Monday, August 24, 2009

Dalibor's Tower

As a blogger, one of the things I enjoy the most is the interaction with the readers in its various forms. Not just through comments and emails, but in more unusual, interesting ways as well - votes, competitions, blogiversary spankings, football bets, that sort of thing.

It's great to have something "special" like that once in a while, not just because reader interaction in all its forms is one of the things that make blogging worthwhile in the first place (otherwise, we could all just write a diary for our own eyes only), but because I find all this fabulously interesting from a human perspective. Especially when it concerns kink and the kinky mindset, which thrives on interaction, anyway: between top and bottom, between more than two people in a scene perhaps, between spanking models and video viewers...

The more complex the interpersonal dynamics in a situation are, the more I tend to find myself intrigued by it. Put a "live" audience within a spanking video scene, for instance. You have the video audience watching the live audience, so you have the video audience watching themselves, in a way, and of course you have the top watching the bottom, and vice versa, as always, and you have them watching and interacting with the live audience, which is a representative of the video audience, and so on and so forth. That's the kind of stuff my inner anthropological observer loves.

Another thing I love is having the readers theorise about something, challenging people's creativity and imagination. We recently had a lot of it with the Fiona Locke Affair, or to use another example, we had the K-Day Compeition on this blog, where I asked you readers to interpret a strange poem, picture and post of mine (actually, the poem was written by Kaelah).

As usual, it was hard to decide on a winner. Two comments really stood out for me, one by PallidBust and one by Arjuna. The former because it was so remarkably (and intentionally) outlandish, the latter because it was so remarkably accurate. PallidBust interpreted "K-Day" and my post as "a tragic car wreck of Heinlein and Lovecraft", and you really have to read his mini-essay for yourself, because I can't even begin to sum up its wacky brilliance here. Arjuna, on the other hand, had figured out the truth behind K-Day and what I was about to announce, right down to the last detail, and wrote it down with Sherlock Holmes-like precision. So you had a case of great fiction-writing versus great fact-finding, two totally different contributions, each impressive in its own way.

Fact-finding won the day, I declared Arjuna the winner. I was sorry not to be able to reward PallidBust as well, especially because he had so nicely picked up on the Lovecraft-esque touch of the poem (which was of course intentional, "do you dare open it?", that sort of pseudo-antiquated language). But in the end, after much deliberation, I just had to give the nod to Arjuna's perceptiveness.

Now, one could argue that being perceptive is less difficult than being inventive and creative - as Sherlock Holmes himself used to say in his wonderful fake modesty, "there is nothing remarkable about using one's eyes". And normally, I would probably be inclined to agree. But Arjuna's detective work really was remarkable to me. It's one thing to figure out the truth, other readers who follow the blog with some regularity probably could have done it, too (some probably did, in silence!). But it is quite another thing to figure out the truth in so much tiny detail and near-perfect accuracy, as Arjuna did. He pieced together quite a few different things, even relatively small clues which I had sort of dropped "on the side", from quite a few different previous posts. Which means that not only did he read the blog regularly, he also read it very thoroughly. And how could I possibly withstand such flattery?

For instance, Arjuna not only figure out what was on the photo in the "K-Day is coming!" post (the shadows of Kaelah and me), he even ventured a guess as to where it was taken: "Part of a Lupus set or Ludwig’s basement." And the first half of that guess turned out to be near-correct: while the picture is not actually from a Lupus set, it was indeed taken in Prague, during the time when I was there for the Garden Party shoot (which reminds me, the movie is coming out on September 1st, the wolf pack tells me, so watch out for that and my full behind-the-scenes report soon).

Kaelah and I made the picture when we visited Dalibor's Tower, an old prison tower in Prague Castle, during our trip. The most famous prisoner there during its long history was one Dalibor of Kozojedy, a Czech knight who lead a peasant uprising in 1496. After being captured and sentenced, he spent the rest of his life in the tower which now bears his name, and legend has it that he played his violin a lot while in captivity. Legend also has it that the ghost of Dalibor still haunts Prague Castle today, and that one can sometimes hear the sounds of the violin emanating from the tower at night. On a sidenote, for the classical music lovers among you, Bedrich Smetana wrote an opera about the story of Dalibor. Oh, and there's a pretty interesting Smetana museum in Prague, too, which Kaelah and I went to as well.

So, that is where the picture is from. Just like the following one, which I'm also going to share with you for the fun, as a K-Day epilogue:

It shows a hangman's axe. Notice how the shadow of the axe goes through the throat of our shadows? Almost through Kaelah's, right through mine? That wasn't intentional when we took the picture, we just noticed it afterwards. Hopefully it's not a sign of things to come, like the photographs in The Omen. Then again, neither of us is named Keith Jennings! And if I found out that the Antichrist was really walking among us, I for one would try to conduct an interview, not block his path. Hey, I'm a historian, I'm supposed to simply record things and talk to the important personalities of our time! (Kaelah is a practising Christian, so she may have other ideas...)

Anyway, you can see that axe in Dalibor's Tower, alongside some exhibits with quite a bit of potential kink value, like torture racks or a "leading fork" - you know, a pole with a metal ring which you put around a person's neck, "for the guidance of prisoners", as the illustrating text cheerfully described it. Have a look if you happen to be in Prague one day, take your girlfriend or boyfriend along, you might find yourselves getting inspired.

So, I hope you like the picture and today's post. Oh, and PallidBust, don't gripe too much. You win some, you lose some, it was an excellent contribution in any case and I loved it. You can stop skulking, get out of your cave, disband your coalition of evil and let Christmas live. (And if you do insist on taking your revenge, I should warn you, I'm ready for you, punk!)


Ursus Lewis said...

Wow, you recently post like you have to catch up... I like it! And the picture too.

PallidBust said...

I am assuaged. It shall be peace.

I come to your same conclusion on the contest, but perhaps by a different path. In this age of infinitely available knowledge, the ability to sort through vast information and derive the truth (or, as we call it in the streets, "Columbo out the murderer"), is far more impressive (and valuable) than a gift for fiction. In other words, the world is full of Neil Gaimans and Alan Moores-- but godDAMN if we couldn't use as many Holmes and Poirot's as we can get. fantasy is fun, but reality is where we fantasize.

So you made the right choice as far as I can tell. I am content.... or WAS. You could have left it at an honorable mention, but no, you had to go that last step and call me out! Well, let it be a feud between us!!!!

Oh who the Hell am I kidding? I've gone back to university after many a year, and school LITERALLY started this very day. I don't have the energy to study and wage cruel war. So.... I am bitterly assuaged.

Ludwig, you magnificent bastard, I read your blog!


Indy said...

I loved PB's entry, too. Indeed, I read it and thought, OMG, the game's over already? Of course, Arjana's victory was well deserved.

The fact that we could see your glasses in the shadow made it rather obviously you for those of us who have enjoyed watching your films. :-)

Ludwig said...

@ PallidBust: Glad to hear you are assuaged, bitterly or otherwise (and what a gorgeous word that is, "assuaged"). And I really like the Patton reference. I'm not sure I'm comfortable about being compared to Rommel, though! Even when you leave all political considerationd aside, I think the man is also overrated as a general.

PallidBust said...

Dude, you control Northern Africa with no oil. Go ahead and try.

Ludwig said...

Oh, I don't dispute that Rommel was indeed very, very good in his profession. I just don't think that he was the all-around, total genius some people (and the German propaganda of the time) built him up as. He was a brilliant tactician and an excellent, inspiring field commander, but arguably, with some deficiencies in strategy and logistics. Also, it could be argued that he benefitted during the early successes in North Africa from some weaker British commanders on the other side.

In my view, the most able German general of the era was Manstein. A military genius of the highest caliber. The attack plan that brought about the Fall of France in 1940 was his work, as were some stunning successes on the Eastern Front later on.

Of couse, the downside to all this professional brilliance is that both men, though they weren't Nazis themselves, were still tools of a very evil regime, to an extent. Manstein more so than Rommel, who eventually (but not wholeheartedly) tied contacts to the anti-Hitler resistance.

Ah well, maybe I should start a military history blog one day - it certainly is a subject that interests me a lot. In the meantime, though, let's go back to all things spanking... :)

PallidBust said...

I have just ordered "Lost Victories" by Manstein. My servant Mr. assures me quick access. I shall look into this man's brain...

However, you seem to fail to see the obvious point. Patton is seemed(in the States) to have defeated Rommel, so, therefore, Rommel must be the most fearsome general because Patton's victory over Rommel isn't super-awesome unless Rommel is the best.

Example: nobody cares if a buy steps on a bug. A guy kills Grendel? Well, now we have a story.

If Rommel wasn't awesome, then Patton wasn't super-awesome. But Patton was super-awesome, so Rommel must have been awesome. This is simple logic.

Plus, James Mason played him. James Mason doesn't slum.

But you are right about the blog. So... spanking. I love everything about it so much I have nothing specific to write. Damn. Rommel was brilliant!

Ludwig said...

Alright, back to military history, if you insist... :)

Sure, I know this point perfectly well. The people who defeated Rommel have to exaggerate his brilliance in order to exaggerate their own achievement. For the same reason, Hitler supposedly called Stalin a "genius" and "the greatest living statesman" - at a table talk in 1941, when he still expected to win the war!

We historians have to take this into account frequently, because a lot of the sources we use - a lot of the accounts, statements etc. - are made by the participants themselves, who of course have a natural interest to portray themselves and their own actions in the best possible light.

The same goes for Manstein's book, "Verlorene Siege" ("Lost Victories"). I read it and it's a very interesting book. But you have to keep in mind, of course, that it was written after the war, very much with the benefit of hindsight about everything, and that in it Manstein creates his own myth like everyone else.

He basically portrays himself as the strategic genius who could have won the war for Germany, or at least achieved a "stalemate", if only Hitler had allowed him a free hand... Well, the truth is that, given the forces available to both sides, and given the political reality, that was simply never going to happen, anyway. Not even with the most brilliant military leadership in the world.

Also, we know from the historical research today that Manstein did, in fact, know a lot more about the Holocaust than he let let on in the book - or in the postwar trials. He got off easy (sentenced to 18 years, but served only 4) because the Allies needed him, and other generals like him, to rebuild West Germany's armed forces after the war. The Cold War was already beginning.

All that said, he was undoubtedly a very brilliant military thinker. Even though there are historians who have questioned the myth in this field, too. So, I recommend you read Manstein's book, and then read this very unflattering piece by military historian Jörg Muth as an "antidote":

Erich von Manstein. His Life, Character and Operations - A Reappraisal

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, as usual.

Anyway, that really is enough off-topic military history for the time being. :)

PallidBust said...

I notice you ignored my "James Mason" assertion, by far my strongest argument. Otherwise, I continue to be assuaged. That is a pretty good word.