CAN HULK COMPLAIN ABOUT GAME OF THRONES’ RAPE SCENE YET?

Hulk smash the totally mishandled rape in the recent GAME OF THRONES episode.

LAST WEEK HULK TOOK TO TWITTER TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE COMPLETELY TONE-DEAF, OUT-OF-CHARACTER, OUT-OF-THE-MOMENT, AND PRETTY MUCH NONSENSICAL RAPE SCENE THAT SOMEHOW MANAGED TO SIMULTANEOUSLY COME OFF AS BOTH A SHOCK TACTIC AND YET COMPLETE MISUNDERSTANDING THAT THE EVENT WAS ACTUALLY RAPE.  AND SO HULK JUST THOUGHT IT WAS PERTINENT TO CALL A DUCK A DUCK AND THEN JUST GO ON WITH HULK'S LIFE. BUT IN RETURN, PEOPLE TOLD HULK THAT THE APPRAISAL WASN'T FAIR. THAT HULK'S HULK'S ARGUMENT WAS JUST [INSERT LIST OF OTHER REACTIONARY ARGUMENTS]. OTHERS FELT THAT THE SHOW'S TACTICS WERE TOTALLY WITHIN FAIR DRAMATIC USE. AND THAT MOST OF ALL, HULK WAS TOLD THAT WE HAVE TO WAIT TO SEE HOW THE SHOW CONTEXTUALIZED AND DRAMATIZED THE EVENT.

FINE.

HULK WAITED.

THEY DIDN'T. IN FACT, IT WASN'T REALLY CONTEXTUALIZED WHATSOEVER.

SO HULK COMPLAINED AGAIN.

AND HULK JUST GOT MORE EXCUSES. MORE MITIGATION. MORE MOVING THE GOAL POSTS.

PERHAPS THE TITLE AND TONE OF THIS ARTICLE  IS COMING OFF AS A LITTLE ADVERSARIAL. SORRY, HULK DOESN'T MEANT TO BE THAT. IT'S JUST THAT YOU GET TIRED OF GOING OVER THIS KIND OF POINT AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND IT'S 4 AM. HULK'S FINISHED OTHER WORK AND SHOULD BE SLEEPING OR CONCENTRATING ON PRESSING LIFE STUFF. IT'S JUST THAT WHEN YOU TO PUT THE RATIONALE OUT THERE AND TO SEE IT ALL CRASH AGAINST THE ROCKS OF MISUNDERSTANDING IS DISHEARTENING. IT'S THEY CAN'T SEE OR UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE CALLING A DUCK A DUCK. BECAUSE TO THEM, IT'S NOT A DUCK. AND AS A RESULT, YOU SEE YOUR TAKE GET THROWN IN WITH OTHER NONSENSE, REDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS OR GENERAL OUTRAGE AND YOU SIGH BECAUSE THAT DOESN'T ACTUALLY HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. YOU ALSO GET PEOPLE WHO THINK YOU'RE BEING TOO HARD ON THE (VERY GOOD) THING. OR PEOPLE WHO THINK YOU ARE JUST TOO-EASILY OFFENDED. REALLY, PEOPLE WILL THROW ALL KINDS OF ASSUMPTION YOUR WAY, AND YET MANY WON'T REALIZE THAT THEY OPERATING FROM A PLACE OF WEIRD DEFENSIVENESS BECAUSE THEY LOVE THE PROPERTY. BUT HONESTLY? HULK'S SO NOT EVEN TRYING TO MAKE A BIG OUTRAGE OF THIS. REALLY. HULK JUST WANTS TO CLARIFY WHY HULK THOUGH THE EXECUTION IS STUPID AND WHY IT PLAYS INTO A LARGER ISSUE THAT MATTERS. WHICH MAKES GETTING LUMPED IN WITH HYSTERIA, ALL THE MORE FRUSTRATING. AND IT'S NOT JUST THAT IT'S EMOTIONALLY EXHAUSTING, IT'S THAT IT'S ONE OF THE LONELIEST FEELINGS IN THE WORLD (AND IT'S ONE MOST FEMALE FEMINISTS HAVE TO GO THROUGH DAILY). COMMUNICATION IS ABOUT CONNECTION, NOT BUILDING WALLS. SO LIKE DEMOCRACY ITSELF, YOU FIGHT THESE KINDS OF BATTLES WITH ONE HAND BEHIND YOUR BACK.

SO HERE'S WHY THAT RAPE SCENE WASN'T COOL.

TO BE CLEAR, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING OFFENDED. HECK, HULK HASN'T GENUINELY BEEN OFFENDED BY ANYTHING A PIECE OF MEDIA HAS DONE IN ABOUT 10 YEARS. THERE'S NO PEARL-CLUTCHING. NOR IS THIS SOMETHING HULK IS TYING INTO HULK'S IDENTITY AND TAKING PERSONALLY. AT MOST, THIS IS JUST EYE-ROLLING AT THE PERPETUATION OF THE SAME OLD SHIT. WHICH MEANS THAT, AGAIN, THIS IS ABOUT HAVING THE WILL TO CALL A DUCK A DUCK AND TRYING OFFER THE SOUND APPRAISAL OF SOMETHING BEING OUT OF SORTS ON A THEMATIC CONSTRUCTION LEVEL. ALL THAT HULK REALLY WANTS IS THIS SHOW (AND OTHER SHOWS) NEED TO DO A MUCH BETTER JOB OF CONSTRUCTING MEANING IN THIS PARTICULAR ARENA.

AND JUST LIKE THIS NOT BEING A MATTER OF OFFENSE, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHARACTERS DOING BAD THINGS, NOR WITH HULK PUTTING RAPE ANYWHERE ABOVE OTHER BAD THINGS ON THE MORAL SCALE. THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO WONDERED WHY HULK WAS UPSET WITH THE RAPE SCENE AND NOT WHEN THE HOUND ROBS AN INNKEEPER AND LEAVES HIM AND HIS DAUGHTER TO DIE (NOR AT THE MILLIONS OF OTHER HORRIBLE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THIS SHOW). REALLY. IT'S NOT ABOUT THAT. NOR IS THIS ABOUT THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT FOR / ACCEPTANCE OF / PREVALENCE OF RAPE IN MEDIEVAL CULTURE. NOR IS REALLY ABOUT THE THE LOGIC OF CHARACTER BEHAVIOR AND WHAT THEY WOULD OR WOULDN'T DO (THO IT'S A SMALL PART OF THE CHARACTER MOTIVATION COMPONENT). SERIOUSLY, THE AMOUNT OF CONVERSATIONS HULK HAS IN DISCUSSING CHARACTERS LIKE THEY ARE REAL PEOPLE IS DOWNRIGHT BAFFLING.

NO, THIS IS ABOUT AUTHORIAL INTENT.

BECAUSE YOU MAY NOTE THAT WHAT ALL THESE ABOVE ASSUMPTIONS SEEM TO LACK IS THE CRUCIAL UNDERSTANDING THAT A WRITER / DIRECTOR IS MAKING ALL THESE THINGS HAPPEN ON SCREEN. YES, THE WORLDS OF FICTION VERY MUCH HAVE GODS ORCHESTRATING EVERY LITTLE BIT OF DETAIL. WHICH MEANS THAT THERE ARE VERY CLEAR INTENTS TO ANY AUTHORIAL NARRATIVE, FOR THEY ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO CONVEY TO YOU SOME KIND OF MEANING ABOUT HUMAN BEHAVIOR, MEANING, AND IMPORT. THIS ISN'T SOME HIGH-MINDED TAKE ON IT EITHER. THAT'S WHAT ART IS. IT DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTES TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE. AND WHETHER THE ART IS MEANT TO POIGNANT, ENTERTAINING, ESOTERIC, OR OUTRIGHT INDULGENT, THERE ARE STILL VERY CLEAR STATEMENTS BEING MADE ABOUT "HOW LIFE WORKS," WHETHER THE AUTHOR MEANS THEM OR NOT. AND THUS, IT'S THE AUTHOR'S RESPONSIBILITY TO CONTEXTUALIZE THAT MEANING. AND NO, THAT DOESN'T MEAN AN AUTHOR HAS TO EXPLAIN THEMSELVES. AND YES, THAT MEANS THE AUTHOR HAS THE RIGHT TO DO IT BADLY. AND NO, THAT DOESN'T MEAN PEOPLE CAN'T TOTALLY MISINTERPRET THAT ART (WITH THE MOST FREQUENT BEING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEPICTION AND ENDORSEMENT). THAT MAY SOUND LIKE A LOT OF LEVELS, BUT WE UNDERSTAND THIS PRETTY CLEARLY. IT'S HOW AND WHY WE'VE BEEN TELLING STORIES SINCE THAT AESOP GUY GOT HIS FABLE ON. AND THROUGH OUR GENERATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF NARRATIVE / CINEMA / WHATEVER MEDIA, WE RIGHTFULLY GET TO PARSE IT OUT THE MEANING AND INTENTION. WE GET TO MAKE ARGUMENTS ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS. SO THIS IS HULK'S ARGUMENT AND THE ENTIRE POINT OF WHICH IS DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE:

THROUGH A MISUNDERSTANDING OF RAPE ITSELF, THE STORYTELLERS THOUGHT THEY WERE MAKING ONE STATEMENT, WHEN THEY REALLY WERE MAKING ANOTHER.

THAT'S IT.

THAT'S REALLY ALL HULK IS TALKING ABOUT HERE. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NOT WANTING TO SEE RAPE DEPICTED, OR EVEN PERPETRATED BY CHARACTERS THAT HULK LIKES. IT IS JUST ABOUT THE SPECIFIC PORTRAYAL OF THIS SCENE AND WHAT IT ENDS UP MEANING AND WHY THIS SHOW SEEMS HAD NO CLUE WHAT THEY REALLY DOING WITH IT. AND PERHAPS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IS THAT THIS SPECIFIC PORTRAYAL IS SOMETHING HULK SEES TIME AND TIME AGAIN IN DARK AND GRITTY "ADULT" SHOWS, WHICH MEANS THAT, YES, THIS IS INADVERTENTLY ABOUT HOW WE AS A CULTURE KEEP PERPETUATING A SPECIFIC WAY OF WE INTEGRATE RAPE INTO OUR STORYTELLING (HINT: IT'S A PRETTY BULLSHIT WAY).

TO WIT, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE WAY RAPE IS MOST COMMONLY INTEGRATED IN STORIES:

1) BY FAR THE THE MOST COMMON USE OF RAPE IN MEDIA IS FOR "THE TEXTURE OF HORROR." MEANING NO ONE SHOWCASING THIS IN A WAY OF THINKING THAT RAPE IS A GOOD THING, BUT IT'S JUST BEING USED AS A SHOCK / HORROR TACTIC. A QUICK WAY TO SHOW US WHO IS EVIL AND THAT OTHER CHARACTERS ARE BAD AND YADA YADA, ALL IN THE NAME OF UNNERVING PEOPLE (GAME OF THRONES ACTUALLY DID THIS LAST NIGHT IN CRASTER'S KEEP). ON A PURE TEXT-LEVEL IT'S, LIKE, FINE. IT'S BAD PEOPLE AND WE'RE SUPPOSED TO SEE THEM AS BAD PEOPLE, SO REALLY IT'S JUST A FORM OF CHEAP SHORTHAND TO GET A POINT ACROSS (IT ALSO TENDS TO CHEAPEN THE MEANING OF THE ACT THROUGH OMNIPRESENCE). AND SO RARELY IS IT HANDLED WITH ANY GRACE. BECAUSE FILMMAKERS OFTEN FEEL THE NEED TO "DOUBLE DOWN" ON THE BADNESS TO CLARIFY THAT THEY DON'T LIKE THE ACT, BUT THE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION THEY GIVE THEREFORE CREATES A WEIRD-DOUBLE EDGED SWORD (IF YOU HATE IT THEN WHY ARE YOU, CINEMATICALLY-SPEAKING, RELISHING IN IT?). BUT IT GETS EVEN GETS DANGEROUS WHEN THE SHOWCASING OF NUDITY IN RAPE IS HANDLED WITH SUCH A WAY THAT IT INADVERTENTLY BORDERS ON TITILLATION. AND AS A RESULT, IT JUST ALL FALLS SO EASILY INTO THE ARENA OF EXPLOITATION...  AND AGAIN, THE REAL PROBLEM IS THAT THIS PARTICULAR DEPICTION HAPPENS A LOT, OFTEN INADVERTENTLY, AND EVEN WITH SOME OF OUR DIRECTORS LIKE FINCHER.

2) THE SECOND MOST POPULAR USE OF RAPE IN MEDIA IS THROUGH THE STANDARD RAPE-REVENGE PLOT. IT'S STARTING TO FEEL A LITTLE DATED AT THIS POINT, BUT JUST LIKE THE TEXT-BASED REASONS FOR THE TEXTURE OF HORROR, THERE'S AN ACCEPTABLE LOGIC TO HOW IT FUNCTIONS, COMPLETE VARYING LEVELS OF "SUCCESS." ON A BASIC STORY LEVEL, YOU COULD ARGUE THAT RAPE-REVENGE IS TECHNICALLY DOING THE CHARACTER THE COURTESY OF DEALING WITH THE SIGNIFICANCE AND FALLOUT OF TRAUMA, BUT REALLY IT'S JUST TURNING THAT TRAUMA INTO ANOTHER SHORT-CUT FOR READY-MADE VIOLENCE AND ROTE CATHARSIS (BUT THAT'S KIND OF HOW PULPY CINEMA WORKS?). THERE WAS EVEN A TIME WHERE RAPE-REVENGE MOVIES WERE DARING ENOUGH TO BE CONSIDERED A FEMINIST INVERSION, (I.E. THE CULT OF I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE AND WHATNOT) BUT AGAIN, THE WHOLE PROBLEM HERE IS THAT, ALSO LIKE THE TEXTURE OF HORROR, IT CAN JUST AS EASILY SPILL OVER INTO GROSS OVER-SIMPLIFICATION AND EXPLOITATION.

3) THERE IS A ACTUALLY A WORSE VARIATION ON THIS RAPE-REVENGE PLOT WHERE A MALE FIGURE (OFTEN A SEXUAL PARTNER OR PARENT) IS THE ONE WHO DOES ALL THE ACTUAL REVENGING. THERE'S OFTEN AN UGLIER TINGE TO THIS WITH ALL SORTS OF GROSS IMPLICATIONS ABOUT THE PURITY OF WOMEN AND THE CHIVALROUS INSTINCT TO PROTECT THEM. THEN, EVEN MORE OFFENSIVELY, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PORTRAYALS WHERE THE REVENGER KILLS THE RAPIST AND THE VICTIM REWARDS THEM WITH SEX / RELATIONSHIP / ETC. AND YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE HOW MANY WRITERS LIKE TO DRESS THIS UP AS SOMETHING "INTERESTING" WHEN IT'S THE SAME GROSS SHIT AS ALWAYS. REALLY. UNLIKE THE EXPLOITATIVE SIMPLIFICATION OF WOMAN-DONE-WRONG-GOES-ON-FUCK-THE-WORLD-KILLING-SPREE, THIS ONE ACTUALLY SAYS FAR MORE TERRIBLE THINGS ON A THEMATIC LEVEL.

4) THE LAST OF THE MOST COMMON PORTRAYALS OF RAPE IN OUR MEDIA LANDSCAPE IS WHAT HULK WILL CALL "THE ATTEMPT FOR THE GRAY SCALE." NOW, IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED THAT OFTEN THIS BORN FROM THE GOOD WRITING INSTINCT TO SHY AWAY FROM BLACK-AND-WHITE MORALIZING, WHICH IS OFTEN DONE IN ORDER TO TRY AND REACH THE INTERESTING MIDDLE GROUNDS OF HUMAN EMOTION, PSYCHOLOGY, AND BEHAVIOR. BUT (WHAT SHOULD BE) THE OBVIOUS PROBLEM IS THAT WE VERY MUCH LIVE IN A CULTURE WHERE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH RAPE IS THAT MORAL "GRAY AREA" INVOLVED IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROPAGATION FOR BOTH THE ACT ITSELF AND THEN BLAMING THE VICTIM FOR SOMEHOW PARTICIPATING IN THE "GRAYING" EFFECT. THINK ABOUT IT. THIS POINT IS SO UNBELIEVABLY IMPORTANT. ASK YOURSELF, TO WHAT PURPOSE ARE WE GRAYING THIS? BECAUSE, LIKE, OF COURSE RAPISTS NEVER SEE THEMSELVES AS RAPISTS. THAT'S THE ENTIRE PROBLEM HERE. AND IT DOESN'T MATTER IF IT'S MARITAL RAPE, DATE RAPE, RAPE-FANTASY, OR EVEN THE BOGEYMAN RANDOM ATTACK ON THE STREET, THERE'S ALWAYS A "GRAYED" NARRATIVE INSIDE THE ATTACKERS HEAD, WHICH IS HOW THEY ENABLE THEMSELVES TO DO THE ACT IN THE FIRST PLACE. AND WHAT IS PARTICULARLY DISASTROUS ABOUT THIS NARRATIVE OF MAKING IT ABOUT CHARACTERIZATION IS THAT IT SO READILY FORGETS THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF VICTIMS KNOW THE AGGRESSOR. IT'S ALWAYS "SOMETHING ELSE" OR "SOMETHING GRAY" WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE RELATIONSHIP. BUT AGAIN, PEOPLE ARE THROWING ALL THAT STUFF OUT THE WINDOW IN THE NAME OF "GOOD WRITING." TO THEM, THEY ARE JUST TAKING THE ACT AND TURNING IT INTO A MATTER PLOT MECHANICS OR COMMENTARY ON THE CHARACTER'S TURMOIL OR SUMPTHIN. AND IT'S NOT THAT WE SHOULDN'T DO THESE THINGS, IT'S THAT WHAT IS ALWAYS LEFT IN THE DUST IS THE IRREFUTABLE MEANING AND IMPACT OF THE ACT ITSELF. WHICH INADVERTENTLY LEAVES US WITH THE SAME TIRED EFFECTS OF MITIGATION, WHICH THEN INADVERTENTLY PERPETUATE THE MOST PROBLEMATIC THINKING AT THE CORE OF WHY THIS ISSUE EXISTS IN THE DAMN FIRST PLACE. IF WRITING IS ABOUT EXPOSING TRUTH, THEN IT IS THE COMPLETE FAILURE OF AUTHORS TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE MOST "GRAY SCALE" THING YOU CAN DO WITH RAPE IS TO ACTUALLY MAKE THE CHARACTERS FACE THE OBVIOUS BLACK-AND-WHITE INHUMANITY OF THE ACT AND THEN RIGHTFULLY EXPLORE THE CAPACITIES TO WHICH HUMANS REACT TO IT.

SO YEAH, THOSE ARE ABSOLUTELY THE FOUR MOST COMMON USES OF RAPE IN MEDIA.

AND ON THE FLIP-SIDE, THINK ABOUT HOW MANY PORTRAYALS OF RAPE GIVE THE TRAUMA AND IMPACT INVOLVED SOME SEMBLANCE OF RESPECT OR LASTING ATTENTION?

[CRICKETS]

YEAH... WE DON'T REALLY TELL THAT STORY MUCH, DO WE?

HULK WILL GET TO THE HANDFUL OF EXAMPLES THAT DO IN A MINUTE, BUT LET'S JUST SIT HERE AND RECONCILE THE FACT THAT, YUP, THE VAST MAJORITY OF RAPE IN THE MEDIA LANDSCAPE IS NOTHING BUT A LAZY-ASS SHORT-CUT OR A FAUX-INTERESTING EXPLORATION OF A NON-EXISTENT GRAY AREA (WHICH ACTUALLY DOES NOTHING BUT PROPAGATE A PSYCHOLOGY THAT CLEARLY SUCKS AND MAKES IT HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE). NOW, DOES HULK THINK THESE ARTISTS ARE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF CRETINS WHO ARE TRYING TO ENDORSE THE ACT ITSELF? OF COURSE NOT. IT'S JUST THAT THE SUBJECT KEEPS HAVING THIS WAY OF ATTACHING TO SOCIETY'S LIZARD BRAIN AND THUS WE KEEP EXPLORING THE SUBJECT IN THE WORST WAY POSSIBLE. AND AS HULK'S ARGUED BEFORE, WE HAVE A SERIOUS A CULTURAL PROBLEM WITH THE WAY WE TALK ABOUT RAPE. AND BY EXTENSION, THAT MEANS WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH THE WAY THAT WE DRAMATIZE IT TOO. THERE WAS ACTUALLY A GREAT PIECE WRITTEN ON THE SUBJECT A FEW YEARS AGO BY DREW MCWEENEY IN WHICH HE DETAILS HIS FEELING THAT HE'S HIT THE SATURATION POINT WITH THE SAME SHORTCUT PORTRAYALS OF RAPE THAT WE SEE TIME AND TIME AGAIN. HE'S TALKING MOSTLY ABOUT IT'S USE IN HORROR MOVIES, BUT WHEN YOU READ THAT PIECE YOU CAN COMPLETELY READ EVERY POINT IN RELATIONSHIP TO WHAT HAPPENED ON GAME OF THRONES OR ANY NUMBER OF OTHER SHOWS WE HAVE ON TELEVISION. AND SO TO KEEP DEFENDING THESE KIND OF MOMENTS UNDER THE PRETENSE OF ARTISTRY, INSISTING THAT THEY ARE SOMEHOW CONTEXTUALIZING THE ACT AWAY FROM THE NORM IS INSANE TO HULK... BECAUSE NO, THIS IS THE NORM. THERE'S NOTHING OUTSIDER, NOR RISKY, NOR PROGRESSIVE ABOUT ANY OF IT. IT'S THE PROPAGATION OF THE SAME OLD BULLSHIT.

BUT THERE'S A BIGGER ISSUE HERE CONCERNING THE "WHY."

LET'S PUT IT LIKE THIS: IF THE POINT OF NARRATIVE ART IS TO USE AN ACT OF DRAMA TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR UNDERSTANDING OF A GIVEN SUBJECT, THEN IT'S NOT THAT MUCH OF A LEAP TO SAY WE ARE DOING A PISS POOR JOB TRYING TO CONTRIBUTE TO UNDERSTANDING OF RAPE. JUST LIKE WE DO IN CULTURE, WE DON'T REALLY TRY TO GET TO A PLACE OF UNDERSTANDING, AND INSTEAD WE CREATE AN ENTIRE DRAMATIZATION WHOSE END POINT IS NOTHING BUT MITIGATION. WE GET A WHOLE SLEW OF ART THAT DOESN'T HELP ANYONE, BUT INSTEAD DESIGNED TO DO NOTHING BUT ALLEVIATE THE LIZARD PART OF THE MALE BRAIN AND COMPARTMENTALIZE THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT RAPE. SERIOUSLY, HULK'S NOT KIDDING. LOOK AT EVERYTHING WE'VE TALKED ABOUT AND CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:

-WHEN RAPE IS CONSIDER BAD? IT'S PERPETRATED BY UBER-BAD "OTHER" PERSONS AND JUST USED AS SET-UP BEFORE WE KILL THEM FOR CATHARSIS.

-BUT WHEN IT'S EXPLORED THROUGH A CHARACTER WE ARE MEANT TO RELATE TO? IT ENDS UP BEING DRAMATIZED AS NOTHING BUT A MITIGATED GRAY AREA WITHOUT MUCH UNDERSTANDING OR ATTENTION PAID TO EFFECTS OF THE REAL ISSUE AT HAND.

WHICH JUST MEANS OUR THEMATIC TREATMENT OF RAPE IS JUST DESIGNED TO MAKE IT EASY FOR OURSELVES, WITHOUT ASKING ANY OF THE REAL TOUGH QUESTIONS. IT'S NOT MAKING THINGS COMPLEX AT ALL. REALLY, WE ARE JUST ALLEVIATING THE ENTIRE NOTION OF COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY. BECAUSE THE ONLY "GRAY AREA" THAT EXISTS IS THE ONE WE HAVE TO LIVE IN WHEN THE BLACK-AND-WHITE NATURE OF THE ACT ITSELF PUTS US IN A SPACE WHERE WE HAVE TO RECONCILE WHAT ACTUALLY WE'RE DOING. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ODIN, NO HULK DOESN'T WANT SOME AFTER SCHOOL LESSON OR HEAVY-HANDED MORALIZING, HULK JUST WANTS SOME TINY BIT OF A CLUE THAT THE AUTHOR ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDS ANY OF THIS. BECAUSE IT IS IN THAT SPACE OF UNDERSTANDING THAT WE CREATE THE MOST MAGNIFICENT AND POWERFUL ART ON THE SUBJECT THAT IS TRULY NEEDED. LIKE ALICE SEBOLD'S MEMOIR LUCKY, WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST FORMATIVE BOOKS HULK HAS EVER READ. OR IRREVERSIBLE, A GRAPHIC, HARROWING FILM THAT WHOLLY DEALS WITH THE ENTIRE NATURE OF CONSEQUENCE AND ACTUALLY CONTEXTUALIZES ALL THE PROBLEMS OF THE LIZARD-BRAIN THINKING HULK MENTIONS ABOVE. OR THEN THERE IS THE BRILLIANT CONTEMPLATION OF THE MORAL FALL-OUT IN THE SOPRANOS, WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST DIRECT ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE IDEA "RAPE REVENGE" THAT HULK HAS EVER SEEN (HULK WILL NEVER FORGET MELFI'S LAST LINE). THERE ARE EVEN THOSE WHO FALSELY COMPARED THE WHOLE NOTION OF WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH JAMIE LANNISTER TO THE SPIKE STORYLINE IN BUFFY, WHICH IS A CASE OF SELECTIVE MEMORY BECAUSE THAT SHOW DEALS WITH THE EVENT IMMEDIATELY. (SPOILERS OR WHATEVER) SPIKE, NEWLY RECONCILING THE OLD "DEMON" PART OF HIS PERSONALITY NOW THAT THE BAD-BEHAVIOR-PUNISHING CHIP IN HIS BRAIN HAS REMOVED (DON'T ASK) ATTEMPTS TO RAPE BUFFY IN THE MOMENT OF LOSS CONTROL. AND THE SHOW AT LEAST HAS THE DIGNITY TO DRAMATIZE IT WITH SPIKE BEING IMMEDIATELY HORRIFIED BY HIS ACTIONS. NOT LEAVING IT THERE, HE THEN GOES OFF TO DIRECTLY CONTEMPLATE WHAT HE'S DONE, RECONCILE THE IDEA WITH WHO HE FORMALLY WAS, AND QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT HIS MORALITY WAS MERELY A CONSTRUCT OF HAVING THE CHIP IN HIS BRAIN (FEAR OF PUNISHMENT, NOT EMPATHY) AND WHETHER OR NOT HE CAPABLE OF CHANGE, ALL BEFORE LITERALLY GOING OFF TO FIND HIS SOUL AND RECONCILE ALL HIS MISDEEDS IN A DIRECT, TEXT-BASED WAY... OH AND THAT'S ALL THREE SCENES IN THE SAME EXACT EPISODE... SO YEAH, IT'S NOT THE SAME AT FUCKING ALL. EVEN IF BUFFY'S TRAUMA IS PROBLEMATICALLY RUSHED THROUGH IN ORDER DEAL WITH ANOTHER CRISIS (WHICH COULD BE CONSTRUED AS ANOTHER STATEMENT), SPIKES STORYLINE IS VERY-JAMIE-LIKE CHARACTER IN THAT HIS ACTIONS HAVE BEEN CONTEXTUALIZED. AND SO TO REITERATE IT'S NOT ABOUT THE "WHAT" OF THE ACT, OR EVEN SENSITIVITY TO THE ACT ITSELF, ALL HULK CARES ABOUT IS WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO SAY THROUGH EXPLORING THE SUBJECT...

SO WHAT THE HELL WAS GAME OF THRONES TRYING TO SAY?

SERIOUSLY, THERE ISN'T A SINGLE THING IN THE TEXT THAT REALLY COMES TOGETHER TO MAKE SENSE AS A TOTAL THEMATIC STATEMENT. LAST WEEK, EVERYONE ARGUED THAT THE SHOW WOULD CONTEXTUALIZE THE ACTION (BECAUSE THEY SURE AS HECK HAD TO AFTER SOMETHING LIKE THAT). BUT JAMIE AND CERSEI'S SCENE LAST NIGHT JUST PLAYS AS SLIGHTLY-DISTANT. BUT IT ABSOLUTELY NO MORE DISTANT THAN THEIR TWO PRECEDING SCENES IN THE STORY. REALLY, IT'S NOT EVEN THAT DIFFERENT IN THE PERFORMANCE (HULK WENT BACK AND WATCHED. HER BEHAVIOR IN HAND-SCENE WITH "YOU TOOK TOO LONG" AND IN THE CRYPT SCENE IS HONESTLY NO DIFFERENT). AND WE ARE GIVEN ABSOLUTELY NO TEXTURAL OR SUB-TEXTURAL CLUE AS TO THE EVENT THAT PRECEDED. AND IT'S NOT LIKE HULK IS TURNING A BLIND EYE. MAN OH MAN WAS HULK DESPERATE FOR ONE. BUT EVEN HER REQUESTS OF HIM ARE VIRTUALLY THE SAME AS THE QUESTIONS SHE ASKED JUST PRIOR TO THE RAPE) ONLY WITH REGARDS TO TYRION). WHICH JUST MEANS ANY SUBTEXTURAL MEANING WE ARE CARRYING INTO THAT SCENE IS OUR OWN, NOT THEIRS. WORSE, THE SHOW DID JUST WHAT HULK WORRIED THEY WOULD DO AND WENT RIGHT ALONG WITH THEIR "JAIME THE HERO" (WELL, TRYING TO BE A GOOD GUY WHICH IS AS FAR AS THE SHOW GOES IN THIS ARENA) AND GAVE AN EMOTIONAL RESOLUTION TO HIS STORY WITH BRIENNE, THEN GIFTING HER OATHKEEPER. THERE'S NOTHING HERE THAT SHOWS US THAT THE SHOW IS TRYING TO RECONCILE HIS ACTION WITH HIS MORAL EVOLUTION IN OTHER ARENAS OF HIS LIFE (AGAIN, IT'S JUST SOMETHING WE'RE FORCED TO DO ON OUR OWN). EVEN WORSER, THE SHOW IS INADVERTENTLY ARGUING THROUGH CONTRAST OF CERSEI'S HORRID POST-JOFF BEHAVIOR WITH JAMIE'S AFFINITY FOR BRIENNE, MEANING THE RAPE OF CERSEI CAN ACTUALLY BE READ AS *GULP* PUNISHMENT FOR HER BEING AWFUL. WAS THAT THE AUTHOR'S INTENTION? LIKELY NOT, BUT GO BACK AND WATCH THE RAPE SCENE AGAIN. NOTE HOW INSOLENT JAIME IS WHEN SHE ASKS HIM TO KILL TYRION...  SEE HOW THAT LEADS TO HIS BLOOD BOILING AND THE MOVEMENT TOWARD RAPE... YEAH... OH AND WHAT'S THAT? IT'S NOT ABOUT RAPE, BUT POWER? FINE. BUT THAT JUST CONFIRMS HULK'S POINT ABOUT THE GRAY SCALE. RAPE IS ALWAYS ABOUT POWER OR SOME SHIT. IT'S NOT THE POINT OF AFFECTATION. AND EVEN IF YOU MAY NOT GO THAT FAR WITH THE PUNISHMENT ANGLE, THE SHOW'S NON-ARGUMENT AND NON-CONTEXTUALIZATION WITH OTHER SCENES (IRONICALLY) COULD NOT BE MORE CLEAR.

WE REALLY JUST HAVE A SIMPLE PROGRESSION HERE: THE RAPE WAS WRITTEN AS AN INTENDED GRAY AREA, DIRECTED AS SHOCK-TACTIC, AND THE ALLOWED TO PASS THROUGH TO TELEVISION ON WITHOUT ANY REAL CONTEXTUALIZATION AND CONSEQUENCE. WHICH JUST TAPS INTO ALL THE PROBLEMS OF THE FOUR COMMON USES OF RAPE IN MEDIA AND THE SHOW HAS EXHIBITED VIRTUALLY NO UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THEIR SCENE FITS WITHIN THOSE USES OR WHAT IT IS TRYING TO SAY BEYOND THEM. IT'S SIMPLY A FAILURE OF AUTHORIAL INTENT.

MEANWHILE, EVERYTHING PEOPLE ARE THROWING OUT THERE AS A DEFENSE OR THEMATIC JUSTIFCATION IS, QUITE-FRANKLY, JUST A NON-TEXT SUPPORTED PROJECTION. AND ALL THAT REALLY DOES IS SHOW THAT THE PERSON THEMSELVES MAY HAVE A WAY OF CONTEXTUALIZING IT, BUT THE SHOW DOES NOT (SEMIOTICS IS DEPENDENT ON EVIDENCE). AND IN THE END THE USE OF DEFENSES OUTSIDE THE TEXT IS NOTHING BUT IT'S OWN FORM OF PERMISSIVE MITIGATION. SAME GOES FOR THE CONTINUED ARGUMENT THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE SOME REVEAL DOWN THE LINE THAT MAKES ALL THIS NONSENSE WORTH IT AND SOME SOMEHOW ACCOUNTS FOR EVERYTHING HULK HAS SAID. WE CAN ONLY DISCUSS WHAT WE HAVE. THAT'S FAIR WITHIN TELEVISION AND "THE EVOLVING STORY EXPERIENCE." AND GIVEN THAT THE SHOWRUNNERS PRETTY MUCH REALIZE THEY FUCKED UP A LITTLE HERE AND THE SHOW IS ALREADY IN THE CAN, WE PROBABLY WON'T EVEN GET SOME LIP SERVICE TO IT UNTIL NEXT SEASON. AND EVEN MARTIN CAME OUT AGAINST THE SCENE (WITHOUT REALLY COMING OUT AGAINST IT, A NECESSARY POLITICAL MOVE). BUT THERE'S SOME IRONY HERE GIVEN THAT MARTIN'S SCENE IN THE BOOKS IS NOTHING BUT THE OLD "NO, NO, NO, OKAY YES!" FANTASY PORTRAYAL, WHICH CAN BE EQUALLY PROBLEMATIC IN THE WAY IT EFFECTIVELY PERPETUATES THE "SHE REALLY WANTS!" MYTH. AGAIN, IT'S ANOTHER WAY THIS SERIES ABOUT MEDIEVAL "REALITY" IS NOT REALLY ABOUT REALITY WHATSOEVER. IN THE END, IT'S JUST MORE MITIGATION.

STILL, THE THING HULK WANTS PEOPLE TO TRULY UNDERSTAND IS THAT HULK'S NOT REALLY ATTACKING ANYTHING HERE.

SPECIFICALLY, HULK'S NOT ATTACKING PEOPLE WHO LOVE THE SHOW OR EVEN REALLY THE SHOW ITSELF. BECAUSE HULK ADORES GAME OF THRONES. REALLY. IT'S A GREAT SHOW WITH THOUGHTFUL CHARACTERIZATION, CAREFUL ATTENTION TO DETAIL, AND SUITABLE EVIDENCE OF THEMATIC FORETHOUGHT. AND THUS FAR, HULK ACTUALLY CONSIDERS IT A (DARE HULK SAY IT) PERFECT ADAPTATION OF THE BOOKS AND SUPERIOR PRODUCT IN IT'S OWN RIGHT, OFTEN MAKING CHOICES THAT BETTER UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPALS OF DRAMA AND CHARACTERIZATION. SO REALLY, THE ENTIRE PROBLEM MIGHT BE THAT EVEN OUR GREAT, THOUGHTFUL SHOWS KEEP MAKING THIS ONE PARTICULAR MISTAKE WITH RAPE PORTRAYALS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, PROBABLY BECAUSE THERE IS SUCH LIZARD-BRAIN MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE SUBJECT ITSELF. THE SCENE IS ULTIMATELY JUST A STUPID DECISION THAT INADVERTENTLY RE-ENFORCES BAD IDEAS. AND SO HULK IS JUST GOING TO CALL A DUCK A DUCK. FROM THERE, HULK CAN ONLY EXPLAIN WHY IT KEEPS HAPPENING, WHY IT KEEPS BEING STUPID, AND WHY SHOWS NEED TO BE BETTER.

TO ACHIEVE THAT, WE AS AUDIENCE MEMBERS NEED TO BE ABLE TO SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM THIS KIND OF EVALUATION AND NOT SO READILY READ IT AS AN ATTACK ON "US," OR OUR VALUES, OR EVEN THE THINGS WE LOVE. IT'S ABOUT THE LARGER SOCIETAL DYNAMIC AND THE THINGS WE DO TO CONTRIBUTE TO IT AND THE THINGS WE DO THAT DON'T CONTRIBUTE TO IT. AND FROM THERE, IT'S ABOUT FIGURING OUT WHAT KINDS OF THINGS WE REALLY WANT TO SAY OR ADD TO OR ADVOCATE. IT'S REALLY ABOUT ASKING OURSELVES "WHAT KIND OF UNDERSTANDING DO WE WANT TO CREATE THROUGH OUR ART?" AND TO ALL THE PEOPLE WROTE HULK AND WORRIED THAT SOMEHOW DEVIN AND HULK WERE IN A FIGHT ABOUT THIS, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT CONCERN NONSENSE. BECAUSE WE'RE ADULTS... WELL, NOT REALLY, BUT WE AT LEAST HAVE THE POWER TO DISCONNECT OUR IDENTITIES FROM A GIVEN ARGUMENT AND STILL LOVE AND RESPECT THE SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER. BECAUSE REALLY, WE'RE JUST MAKING SEPARATE CASES FOR THE FUNCTION OF ART. WHICH ALSO DOESN'T MEAN WE'RE EQUALLY RIGHT AND EVERYTHING EXISTS IN A STATE OF PURE RELATIVITY, BECAUSE HULK BELIEVES IN EVERYTHING HULK HAS SAID IN THIS COLUMN WITH EVERY FIBER OF HULK'S BEING. IT'S JUST THAT THROUGH NON-INTERNALIZATION WE ARE ALLOWED TO ENGAGE AN IDEA THAT IS OUTSIDE OF OUR IMMEDIATE INSTINCTS AND SENSITIVIES, WHICH THEN BECOMES THE VERY MECHANISM THAT ALLOWS US TO CHANGE AND EVOLVE AND GROW. BECAUSE HULK WASN'T BORN THINKING THIS WAY. IT WAS A LEARNED BEHAVIOR. AN EVOLUTION TOWARD GREATER UNDERSTANDING. AND ONE OF THE REASONS HULK ADORES BADASS DIGEST IS BECAUSE WE FACILITATE CONVERSATIONS AND DISCOURSE IN A WAY THAT ADVOCATES THIS VERY PROCESS.

WHICH MEANS THAT IN THE END, AS MUCH AS HULK WORRIES ABOUT THE EMOTIONAL EXHAUSTION, HULK BELIEVES THE RAPE SCENE IN GAME OF THRONES AND OUR CULTURAL REACTION TO IT IS SO VERY WORTH TALKING ABOUT, AND IT'S WORTH TALKING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW. BECAUSE OTHERWISE, HOW LONG TO WE WAIT? HOW LONG DO WE WAIT TO PUT FAITH THAT THEY WILL DRAMATICALLY WILL HANDLE THIS? BECAUSE THERE'S A REASON THAT MOST OTHER SHOWS OR MEDIA HANDLE RAPE AFFECTATION WITHIN A SMALL TIME FRAME, IT'S SO THAT THEY CAN SHOW THE ARC OF CONTEXT AND THE MEANING THEY ARE TRYING TO CREATE BY EXPLORING THE ISSUE IN THE FIRST PLACE (OTHERWISE, YOU GET PUBLIC REACTIONS LIKE THIS ONE). AND DON'T GET WRONG, HULK SINCERELY HOPES THAT THIS SHOW TRIES TO FIX IT. HULK SINCERELY HOPES THE NEXT EPISODE SHOWS SOME SIGNS THAT THE SCENE IN QUESTION WASN'T PART OF THE SAME TIRED SHIT... BUT THAT HOPE DOESN'T MEAN SITTING AROUND AND NOT COMMENTING ON THE FACT THAT THE BALL HAS ALREADY BEEN DROPPED. BECAUSE THERE'S TOO JUST MUCH AT STAKE IN TERMS OF OUR SOCIETAL UNDERSTANDING OF RAPE ITSELF.

SO CAN HULK COMPLAIN ABOUT IT NOW?

<3 HULK

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