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ug - sex-negative journalist

It's bad enough to deal with a young, just-out-of-college cub-journalist covering my class. It's harder when she's personally sex negative and doesn't recognize that in herself - and then writes the article with her ambivalence transferred to the venue, the class and to me. It makes it even harder still when the publication decides to call me what ever they think sounds good and titillating.
It's upsetting. Really upsetting.

I have to remember that I do what I do, and the good stores do what they do, precisely to combat just this sort of attitude.

Still it's upsetting.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
That self-important cub-journalist is part of the emerging minority, not the majority:


You are a warrior for good and we are all the better for it.
Feb. 12th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
Feb. 12th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Dont know if it helps but,
I do what I do, rope wise, because of you. I saw you years ago in new york for the first printing of your bondage book. I read it back and forth for years and even to this day, it's always in my toy bag. You were nice and very kind to me. and over the years when I heard of something that you were attached to, I tried to at least peek in for a few or read a passage form it. The few times you signed books for me, you were fun, and took a few to make me feel special for standing in line. Any seminar I went to that you did was extremely informative, but not pressuring. It made me want to try and learn more, but not feel forced to.

I know you'll be at the flea, and I'm sure you'll sign another book for me (if I can get out of the bondage lounge, got some catching up to do with friends there). When you're there, have a good time and remember that the work you do open eyes and make some of us better in ways you may never see. Every tie I do starts with you, in a way. And for that, I'm grateful.

hope you have a good flea.
Feb. 12th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
I understand that much of your work revolves around reputation and the written word, but there are three ways you can deal with this:

(1) Don't read it. They can write whatever, they'll never pay you to respond, so it's not worth your time, and if they're wrong, don't give them the time of day.

(2) Ask your fans to respond or you do, which means now you have to read their tripe.

(3) Respond in your favorite venues, so perhaps the "controversy/raised concerns" means you get a little more press.
So, they write something nasty? Respond in the B.A.R., or through Queen's Sex Ed center, or get Susie Bright to interview you for something BoingBoing picks up.
Feb. 12th, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
great advice!

(alas #1 wasn't a choice as she asked to cover the class and interview me)

I like #3. I'm totally open to suggestions. What have you got?
Feb. 12th, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen her article, so I don't know what we're dealing with, but most classes have "ground rules", so you could do an article on what your class ground rules are, that refute her article. Or your "take away, strip it off yourself" message that a student might want to keep in mind to leave behind as they go through your courses.

Do some of this tongue and cheek, perhaps written as if a conversation over mimosa's, or from the perspective of Dan Savages', "I thought about this, and called in an expervt. They think. I think. Now you know."
As soon as the article goes online, do another essay about how all this made you feel, and give it to an anthology that's coming out. Ask for residuals.

I don't know her relationship to you, but I'd try not to burn her, just a "moving forward..." piece.
Feb. 12th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
My personal philosophy when it comes to foisting art-objects on the public is not "who's gonna get this?"
It's "the right people will get this."
Feb. 12th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I think it's pretty safe to say that most of the people who read it and think, "Oh, gross/disgusting/how shameful." or think that it's weird would have that opinion even if the person writing it thought you were made of sunshine and kittens; the only difference is that the former they'd agree with the reporter and the latter they'd think the reporter was a weirdo too.
Feb. 12th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
I came to two of your classes in London last year and thought you were great. You're a total inspiration, (hell you made Trek references) and whatever it was this kid wrote doesn't change that you inspire more people that are likely to have read her article.
Feb. 12th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
Well they say there is no bad publicity....though it is difficult when it is your work to see something skewed by personal prejudice

especially when that prejudice isn't acknowledged by the writer

balanced reporting is a fiction, always has been, but our society is moving toward a more open view of sex and sexuality. Sometimes we just have to duck the spitwads thrown at us along the way and know that their aim is not only off but their chorus is losing members.

You are loved and supported by intelligent adults try not to pay too much attention to the junior high kids and their spitwads.

Feb. 12th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
Did they spell your name right?
Feb. 12th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
That sounds awful. =/
Feb. 12th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
Attitudes like that make people like you even more necessary.
Feb. 12th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I understand what you're saying, definitely. But I agree that for every person who thinks "ew!", there will be many, many more who find even this bad article and still have their minds opened by it.

You're doing good work. Don't let stupid people get you down!

(But damn, they are annoying!)
Feb. 13th, 2009 12:44 am (UTC)
I had something similar last year, where I gave a seminar on a field where I felt there wasn't enough work being done (teaching sustainability issues using virtual environments) and I was trying to raise an awareness of the problems so that they could be overcome. Later, I found an article by someone covering the conference who had completely missed my point, claiming that my seminar had "fallen apart". It hurt quite a bit.

I'd presented some material to set the scene and then led a question-and-answer session so that we could identify more of the issues and how we might address them. He'd taken it from the angle that the initial presentation part was all I'd prepared (sort of a "wow, neat, you can do stuff in Second Life" piece), and all the hard questions coming up without good answers were failures on my part.

Through talking in the comments section of the article (thank you, Internet) we managed to iron out our differences and it turned out that my seminar had already helped some students find material and ideas for further research, though. Sometimes even if you do have an upsetting miscommunication with someone, it can still have positive effects further down the line.

What you do makes a difference to so many people it's not funny, though. You spread and nurture knowledge, understanding, health, fun and joy in the world. Thank you for being out there and doing it :-)
Feb. 13th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
Something you could do is take this as a challenge, and write a response piece, perhaps op-ed style, and submit it to the publication, with your take on what the article should have communicated. Perhaps the editors would be intrigued enough to do it again, or maybe the author is willing to discuss and to write up a 2nd piece?

I dunno if either would work, but it might be the only way to try to reverse things.
Feb. 13th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
These kinds of attitudes are changing, but it can't and won't happen overnight. It's more an issue of a generation or two. But we need leaders and teachers like you to help it happen.

But there is hope. I noticed a difference between now and 10 years ago.
Feb. 13th, 2009 05:54 am (UTC)
In the online version of the article it's now 'Miss' Midori. Perhaps I should call them and let them know it's Mrs.


The Susie Bright interview suggestion is a good one. She lives in the neighborhood with Pure Pleasure.

It was a great class as always. Now get some sleep!!

Feb. 13th, 2009 07:59 am (UTC)
My Dad says not to worry about the things over which we have no control. Good advice... sometimes hard to follow.

Feb. 13th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)
For any new thing it takes years to happen. Gradually, the minority view becomes a more common alternative and eventually it becomes unremarkable and even boring. For example, once it was totally disgusting to live with a partner without marrying them. Now, it's boring and normal.

Unfortunately to get from there to here, people had to endure shit and social pressures to conform. In the early 80s when I was living in sin, many were outraged by that. Now, it's not of interest to anyone.

You're right out there on the vanguard, and that makes you a target. That sucks. But thank you, for doing this work, and for standing up to do it some more despite this stuff.

Feb. 13th, 2009 10:03 am (UTC)
If it's the article linked to at Metro Santa Cruz, honestly, I don't think you need to be concerned. Yes, it's a little bit tittering-schoolgirl, but it certainly doesn't paint you in a negative light. I think any perceived slant would be seen to be to be very much coming from the journalist, with her blushing, and I don't think it casts any doubts on your skills as a teacher (or the value that people get out of the classes).

...It even seems to me that you might have given her a bit of food for thought (perhaps when you got her to sit on the vibe!). And that your main messages were presented without too much obfuscation.

But more important to Midori than the list of tips and tricks is the fact that a room full of adults are giving themselves permission to speak frankly about their butts. "These are the ones I like to teach," Midori says later. "When I see they're participating and the light bulbs are going on."
The only thing that seems to surprise Midori is the persistence of this type of knee-jerk discomfort. "I am at times disappointed that very culturally sophisticated and well-educated people can still cling to old sexual mythology and bad information," she says. "I try to take the shame away. It's really no big deal. I would like people to take away fun, safe and real sexual information. That's what the presentation is all about."

I think most readers would definitely be able to engage with such considered and reasonable statements, even if the silly-giggling reporting style at times made them wonder a bit. All up, for a mass-market publication, I think it's pretty good, and will certainly interest more people than it puts off.
Feb. 17th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Education (in the most liberal sense of the term), much as is art, has been, is, and shall forever continue to be a highly politicized event. Those of us unfortunate to have work and works that encompass either one or both of the above are ceaselessly engaged in these conversations and subject to the venomous blatherings of those less educated though unfortunately with access to media just as freely as we. *sigh*, if only there were some sort of metric for those allowed permissions to publish - 'you must be this kinky to be able to write regarding Midori' or some such thing.

I am also a published author of erotica, and I frequently sit down to write with precisely the same idea in mind: I must do this in order to inform the masses. We must continue as a collective our respective projects because the rushing river of our intent will, in the end, win out over the rock face of their resistance.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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