Thursday, November 18, 2010

Revenge as a Kink

"Revenge is often like biting a dog because the dog bit you"
-Austin O'Malley

As anyone who lives in the Boston area now knows, Haven, our local place for all things kinky, is closed. Ostensibly due to someone who felt that shutting it down was fair revenge for not being allowed into an event there. I don’t know what the facts are. There’s a lot of heresay and rumor mongering.

Some people think that the kinky community doesn’t need to know who this person is. Some others (like me) think that the identity of this person should be made known. There’s speculation aplenty, but no facts that I’ve been able to ferret out. I suppose one could go and view the official complaint, but that would likely either be anonymous or reveal this person’s real name. I’m not into outing anyone, outside of this community.

But I think that this person’s identity should be made known to the area kinksters for a simple reason. If this person put his own petty revenge over the welfare of an entire kink community, he’s dangerous to everyone. And everyone should be given the choice of whether or not to associate with him.

I don’t want to seek revenge against this person. I have no wish to make this situation worse. I’m not sharpening my pitchfork, planning on calling his employer, or even blogging about how horrible this person is. I simply want to know who this is so that I don’t unintentionally show up at a place where he was prevented from attending. If he did it once, he’ll do it again. And I don’t want to be put in the same position as the proprietor of Haven. Balancing protecting my guests or my fellow party attendees, against letting an unsuitable person even HEAR about a party for fear that he might decide to take revenge.

It’s all well and good to say that it doesn’t matter if you know who it is, but you can’t build a community by protecting people who try to destroy it. The fight isn’t against the person, it’s against the idea that ONE person can ruin a good thing, simply by being pissed off. THAT is a dangerous attitude that affects everyone. I’m not asking for the information in order to take my own revenge. I’m asking so that I can AVOID having to put myself or my friends in a position of wondering if he’s been banned from the next thing and therefore itching to take some more revenge. The next thing being any event that I’m attending.

IF this person is not made known to the community, and he shows up at the next event, say the Bound in Boston, or a NEDS class, makes some friends with people, gets invited to a party, and then for some reason isn’t invited back (and from what I understand this is what happened to cause his sour grapes to begin with), would you, as an event organizer or party host WANT to go through what Arsine is going through now? How would your attendees and guests like it that they’ve been subjected to possible “issues” if any “officials” decided to act on a complaint that this guy makes? If he’s done it once, he’ll do it again.

I think it’s far better to know who this person is so that the kinky community can avoid him, hide our activities from him, and prevent him from even learning about where these things are happening from now on. We don’t have as much to worry about from the authorities as we do from this person. The authorities act within the scope of their duties. I really don’t think that they care what we’re doing. But if a complaint is made, they’re required to act. We need to avoid those people who will make those complaints. And the only way to do that, is to know who put his own vengefulness over the entire community.

Historically speaking, this sort of thing happens. There’s a list of “used to be” party places as long as my arm. Someone gets pissed because they’re not invited, or they’re banned, or they’re made fun of, and the next thing that happens is that the place is somehow put on the radar of those officials who have to act. The ultimate answer is of course, is to have a legitimate place, with legitimate operating privileges, and with the authorities only acting as if it’s just another business. But that’s a dream that takes a hell of a lot of money in this town. And a hell of a lot of goodwill from society that just doesn’t exist. Yet.

In the meantime, we’ve taken a step backwards. Back to closed lists, small parties, covert places, and private homes. It’ll make things harder, and at least for a while, people will look at those they don’t know and wonder if “this is the guy” that ruined it. Until we forget again. Until someone steps up again and opens another Haven. And until someone decides again that revenge is the ultimate kink.


Subwonder said...

I'm a little torn on this issue. I agree with you that I want to know who this person is so that I can avoid them. However, I don't know how strongly some people feel about retaliation, and while I know I wouldn't participate in any sort of aggressive action, I'm not sure that everyone feels the same way.

I think the best course of action is to quietly spread the information. Someone somewhere knows who this is, and word gets around ...

silverdreams said...

I understand that point. And it is a danger. Like everything else, the only person I can control is myself.

Whatever happens, there will be for a while, that element of "maybe this is the person who...."

But then again, wariness is not always a bad thing :)

Liras said...

I saw your post retweeted just a few minutes ago bu Coyotetoo. I am sorry that you guys are going through such a thing.

I agree that the person does need to be known at the very least, to the organizers of events to come and other venue owners. This could go on in perpetuity, if it remains a secret. I know that slander and libel must be avoided but still.

Hope it works out for the best of your community.

Anonymous said...

That is really frustrating. And yeah, there are petty revenge-seekers in any community, and I agree that being aware of who those people are can help ensure a higher quality of interaction in the scene, by at least knowing who to avoid.

I know the local dungeon here in SF has a blacklist of people who are banned from entering the premises, for things like theft and harassment. Their photos are posted at the front desk so that whoever's there can identify them. And some of the bans are for a year for lesser offenses.

I don't know if it would be possible to implement something like that, if another space were to open up, but it's something to consider. But it's not a sure thing, and only applicable really to obvious infractions of etiquette, versus things like someone getting officials involved.

I normally don't condone ostracization, but if this person got away with it this time, they're more likely to think it's an acceptable option the next time they're slighted, right? In this case I think making the person known would be better for the community overall.