Tales of Gor (Postmortem Studios, 2017) is the licensed tabletop role-playing game adaptation of John Norman’s notorious Gor series of sword-and-sorcery novels, written by James “Grim” Desborough and illustrated by Michael Manning. Gor is notorious for heavy themes of slavery, sadomasochism, male dominance and female submission, and for long philosophical digressions justifying those themes. Since 1966, there have been more than 30 novels published in the series. The series has inspired a strong cult following, including a small branch of BDSM culture devoted to Gorean style slavery, both in real life and online in Second Life.Continue reading »
GENE BILBREW REVEALED: The Unsung Legacy of a Fetish Art Pioneer (African American Artists Series) is the latest in Richard Pérez Seves’ series of biographies of fetish artists and publishers.
Pérez Seves’ previous work on Eric Stanton gave an interesting picture of a man, his work and his time. However, the author has less to work with when it comes to Gene Bilbrew.Continue reading »
Review: Eric Stanton & the History of the Bizarre Underground, by Richard Pérez Seves
Richard Pérez Seves has written a thorough and visually engrossing study of fetish artist Eric Stanton and the world he lived in. Stanton was one of the major artists to define the post-WWII American style of fetish and BDSM art, when this genre was very much underground. Seves managed to get access to impressive quantities of ephemera of the artist’s life and interviews with his friends and families.Continue reading »
Tom of Finland (2017). Directed by Dome Karukoski, written by Aleksi Bardy and Dome Karukoski. IMDB
I only know the broad outlines of the life of Touko Laaksonen, AKA Tom of Finland, so I can’t attest to the historical accuracy of this film. It is definitely a biopic, not a documentary. The film spans a considerable span of time, from Laaksonen’s furtive outdoor experiences during WWII to his celebrity in HIV-era America.
McInnis, Maurie D. Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade. University of Chicago Press, 2011
This is an excellent work as a reference from the Virigina slave trade in the 1850s. The author includes all kinds of “you are there” details, including clothing and architecture.
Built around work of British artist and journalist Eyre Crowe, who travelled in America in the 1850s as secretary to author William Thackery on a lecture tour.
Crowe read Uncle Tom’s Cabin before he saw any actual slavery, but was moved by it. (Pg.4) Purchased from street book merchant, also selling Thackery’s books. Crowe was “properly harrowed” by the book. (Pg. 19)
The Voyage of the Sable Venus from Angola to the West Indies
We’ve seen a lot of anti-slavery and abolitionist art and other media, but there’s pro-slavery art and media out there too.
A short video on the great gay male artist known as Tom of Finland, whose impact on all BDSM art, not just gay male art, is immense.
A Fetlife post directed me to an entire page of Victorian paintings about slavery, or rather the Romanticized European view of slavery in “the Orient” or in ancient Rome, which was also a vehicle for female nudity. (Contrary to popular belief, Victorians had no problem with nudity if it was within the proper context.)
The page is in Turkish, but there’s little text anyway.
A post on Vegan Times got me thinking about the use of the naked human body. “An Open Letter to PeTA” makes a feminist critique PETA’s use of sexualized imagery in its ads against animal cruelty:
Like animal exploitation, which turns non-human individuals into objects of consumption for humans, patriarchy as a cross-cultural and trans-historical phenomenon has always involved the ‘thingification’ of women’s bodies, manifested either through outright ownership (by husbands and fathers), or through widespread sexual objectification. Both non-human slavery and patriarchy are heavily steeped in the fetishization of violence. It would seem, then, that an organization ostensibly committed to the eradication of animal exploitation would also support the eradication of gender hierarchy. Yet judging from your track record, this has not been the case.
It’s been said that Hallowe’en is Christmas for queer people, but if there’s a holiday for kinksters, it is Good Friday. This is the day when a man was tortured to death for trying to get people to be nice to each other.
While I don’t have this quite figured out yet, I get the impression that the primacy of the Passion, the story of Jesus Christ’s betrayal, murder and resurrection, was a late medieval invention, and earlier depictions of Christ in graphic art and storytelling focused on his life as teacher and miracle-worker. The violence of the Passion came later. One person I know suggested that the cult of the Passion coincided with the Crusades, violent art reflecting a violent society, or even as intentional anti-Semitic propaganda.