(If you're not a Bay Area resident, ask someone who is to explain the "Moooo!" joke.)
You know, there are some assumptions I make because I live in San Francisco. And one of those assumptions is that, when I pick up one of the local alternative free newspapers, I won't find grossly bigoted misinformation being spread about my consensual sexual orientation.
I was wrong.
San Francisco residents may already be aware of the "Whipped and Gagged" piece that ran this week in the SF Weekly -- a lurid and hysterical piece on the Kink.com porn production company, attempting to whip up outrage over the fact that Kink.com employees got technological training funds from the State of California... and equating consensual sadomasochism with torture. (Violet Blue does a thorough evisceration and debunking of the piece on SFAppeal.)
The hysteria about "your taxes are paying for porn!" is irritating enough. (Kink.com is a legally recognized corporation in San Francisco, and had every legal right to apply for and receive these training funds.) But it's nothing compared to the grotesque misinformation the piece spreads about SM. It repeatedly describes Kink.com's films as "torture- based pornography" and "videos depicting sexualized torture," and repeats the anti-porn canard that porn performers don't want or freely choose the work, and only go into it out of economic desperation. (In fact, Kink.com is renowned for seeking out performers who are lifestyle players and who give authentic, enthusiastic performances -- and for treating those performers well.)
I sent the following letter to the SF Weekly, both as a letter to the editor and as a direct email to the editor himself. I encourage all readers of this blog -- especially those who live in the Bay Area -- to send their own letters. They're not going to know that we're mad if we don't tell them.
I thought you should know that, as a direct result of Matt Smith's bigoted and willfully ignorant piece "Whipped and Gagged," I will no longer be picking up the SF Weekly, or looking at it online.
I would not read a paper that was luridly bigoted and hateful about gay people, and I have no interest in reading a paper that is so luridly bigoted and hateful about consensual sadomasochism. In equating consensual sadomasochism with torture, the piece fosters grotesque misinformation about sadomasochists. And Smith's response to criticism about the piece makes it clear that he is not only unapologetic about this, but is likely to continue doing it in the future.
To try to whip up hostility and fear of sadomasochists in a town as proud of its sexual diversity as San Francisco is not only unethical, but one of the most foolish business choices I can imagine. Unless a sincere and strongly worded apology is forthcoming, you have lost at least one regular reader -- and I suspect that this piece is losing you more. Thank you for your time.