Jian Ghomeshi: Kinky, or hinky?

jian-ghomeshi.jpg

“Hey, ladies. Want a piece of this? Better lawyer up, because I am gonna FUCK YOU UP.”

No, Jian Ghomeshi didn’t actually say that to anyone, as far as I know. But that, in effect, is what he said this week, when he announced that he was suing the CBC for $55 million, following a sudden dismissal after 14 seemingly very successful years. And when he posted a 1,586-word Facebook status (yes, I counted) claiming he was just a poor innocent kinkster, being let go by a bunch of sex-negative fuddy-duddies who were afraid of, in his words, a “jilted ex-girlfriend and a freelance writer” wreaking havoc on their family-friendly brand.

On the surface of things, it was a masterstroke in terms of PR and pre-emptive strikes. However much Ghomeshi paid that “reputation recovery” firm for their services, it would appear to have paid off handsomely. The women in question (four of them, initially) were more afraid than ever to go public with their stories, much less press criminal charges. If it were a simple matter of “he said, she said”, then what he said carried the day. Even though there was way more than one she. Even though he’s officially out of the CBC, Jian Ghomeshi is by no means out of power and control.

And of course, right away, his fans only amplified the big noise he made. Reactions ranged from purblind defences of male privilege and sexual-satisfaction-at-any-cost, to an unbelievable amount of very ironic slut-shaming aimed at the women (eight of them now) who have accused him of assault, harassment and stalking. There’s even a Change.org petition (which I will neither link to nor endorse here) to sign for his reinstatement, and it’s racked up thousands of signatures in just a couple of days. Remember the Fukushima tsunami? This was, easily, the media equivalent. The sheer magnitude of his chutzpah, the unheard-of damages he’s seeking in this far-from-litigious land, the avalanche of slut-shaming, victim-blaming and fan outcry combined — well, who wouldn’t be intimidated by all that? And who wouldn’t be cowed into silence and submission?

If one reads between the lines, however, a very different picture emerges. And it is one that bears talking about, and criticizing, rather nicely. It may even spell a turning of the very tide he has tried to steer in his own favor.

For starters, it seems highly unlikely that the CBC would turn their most profitable radio cash cow out to pasture over a little thing like a naughty-naughty kinkster image. Ghomeshi’s radio show, Q, is not only popular north of the 49th Parallel, but also syndicated to some 180 US public-radio stations. At a time of deepening government cutbacks, CBC is keen to keep the cash flowing from wherever they can get it. Letting him go, lawsuit or no, is already costing them money, and that’s not something they’d countenance unless they had a compelling reason to fire him in the first place.

And private matters like a consensual BDSM lifestyle don’t, generally speaking, count as such. Q is, after all, a pop-culture show by and for mature adults. It’s not aimed at small children. The discussions featured on it are not “family” fare. Not everything that CBC does is strictly family-oriented, nor do Canadians expect it to be. We’re a liberal country, and CBC is a liberal network. So the idea that an overt-but-consensual kinkster would be fatal for CBC’s wholesome “family” image simply doesn’t wash.

Also, it’s hardly the first time a CBC radio host has had a brush with sexual controversy. In 2006, Sook-Yin Lee (of Definitely Not the Opera) appeared in the indie film Shortbus (whose focus, significantly, is open sexual experimentation), not only fully nude but masturbating. To an actual, unsimulated orgasm, yet. And while it drew a lot of outrage from the usual pearl-clutchy places, she was not let go. DNTO is still alive and well. After all, Sook-Yin’s erotic movie role had no bearing on her CBC radio antics, which were already pretty irreverent. And, more to the point, she also didn’t go around hitting and choking people, grabbing people’s asses, forcing them to supply sex, and making lewd propositions to unwilling ears.

All of which Jian Ghomeshi stands accused of doing, in and out of CBC’s downtown Toronto broadcast centre. The accusations against him are not about sex, but about violence.

Granted, no charges have been filed…yet. And there is no police investigation…yet. Nobody has even filed civil suit against him…yet.

And yet, and yet.

I’ve perused an eye-glazing number of comments on various websites breaking news of the story. And while the commenters are anonymous, a startling number of them are saying the same basic things: Jian Ghomeshi is arrogant as hell; as he’s grown older (he’s 47), he’s hit on on progressively younger women, the most recent ones a good 20 years his junior; he routinely oversteps the boundaries of propriety too; and yes, physical violence is a prominent part of that. And no, it’s NOT consensual.

A damning pattern, to be sure. And one easily dismissed as just hearsay, not legally actionable, and so forth. But it constitutes a groundswell of sorts, and one that he’ll be absolutely unable to control if it continues to grow, as indeed it has.

But anonymous scuttlebutt commenters aren’t the only ones with the power to undermine his carefully-wrought PR campaign. Sex educators — and specifically, ones specializing in kink issues — are also calling him out. And they’re pointing out the flaws in his argument with the meticulous communicative skills that are vital to their practices. After all, in kink, you have to use your words, safe and otherwise. People can get hurt badly if you don’t. Accidental deaths due to kinky activities are rare, but they have been known to happen. And, all too predictably, the kink community has also seen a number of straight-up abusers hiding behind the kink shield, and thus endangering real kinksters, especially women, in ways that go far beyond just a battering of the community’s reputation. This sort of thing is just what they don’t want, or need, to raise their profile. So whenever a well-known and reputable kinkster says “hell no, Jian’s not one of us, what he’s doing isn’t safe, sane, OR consensual”, you can be sure I’ll chalk up one more point against him on my mental scoreboard. (And yes, I’m keeping one.)

If it ever comes down to a civil lawsuit, or a criminal prosecution in this case, kink educators and writers should be called as expert witnesses. They are undoubtedly the best ones qualified to poke holes in Jian Ghomeshi’s assertions that his troublesome behavior was just a “lite” version of Fifty Shades of Grey. (And for the record, that god-awful trilogy isn’t about BDSM, it’s about physical and mental abuse. Actual kinksters have said as much. Which makes that reference just one more creepy little red flag among many.)

Legal experts like Brenda Cossman, too, are weighing in on where “consensual kinky sex” ends and actual, sexualized violence begins. And what they’re saying points, again, not to sex but to violence. Because in Canadian law, the more extreme forms of BDSM are not treated the same as the lighter stuff. If it can cause serious injury or death, it doesn’t matter if you gave consent beforehand; you have to be able to withdraw it at any time. And this, too, is important; in matters of life and limb, there’s no such thing as no-holds-barred. Some holds are legally barred for safety’s sake. It’s one thing to be open-minded about sexual experimentation; quite another to let one’s brains fall out. And when it comes to the risk of severe brain damage (or psychological harm equivalent thereto), the law errs on the side of barring that hold.

Our law also errs on the side of refusals being non-negotiable safewords, incidentally. No means no; you cannot legally negotiate no, don’t, and stop into meaning “no, don’t stop!” Because there is always a chance that a sub may accidentally forget to say “pomegranate”, “brambleberry”, “palomino”, or whatever. No is a perfectly good safeword to fall back on when you can’t remember anything else.

And if the word NO isn’t respected in kink, where negotiation is key to all interaction and even a weak demurral should spell an immediate halt, then that sets a bad precedent for the non-kinky world as well. Rape culture, which Jian Ghomeshi earlier this year reprehensibly characterized as a mere “debate”, is already so pervasive everywhere. There is no “debate” about it; it is a constant, horrid fact of women’s lives. Do we really need to have a former pop singer turned radio host blurring those lines out of all recognition with a whiny, windy, possibly scripted but definitely douchey manifesto, full of “nutty and slutty” dog-whistles?

Yeah, NO. Because that’s not kinky. That’s hinky.

And that creepy screed, like the rape culture that spawned it, is just downright stinky.

UPDATES:

Looks like Jian is strangely silent now that the first of his named accusers has bravely come forward to tell on him. He issued a terse tweet, but no new manifestos about “jilted girlfriends”. Meanwhile, the big long whine on his Facebook page is losing support by the hour. Cheese with that, Jian?

Also, there is a petition to show love and support for all the women in question. Several leading Canadian musicians have added their names to it; please consider doing so as well. There’s also this one, to Change.org, asking them to take the other ones supporting Jian Ghomeshi down.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Russian Chatroulette

Ever have one of those nights where you’re bored out of your skull, so much so that you’ll take your chances on a random video chat with some strange person who is probably whacking off as you speak? Yeah, me neither. But I guess all these Russkies had just such a night, and got trolled by this dude. Who had his hands full…of everything but what you’d expect. (Stick around for the end, and you’ll see him get trolled right back!)

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Stupid Sex Tricks: Fellatio, Catholic style

francisco-javier-martinez

Ladies! Have you ever wondered how to go down on your man without sinning? Never fear, there is a way! The Archbishop of Granada is your new sex guru:

Francisco Javier Martínez, the archbishop of Granada, Spain, gives advice to Catholic women on how to avoid sinning when performing oral sex on their partners.

“Women may perform fellatio on their husbands whenever they ask. But when they do so, they must think of Jesus in order not to turn perverted. Remember that you are not a pervert,” he says.

The prelate has already generated controversy with his book, “Marry and Submit”, published last December in Europe.

Ladies, don’t stop reading!

Translation mine.

“Close your eyes and think of Jesus”? Kinky! I wonder which hot Jesus from the movies I should think of. Oh, decisions, decisions…

I also wonder if the archbishop gives men similar advice regarding the Virgin Mary. Hey, it IS a natural form of birth control!

Stupid Sex Tricks: How NOT to spice up your relationship

anna-karenina-train

From Gawker, we have this little item:

Authorities in the Ukranian city of Zaporizhia say the 41-year-old man and his thirtysomething girlfriend “failed to overcome their natural passion…and wanted to experience an extreme sensation near the railroad tracks.”

While in the throes of ill-advised passion, the couple also failed to notice the switcher locomotive barreling down upon them.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said the woman was killed instantly, but the man survived. He did, however, lose both his legs, and remains hospitalized in critical condition.

And the kicker? Dude’s facing criminal charges for improper use of a railroad. Some kinds of sex are just SO not worth it.

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Stupid Sex Tricks: Where to wank in public

swedish-flag

Yay, Sweden.

A court in Sweden has ruled that it is acceptable to masturbate in public as long as it is not directed at anyone.

The ruling came in a landmark judgement following a case brought against a man seen touching himself on a beach.

The 65-year-old man, who dropped his shorts close to the water at Drevviken beach, Stockholm, and started to masturbate, was initially charged with sexual assault.

But in a surprise ruling, the Södertörn District Court acquitted the man. While the judgement stated it ‘may be proven that the man exposed himself and masturbated on this occasion’, it subsequently added that no offence had been committed.

No word on whether that also counts if you’re high on crack and near a middle school when you whip it out. Or if it’s also okay to eat a gyro while riding a vibrator on the New York subway.

(Not so) Stupid Sex Tricks: Take that, Robin Thicke!

Stupid Sex Tricks: Things NOT to try at home, or anywhere

dont-try-this

First up, the Chinese Window Drop:

According to The Sun, a Chinese couple recently fell out of their apartment window to their deaths while making love.

The unstable window they were having sex against allegedly broke, causing them to plummet to the ground in central China. Witnesses say that as they fell from their apartment, they held each other tight.

Sadly, that one’s good for an instant Darwin Award built for two.

Then, the Australian Dessert Fork Dumbasseroo:

In the latest issue of the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, Doctors Krishanth Naidu, Amanda Chung and Maurice Mulcahy used the unfortunate experience of one Canberra man to illustrate the importance of training doctors to remove self-inserted foreign objects from people’s urinary tracts — and, in this case, they were asked to contend with a nearly 4-inch, 3-tined dessert fork.

The 70-year-old man arrived at the emergency room with visible blood in his urine, but no other apparent symptoms — that is, until he revealed to doctors that he’d fully inserted a 4-inch dessert fork in his urethra for “autoerotic stimulation.” The doctors wrote, “On examination, the fork was not visible, but palpable within the penile urethra.” The doctors were able to confirm the man’s story with an X-ray, and further examination confirmed that the man had inserted the fork without perforating his urethra.

Doctors used lidocaine gel and forceps to successfully remove the fork without cutting into the man’s penis while he was under general anaesthesia, and conducted a post-removal exam that identified only “mucosal abrasions” after it was removed. The patient was sent home after he woke up and urinated “well.”

Sometimes a fork is just a fork. And sometimes, you have to lock up your silverware.

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Stupid Sex Tricks: Colombian roulette

baby-roulette

Hey! Remember all the moral panic about jelly bracelets? Or “rainbow” parties? And remember how it was all kinda bogus? Well, looks like Colombia’s got a situation, and I’m sure hoping this one’s also bogus…because the outcome is no joke:

In Colombia there is a “game” that’s all the rage, which is also causing concern among adults, since the so-called “roulette” or “carrousel” is a “game” consisting of rounds in which the young men penetrate girls quickly, but whenever one of them ejaculates, he loses and drops out of the game.

The game is practically an orgy, and has parents and health authorities concerned, since pregnancies have begun to crop up among teenagers.

“It was a friend’s 15th birthday.* We were on a finca [large ranch estate] and we were drinking. When they put on music, we started dancing. We were about 10 people, and someone suggested we play “Carrousel” or “Roulette”, said one girl, 14 years old, who even at that young age is faced with the possibility of becoming a mother without knowing who is the father of her baby.

“The idea was to demonstrate who could hold out the longest, but I ever thought I could end up pregnant, because it didn’t take very long, it was just a game,” said the worried girl.

Luz Marina Peláez Vanegas, head of the Sexual Reproductive Health project of the Health Secretariat in Medellín, said that “we’ve been hearing of this kind of game for about a year, from pregnant girls. There are variations, but in essence these are group sexual relations, for the most part indiscriminate, and without the necessary protection. They happen principally at parties, fincas or places where there is no adult supervision.”

According to authorities in Medellín, 6,967 girls between the ages of 10 and 19 became pregnant last year; in 2011, it was 6,880 in the same age group.

The worrisome part is that 82.5% of these teenage pregnancies end in a clandestine abortion.

In Medellín, the percentage of pregnant girls with syphilis diagnosed and treated before the 17th week of pregnancy was 40.9 in 2012 and 42.3 in 2011. Also, during the past year, three cases of AIDS were diagnosed in pregnant girls.

Translation mine.

82.5% of these pregnancies will end in a clandestine (read: illegal and highly unsafe) abortion. And just a little under half of all girls who become pregnant also have an STD? Yikes. Definitely do NOT try this at home, kiddies.

Or anywhere else, for that matter.

*15th birthday parties, or quinceañeras, are the Latin American equivalent of the North American “Sweet Sixteen”, and are considered a “rite of passage” birthday. Those who can afford to celebrate in style, tend to go all out…or go nuts.

Stupid Sex Tricks: How NOT to advertise anything

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Stupid Sex Tricks: Oh no no!

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