Here were produced rubbishy newspapers containing almost nothing except sport, crime and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means...
- GEORGE ORWELL, Nineteen Eighty-Four, about the Ministry of Truth
Alright, let's get this over with. The inevitable blog post about the Mosley case - or "spankgate", as some newspapers called it. A witty bunch, these journalists, aren't they? Actually, "spankgate" is appropriate enough, given that the tabloid which started the whole mess has something of a history with illegal phone tapping. Along with the usual list of libel actions brought against them.
As pretty much everyone in our scene knows by now, their latest invasion of privacy involved one Max Mosley, president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), a secretly filmed "sadomasochistic orgy" with five "hookers" and, the icing on the cake, trumped-up charges of Nazi role-play. Naturally, there was nothing remotely Nazi in the accompanying "evidence video". As someone who has studied German history in considerable detail, I can tell you that Himmler's henchmen didn't wear nylon stockings. But since when does the gutter press let truth get in the way of a good salacious story?
What the hacks probably didn't expect was that Mosley would refuse to follow the precedent set by other influential men caught in sex scandals - you know, do a mea culpa, resign from office, issue a tearful public apology, blame his woes on the evils of pornography, that sort of thing. Instead, he stood his ground, rubbished the laughable Nazi allegations and calmly insisted that he had done nothing wrong. His sexual fetishes, Mosley argued, are unorthodox but perfectly harmless, and what consenting adults get up to in their private lives is nobody else's business. Imagine that! Next thing you know, he launches and wins a lawsuit against the tabloid, with more on the way (read Justice Eady's judgment here, and a good summary from The Spanking Writers). It goes to show that a rich, kinky, Oxford-educated lawyer is not to be trifled with. Way to go, Max.
I'm not a Formula 1 fan, so until four months ago, I had never heard of Max Mosley. But I was following the story from the beginning, because some of the involved "hookers" (that's Prolefeed slang for spanking professionals) happened to be penpals of mine. At the time, I and a handful of other bloggers made a silent agreement not to write about the case - in the hope that, the less it spread on the giant rumour mill that is the internet, the safer our friends would be from harassmant by the press. Of course, it turned out to be a vain endeavour. For me, the most tragic moment was when the media witchhunt eventually engulfed Paul and Lucy of Northern Spanking - who had nothing whatsoever to do with Mosley!
While the bloggers' agreement of silence quickly became moot, I still resisted writing about the sordid affair. The reason is fairly simple: to be perfectly honest, I think it is an utter waste of time. That's right. My writing about it here is, for the most part at least, pretty damn useless.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want to make light of what has happened or of the very real harm suffered by those who were caught in the tornado. On the contrary, I was often among the first to hear the news, and it left me deeply saddened and seething with anger. It is one thing to study history and understand that, generally speaking, people are scum and society is doomed - two semesters will turn even the staunchest idealist into a cynic. However, it's another thing entirely to see your own friends suffer from terrible injustice and defamation, while you're powerless to do anything about it.
I figured that, rather than artfully but impotently venting my outrage on the blog, I could do more good with my time by just being a friend, writing emails to cheer things up a bit, and offering whatever humble support I could without making a big fuss over it. Many others did the same, and even I, German pessimist extraordinaire, couldn't help but be touched by how the community pulled together in these difficult times. It was a privilege to see that.
To name but two prominent examples: Niki Flynn's piece I'm a Prostitute!, a call for support for Paul and Lucy (she also lent her blog to the two of them to write in their own words). I can only join in: if you haven't done so already, let me persuade you to join Northern Spanking for a month or two. It won't break your bank account, it's a fabulous site created by genuine enthusiasts, and they can really use your help right now. Moreover, I recommend you read Pandora Blake's article Fighting for Freedom. Not only does it sum up her own views on the Mosley case (which largely mirror mine) very clearly, it also contains a series of interesting links, to other kinky bloggers and the mainstream press.
There is really nothing I can add to what has already been said. I think all of us here agree that kinky play is healthy, fun, morally unobjectionable and nothing to be ashamed of. We all agree that what consenting adults do in private is their own business, not that of junk food journalists or self-appointed moral guardians. We all agree that, on the "most worthless" scale, tabloid hacks rank somewhere between con artists and religiously motivated terrorists.
Which is why I said that me blogging about this is basically a waste of time - I'm preaching to the choir. It's all very well to solemnly nod our heads and back-slap each other here in the spanko community. But if we leave the wider public discussion to the tabloid-reading simpletons and the Philistine hypocrites who exploit them, what's the use? So I should really add my voice out there in the trenches, not in the safety of the ghetto.
I've done more than my usual share of that in recent months, as I'm sure have many of you. Those of you who haven't added their opinion yet: I hope you will join the ranks. I'm not asking you to become a full-time freedom fighter. But if you have time to surf spanking blogs, you can spare a few minutes to write to a journalist, comment on an article online, get involved in the debate. Whether you do so under your real name, your scene name or another alter ego created specifically for "civil rights commentary" is unimportant. What matters is what you say, and that you stand up to be counted.
One more thing, try to be polite and patient with the zealots. I know it's hard, but even I manage reasonably well, despite having a very low tolerance level for stupid bullshit. Remember, it's not about convincing the anti-BDSM fanatics - it's about winning over the majority with common sense and calm, reasoned argument.
Take an example from the Magnificent Seven: Max, Women A, B, C and D, Lucy and Paul. If they can stand up for what they believe in, in the face of so much holier-than-thou hostility and despite great personal risk, then the least the rest of us can do is give them our support in word and deed.