Given the title, clearly this article is not about the Kings’ scoring.
No, this is about the offense taken by many to a tweet made by Kevin Ryder using the LA Kings official twitter feed during the game against the Sharks last night.
This tweet has been called a gaffe, a blunder, an embarrassment, misguided, insulting, insensitive, inexcusable, upsetting, juvenile, stupid, senseless, pointless and unfunny.
The last one is true, and in my opinion is a big reason we are even talking about this. In case you missed it, here is the tweet.
Ghastly, I know.
Let’s set aside for a moment my personal qualm with the entire concept of people getting offended by anything and discuss why this is an issue at all.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my soapbox.
First of all, this tweet came from the official Kings feed, and like all of social media, the source is everything. That’s why it’s hysterical when Rainn Wilson makes a useless observation like “‘I’m a dog. I’m a dog. I’m a dog. I’m a dog. I’m a dog. I’m a dog. I’m a dog. I’m a dog.’ – dog’s inner monologue” and we retweet it over 1000 times, but had some stranger on the street said the same thing, you would spend the next five minutes trying to forget you ever heard it. The Kings are a corporation and their official twitter represents the organization as a whole which makes people feel like they are a part of it and anything said by them is weighted more heavily.
Ok, fine. The LA Kings twitter feed has built and burned several bridges over the past year or so, pushing the boundaries of the function an official team feed serves. For the most part, fans think it’s great and as we are all aware, this is also not the first time the feed has been taken over by a fan, as it was by Kevin last night. Wil Wheaton has been given command, The Royal Half and someone else I’m forgetting… I want to say John Ondrasik, but that’s probably wrong. I’ve asked for it several times, but after last night, I can all but guarantee that won’t be happening.
There has been no controversy with anything they have used the official feed to espouse, unless you count my own personal distaste of all things relating to puns. But now that the word sex has been used, there’s a bru-haha.
And really, that’s what this is about. Sex, and how uncomfortable people are with it. Sexual assault is an awful and disgusting thing, but we are less comfortable talking about it, and therefore less comfortable with jokes about it than say, gouging out someone’s eyeballs. Violence is socially acceptable, most anything to do with sex is not. That’s why this tweet is offensive, but we’ll cheer when Clifford puts his fist in someone’s face.
Which brings us to the actual slight that was apparently made. The claim is that by comparing a hit Brad Stuart made on Anze Kopitar, in which Kopi was jamming to the front of the net and Stuart hit/tackled Kopi from behind in what could be considered a bit of a humping motion, to sexual assault, Kevin Ryder allegedly made light of sexual assault. It is not hyperbolic then to assume that people who take offense to this believe the comparison directly insults anyone who has been sexually assaulted in the past or may be in the future. Reflexive logic is being implied here, as if comparing a hockey play to sexual assault means that Kevin Ryder would compare a rape victim to a hockey player.
That’s not what he did. He didn’t say “wow, you really got Koitared” while conducting a rape kit in the ER. But that’s where people’s minds jump, whether they realize that is the logical leapfrog they are making or not.
If we are going to really analyze this, then the usage of the term ‘sexual assault’ in this context does not make light of people who have been raped or molested, it is used to add gravitas to the extent to which Ryder believed Kopitar was hit.
It wasn’t a necessary description, it wasn’t even the most apt and it certainly was by no means the most witty.
But was it really offensive?
I find the entire concept of “taking offense” to be an egotistical invention spouted by those whose hubris overshadows their actual importance in times when it strikes them as the most convenient. Some people are easily offended, others are not. We tend to have societal markers of what generally constitutes offense and what is a matter of personal opinion. For example, slapping someone in the face – most always offensive. Slapping someone on the ass – well, it depends.
Since I know I will never get the overly sensitive to think my way, the least I can do is hold them to a standard of consistency and relevance. What I mean by this is that if you are going to take the stance that comparing a hockey play to sexual assault is offensive, then I expect you to be offended when a reporter tweets “sniper in the building” because a player snapped his head back to embellish or fake a high sticking penalty. After all, if sexual assault is bad, shooting someone in the head has got to be worse. Hell, you may trigger PTSD in one of those Heroes of the Game.
Now I had someone tell me that this comparison is bogus because colloquially, sexual assault means one thing and one thing only, while a word like “killed” as in, “man, the Kings really got killed in the first period” has many meanings. Well, this is true and untrue. Killed has one meaning if we are looking at the word itself. In the context of a hockey game, where we know as a fact no one’s heart stopped beating on the ice, “killed” means something else.
Well, unless something happened in a scrum that we aren’t aware of and Jeff Carter’s thumb made it’s way up Logan Couture’s anal sphincter, then we also know no one was sexually assaulted during the game, so in the context Ryder used the word, no, sexually assaulted does not mean just one thing.
It means simply what Ryder meant, which is that Stuart’s hit was of an intimate and aggressive nature, which has absolutely nothing to do with demeaning anyone who has had a foreign object shoved into one of their orifices that they didn’t want there.
Categories: L.A. Kings News