Driving Blind: BDSM and Which is the Best Star Trek

Due to popular demand (two people), I’m bringing my daily commute reads to the front page on…Monday (since I clearly forgot to uncheck the “mini post” box on this one!

Conor Friedersdorf riffs on an essay by Emily Witt about BDSM and love in San Francisco, making the case for consent over enforcing sexual mores.

Mac McClellan tells a powerful story about the recent history of mental health and what happened to a family when they had no where left to turn.

Alexis Madrigal compares the business models of ARM and Intel and explores what that means for the traditional Silicon Valley narrative.

Brian Grazer is still planning on making a Friday Night Lights movie, that’s a movie based on the TV show that was based on the movie that was based on the book. He also wants to Kickstart it.

Maureen O’Connor spots a report by Netflix on streaming adulteration: the number of customers that skip past their partners TV series and what have you. They’re also going to make content suggestions based on which people do that, because you know, the machines are taking over.

Anna Leuchtenberger puts together a short history of insults. One example,

“Centuries ago in the rural mountain villages of France, many children grew up with an untreated thyroid condition that stunted their mental and physical growth. Their parents and neighbors referred to them euphemistically as “Christians.” Some scholars say that the name was a call to remembrance of the humanity of these affected people, even though they were different. The word for Christian in the Alpine dialect was “crestin,” which became crétin in modern French. Eventually, these isolated villages began to be discovered by the modern world. The word “cretin” was seized upon by psychologists around the turn of the century, borne away on a wave of science, used in academic papers for some years, and then dropped like a hot potato by modern psychology when it was used pejoratively too often and came to be seen as offensive.”

Matthew Yglesias has an overview of all things Star Trek which is actually quite good. He also has a “best of” list for the movies, episodes, series, and characters. Generations came in above Insurrection, so make of his rankings what you will.

Maureen Johnson makes girly covers for famous books.

Aaron Renn explains gentrification and why cities need to find a new fall back plan for urban renewal.

And a new report says that video game piracy is less than the industry claims, but also more varied.

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
Share

38 thoughts on “Driving Blind: BDSM and Which is the Best Star Trek

  1. I agree and disagree with Conor Friedersdorf on this. I do not think that the law should prosecute what consenting adults do between themselves for the most part. At the same time, the sort of acts described in the original article strike me as not being optimal behavior for humans. I place great importance on human dignity. Degrading that dignity too much can’t lead to anything good.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Dignity is…not something you can decide for others, really. What is dignified, what isn’t, what it means — it’s inherently internal. Even cultures can’t fully inform it — at the very least it drills down to sub-cultures before you can find widespread agreement.

      Degradation play in BDSM is actually a fairly interesting topic. Especially when it’s the sub’s thing.

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • Thats why I don’t think that the law should have anything to say about it. The degradation aspect of BDSM troubles me. Its not how I think I think that people should do to themselves or other people. There have been plenty examples of entire classes of people subject to petty or not so petty degradation in the real world and it hasn’t been pretty. Its not something that should be encouraged.

          Quote  Link

        Report

        • “There have been plenty examples of entire classes of people subject to petty or not so petty degradation in the real world and it hasn’t been pretty.”

          subject to is vastly different than choosing to. and it’s the choice that changes the tune.

            Quote  Link

          Report

    • I think consenting adults can do what ever kind of sexual play they want. It seems puzzling to me, but its their thing. But i didn’t realize they had sexual mores in san fran that could be crossed. I mean come on….its SF. Isn’t it crossing a more to have a stable hetero relationship there.

        Quote  Link

      Report

    • Here’s the other thing about the acts described in the original article. Kink.com is not the kink community. Indeed, some people have serious issues with Kink.com (links to which got my post eaten by the spam filter). This is not to say that Kink.com doesn’t loom large as a media company in the kink scene. But, well, reality TV looms large in mainstream culture.

      Ms. Witts wasn’t observing a long-term couple playing together, or even no-strings-attached scenes at a play party. She was observing a porn shoot. That’s not the same thing.

      When you consider the dignity or lack there of you see here, imagine what mainstream sexuality looks viewed through the prism of reality TV (much less vanilla pornography). Because you’re seeing the reality TV version, not the reality.

        Quote  Link

      Report

  2. It’s “mores” or “morés,” not “moirés. Moiré is an aliasing distortion common when one grid (like a camera sensor) can’t properly resolve another (like a screen door or a stripped shirt).

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Time travel and alternative dimensions have always been a Star Trek crutch. Whenever things got boring or staid they started rolling those out. It’s a testament to how desperate Voyager and Enterprise were that those cliches were used to death in them.

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • The Mirror Universe was awesome. That’s something they could wrap a series around. Give your actors a chance to put on a fake beard and chew some scenery. Hell, find a half-decent writer and put together a viewpoint that could make someone with a couple of beers in him say “you know, he’s kind of got a point”.

        I mean, other than just Fringe.

        Which was awesome.

          Quote  Link

        Report

      • “Time travel and alternative dimensions have always been a Star Trek crutch. Whenever things got boring or staid they started rolling those out. It’s a testament to how desperate Voyager and Enterprise were that those cliches were used to death in them.”

        And then they sunk below that with holodeck adventures. Gaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwd!

          Quote  Link

        Report

      • For the most part, I think of it as being a local matter and if the city wants to make that investment, and has the money to invest, they should go for it. The exception is when cities are dealing with substantial excess capacity. I don’t have a problem with state or federal government trying to reverse an actual decline. In some circumstances, anyway.

          Quote  Link

        Report

  3. “It is imperative that urban thinkers and leaders try harder to find models that provide more inclusive and broadly-based and socially sustainable benefits.”

    If only there was an independent writer in urban affairs somewhere who cared about the subject and could provide some viable ideas.

    I’d also like a better cite or at least an example of government subsidized high end luxury development that is not either a) some sort of sports stadium or entertainment/convention megaplex or b) exploiting loopholes in rules intended to provide ‘affordable’ housing. (which is all google gives me).

      Quote  Link

    Report

  4. another thing to keep in mind with the Friedersdorf / Witt articles is that the specific company they are talking about is not some fly by night Eastern European outfit with questionable model procurement practices. The parent company mentioned is (I believe) a fairly big player in that genre with some real assets (like an old national guard armory they bought for a few million dollars) that I imagine they take steps to protect from liability claims.

      Quote  Link

    Report

    • Very true. Indeed, depending on how you define “genre”, they may well be the biggest player. That certainly has a number of effects on what Witt saw (and didn’t see) at the shoot. I’m not sure what particular issue your driving at. But it’s definitely true that Kink.com has more reasons than some to run a clean operation, and in turn that it has more power to sweep its dirt under the carpet.

      To intensify what I said above, what Witt observed was a selected and managed fraction of a artificial and commercialized version of kink.

        Quote  Link

      Report

      • “I’m not sure what particular issue your driving at”

        Just some of the recent conversations including organ donations and Bangledesh garment work that touched on consent, asymetrical information, and self-regulation.

          Quote  Link

        Report

  5. “Brian Grazer is still planning on making a Friday Night Lights movie, that’s a movie based on the TV show that was based on the movie that was based on the book. He also wants to Kickstart it.”

    A lot of my friends got very angry at me when I get cynical about kickstarter and crowdsourcing and people abusing it. People with lots of money. This was especially true when the Veronica Mars crowdsource happened. Now these people are iffy about the Zach Braff kickstarter and will be especially against this one.

    I’m very much against non-independent kickstarting and crowdsourcing.

      Quote  Link

    Report

      • OTOH, a Veronica Mars movie gets made. Or, if Kenneth Branagh wants to make a Shakespeare production and can get people to pony up, that’ll get made. Many movies that would have been made if only the risk could have been mitigated, now can be made, since audience interest levels can be judged ahead of time and upfront financing secured.

        What’s the problem? That many people will direct their money toward the kickstarters of big-name artists, and established properties, instead of the worthier indies and startups? ‘Twas ever thus, I direct you to the history of 80s and 90s independent rock labels. You, personally, could spend your money buying Warp and SST and Merge and Matador records, and ignoring (say) Warner Bros. releases. That is, Warner or Madonna could ask for your money, and you could say, “nope”. That many other people instead sent their money elsewhere may seem silly, but it didn’t somehow stop one from buying the records that one wanted to buy.

        How it is “abuse” for a Zach Braff to say, “hey, if you’d like to see movie X, send in some cash, and we’ll make movie X”? Were the major studios doing a great job as intermediaries and quality controllers? How was the general quality of their product of late – was it singular, personal and visionary, or do they have a rep for engaging in shortsighted meddling, which they usually do not because they HATE ART, but because they are taking a huge risk financially, and they want to see a return on their investment and still have a job the week after the film opens?

        Don’t we want to disintermediate the suits and directly connect the artists and the fans as much as possible? Why *not* place the financial risk on the people who care about the art or artist in question? They’re the ones who wanted it, so let them fund it; and if it tanks, they are out a pittance. If they get burned once too often by an artist, they’ll stop funding him.

        This just seems like a more effective version of TV-show-saving letter-writing campaigns, since the “letters” contain cash. If you don’t want to kick in, don’t – find one you do want to kick into, and kick into that one.

        It seems like you are upset at the mechanism, or at the people utilizing that mechanism, when what you really mean to be upset about is the fact that most consumers have all their taste in their mouth.

          Quote  Link

        Report

        • The problem is that allows studios to mitigate risks in ways that they should not under traditional capitalism and it makes it less likely the indie projects (or anyone) will ever get financing from a bank or more traditional source.

          The mechanism was intended to be for people who would never get funded by banks or lacked the capital. I am against those who can get funded by banks or who have the capital using it to mitigate their risk.

            Quote  Link

          Report

          • I don’t see what’s uncapitalistic about mitigated risks. I also think that indie movies were always seen as risky, and so those drawn to risk-averse film investments are unlikely to be the ones bankrolling Braff’s next flick.

            I get where the critics are coming from on the “This wasn’t what it was supposed to be” but I don’t think it actually makes things worse for its existence. I think the problems in indie films lie elsewhere (namely, the gradual transition to Event Films rather than story films).

              Quote  Link

            Report

            • Again, going back to record labels, in the desperate post-Nirvana rush for cred and cash, the majors started either buying indies outright, starting their own ersatz ones, or entering into distribution deals/shared arrangements with them. And there was much grumbling. But nobody was forcing anybody to sign papers or buy records. As always, it’s up to the consumer to decide which artists to support. And of course, some bands like the Flaming Lips were lucky enough to get major-label cash and the freedom to do any crazy thing they wanted (and they did a lot of crazy things).

              I would tell any artist – even a presumably wealthy one like Zach Braff – to take the money that has the least strings attached to it, and that is most indicative of audience interest. Kickstarter would generally satisfy those conditions better than a studio’s.

                Quote  Link

              Report

      • and now i have a headache. thanks.

        i suppose the usual response is “your religious outlook is based in large part in submission and – from a humanist point of view – degradation of your humanity” and all that jazz, but the obvious answer is “nyah nyah nyah decadence!” or some such.

          Quote  Link

        Report

        • Well, at least it’s just amusing to me, as opposed to the comments to the articles about “definance” from black kids in public schools and an isolated incidence of black teenagers attacking a white family, and reactions to the Richwine hullaboo, all of which, if you look in the comments section, the commenters are ugly and backed up by Dreher to a digusting degree.

            Quote  Link

          Report

        • I was just being very dry. I think the chicken little stuff is more interesting than the essay itself.

          My only reaction to the essay is that a lot of people lead lives way more interesting than mine.

            Quote  Link

          Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *