Sunday, May 20, 2007

"Let them eat pro-sm feminist safe spaces"



(image found here, begging the artist's permission --cool looking idea for a workshop)

...is a new blog I am co-authoring with Trinity, verte, and antiprincess. I've just put up my first post: go have a look, if you've an interest in such things. More to come.

143 comments:

Alon Levy said...

Looking forward to reading it.

Renegade Eye said...

Very interesting writing.

I had my "Story of O" and "Sleeping Beauty" days. I was into the scene.

Octogalore said...

LOVE the Beauty series. That was my first intro.

Mandos said...

The honest truth (about my opinions) is, I think that radfems have a point when they say that SM and pain/pleasure relationships are fraught with perhaps irreducible patriarchal components. Once you have an inflictor and an inflictee, no matter how consensual and safewordy and so on, and even if you take turns, well ...

I remember I asked this before elsewhere, and Alon gave me an analogy involving spicy food, but usually the person putting the fork in my mouth is me.

belledame222 said...

...it just doesn't -mean- that much to be, at this point. I mean, according to some people, "patriarchy" is this mystical uberarching construct that infects -everything-, so...

this doesn't interest me.

and yes, we are none of us existent in a vacuum, untouched by whatever outside influences; my question is, why would you -want- to be? What is that fantasy about, really?

belledame222 said...

anyway, I look forward to having you read the blog, mandos; I think you'll find some of us...just don't frame it in that way, it's kind of like apples and snowmobiles at this point.

belledame222 said...

and I'm not getting you wrt spicy food and the person putting in the fork. He's talking, I presume, about the endorphin rush, comparing that to the feeling induced by o for instance, hot wax.

as for one person doing unto and the other doing: exactly how many activities, sexual or otherwise, are you aware of where people are acting in perfect egalitarian sync'ed uppedness? If you finger your partner, one's a doer and one's a doee. Does that make it "patriarchal?" If yes, and I'm sure some people would answer such, I guess my response at that point is, well, who gives a shit?

Mandos said...

Well, so, the point is that we're pervaded by dominance/submission relations that some people believe are the source of suffering on this Earth. Aren't we pervaded by such?

If we are, then what effect does reenacting it have on the wider world. I assume that we are interested on the consequences of our acts on the wider world.

Mandos said...

He's talking, I presume, about the endorphin rush, comparing that to the feeling induced by o for instance, hot wax.

Well yes, sure, but the criticism against SM is not that people don't enjoy it (they probably do), but that the effect of that kind of performance is the legitimization and reinforcement of an all-pervasive dynamic, that (according to them) is the source of all suffering in the world.

So it matters who is feeding me the spicy food, because if it is someone *else* doing it *to* me, then we might be reinforcing the dynamic, but if it it is me doing it to me, then it might be neutral.

Alon Levy said...

I honestly don't remember ever analogizing S&M to eating spicy food. The way Belledame interprets it makes more sense to me, and it's entirely possible I did say something like that (not about endorphins, though; rather, about the fact that "spicy" isn't a taste like "sweet" or "salty" but rather a type of pain).

The power relation argument has at least two big problems I can think of. First, BDSM is fringe. Social attitudes aren't determined by an activity that maybe 7% of the population engages in and that the other 93% looks down on.

And second, in fact there isn't much of a connection between being a BDSM submissive and being submissive in general. From what I've read, it usually goes the other way around: bedroom submissives tend to be alpha males or alpha females in real life, for example by holding a high-stress, high-pay job in business.

Jen in Ohio said...

Re: monkey see, monkey do; I dunno, the argument that a certain group of people have to give up sexual pleasure for the good of the community at large sounds very familiar to me, and not in a good way.

The simple presence of not just consent, but also enthusiastic participation in sm, would seem to negate the reproduction of the problematic d/s issues in gendered power dynamics within the patriarchy, but maybe I'm missing a key part of the argument?

arrogantworm said...

The simple presence of not just consent, but also enthusiastic participation in sm, would seem to negate the reproduction of the problematic d/s issues in gendered power dynamics within the patriarchy, but maybe I'm missing a key part of the argument?

Apparently (from what I gather) it influences people in various negative ways even when they're not involved, because it could be misconstrued as a representation of nonconsensual dominance and submission.

Personally, I think subs retain a large amount of control, because loaning it and being able to take it back isn't something you find in downtrodden masses. There's a level of trust, don't find that much in the real world when someone dominates another either, so I'm not sure that sm can be considered to be helping 'patriarchy', such as it is.

arrogantworm said...

The largest, not a large. Ugh.

Jen in Ohio said...

I won't pretend I thoroughly understand the arguments against sm, because I'm pretty sure I'm missing some chunk in the middle somewhere, but if they're resting on the notion that people might see and misunderstand, and then use that as an excuse to victimize others, then that would seem to problematize pretty much all sexual interaction.

Personally, I think subs retain a large amount of control, because loaning it and being able to take it back isn't something you find in downtrodden masses. There's a level of trust, don't find that much in the real world when someone dominates another either

Having had plenty of vanilla experience, and some bdsm experience, and being a member of several marginalized identity groups, I agree, arrogantworm. For me, a big part of the draw of it is about subverting/inverting the normalized power relations of society, so I not only see it as not-reinforcing, I see it as revolutionary space. I recognize this isn't exactly a popular opinion. ;)

PS. Belledame, I liked your inaugural post over at the other blog, and am very much looking forward to reading your thoughts about power as a verb.

Trinity said...

"Well yes, sure, but the criticism against SM is not that people don't enjoy it (they probably do)"

y'know

it's only in discussions of SM that dicks hard as rocks and giant screaming orgasms on the part of women that are, well, what the porn stars fake

get dismissed as "the bottom is probably enjoying it."

now I shall be similarly infuriatingly assumptive

and say

you have probably never had the kind of intense sexual experience most of us have routinely.

(and to those who think I'm actually claiming such rather than making a point: think, plz.)

Trinity said...

"Social attitudes aren't determined by an activity that maybe 7% of the population engages in and that the other 93% looks down on."

Oh, thank you SO much. I get so tired of the "you're a gold star representative of the patriarchy."

I'm a woman who beats submissive men (and, on occasion, women too.) What part of that does the patriarchy like again?

Trinity said...

"The simple presence of not just consent, but also enthusiastic participation in sm, would seem to negate the reproduction of the problematic d/s issues in gendered power dynamics within the patriarchy, but maybe I'm missing a key part of the argument?"

The idea is that that enthusiastic participation is enthusiastic embracing of their own subordination if they're women, and reinforcement of women's subordination if they're (feminized, so the argument goes) men.

Jen said...

Oh! So it's just a failure to engage in the first place, then. I mean, when a critic starts by insisting on defining someone else's experience in their own terms, then imo there's no further conversation to be had.

belledame222 said...

If we are, then what effect does reenacting it have on the wider world. I assume that we are interested on the consequences of our acts on the wider world.

Nope. None whatsoever. Good morning!

Come on, mandos, you know better than that.

belledame222 said...

thanks, Jen.

belledame222 said...

oh, and mandos? If you truly believe that then, you'll knock off the trolling, on account of that is as much an S/M dynamic as you're liable to find; more to the point, this time, I'm not consenting.

Mandos said...

The simple presence of not just consent, but also enthusiastic participation in sm, would seem to negate the reproduction of the problematic d/s issues in gendered power dynamics within the patriarchy, but maybe I'm missing a key part of the argument?

The idea is that you would only be able to conceive of taking pleasure in enactments of domination and submission, etc, if you could conceive of domination and submission as such. After the Revolution, the social dynamics possible because of the existence of domimination couldn't happen, because domination would almost literally be inconceivable/incomprehensible.

Dare I say it? I do dare: we would no longer be Fallen.

But if we reenact domination and submission for our own pleasure, than we are legitimizing the existence of oppression dynamics, because we are resisting the process (call it radical feminism or whatever you like) whereby domination and submission are rendered inconceivable and oppression thus impossible.

Counterrevolution. That's basically the piece of the argument you were missing. If your goal is an end to oppression itself, then you have to posit a world in which domination is not a thinkable concept. Or thinkable but absurd, to put it more mildly (hence the appelation "corny" from certain quarters).

Mandos said...

(and to those who think I'm actually claiming such rather than making a point: think, plz.)

I get your point, but I'm pretty sure that it's tangential to the argument. They are not merely defining your experiences for you: they are saying that, regardless of how you felt about it, it had consequences for others, as I described.

belledame222 said...

mandos, I -know- what the arguments are. We've been over them and over them. It--well, sure, if other people want it elaborated, then. All hypothetical, all very -interesting.- I'll be over here.

belledame222 said...

I mean, no, I'm sorry, it's just utter bullshit. How many different times and ways do I have to say it? When is it -entertaining- enough? Great, okay, I'm oppressing whosis with my selfish selfish orgasm. Know what? -I don't care.- Hello! I'm selfish! Why would I care?!

Now that we've established that, can we move the fuck on, please?

Mandos said...

Alon: yes, you're probably right, as I recall it was on a Violet Socks thread a ways back, and I was saying that I didn't really grok some of the impulses behind SM, and you were saying that it was like the way I profess enjoyment of ridiculously spicy food (which I do!).

But my point was, I don't think that the effect on me is the point, but rather what it means to deliberately reenact something that in the wider world is considered to be an ill when it isn't merely acted.

As for fringe, well, *actually*, I do think that fringes matter. The fringes of poverty and wealth often can be pretty informative as to the dynamic by which the middle is constructed, for example.

Of course, radfems are also a self-avowed fringe, so their existence is likewise indicative.

Mandos said...

I was merely answering the question, not arguing with you at that point.

belledame222 said...

Mandos, once again: we've just started this exciting new blog. Feel free to come over and read it at any point.

And: you know something, if you're going to continue pursuing that line of argument here, mandos, okay, but first you need to establish your bona fides that -you- are concerned with the well-being of the wider world, as defined by radical feminism or otherwise. I'm getting bored with the devil's advocate routine. And I really, really hate to be bored.

Mandos said...

oh, and mandos? If you truly believe that then, you'll knock off the trolling, on account of that is as much an S/M dynamic as you're liable to find; more to the point, this time, I'm not consenting.

First of all, people keep throwing around this word, "trolling." I have never once admitted to "trolling" as such, and, in fact, have never believed that I was trolling. I *have* played along when someone accused me of trolling, and you could call that "meta-trolling", but I have never asked any direct question that I didn't think was a real question worth asking, on TF or here or elsewhere. A big recent example of "meta-trolling" is what I did during my TF banning party, which I did for TF's amusement mainly.

Secondly, I do think that sex is inveigled in one way or another in many kinds of large-scale oppression, or at least that it is arguable that it is. That, you will say, is boring and old. I don't think that the oppressions that *might* stem from or be nourished by things associated with sex could really compare to discussion board trolling as such.

Mandos said...

Mandos, once again: we've just started this exciting new blog. Feel free to come over and read it at any point.

OK, I'm not getting something here. You want me to take it to that blog? I was concerned about being seen as trolling that blog, and thought it would be more prudent to comment here.

Also, I feel safer at (my very internet-liberal) office writing to a site called "fetch me my axe" than to one called "sm-feminist". For the same reason that I don't read RenEv's blog at work.

belledame222 said...

Mandos, that little story you told me about playing "Mao?" When I asked you what you were getting out of all this? That is

1) trolling

2) most definitely having far more in common with a BDSM dynamic than any sort of "egalitarianism."

belledame222 said...

No, you don't have to -comment- there, but if you -read- there, you might start to get an idea of what -we-, the actual practioners, think about BDSM, as opposed to y'know what the person what just kicked you off her board and whose opinions are frankly less interesting than dead sea-fruit to me thinks of it, which might just maybe inform the way you go about engaging with the subject here.

Mandos said...

Well, so, I assumed that you were referring to the specific dynamic involving TF herself, and not the sum total of my behaviour in relation to the rest of her board. I did not generally approach the other posters, most of them at least, with anything other than the intent to elucidate my understanding of their views. With TF, I was sort of "on to her", and she was on to the fact that I was on to her, and so on.

There were a few people who were particularly annoying, and the dynamic at that point was amusing because they didn't understand the situation/get the joke.

But I don't feel the need to take responsibility for any of it, even if I did find it amusing and TF pretty clever.

Mandos said...

No, you don't have to -comment- there, but if you -read- there, you might start to get an idea of what -we-, the actual practioners, think about BDSM,

In point of fact, I did look at that site. I'm pretty sure, at least, that I understand at least *something* of *your* position, by now.

But take a look at the words of some of your own commenters:

For me, a big part of the draw of it is about subverting/inverting the normalized power relations of society, so I not only see it as not-reinforcing, I see it as revolutionary space. I recognize this isn't exactly a popular opinion. ;)

So the reason why I think that TF and fellow-travelers views are still relevant is that they are arguing *exactly* against this particular position, honestly held. It seems to be the basis of the discussion of the relationship of BDSM and feminism.

Am I wrong?

belledame222 said...

You'd have to take that up with the person who made that particular statement. It wasn't I.

And yes, wrong: I'm sorry, but res ipso loquitor, and I simply amn't interested in what is or isn't "revolutionary" to someone who well I've made my position fairly clear about -that,- entertaining as it would be to get into flamewars again, I'm sure.

No one's going to fuck their way to the promised land. No one's orgasm is going to -keep- people from the promised land.

Yes, there's a connection between sociopolitics and sexuality, but it's not like "well, I've consciously decided thus and so is Subversive, or indeed Revolutionary, so I'm gonna go and do it then! VIVA!"

I mean, I could talk about ways in which I think the very existence of my particular bents in and of themselves negate a lot of the premises of classic sexism as well as heteronormativity, but believe me, those fantasies came -way- before I knew what the hell those words meant, or indeed--well, not before i could read, I was going to say, I started reading pretty damn early, but--it was early, also.

belledame222 said...

and again: I don't want to talk about wossname. You said these are -your- beliefs: well, why? Specifically, please.

Because frankly in order to talk about this shit at all honestly it involves a certain degree of personal revelation, and I'm really not comfortable going there while you talk in abstractions culled from someone else's theorizing. Nor am I interested in meeting them with further abstractions. So. If you sense an impatient tone, that's part of the reason why.

arrogantworm said...

So the reason why I think that TF and fellow-travelers views are still relevant is that they are arguing *exactly* against this particular position, honestly held. It seems to be the basis of the discussion of the relationship of BDSM and feminism.

To argue about a position honestly held, one has to take into account that position. The arguments against don't address sm itself, they address what people think sm contributes to.


The absolute best 'rebuttal' I've seen is that people lead by example. Which isn't a good one, especially considering sm isn't viewed or practiced by anywhere near a majority of the population, and that the dynamic isn't representative of the acts I see some people saying it leads to by sm existing.

I think the worst is that one 'just doesn't know any better.' Sort of. It fights in my head with the 'no woman can give consent' ideology. I don't believe they're the same, but surely kissing cousins.

The latter aren't views so much as they're excuses for a position.

Mandos said...

So my beliefs are a little more hedged than that, because I'm not so easily willing to discount the possibility of exceptions, and because I guard opinions on the future with conditionals.

I do believe that sexism---or at least sexual discrimination and divisions of labour, etc---preceded other oppressions, and that it very likely stems in the mechanics of reproduction as such. If so, sexual activity is likely to be thoroughly entangled in these oppressive dynamics.

If that is the case, it is worth examining what the consequence and meaning of statements like "I like to do X" are. And I am even willing to suspect that "but I *like* X" or "X emancipated *me*" are not really that relevant to the matter at hand.

Beyond that, I can't really commit anything to you, but that the sort of analysis that the radical feminists perform may be well worth pursuing, if perhaps not necessarily in the way that they go about doing it. There is a component of the analysis of people's activities on which their own perspectives do not/should not impinge, and that need not have anything to do with a desire to abuse or objectify them as such.

But rather, that the personal liberation it obtains for them may well be at the expense of the liberation of others.

These are all plausible things to me and cannot be ruled out. I am not smart enough to say who is right. If I did, I wouldn't ask.

Mandos said...

However, I am *also* willing to entertain arguments like, "Well, it may be ultimately to the detriment of others, but I am still right in pursuing it." Not all of us will be Vulcans.

arrogantworm said...

Need to clarify, I s'pose. I'm not talking about Tf or whomever's on her site, specifically. It's just that the arguments themselves seem to stay the same, no matter who's doing the talking.

Curious, is there a middle ground to be had? Most things I've seen middle ground reasoning for in conversations, but not for sm. I figure there's gotta be one somewhere..

Mandos said...

I don't know, but I'm guessing the middle ground might be thin. It's a matter of priorities, I think.

arrogangworm said...

However, I am *also* willing to entertain arguments like, "Well, it may be ultimately to the detriment of others, but I am still right in pursuing it."

When it's phrased like that it gives off a moral judgment in the negative to whomever practices it. To the detriment of others? So there's no point beyond that that you'd be willing to entertain? Doesn't leave any wiggle room for the opposing party, I notice. Not much of an entertainment. If there's an insistent that even what someone does in private hurts, oh, say...a person several states away, then I've no idea what you'd be willing to entertain. Enlighten me, please.

Mandos said...

Well, I meant not much more than to say that at some point, it's possible that no matter what we do, someone is going to get hurt from it, somewhere, so we still have to go on living.

If you want to know what that point is, I'll tell you flat-out that I don't know. I'd like to say that it's in the necessities of life, but what are those?

arrogantworm said...

Well, I meant not much more than to say that at some point, it's possible that no matter what we do, someone is going to get hurt from it, somewhere, so we still have to go on living.


Above statement makes sense to me.

But but but, sm isn't at that very vague connection, I don't think. Where would the connections between the people be?

If A was a person, and B was a person,and C was an sm scene, and D was a person hurt by it, where does D come into it? D doesn't have to watch, D doesn't have to participate. A and B certainly aren't forcing D to do anything. Aside from D possibly missing out on a different event where he could've interacted with A and B instead of them being occupied, I don't see how D's life was changed.

Besides, reading what someone types doesn't necessarily mean opinions are malleable. considering that everyone may do something to hurt someone somewhere through no fault of their own isn't entertaining an opinion, unless there's another meaning I've missed. Very well could've missed it. It still considers sm to be degrading to others, and leaves no room for entertainment of no degradation through the fault of the performers at all.

arrogantworm said...

I'd like to say that it's in the necessities of life, but what are those?

Literally? Food, water, having your body temperature stay within a normal range. Mentally, I think it depends on the person.

Alon Levy said...

I don't think you need to imagine a society without domination, Mandos. I can tell you very precisely what society I imagine, because I wrote a thoroughly bad science fiction book taking place in it (no, that's not the one I'm sending to agents).

Skin color and eye shape matter as much as eye color and widow's peak matter in this one. Technological innovations have eliminated unwanted pregnancies even among the poorest people. The only reason someone might care what your sexual orientation is is if s/he wanted to date you, and whether you're trans or cis is just something you might tell your friends together with other stories from your past. The education system has produced standards and tests that are impervious to how rich or connected or privileged you are. The more interesting areas have free sex bars that make the Castro look prudish. And gender equality is so complete even the military is 50/50 at every rank.

It's also a society that's going to deeply disappoint radical activists. Domination really does take place. The Empire has Canadian or Continental European levels of poverty, but it's so big it translates to gigantic pockets of urban and rural poverty. Terrorist groups of a variety of ideological flavors have made the police likely to go through some neighborhoods and disappear entire apartments or residential blocks into remote planets, which function as prison camps. That in turn has only spawned further sympathy for the terrorist groups. And domination is still very much around... just not in sex. The military doesn't give a damn about how many people engage in genital electrocution play; what it does give a damn is that without a prolonged terrorist threat, it will face budget cuts and reduced privileges.

That's not a utopia. It's still a better world than this one. And its cultural ideas may not sound shocking when you write a book that takes them for granted, but try introducing them seriously here and see how far you'll get in the mainstream.

Alon Levy said...

Also, about the fringe's being indicative, that may be so, but that's not the argument against BDSM. When Susan Brownmiller called BDSM reactionary, she didn't mean that it was a reaction against some sexual mores in the same way radical feminism is a reaction against sexism and the perceived slowness of liberal feminism. No; she meant that it promoted reactionary sex roles.

It's legitimate to point out that if the far better organized and better supported 12% of Americans who are black can't have much influence on mainstream politics, then neither can the 7% of Americans who engage in BDSM.

Radicals can only influence the mainstream as bogeymen. Every time you invite Catharine MacKinnon to a major network for an interview, you turn off a considerable number of would-be feminists who aren't big on censorship. But a) that's not real influence, and b) nothing of that sort has happened with BDSMers or even sex-positive feminists. It couldn't; concerns about censorship hold feminism back far more than concerns about sexual libertinism, which few people under 30 give a damn about.

arrogantworm said...

...Pardon the multiple posting, I'm wincing over here. Also, If I'm dominating the conversation and someone wants me to be quiet, just say the word.

A thought, though. If the 'necessities' are different for every person, Then logically people'd want the most options for choice that don't infringe on anyone's rights to achieve those things. You can always have, theoretically, more of something, but you can't do less than nothing group-wise without limiting people's actions.

Alon Levy,

What was wrong with the book?

Alon Levy said...

You mean my sci-fi book? It was just really badly written. Hell, the book I wrote years later, which I'm now sending out, took three wholesale revisions to be decrappified.

That, and the book was basically a novelized high-budget action flick, which could star Tom Cruise if the protagonist were his age or gender. It had too many blaster and lightsaber scenes to be any good. I can make it decent if I do a complete rewrite, but right now I'm more concerned with my more recent book.

Jen in Ohio said...

Mandos, I appreciate your answering my question, but it sounds to me not only as though you don't understand the dynamics you're arguing against, but also as though you don't want to understand them. Perhaps that's a misread on my part, and if so, I apologize. Re: my comment about revolutionary space, I'm using the term in a nontraditional way. It's clear that I haven't accurately communicated my meaning, but at this point, it doesn't seem worth trying again, since I appear to have stirred up some old shit with my contributions to this thread, and that was not at all my intention.

Belledame, I apologize.

Mandos said...

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, so maybe half of this has been unnecessary. By "revolutionary", I mean overthrowing a present order. What, then, is the present order that you want to overthrow?

Jen in Ohio said...

at this point, it doesn't seem worth trying again

I don't mean to be rude, but I mean this. I'm bowing out. Best wishes to you.

Mandos said...

Well, I hope I didn't scare you off, because your comments provoked discussion that I thought was interesting and worthwhile.

Mandos said...

As for minorities and influence, I disagree with you about the influence of the US' black minority. They may not have *power*, but they do affect the situation in a big way. It's entirely arguable that minority sexual practices may have the same kinds of effects, even if the group itself may not be powerful.

Trinity said...

"It's a matter of priorities, I think."

Mandos, you want priorities?

Here are a few:

The wage gap.
The rape rate.
Discrimination.
Prejudice.

Fix all that shit, THEN tell me how to fuck.

Amber said...

Trinity:

Word.

That is all.

Amber said...

I was saying that I didn't really grok some of the impulses behind SM

And you know what Mandos? You don't have to. You don't have to understand it at all. How's about just leaving it the fuck alone.

Amber said...

But rather, that the personal liberation it obtains for them may well be at the expense of the liberation of others.

WHAT others? And HOW does it hinder the liberation of these others?

At this point, no "Well, X might happen" or "So-and-so might think Y" don't cut it. You know, I might birth a litter of puppies out of my ass. That doesn't mean it's likely, or that it means anything in a argument.

Trinity said...

Amber: Yeah. YEAH.

I went through a period where I worried so much about this shit I could barely do SM, and the SM I did was satisfying for my bottoms but not for me.

It did not liberate me.
It did not, as far as I can tell, advance the liberation of any other woman.

It simply shut me down sexually for the sake of a greater good that I actually was in no way furthering.

Mandos said...

The wage gap.
The rape rate.
Discrimination.
Prejudice.


Sure. Though I think the point of the flamewar I seem to have started is that there's a case to be made that those things are affected by the issues surrounding sex and oppression.


WHAT others? And HOW does it hinder the liberation of these others? At this point, no "Well, X might happen" or "So-and-so might think Y" don't cut it. You know, I might birth a litter of puppies out of my ass. That doesn't mean it's likely, or that it means anything in a argument.


Well, there's nothing that you can say about any of these matters---about systemic oppression---that shouldn't be prefaced with a reasonable amount of hedging. Are you asking me to tell you the future?

belledame222 said...

The wage gap.
The rape rate.
Discrimination.
Prejudice.

Fix all that shit, THEN tell me how to fuck.


Omeyn.

Oh yeah, and per the spicy food thing and domination? Consider this: it doesn't start and end with your -consumption.- Unless you've produced every bit of the food to be eaten yourself, one fuck of a lot of -domination- happened on the way to getting that food into your mouth, from slaughterhouses (if it's meat) to very-likely-migrant-exploiting and-quite-possibly-including-sexually
to produce the produce, to (if it's a restaurant) the people working in the back of the kitchen, to underpaid waitstaff.

But then, you know all this.

BDSM: you have two people. One spanks the other with her bare hand. A game is played. At the end of it they kiss, embrace, and get on with their everyday roles.

Now tell me again how the latter affects -the wider world- more than that order of lamb phaal.

And -if- you make another reference to anything wossname has said, I will -eat you.- In your own words and ideas, or not at all.

belledame222 said...

And mandos, once again, the fact that you get off on getting other people upset while you remain cool and amused? Is very much in the dominator model. Even without the gender issues.

belledame222 said...

Jen, you weren't the one stirring up shit. You're welcome back any time. Sorry I missed some of this, I had to go to bed.

belledame222 said...

You know, one of the things I really dig about BDSM, about sexual activity in general: it has a wonderful -grounding- effect, or can be. "Oh, yeah, I live in a body, too."

Mandos said...

First of all, like I said, I can't see the future. From an individual act...probably nothing noticeable follows.

From a collective movement to legitimize some kinds of acts---acts that very specifically reenact certain kinds of real-world social dynamics for pleasure and entertainment---it *may* be the case (again, not psychic!) that doing so helps to legitimize that dynamic in the public eye.

If one *believes* that it is possible to eradicate oppression as such (and I, for one, am willing to entertain the possibility), then lending legitimacy to that dynamic as entertainment risks lending legitimacy to the *real* dynamic in the *real* world. It makes it harder to make domination *inconceivable*, so that the experiment is, heh, aborted before it even begins.

Now, whether these *risks* and *probabilities* are high enough to *merit* the examination of people's sexual practices in this way is another matter. Except to say that there is a possibility that the probability is probably possible (as many hedges as possible---or probable *grin*), I don't think I can say much more without a very large research grant.

Mandos said...

And mandos, once again, the fact that you get off on getting other people upset while you remain cool and amused? Is very much in the dominator model. Even without the gender issues.

I do not, in fact, expect people to get upset, and, in fact, I was a little surprised when Jen in ohio did.

However, when people *do* get upset, I admit that I don't always consider that a reason to stop, if I think that the discussion is still going somewhere interesting.

Jen in Ohio said...

No apology necessary from you to me, Belledame. I broke my own blog commenting rule by not lurking long enough before posting -- which was mostly because I so promptly developed a blogcrush on your writing, heh. Thank you for the invitation, and I will join a future conversation either here &/or at the other blog after some lurking.

Jen in Ohio said...

PS. I'm not upset about the conversation in-thread. I just felt it wasn't going anywhere productive, and since I am upset about some other stuff going in my life right now, I figured it'd be best if I bowed out.

belledame222 said...

Thanks, Jen. Hope whatever it is gets better soon.

Okay, mandos. I'll take you on the level. Thing is, when you talk about enjoying games where some people know the rules and others don't? You do understand that the enjoyment of that is a (not always totally consensual either) power dynamic, right? Often leading to the terribly amusing sheer frustration of the people who don't know the rules, watching them leap and turn, trying to get some purchase.

I've said this to you again and again: this was, in fact, exactly my problem with the site that will no longer be named here. Because it only really works if everyone knows it's a game. -Which is exactly why I prefer BDSM as such.-

Get your ya-ya's out, do it in a way where everyone is conscious, understands about boundaries, -knows- what they've signed up for and what they're temporarily suspending.

No, it's not only about sex or gender. Never was.

belledame222 said...

However, when people *do* get upset, I admit that I don't always consider that a reason to stop, if I think that the discussion is still going somewhere interesting.

And that is the other thing that I find valuable about BDSM: the understanding that -consent- is crucial.

Mandos, how many times have you come in here, often interrupting a perfectly -to me and others- interesting discussion on some other topic altogether, trying to get me to pick up a piefight that I've told you repeatedly I -really don't want to get dragged back into.-

And now here you are saying you keep talking when -you- think it's interesting, even when other people have clearly said "stop going in this direction."

Thing is, in order for it to be an actual conversation, we -all- have to find it interesting.

Trinity said...

"Now tell me again how the latter affects -the wider world- more than that order of lamb phaal."

Right on, Belle.

WELL MAYBE SOME PEOPLE'S LIBERATION IS HINDERED MAYBE MAYBE.

Thankya, Chicken Little. Now kindly move along.

Amber said...

Well, there's nothing that you can say about any of these matters---about systemic oppression---that shouldn't be prefaced with a reasonable amount of hedging. Are you asking me to tell you the future?

I'm asking for a straight-up answer, not more bullshit obfuscation as exemplified right here.

Amber said...

You know, one of the things I really dig about BDSM, about sexual activity in general: it has a wonderful -grounding- effect, or can be. "Oh, yeah, I live in a body, too."

What I think is amazing, awesome, wonderful, etc. about it (and by "it" I mean just good sex in general, since I've never done BDSM) is that it both reconnects you to your body and at the same time takes you beyond your body.

At least, for me.

If that makes sense.

belledame222 said...

This is the thing about "liberation:" one size does not, in fact, fit all.

And no, I don't buy the premise that (human) sexual discrimination is the ur-discrimination. Further, it's ridiculous to try to shore up an argument about how -reproduction- (and its resulting limitations) was the origin of all the Bad when we are in fact talking about sexuality that is often about as far from heteronormativity and reproduction as possible.

Now, if one wants to make the argument that -anything- sexual qua sexual is inherently Dangerous, more so than any other channel of energy of dynamic, and further can do so in a way that is clearly delineated from the -very patriarchal- traditions of believing just that, and its usefulness in justifying various forms of repression over the millenia, one is welcome to give it a shot;

with the caveat that I know very, very well where the bulk of your influence is coming from here, mandos, and not only am I sick of discussing her, but I have some fairly clear and unshakeable ideas about where and how those notions are rather deeply subjective and self-serving on her part.

So, in true feminist tradition: the personal is political. At least a little bit. Why is a dude drawn to this particular philosophy? What gives you the idea that sexual domination is inherently more oppressive (if indeed that is your belief, you've been rather cryptic) than any other form, and how do you propose to do away with it?

Amber said...


From a collective movement to legitimize some kinds of acts---acts that very specifically reenact certain kinds of real-world social dynamics for pleasure and entertainment---it *may* be the case (again, not psychic!) that doing so helps to legitimize that dynamic in the public eye.


That sounds a lot like the thing from back when VCRs came out... "Some people MIGHT use these things to record and distribute material they don't have the rights to! Therefore NO ONE should have them!"

belledame222 said...

Now, if you want to know my own thoughts on the matter:

I think power is unavoidable. And even more primal than sex, funnily enough, is, (I've quoted this before, I'm sure, probably even with you in the house, mandos)

"The history of the world, my sweet,
Is who gets eaten and who gets to eat..."

Baldly: we don't all get to be -liberated- in the Enlightenment sense, as long as we have a taste for each other's blood.

And we do.

So: what to do, what to do.

Personally, I believe in the Jungian model of "consciousness raising:" it's not about expunging the "dark" side, it's about bringing it to light. Accepting its existence. Which does not mean an unquestioning wallowing in hedonism, as some believe.

There's, I think, an occult saying, possibly from one of the "unofficial" or Gnostic Gospels, possibly from somewhere else altogether, something along the lines of,

"If you bring forth what you have inside you, what you bring forth will save/help you. If you do not bring forth what you have inside you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

In that vein, I look at BDSM as, among other things (in its less playful, more intense places, that is; it can also just be a silly good time), an alchemical process, same as any other deep psychospiritual work.

belledame222 said...

What I think is amazing, awesome, wonderful, etc. about it (and by "it" I mean just good sex in general, since I've never done BDSM) is that it both reconnects you to your body and at the same time takes you beyond your body.

At least, for me.

If that makes sense.


Yep. It's why I do in fact think that it can be a deeply spiritual practice. Unlike most of the ones we're all more familiar with, it's a form of transcendence that starts with -earthing,- as opposed to dividing the transcendent from the material.

Mandos said...

And now here you are saying you keep talking when -you- think it's interesting, even when other people have clearly said "stop going in this direction."

I am saying that if "someone else being upset" is the criterion to be followed when determining whether or not to continue, a lot of little cracks and crevices would go unnoticed, and people would hardly discuss anything important at all.

So it can't be criterion.

As for dragging you into things, well, maybe you have a point, in that I did sort of assume it was also sport for you too. Your writing on those matters was thought-provoking, and so I assumed you were going along with it willingly.

I do understand that the game of Mao involves a certain geeky kind of power dynamic with some nontrivial analogies to practices that other people enjoy. I won't be conceited and say that it's any *better*, perhaps. What I will say is that there is probably less card-playing in the world than sex.

(In fact, Bridge has much the same dynamic as Mao, if you think about it, and I am also an occasional Bridge player.)

Trinity said...

"an alchemical process"

\m/

right on.

hence, name o' my blog.

and Mandos is a dude? HAHAHAHAHHA.

hmm, a dude telling women how to fuck. now that's not patriarchal at all!

right, 'cos he got the idea to do it from a chick named Twisty, who is all awesome & feministastic!

bahahahahhahhahahahaha.

dude, i was just about to stop complaining about men. then mandos here had to go and piss me off. shit. ;)

arrogantworm said...

I go to sleep, I come back, I realize that once again, I've accidentally egged someone on. M'Sorry.

Mandos said...

So, in true feminist tradition: the personal is political. At least a little bit. Why is a dude drawn to this particular philosophy? What gives you the idea that sexual domination is inherently more oppressive (if indeed that is your belief, you've been rather cryptic) than any other form, and how do you propose to do away with it?

So, actually, you're a little mistaken about my influences. I came to her site well after I had been influenced by certain other radical feminist writers that I had encountered all on my lonesome, during lazy afternoons at the public library. I can't cite chapter and verse any more, but...

So I look around me and over history, and it's easy for me to determine that our notions of race have changed over time. For instance, while race-as-skin-colour in North America occupies our consciousness, in ancient Roman times, caste was more important than skin colour as such. A high-caste Roman would view his own kind as superior, but would view an African prince as far better than an low-caste Italian of the same skin colour.

But it's true: all of them would have seen "their" women as inferior to them.

So sexual discrimination is ubiquitous, and for all but a small number of remote, small-population groups, often appallingly similar in form.

If there is a common denominator in all of this, then it behooves us (I love that word, "behooves") to determine the source of that denominator. The mechanics of reproduction seem to be as good a place as any.

Mandos said...

right, 'cos he got the idea to do it from a chick named Twisty, who is all awesome & feministastic!

A "chick" who expelled me from her site after two years of tolerating me, no less. Expelled me in an extremely drawn out and amusing execution spectacle, sort of like an Atwoodian particicution. (I love that word, it's like a Canadian dog-whistle.)

Mandos said...

Now, if one wants to make the argument that -anything- sexual qua sexual is inherently Dangerous, more so than any other channel of energy of dynamic, and further can do so in a way that is clearly delineated from the -very patriarchal- traditions of believing just that, and its usefulness in justifying various forms of repression over the millenia, one is welcome to give it a shot;

Well, it's a matter of analyzing why patriarchal cultures might think that. One very plausible answer is that it has to do with economics arrangements. Who has control over reproduction can have a lot of economic power, more so than anyone else.

That is the basis of youknowwho's brand of radfemmery rather than youknowwhoelse's brand, which I agree is less distinct from traditional ideas about sexuality. The very materialist kind of radical feminism---the kind that I think is the most interesting and challenging---distinguishes itself from patriarchal traditions by claiming, as its task, the return of stolen resources, stolen through seizure of sexual control.

belledame222 said...

Is there some way you differentiate that from "Lysistrata?" Or a non-Pope-headed convent, for that matter? And some way in which you think that might actually, you know, -work?-

belledame222 said...

But, mandos, again, the question remains: -interesting to whom?- If the someone else gets upset enough, they'll shut down; meanwhile other threads of conversation grind to a halt. The fact that -you- think it's going somewhere interesting doesn't necessarily mean anyone -else- shares that interest, neh?

belledame222 said...

And yes, to a point you were correct in making that assumption, many months ago: I was playing along, once. However, recently I have been more and more blunt about asking you to cease and desist. Also no longer writing directly to or about Certain People. That ought to have been a clue.

And, you know what "assuming" does.

belledame222 said...

as for influences, fair enough, but in fact she herself had her influences, many of whom share I think certain of her...assumptions, characteristics (most notably Sheila Jeffreys); therefore it still stands.

Mandos said...

Is there some way you differentiate that from "Lysistrata?" Or a non-Pope-headed convent, for that matter? And some way in which you think that might actually, you know, -work?-

So I'm still working on how this might work, if at all. One of the reasons why I was expelled from youknowwho's place was that I regularly interrogated the proposals and analyses people made on this front.

It's different from Lysistrata in that Lysistrata still assumed that men were uncontrollable sexual animals BUT that the power to enact change rightfully belonged with them. The sex strike is thus a temporary measure to extract concessions from ultimately benevolent and desirable male masters. The order is not disturbed by Lysistrata's strike.

belledame222 said...

AW: no worries.

yes, it's partly a matter of analyzing why patriarchal cultures might have those taboos. I find the radical feminist/materialist analyses aren't deep or broad enough.

Because the truth is--sex is -dangerous- and scary, existentially speaking, all by itself, even before any sort of material quid pro quo starts happening. It has to do with what Amber was talking about, that transcendent lift: you can -lose yourself-. That also happens on a more concrete level to a certain degree with penetration of an orifice--hence, partly, the extreme (over) emphasis of that on radical feminists who are influenced by the more materialist end of things;

but that's really the least of it. They don't call orgasm "the little death" for nothing.

And, too, back on the material end; many of the taboos no doubt came from the same place as the food taboos: breach the wrong boundaries at the wrong time and disease happens. You don't have the scientific method to determine exactly how and why these things occur: best to just declare certain whole activities verboten.

Also, it helps differentiate your tribe from the dirty, more bestial tribes; you're -purer-;

and -that- bit, I submit, I see very much replicated in many radical feminist circles.

belledame222 said...


It's different from Lysistrata in that Lysistrata still assumed that men were uncontrollable sexual animals BUT that the power to enact change rightfully belonged with them. The sex strike is thus a temporary measure to extract concessions from ultimately benevolent and desirable male masters. The order is not disturbed by Lysistrata's strike.


Fine, okay, so now it's permanent and we assume the men are hostile. Now what?

Mandos said...

The fact that -you- think it's going somewhere interesting doesn't necessarily mean anyone -else- shares that interest, neh?

True, but how is this not a risk in any interactive venture where someone is liable to become upset? It's matter of gauging the correct level of risk, and though I won't pretend to be the best assessor of risk in the world, how does one avoid taking the risk AND extract maximum value from the discussion?

belledame222 said...

Once again: "maximum value" for WHOM?

Because, if the other people are all bowing out? Chances are good they're not finding the value in it.

Mandos said...

Well, we could take the Mary Daly angle and say that there is no "now what". Men would fade into irrelevance from women's lives. Once women have been liberated, why should there be anything more? Maybe some money or resources would exchange hands for sperm samples from the now-peaceable but safely distant gay male community 200 miles away. (There's a lesbian separatist science fiction series with that premise and probably more than one. I think it was by Jean Stewart.)

Or we could say that, once the sex strike is accomplished, men would not grow up understanding any basis for a difference among the sexes, having not been afforded the opportunity to observe it.

Mandos said...

Because, if the other people are all bowing out? Chances are good they're not finding the value in it.

Well, my point was that there's a risk of mismatch of expectations in any group venture.

belledame222 said...

That's an oddly formal way of saying "well, fuck 'em,' isn't it?

belledame222 said...

Well, we could take the Mary Daly angle and say that there is no "now what". Men would fade into irrelevance from women's lives. Once women have been liberated, why should there be anything more? Maybe some money or resources would exchange hands for sperm samples from the now-peaceable but safely distant gay male community 200 miles away. (There's a lesbian separatist science fiction series with that premise and probably more than one. I think it was by Jean Stewart.)

We -could- do that, but we would be pretty fucking oblivious to how the real world actually works, (particularly lo these twenty or thirty years later), something I submit the genuinely "revolutionary" can ill afford to do.

belledame222 said...

And once again, my interest: is there some particular reason you're this drawn to a theory which involves as one -strong- possible desirable outcome "men fading into irrelevancy?"

Mandos said...

That's an oddly formal way of saying "well, fuck 'em,' isn't it?

I don't think so. I think it's a statement of a very banal truth. It's impossible to accomplish something in a group without the risk that some part of the group might end up disgruntled. I have been involved in group ventures frequently, and have rarely seen a group where someone didn't alienate someone else. I have even been the one alienated.

We -could- do that, but we would be pretty fucking oblivious to how the real world actually works, (particularly lo these twenty or thirty years later), something I submit the genuinely "revolutionary" can ill afford to do.

To radicals (and not just feminist radicals) then the phrase "real world actually works" is a very very loaded phrase, I must say. And not just for the facile reason, either.

Deoridhe said...

Sidestepping the whole "mandros thinks men should fade into obscurity" thing ('Noooo!' cries Deo as she clings to her friends), I thought this was a very important line of yours, Belle.

Thing is, in order for it to be an actual conversation, we -all- have to find it interesting.

I think this is much broader than the current... um... posting at each other and quite like it.

Mandos said...

And once again, my interest: is there some particular reason you're this drawn to a theory which involves as one -strong- possible desirable outcome "men fading into irrelevancy?"

Obviously, I have too much ego to be suicidal. I think that the Mary Daly-angle exploration is interesting in that I think that exploring the ways in which men might fall into irrelevance might *inadvertantly* reveal ways in which people could achieve liberation and equality *without* men or anyone falling into irrelevance for anything.

Mandos said...

I'm also pretty sure that Mary Daly is also playing a game of Mao.

belledame222 said...

To radicals (and not just feminist radicals) then the phrase "real world actually works" is a very very loaded phrase, I must say. And not just for the facile reason, either.

"Fuck 'em."

At minimum, fuck anyone playing "Mao," whether that actually includes Daly or not. I don't like that game.

Proof's in the pudding. Some concrete, palpable example of how abstinence makes the world grow more egalitarian. Some concrete, palpable example of why this and this alone is the key to everything else. Or...you know. See above.

belledame222 said...

I think that exploring the ways in which men might fall into irrelevance might *inadvertantly* reveal ways in which people could achieve liberation and equality *without* men or anyone falling into irrelevance for anything.

That's a bit convoluted, isn't it? What about y'know exploring some of the -other- ways people have been talking about liberation that -doesn't- take that line of anything "falling away" (men, the State, whatever) at all?

belledame222 said...

Finally: what to you means "liberated?" What's your stake in it? What do you wish to be liberated from? Barring that, what do you wish your fellow critters to be liberated from?

belledame222 said...

And I'll tell you what else, wrt "Mao:" it's aptly named. It's predicated on the belief that "some people are more equal than others."

Annnnnnd...you're already screwed.

"Liberation" is not compatible with "I know what's best for you, no matter what you say."

Mandos said...

Finally: what to you means "liberated?" What's your stake in it? What do you wish to be liberated from? Barring that, what do you wish your fellow critters to be liberated from?

I'm supposed to have a stake in it, and not be doing it out of some type of pure, caffeine-free, non-carbonated altruism? :)

Well, if you must ask, I am in general irked by things that don't let me achieve what I set out to achieve. For instance, my upcoming double housing crisis is draining energy and time from useful activities, including internet agitation.

belledame222 said...

anyway, the concrete ways in which men seem to exist in a radical-feminist-structured world and -not- fall into irrelevance would be by becoming a John Stoltenberg or Robert Jensen. Does that seem attractive to you?

belledame222 said...

I'm supposed to have a stake in it, and not be doing it out of some type of pure, caffeine-free, non-carbonated altruism? :)

Absotively.

Well, if you must ask, I am in general irked by things that don't let me achieve what I set out to achieve. For instance, my upcoming double housing crisis is draining energy and time from useful activities, including internet agitation.

Understandable. Exactly how does the radical feminist theory of sexual domination affect that, though?

Mandos said...

Proof's in the pudding. Some concrete, palpable example of how abstinence makes the world grow more egalitarian. Some concrete, palpable example of why this and this alone is the key to everything else. Or...you know. See above.

Well, one obvious one: if men don't touch or think of women sexually, they're not raping. If they're not raping, they aren't exerting the system of control over women's choices that is enforced in large part by the Generalized Rape Threat. Means that women are not the object of domination as a class.

Of course, the question is, what else are you losing, and is it worthwhile?

Mandos said...

anyway, the concrete ways in which men seem to exist in a radical-feminist-structured world and -not- fall into irrelevance would be by becoming a John Stoltenberg or Robert Jensen. Does that seem attractive to you?

At least a part of Robert Jensen's life is attractive to me, and that part is the bloviation bit. :)

BUT, JS and RJ are both male radfem supporters during a patriarchal time and can't be conflated with the postpatriarchal male.

Actually, in the past I explored some anthropological scenarios with Violet Socks which suggest, though not prescribe, what role men in a nonpatriarchal society might play.

Mandos said...

Understandable. Exactly how does the radical feminist theory of sexual domination affect that, though?

Well, if the development of private property was at least a historical reflex of control over women's bodies in order to enforce property transmission over the male line...

...I would say that it has implications.

arrogantworm said...

Actually, in the past I explored some anthropological scenarios with Violet Socks which suggest, though not prescribe, what role men in a nonpatriarchal society might play.

What were the suggestions, if it isn't too much trouble to dig them up?

belledame222 said...

Uh. So, if I don't spank my female partner, or at least don't -tell- anyone about it, that will, somehow, obliquely but inevitably, lead to the downfall of private property and thus your housing crisis. To the general delight and betterment of everyone.

belledame222 said...

mandos: do you -want- a "postpatriarchal" society, whatever that might actually entail?

arrogantworm said...

And out of curiosity, were the suggestions the same or different from the roles women might play in the same postpatriarchal society?

belledame222 said...

Oh yeah, and: do we -have- houses in the postpatriarchal society? Fancy restaurants? What means "liberation?"

Mandos said...

What were the suggestions, if it isn't too much trouble to dig them up?

Well, it was in the form of some long long threads. We discussed peoples like the Mosuo and the Minangkabao and the Mbuti. (What is it with ethnic groups beginning with "M"?)

Mandos said...

Uh. So, if I don't spank my female partner, or at least don't -tell- anyone about it, that will, somehow, obliquely but inevitably, lead to the downfall of private property and thus your housing crisis. To the general delight and betterment of everyone.

Well, again, I have to say that any SPECIFIC suggestion has to be hedged. That's one of the differences between me and youknowwho. I believe that any prognostication has to be hedged. For instance, youknowwho confidently and repeatedly proclaims that in the gynotopia, pictures will have no erotic value. Sex, amoeba mitosis diagrams, etc...

Umm, uh...

Mandos said...

Oh yeah, and: do we -have- houses in the postpatriarchal society? Fancy restaurants? What means "liberation?"

I would suspect that we might have had houses if we were a fifth of the population we are. Fancy restaurants would only exist if there were people who liked cooking in them. I have been to grocery coops with sandwich counters and all, and they make relatively good food.

JackGoff said...

Thread go kaboom when I not looking.

Alon Levy said...

Well, one obvious one: if men don't touch or think of women sexually, they're not raping. If they're not raping, they aren't exerting the system of control over women's choices that is enforced in large part by the Generalized Rape Threat. Means that women are not the object of domination as a class.

It's obvious only if you already cook the books for it to work like that. Men who are compelled not to think of women sexually rape at least as much as men who aren't. As Avedon Carol shows, sexual liberalism doesn't increase the incidence of rape, only the incidence of reporting. Reducing a society's rape rate does jack shit to its level of gender equality. The status of American women jumped the most in the 1960s and early 1970s, with their heightened fear of crime, not in the 1990s, when rape rates started to crash.

I don't think radicals are full of shit just because I like the mainstream more. I think they're full of shit because whenever I read the books they write, I find fancy theories backed by other fancy theories and made up facts. Brownmiller's account of how rape arose is about as true as the libertarians' account of how property arose in the American frontier (in the libertarian world, rugged individualists created it without any government subsidy and without killing native Americans).

Alon Levy said...

Also, Mandos, about,

From a collective movement to legitimize some kinds of acts---acts that very specifically reenact certain kinds of real-world social dynamics for pleasure and entertainment---it *may* be the case (again, not psychic!) that doing so helps to legitimize that dynamic in the public eye.

Do World War Two reenactments make people likelier to support wars of aggression?

The truth is, nobody knows what influences people's views of the world. A social movement that stumbled upon the answer even accidentally would roll over all others to power. Instead, each stream peddles factless theories that, supposedly by coincidence, say that what it viscerally likes influences people for good and what it dislikes influences people for bad. Just like everyone thinks the mainstream media's biased toward the other side, so does every person think the personal behavior s/he engages in is exactly the personal behavior that will make the world utopian. It's about nothing but sanctimony.

belledame222 said...

The other thing is--it's not 1:1 -re-enactment-; it's -play-;

which is or can be very serious.

I mean, if "re-enacting" in that sense isn't useful, reinforces the bad stuff, even, then there goes everything I've ever learned in drama therapy/psychodrama, hell, almost any therapy pretty much for that matter, down the drain.

fortunately, I am able to say -from experience- that it does indeed effect change.

Alon Levy said...

Ah, I see...

On another note, I'm not any kind of revolutionary. I prefer getting things done, not concocting nightmare societies that pretend to be utopian.

belledame222 said...

"don'tcha know that you can count me out"

Alon Levy said...

In a nutshell, yeah. I think John Lennon's a lot more sensible on that matter than Phil Ochs.

Trinity said...

Thread go splodeyboom.

Me leave.

Idiot continue playin in sandbox.

Me go now.

arrogantworm said...

I'd be worried about the 'no houses', which I take to mean individual dwelling places. Some people aren't made to live in communes, and would be anything but pleasant.

arrogantworm said...

Who's Phil Ochs?

Alon Levy said...

The guy who wrote, "Love Me I'm a Liberal."


I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every coloured boy becomes a star
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I'm glad the commies were thrown out
of the AFL-CIO board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
as long as they don't move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I read New Republic and Nation
I've learned to take every view
You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I'm almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I vote for the Democratic Party.
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I'll send all the money you ask for
But don't ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

belledame222 said...

folk singer, contemporary of Bob Dylan, author of such lyrics as

"...With compromise sway we give in half way
When we saw that rebellion was growing.
Now everything's lost as they kneel by the cross
Where the blood of christ is still flowing.
To late for their sorrow they've reached their tomorrow
and reaped the seed they were sowing.
Now harvested by the ringing of revolution.

In tattered tuxedos they faced the new heroes
and crawled about in confusion.
And they sheepishly grinned for their memoroes were dim
of the decades of dark execution.
Hollow hands were raised; they stood there amazed
in the shattering of their illusions.
As the windows were smashed by the ringing of revolution.

Down on our knees we're begging you please,
We're sorry for the way you were driven.
There's no need to taunt just take what you want,
and we'll make amends, if we're living.
But away from the grounds the flames told the town
that only the dead are forgiven.
As they crumbled inside the ringing of revolution."

arrogantworm said...

If those weren't written for irony, he's a nasty sort.

belledame222 said...

He may have been. Certainly he was Not A Happy Camper. He committed suicide in the 70's, when he was only in his mid-thirties.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Wow. I read this thread when it has about twenty comments, go over to my place and write a post about marked and unmarked sexualities and how some folks get a real kick out of deciding that my consensual BDSM stuff needs to be oppressed out of existence for the sake of teh revoloooshun, and I come back and go, "Holy shit, 133 comments?"

Only to discover that that's cause a real live gobbeldygookarch has turned up to make sure that wicked, kinky me stays oppressed in the name of liberation, in exactly the way I was writing about last night.

The synchronisities of the universe keep me religious, I swear. The world is a funny, funny place.

belledame222 said...

He's not really a real live googledygarch. More of a detached shit-stirrer.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I'm pretty sure I saw someone make the, "Oh, just playing at oppressive power displays, then?" comment somewhere up in that morass already, so I'm short a wisecrack.

arrogantworm said...

a-Ha!

Phil Ochs was a topical radical left protest singer. He sang at Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War rallies, among other things. Looking at what he put in some of his covers, (like the comment someone made to be disparaging 'he might as well have a webbed hand his music is so bad') he could be incredibly ironic/satirical.

arrogantworm said...

Live recording from the beginning of Love Me I'm A Liberal(Hunted down the song);

In every American community you have varying shades of political opinion- One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group of many subjects - Ten degrees to the left of center in good times - Ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally, so here then is a lesson in safe logic; cue song.

He's talking about hypocrisy. Think I'm fallin' over, it fits so well for today

Dan L-K said...

I was suckered into a game of Mao once. If anyone else ever tried to do that to me, I would kick them right in the nuts.

Yanno that saying, "if someone is nice to you but mean to the waiter, they are not a good person?" I posit that, similarly, if someone seems cool but also gets off on games that depend on the disorientation and frustration of their fellow players, that person is an asshole.

I'm just sayin'.

"Love Me I'm a Liberal" was very much intended as ironic, btw. I think a lot of Ochs' stuff was. But he was also difficult and neurotic and sexist and probably way too focused on the defining moment of his political life (the assassination of JFK) - he did his best to work through the PTSD with his music and, obviously, never quite made it out of the dark. All the same, he left some killer tunes behind; "When in Rome" is a devastating, disturbing piece of work. Shame so many folks like that burn so hot and fast.

Alon Levy said...

Random pedantry: apparently, there's no connection between the game Mao and Mao Zedong. While Googling for the precise rules of the game, I found a site that said the name came from the German Crazy Eights variant Mau-Mau.

belledame222 said...

It's still apt.

Alon Levy said...

Yeah, I know.

Unsane said...

Heheh. I contribute this