How to Boast of Your Prowess

Author's Note: Almost immediately after posting this strip I received several complaints about panel three. Specifically, that it depicted an act of rape. Hopefully it goes without saying that this was never my intent. I envisioned the woman's attitude in that panel to be one of amused exasperation, not anger or fear. I have left the comic on the site because most people who read it saw the comic the way I meant it, but out of respect for the opinions and feelings of those who didn't I have added this discalimer.
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Reader Comments (69)

Ah, just as expected, the Rape Joke Police have shown up.

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertinkersdam

Uh...nice try Ed, but the entire joke is that he's thinking "get off" means "have an orgasm." Otherwise there's no way he'd consider it "encouragment."

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

Yes, that's right. Because lord knows every time i receive encouragement my first thought is "have an orgasm," not "I'm encouraging you to do what I asked." I would find it amusing if someone was so bad that, embarrassed, they would take anything at all at that point, even shouting "GET OFF!" as some kind of confirmation that they're doing at least one thing right. I'm amazed that people are hell bent on making sure that this is a joke about rape. To me, that would be the most disturbing part. Even if Scott was making a joke about rape (which he wasn't) I would be less perturbed by that then by a swarm of people interpreting an entirely innocent joke as something about rape. It's like when the hardcore right gets up in arms because the Teletubbies were turning kids gay. It was an anthropomorphically androgynous stuffed animal with a purse named Tinky Winky, not a plot to undermine your way of life. I have no idea why people so bent on being offended bother reading humour sites. They know it won't live up to their incredibly puritan standards, so my only guess is they get their chuckles out of being offended.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEd

i'm a woman, and a feminist, and i find this quite funny. not only are we forced to to share scott's awkward discomfort at getting TMI from the last person on earth he wants it from, we realize that MHB is completely oblivious to how terrible he is in bed. the girl is obviously in the "i am bored sh*tless, isn't he DONE yet?" zone and is annoyed, then frustrated by the his inability to grasp her meaning because not only is he an utter dolt, he thinks he's casanova too.
scott, don't let the critics get you down- i think this was funny as hell, and a great pushing of the envelope.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbutcherbaby

His girlfirend seems tall. Or very short indeed. I need to know!
Good work.

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Oh Grow up rapeidiots

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChrissMari

Look it doesn't matter what anyone thinks (even Scott!) or whether we're offended or not. We all have to live by our own standards (heck, I'm not offended- it's a comic- I'm just a pedantic academic). But the scene of `accidentally continue sex without consent because you're an idiot' still fits the legal definition of `simple rape' (which would then be classified under a specific charge) under most statutes depending upon which state/country you live in (assuming we're all from the US, UK, Aus or somewhere similar for the sake of simplicity).

It's a very unlikely scene, and would be considered the most minor of possibly offences (the `victim' is unlikely to feel like pressing charges anyway and many prosecutors wouldn't bother pursuing the case if they did) but MHB's actions are still technically criminal. (I’m sure he’d be appalled to discover).

September 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEarlofthercs

No, we are NOT looking for things to be offended by. I personally wasn't even offended by the original comic - I was only offended by the horrible comments, by the lack of understanding displayed in Scott's apology... and probably most of all by his thanks to/encouragement of, the people "coming to his defense." Initially he didn't NEED a defense; now he doesn't deserve one. There are so many people here who don't understand what rape IS legally and morally, and who refuse to read or comprehend the many helpful comments explaining it. Scott himself certainly seems fuzzy on the details, or at the very least, the recent political context.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHazel

There has been a recent firestorm of debate about what some call "gray rape" - I use quotation marks because a lot of people find the term offensive. To boil it down considerably - many people think that under certain circumstance, rape isn't rape, or else falls into a “gray area.” What circumstances? Well, for example, if the woman gave consent, but later withdrew it. Or willingly went along with one sex act, but said no to another. Or if she's that man's wife or girlfriend. Or if she said no at first and then he pressured her into saying yes. Or if she was too drunk to really consent but didn't actively fight it or say "no." Or if she was a sex industry worker, or known to be promiscuous, but just chose not to have sex with THAT person.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHazel

It IS rape in all of the above cases, and the law is on their side - but not always judges and prosecutors. Not to mention a judgmental public which continues to think of rape as something that happens as an assault by a stranger in a dark alley, and demands to know why a woman “put herself in that position” in the first place.

But the reality is that most rape occurs between people who know each other well, in situations where, because of any of the factors listed above, the man feels that he has a "right," wants to control the situation, or is simply criminally insensitive and clueless. In short, it looks VERY SIMILAR to the situation in the comic.

Apologies for the multiple comments; the spam filter sucks.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHazel

Hey Hazel,
I understand completely where you're coming from. But this comic, Scott and everyone here is clearly against rape, and everyone has said so. It's an awful thing. I'm kind of confused as to why everyone is arguing at all about this. Hazel, if you're angered it may be best to just leave the whole thing. Internet debates are never won because when you finally give the coup de grâce people dissapear and don't admit they're wrong or start to use personal anacdotal examples and that's when the persons emotion truely gets wrapped into the argument.

Fairly clearly the comic was simply presenting a situation in which a joke could be made, and only that. The context probably wasn't thought about as much as the joke it's self (which I found rather funny before I even thought about the moral implications). It's hard to make a joke these days when there are people offended by and find many different things funny. Also people apply all sorts of different meanings to something that could be so off the cuff and meaningless. So I believe all entertainment should be taken at absolute face value, if you don't like a joke ignore it. Stop following the entertainer if you wish. A comic is far too trivial to invest such emotion in.

I won't be coming back to this comments section, because it's so silly, I just want to hope you, Scott and everyone else don't keep getting hurt by what is, essentially, pointlessness.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Rape is non-consensual sex, pure and simple. If at any point a women (or man, I'd like to point out to all of the sensitive sexists out there) withdraws consent, it legally becomes rape. Morally, I'll leave to the arm chair philosophers, because that's a discussion that will go on and on with no clear winner. So, I will instead focus entirely from the legal stand point on this comic.

1) We'll assume sex was consensual until the third panel, since we have no legal precedent to believe it wasn't.
2) there is no physical evidence that, when being told to "gfet off," or more clearly, stop, he didn't.
3) he seemed to indicate that his actions, by the fourth panel, had pleased his mate, meaning he had presumably done what she wanted.

There is nothing funny about rape; however, this comic is funny. Ergo, this comic has nothing to do with rape. kthnx.

September 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEd


excellent sophistry, you would have made Socrate's accusers proud. But if we apply your contrary interpretation of the evidence, doesn't that remove `the joke' (the misunderstanding of terms) entirely? You can't have your cake and eat it too.

September 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEarlofthercs

*snorts* Nice, Earl.

Well, ya'll, after what feels like 80 comments from me, and after seeing that no one's listened to a damn thing I said, except the people who already agreed with me, I have to give up this fight. Don't get me wrong, it's been just SUPER fun being called a lunatic, a moron, a Puritan, a Nazi (a Nazi AND a Puritan?), a "rapeidiot" (whatever that may be), told that I should be ashamed of myself by Phoneix, invited to blow Yeamans, and told by ChrissMari that I need to get laid, all for laying out the facts according to US law (check it, fools: ). It's just that, you know, you all are starting to convince me that you're right: there's no misogyny here at all, never was! You sure showed me! Congratulations!

To the seven or eight sane and sensible people who've tried to help the situation: thanks. It's a hell of a world, but you guys give me faith in humanity.

September 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHazel

To teh Earl of Rcs,

Not necessarily. He could be boasting of his prowess in the sense that he gives women probably the most satisfy wave of relief and new found appreciation for half-way decent sexual partners. When you're bad, you've gotta take what you can get, and May hap he simply saying "Look! I've made women grateful to be alive in a few short seconds several times a year! What have you got?" To me, that is almost more hilarious that stumbling buffoon unaware of inadequacies.

September 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEd

Also, I prefer to be lauded for my ability to be both pedantic and sardonic at the same time. I feel it more accurately reflects my love of starting verbal brannigans.

September 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEd

I think it would be easiest to just call all sexual acts between two individuals. Regardless of age, race, creed, consent, non-consent (etc, etc) ... Rape.


September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWally

Eek! A troll! :p feed it spam!

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEd

No ones denying your verbal skills, Ed, and I guess being Puck's advocate is as valid a choice as the Devil's.

September 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEarlofthercs

why is everyone so upset over humour concerning something so innocuous as a grain plant?

September 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJiggly McSickfingers

Because most of us are palm and soybean oil producers. Nothings more upsetting that world economics.

September 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEarlofthercs

[...] Basic Instructions by Scott Meyer: Your all-inclusive guide to a … [...]

September 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHtc Touch Diamond – a Re

rape oil...that's where it's at.

October 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJiggly McSickfingers

Please don't make mullet boss the protagonist (as in, recipient of narrated wisdom) again. :( He doesn't need the encouragement (double-meaning not intended).

November 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRadien

You added a Discalimer, that seems an awful lot like dodging the bullet

July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChrisCo

if you cut the mullet this comic reminds me 100% of anchorman.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaptyn

Interesting how, the moment that Hazel departed, everyone stopped talking about rape. Hmh.

Also, even when my mind was interpreting it as rape, I wasn't really interpreting it in such a -- horrific fashion. More of, the woman would be annoyed afterward, but not traumatized. I think Butcherbaby said it best:

"i'm a woman, and a feminist, and i find this quite funny. not only are we forced to to share scott's awkward discomfort at getting TMI from the last person on earth he wants it from, we realize that MHB is completely oblivious to how terrible he is in bed. the girl is obviously in the "i am bored sh*tless, isn't he DONE yet?" zone and is annoyed, then frustrated by the his inability to grasp her meaning because not only is he an utter dolt, he thinks he's casanova too.
scott, don't let the critics get you down- i think this was funny as hell, and a great pushing of the envelope."

Bloody brilliant; I believe she absolutely NAILED what Scott was attempting to convey.

Incidentally, are we saying that, if you play a prank on your friend by throwing a water balloon in his face, against his will, then it is assault?

Sometimes, things are bad, but not horrific. Yes, I can already see people saying, "Are you comparing getting hit with a water balloon to being forced to have sex?"

Yes. Yes I am. Why am I doing that? Because if you are going to use "exact" definitions, then you can't cherry-pick when it comes to other things.

If I'm drunk and I push my friend over, it was assault, and JUST as wrong as this sort of incidental "rape" that supposedly happened in the comic. (Of course, it didn't actually, based upon the interpretation above, which Scott would, I'm sure, agree with; along with pirates and lumberjacks)

November 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAtari

It seems to me that mullet boss was created for readers to assume the worst in. So whatever atrocities you can imagine in that blacked out panel is probably correct.

If it happens to trigger your own psychological disabilities, well...that's a risk you run with any media, isn't it?

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArchive Binging

Yes, the joke is funny. Unfortuntely. that's kind of the problem. That we, as a culture, accept something lik this as funny and not as an atrocity. It doesn't matter how bothered *that* woman may or may not be, or how bothered any particular person (even feminists and rape victims) may be by the joke, the problem is that someone who refuses to recognise when consent has been withdrawn - or not given - is a seriously dangerous individual.

And make no mistake, it *is* a matter of refusal. Studies have been done that have shown that men who are quite capable of recognising rejection, refusal, "no" etc when it is implied or given via body language in regular conversation, will actively ignore such cues once sex is involved.

At its most innocent, it's a belief that consent is the default and must be withdrawn, rather than recognising it as something that must be given - willingly, enthusiastically and without coercion. Such a belief is what leads to the rape of women who are passed out drunk - they can't say no, therefore they consent. Anyone who actually cares about the other person in question can see that this view is utterly insane, but those who hold that view are only vindicated and encouraged by the jokes made about it, and those that victim blame. Especially those that victim blame in response to jokes about it.

Basically, mullet boss would have realised what the woman meant if he cared. And sure, that's the point - he doesn't give a flying f*** about anyone but himself. And this is the horrible, criminal, disgusting conclusion of such a view. And everyone who laughs along without speaking up only tells people like that that this is okay. Even with a joke like this - where, yes, Scott clearly doesn't support the behaviour - it is still only portrayed as social awkwardness and a lack of self awareness. Not as something horrifying and violating, and rape really is.

There is no such thing as 'grey rape'. A guy doesn't have to be a mind reader to avoid rape, he just needs to *care*. Because if you care about the person you're having sex with even a little bit, it does NOT take a lot of effort to see the signs of discomfort. No, you don't have to stop and ask every three seconds if it's okay, but if the person is getting withdrawn and unenthusiastic, YES, ASK! If they tell you to stop, STOP! There is no such thing as a "small" rape, and even what society considers "not *really* rape" (which is, y'know... most of it, so you may wanna take a good hard look at that anyway) can be incredibly scarring.

If you're yelling at someone that much to stop, it's not longer a matter of annoyed. If the sex is just bad, you might ask them to stop (as with the first couple of pleas), but if you're asking repeatedly and at great volume like that, it's gone beyond just bad.

Bad sex feels awkward. It doesn't make you feel dirty.

And yes, society normalises rape so, so much that even women need some kind of reliable measure to process this shit, and that is that measure. If you genuinely want someone off, and they don't get off, even as you beg them to repeatedly, you are going to come out of that feeling dirty, even if you can't put your finger on it immediately. The very yardstick for rape from the POV of the victim is proof that even the "little" rapes scar... because that shame, that feeling of unsettled disgust... it doesn't go away.

January 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterIntyalle
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