Monday, April 14, 2008

Letter From A Reader: Nazi Play
I'm sure I'm not the first person to ask you how you feel about this, but hopefully if enough ask you'll do a column/blog post about it. How do you feel about Max Mosley's Nazi "orgy"? Where is the line? Are there some things that are just morally unacceptable? Like, say, getting turned on by concentration camps? Here is a Slate piece on it (which digresses into talking about BDSM in general) and the original article (ultra-sensationalized but apparently true). I know you're a very busy woman and I certainly don't need a reply, but I'm sure lots of people would love a column or post on it.

Actually you are the first person to ask me about it. I have been vaguely aware of seeing something about “Nazi orgy” in the paper, but you know, I often choose not to clutter up my head with stories like that. So I have not been paying attention to this one, and it’s not been a topic of conversation among me and my friends.
And even if I’d read the story, I doubt I’d have chosen to write something because to me, this is not news. It's just gossip, right up there with the latest Britney Spears trainwreck. I don't care about this guy's sex life, and I don't know why anyone would care beyond a moment's "oh, wow, I bet he’s feeling pretty embarrassed right now.” I am not too high-minded to be interested in some types of gossip. But being a sexual outlaw myself, I have a fair amount of sympathy for anyone whose sexuality is a subject of leering "Oh-that's-terrible! Tell-us-more!" kind of scrutiny.

But since you ask: Many people have politically incorrect fantasies. I bet you, Dear Reader, have some erotic turn-ons lurking your fantasy life that you would not care to see published to the world. Most people do. I certainly do. (And no, I’m not telling you what they are.)
You can tell your sex drive “Oh, hey, this sexual turn is morally unacceptable!” And you can choose not to act on it. You may even succeed in repressing it and not thinking of it consciously – very much. Sometimes that works. But a lot of times, the more you try to repress a turn-on, the more intense it gets. I'm not minimizing how bad the Holocaust was. But this? Is not the Holocaust. It's some guy getting his kink on and being unwise (or unlucky) enough to let it be videoed.
So where's the line? When it's non-consensual. To include: under-age people, and anyone who is either temporarily or permanently not capable of giving informed consent. That's not okay. Otherwise, do as you will. I may or may not want to watch, but that's my responsibility.
Our sexual fantasies go where it's forbidden because it's forbidden. I’m guessing all the baggage this guy got loaded down with as a kid makes this whole thing even more taboo and thus sexier than it would be to the average person.
So the only difference between this guy and lots of other people is that he has the money and the nerve to indulge himself. Do I personally think Nazis are cool? No. I find this particular scenario distasteful. But do I think there's any harm in dressing up in Nazi uniforms and pretending you’re in a prison camp? Not really. I don't find it sexy, but I don't find furries or adult babies sexy, either. However, liking Nazi uniforms, or diapers, or people in "furry" costumes doesn't necessarily make you a fascist, or a pedophile, or into bestiality. It’s a game, not reality.
And this guy is actually not responsible for the actions of his older relatives, so all that business about his father and Unity Mitford is beside the point. So, basically, if he wants to do Nazi role play with a bunch of sex workers, it’s no one’s business but his and theirs. And his wife’s, if she wants it to be. If he wants to draw dramatic inspiration from real life events, maybe he’ll ask her for a punishment scene.