If Rice’s show wasn’t funny, why did I laugh?

Contrary to the proposal in the Sept. 20 editorial about the Rice Marching Owl Band’s (MOB) half-time show, I think the MOB actually succeeded in not crossing a line. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Baylor football, but consider the situation: fans of a football team that recently suffered many allegations regarding Title IX are upset that someone pointed this out. It’s true that rape and sexual assault are nothing to joke about, but when the MOB satirized Baylor’s recent Title IX experiences, they weren’t joking about either. Instead, they were reminding us of our recent shortcomings.

We need to own our mistakes. Frankly, there was a time recently when we ignored problems related to sexual assault and Title IX. Why, then, should Rice apologize or rethink their actions? If we can’t take being reminded of wrongs we have done, we are doomed to never right them. The editorial said that we are in mourning for victims and others affected, but is it really mourning if we continue to turn a blind eye to the issue and dismiss anyone who brings it back to our attention? Considering that is what got us into this predicament, probably not.

Many complaints come from seeing the MOB’s performance as joking about rape and sexual assault. If instead, we see the performance as the satire it is, it is obvious that there were no rape jokes. Rape jokes are cruel, gross, and verbally violating. Rape jokes should not be tolerated, sexual assault should not be tolerated, ignoring the problem should not be tolerated. What the MOB did was exactly the opposite. They showed us our problem and some of us couldn’t take it. Sometimes when others point out our mistakes, our natural defense is to call them out for wrongdoing instead. But we have the slogan “It’s on US.” If we can’t recognize what happened on our campus, it isn’t the MOB’s fault.

I laughed when I saw the so-called unacceptable performance. I could not have laughed at a rape joke – having been the butt of them before, they tend to bring out residual hard-feelings. I laughed because the MOB managed to toe the line just on the side of propriety. I laughed because they managed to convey their message with a marching band. I laughed because I can admit that we made mistakes and they must be addressed.

The display was in your face enough to get the point across. Title IX issues aren’t just a problem at Baylor, but what better way to spark conversation than through an event watched by, as the column says, hundreds of thousands of people. The MOB’s performance showed everyone watching something we know, but maybe don’t want thrown in our faces while trying to enjoy football. The rape culture and disregard for sexual assault reports is a problem everywhere that needs attention. At least we all agree about that.

Brandy Vickers, Helotes senior

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