Friday, May 22, 2009
My Ethics, Chopped to Smithereens (PICS)
I couldn't resist looking at the beautiful man-body chopping wood next door so I did something I think (I thought?) is really, REALLY wrong: I took sneaky pictures of him without his knowledge or consent. And now I'm doing something even MORE wrong: I'm posting one of them here:
He's not our neighbor, he just delivers and chops wood for our neighbor. And I HAVE to watch him do it, because the guy is incredibly beautiful. Not his face, just his whole old-fashioned working-man's body with that wedge-hourglass shape. The thick pants with the shiny metal details, the gloves, the white tank top, the cap, the scraggly mullet and those pale muscles built up in the shade and from working outside when it's raining, because it rains all the time where he works. He's like an 80's version of the guys in old propaganda posters like these:
I have always been in love with watching men do physical labor. Even though I felt sort of dreadful about it, I was compelled to run and get the camera. I stood in the kitchen and snapped a few pictures where he could have turned around and seen me. But before that happened, I ran into the bedroom and took pictures of him through the crack between two panels in our shoji screen so he couldn't catch me watching him through the magnifying lens of our camera. My desire to capture his image forever outweighed the voice in my head reminding me I was doing something wrong. Something I've seen/heard of other people (men) doing that sickened me, but that memory didn't stop me from doing it myself.
You shouldn't spend time on fetish-oriented forums online if non-consensual voyeuristic photography (and other stuff) bothers you. You'll find out things that you just don't want to know and see things you weren't meant to see. Like pictures of used maxi pads guys steal out of public restrooms or photos a foot fetishist surreptitiously took of his neighbor's niece's bare feet while their family unwittingly enjoyed a barbecue in their driveway. The woman was probably in her twenties and the guy who took and shared the pictures described his sneaky method for capturing them and the type of camera and settings he used and how he managed to not get caught.
The freaky part is the way these people usually don't even acknowledge the line they're crossing, or worse, act like they're ENTITLED to snagging these things that belong to other people. Of course, half the time someone with common sense will challenge these people or point out the err of their ways, but most people don't bother to post any opposition, instead just showing their appreciation for what the voyeur-thief has "created"/salvaged for the members of the board. Or they will critique the spoils, like the guy who complained that the neighbor chick with the bare feet was so fat, how in the world could the spy-photographer possibly think anyone would be interested in seeing her or be aroused by her himself? So not only is this woman with the arched foot and a BBQ rib in her mouth being displayed on the internet without her knowledge or consent, she's ALSO having her weight criticized. AWESOME, right?
I pretend that I'm not quite as bad as these sociopaths because I know what I'm doing is wrong. But I guess that actually makes me worse because I know it's wrong and I'm doing it anyway (and those guys on the forums might know it's wrong too, they just don't waste time making a big show of acting guilty about it the way I am in all of my gross hypocrisy).
I can pretend I'm conducting an experiment or research. That I'm a writer
. That the end result of provoking thought about these important issues of privacy, consent, and all SORTS of interesting things is worth the negligible or nonexistent "damage" I'm doing. And after all, it's a really REALLY grey area, right? I mean, how many people would even think me taking and posting the picture of the axe man is wrong if I didn't tell you that *I* think it's (maybe) wrong? And this isn't really a blog entry about that guy, it's about me or the collective us and the image is actually a snapshot of me -- the voyeur -- and my thoughts, not him. It's entirely possible to intellectualize it that way. He could be anybody. You can't see his face. No one will ever know who he is. Probably not, anyway.
And would he care if people DID know? Maybe he'd WANT to be credited and known far and wide as The Woodsman Who Got Trixie Hot. Of course, that brings me back to the obvious trespass of not asking for his permission to photograph him in the first place, but speaking of consequences, *I* certainly don't want to pay them. I don't want *him* to know he was chopping wood next to TASTYTRIXIE and therefore knows about our websites and where I live and can tell everyone how to find me (I'd have to tell him about our sites in order for him to give INFORMED consent, though that disclosure would be out of ethical, not legal obligation; you don't have to specify where or when something will published on a consent form, just that you as the photographer have all rights to the photos which legally you don't REALLY need to do anyway since in our country the photographer automatically owns the photos, not the model). I don't want to tell a big strong stranger with an axe and a cock that he gives me a boner and I want to take pictures of him -- LOTS of pictures. Well, I do sort of want to tell him that, but I know it's not such a good idea/could cause problems. He might be weird or scary or even if he isn't, then our neighbor (a decent neighbor, not our scary neighbor) would know about us and that would make everyone on the block uncomfortable. Most of all us.
If it were my actual neighbor out there making me hot chopping wood, I wouldn't have taken the pictures. Because that would be violating the good neighbor code of pretending each other doesn't exist. And I certainly wouldn't take pictures of his young daughter! Even if it were to record how she trespasses on OUR property, walking just three feet past me sitting in our window
. Well, maybe I would (for proof of trespass only!), but I wouldn't post them on the internet. But maybe only because I'm a pornographer and could get in trouble for it just by virtue of that fact.
When I pondered these things aloud to Delia
, she doubted my assertion that if it were a woman out there, hanging laundry or washing a car, I totally wouldn't have taken the pictures. She's probably right. After all, I took this picture (without her knowledge/consent) of a hot redhead fishing because she had a really great ass:
It's the kind of picture you can get away with taking in public and even sell prints of in local galleries that don't have any artistic standards. It's the kind of picture no one (except other wankers) would bat an eye at as long as you keep up the appearance of it being completely innocent. Even though I know that I took it purely out of sexual/sensual interest. And I know that any straight man with a camera would have taken it for exactly the same reason (or to prove to himself that he wasn't) whether he would admit it or not, and there are tens of thousands of men with cameras with hobbies or professions doing exactly that. I know a lot of people who take completely g-rated innocent-looking pictures and jack off to them later even if they didn't intend to when they snapped them.
Part of me feels justified in posting this because there are so many writers and artists and reporters and network television stations getting away with doing so much worse with absolutely no compunction. It's only people like me who openly call ourselves pornographers who are recognized for exploiting and objectifying others even though we play be much stricter rules and are faced with much harsher penalties for violating them than any other industry would be. But that train of thought is just another diversion from asking myself how *I* would feel if my neighbor were peeping through a crack in the blinds taking pictures of ME doing yardwork or thinking he's not home when I sunbathe naked on our deck when actually he's hidden behind a tree and rubbing his crotch against its bark. Of course, I'd feel totally different about it if I had a teenage son or daughter being spied on. But the guy chopping wood is clearly an adult. And he wasn't sunbathing naked. And again, I don't think I'd care if my neighbor secretly stood in his kitchen taking pictures of me as I walk around OUR kitchen at night topless (which I do sometimes with the blinds open, not because I'm an exhibitionist but because I just don't care) as long as he didn't hang them in the post office with our address printed on them or something.
Meh. Now that I think about it, I really don't care. As long as someone stays on their own property (not sneaking onto mine or a stranger actually stalking into the neighborhood to spy on us or putting on an obscene display of masturbating and shooting cum into our yard) and is only taking pictures of what I do outside or with the windows open then who cares. It's kind of fucked up, but not a huge deal. It's not like I'm lying in wait every day, conducting surveillance on everything that our neighbors and their visitors do.
After completely overthinking this, I absolve myself from guilt. It's harmless and legal. But I guess if I give myself permission to be an opportunistic voyeur-perv-photographer that means I have to stop being shocked and offended by other people who do the same thing. I'm reluctant to do that.
Here's a couple with a sleeping bag and no picnic basket that I shot entirely because I knew they were setting out to lie down together and *do things*:
If I hadn't admitted that and had posted the picture somewhere else, like on a stock photo site using woman-approved keywords like "young love" and "spring romance" (and cropped out our cracked windshield & wipers giving away that I'm like a dirty old man doing a drive-by) it would probably be perceived in a totally different way. It would just be a bad snapshot. But because of who I am and what my site is and my confession that I'm a voyeuristic pervert who sees sexual potential everywhere, it seems more DIRTY and exploitative than it really is. What if a local television station were doing one of those weather "stories" about how people were still going to the beach even though it's overcast, and those two lovebirds were in the background? Would the station be committing an evil deed? If not, why does it seem so evil when I do it and admit that I see erotic potential? And why would it seem so much grosser and more evil if I were a man instead of a woman?
Speaking of double standards and being a horny woman, check out this post by Goddess Glory where she describes her friend getting mad at her for drooling over a waitress's ass
". . . my mind was completely focused on fantasizing bout our waitress' beautifully ginormous ass sitting on my face, cutting off my air supply."
Labels: confessions, ethics, fetishes, gender issues, neighbors, PHOTOS, privacy, sexual consent, TURN ONS, values, voyeurism, wankers
Sunday, April 27, 2008
My Hot Social Life
Attending our county convention yesterday as an Obama delegate counted as my social event for 2008; so what if I only struck up conversations with three people? That's more action than this hermit usually sees.
Because socializing both bores and overwhelms me, I love getting my social time doing things with an agenda where there are rules guiding behavior and people in charge of reinforcing those rules. Parliamentary procedure definitely fills that need, and the lady I complained about here
did an awesome job of keeping people in line, pushing them closer to the microphones, speaking coherently and just being generally awesome. She only used one acronym demanding clarification from an audience member which she explained without apology; you've no idea how much I admire that in a woman. While the acronym thing bugs me, I love her unapologetic down-to-business attitude.
It was both a relief and a disappointment discovering that the next caucus happens at the same time we'll be attending the transgender conference where we're on a panel so I couldn't even try to get elected to move on; you wouldn't believe how many people couldn't grasp the concept of a thirty second speech, couldn't keep their name tags swiveled around so people could see their names, and didn't even understand why the timekeeper was waving her arms at them after they'd been droning on in a disorganized fashion for upwards of 90 seconds!
Anyway, it was fun being surrounded by liberal people getting a charge out of showing off their familiarity with Robert's Rules of Order. I loved every minute of it, including the annoying parts/people. The Kucinich fanatics even made wonderful hyper-idealistic points and invited us to join in their futile, counterproductive bid to send as many "undecided" delegates on as possible. It was inspiring, it really was; in addition to preferring structured social events, I also like people-time that has an inspirational and/or change-making purpose, so I loved being in a crowd of people who are all excited about the positive changes our next president can bring and empowered to be part of that.
I wound up bonding with a lady who of course asked me what I do for a living. As usual, I first responded with the deliberately vague "webmaster". With her lovely shining smile she probed deeper, asking, "so what does that mean exactly?"
I liked her and felt like she was a relaxed person, so I told her; "I make porn sites."
Her smile stayed on, bright white and wide and her eyebrows perked up naughtily while she asked me to repeat myself. I laughed and teased her, "you heard me: PORN!"
She loved it, responded with fascinating disclosures about herself, and thanked me for making her day.
Labels: accomplishments, Barack Obama, confessions, inspiration, neighbors, Pacific Northwest, politics, relationships, storytelling
Sunday, February 10, 2008
If you're looking for good spontaneous conversation, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAN WITH THE TOOTHPICK. He's a conversationalist. You will know his interest in your conversation was reciprocated if, at the end of the conversation, he tosses
away the toothpick. If he THROWS the toothpick and says, "aw, to HELL with you" while he walks away then it means you've found a debate partner for life.
I say all this after we walked home from our precinct caucus yesterday and had the best roadside political conversation with a guy with a toothpick and silver braid, wearing a Carhartt jacket over a Harley t-shirt. He stopped us as he got out of his pickup to ask what the caucus was like.
It was interesting. It's only the second time we've attended one, but today's was MUCH more exciting since there seemed to be more Democrats with some fucking common sense (last time the hyper-idealistic simpletons all threw their shit away on Kucinich; those folks were still there yesterday, I kid you not, providing the dictionary illustration for the word "futility"). Judging from what we saw in our precinct and the one next to us, Obama had a huge lead over Clinton in our town (and of course the entire state of Washington).
and I felt sad that now that we HAVE to vote by mail, the caucus is really our only opportunity to gather together with other voters en masse to publicly participate in the process. Oh, I know there are other opportunities to get together and be all civic-minded, but those are usually just a handful of people with very specific interests. It's just not the same and now they're trying to get rid of THIS, too, and simplify things with a regular primary. I know voting by mail is cool because it's so easy and convenient (and a way to avoid the nightmare of electronic voting machines), it's just sad that we lose the sense of doing it socially as a community, and in some cases as a nation. Voting seems like even more of a farce by mail. It leaves me feeling disenfranchised as a citizen. It's like using the free address labels The March of Dimes sends you without bothering to send them a donation. If I don't have to leave my house and mill around with strangers in a location I would never otherwise visit I might as well be voting for American Idol; devoid of the common ritual, the process feels trivialized. Actually, voting for American Idol probably feels LESS trivial because at least people have a limited window of time to cast their votes (so are voting TOGETHER) and enjoying the ritual of tuning in next time to see the results.
All we have left is going to see fireworks together or sports in a stadium, and that's just not the same because we attend games and fireworks displays and concerts as observers, not participants. I suppose we still have rallies and parades and protests to participate in, but that's almost TOO much participation. Besides, for all of the work people put into it, there's no official record of what you've done unless you get arrested or win a trophy and nobody in the general population cares about the outcome regardless. I would say at least we still have the pledge of allegiance and singing the national anthem together, but nobody except conservative automatons seem to appreciate the bliss of joining into rituals of mass brainwashing the way I do. Oh well. I suppose there's always traffic court.
Since socializing is not a high priority for me and I tend to enjoy it more in structured environments, losing the opportunity to vote the old-fashioned way is a pretty big blow to my human experience. I loved sitting in the bleachers yesterday with strangers chuckling and criticizing our disorganized party, laughing as they moved their lips unintelligibly with their predictable head-in-the-clouds lack of awareness that nobody could hear their brainy soft-spoken voices while the rest of us in our typical passive Democratic style failed to speak up and point out that WE COULDN'T HEAR THEM. If we'd been Republicans, someone would have immediately stood up and cupped her hand around her ear or made the "up! up!" motion or screamed, "LOUDER!" Those gentle hippies, our brethren. How I wished we could import some of the audible obnoxiousness of our enemies, the loud-mouthed Republicans who know how to ORGANIZE an event and properly strategize.
At some point I realized it might be easy to become a delegate to the county convention, so we stuck around for me to push through the small cluster of other hopefuls and sign up to go. I felt a little cheated that it was all left up to chance (whichever people grabbed a paper and signed up first are going, apparently) instead of competition. I imagined if I were a Republican I would have had to FIGHT with some fat-ass in a red sweatshirt to EARN my spot. That would have been more fun. Perhaps the competition will be stiffer to move from county to the district caucus, though.
I am picking out outfits now, plotting an escalation of attractiveness to try to get to the state convention. If my sordid porn career prevents moving that far along I can console myself with the knowledge that at least I won't have to go to Spokane in
June, which is a nasty hellhole.
Labels: Barack Obama, confessions, goals, neighbors, politics, relationships, ritual, sociopolitical commentary, values
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Homesick for my Hometown
Most people would say the small town where I grow up is one of those safe, cozy, little enclaves of cow pastured country-living. They would be surprised that six people could be murdered there day-before-yesterday on Christmas Eve
I'm not surprised at all. I never felt like my town was safe, in fact I always felt LESS safe there than I have in any of the places I've lived since, including crime-riddled areas of Tacoma. I've no idea why people would imagine that a small town is somehow immune to this stuff, particularly when it's family-style stuff. Why would a girl's boyfriend be less likely to kill her whole family in a small town than in a big city? Somehow it seems MORE likely in a small town, but that's just my own personal feeling about it.
The weird part of it is that when I look at those pictures in the slideshow accompanying the article on the murders, I actually feel homesick. Not in the sense that I wish I still lived there, but sick with recognition and the knowledge that no other landscape or location will ever feel or look or smell like home to me the way that does. I look at those pictures and know "that is where I am FROM". My roots are literally two towns away from Twin Peaks
It's not that I was afraid of being randomly murdered there, it's that there seemed to be a disproportionate amount of violence so that everyone seemed infected by it without acknowledging they were carriers. You know the faces of really mean people in a small town and you know that if one or two of them decide to hate you, you aren't ever going to be able to hide or get lost in a crowd. On top of that, my entire childhood and teenage life was filled with current news of our famous neighbors, Ted Bundy and the Green River Killer; it's like we were constantly driving through and swimming with their victims' ghosts.
Long story short? Violent crime doesn't surprise me; it's too much a part of the local lore I grew up on. Woods were never just woods to me, they were always potential dumping grounds and they were EVERYWHERE.
If you're wondering whether or not I knew the victims, the answer is "no". No doubt I'd recognize the post office lady (and I'm sure my mom does know her) but none of them are family friends or anything.Thanks for the heads-up on this story, Birdman.
Update: Here's another clue as to why I don't think small-town life is safe; in this more-recent article
(or maybe they just updated the old one since it's the same link I posted before) that describes more of the possible motive we also find out that the cops were too unconcerned to bother with the locked gate after a 911 call:
A 911 call was actually placed from the house at about 5:15 p.m. Monday, around the time of the killing. But responding deputies investigating the hang-up call apparently turned back after finding the gate at the home locked, according to Sheriff's Office reports . . . . The emergency operator who took the call heard yelling in the background, but no voices.
"Heard a lot of yelling in the background," wrote the call taker in a note to a dispatcher. "Sounded more like party noise than angry heated arguing."
The first two patrol cars available were dispatched to the property minutes later, and the operator made two calls to the residence but the phone went to voice mail each time, Urquhart said. Both responding deputies arrived at the scene at about 5:45 p.m. only to find that a locked gate prevented them from accessing the property.
What the fuck? It wasn't an armed fortress with a motherfucking moat. Having had our own experiences with lackadaisical cops I have to say that I don't have the utmost faith in their ability to save the day. What the fuck more do you need to have than a 911 call during the holidays to get your ass out of your patrol car and walk onto the property? I guess it wouldn't have changed a whole lot in this case, but whatever. It's not the kind of action that breeds a strong sense of security in a community. On top of it taking a long time for the county cops to get to places outside city limits you have to wonder what they'll do once they finally arrive.
Labels: memories, neighbors, news, Pacific Northwest, true crime
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Due to disturbing problems with our neighbors we're giving serious consideration to moving, if not now then when the weather warms up. The trouble is we LOVE where we live. We just don't love that our neighbors live here, too.
That's our backyard. It looks like there are no neighbors, right? And there aren't, at least not on that side. That is the south side, the sunny side, the side that warms our souls. But turn the other direction to look north and you've got the dark side, the shady side . . . the side adorned with decaying mattresses and dramatized by domestic violence.
Growing up on the once-rural eastside of Seattle I was steeped in overcast dampness and have always loved mossy shadows, rain, and all of the other things people think are dark and depressing. Though I still live in Washington at a point still considered near Seattle, we live in a micro-climate that suffers from very little cloud cover. Some people call it The Blue Hole.
After five years of living here I'm finally getting addicted to the sun. This is the third house we've lived in together here, but it's the first with really phenomenal southern exposure coupled with huge south-facing windows. Though it's colder here than where I grew up, it's hardly ever gloomy and is often sunny.
This might be the first year of my life when I've really felt gloomy about the days getting depressingly shorter so I am *loathe* to leave this house with its vacation-room, a room with a wall of window heated by southern sunshine. November, December, January, February -- it actually gets HOT during daylight hours in this room during these months without even turning on the baseboard. It's like magic, totally defying everything I grew up knowing about Western Washington. I can go there for an hour a day to sunbathe in brilliant light and lazily read summertime fiction; it has a holodeck quality that I just can't give up, even if it means staying next door to a volatile woman and her abusive convict boyfriend.
Maybe when the days start getting longer again I'll be able to say goodbye to the stunningly perfect location and southern light we have here, but I've been so spoiled by it that the concept of "southern exposure" as a desirable real estate characteristic is no longer just something to wishlist, it's become a necessity. I don't know if I can ever live without it again so long as we stay in the Pacific Northwest.
I'd love to rant in more specific detail about our neighbors, but it's been so exhausting dealing with them that I've not wanted to rehash it in blog form. Yet. Someday? Hope so.
Those of you who hate the automated loudtwitter posts? I am going to take them off and stop having them post here. Feel free to comment more if you have thoughts about the whole twitter phenom or preferences about how/where I use it.
Labels: announcements, mundane, neighbors, Pacific Northwest, PHOTOS, Seattle