Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Bondage 101


With her cheeks flushed and her bosom heaving, the pneumatic Candace de Russy announces that the only edjumacation American college students are getting is in the fine art of...perversion!

On one campus, as Miriam Grossman notes in Front Page Magazine, students may win cutesy stuffed toys – “Giant Microbes” – as raffle prizes for knowing their STDs, such as “the bright yellow Herpes, the pink Pox (Syphilis), the blue-grey Clap (Gonorrhea), and … the Kelly green Chlamydia.”
In a just and equitable world, they'd know nothing of these microbes until they'd caught them. If God had meant us to avoid the Suppurating Gleet, He wouldn't have gone to all the trouble of inventing it!
At another university, students can attend events such as the following sponsored by a campus organization dedicated to “discussing” B.D.S.M. issues:

Bondage 101: "get the basics of beautiful and functional rope-work . a very hands-on workshop . bring four lengths of 30-foot rope ." [sic]

The art of piercing: "if you like the idea of playing with needles, this meeting is one not to be missed."
Und so weiter. For some reason, de Russy can't be bothered to name the schools, nor the campus organization promoting BDSM. For the record, Princeton was handing out the stuffed microbes (according to Grossman, anyway), and the BDSM group is Conversio Virium at Columbia.

CV was briefly expelled by the Columbia Student Governing Board in 1994, after a Christian group accused them of failing to abide by their constitution. As I understand it, the charges were later found to be groundless and the group was readmitted.

Since then, it's repeatedly been invoked by the Right's pseudomoral chatterboxes in order to titillate their audience (cf. Kinsolving and Coulter). I submit that this has at least as much to do with sex and power as any of CV's activities; the difference is that the Kulturkampfers are incapable of being honest about the nature of their interest in sexual command and control. (Which is what makes them the real perverts, natch.)

I think de Russy goes back far enough in New York academia to remember the initial ruckus over CV, and I'll bet she's heard it croaked about many times since in the political frog pond she calls home. It'd be interesting to know why she's playing dumb in this post.

In any case, here's the part that actually irritates me:
On campuses where such “salutary discussion” abounds, smoking is usually “strictly forbidden.”
This is pretty easy to explain. If someone smokes next to me, it may annoy me if I'm eating or sicken me if I'm asthmatic. Thus, I ought to have some say in the matter. But if the local bondage enthusiasts want to fool around with handcuffs behind closed doors, it's none of my goddamn business (which is just as well, because it's also not very interesting; I have bills to pay and books to read).

Beyond that, it's not inconsistent or hypocritical to forbid smoking in public while spreading awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and allowing the teaching of safe bondage techniques in private. But de Russy and her ilk would presumably prefer bondage enthusiasts to kill or injure themselves or their partners, no matter how many GOP seats and pulpits it'd leave vacant nationwide.

(Photo: Harry Houdini, circa 1924.)

1 comment:

maymay said...

I submit that this has at least as much to do with sex and power as any of CV's activities; the difference is that the Kulturkampfers are incapable of being honest about the nature of their interest in sexual command and control. (Which is what makes them the real perverts, natch.)

Here, here! This was all extremely well-said, and couldn't be more spot-on accurate!