TF: Who’s your daddy?

Tribulation Force, pp. 189-192

If this were a musical, the conflict between Buck and Chloe would have been resolved already. Instead of 30+ pages of utterly pointless, circular dialogue, we'd have had a four-minute song ending in an embrace.

What we have here is less a conversation than a record of the strange things these two people are saying instead of having the conversation they ought to be having:

"As I told you in my note that Sunday, I was attracted to you."

"Not only to me, apparently."

Buck was speechless. "Not only to you?" he repeated.

"Just go on with your speech."

Speech? She thinks this is a speech? And she thinks there's someone else? There hasn't been anyone else in years! Buck was deflated and thought of giving up, but he decided she was worth it. Misguided, jumping to strange conclusions for some reason, but worth it.

"Between Sunday and Friday night I did a lot of thinking about us."

That italicized bit is what Buck thinks, but he doesn't say any of that. Had he done so, directly asking, "You think there's someone else?" then she might have answered just as directly and the reader would have been spared another 10 pages of this nonsense.

There are some entertainingly odd bits scattered throughout where once again we're reminded of Jerry Jenkins' strange ear for dialogue:

"I realized that Friday night I was giving you mixed signals," he said. "Well, maybe not so mixed. I was pulling away."

"There wasn't much to pull away from."

"But we were getting there, weren't we?" Buck said. "Didn't you think we were going to progress?"

I'm fairly certain no human being, in the context of discussing a potential romantic relationship, has ever asked that question in that way. "Didn't you think we were going to progress?" And if anyone ever has, I would guess the answer was "No."

What we have here is a disagreement between a male character and a female character. We thus know how this is going to end. The pattern was established with Rayford and Hattie and reinforced with Stanford Bailey and Verna.

And here it happens yet again.

"Chloe, I'm going to have to ask you something, and I don't want you to take it the wrong way. This may sound a little condescending, even parental, and I don't mean it to be."

We're in the middle of a scene, keep in mind, that LaHaye and Jenkins regard as romantic comedy. This is their idea of flirtatious banter.

More than that, this scene — like the earlier lecture Rayford delivered to Hattie beneath his Hand of Silence — is meant to serve as advice. Male readers confounded by independent-minded females are meant to take this as an example of what to say and how to say it because secretly all women wish for men with the commanding authority to put them in their place.

Any women readers who might think otherwise are meant to regard this scene not as advice, but as a warning.

We'll get to the misogyny in a moment, but since we're dealing with advice here, let me just chime in with this: If you ever find yourself starting a sentence with "This may sound a little condescending …" then it might be best not to finish that sentence.

"I'm going to ask you not to say anything for a minute, all right?"

"Pardon me?" she said. "I'm not allowed to speak?"

"That's not what I'm saying."

"It's what you just said."

Buck came just short of raising his voice. He knew his look and tone were stern, but he had to do something. "Chloe, you're not listening to me."

Clearly she is listening to him. Part of the reason he's getting all sputtery-"stern" is that she just repeated back to him what he told her. Twice. That means she's listening.

But as we've seen before, L&J don't always use the word "listening" the way the rest of us do. For them, the word often means something more like, "Admitting you're wrong and I'm right and apologizing for ever having disagreed with me." As in, "Just listen while I explain how you must be saved."

"Chloe, you're not listening to me. You're not letting me finish a thought. There's some subtext here I know nothing about, and I can't defend myself against mysteries and fantasies. You keep talking about not sharing me — is there something you need to ask me or accuse me of before I can go on here?"

Buck was right — that did sound condescending and parental. And also really, really hostile. Again, he'd have been much better off — more to the point and less like a douchebag — if he had instead said aloud what he was thinking earlier: "You think there's someone else? There hasn't been anyone else in years!"

So OK, then, fairly awful. But it gets worse, because now we cut back to Rayford's POV where he's eavesdropping from upstairs:

Rayford, who had been lying still and nearly holding his breath trying to listen, had heard very little of the conversation until Buck raised his voice. Rayford heard that and silently cheered.

Let me repeat that:

Buck raised his voice. Rayford heard that and silently cheered.

Hoo.

There's an accidental acknowledgment here of something Jenkins unwittingly describes but likely wouldn't admit. Guys like this, guys who think like Buck and Rayford do in this scene, always think they're coming "just short" of raising their voices when, in fact, they are raising their voices. Somehow guys like that never admit they're yelling. If you point it out to them, they'll usually say, as Buck does here, that they "had to do something."

So why is Rayford cheering when Buck starts yelling at his daughter? Because, for Rayford, this is what a father is supposed to do — he's supposed to get stern and parental, chastising his daughter when she forgets her place. And this whole scene — orchestrated by Rayford through his "coded banter" on the phone and his pretend-to-be-in-the-shower ploy — was set up to audition Buck for the role of Chloe's second father, which is how Rayford thinks of the role of a husband.

Rayford is cheering here on behalf of the authors. From their perspective, a husband is a kind of father to his wife. If that sounds paternalistic, then I'm describing it correctly. "Paternalistic" is not a term the authors would find uncomfortable.

This is the even creepier flip side of those squicky "Purity Balls," in which fundamentalist fathers pin corsages to their daughters before taking them out on dates. It's not just — ick — that these fathers treat their daughters like girlfriends, but also that these daughters are being trained — double ick — to one day regard their husbands as fathers.

The eavesdropping Rayford can't hear what is said next:

He moved to the doorway and called down to them. "Could you two either speak up or just whisper? If I can't hear, I'm going to sleep!"

"Go to sleep, Dad!" Chloe said.

Not an original joke, yet sometimes, in other contexts, an amusing one. Here, with Rayford wanting them to speak up so he doesn't miss Buck's condescending and parental yelling a
t his own daughter, it's just skeevy.

  • Jeff

    I probably shouldn’t but I’m back…
    [[ I fully agree that using real-life events is evil, because it strikes me as sadism towards the victim cloaked as a harmless outlet for kink. (At least recent or personal events; I don't know what to think of history, which is personally removed and safely gone by.)]]
    One of the questions that comes up is “How soon is too soon?” Basing a fantasy on the Romans or even the Nazis (always a favorite) is OK; an incident that happened even a few years ago is usually considered off-limits.
    ————————
    [[I know that if I were moderating a kinkster forum, and someone started talking about how to commit actual crimes, I'd banhammer them so fast it'd make their head spin.]]
    And that is what happens.
    =======================
    [[partly because enough people take things like Gor from kinky fiction and rp to a philosophy of life that I think that's damaging.]]
    I really don’t think taht’s what happens. I think they have a philosophy of life, and that determines teir conduct in “meat-space” AND in cyber-space. I REALLY think you’re putting the cart before the horse.
    ======================
    [[Since I mentioned costumes above, I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that kink itself is a costume.]]
    I’d recently come up with the idea that some fantasies are “dressing up the Id (cos-play?) and letting it play”. Letting the Id have some fun in a safe,controlled environment seems (to me) to be a healthy thing.
    =====================
    [[There are some things people do / fantasize about, where the best reaction I can have is, "That can NOT be good for you." I realize it's not my place to tell anyone that, unless I know them, and probably only if they ask. But I don't think making it easier for folks to engage in these fantasies / activities is doing them any great favors.]]
    This is what strikes me as a “Side B” kind of post. Try substituting “gay” for the subject of the post.

  • http://j.com/ Tonio

    This is what strikes me as a “Side B” kind of post. Try substituting “gay” for the subject of the post.

    Good point. While I don’t have an informed or nuanced opinion about fantasies, I disagree in principle with anyone who attempts to decide what is good for other people as individuals.

  • CrazyEyes

    …it can be an interesting exercise to ask yourself “How would I go about doing X?” even if X is criminal or immoral.
    But a BDSM forum or chatroom or whatever is one of the worst possible places to bring that up, because it could give the impression, to both insiders and outsiders (like the police!), that instead of being a cardinal rule, SSC is really just a thin veneer of plausible deniability.
    (ShifterCat)
    Good point, I was thinking in general, rather than in that sort of chatroom or situation.

  • Anton Mates

    Lori,

    When talking about both p0rn and horror movies it’s important to think about which character the viewer is identifying with. Traditionally horror movies were about identifying with the victim and getting a vicarious scare/thrill from that. Then things changed and now in many films the camera work puts you in the place of the killer, not the victim.

    Quite true. It’s not just camerawork, either; the killer gets more screen time (except for whichever girl’s got her shirt off at the moment), more involved backstory, and is basically the sole protagonist. I don’t think many people watch Sorority Slaughterhouse V: The Boobening and think, “Hmm, I wonder what it would be like if I were stabbed eight times in the face in the midst of lesbian horseplay with my fellow coeds?”
    My point was simply that, as far as I can tell from the development of the genre, the killer-focused films turned out to be at least as popular as the victim-focused ones, if not more so. Whether or not they’re using it for sexual gratification, tons of socially functional and presumably-not-murder-committing people enjoy that stuff. (And I know you’re not arguing the opposite.)

    That makes for a quite different experience. I think the same goes for very violent images in a sexual context. Imagining oneself doing those things is quite different that imagining having them done to you.

    Oh, absolutely–they’re very different kinks. I just don’t think one is more predictive of actual dangerous behavior than the other. Desiring your own pain/degradation/death can be just as harmful as desiring that of others, and most kinks need to stop at the point where they involve changing the real world to suit them.
    Jason,

    ..and on the topic of horror films. Horror is a genre I like. I like being scared in an environment where I actually know logically that I am safe. I like the horror films that put you in the place of the victim(s) because that gives me the feeling of fear and the adreline rush that I enjoy, when it is done well.

    That totally makes sense. I suspect that a lot of people like horror films from the killer‘s viewpoint because they like being angry and murderous and lustful and joyfully vengeful, in an environment where they know logically that they’re safe from actually hurting anyone else.
    (For my part I’m not too fond of either set of feelings, so I watch Antiques Roadshow and Time Team and shows about pikas instead.)

    Again I don’t want to ban these things and also I don’t have a problem with regular BDSM. I am just creeped out by people who have fantasies of being a violent oppressor and don’t necessarily think that its always harmless because some people who have fantasies of being a violent oppressor actually do become violent oppressors.

    Gotcha. I think that’s also true for some people who fantasize about being violently oppressed, though–remember the German guy who arranged for himself to be killed and eaten? Less dramatically, I suspect there’s a lot of folks with suicidal or self-injuring tendencies who incorporate such things into their fantasies (sexual or otherwise). In that case encouraging them to dismiss the fantasies would probably be a good thing, to the degree they can do it without the struggle to dismiss them becoming itself a stressor.

    I hope I’m not coming off as judgmental.

    Well, only in the sense that everyone judges the things they see and hear. You’ve made it clear that you’re not demanding that other people change their ways to suit you, which is the only sort of judgment I have a problem with.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a6452705970c Ruby

    Tonio: Earlier I mentioned a Christian who said he had gay friends but maintained a no-gay-PDA rule when they visited while his children were there. While I find that hypocrisy repulsive, I don’t know how to argue against it without sounding like I’m telling him how to raise his children.
    I think there’s a bumper sticker that says, “I don’t mind straight people, as long as they act gay in public.”

  • Lori

    Earlier I mentioned a Christian who said he had gay friends but maintained a no-gay-PDA rule when they visited while his children were there. While I find that hypocrisy repulsive, I don’t know how to argue against it without sounding like I’m telling him how to raise his children.

    If it was me I’d probably ask him how he can be close enough friends with people to invite them into his home if he thinks that even mild exposure to the reality of who they are is going to damage his children.

    This is what strikes me as a “Side B” kind of post. Try substituting “gay” for the subject of the post.

    I think this depends on where one thinks the equivalence lies. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being gay but some relationships and sexual practices, both gay & straight, are not coming from a healthy place. In the same way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being kinky but some of the ways that people express their kinks strike me as not coming from a healthy place and obviously there are healthy & unhealthy kinky relationships. So where’s the line beyond which it’s not OK to criticize?
    Are the things that are creeping Jason out kinks, full stop, or are they kink filtered through misogyny? If they’re kinks, full stop, does that mean that it’s not OK for people to comment negatively about the misogyny?
    Many people speak about their religious beliefs as natural for them or inborn (for example, NRH speaks this way about her Catholic beliefs). So, if someone says that they were just born to be an RTC does that mean we can’t criticize when they act like Buck & Ray? If not, why is kink off limits and religion isn’t?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5ebbae7970b Jon Maki

    The End of Days “osmosis” sex scene involves the Devil having sex with the wife and daughter of one of his loyal followers. In the course of the scene, you see the legs of the mother and daughter beginning to meld together, and as the camera pans up, you see other parts of their bodies starting to merge. Finally, as they turn to kiss each other, the Devil presses their faces together and their faces begin to flow into each other, and once they’ve merged into one being, we see that they’ve transformed into the woman that the Devil is actually after (for the purposes of impregnating her, IIRC), and the Devil proceeds to start having sex with her, at which point the scene changes to the woman in question waking up from a dream, gasping.
    It’s an…interesting scene. Is it any good? I guess that depends on your perspective. It certainly is creepy.

  • The Right Hon’ Mouse

    I’d recently come up with the idea that some fantasies are “dressing up the Id (cos-play?) and letting it play”. Letting the Id have some fun in a safe,controlled environment seems (to me) to be a healthy thing.
    Yeah.
    There’s a lot of “well, thinking like that can’t be healthy” talk going on here, but I wonder if we could look at it from a different perspective: why do so many people feel this way? Fantasies of being raped are, apparently, very common among women (among the top X fantasies that women have, I think, where X is a number I’m not sure of but is probably less than 10: statistics anyone?). A lot of people have fantasies about being restrained, or beaten, or otherwise hurt, so much so that “spanking” is a word that’s bound to raise some puerile comments if you mention it out of context and kitschy little “my first BDSM kit”-type things are available in every sex shop. Horror movies are angled towards sexualising the blood-splattered victims. These impulses aren’t something that only a dark and shadowy corner of the population hold: they’re part of many of us to a degree.
    I think it’s very easy to give into the impulse of looking at something slightly more extreme than our own particular inclinations would allow for and going, “well, that’s just taking it too far”. I think it’s personally more interesting and less demonising to look at what we have in common as a species and start to deconstruct why. The more we can realise that this comes from parts of us that many people share and express harmlessly, the less intimidating any given act taken out of context may sound, perhaps?
    Or maybe that’s just me.

  • Lori

    I suspect that a lot of people like horror films from the killer’s viewpoint because they like being angry and murderous and lustful and joyfully vengeful, in an environment where they know logically that they’re safe from actually hurting anyone else.

    This is a fair point and one that I tend to forget because I not a fan of the genre.

    I watch Antiques Roadshow and Time Team and shows about pikas instead.

    We have Antiques Roadshow, but not Time Team. I wonder why that concept didn’t make the jump across the pond. Maybe people think we don’t have enough old stuff to dig up.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5ebbae7970b Jon Maki

    Fantasies of being raped are, apparently, very common among women
    Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s my understanding that “rape fantasies” seldom have much in common with what rape is actually like, and are more akin to fantasies about being what one might refer to as “ravished” in a romance novel sort of way (For want of a better term; I’m not intending to disparage romance novels or the people who enjoy them).
    Basically, they’re fantasies that involve a certain element of danger and of being overpowered, possibly by some brutish and insensitive lout who has a sort of animal passion lacking in more civilized men, but I don’t think there are many women who are fantasizing about a struggle that has the potential to be life or death and that involves sadistic brutality or the potential for pregnancy and/or disease.
    Again, I will willingly stand – or probably sit – corrected if I’m way off base. After all, this isn’t something that I’ve done a lot (or really any) research on, so if I’m talking out of my ass, let me know.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a6452705970c Ruby

    The Right Hon’ Mouse: I think it’s very easy to give into the impulse of looking at something slightly more extreme than our own particular inclinations would allow for and going, “well, that’s just taking it too far”.
    Yes, this. I’ve heard it likened to skirt length (speaking of clothes sizes!). As in: “How short a skirt is too short/slutty/etc.” “Oh, about two inches shorter than the skirts I feel comfortable wearing.”

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5ebbae7970b Jon Maki

    To say nothing of the sort of rape that involves drinking too much/being slipped a drug and passing out and then waking up to find some guy on top of you, or of finally just lying back and taking it because you’re tired of trying to push the too-aggressive jackass off of you and it seems easier to just get it over with, or…well, you get the idea.
    At the very least, I would imagine the fantasy rape – even if it is brutal and terrifying and not at all romantic – is ultimately consequence-free and “safe” (even beyond just the fact that it’s only occurting in a fantasy and not in reality).

  • Lori

    @Jon: You’re not talking out your ass. As you say, most “rape” fantasies have little to do with the reality of rape and least as far as the “plot” goes. And of course the underlying driver of the scene is the exact opposite. Rape is about having no control, while, barring mental illness, we control our fantasies. So, the fantasizer has 100% control over the construction of a scene about not being in control, or more precisely about not being responsible.
    Also worth noting: people tend to think of rape fantasies as a female thing, but both sex researchers and people who have wandered the wilder shores of the internet can attest to the fact that a fair number of men have them too.

  • Jeff

    [[I don't think many people watch Sorority Slaughterhouse V: The Boobening and think, "Hmm, I wonder what it would be like if I were stabbed eight times in the face in the midst of lesbian horseplay with my fellow coeds?]]
    Yes, but does one wonder what it would be like to ascend a staircase in search of a person’s mother, only to be stabbed at the top of said staircase? Does one wonder what it would be like to fall back through space until one hit the bottom of said staircase and one ceased to live? Does one identify with the detective or with the shy taxidermist or with much of anyone during the first half of a highly regarded movie?
    (An interesting tid-bit: One of the “Sorority Slaughterhouse” movies (The Slumber Party Massacre) was written by feminist Rita Mae Brown. I find this as interesting as Roger Ebert co-writing Beyond the valley of the Dolls (which gave him more credence in reviewing like films than Siskel).
    =========================
    Jon, from what I’ve seen, rape fantasies run the gamut from “ravishment” to fairly brutal scenarios. As with most things human, the vastness of likes and tastes is extremely vast.

  • Ursula L

    There are some things people do / fantasize about, where the best reaction I can have is, “That can NOT be good for you.” I realize it’s not my place to tell anyone that, unless I know them, and probably only if they ask. But I don’t think making it easier for folks to engage in these fantasies / activities is doing them any great favors.
    Well, part of what the sensible BDSM community is interested in is this very problem. What do you do if you’re someone who has fantasies that, if acted out, might harm someone?
    Simply trying to squash a persistent fantasy isn’t really a feasible option. If anything, you wind up with problems like the Catholic church has, where people with difficult fantasies turn to celibate vocations as an attempt to control behavior they know is inappropriate – but with the only “support” being the celibate vocation, you see things like priests with pedophiliac tendencies acting on those fantasies.
    An alternative tactic is to try to find appropriate outlets for the inappropriate fantasies. So a sadist and a masochist might negotiate a scene that plays out both their fantasies, with agreed-on limits to prevent any serious physical harm. Or someone with pedophilia fantasies might arrange for someone with appropriate fantasies/interests to dress up like a child, and play out the role so that the fantasy is lived out in a safe way with a consenting adult.
    If you can find the parts of the internet where people who are interested in BDSM discuss sexual ethics and responsibility, it is absolutely fascinating to lurk. (These are very different places from those that act out BDSM fantasies online.) And you quickly realize that the people involved in these conversations are probably the most responsible people, in terms of sexuality, that you’ll find. Pretty much any concern that has been brought up here is part of the regular discussion. (I’m not talking about *everyone* interested in BDSM – just those who choose to participate in lengthy discussion of the nature of kink and the nature of consent.)
    For example, someone earlier in this discussion described the problem of appearing unenthusiastic/uninterested when they are in fact enjoying themself, because they “forget” to show their enthusiasm in their enjoyment of the moment. Negotiating a safeword – a word that will unambiguously mean “no” is one way of dealing with that type of problem.
    So if you’re the type of person who tends to say “Don’t stop!” and have it confused with “Don’t! Stop!” or vice-versa, you might tell your partner to not worry about “don’t” and “stop”, but to please take “Tomato!” as an absolute “No!” can let you enjoy the moment without worrying about a confusing signal, or about not having a “no” that will be understood.
    Or if you tend to go passive and non-verbal when aroused, you might negotiated very clearly specific sexual acts and foreplay which you do and don’t like, so that your partner can work with your form of arousal and not worry that they’re doing things you don’t care for but don’t have the ability in the moment to easily stop.
    ***
    The main point to these concepts, and to the concept of “yes means yes” in general, is that it is more important not to rape than it is to find a plausible excuse why a particular sex act isn’t rape. And it is more important not to rape than to avoid the possibility of offense or embarrassment by talking to your partner about consent. And that not raping is more important than whether or not you can avoid being found legally guilty of rape.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a6452705970c Ruby

    Sorority Slaughterhouse V: The Boobening
    I’m just glad I didn’t have a sip of tea just before I read that. My monitor would be ruined.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/shiftercat ShifterCat

    @Emily: so measurements aren’t a solution either? Damn.

  • Lori

    One thing that I should have added to my previous post—most rape fantasies are perfectly healthy, but that doesn’t mean they all are. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to imagine giving up all control or having sex without responsibility. However, rape fantasy can also be driven by a lack of healthy agency or a deep sense of shame about sexual desire. If that’s the case the fantasy can be healthy if it helps the person to work through those issues, or unhealthy if it reinforces them.
    When I say that something doesn’t seem to be coming from a good place that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. When someone shares their fantasies by writing them up and posting them on the net or acting them out in 2L they’re often giving more than enough detail to provide a sense of where they fall on the healthy/unhealthy scale.

  • Jason

    @Lori-
    Are the things that are creeping Jason out kinks, full stop, or are they kink filtered through misogyny? If they’re kinks, full stop, does that mean that it’s not OK for people to comment negatively about the misogyny?
    Kinks are ok. I don’t think its possible to not have kinks… unless you are asexual. I find some kinks um…er… um… interesting. (-: I am creeped out by kinks filtered through misogyny and ones that are particularly violent and ones involving feces and urine….but that’s about it.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5ebbae7970b Jon Maki

    And now I’m having a vague recollection of a scene in some movie (or possibly a series on HBO or something) that features a man – trying to evade people chasing him? – who breaks into a woman’s apartment. Coincidentally, the woman has hired/advertised for someone to break into her apartment and fulfill her rape fantasy. Assuming that he’s the “rapist” in question, she proceeds to lay out all of the “rules of engagement,” such as not doing it on the bed – her sheets are very expensive – and instead doing it on the floor, after laying down a towel – expensive carpeting – and while he’s not actually there for that purpose, he figures “What the hell?” and has sex with her (totally violating the ground rules in the process).
    Anyone know what I’m talking about? I think it was some sort of action/comedy.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a6452705970c Ruby

    Re: The killer’s POV in horror movies:
    As Lyz points out at the awesome AYCYAS site, the POV shot may not necessarily be an “identify with the killer” tactic. It may instead simply be an easy way of concealing the killer’s identity, or setting up a false scare.

  • Lori

    I am creeped out by kinks filtered through misogyny

    Right, you see those things that creep you out as kinks filtered through misogyny. I’m not sure what John’s thoughts are on it though. He may think that they’re a kink period and that they don’t reflect any real life misogyny on the part of the fantasizer.

    ones involving feces and urine….

    I think this would fall under the heading of NMK (Not My Kink) though, yes? There’s a huge difference between finding something completely personally off-putting, even barf-worthy, and thinking there’s anything in any way wrong with it or people who want to do it. The kinkiest people I know have things that are So Not Their Kink.

  • Pius Thicknesse

    @Jon Maki: Apparently it’s worse than that; it appears to have actually occurred IRL. I don’t have the reference off the top of my head but I’m sure someone does.

  • Pius Thicknesse
  • http://profile.typepad.com/shiftercat ShifterCat

    Jeff said:

    An interesting tid-bit: One of the “Sorority Slaughterhouse” movies (The Slumber Party Massacre) was written by feminist Rita Mae Brown.

    *looks at Wikipedia*
    *blinks*
    Wow, I did not draw the connection between cozy cat-lady mysteries and the Lavender Menace.

  • Anton Mates

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-rape-craigslist11-2010jan11,0,1829364,full.story

    Ye gods. Well, that’s distinctly different considering that the victim didn’t actually advertise for it.
    Ex-boyfriend-who-should-obviously-be-convicted-of-rape aside, it seems to me that if you believe you’ve made an online agreement with someone to break into their apartment and rape them, and you don’t have the wit or the consideration to meet with them beforehand first, you should not be walking around in society for the foreseeable future.

  • Spearmint

    So, if someone says that they were just born to be an RTC does that mean we can’t criticize when they act like Buck & Ray? If not, why is kink off limits and religion isn’t?
    I think the line is always hurting people. Any religious or sexual inclination you act on that doesn’t hurt anyone else is fine, and off limits for criticism. Anything you act on that hurts someone is not fine, and deserves censure.
    Speaking in tongues? Fine.
    Becoming a warmonger because you think it will hasten the return of Christ? Not fine.
    Whipping consenting adults? Fine.
    Leading your coworker on because UST makes you feel powerful? Not fine.
    Of course, you can’t control your inclinations- Glenn Beck probably can’t help feeling no compassion for the poor any more than a pedophile can help being attracted to children. But you can control what you do, and you ought to understand that it’s wrong to act on impulses that hurt people. That’s the thing that’s open to criticism, the hurting people. Not your religious or sexual kink.

  • Spearmint

    Oh, and I should add: one of the people you can hurt is of course yourself, which is whence the “not coming from a healthy place” criticisms arise.
    That’s really Fred’s problem with a lot of RTC dogma, when you think about it- it’s not coming from a healthy place and so it becomes toxic to the people who believe it.

  • Kim Aginary

    >>>Have you tried boys’ sizes, if you’re looking for male-looking stuff?
    Thanks, I’ll take note.
    I have plenty of t-shirts and jeans, my main trouble is with suits.

    Redcrow, if you’re still reading – I collect manly-styled-lady-sized suits, and your best bet is vintage. The 70s and 80s in particular were a great time for women cross-dressers (though it does help if you like large lapels and pinstripes). Try looking in op-shops, or those shops that buy the good things from op-shops and then sell them for lots of money. The internet’s useful too – I just found three-piece tuxedo in my size yesterday. Vintage women’s suits also have the advantage of being cut to de-emphasise curves, so they actually look more manly then a men’s suit. Good luck – drag is lots of fun.

  • http://j.com/ Tonio

    That’s really Fred’s problem with a lot of RTC dogma, when you think about it- it’s not coming from a healthy place and so it becomes toxic to the people who believe it.

    I disagree. From my reading, the ultimate problem he seems to describe with RTC dogma is that it produces toxic behavior, where acting like a jerk toward other people is characterized as good or defensible.

  • http://www.kitwhitfield.com Kit Whitfield

    Those areas of Second Life are available to anyone who can prove they are 18 year olds and that can range from the perfectly healthy to the mentally unbalanced and I don’t think have something like that out there is a good thing.
    *Puts my ‘predictable’ hat on to say* – ‘being a dangerous jerk’ and ‘being mentally unbalanced’ really don’t have much to do with each other. A rapist or a misogynist isn’t necessarily unbalanced; he’s just a nasty piece of work. Meanwhile, some mentally unbalanced people are perfectly lovely.
    But no, I don’t think you’re being judgmental; you’re expressing a personal discomfort, and that’s a completely valid feeling. I think you may be conflating certain extreme fantasies with non-sexual opinions in a way that may not be true for everybody, but I don’t really know any more about it than you, so hey.

    When the first “Saw” movie came out, I watched it. I absolutely hated it. It didn’t attempt to build any kind of suspense or feeling of dread or sympathy for the protagonist. It seemed the point was “We are going to kill some people graphically and you should watch it because its cool,”
    Yeah, I pretty much agree with that. It struck me as pretty sophomoric: thinking it was clever where it was facile and edgy where it was callow. I don’t have a problem with films being violent or gruesome if they’re good, but Saw was just a stupid film.

    Agreed that Transvestite Guy has a selfish reasoning behind his argument. But I’m not sure it’s inherently shaming to fat women to say they should have more of a choice in their clothing, because a lot of fat women want that too, and it could be good for the self-esteem of many who don’t imagine they can have it.
    Oh, I quite agree: if a woman feels like flaunting her fabulous flesh and is expected to cover herself in a sheet, that’s no good either. I’m all for broadening the definition of beauty.

    Re women’s sizing: I’d like to see shops stop assuming that everyone has the same bust-waist-hip ratio. I’m tired of dresses that either don’t close over my bust or hang off my waist.

    And on the more general subject of community gossip… I’m going to have a son! Scans yesterday revealed a healthy little boy. (Well, I need to go back to get his aorta checked, as he demonstrated an admirable independence of spirit and lack of vanity – I refuse to accept the sonographer’s definition of ‘stubborn’ – in refusing to pose for that particular shot. But disorders of the aorta are apparently very rare, and everything else is working fine. Though his determined refusal to pose did mean several long, long sessions of getting poked with the ultrasound thingy; my stomach is feeling pretty bruised this morning. I got sent out twice, first to drink something sugary, then to eat some chocolate, in the hopes that a sugar high might get him spinning around; first time I’ve ever had a doctor tell me to eat chocolate…)

  • Fraser

    Ruby: “The Right Hon’ Mouse: I think it’s very easy to give into the impulse of looking at something slightly more extreme than our own particular inclinations would allow for and going, “well, that’s just taking it too far”.
    Yes, this. I’ve heard it likened to skirt length (speaking of clothes sizes!). As in: “How short a skirt is too short/slutty/etc.” “Oh, about two inches shorter than the skirts I feel comfortable wearing.” ”
    Likewise, “slut” is a term applied to someone who’s had more sex, dresses sexier, flirst more. And obviously, since the speaker is condemning that, it proves their own virtue.
    Jeff, in Psycho, I think the person we’d most likely identify with–or at least see as the protagonist–is the embezzler, because she’s presented throughout the first half of the movie as the central character. that’s what makes it a shock when she’s knifed.

  • ako

    One of the problems with scary kinks is that a reasonably considerate person isn’t likely to share their scary kinks outside of spaces where it’s appropriate. It’s just rude. So what most people who aren’t into the kink see is a combination of what they find when stumbling over the kink/tracking it down in order to boggle in horror, and what the rude people who don’t consider the feelings of others put on display. So people who aren’t into the kink develop a picture based on the nastiness they see, and not the decent behavior engaged in by people who are into the kink when putting their kink face away. Which leads to Imaginary Creepy Guy (and it’s almost inevitably a guy), who is pictured as being permanently fixated on the kink, never doing anything that isn’t kink-centric, and treating other people as objects to get off.
    In a very odd way, it’s similar to problems noted by moderate Christians, who aren’t shoving their religion in anyone’s face or passing discriminatory laws to enforce their religious beliefs, and keep getting lumped in with either creepy fundamentalists (whenever they’re being visibly religious) or non-religious people (whenever, out of consideration for others, they choose not to display their religious beliefs in a certain situation). It’s oddly analogous.
    I do think there should be certain standards for sharing scary kinks in places where a random member of the public might stumble across them. There should be warning before it gets explicit, and a reasonable opportunity for people to avoid seeing it. And the more harm one’s kink would lead to in real life, the more one should take steps to clarify that any fantasies expressed in public or semi-public spaces are just fantasies with no connection to things one intends or desires to practice. It should be clear to any reasonable person.
    Beyond that, I have to agree that it’s easy to falsely draw the line and go “This fantasy is scarier than anything I personally find hot, therefore it must be connected with genuine sick wrongness”, and not terribly useful.

  • Fraser

    Congrats, kit. Do you have a name picked out yet?

  • Jason

    Congrats, kit. Do you have a name picked out yet?
    Fred Clark Fraser Jason Cary Tricksterson Whitfield

  • http://www.kitwhitfield.com Kit Whitfield

    Fred Clark Fraser Jason Cary Tricksterson Whitfield
    Good grief. An old music hall ditty comes to mind:
    *The War, the War, the dreadful War
    Has turned my wife insane.
    From Kruger to Majuba
    She’s the Tranvaal on the brain.
    So when to christen our first babe
    Last Sunday week we tried,
    The parson said: ‘What’s this child’s name?’
    And my old girl replied:
    The baby’s name is -
    Kitchener Carrington Methuen Kekewich
    White Cronje Plumer Powell
    Majuba Gatacre Warren Colenso
    Kruger Capetown Mafeking French
    Kimberley Ladysmith Bobs
    Union Jack Fighting Mack Lyddite Pretoria Bloggs.
    The parson said: ‘This name I can’t
    Upon an infant plop!’
    By my wife broke his roaring Meg
    And smashed his Spion Kop.
    She kicked his mounted infantry
    Till his Bloemfontein was sore,
    Then she did a flanking movement
    And she shouted out once more:
    The baby’s name is -
    Kitchener Carrington Methuen Kekewich
    White Cronje Plumer Powell
    Majuba Gatacre Warren Colenso
    Kruger Capetown Mafeking French
    Kimberley Ladysmith Bobs
    Union Jack Fighting Mack Lyddite Pretoria Bloggs.*
    The baby’s surname is going to be Whitfield Thomas, as representing both his parents; first names we’re still debating. Top of the list right now is Matthew, but we’re thinking we might wait a bit and see if he looks like a Matthew or not… So provisionally he’s still basically ‘sonny boy’ or equivalent.

  • Jason

    If you ever have a girl…
    Izzy Jessica Ruby Hapax Lonespark Whitfield

  • http://profile.typepad.com/shiftercat ShifterCat

    Congratulations again, Kit. :)

  • Ms. Anon E. Mouse, Esq.

    So happy that he seems healthy, Kit. May young Whitfield Thomas continue to be healthy and may you manage good health and good sleep throughout your pregnancy.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0120a5ebbae7970b Jon Maki

    You could name him Christopher Marlowe Whitfield Thomas, because then you could be cute/cruel* and in honor of his namesake refer to him as “Kit.”
    (Okay, I’m probably the only person who finds the idea amusing, but I stand by it.)

  • http://www.kitwhitfield.com Kit Whitfield

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone. :-)

  • Will Wildman

    Just going with ‘Thomas Whitfield’ would get the same job done without the need for additional names. (Economists are all about efficiency.) Or, I suppose, ‘Thomas Whitfield Thomas’ for maximum symmetry. And also a guarantee that he’ll never come close to the start of an alphabetical list.
    Ongoing congratulations, Kit.


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