As I started my college career in the fall of 1983, the drinking age was still 18. I remember vividly the drunken parties in the dorm that I was in, the freshman football players that managed to destroy a wall between two rooms in order to make a ‘double’ room (and their parents eventually being charged for the damage) while having a ‘load on’ and so on. Beer, being cheaper was usually the alcoholic beverage of choice and it flowed pretty freely at the college. Two years later when the drinking age was raised to 21 (still get a little steamed about that, since it was one day I was able to drink if I wished, the next I had to wait another 17 months) and things changed accordingly. There was still what became ‘illegal’ drinking, but for the most part (unless it was inescapably obvious) the college looked the other way and didn’t overly police the practice.
Naturally, that has almost nothing to do with the topic above. Just laying a little groundwork and background, if you will. I was talking to my slave the other night on the phone before bed, and during the course of the evening, she’d been drinking some wine, a little too much apparently. It managed to loosen her tongue and brain a bit and she became very talkative about a great many things. And of course, as I expected, come the morning and the next time I spoke to her, she didn’t have a recollection of what she said. But I do. Now, I know it was probably ‘the liquor talking‘ for the most part, but when one’s inhibitions are let down, or tamped down either by some force or another, what is said or expressed can sometimes be the whole truth, and it can give a pretty good idea of what that person is thinking and feeling under the surface, or under normal circumstances they would keep to themselves.
Of course, I’m not saying all of this to shame her, as evidenced by the fact that I’m not letting on what she said. That’s exclusively between her and me, and there’s no force on this planet (or any other) that will change it, so don’t ask. I’m merely making an observation here, and relating it for my own recollection, as well as it was interesting to me. Interesting, so I write about it.
And as a caveat. Be careful when you drink. What you say, may very well be to someone who is listening. And remembering.
So, another stint in FB Jail starting Monday at lunchtime. I was perusing through my feed and came across someone’s post about a Moorish-type castle for sale somewhere either in Georgia, or Europe. The person (and others) were commenting that the price was actually pretty reasonable, except there are several rooms upstairs that don’t have access to water, ie there are no bathrooms. In the spirit of the conversation, I pecked out a comment that said “If Kink.com could find a way to make practical use of a ‘castle’ in the Moorish persuasion (referring to their purchase and upgrade of the old San Francisco Armory), then anyone purchasing this place shouldn’t have any trouble, the only limit would be their imagination.”
Unfortunately, I made the error of putting in the “.com” on Kink, so Facebook automatically linked to the website and that’s when the trouble began. I immediately saw that and went to edit out that part, but Facebook’s algorithm had already denoted the website as being ‘forbidden’ and censored it, the post and me all at the same time. I got a message on my phone that informed me that my comment violated their terms of decency (again) and I was banned from posting/commenting/participating in Facebook for the next 7 days, and to add insult to injury, that included Messenger as well. Nice touch. After having been dinged the last time, no matter how much stink I made about it, they were going to keep it enforced and not give me any proper recourse. Because me, being 53, am going to be treated like a 10-year-old.
Honestly, I’m about ready to deep six my FB account. I can see why so many others have taken that course. Zuckerberg and Co. have really gotten too big for their britches and this censorship crap has to go. I was talking to my slave last night about it and (while lamenting that we’re not going to be able to use Messenger until next Monday) she agrees with me. The other part about the whole FB fiasco to me is how they deal with their stockholders. It’s a publicly traded company, but anyone that buys stock in it has no say in how the company does business. There are two separate types of stock in Facebook. The voting version, the one with all the power, is owned by Zuckerberg and others that he considers being in his ‘inner circle’. IOW, people that will do as he suggests, tells, whatever. People that won’t do things, not in his best interest. Anyone else who buys stock gets the other type. The type with ZERO power. So if a bunch of stockholders got together and wanted to change things at FB at the stockholders meeting, they can’t. They don’t have any recourse if Zuckerberg et al decides to censor people based on a draconian algorithm that caters to not offending the lowest common denominator. Which is what we do anymore. There’s no ‘let’s teach our children not to do certain things so they can better participate in society’. No, we do it the opposite way. “Let’s enact laws that keep those children safe at the expense of anyone else with a shred of common sense.” Yeah, that’s much better. (Insert eye roll here)
It’s not to say that I don’t want some sort of control over what can be posted on social media, but it needs to make sense to someone that’s an ADULT. Treating everyone, in the same manner, is something that doesn’t make sense to me, and I’ve been online before there was an Internet. Too, when you say that you’re making a decision and there’s a method for pleading your case, be certain that the method doesn’t negate anything that the person who supposedly offended has to say, or impose the punishment regardless of what the other person has to say. That’s neither right nor fair. What Facebook is doing is just patently wrong. And since they tout themselves as being a ‘free’ service, they can go on doing what they do with little to no recourse.
I look at the calendar. Another day passed since I saw her last. I can still remember what she looked like, what she smelled like when we parted. I gave her the hat I purchased for myself at the museum so that she had something else of mine to keep close to her. At the time, we had been planning to get together again in a couple of months. But that didn’t happen. Then more suggestions of when to get together. Those didn’t happen either and winter set in.
During winter, it was as if there was a wall set up around one of the state borders, and it was made of ice and snow. Where she lives, it occasionally snows, not as it does in the Mid-Atlantic region where I reside. Too, her vehicle isn’t completely reliable in many ways, so driving a good distance isn’t recommended. Another roadblock of sorts, that keeps us apart. Of course, at this point, we talk about the big bugaboo, money. Working full-time when you’re living alone doesn’t afford you a lot of ‘mad money’, or funds for outside activities. Especially when you’re in an industry that doesn’t pay all that well, even when one has the experience. So saving money ends up being literally nickels and dimes, which doesn’t afford one the ability to be free to travel. The last two times we got together, I either paid the lion’s share of the costs or accepted what she could at that time afford to contribute. The first time I rented a car and drove 10 hours to see her. The second time, we met approximately midway between the two of us. That time I drove the family vehicle. I have to admit, I was pretty shocked how much it cost to rent a vehicle for a week the first time. Astronomical was the word I believed I used then.
As the days count down towards the one year mark for the time we’ve been apart, it makes me more and more melancholy. Sure, we keep in touch via social media, phone calls, texts and the like, but it’s most definitely not the same thing as being there. Spending time with her, even if it’s just sitting on the couch, watching television together, or her sliding down off the couch to rest her head on my knee while we’re doing whatever. Having that physical contact is key, and it’s what we’re missing. I hear about her adventures with her poly family, and honestly, it bothers me that she gets to have adventures, and I don’t. I’ve been sitting here spinning my wheels for 344 days. Too, it reminds me of the collar fiasco. I thought about getting her another one, but if I’m not there to see it, to enjoy seeing it on her, what’s the point? And besides, it’s another outlay of my money for her benefit. So it too got shelved.
Finally, I’ve given up shopping for toys. I have so many here that have no purpose, no use, other than taking up space in the house. My wife looks at them, then at me, and doesn’t ask the question we both know she’s thinking. “what are you going to do with all this stuff??” Honestly, right now….nothing.
Ugh, this is hard to write. But its harder still to endure. I have no idea what the solution is, but I am extremely tired of waiting. And watching. And observing. And being left out.
…Tumblr really hasn’t changed all that much for those that mostly post porn. Sure there are far fewer naked’y’ [explicit] pictures but for the most part, the pictures that are posted on the strictly porn accounts still have nudity, leather, latex, rubber and other styles of dress, just for the most part the nudity is from the side, or from the back, not front-facing. So, the Tumblrgeddon that occurred this past December wasn’t as far-reaching or disastrous as we all expected. Add in the knowledge that Verizon seems to understand they sort of ‘cut off their nose to spite their face‘ in this, and they’re already looking for a buyer to take the platform off their hands. Whoever they find to buy it is going to be getting a bargain, since their foray into censorship has cost Tumblr a good third of their clientele. A lot of people moved off the site after the censorship of late last year. Sites like pillowfort, BDSMlr have taken a lion’s share of their former kink friendly accounts. Even on my feed (I backed up all of my accounts but being me, I didn’t delete any of them) I can see a pile of deactivated accounts being referenced by some of the ones still active, reblogging the same pictures over and over.
Whether or not that will change with the selling of the platform is anyone’s guess. The buyer might prefer to keep the service as clean as it can be, given that it’s a pretty open site, to begin with. How else would those that were interested in adult-friendly services (and service) have started to use it for their purposes? Tumblr didn’t start out being a G-rated site. If anything, it seemed to be a step up from Stumbleupon, another site that I used to use (and still have an account on, though I haven’t been there in ages). Similar premise, but they did it a little differently (much like the difference between VHS and Beta) and ended up becoming more popular. It’s always hard to tell what’s going to work and what’s not. I mean, people in France put mayo on their fries and wouldn’t dream of using ketchup. Here in the US, I had never heard of putting gravy on fries until I moved to where I’m living now. Pop is sometimes soda, and soda is sometimes soda water. Cats and dogs living together…Mass hysteria!! (ahem…sorry, got carried away there a bit)
Even so, a site like Instagram has looked at the Tumblr model, and instead of seeing a bad idea, they decided to jump on the bandwagon. Many kink-friendly accounts that have been there long-term are starting to get pushed out, and are taking their business elsewhere. I’ve posted about catering to the Lowest Common Denominator before and I believe this is systematic of that problem. Instead of treating everyone like adults, we’re attempting to treat them as children, ie not offending anyone if we can help it. Instead of allowing people to make their own informed decisions, we’re allowing companies and entities (and yes governments too!) to both legislate and dictate what’s acceptable and what’s not. That’s pretty high school thinking, to my mind. Making the majority of the popular ones (which end up being a minority) decide for the rest of us. That never works out for the best, since the majority rarely has the best interests in mind. Usually, it’s their best interests they’re considering and to hell with the rest of us.
All in all, I’m not certain where Tumblr is going to go. But it will be interesting to see how it all pans out.
A post from a scene friend on Tumblr yesterday gave me pause about something that has been niggling in the back of my head for some time now.
It has to do with the BDSM scene and kink in general and how society as a whole seems to be attempting to deal with it on the Internet as well as elsewhere. For a while now, those of us in the kink community have been pretty closed off and content with that considering how open society views the scene. Generally, if you’re labeled as ‘kinky’, you’re considered to be on the ‘outside fringes’ and well worth keeping a distance from. Certainly, people who are kink friendly have shown up in news reports doing ‘odd’ things like walking their girlfriend through a mall in NY as if she was a dog or pet. Personally, I think that’s an extreme case and not really the best way to put your best ‘kink foot forward’ since a mall is a place where children are likely to be present, and you’re causing others to be privy to what you normally do in the privacy of your own home. Doing it at an event that’s specifically geared towards kink practices is one thing, out in public where you’re making others uncomfortable is not. So I can easily understand how sites like Facebook and Tinder would be less inclined towards those that promote themselves as being kink friendly.
Less so for sites like Tumblr and Instagram. In December of last year, came an event that unofficially was dubbed ‘Tumblrgeddon’, where the owners of the site decided that they were going to almost unilaterally remove a good deal of porn from their servers, and effectively sequester the rest as much as the could. If you had an account that was strictly geared towards kink, or porn, whether it was yours or just being reposted, it was excised from public view. Worse yet, if you had anything that (in their rather poorly stated words) promoted “female-presenting-nipples“, it was summarily banned or hidden from others’ view. So essentially 90% of people who were working with accounts that were kink related had to find somewhere else to put their interest. Within a couple of days, enterprising people were setting up sites called pillowfort.io, bdsmlr.com, Humblr.com as well as others that wished to freely accept anyone that wanted to leave Tumblr.
Within the last month or so, Instagram has more or less decided to do the same. (I note that it’s not a coincidence that Instagram is owned by Facebook btw) About 3 weeks ago one of my Insta accounts was deactivated by TPTB (The Powers That Be) and I received notice that it was mine no longer and it wasn’t going to be reactivated due to a violation of the TOS. When I asked what the violation was, they wouldn’t tell me. I’ve heard about others that have had similar experiences, much like when you’re relegated to ‘Facebook Jail’ and they won’t divulge the reason you ended up there. Just that you’re going to be offline for a specific period of time and that’s that. The people who run these sites know they’re in the catbird seat, and you’re basically powerless to do anything about getting censored. You can lament all you want about how ‘unfair’ its become, but anymore they’re the only game in town. It’s certainly become far more difficult in the last 20 years in terms of connecting with like-minded individuals of the kink persuasion, as the sites to which we’re allowed to gather become more and more restricted. People talk about ‘Freedom of Speech’ but that doesn’t apply to multi-national conglomerates or these companies that, like Wal-Mart in a way, gather millions of people on their servers, and squash (or buy then liquidate) the smaller websites that might do the same thing, but when they’re the only game in town, things become far more restricted. Especially when those companies become publicly traded entities. When Facebook was a private company, it did things very differently than now when they’re beholden to shareholders.
Just a FYI, for those that say Twitter or Fetlife are suitable alternatives, honestly they’re really not. Twitter doesn’t have the same capabilities of a Tumblr or Instagram, and Fetlife by its very nature isn’t a personals site. Yes, people use it as if it was one, but that’s not the purpose of the site. About the only reason that Fetlife hasn’t been more restricted or censored is the fact that the home servers are located in Canada. If they were located in the US, they probably by all purposes would have been shut down by now. I equate the current situation to what happened to the website Insex around the time it ceased production around 2005. At that time, there was another Republican Administration in the US in power and by and large they were cracking down on a lot of US porn (and kink) producers, stating that the money that they were making was being sent to purveyors of terrorism (a huge lie) and many sites were being shut down or being threatened with lawsuits. The creator of Insex decided on his own that he was going to shut down the site, and move the content outside of the US (to the Netherlands to be specific) so as not to lose his work to a sudden possible seizure by said government. Which was actually possible. At the same time, he created several other sites that were a LOT tamer in comparison to the original, and they’ve been operating for the most part ever since. Though as of this writing, they’re slowly being updated infrequently, and probably in a few more years won’t be around at all. The original creator of Insex is now in his 70s, and as I understand it has mostly retired from active online participation. He has basically one ‘apprentice’ that carries on his work in Oregon, but he’s a mere shadow of the ‘The Source’, where all the diabolical ideas came to life way back in a little place in Brooklyn circa 1995.
Getting back to the title of this, it’s my opinion that we’re increasingly catering to the Lowest Common Denominator in many things and Kink seems to be no less of a victim. It’s sad to see how far we’re falling, and how it’s all going to play out over the next few years.