Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

Nov 05, 2013

Gene's next monthly chat is next Tuesday, November 26 at noon. You may submit questions here.

- Want to find out what you're missing? Check out Gene's October live chat to get an idea of how the monthly chat works.

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is sometimes updated between live shows, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

Greetings, update readers! 

Today we're mostly fact-checking and cleaning up odds and ends from last week's rape-related chat.   

I want to begin by making a complicated point I wished I'd made last week.    I believe most men -- whatever their age and transient state of horniness / inebriation --  would not want to have sex with a woman who he thinks will wake up and regret it.   The shame of being present at that moment, when you realize that SHE's ashamed, would never leave me, and I think I'm speaking for most men.  It's exponentially worse than being turned down for a date.  

It wouldn't be fear of being accused of rape.  It would be the crushing blow to your ego.   

I continue to contend that the vast majority of men would never, ever rape.   Rape is a serious crisis, but not because every man is a potential rapist -- because there are a lot of guys out there who are serial rapists.  

As you'll see below, next month we're really going to try to plumb this in a poll.  Maybe I am wrong.


Gene, you believe that rapists are typically sociopaths, not "normal guys," and you think rapists are remarkably recidivistic. If you're going to justify turning the spotlight on all women as potential rape victims to avoid the crime, and not targeting the potential perpetrators, you need some evidence to back that up. You can't just rely on truthiness.

Well, okay.  If you Google "rape" and "recidivism" this is merely the first hit of thousands.   And it's a study of UN-convicted rapists.  The most common kind. 

The statement that at least 1-in-4 women have been raped . . . that's a screaming, "[CITATION PLEASE]" moment. Without minimizing the horror of rape, good information is still good.

Okay, the figures in this Wiki entry are cited pretty much everywhere:   In the United States, one in six women say they have been the victim of a rape or an attempted rape, and one in four college women say the same.   The "attempted rape" qualification is unfortunate, because that's pretty open to interpretation.    I would define attempted rape as one where the rapist doesn't stop on his own before penetration, but is forced to stop, by physical resistance or threat of exposure, or whatever.   Some might choose a looser definition; there doesn't seem to be agreed-upon terminology.

One reader suggested a poll of scenarios, for men and women.  I think that's a good idea.  Look for it next chat.

In Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely (google him for a great TED talk) talks about an experiment he did to evaluate the effect of "passion" on decision-making of college-age males. The basics: in a "cold" state 5% of men said they would drug a woman to increase the chance she'd have sex with him. Aroused? 26%. Would you try to keep having sex after your date says no: Cold: 20%; Aroused: 45%. These are not apples to apples comparisons of the subject, but wow, that's shocking to this female. I think this issue is far more complex than we allow.

All the more reason. Poll.

The one objection I would make to this statement is that the mob mentality can take over. If giving a woman a roofie is considered hilarious by your peer group or fraternity, you start to think that there's nothing wrong with it. THAT nonsense needs to be stamped out right now.

I continue to feel that men, in general, are getting too slimed in this debate.  Men in PARTICULAR -- potential rapists -- should get slimed, but this question presumes something unfair.   If your frat thinks giving a roofie to a woman is funny, your frat is a criminal enterprise made up of sociopaths.   No normal guy goes along with the gang on something like that.

Gene, apropos of the topic, what are your thoughts on those posters some moronic men's group put out recently. The posters showed a woman sitting on the edge of the bed with the tagline "Just Because You Regret It Doesn't Mean it Was Rape." I think the posters were rightly excoriated by everyone but they raise one of the elephant in the room issues with all the discussion. What about those cases where the woman is somewhere on the spectrum between "passed out and incoherent," and "seems drunk but ok to consent," to "stone cold sober." The Ohio State news article you mentioned above seems to fall somewhere on that spectrum. I think that's why you rightly pointed out that a strict liability statutory rape-type legal regime would be impossible to enforce.

This is why we are going to poll.  I am prepared to be surprised.

Did you see the article about the State Senator who stated he would support slavery if that is what his constituents wanted? I believe we need to start a petition in his distrct that he wear his underwear on the outside. Who is with me?

Yeah, this is the guy.   Somehow I knew he was gonna be a Republican, and the hat does not surprise me. 

This is a terribly stupid interpretation of the legislative process.   Legislators are partially elected to represent their constituents, but not entirely.   They are also elected (in theory) because their constituents trust their character and their wisdom.   Sometimes, a legislator needs to do what's morally right, or what's best for the country as a whole, even if he knows his constituents would disagree.  It's a complicated calculus.   But it's part of why he or she was elected.  Only a child doesn't see that.


Several years ago - perhaps as long ago as a decade - there was a chat that focused at least somewhat on attributes men seek in a woman. I wrote in to say that as far as I was concerned, all I cared about was a pretty face and a friendly personality. Gene told me there were lots of women who would love a guy like me. Well, I'm now divorced and finding this to be decidedly untrue so far. I'd be thrilled to meet a friendly woman who lost 90 pounds, and wouldn't be particularly bothered if she gained it back at some point.

Email me at gene.weingarten@washpost.com .  Let's match-make.  

Your theory on presidential elections are won by the "cooler" candidate rung true in 2012, but as the 2016 field starts take a rough shape, it looks more and more like a completely uncool group. Hillary vs Tea Party (Cruz, Rubio, Paul)? All uncool. Should I bet on Chris Christie?

I disagree with your assessment.  Hillary and/or Warren v. Christie would be cool v. cool.     The women are cool because they are the first woman running for president atop a major party ticket.    Christie is cool because he is interesting.  This would be the first battle of cool v. cool since, hm.   Whoa.  First ever?     Maybe Lincoln-Douglas.

I sent in a scattered answer earlier, now I will send in a simple answer: Yes, I felt violated. Yes, it did mess me up. I have never even been able to write/talk about it until some 35 years later. I did not ask for this. I was asleep. A woman, granted she lived in the same dorm and I knew her, came into my room when I was asleep. She did not do it and leave. She was there the next morning and in her mind it was like she had done me a favor. I also felt belittled. I was young and did not know to speak up agains it.

Ah, thank you.  I missed this in the chat.  This is the poster who said he was raped by a woman who climbed into bed with him when everyone was drunk.  He woke up to being in the middle of a sex act.    I asked if he felt violated, because to me that was essential to establish rape.

So, yeah. Belittled.  Scarred.  Raped.

Don't follow leaders Watch the parkin' meters

Leaders and meters rhyme quite well for a song.  

I think the second article is brilliant. It takes the advice given to women and delivers it from a male perspective that is satirical and serious at the same time. I believe it is excellent writing.


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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

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