Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Obama on prison rape

President Obama said:

We should not tolerate conditions in prison that have no place in any civilized country. We should not be tolerating overcrowding in prison. We should not be tolerating gang activity in prison. We should not be tolerating rape in prison, and we shouldn’t be making jokes about it in our popular culture. That is no joke. These things are unacceptable.
(Click through for video.)

I'm glad Obama is taking prison rape seriously, but the president shouldn't be telling comedians what kind of jokes they are and aren't allowed to tell. Would he tell comedians not to joke about murder? How about drone strikes that kill innocent people?

I wish he had just said: "We should not be tolerating rape in prison — that is no joke." In other words, his serious point isn't a joke, and too often people act like prison rape is purely a joke. That doesn't mean comedians aren't still allowed to joke about it — comedians are allowed to joke about all kinds of very serious topics. (The Onion has joked about the Holocaust, and I don't object to that!)