When “Keep Calm” and “Rape” Happened

I’m not opposed to most things that people find entertaining. I kept quiet when throngs of people latched on to “Gangnam Style,” knowing full well they’d drop it as soon as the next trend came along or no longer found it funny/interesting/stupidly enjoyable. I was curious about the short-lived fascination with “planking,” and I have resisted looking into the “Harlem Shake” fad, knowing full-well that it would be a matter of time before people wandered off to the next internet meme.

But the “Keep Calm and [insert something here]” trend has stuck around longer than most, and it is a frustrating infatuation. Never mind that “Keep Calm” originates from British propaganda to rally support around England’s military presence in the second World War, it has been co-opted by people thinking substituting “Carry On” for other words is somehow funny, and by big business in an effort to milk money from said people.

I’ve ranted about this before, but it was before assholes had to take the trend–like so many others–to its logical, horrifyingly disgusting conclusion. One of my friends, Ruth, posted a link from Amazon UK in frustration that features t-shirts with the “Keep Calm” design and words, with “Carry On” replaced by “Rape.” Seeing these shirts made me lose my shit.

keep-calm-rape keep-calm-rape-2


These shirts are repulsive. The maker(s) of these shirts, Solid Gold Bomb, is repulsive. Whoever buys these shirts is repulsive. And Amazon UK is repulsive for allowing the sale of these products.

I know that gross, revolting t-shirts are not a new thing; Spencer’s Gifts makes a mint off dirtbags that find date rape and Juggalo culture funny and awe-inspiring, respectively. But that does not make it forgivable. And these shirts, like every Spencer’s store, warehouse, and corporate building, should be burned to the ground.

Like the comedy stylings of Seth MacFarlane and defenders of his and similar misogyny/racism/homophobia-humor-is-funny-if-you’re-not-a-prude acts, finding laughter in the horrible through kindergarten-level wit reveals the mindset of a person that should not only have their genitals ripped off of them, they should be kicked repeatedly in their bloody, open wound.

If you need to use well-worn tropes like “Carry On” to disguise your lack of a sense of humor, fine. If you need to reveal your true, repugnant nature on a t-shirt, no one should know you. And if you need to marry cultural touchstones with desires to force yourself upon someone sexually and violently, robbing them of their ability to trust anyone, distorting their view of their sexuality and the intent of other people, then you need to die. Plain and simple.


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