Rape column writer wrong

Satire – “the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.”

Rape – “any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.”

The two mix about as well as oil and water – they don’t, and John Petroski is learning that the hard way.

The opinions editor of The Recorder, Connecticut Central State University’s student newspaper, is facing national ridicule and contempt after he wrote and published an opinion column.

Perhaps you saw Petroski on CNN eating his words and apologizing. Perhaps you read about him getting kicked off of the CCSU student newspaper staff.

Feel bad for him? Don’t.

The Feb. 7 column in question was titled “Rape only hurts if you fight it.” It “humorously” told the story of how the violent act of raping women has positively shaped human history and created Western Civilization as we know it.

“Most people today would claim that rape is a terrible crime almost akin to murder, but I strongly disagree. Far from a vile act, rape is a magical experience that benefits society as a whole,” he wrote.

Not one to be outdone by his ancestors, Petroski went on to describe how rape is still a glory to be held today; it gives prisoners a chance to liven up their boring cell-contained lives and, most importantly, rape gives ugly, “wildebeast” women a chance to get laid.

“Take ugly women, for example. If it weren’t for rape, how would they ever know the joy of intercourse with a man who isn’t drunk?” he continued.

The glory of opinion writing is that you can get away with a lot. It requires a different structure than regular news writing. It requires creativity. It requires a strong voice, a view that can add substance to an argument.

Petroski’s column was meant to be a joke (or at least that’s what he’s saying). It was meant to bring attention to an important issue and get readers to think about that issue in a new light; however, his argument was flawed from the beginning simply because he tried to mix humor with something that has caused years of trauma, pain and tears. It is a subject that more people deal with on a personal level than anyone would like to think.

The problem with The Recorder’s decision to run the column is that it caused fear in students, and now the public, as the wording of the column made rape seem OK – It made the Romans great, right?

No matter how much Petroski wants to say he was kidding, it’s this acceptance and encouragement of laughing about rape that makes it continue to be a problem. It’s not so funny for the survivors who live in constant fear of such a thing happening to them again.

The public should take from this a serious lesson in its type of discussion about rape. Newspapers should take from this a serious lesson in editorial responsibility.

Sorry, Petroski: It doesn’t matter which way you spin it. Rape is not funny, and your decision has landed you a fair firing.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.