Game of Thrones came back last night after “the episode” wherein Jaime raped Cersei. As expected, she put him right in his place after what he did to her, her pain clear on her face, her order for him to seek out and kill Sansa plainly clear. But the show continues to want us to like Jaime, as he then sends out Brienne to find and protect Sansa.
Rather than go over the show’s plot, which no one is going to read unless they saw the episode already, I’ll point you to the New York Times’ recap, which is far more detailed than I could write.
I’d rather address a call to boycott the show by a reader. When pigs fly I would call for a boycott. Why aren’t you standing up for rape, the reader asked. My answer, in short, because A) it’s a TV show and that is the choice of the artists to dictate how that goes. We are entitled to our opinions on what occurred. But to call for a boycott is to dictate how a show must deliver that content and to me that’s akin to fascism of a kind. So, no. B) calling for a boycott of Game of Thrones does not address whatsoever real world rape, either rape culture or rape, sexual violence, sexual exploitation or any of the real world problems that occur with extreme regularity all over the world every second of the day. I would be ashamed to put my fear and concerned on that one scene in Game of Thrones and shame on anyone else who does.
Game of Thrones fans are still upset by the Jaime rape – because of the original story in the books, because of Jaime’s character overall. They are devoted fans who are genuinely bummed out by the way Jaime’s character turned. And then there are those who remain upset because they think the show somehow advocates or condones rape. It is to those people I would like to write the following:
I am all for freaking out about the lack of diversity in programming, Hollywood and at the Oscars. I am all for shows that depict negative stereotypes (African Americans as criminals only, like in the Dirty Harry movies). I’m all for calling out Hollywood for the shit that the five white guys in suits who run the business decide that audiences want to see.
When it comes to dictating content, however, when it comes to audiences being unable, or unwilling, to tell the difference between reality and fantasy – I do draw the line. The show depicted rape. React as you must but do not try to tell anyone how to soften the story for your own sensibilities so that you can feel good about yourself, so that you can sleep at night thinking you helped solve some problem with violence against women. Rape culture? This isn’t rape culture. This is giving you something to decide for yourself. In this case, you trust the storytellers — you don’t impose your political correctness on art.
Mapplethorpe dipped a crucifix into a jar of piss – Christians and right wingers freaked out and called it offensive. Does he have the right to do it? A graffiti artist paints a picture of a racist spewing racial epithets do you call that racist? You have to be able to think for yourselves, to decide what the work of art, the writing, the film is making you think about. Are there terrible films and reality shows that aren’t really art and do nothing but promote racism, sexism, violence? Yes, of course. But Game of Thrones is not one of those. I understand that this generation can’t really, or doesn’t want to distinguish between them but if you measure all of your input by the same yardstick you will eventually lose — WE WILL ALL LOSE — the vitality and power of art to reveal the truth.
But even more offensive to me than misinterpreting the intent of the artist this time around, is the utter disconnect between real world problems and fantasy. Real world — fantasy. REAL WORLD. Fantasy.
The United Nations has said more than 3,600 women, children and men were subjected to rape and other sexual violence in Congo over a four-year period by the country’s defense and security forces or armed rebels.
In 2011, the American Journal of Public Health reported more than 400,000 women and girls were raped in a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007.
Congolese troops, aided by UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, have been battling M23 rebels in the resource-rich east of the country.
Non-issue: Any headline you read involving George Clooney’s engagement, Gwyneth Paltrow’s divorce, Kim and Kanye’s wedding, Justin Bieber’s deportation, Miley Cyrus’ hospitalization, Lindsay Lohan’s “recovery,” or anything involving anyone famous whose life is none of your fucking business. And yes, a narrative shift on a beloved television show that made you uncomfortable.