"Al Franken has written so-called comedy routines about raping women!"
October 25, 2008 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Norm Coleman mails "rape" comic book to kids. Just about the most negative advertising possible, in comic book form, slamming Senator Franken. Not the first use of comic book form to slam opponents, of course. Would be much better if they were used in more positive ways.
posted by Kickstart70 (40 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not from Coleman. Not send to kids. Not a "rape comic book." Not a "children's book."
posted by punishinglemur at 2:34 PM on October 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


Not from Coleman. Not send to kids. Not a "rape comic book." Not a "children's book."

Note that I intended that to be quoting from the link. Sorry, I should have put it in quotes too.
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:39 PM on October 25, 2008


Wow, that was a stretch. What idiot would get that in the mail and hand it to a kid, anyway? Fail.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:39 PM on October 25, 2008


Norm Coleman mails "rape" comic book to kids.

Not from Coleman. Not send to kids. Not a "rape comic book." Not a "children's book."

This is pretty much how it is with almost every political story that gets lobbed around online. In fact, it's even the way McCain talks about Obama's tax and healthcare policies during debates and rallies. I think the pamphlet is ugly and loathsome, and sure, I'd like more people to know about it so they can object to it too -- but if it's that loathsome, I shouldn't have to completely distort the story in order to whip up the appropriate froth. If something can't overcome the "meh" of the general public, then maybe it's really not that big a deal.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 2:40 PM on October 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah it does clearly state in the first picture that this is not authorized by any candidate. Also if it is aimed at kids, why? Since when could kids vote?
posted by ob at 2:41 PM on October 25, 2008


Also, not "Senator" Franken, unless it was mailed from the future.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:50 PM on October 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


Norm Coleman mails "rape" comic book to kids.

You mean -- he sent children copies of Identity Crisis? MONSTER!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:50 PM on October 25, 2008 [9 favorites]


I do, however, agree with the blogger's postscript calling attention to the "ethnic" look the artist gave Franken in the pictures.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:01 PM on October 25, 2008


I do, however, agree with the blogger's postscript calling attention to the "ethnic" look the artist gave Franken in the pictures.

Because the only non-Jew option in the race is Dean Barkley?
posted by nathan_teske at 3:15 PM on October 25, 2008


Political campaign comics aren't what they used to be.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:20 PM on October 25, 2008


Wow, that Wallace comic is incredible. "Send back north all the troublemakers." Its just like listening to Palin talking about real americas and how real americans dont need federal meddlers.

Its incredible, America is ready to vote in a black president only fourty years later. I guess even more incredible is how that comic still echoes a large part of america today.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:31 PM on October 25, 2008


I doubt he meant it to be read by kids. The issue here is that the mailer looks like a cutesy comic book, and if a kid brought in the mail (not uncommon, schoolbuses tend to come shortly after the mail truck) and saw it, he might read through it. Of course, I doubt this would scar a child for life.

I wouldn't get too upset over it, but it's probably not in the best taste. Plus, it's so weird that an opponent who also happens to be a comedian could riff off of it a bit. I find Franken a bit annoying most of the time, but I'd vote for him if I were in Minnesota. His politics (and thus policies) tend to be spot on in my book.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:48 PM on October 25, 2008


So, the steal back your vote comic has me a bit spooked. Is the interest group playing up the issue more than they should, or is it really that much harder to get your vote counted? I mailed in my absentee ballot about a week ago, and now I have a small fear it won't get counted.

I didn't want to drive all the way home from my college just to vote, since I have classes on Tuesday and I don't want to wait around in line when I can fill out the same ballot at home. I also didn't want to bother changing my registration to my college town as it sounded like more hassle and I'd rather vote on politicians in my home town.

Am I freaking out over nothing?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:08 PM on October 25, 2008


"Not from Coleman. Not send to kids. Not a "rape comic book." Not a "children's book."

-but it appears to have been sent by the Republican Senatorial Commitee.
-sent to households
-brings up rape and pornography
-written in the style of a children's book with the opening line, "Come on in kids..."

I think this "the other side's just as bad" as a reflexive defense against criticism is wearing pretty thin.

It's a scummy piece of (cartoon form) campaign trash and shouldn't be excused by either side.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:21 PM on October 25, 2008 [7 favorites]


Also, not "Senator" Franken....

Well, not until this came out.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:52 PM on October 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


Minneapolis paper endorses Coleman. WTF.
posted by Xurando at 5:37 PM on October 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's good enough, he's smart enough, and doggone it, he might just win this thing.
posted by Tehanu at 5:42 PM on October 25, 2008


...slamming Senator Franken.

A bit presumptuous, no? He hasn't won yet.
posted by chillmost at 6:09 PM on October 25, 2008


The comic doesn't really "talk about rape". It points out that Franken has written jokes about rape.

If this is true, it seems like a stretch to criticize Franken's opponents from bringing it up on the grounds that it's too offensive. If a candidate does something offensive, mentioning it may itself be offensive, but that's not a reason to keep quiet.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:43 PM on October 25, 2008


So let me get this straight, there is a problem with stating that Franken made light of rape but not a problem with the joke itself? Or is it just the method of conveyance they chose? Granting the rape joke never aired, nonetheless it was intended to be on Saturday Night Live, but didn’t make it because, oddly enough, people didn’t find it very funny. Maybe kids are different than I remember them being, but when the choice is between political mailers and SNL most kids I remember would prefer the latter.

The comic format was obviously intended as a way to emphasize their belief that Franken’s values make him an unfit candidate by emphasizing his possible deleterious influence on children and not as a method to attract kids to read the pamphlet. That all said, I think it is a pretty feeble and sleazy attack and, more importantly, is an insult to all decent cartoonists in its deeply ugly design and execution.

In my opinion, Coleman is definitely not worthy of public office, but I do not that I have much faith in Franken either, especially after his opposition to the economic bailout plan. Personally, with the problems I have with all of them, I would like to see Minnesota continue their experiment in third party politics and elect Barkley just to see, unlikely as it may be, if the movement could build from there.
posted by mr.grum at 7:13 PM on October 25, 2008


If a candidate does something offensive, mentioning it may itself be offensive, but that's not a reason to keep quiet.

But it actually does keep quiet. Claiming that somebody 'wrote a joke about rape' without actually telling you what the joke is is an insult to people's intelligence. How on earth is anyone supposed to determine whether a joke is offensive unless they know what the joke actually is?

I do find this kind of innuendo offensive though. Presumably, the author of the comic is simply assuming that America is a nation of God-fearing morons and the very mention of the possibility of a rape joke is sufficient to persuade people to switch their support to his opponent.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:14 PM on October 25, 2008


So when does the RSC release a comic about McCain's rape joke?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:20 PM on October 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Better warning: Al Franken has written so-called comedy.
posted by mattholomew at 7:43 PM on October 25, 2008


I smell desperation.
posted by spock at 7:56 PM on October 25, 2008


So let me get this straight, there is a problem with stating that Franken made light of rape but not a problem with the joke itself?

The problem is the idea that Franken wrote a joke about rape
== FRANKEN CONDONES RAPE AND WE DON'T WANT A RAPE APOLOGIST IN THE SENATE.
And the same basic principle follows.

He's cracked jokes about women
== FRANKEN HATES WOMEN AND EVERYTHING THEY STAND FOR.

He wrote a column in Playboy
== FRANKEN IS A PORNOGRAPHER AND PERVERT AND AWFUL AND IMMORAL AND THAT IS DISGUSTING WHAT THEY DO IN THAT MAGAZINE SIMPLY AWFUL WHY DO THEY ALLOW SUCH FILTH TO BE PUBLISHED.

A successful comedien turning his career towards public service? Yes. A bad example for our kids indeed.
posted by graventy at 8:45 PM on October 25, 2008


Uh... right.

Very left leaning blog blowing a mailing that while not well-advised is not in the realms of poor taste that is insinuated nor particularly harmful to children way out of proportion.

@whee
posted by gnash at 9:04 PM on October 25, 2008


graventy; I don’t disagree with your take on the intent at all, I was referring to the OMG THE CHILDREN! argument in the linked page.
Disingenuousness from either party annoys me.
posted by mr.grum at 9:04 PM on October 25, 2008


Though I do have to add that the celebrity to politician model is not a something I particularly relish, so a former comedian going to the Senate is no plus for me
posted by mr.grum at 9:16 PM on October 25, 2008


It's all good, mr.grum, Coleman's non-stop attack on his previous career upsets me. It's a lot like Bachmann's un-American comments.

Being a comic doesn't make you ineligible for public office. Past offensive statements said in jest are not offensive.
posted by graventy at 10:00 PM on October 25, 2008


graventy: Nothing in the mailing suggests implicitly, much less explicitly, the all-caps claims made in your post. The fact that you made those inferences is quite telling, but they are yours alone, not those of the NRSC.
posted by punishinglemur at 12:20 AM on October 26, 2008


AMERICAblog is what the DNC/Obama research departments would be if they had no shame and no standards.
posted by punishinglemur at 12:21 AM on October 26, 2008


Note that I intended that to be quoting from the link. Sorry, I should have put it in quotes too.

But your own words, "Just about the most negative advertising possible, in comic book form," are just as much a ridiculous exaggeration of what's happening here. This is a perfect example of a political post that doesn't deserve to be on the front page.
posted by mediareport at 8:17 AM on October 26, 2008


Why don't we just suggest that Franken wants to do away with the penny and replace it with something the size of a hockey puck with his picture on it? And that he wants to eat Irish babies!!!

OK, that was Swift, but he thought he was funny too.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:29 AM on October 26, 2008


Ugh. I hate Franken and Coleman. The good people of Minnesota deserve better.
posted by sondrialiac at 10:31 AM on October 26, 2008


For me, the issue is that Coleman has been running a campaign based on character. Up until the Jewish high holidays, he relentlessly campaigned against Franken's character, policies be damned (although they did repeatedly, and disingenuously, also run a campaign suggesting that Franken was opposed to the "right to a secret ballot" because he supported a particular labor bill). The "pornographer" and "rape" comments have been a constant in Coleman's campaign. He claimed to have suspended them after the High Holidays, because Coleman didn't want to go negative any more (all the while saying he couldn't control ads that didn't come directly from his campaign). And then, surprise, hundreds of ads flood the airwaves with exactly the same attack message Coleman's campaign was promoting until a week ago, but this time not payed for by Coleman. It's sleazy, and we've been seeing a lot of it in this election season. Friends of McCain insist Obama is a Muslim and an Arab, but when someone directly confronts McCain on it, he says, oh no, I don't support that message. Yes, but you benefit from it, and it's not like it is total strangers who are the source of the message.

There's some history of this as well in Minnesota. Our permanent candidate for president, Harold Stassen, ran against Elmer Benson for Governor in 1938. Stassen's campaign was pretty clean, but his supporters ran a viciously antisemitic, red baiting campaign against Benson. Stassen always said he had nothing to do with the campaign, but he directly benefit from it, and, again, it was being run by people he knew and he directly benefited from it.

Beside this, I'm sorry, but if Coleman is running a character-based campaign, then when a whiff of impropriety comes out from his side of the aisle, he needs to do a lot better than send his press guy out to parrot the same vague non-denial over and over again.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:51 AM on October 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


So let me get this straight, there is a problem with stating that Franken made light of rape but not a problem with the joke itself? Or is it just the method of conveyance they chose? Granting the rape joke never aired, nonetheless it was intended to be on Saturday Night Live, but didn’t make it because, oddly enough, people didn’t find it very funny.

If you don't know what you're talking about, why do you feel comfortable sharing your opinion?

The Rape jokes were written in playboy or something like that. The problem is that the mailer recontextualizes them, and places them in a children book. The jokes were originally put in a context where they would be seen by adults, and the mailer changes the context and puts them in something labeled "hey kids" inviting children to read about them.

The criticism is that kinds might see the cartoon cover, the label "hey kids" and read it, where as they never would have heard about this stuff in the republicans hadn't brought it up.
posted by delmoi at 6:44 PM on October 26, 2008


If you don't know what you're talking about, why do you feel comfortable sharing your opinion?

The Rape jokes were written in playboy or something like that.


Or something like that…well, hmm, the accusation made against Franken comes from the March 13th New York magazine according to every site I’ve read. The article was about Saturday Night Live and in it there was a paragraph describing Franken trying to come up with a skit about Andy Rooney. In this skit Franken evidently suggested that Rooney should say he drugs Lesley Stahl and has his way with her or takes photos or something to that effect. The skit bombed in preview so it was never run on the air. The Playboy article was something else entirely. A comedic fantasy piece called Porn-O-Rama dealing with sex with robots and other wackiness I gather. What I suggested was that AMERICAblog’s argument doesn’t make sense because the political mailer is condemning jokes about rape which I would suspect is a message that is alright for a child to hear, while Franken wrote a joke making light of rape. Further I suggest that a sealed political mailer is less enticing to children than is Saturday Night Live. Further still I would say that it is ridiculously disingenuous or incredibly stupid to believe that the mailer was intended for children at all since its only useful purpose is to entice adults to vote against Al Franken because of some perceived lack of moral decency. The cartoon form and the words “Hey Kids” in this context are a trope designed to drive home the message that they believe Al Franken to be morally decrepit and a bad influence on children. It’s a scare tactic plain and simple and one which I called sleazy and feeble. That said I would have no problem with people being bothered by Franken’s jokes or attitude. I know quite a few women who don’t find rape a joking matter and a fair amount of other people who think Playboy is indecent and would have a problem with someone who appeared in its pages. I am not one of those people but that's not the point. The point is that the AMERICAblog article is attempting to do the same thing as the NRSC’s mailer, which is to condemn a candidate for allegedly inappropriate moral acts. They should both know better, and they probably do, which is why I say the whole thing reeks of disingenuousness. Further more I am from Minnesota and I am more than moderately familiar with both these candidates. So, if there is someone here who doesn’t know what they’re talking about and if you believe that person shouldn’t share their opinions, well, let’s just say there is a nice Robocop on a Unicorn thread you might want to reply to instead…
Personally, I am not so censorious and would prefer a calmer and less personal exchange of ideas, but, hey, I'd also prefer to be in Rio but you won't see me grabbing my swimtrunks thinking that's gonna happen any time soon either, though I still hold the hope I'll be wrong...
posted by mr.grum at 5:32 AM on October 27, 2008


If something can't overcome the "meh" of the general public, then maybe it's really not that big a deal.

Bigot: I'm not voting for Obama because he's black.

General Public: meh

In this case I'd say that's a fairly big deal even if the general public doesn't care.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:58 AM on October 27, 2008


Bad comic book art! bad! bad! As the partner of a comic book artist who can actually draw, I am deeply offended by the art quality in this, let alone the smears. It looks like someone used that stupid manga avatar maker to do it, and then ethnic'd-up Franken for good measure.

That's it, I'm giving Franken more money. Poor Minnesota. At least you'll definitely be getting rid of ol' Crazy Eyes Bachmann this cycle...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:48 AM on October 27, 2008


What I suggested was that AMERICAblog’s argument doesn’t make sense because the political mailer is condemning jokes about rape which I would suspect is a message that is alright for a child to hear, while Franken wrote a joke making light of rape. Further I suggest that a sealed political mailer is less enticing to children than is Saturday Night Live

Oh, a sealed political mailer. Well, that's totally different! After all, everyone knows people only gain the ability to open letters when they turn 18!
posted by delmoi at 1:55 PM on October 27, 2008


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