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General Reinwald interview about a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation.

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I had this sent to me and thought you might like it:

 

Reinwald was interviewed on the radio the other day and you'll love his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children. Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you gotta love this!!!!

 

This is one of the best comeback lines of all time. It is a portion of National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster and US Marine Corps General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation.

 

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

 

GENERAL REINWALD: We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting.

 

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?

 

GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

 

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

 

GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

 

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.

 

GENERAL REINWALD: Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute,but you're not one, are you?

 

The radio went silent and the interview ended.

 

You gotta love the Marines!

 

AMERICA , THE HOME OF THE FREE

BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE.

 

 

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Sorry guys, I don't find it that funny. The notion that any of our top military leaders (not to mention those who purport to teach our youth anything of importance) would be so disrespectful as to compare a woman to a prostitute based on the above made-up scenario is flat-out disrespectful to women and to our military leaders of either gender. I work with a lot of young men and women who are now, have been, or will soon be, serving on active duty. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds but one thing they all have in common is that they have learned respect for other people as part of their military training.

 

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I spotted the urban myth immediately. Actually I think this is a very interesting topic. The topic is really humor, the way we use it, and the way we see each other. In today's world, General Reinwald is equally well-equipped to be a prostitute, and who was he to judge anyway?

 

Lisabob, I am in sympathy to your concerns perhaps for different reasons. Your point is well-taken. The way we use humor and the way we respond to it is very much a reflection on the society with which we associate. Offense to such an exchange is a sign to the rest of us to be careful of a missed interpretation that we might not have intended. I have been guilty of this on many occasions and I try to be careful. Sometimes I fail. Sorry.

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I think the point trying to be made is just because boys are being taught to use weapons doesn't mean they will become killers. The analogy might be a little rough but it does make it's point. Sorta too bad it never took place!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I'm well aware of the point Ed. I am offended by:

 

1) the equation of women to prostitutes which I find demeaning.

2) the suggestion that our best military leaders can't figure out a way to make their point in a public forum such as this supposed news interview, without resorting to vulgar and demeaning analogies.

3) the suggestion that a professional journalist who is also a female would ask such stupid questions to start with. C'mon guys, we're not all bubble heads. Can you seriously tell me that the same joke would "work" or be re-told if the role of "journalist" were male? I just don't think so.

 

And by the way if you listen to NPR you'll find that the quality of journalism is typically very high; they do not resort to these kinds of empty-headed questions such as one might find on certain other "info-tainment" news sources.

 

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Lisabob,

I agree. The fact that this humor is used is an indication of a certain mindset, perhaps not limited to your description. The fact that some of us laugh at it also indicates some level of agreement with that mindset.

But with regard to NPR, occasionally they get taken to task for lesser infractions. And those letters get read on the air. Nice.

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I'm well aware of the point Ed. I am offended by:

 

1) the equation of women to prostitutes which I find demeaning.

 

I would agree it is demeaning. But it is just as absurd as thinking teaching someone how to use a weapon is creating a killing machine.

 

2) the suggestion that our best military leaders can't figure out a way to make their point in a public forum such as this supposed news interview, without resorting to vulgar and demeaning analogies.

 

It may be vulgar but makes a great point.

 

 

3) the suggestion that a professional journalist who is also a female would ask such stupid questions to start with. C'mon guys, we're not all bubble heads. Can you seriously tell me that the same joke would "work" or be re-told if the role of "journalist" were male? I just don't think so.

 

I don't really think anyone is inferring women are "bubble heads". But I could see the Nancy Grace types pushing the envelope like this.

 

And besides, it never happened!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

 

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The phrasing of this email screams 'urban legend'. So it's hard to take it too seriously.

 

The fact that humor has the potential to offend is a reason why politicians have to stay away from vast areas of material in order to avoid offending any section of their constituency, while comedians can take on all of them because they are only trying to build up a smaller group of people that find them really funny. I've often wondered what would happen if a comedian tried to run for office...would the expectation that they make lots of jokes give them some immunity from the 'I'm offended by that' charge?

 

As I read the item, I thought the general was essentially saying "Just as the overwhelmingly vast majority of women are not prostitutes, the overwhelmingly vast majority of gun users are not killers." One of the reasons why this particular comparison is effective (judged by the fact that this email gets forwarded on) is that it takes one common stereotypical liberal view, "People shouldn't use guns because they're inherently dangerous", and contrasts that with another stereotypical liberal view, "women's bodies are not to be objectified." At least, that's my dissection of it.

 

The language may be a bit earthy, but I don't personally see how the implication is offensive. But being offended is a very personal thing...

 

Oak Tree

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Do you think it would have been just as funny if the General's final retort had been: "Well, Ma'am, the boys are already equipped to be rapists, but that doesn't mean they are."

 

Or if the interviewer had been male, and the General had said that about him?

 

Note added: I just read the snopes entry above, and I see that somebody got to this point far ahead of me. But is it really funny?

(This message has been edited by Hunt)

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"Is it really funny?"

 

Let me get out the humor-meter and feed the joke in. It's pretty hard, obviously, to get an objective measure of whether something is funny. It's clear that some percentage of the population finds it funny, or it wouldn't get forwarded around and have its own entry on snopes.

 

Would it have been just as funny with a different retort?

 

Still no objective measurements around, but I think it's safe to say 'no'. While the rapist retort is equally effective as a logical argument, it is not effective as a snappy retort. In order to be effective, the retort has to take a comment that's offensive to the first person, and compare it with one that's offensive to the other person.

 

Would the joke work if the journalist were a male?

 

No, I don't think so. "Well, sir, you're equipped to be a gigolo, but you're not one." Just doesn't have the same punch. Interesting to analyze why not. One reason might be that guys aren't really offended by the idea that they're equipped to be gigolos.

 

A lot of humor depends on who you identify with. I think that most people who find this funny would identify with the general or the Boy Scouts. They see people who just don't get it who are trying to stop them from doing entirely reasonable things. They would most likely be offended by the reporter's question and her equating Boy Scouts to violent killers. If you identify with the reporter, though, you're likely to be offended in the other direction.

 

I personally am offended by people who are offended all the time (no, wait, that means I'm offended by the fact that I take offense...aw, heck, I give up). Sometimes I think there are other ways to indicate what's not funny and what's proper behavior, other than taking offense and claiming victimization.

 

Oak Tree

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Well ok Oak, having made my point in as explicit manner as I could I wasn't going to respond but against my better judgment I just can't leave your last point alone. Are you suggesting that when someone is offended they should just clam up and not voice their opinion? How, then, would the person who has stepped across some line even know they'd done so? Or, assuming they know to begin with (and sometimes I believe they do - see below), why does that entitle them to voice THEIR view without the other side voicing their own?

 

Yes, it does depend a bit whether the reader identifies more with one character in this joke than another. But they're ALL ridiculous to the point of being offensive. Moreover, as the BSA has become just a little more diverse by allowing women into the Scouter ranks and girls into V. crews, and as the military has done the same thing in terms of allowing women entre into a wider variety of positions over the last several decades, there is a growing potential for someone to be offended on all of these levels.

 

As for voicing offense: When I was at WB training we had a session on diversity. It was a bit laughable in itself, given how it was presented, but what really steamed me was that not five minutes after the session several of the long-time (male) Scouters were sitting around telling jokes that could only be considered demeaning towards women (mainly having to do with women's physical attributes and what any "red blooded man" might do with said attributes). Perhaps this was their intentional protest to the whole notion of diversity training. But they simply could not understand why I (one of a small handfull of women in the course) wasn't willing to play along with these jokes. When I told them that I thought they (the jokes) were rude, crude, and offensive I got the same response there that minorities who are the butt of jokes often get elsewhere: "Aw come on, it was just a joke..." Well fine but then don't be surprised if I don't laugh. If it was "just a joke" then your repertoire of jokes needs expanding to include some that aren't offensive. If it was told intentionally to get a rise out of someone then that's no longer "just a joke" is it?

 

By the way this same group of guys spent the last night of our last WB weekend sitting around the campfire, where we were supposed to be reveling in camaraderie or something to that effect, telling more jokes in which Catholics, women, gays, and other minorities in their world view were the targets. People asked them to cut it out and things got a little nasty. Words were exchanged among a few people who were deeply offended. It poisoned the whole atmosphere. My patrol left the scene but it was disgusting and really turned me off from wanting to associate with some of these people. If I hadn't had other really great experiences with other Scouters, who knows, I might've decided all BSA leaders were just a bunch of knuckle draggers. Which of course would be untrue too.

 

My point: why perpetuate humor that has the potential to totally turn people off toward your organization and reinforce any negative stereotypes about your organization, especially when the "point" being made is a bogus point to begin with. Of course it is silly to say that teaching boy scouts to shoot rifles and shotguns and bb guns is going to turn them into killers. In fact it is so ridiculous that I have rarely (actually never, I think) heard anyone seriously make such an argument. And if someone were to make that argument I can think of better ways to refute this than with crude statements masquerading as humor.

 

Sorry but I'm done with this thread. If people still want to say "it was just a joke" that's fine. Humor is, as you say Oak, subjective. Especially in an online community where there's no way to gauge others' responses except by the written word though, I did think it was entirely reasonable to register my views in the way I have done.

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The first time I ever saw this was in a junk e-mail that one of my ultra-conservative friends likes to send occasionally. While a woman was the butt of the immediate joke, the purpose of the story is the popular sport of lib "smashing". Notice the reporter is from the dreaded, God-hating, America-hating, abortion-loving, terrorist-loving, tree-hugging, non-bathing, evil NPR. For the "joke" to work the NPR reporter needs to be female.

 

My father-in-law sends me urban legend material almost daily and I can smell them a mile away. I used to look them up on Snopes and send it back to him, but he never caught on. Anything that lands in his inbox is fodder for his e-mail address book. Why just today I got an e-mail from him saying that if you are being robbed at the ATM, enter your PIN backwards and the money will be dispensed and the police alerted. I used to deal with ATM's in my job. That is pure balderdash!

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