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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Uncle Auggie's Story Time: the Lesson of Tolerance

Hey there, kiddies, I'm Franco Giovanni, but you can call me "Mister Frankie." (And make sure you get the "mister" bit, okay?) The story for tonight is another one about Uncle Auggie called "The Lesson of Tolerance."

Sit down already, kids. Ya bother me.

Well, as you well know, Uncle Auggie (Augustus Giovanni if you wanna be formal about it) is a friendly, jolly guy; a people person that's not really a person, if you get my drift. He cares about folks, God love 'im, and he teaches others lessons to get them back on the right track. But they're always better for it, and they end up loving Uncle Auggie as much as we do.

Case in point: There was once a very snobby Toreador, Antonia, who thought she was better than everyone else, and she was a total bitch to everybody. Pretty much like everyone from that waste of a clan. She was very rude, and hurt people's feelings. Another mean rude person (and I mean "person" loosely) was this Lupine named Big-Sharp-Teeth that ran around and ate all types of people -- but he especially loved killing "people" like us. Now this wasn't very nice either.

But Uncle Auggie is like Santa; he knows who's naughty and who's nice... and he knows who ain't listening, so pay fucking attention! Anyways, he found out about Antonia and Big-Sharp-Teeth, and Uncle Auggie decided to teach them to be friendly to other folks.

So Uncle Auggie tricked Antonia by inviting her to a social function. He invited Big-Sharp-Teeth too, but the damned wolfie ate the messenger and couldn't read the note anyways. (This is why dogs chase mailmen these days, you see? The war between canines and message-bearers started there.) Anyways, back on topic, so Uncle Auggie had to go and drag Big-Sharp-Teeth back himself -- and you know that silly werewolf tried to eat Uncle Auggie! But Uncle Auggie is quick and strong, and he bound that critter up quick.

When Antonia and Big-Sharp-Teeth were both in front of him, Uncle Auggie said, "Now you both of you have been really rude to people. So I'm going to teach you a lesson!"

And then Uncle Auggie called on the magic that he learned from the friendly ghosts! (You didn't know he had magic? Oh boy, does he ever!) He switched the spirits and minds of the two troublemakers, putting Antonia's mind into Big-Sharp-Teeth's body, and what passed for the werewolf's mind into Antonia's body. Then Uncle Auggie launches them right out of his cottage with a mighty throw, so they can go and learn their lessons.

Now Antonia, inside the big smelly, hairy werewolf body, tried to get back into her estate. The ghoul doormen didn't recognize her, but she managed to eat both of 'em and get inside. A Toreador party was going on, and she tried to hob-nob and talk and pose and plot. But no one would talk to her hairy, smelly ass. So she burst into tears and ran back into the woods.

Meanwhile, the Lupine inside Antonia's body was having no luck hunting. Big-Sharp-Teeth was fast enough to run down deer, but he didn't have the claws and muscles to bring 'em down. He met his werewolf pack, and said, "Hi! It am me, Big-Sharp-Teeth! We hunt two-legs and leeches together! Wait... why you growl at me like that...?" Wow, that Lupine sure was surprised! He barely got away -- thank goodness Antonia's body could run so fast.

Uncle Auggie met Antonia and Big-Sharp-Teeth in the woods, both pissed to the gills and about to kill each other. But Uncle Auggie sat on a stump, and he says to them, "Come, sit on my lap." And they obeyed Uncle Auggie, because, well, no one disobeys him, capice? And he put his fatherly arms around their shoulders and asked, "Well, what have we learned today?"

Antonia (in Big-Sharp-Teeth's body): "I guess I learned that it's not nice to snub other people."

"Big-Sharp-Teeth (in Antonia's body): "Um... me learn it not good to eat those different than you."

Uncle Auggie was so proud, he cried tears of joy! He switched their souls back the way they were supposed to be, and they carried the lesson they learned with them the rest of their lives.

And if you know what's good for ya, ya little bastards, you'll be good too. You don't want Uncle Auggie to rip your souls out o' your little bodies and switch 'em around, do ya? No, I didn't think so.

So until the next Story Time, this is Mister Frankie signing off! Next time: Uncle Auggie and the Angry Ghost. Whoo-boy, that promises to be a scaaaaaary tale!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Dickwolf Debacle

Penny Arcade is a site that features (among other things) a web comic. They're hit and miss in the funny department, in my opinion, but it's generally mildly amusing and has a lot of geek "in-jokes," many of which even I don't get. Well, last year they made a strip called The Sixth Slave that treats rape in an offhanded manner -- seen above -- and even made t-shirts about it. And there's been a whole lot of controversy about it since, since a lot of people (rightly) don't think rape is that funny.

This issue has hit home for me for reasons I'll explain, so I thought I'd post my perspective on it. For those that don't like disturbing content, you have an opportunity to not read this and go do something else. Read at your own risk.

What follows might be total overshare, but here goes. I feel this is necessary so I can explain where I'm coming from on the issue. I had unpleasant contact with men twice as a child. And at 19 I was cornered in the shower room of a mental institution once (where I checked myself in for what I thought was "depression" but was probably late onset teenage angst). One guy played lookout, while the other guy played the role of "dickwolf." It tore me up pretty bad for a while, emotionally and mentally and even physically. For about a year or so after I was scared of other men and didn't want to be alone with them. I'm a lot better now. I still don't like thinking about it, and sometimes I'll flash back to the event but that's rare. But rape scenes in movies disturbs me greatly, and I once flipped right the fuck out while watching a scene from A Time To Kill (the one with the two cave apes attacking the girl). Which greatly disturbed my wife at the time, lemme tell you.

Anyway, sorry for the trip down memory lane. Not making this all about me or crying for attention, just framing my perspective on this matter. My past experiences have helped shape how I perceive the issue of sexual assault now. Not so much so I can claim to speak with authority, but so I don't come across as some random schmuck that hasn't put thought into the issue.

And my thought on rape is this: I hate rape and the people that practice it. I think the crime should be punishable by death. Period. Rapists can't be rehabilitated and don't deserve it anyway.

That said, the comic doesn't disturb me; I feel bad for that guy, but that's all. I mean, it doesn't celebrate rape or anything. I didn't even focus on the "rape joke" when I first read it last year. I got what that strip was about: the absurd logic that drives video games. Had the slave said "We're beaten into unconsciousness by dickwolves every night," it would have saved a whole lot of controversy and still would have been funny. And yeah, I'm saying it's funny: not for the rape reference, but for the larger joke the strip makes.

I guess I'm inured to the subject to an extent though. Part of it are the constant buggery references thrown around by a lot of men I've hung out with or worked with. I couldn't function around a lot of those guys if I was that upset by the issue, or couldn't roll with the tastelessness or kid back. (You women probably have no idea just how common rape humor is among men. It can get pretty bad.) Hell, humor even helps me -- I've made jokes about what happened to me, whined about how the guy didn't even buy me flowers and all. That disarms the assault, reduces the power it has over on me, and it has helped me heal in a weird way. I don't make light of others' experiences, mind you, just my own. (Well, mine and that of some child molester getting what he gave now that he's locked up. I can't be asked to feel bad for subhumanity, after all.)

I'm not saying people are wrong to be offended by this, or they're overreacting or anything. Not at all. People deal with this issue in their own ways, and everyone has a right to feel how they feel on the issue. But I've dealt with sexual assault on a personal level, and even as emotionally volatile as I can be at times, somehow I'm able to not freak out when the subject comes up -- whether it's a news report, tasteless joke, fictional account or whatever.

Anyway. My two cents. Again, sorry if anything in that disturbs or offends any of you. That's not my intent.