Penn Jillette Speaks Out on RapeLay

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Penn Jillette Speaks Out on RapeLay

In a recent podcast, Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame says he's against banning games like RapeLay because it "normalizes sexual violence."

In a seven-minute Penn Says video (also available on YouTube), Jillette notes that murder has been a central point of entertainment throughout history, pointing out that many Shakespearean plays feature violence and death, and questions why rape, while a horrible crime, would be the focus of such an uproar while killing is barely worth a PG13 rating. He makes an even more interesting argument when he suggests that blaming and banning the game as a catalyst for rape would "normalize sexual violence" more than the game itself.

"I think that blaming a video game for rape is normalizing violent sexual behavior. What that says is that we are all rapists and that rape is just under the surface of us and all we need is a video game to just push us a little way," he says in the video. "What blaming the video game does is it shows compassion for the rapist. It shows understanding. At some level, in some small amount, it says, 'It's not really the rapist's fault; it's society's fault for putting this stuff out here'."

While best known as the big, talking half of the Penn & Teller comedy magic team, Jillette is also an outspoken atheist and libertarian, views that regularly come to the fore in the duo's Showtime documentary series Penn & Teller: Bulls--t!

via: GamePolitics

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He's right about murder being normalized. No one even shrugs at murder scenes in movies/games.

Murder is a worse crime than rape, after all.

Oh that is so awesome and consistent with his stance from the series he worked on called Bullshit. I can't watch it now but I am watching this later to hear the entire thing. Once again so awesome.

I respect Mr. Jillette opinions but I can't find myself feeling sympathy for the developers of Rapeplay. Rape is the oldest form of terror and control used by dictators, criminals, the psychotic and invaders to terrify a populace for centuries the days of hunter-gatherers in Africa and Eurasia into the 21st century in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan and Darfur.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/28/kentucky.iraq.murder/index.html?iref=newssearch
and
http://www.rainn.org/

To see what I mean.

Penn as always an articulate argument for his views. Bullshit! is a great show and himself and Teller are both great at making their points through an intelligent and entertaining show.

To the poster above: I don't think Penn has any sympathy towards a company trying to make money off of it, only their right to pursue it as a source of entertainment and artistic medium. He says several times throughout the interview that he's not in support of rape and trying to use this as an excuse to normalize it is equally wrong. Most people know it's an atrocity perpetrated throughout history, but that kind of misses the point of his argument.

Onyx Oblivion:

Murder is a worse crime than rape, after all.

Is it really? I was unaware there was some overarching quantification to crime that made this always true.

I like how this tool likes to make no difference between killing and murder, using the words interchangeably. There is a bit of a difference, last I checked, and under some circumstances the killing of another human being is seen as necessary.

I have yet to ever see a circumstance where any rape could be called a 'necessary' act. Ever.

Thank god for intelligent people. Thank you for saying what I wanted to say.

Somehow I cannot respect someone who condones the use of inter-active rape games. Something stinks there and I think it's Mr. Jillette's logic. Rape is often way more heinous crime than murder, just ask the women in DRC if they would rather be gang-raped or killed. You'll get your answer LOUD and clear. This is not censorship, contrary to those who leap to the defense of the piece of lurid vile garbage RapeLay is. It normalizes sexual violence not only against women, but against girls and little virgin girls. Come now. We are in the modern world here. What kind of Cavedweller would enjoy being "entertained" by participating in such disgusting games? If this game involved a pedophile who stalked and raped a father and his two young sons, how long do you think it would have lasted? As you can see, nobody has considered creating a game like that. You might want to think about why that is. And if you have brains, the answer should be obvious. If not, well, wish I could say I feel sorry for you but I wouldn't waste my time. Grow up.

Onyx Oblivion:
He's right about murder being normalized. No one even shrugs at murder scenes in movies/games.

Murder is a worse crime than rape, after all.

There's a difference.

Murder is a crime directed towards an individual. Having it in books doesn't have the same effect because there is no emotional attachment to the subject usually.

That's why certain scenes (Don Corleone's Shooting in the Godfather for instance, Elias getting killed in Platoon) are disturbing because there is the emotional attachment to them.

Rape is a crime directed towards a victim. There is significantly no emotional attachment to the victim on the part of the criminal, and often no emotional attachment from voyeur (which is what you will be) to the victim.

Why is this a problem? Because we haven't received a realistic interpretation of consensual sex in the media yet. So if you can easily torrent a "How To" in non-consensual sex, what exactly do you think people will learn?

cobrausn:

Onyx Oblivion:

Murder is a worse crime than rape, after all.

Is it really? I was unaware there was some overarching quantification to crime that made this always true.

I like how this tool likes to make no difference between killing and murder, using the words interchangeably. There is a bit of a difference, last I checked, and under some circumstances the killing of another human being is seen as necessary.

I have yet to ever see a circumstance where any rape could be called a 'necessary' act. Ever.

Yes, but in such a case, it is known as justifiable homicide. But even those are hotly contested. Often with claims that there is a better way to have handled the situation that would result in the capture of the killed person.

[likely failed attempt at humor]And rape is justified if you are the last man and woman on earth and she refuses to help repopulate.[/likely failed attempt at humor]

Penn ftw?

Can't argue his logics.

Onyx Oblivion:

Murder is a worse crime than rape, after all.

Agreed.

I don't always agree with Jillete, but he is always well spoken and logical. I'm not sure how I feel about his statement here, if I agree or disagree, but he certainly does have a valid point (especially about murder vs. rape as offensive content).

If the "playing this game will create rapists" crowd gets their way, the same argument could be used to ban violent games next.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Onyx Oblivion:
He's right about murder being normalized. No one even shrugs at murder scenes in movies/games.

Murder is a worse crime than rape, after all.

There's a difference.

Murder is a crime directed towards an individual. Having it in books doesn't have the same effect because there is no emotional attachment to the subject usually.

That's why certain scenes (Don Corleone's Shooting in the Godfather for instance, Elias getting killed in Platoon) are disturbing because there is the emotional attachment to them.

Rape is a crime directed towards a victim. There is significantly no emotional attachment to the victim on the part of the criminal, and often no emotional attachment from voyeur (which is what you will be) to the victim.

Why is this a problem? Because we haven't received a realistic interpretation of consensual sex in the media yet. So if you can easily torrent a "How To" in non-consensual sex, what exactly do you think people will learn?

The problem is that western women are the ones in this group and while rape is horrible and illegal in MOST countries (most of the middle east blames the woman) this whole mess is more of America forcing it's views and "morals" onto the rest of the world.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Because we haven't received a realistic interpretation of consensual sex in the media yet.

Um, what?

I can think of quite a few games that throw sex scenes in to their games, pretty much all of it consensual, and most of it from Bioware. I can think of quite a few games involving doing hookers (which is also 'consensual'), most of it from Rockstar.

Having said that, I don't know what you quantify as 'realistic'.

wait a second people are going crazy all of a sudden about this game wasnt there a movie in which a girl gets raped and there was no problem with it at all.

last house on the left i think or somewhere along those lines. not that i condone this game but how can something be shown in tv shows and films and be acceptable but not in any other media form.

besides it was only meant for japanese use, and rape and other sexual things are quite a big part of japanese culture.

Always believed Penn Jillette was a wise man, and today he continues to promote that belief in me.

Would I rape someone? No.

Femnazis, Woman's Lib'tards, or just your run-of-the-mill man-hating bitches love to promote the idea that men are ruled by what's between their legs. It's just not true. Long gone are the days a man had to club a woman over the head and drag her back into his cave in order to procreate. We have civilized beliefs, morals, and laws; all of which have a stronger hold over us than a raging hard-on. For the average man, it's going to take a hell of a lot more than a video game simulating rape to convince him of doing something he knows is wrong. Yes there are rapists out there, but they are not as plentiful as the media would have you believe, and its not video games or pornography that made them as such. They are simply fucked-up in the head.

It's even scientifically detectable, or so I've been lead to believe. From articles I read, when hooked up to a brain scanner (EEG or similar devices), they can monitor certain parts of the brain lighting up when the subject of rape comes up. In a normal person, it lights up, in a potential rapist, it doesn't. The reasoning is that things like rape, murder, torture, or such, trigger thought responses because the subject considers the word and act to be, for lack of a better word, "bad". But in a mentally deranged person, the word "Rape" triggers no response. It is as if the word were "Potato" or "Spoon". Just a word like any other, with no subconscious acknowledgment of taboo or wrongness.

And I side with Penn on thought-crime. There is a world of difference between me thinking of killing someone, and actually wanting to kill someone. And there is a world of difference between wanting to kill someone, and plotting to kill someone. Let us not forget the world of difference between the plotting, and actually DOING such a thing. Three worlds apart are the thought of murder and the act. By the time you begin plotting to do something wrong, I would say you have crossed the line, but it is not until the attempt is made that I'd consider anything a crime.

Hello? Can't you read? This is an international group, with an international policy board, working with Japanese partners on this campaign. If you are interested in getting your facts straight, you might want to read the relevant information on their website instead up jumping up and down and whining like little kids whose candy is going to be taken away. You can say that murder is worse than rape all you want and it won't make it true. Matter of fact it shouldn't be surprising that men would think that - another way that western society has normalized sexual violence and exploitation. It's no better than the cultures that consider women as chattel. It's all on the same continuum. You better hope it never happens to you or anyone you love, or any child of yours. Rape I mean. Sexual violence of any kind is the worst act humankind has come up with to date.

Hey genius...this is an INTER-ACTIVE rape game. Quite a bit different from watching something on a movie screen. Use your head.

I think Jillete in general is around half full of himself and half full of shit, but there's at least a little something to this, and the comment doesn't seem mean-spirited.

One possible difference between the two crimes is that there are surviving victims of rape and sexual assault for whom exposure to these kinds of things can re-ignite trauma.

But I share the wish that murder were taken more seriously, and doubt that much is ever accomplished through banning things. Which doesn't mean I think it's especially appropriate for mainstream retailers to stock those kinds of products, but I guess it's difficult for me to feel too much of anything about mainstream retailers.

sisterblues:
Hey genius...this is an INTER-ACTIVE rape game. Quite a bit different from watching something on a movie screen. Use your head.

Good job, are you also for the banning of violent games? That's the argument used to try and ban them.

Khell_Sennet:
Always believed Penn Jillette was a wise man, and today he continues to promote that belief in me.

Would I rape someone? No.

Femnazis, Woman's Lib'tards, or just your run-of-the-mill man-hating bitches love to promote the idea that men are ruled by what's between their legs. It's just not true. Long gone are the days a man had to club a woman over the head and drag her back into his cave in order to procreate. We have civilized beliefs, morals, and laws; all of which have a stronger hold over us than a raging hard-on. For the average man, it's going to take a hell of a lot more than a video game simulating rape to convince him of doing something he knows is wrong. Yes there are rapists out there, but they are not as plentiful as the media would have you believe, and its not video games or pornography that made them as such. They are simply fucked-up in the head.

It's even scientifically detectable, or so I've been lead to believe. From articles I read, when hooked up to a brain scanner (EEG or similar devices), they can monitor certain parts of the brain lighting up when the subject of rape comes up. In a normal person, it lights up, in a potential rapist, it doesn't. The reasoning is that things like rape, murder, torture, or such, trigger thought responses because the subject considers the word and act to be, for lack of a better word, "bad". But in a mentally deranged person, the word "Rape" triggers no response. It is as if the word were "Potato" or "Spoon". Just a word like any other, with no subconscious acknowledgment of taboo or wrongness.

And I side with Penn on thought-crime. There is a world of difference between me thinking of killing someone, and actually wanting to kill someone. And there is a world of difference between wanting to kill someone, and plotting to kill someone. Let us not forget the world of difference between the plotting, and actually DOING such a thing. Three worlds apart are the thought of murder and the act. By the time you begin plotting to do something wrong, I would say you have crossed the line, but it is not until the attempt is made that I'd consider anything a crime.

Still not getting it Einstein. Nice language, by the way. Shows your intelligence.

sisterblues:
Somehow I cannot respect someone who condones the use of inter-active rape games. Something stinks there and I think it's Mr. Jillette's logic. Rape is often way more heinous crime than murder, just ask the women in DRC if they would rather be gang-raped or killed. You'll get your answer LOUD and clear. This is not censorship, contrary to those who leap to the defense of the piece of lurid vile garbage RapeLay is. It normalizes sexual violence not only against women, but against girls and little virgin girls. Come now. We are in the modern world here. What kind of Cavedweller would enjoy being "entertained" by participating in such disgusting games? If this game involved a pedophile who stalked and raped a father and his two young sons, how long do you think it would have lasted? As you can see, nobody has considered creating a game like that. You might want to think about why that is. And if you have brains, the answer should be obvious. If not, well, wish I could say I feel sorry for you but I wouldn't waste my time. Grow up.

First of all, you're talking about the Japanese erotic game industry. The example you have given is in exsistance somewhere, long before you thought that up. Sad, but true.

What Mr. Gilette is trying to say I very much agree with. The 'cavedwellers' that would want to play this are generally going to be from one of two categories. The curious, who aren't about to be pushed over the edge, and the extremes that are already far over the edge. His point is simple, people should not try to make knee jerk censorship moves in fear of something, of any subject matter, thinking it will cause people to suddenly take it up. I have more faith in people than that. Maybe it's misguided faith, but I'd rather be misguided than live in fear every day of my life of what may or may not happen at the behest of videogames. I don't believe for one second games make anyone violent, why should I believe it would make anyone a rapist?

The mentally unstable are just that, they don't need a catalyst to set them off sadly. Censorship is going to change a thing.

cobrausn:

Having said that, I don't know what you quantify as 'realistic'.

Nail. Head. What exactly is "realistic" sex?

Until we can make that forthcoming, perhaps we shouldn't demand the rights for nonconsensual sex.

Penn usually has some good ideas, but occasionally (like on the Firearms debate: "We need guns to overthrow the Government" : I'm sorry, what?????), he disappears up his own idea chute.

sisterblues:
Sexual violence of any kind is the worst act humankind has come up with to date.

How I wish that was true.

Blocking this means we don't even go further than that.

sisterblues:
If this game involved a pedophile who stalked and raped a father and his two young sons, how long do you think it would have lasted? As you can see, nobody has considered creating a game like that. You might want to think about why that is. And if you have brains, the answer should be obvious. If not, well, wish I could say I feel sorry for you but I wouldn't waste my time. Grow up.

I think games like that do exist.

asinann:

sisterblues:
Hey genius...this is an INTER-ACTIVE rape game. Quite a bit different from watching something on a movie screen. Use your head.

Good job, are you also for the banning of violent games? That's the argument used to try and ban them.

I think they are pretty juvenile and asinine actually, but once you look at the sexual violence that is perpetrated on women all over the world and I mean ALL OVER, it seems hideous and sickening to think that someone would enjoy victimizing a young virgin girl that way, bloodying her, impregnating her. To think that people get their kicks out of that is just too depressing. It's a huge difference from figures shooting at each other and going to war with swords and crap like that. A huge difference. If you think that the killing done in war is murder, and that murder is wrong, then why don't you get your ass out there and protest the wars instead of holing up in your little rooms and play-acting.

I think he has a point. I also like to point out that it's a slippery slope to start banning things for moral reasons.

The_root_of_all_evil:

cobrausn:

Having said that, I don't know what you quantify as 'realistic'.

Nail. Head. What exactly is "realistic" sex?

Until we can make that forthcoming, perhaps we shouldn't demand the rights for nonconsensual sex.

Penn usually has some good ideas, but occasionally (like on the Firearms debate: "We need guns to overthrow the Government" : I'm sorry, what?????), he disappears up his own idea chute.

Thats why the 2nd ammendment exists. The Founding Fathers realized corruption could come further down the road and really didn't expect democracy to work, so they gave the citizens the right to bear arms so they could overthrow a tyrranical government if it came to it. Obviously doing things through due process is better, but after living 8 years under president Bush I wondered once or twice...

PS: I am a devout christian (AND A LIBERAL!) and I approved this message.

sisterblues:

Still not getting it Einstein. Nice language, by the way. Shows your intelligence.

You joined for this particular topic and continue to lambast the board for having their own opinions. They're not your own, and you have to speak down and act as though we're all cretins?

Here's an oldie, but a goodie: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

Try making your points without name-calling or being rude, it goes a lot further.

Agreed.[/quote]

Onyx Oblivion:

Murder is a worse crime than rape, after all.

Tell that to a rape victim.

Being murdered doesn't leave you horrifically traumatised.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Penn usually has some good ideas, but occasionally (like on the Firearms debate: "We need guns to overthrow the Government" : I'm sorry, what?????), he disappears up his own idea chute.

Hey I could agree with that. It's not often a government forms itself with the clause in it's founding documents that if it ever fucks up too much to go ahead and take them out. =P

Onyx Oblivion:
Murder is a worse crime than rape, after all.

May I ask why? I fail to understand your point of view.

TsunamiWombat:
I think he has a point. I also like to point out that it's a slippery slope to start banning things for moral reasons.

Like smoking?

Jennacide:

sisterblues:
Somehow I cannot respect someone who condones the use of inter-active rape games. Something stinks there and I think it's Mr. Jillette's logic. Rape is often way more heinous crime than murder, just ask the women in DRC if they would rather be gang-raped or killed. You'll get your answer LOUD and clear. This is not censorship, contrary to those who leap to the defense of the piece of lurid vile garbage RapeLay is. It normalizes sexual violence not only against women, but against girls and little virgin girls. Come now. We are in the modern world here. What kind of Cavedweller would enjoy being "entertained" by participating in such disgusting games? If this game involved a pedophile who stalked and raped a father and his two young sons, how long do you think it would have lasted? As you can see, nobody has considered creating a game like that. You might want to think about why that is. And if you have brains, the answer should be obvious. If not, well, wish I could say I feel sorry for you but I wouldn't waste my time. Grow up.

First of all, you're talking about the Japanese erotic game industry. The example you have given is in exsistance somewhere, long before you thought that up. Sad, but true.

What Mr. Gilette is trying to say I very much agree with. The 'cavedwellers' that would want to play this are generally going to be from one of two categories. The curious, who aren't about to be pushed over the edge, and the extremes that are already far over the edge. His point is simple, people should not try to make knee jerk censorship moves in fear of something, of any subject matter, thinking it will cause people to suddenly take it up. I have more faith in people than that. Maybe it's misguided faith, but I'd rather be misguided than live in fear every day of my life of what may or may not happen at the behest of videogames. I don't believe for one second games make anyone violent, why should I believe it would make anyone a rapist?

The mentally unstable are just that, they don't need a catalyst to set them off sadly. Censorship is going to change a thing.

What on earth makes you think this is knee-jerk? How do you know what it is? You think that these groups just sit around thinking up ways to make men's lives miserable? If so then you've got a lot to learn. There are many many good people in this world. You are right about that. But there are just as many cruel, sadistic, sociopaths too. It's hard to have faith when you read about what has happened in DRC or Darfur or Bosnia. Rape camps. Now that must have been fun. Anyway, it isn't about being mentally unstable or not, the campaign is about Japan's acceptance of unacceptable sexual violence. There have been some changes in the law (read the group's website) but the Japanese groups know it's not enough. It is going to take a government effort behind educating - from grade school on - that women are equal to men, in all ways, and should never be objectified and used for their pleasure. An inter-active rape game like RapeLay normalizes sexual violence against girls and women - hey look, isn't this a thrill we can do this and try to feel what it might be like. You don't think that normalizes the act of rape? Think about it.

Ghostkai:
Being murdered doesn't leave you horrifically traumatised.

Not to downplay the impact of rape but I suspect that suffering an untimely, violent death at the hands of another person is pretty traumatic.

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