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Spanking Bottoms and Tops

By a remarkable coincidence, two seemingly unrelated but nevertheless cosmically connected events were held last night -- one in New York City and one in Washington, D.C. -- both events being of particular interest to the bondage and discipline community.

The event in the nation's capital was the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner held in the Washington Hilton Hotel ballroom. The one in New York City was "Flogjam IV", held in a private space in Chelsea and hosted by the NY Renegades, an all-male bondage & discipline & rubber & latex club for gay men interested in the S&M Lifestyle.

"Bush skewers self at correspondents' dinner" (!!)

For those not familiar with the psychological and sensual rewards of punishment play, it's really not as scary or as complicated as it might first seem. It's just play, after all. The spanking and other forms of discipline inflicted on the punishment bottom by the punishment top are ritualized affection, even though the spankings actually, you know, hurt. The acts of discipline and humiliation are external manifestations of a particular intimacy whereby the punishment bottom and the punishment top establish very specific emotional, psychological, not to mention physical connections.

The White House Correspondents Association dinner is an annual Washington tradition where politicians typically use self-deprecating humor to win over the audience.

For the bottom, the reward is often the satisfaction that comes of being the top's center of attention. For the top, the reward is often the satisfaction that comes of being in absolute control. It's all play, of course. Illusion. People on the outside often think the entire punishment/discipline transaction is far more serious than it actually is.

But like all play, all illusions, all "magic", if you will, those involved in S&M games need to be scrupulous about maintaining their roles in the transaction, else the illusion be broken and the play come to an untimely end. The "boy" will sometimes be a man twice the size of the "master". Never mind. It isn't the physical reality that matters; it's the psychology. The "boy" assumes his part, the "master" assumes his, and the transaction can thereby go forward. The boy gets to bask in the warm glow of the master's attention, and the master gets to pretend he is control of not only his fate, but also the fate of his boy.

If, however, one of the players or someone watching from the outside points out the absurdity of the roles being played by the two players -- the boy being twice the size of the master, for example -- the game is pretty much over, the mood shattered. It is a terrible offense within the rules of the game.

Stephen Colbert, of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," wrapped up the evening delivering a routine as the bombastic pundit character of his satiric talk show. [...] No one was safe from his sarcastic barbs. [...] "Fox News gives you both sides of the story -- the president's side and the vice president's side," he said to muted laughs.

In short, if you want to preserve the requisite illusions so necessary for play, you cannot speak the truth of the situation during the play itself. If you do, you should consider yourself lucky if the worst reaction you get is "muted laughs". In most cases, "muted laughter" will be the public, more or less "polite" response to your offense. Inside, the players you just screwed over will likely be filled with rage at you for shattering the illusion and ending their fun.

Bush seems to be a remarkably skilled punishment bottom ("No WMDs here!"), and the White House Correspondents' Association a gifted punishment top ("Did you lie to the American people, Mr. President?!"). They understand the play. They understand their roles. They know better than to shatter the illusion.

Shame on you, Mr. Colbert, for busting up the fun.


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Did you attend either of these events? I wish I'd known about the local one...

Nah, I'm too shy to go to a flogjam, and not enough of a masochist to go to a correspondent's dinner.

By the way, not only is this a brilliant analogy but probably the best explanation I've seen for the psychology and process of punishment play.

...probably the best explanation I've seen for the psychology and process of punishment play.

Oh, well, you know, a guy has a lot of time to think about these things when he's tied to the ceiling fan, going endlessly round and round...

tied to the ceiling fan, going endlessly round and round...

Oh, thank you for that image. Now I'm going to be sniggering randomly in the faculty meeting.

I thought I'd posted this comment on the day, but I guess I must've backed down. Here it is now, anyway.

Shame on you, Mr. Colbert, for busting up the fun.

Except that, to extend the metaphor, 68% of the audience paid to see a completely different show, one a little more plausible, and now consider that they were sold a bill of goods. It's not fun for that 68% of the audience, and Colbert said so (albeit in a backhanded way).

...I guess I must've backed down.

Why, for heaven's sake?

...68% of the audience paid to see a completely different show...

Okay, a legitimate point. And if these people weren't the people who were supposed to be riding herd on the Administration, but who weren't, and if the Administration hadn't done to the country what it has done, with the acquiescence of the White House press corps, then I'd call it the overriding point.

I'm not against people having a good time. And I'm not against people getting what they pay for. I am against the travesty of the Bush Administration and the travesty of the press, however, and so as far as I'm concerned the fact that they didn't in this circumstance get what they paid for is a matter of complete indifference to me.

No, actually, I'm not indifferent about it. I'm glad they didn't get what they paid for. I'm glad they got what they got.

I'm running late, but I'm running. I wasn't talking about Colbert's audience; I was talking about the audience who paid (with their votes, anyway) to watch a convincing show and haven't been getting one. Colbert is speaking on behalf of that audience, telling his audience (in a backhanded way) that the illusion shatters itself when dealing with a bottom who deserves real punishment, ideally handed out by a court of law, and a top who barely elicits a reaction.

oh, oh, oh, sorry.

Jesus, this whole role-playing thing is so complicated no wonder I'm a miserable failure at it. Somebody should just give me my lines and my blocking. I need a director. Make-up!

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