Jian Ghomeshi: Scum of the Earth

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Jian Ghomeshi. The name makes me so angry.

You say to your colleague, “I want to hate-fuck you,” and then you claim you’ve been fired for Safe Sane Consensual?

You’re a professional communicator and somehow your partners keep walking into your home unaware that you’re going to whack their heads and choke them unconscious?

You dare to identify as one of the wonderful people who cheer up crying friends with spanks and cuddles? The same ones who rack their brains figuring out more and more ways to keep my kind safe?

Dan Savage said it for me:

Yes, but with feeling! Jian Ghomeshi. SCUM.

Yesterday my friend wanted to talk about how this faecal orifice stands under Canadian law. “I don’t want ANY reminder of that smug mug in my head,” I growled. But intellectual seduction works on me. He waved this law professor’s comments in front of me invitingly, and so did others, and eventually I pounced.

So I am thrilled to report that this gutter sludge is getting it on multiple counts:

1. Canadian law says consent has to be ongoing. You can change your mind any time. Like when his unfortunate dates were thinking, “Stop, no, I thought rough sex meant rough sex!”

2. Canadian law says there is no meaningful consent to bodily harm. The law professor made it sound like that means you can’t leave marks of any kind. Hmm. Well. If it gets this noisome filth what he deserves, hurray!

My friend wanted to know if the law worries me personally. Well, no, it doesn’t. And not just because I like life at the thin end of the whip. More because I’m an informed optimist. Where I live, public prosecutors apparently have a lot of latitude in deciding which cases to pursue, as well as a staggering backlog of work. They’d rather go after the real bad guys. I suspect this is a universal state of affairs.

But we don’t have to rely on the prosecutors’ good sense. The laws are not so bad either.

1. Ongoing consent essentially means that Mother Canada wants everyone to play with a safeword. I like that idea. Though I don’t even need to do it with a safeword. My doms have all stopped as soon as I said, “Huh, that feels weird.”

I have heard rumours of losers who respond, “Stop is not a safeword!” and laugh and keep going. If someone ever says it to me, that’s my cue to run. (Well, unless they’re playing to my emotional masochism, but even then they probably wouldn’t say it that way.) If you’re not a nice guy and you’re proud of it, you probably don’t try very hard to do the right thing. Next!

Edit: Please see comments below. Doesn’t change my squick, but it’s true that there’s a wide range of kinksters and scenarios.

2. Bodily harm. No marks. A lot of people aren’t going to like the sound of that. For me personally, it’s not a problem. My first dom and I went through maybe ten implements in ten years, and none of them left a mark on me. Since then, I have found out that I also enjoy acquiring bruises that take 2-3 weeks to fade. But honestly, for me there isn’t a big difference. Cake is better with frosting, but either way it’s cake.

Still, I do need to flinch and gasp before wonderful things start happening inside. And I know there are other people who need more. So yes, marks are an issue.

But seriously? I mean, hickeys? And how about martial arts practice? Bodily harm has to leave some room for interpretation, or else.

As it happens, black belts and black hankies pretty much agree on where to draw the line. Bruises: So what? You know they’ll heal. (And if you’re an exception, then you’re an exception.) But that innocent-looking rope making pretty patterns on your wrists? It’s entirely possible to do that wrong, and then you lose your grip and your ability to type – for one week, two weeks, six months, or years, maybe forever.

Now that is doing it wrong. That’s why I’m leery of suffocation and waterboarding and torches and sharp things. Air and water and fire and blood – that’s where you take your chances even when you are trying damn hard to do it right.

And yet people still do that stuff. In the dojo as well as the dungeon. Judo students practice choking until you black out. Jet Li once accidentally sliced his own head open in an wushu competition. They know the risks, and they know they can do it right.

Sometimes people try their best and get it wrong. You don’t want it to happen, but it does happen. So you get the hospital bills. You offer your contrition and support, if wanted.

And you make your walk of shame over to Rope Incident Reports, a BDSM institution which makes my heart burst with pride. We need more forums like that.

But if you got it very, very wrong and the maimed party knows you weren’t trying? If you think it’s a good idea to tell them to lighten up?

That’s when the victims of your fun want to report you. And that’s when I want the Royal Canadian Mounted Police riding through the dungeon.

Go get ’em, Mounties!

P.S. Yes, I think he’s guilty. He hasn’t even tried to deny flirting with concussions. And what kind of chamber pot defends himself by pointing out that he’s interviewed Barbra Streisand?

 

9 thoughts on “Jian Ghomeshi: Scum of the Earth”

  1. Just a quick note that for some people, “Stop! No! Don’t!” is the same as your “flinch and gasp” – which is why safewords that aren’t “stop” or “no” or “don’t” are needed by some people. But this is all part of negotiation – it’s on the top to make sure beforehand they know which is which for a partner.

    (Also, it’s often possible for non-verbal cues accompanying stop/no/don’t to make the difference between “I like being able to say this” and “I really mean it”)

    I think for any responsible top, “Huh, that feels weird.” is a world apart from no/stop/don’t, because most things aren’t supposed to – it sends a warning signal that doesn’t belong in a roleplay/scene. The exception is when someone is new to sensation-play and is experiencing things for the first time, in which case “what’s that feeling?” might be expected. Personally, when bottoming I actually need to be able to say “that feels weird” without stopping things (although slowing down would be wise), because I’m probably figuring out my emotional responses; for weird that needs a stop, I’d probably choose “wrong” or “not quite right”.

    As for Ghomeshi, I entirely agree with your PS. As I’ve seen it reported, there are classic techniques of abusers in his behaviour.

  2. When a dom and sub are new to each other, then things like “stop”, and “please no”, and so on, really are safe words. A submissive can always forget their “agreed” safe word in the heat of the moment.

    So if the submissive isn’t happy and needs to stop, then “stop”, or “red”, or “no!”, or anything on those lines, should work. If it was theatre and the sub’s really ok, then the scene can continue.

    If a submissive wants the fun of screaming and begging me to stop, secure in the knowledge that I won’t (unless she uses the real word), it’s best let me know that beforehand.

    That usually works out well, when starting. Later, a dom can be less formally careful, because he or she knows more about the sub’s limits and reactions.

    For punishment, when it’s a long-term relationship, my rhetoric is that there’s no safeword, and I decide when she’s had enough. That’s the rhetoric: the reality is that I watch her carefully to make sure she’s okay and handling it. Tears count as part of “okay”. Panic, or shutting down is not okay.

    The shutting down thing is complicated. If it’s quietly going floaty into subspace that’s fine; if it’s, “the world is terrible and I am not in my body; I’m not here at all”, that’s not fine.

    But it’s about knowing the other person and having experience together. You start slow and learn how that person reacts. You can still give a strong experience without heading into safeword territory.

    Which is why I didn’t believe Jian Ghomeshi’s story. Even if it wasn’t for the women who said that he started hitting and choking them without consent.

    But he’s claiming he’s doing bdsm with safewords and consent. And you don’t start a bdsm relationship with face-smacking and choking, unless you’ve done some serious discussion beforehand. Which it’s clear he hadn’t done.

    Face-smacking and choking are big on the internet, and I think that’s why he started there. Without discussion. I guess he imagined it’d be a nice surprise.

    I don’t think they’re especially big with submissive women. Some like that, but they come up as a hard limit with a lot of submissives I’ve met. “No cutting or blood, no scat, no hitting my face, no choking.”

    Personally I don’t do throat choking, not even if I’m asked for it. I just think it’s too damn dangerous. I might hold my palm over her mouth and pinch her nose, for a few seconds at a time, if I got hints that she wanted breath play.

    But seizing and squeezing the throat: I’ve been a nurse (psychiatric, but still a nurse), and I Will Not Do That.

    I will do face-slapping. It’s a good way of shocking a submissive and “dropping” her, but a dom has to be confident that the sub knows him/her well, and feels bedrock secure that the dom likes her a lot, and has never been angry with her or disliked her. Because it feels much closer to domestic violence, for a lot of women, than to sexy kinkiness.

    So it’s not the first bdsm thing you do, unless the submissive specifically said, “Nah, getting spanked or tied up or having to serve bores me: just punch my face and choke me, that’s all I want.”

    And I’ve never met a submissive who’s said that. I’m pretty sure Jian Ghomeshi hasn’t either.

    In fact, it doesn’t seem that he’s met any submissives, only women with whom he thought he could get away with stuff. Glad he was wrong.

    1. Hmm. I bow to your experience. But I’m starting to worry that I did it wrong if both you and Valery North felt the need to clarify this much. I think I’ll add a note under the safeword section.

  3. No, it’s just a complicated topic, and people appreciate the chance to think aloud about it.
    Also, and apologies, but I seem to have found myself writing a blog post rather than a quick, succinct reply. But I didn’t know that until I’d finished.

    1. Oh good. Then I’m glad I provided the opportunity! Nice of you to reassure me.

      And long responses are an honour. I just don’t feel like I have the experience to agree or disagree with your general observations. I do heartily endorse the first and last paragraphs though!

    2. I’m in agreement with everything Jaime said, and also this remark. Definitely didn’t “do it wrong”, it’s just that there are layers and layers and layers!

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