Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kaelah's Corner (Feb 2010):
In The Mood


When I first heard about the Mood Pictures / Elite Pain (Mood/EP) raid, I didn’t think anything of it. Actually, I already saw the storyline for Mood’s next film after the whole affair would have been cleared up, maybe titled "Extreme Porn". The story would have been like this: Two beautiful, young but starving girls answer to a newspaper advertisement, promising them good money for an erotic photo and video shoot. They end up in the arms of a vile film crew (consisting of three equally beautiful and young girls) who abuse poor girls for the production of extremely hard spanking movies. Once in the studio the two girls are immediately tied down and thrashed with a strap and a cane. But help is already on the way in form of a SWAT team (a man and two young dommes in oversized uniforms) storming the building and taking the sinister film crew down. They decide to give the film crew a taste of their own medicine. And so the movie ends with three more severe beatings and justice is served once again…

But then it became more and more clear that this obviously wasn’t just a little intermezzo. It rather seems to be the end of the company. I haven’t taken part in the discussions that followed the news about the raid, yet. However, I wrote down my thoughts three weeks ago. At first I planned to post them as a comment on Ludwig’s
Mood Pictures Raided By Police post. But I had so many things on my mind that the final text was much too long for publishing it as a comment. I finally decided to post it as the next edition of Kaelah’s Corner, although the discussion has almost ended by now. But it’s a very personal piece of writing and posting it is important for me. So, here it goes:

I’ve been reluctant to take part in the discussion about the Mood/EP raid, not because it doesn’t move me, but because I have so many thoughts on my mind and I’m deeply emotionally involved in the whole affair. So, my comment will be very personal and not only analytical and impartial. Since my position is neither 100 per cent pro Mood/EP nor against them, I’m afraid that people on both sides might misinterpret my statements. But the topic dominates my thoughts so much that it keeps me from doing other things which are more important from an objective point of view. So, I finally decided to write down my ideas on the topic and to sort out my mind. I’ll try to separate personal thoughts about Mood/EP’s products (which to my mind might influence my point of view in the discussion and therefore should be mentioned, but can’t be a base for judging the current case) from the moral/ethical and legal issues (which are the really important points of the discussion).



My personal relationship and thoughts about Mood/EP:


I have to admit that this company was one of the reasons I’ve shed lots of tears during the last year. I don’t know how often I cried about Mood/EP related issues, but I’m very sure that I’ve shed x-times as many tears as all the girls together in one of their films. The reason for that is quite simple: While Ludwig is a (albeit critical) fan of especially Mood’s work, their newer movies are far beyond my personal limits concerning the severity of the beatings and the marks. So, when I watched the trailers of
Inmates part one and two, the movie in which Ludwig worked as a top for Mood Pictures, it made me cry heavily. The same happened more than once, when I read one of Ludwig’s reviews highly praising a certain scene and then looked at the pictures going along with it. My gut feel told me that this looked too extreme, but since I hadn’t done such a severe scene myself, I knew that I wasn’t in a position to judge the movies.

And a lot of facts didn’t support my bad feeling, for example the medical aftercare and Ludwig’s first hand experiences of the girls making jokes after the spankings were over. I desperately wanted to understand (and preferably even share) Ludwig’s enthusiasm, but instead I just felt very sad when I read something about the films or saw some pictures. I couldn’t even watch Inmates, because I knew I would end up crying and choking. Even worse, I also felt threatened by the movies. While Ludwig has been critical about certain aspects about Mood/EP, some of their (especially older) movies contain some of his favourite spanking scenes on film. In his reviews he often complimented the girls for their beauty and erotic reactions. So, from my point of view, those girls gave my boyfriend an erotic stimulation I wasn’t able to give him. It made me feel inferior to those girls and caused a lot more tears, although Ludwig always told me that our sexual experiences were completely different from and much more important than watching a movie and that whether or not I would one day do such a hard scene wasn’t important for our relationship as mates.


Still, all those different thoughts and emotions remained there. So, I finally decided that there was only one way out of the dilemma: Doing a Mood-style fifty strokes caning myself. Only that way would I be able to judge the movies based on personal experiences instead of a vague gut feel, maybe reduce the problems I had with the movies and at the same time give Ludwig a very special present and hopefully feel equal to the models afterwards. I did the scene December last year and wrote about it in the
January edition of Kaelah’s Corner. My first hope did come true, I now feel much more capable of judging the severity of the movies.

Unfortunately, aim number two and three weren’t achieved. First of all, my reactions weren’t as sexy as the reactions of some of the girls starring in the movie scenes Ludwig likes best. The whole scene from his point of view was as sexy as those scenes. But still, my reactions were (partially) not as sexy as those of some models. Well, given the fact that Mood/EP have made hundreds of scenes and I had just one shot this isn’t much of a surprise, is it? But still, the feeling of the movies remaining threatening didn’t fade. The thought of Ludwig telling me about a new scene in one of the movies that blew him away or guest-starring in another Mood film scared me to death. And the problems I had with the bad gut feel about the films? Well, after having done my own severe scene I watched both parts of Inmates. And I didn’t cry once during the whole movie! Unfortunately, I cried like mad afterwards… The only difference is now, that I can clearly distinguish the parts that have to do with my personal taste from those parts that have to do with moral issues I have with their practises. So, time to change to that more objective (and concerning the current issue only important) part of the discussion.



My appraisal of different moral/judicial aspects concerning Mood/EP:


Employing vanilla models:


To my mind, this is neither a legal nor a moral issue. We are talking about the production of a spanking porn movie, aren’t we? In my opinion this is nothing but a business. The girls are hired by the producer for a job that’s specified in a contract signed by both parties. Having fun isn’t part of a business contract, as far as I know. It sure isn’t in the contract I have with my employer… Of course I can understand that many people find spanking movies with kinky models much more interesting. And it would also be easier for me to have a good feeling about the films if I could tell myself that the girls were enjoying it because they were kinky. But I don’t see any moral issues against hiring vanillas. And, by the way, not every kinky girl would enjoy such a hard scene, either. I certainly didn’t enjoy that fifty strokes caning! I even was afraid that in case it turned out to be a very negative experience it might influence my whole kink and my sexual life negatively. Luckily, it didn’t turn out to be that bad, but it could have happened…


Financial situation of the models:


This is a point Ludwig is very concerned of. He even asked Pedro about the reasons why the girls worked for Mood/EP and whether they desperately needed the money, before he decided to work for them as a top. Pedro told him that most of the girls didn’t need the money to earn their basic living, they used it as some extra money. I have to admit that I wouldn’t even have objections against hiring girls who haven’t a huge financial background as long as they don’t do it out of the combination of a) starving and b) having no alternative job they could do in order to earn their basic living. As long as the girls have a real choice whether they want to do a job like that or not I don’t have any moral objections against hiring them.


Informed consent:


This is one of the most important aspects in my view. To me informed consent requires two things: The girls have to be told and / or shown precisely what they sign up for and they must have the chance to quit any time they want. I think the first point is widely agreed upon, but the second point has been discussed from different points of view. The question was: Is it okay when the girls sign a contract explicitly excluding the use of a safeword or, in other words, can they consent to a certain number of strokes in advance without being given the chance to stop the whole thing during the spanking. I’m of the opinion that, talking about a job for a company, the answer must be no!

Again, we are not talking about a private BDSM-session, in which a bottom wants to make a special experience by playing without a safeword. We are talking about the production of commercial spanking porn. In this context the only reason for not using a safeword would be to protect the producer from not being able to use a scene because the girl decided to quit. And to my mind, the safety and the freedom of choice of the employee in this case is more important than the business interests of the company. I’m of the opinion that a company has to take more care for the safety of their employees than people might do in a similar private situation. This also applies to all the different businesses in the world. For example: When I decide to clean my windows using an old rickety latter that’s my free choice. But a window cleaning company using the same method could be sued for not providing their employees with safe equipment.


But, how have the practises of Mood/EP really been? When Ludwig worked for them, he was told that they didn’t have any safewords. Instead, they had a nurse looking after the girls’ condition and stopping a scene if necessary. From my point of view, this is morally objectionable, because the nurse can’t really see the mental state of a girl she doesn’t know and therefore the girls must have a chance to stop the scene.

In practice, of course, the girls did have the chance to stop a scene, as Ludwig experienced. They just had to talk to the producer out of character and the scene was interrupted. That happened several times during Ludwig’s shoot. No moral objections, then? I don’t think so. After having done a Mood-style caning myself I can tell you that for me it was
a very extreme situation, both physically and mentally. Short message to all the guys out there rambling about Mood/EP not being extreme because there are even more extreme films out there: Please, go to the dominatrix next door and try it yourself before shouting your mouth off! The same applies of course to all those who condemn Mood/EP without having a clue what they are talking about.

I am kinky and I had been spanked before (I even had tasted a few
equally hard strokes before), but 50 very hard strokes is something completely different. I wasn’t able to predict my reactions and mindset, and I guess that the reactions and mindset can also differ very much at different times. The situation was so demanding that I wasn’t able to communicate my physical and mental status in a differentiated manner, like I can under normal circumstances. That’s why I am of the opinion that there must be a very clear and very easy to remember safeword to protect the models.

Maybe 99 per cent of them won’t need it because they are very well capable of calling the name of the director when they need a break. But, again, I have moral objections against low safety standards, especially in an environment where the models make themselves that vulnerable. There even was one situation during Ludwig’s shoot which proves my point of view: Tammy, the second girl he was caning, asked for a break several times by starting a discussion with the director. A few strokes before the caning was over she shouted “Stop!" again. This time she didn’t directly start a discussion out of character, though. She remained silent afterwards. It wasn't clear that she really wanted to interrupt the scene. So, the assistant director gave Ludwig a sign to continue, and he gave Tammy the last couple of strokes.

We discussed that topic a long time ago and I told Ludwig that to my mind it wasn’t okay to continue in that unclear situation. He agreed and also wrote about the change in his point of view in several comments already. Obviously, the girl was alright afterwards. She did a second movie with Mood a short time later. But still, I have moral objections against company practises that lead to such borderline situations.


The current accusations are very different from Ludwig’s experiences. The woman says that she hadn’t been informed accurately of what was laying ahead of her and that a safeword which both sides explicitly agreed upon was ignored. I don’t know the Hungarian laws, but I’m quite sure that if those accusations are true, it isn’t only a moral but also definitely a legal issue. The thing is, however, that although I’m very critical about Mood/EP, it doesn’t seem to be very realistic. As I’ve written above there have been borderline situations which I already find morally objectionable, but there has been a chance to get a break or to quit (one of the girls at Ludwig’s shoot quit after only a few strokes). Well, according to
Pedro’s mail the scene as well as an interview that was made beforehand are on tape, so it should be quite easy to reveal the truth!

Safety:


I already mentioned the models’ safety in the context of safewords. There are more aspects belonging into that category: Cleanliness, medical care and the risk of permanent harm. From Ludwig’s report about his shoot it seems that concerning the first two points Mood has been exemplary. Canes weren’t allowed to lie on the floor because that would have increased the risks of one of the models getting an infection. And there was the nurse who looked after the girls and applied medical aftercare when a scene was over.

But concerning the risk of permanent bodily harm I have objections against Mood’s practises. First of all, the insecurity and inaccuracy of some of their tops caused a higher risk of strokes hitting delicate spots like the kidneys. That was also one of Ludwig’s strongest critical arguments concerning Mood’s practises. And they did severe whippings on the lower back and things like that, which to my mind caused unacceptable risks for the models. These safety issues in combination with the safeword discussion are the reasons why I have been of the opinion that Mood/EP shouldn’t be allowed to continue to produce movies the way they did.


In the current accusations these safety issues don’t seem to be mentioned. We’ll have to see how far these things are used in the trial in favour or against Mood/EP. It seems that the presence of a nurse has already been mentioned negatively: "They were so brutal, they even needed a nurse." I definitely have a completely different view on that point, for me it is one of the things that speak for Mood/EP.


Legal situation in Hungary:


I have to admit that I don’t know the legal situation concerning the porn production in Hungary. Is producing severe spanking porn legal in Hungary? I think the trial will give us an answer to that question. I don’t want to speculate on that point without the knowledge that would be necessary for that discussion.



My personal conclusions:


Given my personal taste and thoughts about Mood/EP and the moral issues I have with their work, I should be one of the happiest persons in the world now that they seem to be history. However, I am not! I would have been very glad if someone had checked their practises and given them additional requirements in order to increase the models’ safety and reduce the risk of one of the girls suffering harm. Furthermore, I had hoped that they would have reduced the severity of their movies at least a bit in the future (to the severity level they had
a few years ago). My biggest aesthetic issue was that the beatings had become constantly more severe (leading to heavier, bloodier and longer lasting marks) without rewarding the higher suffering of the girls by putting more effort into producing a high quality product concerning the shoot of the action scenes and the surrounding story. But, as I already said, that is just personal taste. Due to the moral and especially safety aspects discussed above I didn’t approve of Mood’s current practises and was of the opinion that they shouldn’t be allowed to go on like that. But had I been sure that the models’ safety was intensely taken care of, then I would have preferred Mood/EP to exist as long as they would have liked to.

The main reason I’m not happy now is that it seems to me that this isn’t about objectively inspecting Mood/EP’s practises as producers of spanking porn, like did they do enough for the safety of their employees, did they give them the free choice to quit whenever they wanted and so on. The accusations, the TV-team accompanying the SWAT team, the contradictory records, Pedro’s mails – it all doesn’t really fit. If the accusations are true then to my mind it is completely okay that Mood/EP are history. But somehow I’ve got the feeling that Mood/EP have already been found guilty even before the evidence is secured and checked. So, I’m sitting here with a very bad gut feeling and some personal and some moral issues, this time against how the case "Mood/EP" is dealt with…

26 comments:

urs0us said...

Kaelah, I'm totally with you on the safeword issue. In a professional film producing setting here should always be an easy to remember safeword which of course is easy to be recognized as out character (and therefore play).

I never suffered anything near like a beating of this severity. But I know where my head sometimes goes receiving much less severe spankings. It must be as easy as possible for the bottoms to stop a scene like that. I agree, such borderline situations as you described doesn't fit to a serious porn producer, at least not for me.

I purchased and watched some of the Mood movies myself. It has been a while though. I never really enjoyed them, because for my sense the scenes are too extreme. I have no moral problems though, if they were produced after informed consent, with adult actors and when not causing any permanent injuries. I simply didn't buy them anymore...

frants said...

Thank you Kaelah, for this interesting discussion. It is very informative and interesting for me to hear the observations and thoughts of a delicate young woman who has dared going places I havent been to - such as submitting to a very hard caning.
- I also quite agree with your thoughts about the Mood safety issues, the (for me) unnecessary brutality in esp pussy whippings - and the raid.
We have not seen the last chapter of this drama yet.

Graham said...

Kaelah, I thanks for your thoughts — much of what you wrote resonates with me, though I don't have any kind of personal relationship with Mood Pictures (other than reading about them on this blog).

But I appreciate your attention to the safeword issue. I remember reading Ludwig's behind-the-scenes account, and this part leaping out at me:

"In the early days, the models could use a safeword to call for an interruption: "nagyon fáj", "it hurts so much". But Pedro felt that "they used the safeword too often." So nowadays, Mood just try to record the beatings in one go and without coded signals. The scene is interrupted only if a girl screams something obviously out of character (“Stop the camera!”), or if Mood themselves decide that she needs a break."

It unsettled me that the response to models safewording "too much" was not to adjust the level of severity (to say nothing of accuracy) but to remove the safeword. I was glad to read that models still had the power to stop the scene, but... still. If the models can stop the scenes w/out a safeword, are they really likely to break character less — or is it just easier to 'misread' their signals? Which I'm not accusing Mood producers of doing, but it seems a little reckless — not only because it provides less protection to the models, but because it makes Mood vulnerable to suspicion as well. It's not so much a matter of Evil and Exploitation as it is of simple professionalism.

@ frants: Kaelah, 'delicate'? Are we reading the same blog?!

Rob of NYC said...

While I find the severity of what Mood produces way beyond any video I would be interested in (I'm more Punished Brats fun variety) I would normally support their right to produce/distribute.

When the rights of the "models" for this videos to safe has even the slightest question, then my support for them diminishes dramatically.

Are they "preying" on the poorest of the poor and leaving no option. I have no idea and no proof. But I prefer to err on the side of caution. I wouldn't go out of my way, to support, if I suspected safe words were ignored. In this case it seems undecided. I will never buy this, but if it conforms to laws and decency (allowing an out if needed), I would not oppose it either.

frants said...

Safeword: Pedro you motherfucker, you stop that fuckin camera now, I need a break, this hurts too much. Cut. Cut.
Simple as that. Be realistic.

Rob of NYC said...

They should just say stop the camera. After enduring, what to me, is unimaginable pain, rational thought may no longer be possible. A simple word that they can utter should be adequate. Even then, they may not be capable of "remembering" their word. If this is their first, their should be a way of confirming that they are capable of consensually continuing.

Ludwig said...

@ Rob of NYC: When in doubt, the safeword that is the most obvious and the easiest to remember is simply: "Safeword!" Whatever that means in Hungarian.

At the Mood Pictures shoot I took part in a year ago, they didn't use any coded safewords. At the recent Elite Pain shoot that caused the current affair, they apparently had one, if the newspaper article is correct: "Stop it, I beg you, my lord!" I'm not sure that this is true, though - there are many question marks over the reporting in the mainstream press.

In any case, I think we can all agree that having a short, easy to remember, and clearly out of character safeword is the best option. If Mood / EP had used one, not only would it have been more considerate towards the models (especially the new models), it might also have saved themselves from malicious accusations.

Also, when a model is doing a very severe CP video for the first time, it is probably a good idea to not tie her up. You can still film scenes with fetters in a later movie, if she comes back. And again, not doing it the first time is simply a way to be on the safe side (if Pedro's version of events is correct, the model who made the accusations was tied up during the beginning of her scene, but not during the later segments).

However, while I agree with Kaelah (and others) that Mood's practice of not using a proper safeword was borderline at best, I think we should not over-dramatise these canings and whippings, either - frankly, the talk about "unimaginable pain" and how "rational thought may no longer be possible" strikes me as hysterical. Yes, we are talking about some very severe CP action here. But the girls are not butchered alive!

Commenters on both sides of the debate would be well-advised to follow Kaelah's recommendation: if you have never experienced a severe, Mood Pictures-style thrashing yourself, go to the dominatrix next door and try it before you speculate about how horrible / easy / extreme / not extreme it is.

urs0us said...

@Ludwig: I won't speculate how such a caning feels. However, I know how a 60 stroke caning feels. It was not as near as hard as aMood/EP style canings though, but it hurt anyway.

Thank you Ludwig, but I've to reject your dominatrix advise. If I really wanted to experience such a beating, the good thing living in New York is, I probably could find someone doing it for free ;) But I have no intentions so far.

Indy said...

Kaelah, thanks for another bravely personal and well thought out post. Even though I've not taken a 50 stroke severe caning and have no intention of doing so, we see pretty much eye to eye about Mood, including our concerns about the very real anti-kink backlash they are facing that tends to obscure facts at the expense of hot air.

@Ludwig. I have to disagree with your implication that one can't have an informed opinion about this issue without having experienced a beating of that intensity. As always in cases like this, experience is important and we should listen especially to those with direct experience with an open mind. But anyone with imagination and empathy can have a reasonable opinion.

I find the macho oh-that's-not-a-severe-beating posturing I've occasionally seen in this debate to be quite offensive, whether or not the person has actually played in that way. I also find the anyone-who-even-enjoys-these-films-is-evil attitude to be quite offensive independent of experience level.

Redhead said...

I concur with everything you say about the legal environment, and in my post on Abel and Haron’s blog, I detailed the Stunt Performer’s Agreements with which I’m familiar: the actor acknowledges that she or he is fully aware of the risks involved in performing the stunts carefully and precisely specified in the Shooting Script – indispensible documents in my industry. I hope time will tell if Mood/EP exercised sufficient professional care to satisfy the corresponding local regulations.

In the public arena, this is the legal level of informed consent which protects both parties. For filmed scene activities I think an additional ethical layer, which goes beyond the purely legal requirements is just as, if not more important: Has the recipient clearly demonstrated that she or he understands the physical and emotional consequences of what she or he is consenting to, that the scene can be stopped at any time (simple safeword) and that the recipient’s well-being is of the utmost importance to the producers? It is the hints vide supra that this ethical layer may have been compromised that concerns me the most. On Adele’s blog I mentioned that it’s likely only the person who is being being beaten who can always signal if she or he is experiencing unexpected or unusual physical symptoms. You mentioned your hyperventilation under duress but were able to process it.

Thank you for also making it so clear that our play conduct in private has little application in a purely business-driven environment. Far removed from a stunt actor’s contract is the intense play I enjoy, and I think you two do too – it’s a shared experience, better, an experience where both parties first negotiate, then agree and then interchange gifts of trust fluidly and willingly. If I don’t see, that I feel very uncomfortable.

In private play, we’re experienced players, we’ve gotten to know each other over months or years, understand limits and the subtleties of body language, tone of voice etc. We cannot rely on these on a film set and certainly not with someone as inexperienced as some of these actors reportedly were, whose physical and mental fitness is not clear let alone their understanding of the effects of their levels of endorphin during a scene or noradrenalin after. That’s where I have my greatest concern, not so much the superficial wounds (hopefully confined to well muscled areas – I seen worse on sports fields or in horse racing), but the lasting psychological damage that might ensue. Not considering this is, in my opinion, ethically unsound.

R

Lord Fafner said...

Thank you very much for your thoughts, Kaelah. I wouldn't like to do an "ethical", or "moral" analysis; an "ethical" view may be emotive, or heartmoving...that's very private. From this prisma, I just say I miss Mood Pictures. (Just 40 days from the raid, a desert exile ;)) They filled a space which will be very difficult to full again, I think. We can talk and talk about the safeword, and severity, and care, and feelings...it's OK, but I rather front the question under a "Mycroft Holmes point of view", so to speak. Facts? Quid prodest?
We shouldn't forget that everybody is innocent until his guilt is proved beyond any doubt. And the fact is that there are no proved facts , beyond MP web is down, a SWAT raid and three accused people. Meanwhile, MP is no more.

SFMBE, again
Congratulations for your posts and greetings from Spain.

Ludwig said...

@ Indy: "I have to disagree with your implication that one can't have an informed opinion about this issue without having experienced a beating of that intensity. As always in cases like this, experience is important and we should listen especially to those with direct experience with an open mind. But anyone with imagination and empathy can have a reasonable opinion."

I did not mean to imply that people who have not experienced a Mood Pictures-style thrashing can not have an informed opinion about "the issue", or rather the issues (plural) we are talking about here. Voiced in such a general way, that would indeed be a nonsensical claim.

However, there was speculation by Rob of NYC about the specific subject of how much such a thrashing hurts, and how someone might react: "unimaginable pain", "rational thought may no longer be possible", "[the models] may not be capable of 'remembering' their word"... That struck me as over-dramatic and over the top, and I say this based on my own personal experienced both of taking a caning of this severity and of giving it to others. So, on this specific subject, I don't consider his opinion informed or reasonable.

There are the macho "Mood isn't so severe!" types out there who under-estimate how much such a thrashing hurts, and then there are those who seem to over-estimate it. Either way, it doesn't advance the debate.

@ Redhead: "Far removed from a stunt actor’s contract is the intense play I enjoy, and I think you two do too – it’s a shared experience, better, an experience where both parties first negotiate, then agree and then interchange gifts of trust fluidly and willingly."

I wouldn't say that private play is "better" than shooting CP videos. It is just very different. Play with a loved one like Kaelah is certainly better than thrashing a vanilla girl, yes! But the difference is in the people, not in the environment.

"That’s where I have my greatest concern, not so much the superficial wounds (hopefully confined to well muscled areas – I seen worse on sports fields or in horse racing), but the lasting psychological damage that might ensue. Not considering this is, in my opinion, ethically unsound."

I very much agree that a video producer has to consider these issues in order to be ethically sound. First and foremost, he has to be entirely open and honest with prospective models about what is about to happen, about the severity of the video, the marks, possible dangers, et cetera, so that the model can make a truly informed decision.

At the end of the day, though, it is the model who makes the decision to take part (or not). If it was the wrong decision, and if the producer was open with her, then she only has herself to blame for any bad experience that might ensue, not the producer. People are responsible for their own health, physical and psychological. If a model has doubts that she can go through a video shoot without suffering psychological damage, she shouldn't do it.

The point is, I believe that the responsibility falls on both parties, not just on the producer. The models are, after all, adults as well, and hopefully responsible people.

Redhead said...

@Ludwig. To avoid any misunderstanding, you’ve created your own red herring by taking my use of ‘better’ adjectivally, i.e. to imply superiority, when in fact I used it adverbially. In “…it’s a shared experience, better, an experience where both parties first negotiate,betc.” I’m actually clarifying or improving my own statement immediately before the adverb with the phrases which follow it. Auf Deutsch wird’s ihnen sicherlich klar: „besser gesagt…“

To your final point, contractually I agree both parties probably bear equal responsibility. Ethically, if the actor patently cannot evidence previous relevant experience to make her/his consent truly informed beyond all reasonable doubt, the producer and director will most likely have a struggle on their hands to demonstrate that they are not being morally deceitful to engage that actor’s services. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if that point is tested at law, but am most uncomfortable with any performance where that ethical care has not been exercised.

R

Ludwig said...

@ Redhead: "To avoid any misunderstanding, you’ve created your own red herring by taking my use of ‘better’ adjectivally, i.e. to imply superiority, when in fact I used it adverbially."

Yep, my mistake. That's what I get for only hastily reading your well-constructed prose one single time before commenting!

"Ethically, if the actor patently cannot evidence previous relevant experience to make her/his consent truly informed beyond all reasonable doubt, the producer and director will most likely have a struggle on their hands to demonstrate that they are not being morally deceitful to engage that actor’s services."

I've been thinking about this (or rather, about a related point) myself.

Of course, a producer talking to a prospective model will face conflicting impulses. One is the artistic and / or commercial impulse to make a video, which will make him want to encourage the model. The other is his ethical impulse, which will make him want to discourage the model if he has any doubts that taking part in the video would be good for her.

So, a valid question is, what about a producer who simply doesn't have any ethical scruples? And even in someone who is very ethically sound and circumspect in the beginning, isn't the commercial drive going to win out in the end, once he has been making videos for a few years and has a proper business to run? Isn't it inevitable that you get sloppy in the ethical department over the years?

This is a point of concern, but then again, I am not sure that things are as clear-cut as they might initially appear. After all, a producer has not only an ethical interest to be honest with his models. He also has a very practical, business-driven self-interest: if you treat your models badly, word-of-mouth will spread, and the number of models who want to work with you is going to diminish dramatically. Not to mention that you might get in trouble with the authorities.

So, besides idealism, a spanking video producer also has his own self-interest to encourage him to treat people decently.

Kaelah said...

The debate about severity, the experience that is necessary in order to have an informed opinion, the responsibilities of both, producers and models, concerning the safety issue and business goals vs. ethical behaviour have raised many thoughts on my behalf. I’m not answering to all the comments one by one, so I decided to write the names of those I’m referring to in bold letters.

Rob of NY, I’m not sure whether you meant that the pain is unimaginably bad or that due to a lack of personal experience you can’t imagine how bad the pain is (and therefore prefer to be on the safe side concerning the safeword issue in case a model can’t deal). No matter how you exactly meant it, I might be able to reassure you a bit from my personal experience that it might not be as bad as you imagine it to be. In my post I wrote about how demanding my hard caning was, both physically and mentally. I think that my mindset played a role in that case that was at least as important as the severity of the strokes. And actually, the hyperventilating and the physical reactions going along with it were the most negative and frightening part, not the pain produced by the strokes of the cane. What I haven’t written about, yet, are the following facts: While the caning hurt a lot there wasn’t much pain left as soon as it was over. And although I was struggling with all the different thoughts I had on my mind during the caning, I definitely would have been able to stop the scene. I even started directing Ludwig on how to take the pictures of the marks etc. as soon as the caning was over. The picture of the marks I posted with the “Klingons Do Not Faint” post was taken just a few minutes after the scene. As you can see, I don’t look shocked or disturbed on that photo. On the same day, about three or four hours after the caning, I went to a Tai Chi course wielding sabre and sword. I was able to practise as always and no one noticed anything about the thrashing I had just received. And on the picture going along with the “’Til The Bitter End” post you can see that I was able to sit quite comfortably the next day. Two weeks later most of the marks where gone… In conclusion, as Ludwig said, there is no need to over-dramatise the whippings, but I also think that one shouldn’t underestimate them, either.

(to be continued)

Kaelah said...

(continued)

And I agree with you, Indy, that one doesn’t need to have experienced a beating of that severity to be able to share an informed opinion. Even having experienced it one can have quite different opinions on how bad it is, depending on how the personal experience was like. For example, I think that Ludwig didn’t experience his 100 strokes severe caning as being as extreme as I experienced my 50 strokes caning. To my mind the main reason for that is that his mindset was much more positive than mine. It would be very offensive if one of us claimed: “A severe caning is absolutely not extreme at all / totally extreme (for everyone and at every time) because that’s how I experienced it.” But, first of all, we both know that different people (or even the same person at different times) might experience a severe caning very differently. I think one doesn’t need to have received a severe caning in order to understand that. It’s just a matter of being able to look at things from different perspectives. What to my mind (often?) does change with the experience is that it reduces the danger of either completely over- or underestimating what taking a severe thrashing means. Even though he went through his caning very well, I’m sure that Ludwig experienced that one shouldn’t underestimate the effects it has, either. And even though I experienced the caning as being very demanding, I realised that it wasn’t as extreme as I imagined it to be. That’s why I think that someone who has experienced a severe scene is less likely to have those offending extreme attitudes you’ve described. And that fits to my observation that most of the commenters having such an attitude usually haven’t played that hard and/or dealt with the subject thoroughly in other ways. That’s why I gave those people the advice to try it themselves before shouting their mouths off. I don’t think that someone like you needs the experience in order to have a sophisticated point of view on the topic.

The same applies to you, Ursus, so there’s no need to visit the dominatrix next door or someone who thrashes you for free… ;-) By the way, of course talking about going to the dominatrix next door was just tongue-in-cheek! Of course one should only do such a hard scene with an experienced and accurate top whom one trusts.

Talking about accuracy: Lord Fafner, I can understand very well that, being one of their fans, you must be very sad to have lost Mood/EP. And I agree with you that one is innocent until proven guilty. But the safety issues I described which are the reasons why I didn’t approve of Mood/EP’s practises aren’t based on the current accusations and speculations. The inaccuracy of some of their tops as well as strokes being administered to the lower back are undoubtedly shown in some of Mood/EP’s films. And the borderline situation concerning the safeword issue I referred to happened during Ludwig’s shoot with them one year ago and was reported by him. So I think it is okay to discuss these things independent of the results of the current investigation.

(to be continued)

Kaelah said...

(continued)

And to my mind this is an important discussion because for me this isn’t only about Mood/EP! It’s about the responsibility of every producer of spanking porn. Ludwig, of course you are right when you say that the models are adults and responsible for their decisions. I’m of the opinion that taking a severe caning always contains a certain risk, even if all safety procedures are exemplary. Making the decision on whether to take these risks or not and taking responsibility for the consequences of that decision, that to my mind is the responsibility of every model and every spanko who wants to make that experience. Remember how we talked about the possible negative outcome should I try such a hard scene – despite of all the safety procedures we had? When I made the decision to try it, it was absolutely clear that I had only myself to blame, should I make a negative experience (and I agree with Redhead, I also see the biggest risk in psychological damage being caused). Others, like Indy and Ursus, decided that they don’t have any intention to try it, no matter how safe the environment would be. That’s the kind of responsibility I expect from every model, too! But I’m of the opinion that establishing a safe environment and emergency procedures is part of the responsibility of the producer as the employer! Demanding safety procedures from the producers to my mind hasn’t got anything to do with not taking the models seriously or treating them like children (or weak women who need someone to look after them). For me, having a safeword isn’t different from any safety routine other companies have. And it’s something I expect from every producer of spanking porn, no matter how “soft” or “severe” the scenes are! And I don’t think that all the other film producers are more careful concerning the safety issues than Mood/EP were. That’s why the current discussion is that important from my point of view. Of course one could argue that the chance of a model needing a safeword is lower when a model is experienced and a scene is less severe. I agree, for example having a fire emergency plan is also much more important for a company dealing with dangerous chemicals than for a company just having offices in a “normal” office building. But there have been fires in office buildings, too, and they are always dangerous. That’s why every company develops and communicates fire emergency procedures, for the “unlikely event of an emergency”. On a bad day, a model might even need a break during a less severe scene. As Ursus put it: “[…]I know where my head sometimes goes receiving much less severe spankings.” In 99.9 per cent of the lighter scenes the models might not need or use a safeword, but to my mind that doesn’t speak against having one. And I don’t think that offering an easy to remember safeword must have negative consequences for the producers. As Ludwig already said, having exemplary safety routines is good for the producer’s reputation. Hopefully not only among the models, but also among the fans! Secondly, while some of the models might call for a break more often when given a clear safeword, others might stop a scene less quickly knowing that they have a safeword at hand. Despite of the hyperventilating I didn’t ask for a break during my caning because I knew that I could stop it immediately in case the dizziness would become worse. Had I known that the call for a stop required a complex safeword or led to a longer discussion, I guess then I might have been more panicked about the dizziness and might have tried to stop the scene earlier. So, I hope that the discussion that has followed the Mood/EP raid might convince some of the still existing producers to improve their safety procedures (which of course might require some pressure from their customers…)!

(to be continued)

Kaelah said...

(continued, last part, I swear!)

Another important note: To me, gender equality is a very important issue! So, of course, I demand all the safety routines I mentioned from producers of spanking porn with female as well as with male models at the receiving end! And I’m quite sure that the safety situation of the male models often (of course not always, I’m sure that there are very responsible producers in that field as well) is much worse than that of the female models. I hope that the producers in question will have to improve their safety routines, soon!

Frants, you mentioned the severe pussy whippings. I have to admit that I didn’t mention anything about the pussy whippings or the whippings on the breasts, belly, legs etc. because, frankly, I don’t know how dangerous it is. I think that these are rather delicate spots and I have no intention to try that because this is beyond what I want to do to my body. But concerning the safety issue I don’t have the medical knowledge to have an informed opinion. Since Ludwig isn’t a fan of those whippings, he hasn’t looked into that subject, either. Anyone among the readers who knows how dangerous hard hits on and haematoma at those body regions are?

After all those serious topics: Frants, how about receiving a 50 strokes severe caning from me after Ludwig has taught me how to wield that thing properly and safely? I would love to see whether you get your little safeword right in that situation (and of course I expect you to say it literally)! ;-) Of course you should substitute Pedro with Kaelah (otherwise I might be a bit confused). And maybe m*****f***** doesn’t really fit, either. How about “sadistic bitch”, instead? I think that sounds nice… Okay, just joking, after all I’m just a delicate young woman, right, Graham? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Unimaginable pain? If you dont have a spanking partner and want to find out if whipping can really hurt, you can do an experiment at home. Not with a cane, but if you want to know if those Elite Pain el cord whips hurt. Cut a piece of some el cable and whack your bare thigh with it, and see just how hard you want to swing it. I dont think you will want to hit quite as hard as whatshisname dr. Lomp does. My guess is you will settle for the pink stripe, not the dark red ones.

frants said...

Kaelah: " I would love to see whether you get your little safeword right in that situation -"
Good idea! Why dont you both come up to visit me in springtime? We share some common friends who have been here and can tell you how to find the place. I will practise a safeword in German for you. Will "Gnädiges Fraülein, könnten Sie vielleicht nicht ganz so fest schlagen" do?

Peter8862 said...

Kaelah, out of the wealth of statements made in both your blog and the twenty comments it inspired, there is, in my view, still one point to be made.
Telling the model beforehand just how much it will hurt, however well this is expressed, can never adequately convey the real intensity of a severe caning and in consequence, the over-riding proportion of responsibility for her decision and what follows must lie with the top and he must moderate or stop altogether of his own volition if the body language displayed by the bottom indicates accordingly. Among other considerations, he must allow for the model's reluctance to use the safeword through sheer pride, through unwillingness to spoil the scene or perhaps from the fear that it may reduce her fee.

sugar cane said...

first of all Kaelah, you did a terrific job...good for you.

The $1000,000 question is: Did the Models agreed on the(no safeword policy)?
if No, then the whole company should pay hard for it, because it is so wrong, disgusting and ugly.
if Yes (Models did agree), here in america (land of free and brave) there is no problem, but in Hungary -as you mentioned- rules might be different.
you mentioned cleaning windows, that was a very smart example....freedom and safety of employees are more important than business, and I think that what Mood/Ep neglected, may be not all the time but there were moments were Mood/EP put business infront of employees freedom and safety -"DESPITE MODELS PRE-CONSENT on all terms including NO-SAFEWORD"-

They say, there is "no emotions in business"....just strict business.
it seems that in Hungary, things are different....emotions comes before contracts.

Redhead said...

@Kaleah & Ludwig: Because the discussion of safewords and their application in some of the enlightening contributions to your discussion has traversed fluidly across various scenarios, is it helpful if we compare and contrast safeword-relevance and -application across corresponding SM-play categories? I’ve chosen the following completely academically, and they are unlikely to be mutually exclusive. That means there may be some overlap. None-the-less, it’s a start.

1. Play that is exclusive and private between friends who know each other well and who have total trust in each other.
2. Play at a private party, where guidelines for conduct have been agreed between those present.
3. Play at a public party, where permissible conduct is clearly explained on the title to entry.
4. SM performed for commercial gain, where those partaking make binding undertakings regarding conduct and confidentiality.
5. SM acts performed for commercial filmed distribution – with precise Stunt Scripts and Stunt Actor’s Agreements.

As, I really only have experience of 1 and 2, and while some beatings were as severe as discussed here and I cannot recall a safeword ever being used, most likely the relevance of my experience is blind-folded to category five.

@Kaleah. Intimate whipping: A couple of years ago, my partner and I were taken completely by surprise when we saw one of the most severe and powerfully erotic sessions we’d ever witnessed. The more so, because I’m a terrible passive observer! In the most elegant surroundings of an old Edwardian financial vault ,not 50m from the Bank of England, it was at SkinTwo party where an ‘off-duty’ pro-Domme total-body flogged and whipped a friend, interspersing/relieving flogger lashes with stimulating pats and flicks from the leather keeper of a riding crop to her friend’s vulva and perineum. It wasn’t something I’d ever contemplated before then, but just over a year ago, a talented ex-pro Domme and close friend coaxed me to try it.

With absolute trust many things are possible. This was mind blowing. With much care I’ve done the same, and admittedly this is very much in the first category I pondered above. My aunt often said, “Always sample something twice: first to recognise the taste, then to see if you can acquire it.”

R

deviant_desire said...

I must say I was shocked when I saw the video of the police raid. This brutal assault stands in no proportionality to the circumstances. We're dealing here with a film crew, not a human-trafficking gang. As Pedro said, this overkill meant more stress to the models than any Mood Pictures movie would ever have. I personally would rather have myself spanked by an attractive girl going without a safeword than having a police thug holding a machine pistol at my head.

The whole discussion about the practices of the Mood company is an endless series of double standards, as is always the case when it comes to sexual themes. Whenever it's about a sex-related issue people are becoming extremely sensitive and pose as outspoken upholders of moral values with a razor-sharp sense for everything that might remotely go wrong. While in any other aspect they have set their ethical standards remarkably low. People normally don't care whether their consumer goods come from countries where forced child labour is part of the everyday's reign of terror or where dissidents are put in concentration camps for their economic exploitation. Or when the egg they have for breakfast comes from a battery farm. The main thing for them is that the price is right. Those people really are nothing but pathetic hypocrites who grasp for the opportunity to spread their prudery whenever it's at hand.

These double standards can be viewed in all things of the everyday's life. One just have to take sports and compare it to BDSM. People are cheering at a boxing match but when a sub carries away some welts from a whipping, they call it perverse. Thereby the injuries inflicted during a boxing match are unequally more serious than everything commonly happening during a spanking. However, boxing is socially accepted, BDSM is not. Another comparison which makes the double standard particulary visible are sports like alpine climbing or deep-sea diving. Both things were many people have died of in the past and will so in the future. The human body is not made for being exposed to such extreme conditions. However these sports attract many people and no one would call what they do immoral. So on the one hand we have life-threatening sports, on the other hand we have a harmless kink. Now guess what the wide public is more concerned about!

It's all about whether an inclination has to do with sex or not. If it has to do with sex the standard is set extraordinarily high, if it doesn't it's set extraordinarily low. That's the characteristic of a society hostile to sex.

Lord Fafner said...

@deviant_desire: From my point of view: Brilliant!

Ludwig said...

deviant_desire: It's true that there are many double standards in discussions about sex, even more in discussions about BDSM, and still more in discussions about severe spanking videos. However, I don't think we should be unconcerned about the moral questions pertaining to BDSM and spanking videos simply because most people don't care about battery farms or where their consumer goods come from.

In effect, you seem to be saying: "People don't care about battery farms, so why should we care about Mood?" But when you think about it, you yourself will probably agree that this is not the right answer. If you (rightfully) criticise people's low ethical standards towards things like battery farms or buying consumer goods from oppressive regimes, then the right thing to do would be to set a better example and apply higher ethical standards yourself - to everything, including BDSM and spanking videos.

Now, as far as that is concerned, our positions are probably not very far apart (unfortunately, I don't know what your positions re: Mood are, exactly, because most of your comment was a rant about the general subject of double standards and hostility towards sex).

Like you, I have no time for people who try to tell me that cane welts are perverse or that severe CP videos are inherently immoral somehow. Like you, I don't really believe the accusations that are made against Mood Pictures in the newspaper, that they continued beating that model against her will.

At the same time, I think there were things in the Mood MO that one could be rightfully critical of, like the fact that they employed some pretty inaccurate tops, or their usage (or non-usage) of safewords. So, my overall position (and Kaelah's) is not anti-Mood, but it isn't fully and uncritically pro-Mood, either. I believe that this is what a blogger worth his salt should do: examine all aspects of an issue and represent his own, independent opinion.