Jul 292012

While the fifteen-minutes of this story have apparently passed, I want to bring up an editorial post on Canadian alternative news site Rabble.ca about the RCMP case: Private fantasy, public reality: The RCMP, BDSM and violence against women, by Meghan Murphy.

How could a man who so clearly enjoys degrading women fairly assess a case that is explicitly about violence against women, about dehumanizing women, and that played out as it did (in that the disappearances of women from the Downtown Eastside were ignored by the police for years) because the women who were going missing were viewed as worthless?

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Dec 082010

The United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit has made a decision about the Glenn Marcus case:

For the reasons set forth below, we affirm Marcus’s forced labor conviction and vacate his sex trafficking conviction. The case is remanded to the district court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Most of the decision involves various legal points that I only vaguely follow (the closest I’ve ever had to legal training is watching lots of Law & Order reruns), but I noted that the court says on several occasions that Marcus’ relationship with Jodi “became nonconsensual”, meaning that it was consensual at some point. This means that the court is judging the Marcus-Jodi relationship in terms of the consent or lack thereof between them, rather than looking at the particular activities they performed.

Nov 232010

This political attack ad from the just-finished American election season deploys two class tropes: associating your enemy with financial malfeasance (“He’s a crook and will steal your money.”) and associating your enemy with “extreme values”, i.e. sexual deviance (“He’s a freak and will break up your family.”) It doesn’t actually show anything except shots of Newsom hand-picked to make him look sketchy and rich, but it does link him with bondage and leather festival (presumably the Folsom Street festival) and job training for transpeople (which sounds like a perfectly legitimate government activity to me).

Whether kinky people think so or not, BDSM is political, if only because non-kinky people make it so by using it in their own actions.

In related news, Christian right gadfly Peter LaBabera has posted his annual attack on the Folsom Street Fair, completely with his traditional snipe at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for letting this happen. This is a curiously half-hearted year for LaBarbera, with only a single image and a short text post. Maybe he’s devoting most of his energy to the gays-in-the-military issue.

Mar 192010

Via Clarisse Thorn’s blog, the murder (manslaughter, according to the courts) of Steven Morris by his submissive’s estranged husband, John R. Moore III.

Thorn’s analysis of this case suggests that this is a variation of the gay panic defense, which would explain why Moore got manslaughter instead of homicide. Thus, when the media and the general public look at this tragic affair, they look for a person with whom to identify. Morris? Nope, he’s an adulterer and a BDSM dominant; doesn’t make a good victim, and he’s dead besides. Laurie, Moore’s wife and Morris’ lover? Nope, she’s an adulterer and a BDSM who met Morris via collarme.com; must be either crazy or a slut, and therefore not a good victim either. That leaves Moore, even though he shot a guy, violating his wife’s protection order in the process. He’ll have to do for the audience’s sympathy. There’s a marked failure of empathy in the coverage, without any quotes from Laurie Morris, who’s been through a horrible experience even before the shooting. (Presumably there’s a reason she had protection order against her husband.)

As a side note, I notice that Moore is a Blackwater defense contractor who had spent time in Afghanistan. This dovetails with the news item that David Grisham, the leader of the Texan Christian organization Repent Amarillo, is an armed security guard at Pantex, a company that works with nuclear material disposals and high explosives. Grisham’s organization drove the Route 66 swinger club (with some BDSM elements) out of business, by noting down license plates in an adjacent parking lot to the club and notifying family members and employers.

These are the men we should fear: not the Islamic terrorist, not the big black guy on the street. Fear the middle class white guy with the military-industrial complex job who keeps his gun and his Bible in the same bedside drawer, who loses it when his control over the world begins to crumble, when anything disrupts his view of how the family should be. Both Moore and Grisham reacted violently to perceived threats against the family and sexual normality. There’s only going to be more of that in the future: more visible gays, poly people, kinky people, trans people. How will men like Moore and Grisham react?

Feb 192008

Sometimes I wonder if devoting so much of my time and energy to the culture and history and practice of BDSM is worthwhile. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, does BDSM matter any more than, say, lacross or beekeeping?

Actually, I think it does. The reason why comes from a surprising source.

I’ve been following the career of Peter LaBarbera for some time now. LaBarbera has made a career out of investigating the homosexual and kinky world and exposing The Thruth about these public depravities to the Christian right wing in the US, through venues like Fox News, the Illinois Family Institute and Concerned Women for America. His current gig is the Americans for Truth about Homosexuality blog, which appears to be a one-man operation.

LaBarbera is a part of the anti-gay media, who spread misinformation or disinformation about homosexuality, STDs and so on. He’s developed an interesting sideline in the BDSM culture, particularly public events such as the Folsom Street Fair, and posting about the shocking – shocking – things that go on there.

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