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.
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.