Last week, a very bad thing happened to me, a life changing experience, the kind of thing many people with blogs would tell everyone about, trolling for sympathy and making everyone feel bad. Well, I am certainly not above doing that, but strategically I’ve decided to tell only a few people what is going on, and everyone else … well, I’m going to leave you in a state of wondering. Which, of course, is my own narcissistic way of getting attention.
But really, in the end, my problems are minor compared to those of others. And that is true of everyone and everything I mention in this post, which is why I’ve posted illustrated links to important stories about the overarching topic of discussion. Lest we forget.
I mention all of this misery of my own for a reason: Staring on Monday or Tuesday, I began to slide more and more rapidly toward the edge of an abyss, and on Wednesday at 10:05 AM I was kicked straight into it. I have been floating on air since then. Floating on air like a person who is falling off a very very high cliff to his death. Or, floating on air like a person who is ecstatic and uplifted by his own happiness. I can’t tell yet. But one result of this whole floating thing is total distraction from what has been happening on the blogosphere, mostly in reaction to my initial discussion about rape, related issues, rape switches, and so on. Well, all of the sudden, with the help of my friend Stephanie and my friend Lou (at least, I hope he’s my friend!), I’ve caught up on this discussion and I am now ready to do the following to you depending on who you are:
1) issue you a sincere apology;
2) kick your ass into oblivion;
3) enlighten you about life; or
4) have violent sex with you. Figuratively.
I demand an apology!
First, I want to address a few blogospheric issues. One person whom I consider to be a friend, and another person whom I consider to be some troll who dropped out of nowhere, and a few others, have been waiting for me to apologize for one or both of the following statements:
That all soldiers at war are rapists even if they don’t rape anyone, and/or that Doms as in BSDM are rapists.
Regarding the first demand for an apology: This is a semantic issue and has been from the beginning. I happen to refer to men who’s theoretical rape switch went on as “rapists” even if they had not raped, much like a person who learns how to sweat pipe might be thought of as a “plumber” even if they have not yet … plumbed anything. Technically, what I just said might still be true, or it might not be. Who cares? Clearly, people are sensitive about this and those who have not actually committed rape should probably not be called rapists. I acquiesced to this point at the time, right when the first objection was made.
The rule I’m not following: The “Stand still while I continue to scream at you that you must apologize!” rule.
There are actually two fallacies in effect here: 1) That you (Rystefn, or whomever) have the right to pick a moment in time during an on-going thinking out loud conversation that happens to give you your trollish jollies and insist that this is the only thing that your trollee — your victim — has ever thought or said. No, you don’t get to do that. In fact, if you do that you will get spanked (see below for the spanking). 2) The fallacy of the universal. Both Rystefn and Lou are making this mistake, as are many others in this discussion. I’ll get to that in a moment.
You can’t have your apology, but I am sorry.
So no, guys, you can’t have your apology. We are talking about a serious issue here, and we are knocking around ideas. Nobody is accusing anyone of anything. We are just conversing. If you want to propose terminology or rhetoric, do so. If you want to propose alternative ideas, do so. But do not pick up pieces of mud and make love to them like they were the last piece of mud on the face of the earth. Do not huff and puff and blow my house down especially when it is also your house. In other words, stop acting like you were made entirely of your y-chromsome and nothing else. And, most importantly, begin to understand the fact that this discussion is not about you.
- U.S. Rape Statistics
- When Is a Rapist?
- Why So Silent?
- Words, Pride and Obligation: A Note to Rystefn and Lou
During this time I’ve only read a few of the comments and I entirely skipped reading two of her posts on Almost Diamonds. As I say in the very beginning, I was a bit distracted with my whole life falling apart and shit. So I have reasons for having let my friend down, but I still am very very sorry about that, and for that I apologize. The most important point Stephanie makes is probably that this whole discussion is not about the guys who are slogging around in this argument. I wonder, do any of them know what this is about?
Is there any wonder why most of my best friends are not heteronormative middle class white men?
Almost all of the people I’m close to in this world are women, and I think this is in part because you don’t really get close to men quite often. You get close to their ideas or, more likely, their ideals (such as they are). You share things (like proclivities and preferences) not thoughts and points of view. You do other stuff that guys do, whatever that is. As the present discussion progresses, I increasingly understand why. I compare the comments, both on the blogs and in private emails that are going back and forth, between the women and the men and I see an overwhelming difference, and this is not even counting Stephanie with whom I communicate a lot anyway. And, if we go back to Stephanie’s post on pay rates, and to my very recent quickie about how women are smarter than men, the problem becomes utterly obvious.
Most men have very small dicks and can’t handle it.
It is not the case that I’ve simply agreed with every woman who has voiced a thought in this discussion. In fact, I’m not sure at all that there is a gender bias in how much what I think may be similar to or different from what anyone else thinks. But there is a clear difference based almost entirely on gender in affect and style of effrontery.
(This is also not to say that women are nice and men are mean. If any sort of generalization would apply, that is not it. Perhaps women are smart and men are dumb. Most likely, though, I think most women are more thoughtful about what they are both saying and hearing than are men, who really don’t listen to what others say and who rarely think about what they are about to spew out as much as they should. On average.)
OK, back to some troll related commentary:
We cannot discuss anything substantive until everyone agrees on the meaning of the words we are using
This is the hobgoblin of an unthinking mind, and it is the sort of thing I have never heard a woman commenter or blogger say. I’ve only heard men say it. And no, it is not true. Well, I supposed it depends on what one means by ‘meaning’…
… As you can detect, I’m working off a bit of a laundry list here… and the next items have to to with the science that has been abused in some of this discussion.
Are human universals … universal?
The term Universal in this context is not a term one simply pulls out of one’s ass. It is a term that has been in use by scholars for some time, and there is quite a bit to say about it. What it does NOT mean is this: If there is a “universal” (like the tendency to run away when the tiger looks at you) it is simply not the case that every individual has that behavior or will effect that behavior under a given circumstance.
Deer. Headlight. You know the story. You shine a spotlight or headlights into a deer’s eyes and they freeze. If you have a firearm, and you shoot the deer this way, that is called “jacking” the deer. Easy hunting. (Note: This only works at night.)
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shined the spotlight into the eye of the deer or the antelope — hundreds of times I’m sure — and I can tell you that sometimes the “universal” behavior happens, and sometimes it does not. I have it from a good source that on one particular reservation here in Minnesota, where the deer are “jacked” on a regular basis, very few of the deer stop in a light. Learning? Natural selection? We don’t know. But it is evidence that the “universal” may be labile.
So, please do not convert the hypothetical assertion that a particular thing like a rape switch is a human trait (which could be called a universal by some) to telling every man that he is a rapist. How stupid of you to think that. You must be a guy. I don’t even “believe” in universals, for fucks sake. And more importantly, learn what a “universal” is. And isn’t.
Proximate vs. Ultimate and Conscious vs Unconscious
People are messing up these concepts all over the place. I’ll be brief: The reason we have sex is to have babies. Period. The way we have sex has nothing to do with having babies. Obviously. Same with power relationships. Same with all of it. You have to separate ultimate explanations from proximate mechanisms if you are going to speak non-stoopidly of behavior.
Same goes for conscious vs. unconscious. In fact, just forget about that. The degree to which a behavior, tendency, switch, repression, all of it is known to the individual exhibiting the behavior is not relevant at all. I assure you that the belief that you know what is going on inside your own head is one of the greatest fallacies you will ever commit. Get over it.
Who put the “D” in BDSM?
This last bit is only for you Doms (as in BDSM). Everyone else kindly go away, because this is not going to be pretty.
I’ve already addressed the issue of whether I want to call Doms rapists. I’ve addressed it a half dozen times, but I’m sure I’ll have to say it again because some of you are just not that smart: I don’t need to call you a rapist. I don’t think that pretending to rape your girlfriend is the same thing as actually raping your girlfriend.
But Dom Rystefn himself (in between bouts of raping his girlfriend and beating his dog, I assume) pointed out that play-rape is to real rape what shooting skeets is to killing people. I love that analogy, and it is exactly what I have been thinking. It is what makes the D in BDSM interesting in the context of the rape conversation.
For myself, I can’t contribute much. I am not B,D,S, or M, and I am not an expert on this, and I’ve not read the literature. I would love to hear what people who do know what they are talking about have to say about this, other than total denial that there are things to learn.
Shooting skeets is a way of shooting pigeons that does not require the pigeon. This saves some trouble and money, and it also separates the shooter from pigeon-killing which may or may not be an issue. Pigeon-shooting is interesting, and has some recent anthropology done on it. The relationship between gun-owing cultures, right wingosity, The Klan and similar groups, pigeon shooting, and the construction of whiteness has been analyzed usefully by a colleague of mine. It is all very interesting.
Similarly, I can imagine that rape simulation can bear light on actual rape. What do I mean by this? What am I implying? Of what awful thing am I accusing you (you, the Doms who are allowed to read this)? Ha! Have you not been paying attention? Would you mind please putting down your dumbifying y-chromosome for a minute and think about how you LOOK when you are foaming at the mouth?
Which brings me to my last point. It suddenly dawned on me earlier today. I had been reading comments by Angry White Male (who is either a total parody or a total ass) and our friend Rystefn and some others, and I had been discussing this very post that you are reading with a friend. The friend said “Just leave out the stuff about the Doms… they won’t handle this well.” And it all came together.
You Dom’s are a bunch of whimp-ass babies. You want someone (who is what we call “willing”) to allow you to dominate them physically and psychologically, and this is how you get off. Or how they get off. But when the issue comes up that your behavior relates to violence you fall apart and get all teary eyed like you were just jumped by the bullies. You make the rules that say everyone else has to leave you alone and while that is happening one person should volunteer for you to pretend you are raping him or her, and when the core of the argument goes a bit over your head or turns out to be something that you didn’t think it was (egg on your face) you focus on spelling and word meaning and other stupid ass shit.
I have a little advice for you. Grow some balls and start paying attention to what you are presenting to the rest of us. Stop trying to control the conversation like you control your lover’s posture and position. Be a man for once. No, wait, don’t be a man! (What am I saying?) Be smarter, more interesting, less dogmatic, and braver.
Be a woman for once!
And remember. This conversation is not about you.