Extra, extra, read all about it : “California’s government has been subsidizing torture-based pornography”!
Take lurid imagery of young, naked, helpless women being forced into electrocution, whipping and public degradation, add an occasional Abu Grahib reference, throw in an “expert” opinion by a lone San Francisco shrink who still thinks that BDSM equals Nazi camps, and what do you get?
A Rush Limbaugh show? No, an article in SF Weekly, an alternative San Francisco newspaper.
(Continuous updates on the bottom of the post)
Kink.com is a San Francisco based company that produces and streams bondage, domination and other bdsm content with an emphasis on “safe, sane and consensual” motto - all videos are accompanied with scenes of negotiation, consent, boundary setting and “aftercare”. They have recently bought the long abandoned San Francisco Armory, employ over 100 local people, and are well known (except to the author) as one of the leaders in the San Francisco’s bdsm community.
The author Matt Smith unveils a “shocking” discovery that some of the funds government gives away as grants for training and education of local employees have gone to this bunch of violent perverts. in the process, he manages to lose Kink.com’s grant money and misrepresent and insult everyone who has ever tied up his or her lover, or eyed a leather vest - quite a few people, judging by the 400,000 attendance of the San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair. (San Francisco has a population of approximately 744,000.)
Yes, I’m a rope-carrying member of the slighted community, and I feel personally insulted, both as a “pervert” and as San Francisco resident. Our city’s claim to fame, its tolerance of diversity, seems to be slowly but surely withering - from pogroms of the city’s sex workers, legal fencing swing club Power Exchange (read comments) faces in trying to reopen, to “one wardrobe malfunction and you’re closed” policies that have popular clubs such as DNA shaking in their boots during every burlesque show.
There’s a lively response in the comment section of the article, including the calls for boycott of SF Weekly and commentary by Kink.com models and employees.
Quite a lot has happened in the past couple of days. The original article has over 70 comments - 99% of them dismayed by the writeup.
San Francisco’s BDSM community unanimously shows its outrage -
San Francisco Bay Guardian takes up the story
Matt sneers and blames San Francisco Guardian for everything
At the news of boycott, he ridicules “hippies and liberals” for trying to get his article removed (a single one of 70 comments called for it), and evokes his Freedom of Speech rights - ironic as he defended the government’s right to pick and choose whom to patron… which is exactly what boycott would do.
First boycott fliers appear in Castro, more promised to come this weekend
Numerous blogs take up the cause-
Violet Blue (@SFappeal)
Violet Blue (@Open Source Sex)
The Sword (NSFW)
BBPA has another good timeline with a bit of history behind it
As well as Xbiz.com, one of the largest adult business web sites
Additional articles and blogs of note:
Mellisa Farley’s (Matt’s “authority” on BDSM) bio on Wikipedia-
“…She is also largely opposed to sex workers’ rights activists and groups, such as COYOTE, which advocate legalizing or decriminalizing both prostitution and the purchase of sexual services. Many of these activists are likewise strongly opposed to Farley’s perspective, holding that Farley’s research discredits and misrepresents women working in the sex industry and lacks accountability toward them.
Farley is also an anti-pornography activist. In 1985, she led a National Rampage Against Penthouse alongside Nikki Craft. The “Rampage” was a campaign of public destruction of bookstore-owned copies of Penthouse and Hustler (which they denounced as violent pornography). Farley was arrested 13 different times in 9 different states for these actions. In March 2007, she testified in hearings about Kink.com’s purchase of the San Francisco Armory, comparing the images produced by Kink.com to images of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.
KTVU picks up the story. Handled very well, evenhanded and factual - SF Weekly can learn something about journalism here.
SF Chronicle picks up the story. Author David Steinberg describes his personal experience of spending time with Kink.com crew and models during some very intense scenes. A very positive article with a clear understanding of BDSM.
Betty Dodson’s commentary on and repost of David Steinberg’s article.
SF Weekly’s Benjamin Wachs defends Matt, jabs Guardian, lauds Melissa Farley and tells San Franciscans to stop whining.
SF Weekly published two long letters to the editor in today’s edition, but there’s no other response.
Heh. There’s already a boycott SF Weekly T-shirt out…
SF Weekly’s Ben Wachs continues to shoot down people who didn’t like Matt’s article, and demands the correction of a factual mistake from Violet Blue… highly ironic, considering all the mistakes in the original article.
Gah. Can’t believe it. Matt Smith writes yet another article complaining about being misunderstood (and everyone else being a thin-skinned liberal hippy perv). Guess there’s no safe word for a bruised ego…