Creative Destruction

February 15, 2007

Domestic Violence is Funny!

Filed under: Popular Culture — Robert @ 4:13 pm

Man, as much as I hate to climb onto Daran’s bandwagon…check out this two-day comic sequence.

Via Questionable Content, a webcomic that I enjoyed greatly until about three minutes ago. Per the author, this mini-arc is “hysterically funny”.

I’m sure that it would have been equally funny if the beaten partner had been a woman. Right?



  1. Wow, that’s really disgusting.

    I’m sure that it would have been equally funny if the beaten partner had been a woman. Right?

    Well, since it’s not at all funny now, that’s not setting a high bar.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 17, 2007 @ 12:46 am | Reply

  2. Reading through the cartoonist’s livejournal thread about the comic strip,the folks there generally say they found it hilarious, and pat themselves on the back a lot for being too jaded to object to the use of dometic violence for humor.

    At one point, the cartoonist comments: “If it makes you feel better, Erin was actually more mad at me that I’d insinuate she’d be mad over the first comic. When she saw it, she burst into laughter and told me the dishes were waiting.”

    I don’t feel up to going and commenting and having everyone go “fuck you feminist, it’s just a joke, get a sense of humor” at me. Maybe tomorrow.

    * * *

    (Just for the record, I do think that in theory domestic violence can be made funny by the right cartoonist (regardless of the sex of the victim). But this cartoon ain’t it.)

    Comment by Ampersand — February 17, 2007 @ 1:03 am | Reply

  3. You feminists, always going on about the suffering and the oppression. You should get laid and lighten up!

    There, now you don’t have to go post anything, you’ve already gotten the likely response.

    Comment by Robert — February 17, 2007 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  4. I laughed at all three of those. They’re web comics. It’s pretty tough to lower the bar any more than that.

    Comment by Joe — February 18, 2007 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  5. btw, are you familiar with

    Comment by Joe — February 18, 2007 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  6. I’m sure that it would have been equally funny if the beaten partner had been a woman.

    Now I’m going to imitate Daran and answer a rhetorical question as though it were a content seeking remark.

    The cartoon wasn’t funny and it wouldn’t have been funny if the beaten partner had been a woman either. But the attempted humor is at the “unexpectedness” of the situation, ie that the male partner, who, in the first scene is acting like a macho man, is the one who ends up with a black eye. The culturally expected thing is for the female partner to end up with the black eye in a domestic violence situation, so it would have lacked the necessary element of unexpectedness or reversal if the female partner had ended up with the black eye. Except that it isn’t funny either way. (If I were rewriting it I’d have him doing the dishes in the second episode and saying “I’m so glad we could come to an agreement on this” instead of showing signs of being abused. That would make it a sort of ho-hum, ok, maybe that’s worth a snicker cartoon, but at least not disgusting.)

    I can think of a couple of examples of domestic violence as “funny” where the female partner ends up as the victim, but they’re both rather old. There’s the famous line from “The Honeymooners”, “One of these days, Alice…Bang, zoom, to the moon!” A clear threat of violence being played for laughs. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that it’s an empty threat: I don’t think that any violence ever actually ensues. (I’m working off of secondary references, having never seen the show itself.) And there was one episode of “I Love Lucy” in which Ricky spanks Lucy when she is acting “childish”. (Hmm…but is that an example of domestic violence or were they just getting kinky? The things they showed on TV in the 1950s.) To my shame, I did see that one personally. I can’t think of any more recent uses of domestic violence with a female victim as humor, but I think that Eminem and others sometimes sing about beating or killing their girlfriends in ways that suggest that they believe that they are justified.

    Comment by Dianne — February 19, 2007 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  7. I think one problem is that the black eye — as well as the miserable expression on the character’s face — were way too realistic. One strategy for making cartoon violence funny is to have it be horribly unrealistic, which reassures readers that the cartoonist isn’t seriously advocating the violence being shown.

    On The Honeymooners, the “to the moon, Alice! To the moon!” threat was very obviously never going to be carried out, and Alice was never even slightly intimidated by Ralph’s threat. The gag would never have worked if viewers thought that Alice was at all frightened, or that Ralph would ever actually hit Alice.

    The Lucy thing is disturbing.

    There was an episode of Roseanne in which Roseanne joke-hit Dan with a frying pan, and Dan pretended to become incoherent as a result. It was acted in a way to make it clear that both characters were trying to make each other laugh; but it would have been a much harder gag to pull off with a man hitting a woman.

    And of course there are any number of cartoons — mostly from the 50s or earlier — featuring henpecked men being hit by their wives (sometimes with the iconic husband-hitting rolling pin). In more recent years, Lucy in “Peanuts” was sometimes shown slugging the boys around her, but I don’t think Schulz ever drew a boy hitting a girl (or even hitting another boy).

    The most frequent example of abuse-comedy I can think of is Homer strangling Bart on The Simpsons. I have to admit I’ve never found that gag funny, but I find it impressive how long they’ve stuck with it.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 19, 2007 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  8. Now I’m going to imitate Daran…

    Just like nuclear missiles, we can never have too much Daran.

    People who sing about beating up their girlfriends aren’t usually trying to be funny; they’re trying to gain macho credibility.

    Comment by Robert — February 19, 2007 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  9. Looks like something positive has another comic up you might not like. This one didn’t make me laugh.

    Comment by Joe — February 20, 2007 @ 7:26 am | Reply

  10. There is also a very unfunny Sprint commercial on the air right now, where a woman is going nuts because she can’t find her Blackberry. She hears the ringtone, and it’s in the pocket of one of her two coworkers. It cuts to her txting “Dave is going to be late” (something like that) and then shows her and the coworkers in the hospital — the men have each been assualted and one is in getting stitches.

    I think this was a Superbowl ad — and the first thing I said to my wife was, “wouldn’t it be hysterical if it was a guy instead and he beat his secretary?” Yeah, she didn’t think so either.

    Comment by st4rbux — March 3, 2007 @ 11:43 pm | Reply

  11. I’m glad to see someone else mention the Sprint Blackberry commercial. What are we to think she said to the intake person at the hospital. If she admitted to it would she be arrested? Also, she gloats as she looks at her husband with the ice bag on his head. She’s not sorry. Her attitude seems to be, “You got what you deserved and you can expect more of that another time.”

    But I’ve mention this ad to guys I know, and they think it’s funny. Again, imagine the response to the ad if the sex roles were reversed!

    Comment by Rick — March 5, 2007 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  12. btw, are you familiar with

    I am now! Thanks for the link. That’s gone into the read-when-updated folder.

    Comment by Robert — March 5, 2007 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  13. The comedian Kip Ayoda (I think, I probably have the spelling wrong, as google turns up nothing) had an album (released in the eighties) that included the joke: “A guy has an argument with his wife. Finally, he says, ‘you’re not going to see me for a few days.’ After three days, she did seem him again, a little, out of one eye.” It wasn’t funny either, but I’m pretty sure it was trying to be.

    Comment by Charles — March 7, 2007 @ 8:20 am | Reply

  14. I don’t know who would find domestic violence funny, but ok. I know some ppl relate domestic violence to sex, and kinky stuff, which sometimes you can. But you have to face reality ppl, their are real people out there dieing of this problem everyday, including woman, men, and children. Watch that video:
    And someone who does this, men or women, deserve to go to jail, they are just trying to raise there “appearance rate”. I hope u like my video, I really think these types of things should be put on tv, so the whole world can see what kind of horrible things go on behind closed doors.

    Comment by Ashley — September 7, 2007 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  15. I’m sure that it would have been equally funny if the beaten partner had been a woman.

    Comment by Sanjay — April 16, 2008 @ 6:52 am | Reply

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