents and educators try to encourage little kids to think the way you do through the books and the images we make for them... and surprinsily kids choose the books with honest views about the life and all the sad and ugly things that we find in our enviroments. Obviously the books we write (and in my case, I illustrate) are in a code, we use metaphores ( to name what can't be named), but kids, who are in so in touch with their feelings and their instints are clever enough to choose the books who tell them the truth over those who try to keep them in a sugar pink shell (yeah,, those with goodie goodie kids and happy endings). I brought this because I think that it is really important to keep good thoughts in mind but sometimes we have to feel rage or sadness or envy and we have to face and deal with those emotions eventually

welll... now I will stay quiet and go back to the original post

Lore.
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Old 06-28-2006, 03:41 PM   #26
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WOMEN DON'T ENJOY RAPE


so, to ask some provocative questions, if Tolan (the wife, i think) actually did enjoy the encounter, at least after the fact, is it then rape? is enjoyment, or lack of it, the defining characteristic of what is and what isn't rape? does it have to be as unwanted at the end as it was at the beginning? could she have been playing along the whole time?

i also think it's fair to say that many women (and gay men, for that matter) have what might be poorly termed "rape fantasies" -- though it's important to note that no one actually wishes to be raped, it's more that they wish to be dominated and made to be submissive in the context of role play. it doesn't sound like this is the scenario presented in the show, but i do think it's worthy of discussion -- within the weird and sometimes wild world of sexual fantasy and desire, some adults enjoy partaking in the role play of certain sexual situations that would be considered at best risque and at worst taboo in the real world. the difference between this, and what seems to have happened in "Rescue Me," would have been the mutually discussed and agreed upon parameters of the role play (i.e., having a "safe word").

it does seem to me (again, i haven't seen the show) as if this incident was intended to be a small piece of their dysfunctional relationship that should, ideally, open up a greater understanding of just how dysfunctional their relationship actually is, though it doesn't seem as if the show was successful.

i also think that while we might see the depiction of either a rape fantasy or actual rape as deplorable, i also don't think we should underestimate the audience too much. i can't imagine too many men are going to watch the show and say, "hey, you know what? i'm going to give it to some chick just like Dennis Leary did."

i really can't a single scene from a single show (with hugely flawed characters) altering anyone's attitudes towards rape.
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Old 06-28-2006, 04:46 PM   #27
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so, to ask some provocative questions, if Tolan (the wife, i think) actually did enjoy the encounter, at least after the fact, is it then rape?
So if a man beats his wife and she still loves him afterwards and makes excuses for him, does that make the beating ok?

If a man molests a 12 year old girl through seduction and she enjoys it, is it any less a violation?

Tolan is the producer (or director not sure) who wrote in a blog somewhere the intentions of the scene. I believe he meant the actress who portrays the wife to come across as defiant in light of her out of control situation. Maybe that is what is coming across to people as pleasure.

Quote:
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i also think that while we might see the depiction of either a rape fantasy or actual rape as deplorable, i also don't think we should underestimate the audience too much. i can't imagine too many men are going to watch the show and say, "hey, you know what? i'm going to give it to some chick just like Dennis Leary did."

i really can't a single scene from a single show (with hugely flawed characters) altering anyone's attitudes towards rape.
Except perhaps the teen boys all over middle class America who participate in rainbow and chicken parties. Not to mention the Lacrosse players at a certain university.
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Old 06-28-2006, 05:08 PM   #28
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So if a man beats his wife and she still loves him afterwards and makes excuses for him, does that make the beating ok?

If a man molests a 12 year old girl through seduction and she enjoys it, is it any less a violation?

Tolan is the producer (or director not sure) who wrote in a blog somewhere the intentions of the scene. I believe he meant the actress who portrays the wife to come across as defiant in light of her out of control situation. Maybe that is what is coming across to people as pleasure.



you missed my point -- apologize for not making it clearer. you yourself said that "WOMEN DON'T ENJOY RAPE." i was asking you if lack of enjoyment is a necessary condition for what is called rape. i think your first example isn't correct because there is a difference between enjoying an episode of violent sex versus being beaten and then making excuses for someone afterwards. these strike me as very different situations so the comparison holds very little water for me.

we are also dealing with adults here, not minors (who are unable to consent to sexual activity).

i understand this is a touchy topic, and i am risking being misunderstood when i ask provocative questions, but please take my questions as they are intended.






Quote:
Except perhaps the teen boys all over middle class America who participate in rainbow and chicken parties. Not to mention the Lacrosse players at a certain university.

what is a rainbow and chicken party?

it's looking like there was no rape whatsoever at Duke.

and how are these events directly related to this particular episode?
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Old 06-28-2006, 06:43 PM   #29
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Actually I didn't miss your point at all. I meant to illustrate that the reaction of the victim in some circumstances does not condone or change the nature of the behaviour of the violator.

Sure it's a touchy subject. Especially when it goes down the road of suggesting that rape is just violent sex and since some people like violent sex and dom/sub role play, well then rape must be enoyable to some people.

Rape is forcing a woman (or man) to submit to sex against her will...it's not a game (even in the most dysfunctional relationship) and is an act of violence, not passion, in an attempt to hurt and humiliate. It's a brutal intrusion which is why it's offensive for Rescue Me to misrepresent rape and perpetuate a few myths that surround it.

At a rainbow party boys go from girl to girl (I say boys/girls since they are as young as 11/12) who are wearing different coloured lipsticks and get oral sex from each of them - forming a rainbow. Similarly at a chicken party, girls line up on their knees with their mouthes open bobbing their heads in an assembly line.

I haven't followed the Duke story so if they've been acquitted, I retract my statement.

I think you've related the very real connection between media influence and behaviour in other threads so I don't think I need to explain the type of influence a show like this may have on boys and young adults who already show this type of objectification and low level of respect for the opposite sex and may have no way to separate myth from fact.
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Old 06-28-2006, 08:33 PM   #30
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Actually I didn't miss your point at all. I meant to illustrate that the reaction of the victim in some circumstances does not condone or change the nature of the behaviour of the violator.



but isn't the reaction of the woman precisely what defines rape? what happens if -- as seems to be the depiction in the TV show -- a "no" does turn into a "yes"? and i mean this all theoretically.



[q]At a rainbow party boys go from girl to girl (I say boys/girls since they are as young as 11/12) who are wearing different coloured lipsticks and get oral sex from each of them - forming a rainbow. Similarly at a chicken party, girls line up on their knees with their mouthes open bobbing their heads in an assembly line. [/q]


this sounds much more like an urban myth than anything. this is precisely the kind of story the media loves to run with and let Katie Couric report to scare the moms.

can you provide sources?


Quote:
I think you've related the very real connection between media influence and behaviour in other threads so I don't think I need to explain the type of influence a show like this may have on boys and young adults who already show this type of objectification and low level of respect for the opposite sex and may have no way to separate myth from fact.

really? i thought i had argued the opposite -- that media might have some influence, but it is highly overrated, particularly as people get older.

advertising, however, is a different story, particularly amongst children. and this is hardly a show for children.

again, i'm not defending the show or defending what happened in this episode, i'm just looking for a bit of a less visceral reaction (as understandably difficult as that might be) because i think some interesting questions about the nature of rape.
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