Remember the football-themed spanking clip I posted recently? If you haven't seen it yet, you should, it's a fun little video starring Niki Flynn and yours truly (you can also read a bit of backstory on how it came into existence here). As usual, I also uploaded the clip to Spankingtube to get a bit of extra circulation.
Interestingly, one of the commenters there by the name of Cinderella complained that the clip "insults the German flag" because we used it as a CP implement (presumably, therefore, we also insulted the Union Jack, but she didn't mention that). Later, Cinderella elaborated: "As a German, I don't want to see a flag symbolizing the proud [sic] of my nation in a clip with sexual contend [sic], furthermore beating [someone] with it." She also sent me a rather angry email the next day.
It would be amusing to quote from the letter, which contained little in the way of argument, a lot of venting and one beautiful self-contradiction. But I don't want to be mean, and honestly, I don't believe Cinderella's remarks in themselves deserve more attention than I already gave them on Spankingtube and in my reply to her mail. But as I said, I did find the whole thing fairly interesting, because I think it reveals a kind of schizophrenia that is not uncommon in the kinky community.
Before I come to that, though: does our clip really insult the German colours? Or the British ones, for that matter? Needless to say, I don't think it does. Neither did the director who came up with the idea, or the rest of the crew, despite the fact that all of us are German (some of us Teutonic sauerkraut-eaters have a sense of humour after all). It certainly wasn't our intention to sully the "proud" of the nation when we shot this silly little video, and I think this should be obvious to most people who watch. Had I burned the flag while spouting inane anti-German slogans in some political (or pseudo-political) context, that would be another thing. But we didn't do that. We used it as a nonsensical spanking implement in an equally nonsensical and light-hearted clip - about football, of all things. To take this seriously in the first place and to claim that it constitutes an insult of some kind requires a great deal of imagination, or pomposity, or both.
In any case, Cinderella is the only one who complained so far. But I think her reasoning is worth examining, because it exemplifies the schizophrenia I spoke of: "I don't want to see the flag of my nation in a clip with sexual content." The natural question to ask is, why not? What is wrong with that?
One possible answer she could give is that she finds sexual content distasteful or even immoral, and therefore, she doesn't want to see the flag associated with it. But I don't believe that this is her opinion. After all, Cinderella is registered on Spankingtube and has watched 80 plus clips according to her profile, so presumably, she does not object to spanking porn in principle (otherwise, why is she watching it?). But if spanking porn is okay, and if flags are okay, then why is spanking porn plus flags not okay? Double standards or just plain confusion?
Another possible argument would be to say: while sexual content is not distasteful to me or immoral, and while I like watching it, I nonetheless consider it to be something "low" and basic. So therefore, it should not be combined with "exalted" things like the flag. This is probably closer to what Cinderella is trying to say. But such a position is problematic. For one thing, these terms are diffuse and the value judgments expressed by them are quite subjective. It's debatable if a flag is really such an exalted object (whatever that means, exactly) that it must never be used in an erotic (or humorous) context. It is also debatable if porn is inherently "low" and primitive - personally, I don't see it that way at all.
Moreover, even if you hold that porn is primitive, you can ask yourself if it is any worse in this regard than football. Isn't that a somewhat "bawdy" pastime as well? But people take lots of flags to the international football games, they even wear them as clothing or hats. So why not complain about that, too? Of course, you can argue that football stands for noble values like competition, skill, strategy, fighting spirit, physical exercise and so on. But that is precisely the point I am trying to make: what an activity stands for, and what using the flag in such a context stands for, is always a matter of interpretation. On my part, I could say that spanking films represent some equally exalted things to me: creativity, wit, humour, self-exploration, excitement, interesting psychology, even art.
Mind you, the "Who has the best football team?" clip wasn't Great Art and wasn't intended as such. But neither was it intended as an insult to the flag, and the vast majority of viewers didn't see it as such. As for me, I have nothing against flags. As elements of cultural identification in an increasingly globalised and homogenised world, I am actually quite fond of them. Moreover, I'm a historian, so unlike most of my countrymen today, I know when and how the black, red and gold colours of the German flag originated, what they symbolise, who wrote the national anthem and where the melody it was set to comes from. By contast, it has been my experience that, ironically, many of the self-proclaimed super patriots around the world are woefully ignorant of the history behind the national symbols they hold in such high esteem.
At the end of the day, symbols are just that: a representation of something. The important part is what they stand for, and that is what patriotism is really all about: not symbols, but values. In case of the Federal Republic of Germany and other democratic, pluralistic societies, one such core value is freedom. Which includes the freedom of art and even the freedom to use the national flag in a humorous or "casual" way. In an enlightened philosophy of the state, a flag is not some hallowed or untouchable thing. It's not a holy symbol like a Christian cross or an Islamic star and crescent. And fundamentally, there is no contradiction whatsoever between what the German flag stands for and kinky play among consenting adults.
Cinderella not only exemplifies a view of national symbols that is more at home in the chauvinistic 19th century than in the Europe of today, but also a strange double standard which I have seen, in one form or another, with quite a few kinky people. "I like spanking and spanking porn, but it's still a dirty and lowly thing somehow, and we have to separate it from the 'nobler' aspects of life..." I don't claim to know the exact pathology that lies behind this kind of thinking in every case, but it's not unreasonable to assume that, most of the time, it simply comes down to discomfort with one's own erotic fantasies and a feeling of guilt about them.
These people have my honest sympathies, and as a blogger, I'm quite willing to help them come to terms with their fantasies and show them that there is nothing shameful about being kinky. But what I'm certainly not going to do is censor my own fantasies to conform with their convoluted views.