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Bye Bye BaGG

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Don’t get me wrong. I was never standing in line to get into Bondage a Go-Go. Nor was I ever going early to get in cheap (if they even offer that). The last time I was there–years ago–the music sucked, the crowd was heteroppressive and boring, the drinks overpriced and the bondage weak. Very weak. I am happy they are able to continue to draw after all these years, entertaining wannabe weirdos and adventurous tourists for all these years. I didn’t really need a reason not to go there anymore, but the universe provides.

It has become necessary to have a theme to any gathering of like-minded souls these days. It’s not enough to all be queer, or kinky, or goth even. It’s like we want to find new ways to exclude and narrow the window of possible participants to make an evening even more relevant for the 16 people that maybe show up. I guess in this case, there were hundreds of poor, Hawaiian/White revelers who wanted to attend the last White Trash Luau night at BaGG. Their holiday party plans were destroyed by a party-pooping POC who found the event offensive. You decide:

 

“On Wednesday the 21st, we revel in all that is cherished in Low-brow culture. Domestic beer. Bad Teeth. Cage Fighters & Teen Moms. This is the one night at BGG that you can bust out your bowling shirt, sweats and dress for (a complete lack of) success!
You can enjoy a (non) gourmet buffet of hot dogs, macaroni and cheese & jello from 11 – 12, then find a place close to the stage for the Gothic Bikini Contest at Midnight!”

(Source: magazine.goodvibes.com (http://s.tt/14XxN))

Seems fine, right? Except for the part about the “gothic bikini contest” which specified that all the contestants had to be white! The worst part of it all, yes, beyond the crass cultural appropriation of our Hawaiian neighbors, or the snide hostility towards the poor during the worst economic depressions we have yet seen, besides the lazy lack of creativity, the sloppy racism, the casual classism, the acidic attitude, worst of all is the way our ‘sex-positive kink community’ has responded to a legitimate complaint from a presumably respected member. She speaks out with grace and clarity about how being excluded from the contest makes her feel like shit. She rejects the requirement that only the most “melanin-starved, pallid” ladies need apply. She attacks the ad, not the people who wrote it. You decide:

“To the powers that be at BAGG: Please just apologize. We’ve had a lot of fun at BAGG over the years, and we’d like to be able to have fun there again knowing that our community values who we are as much as we value our community. I know most people who go to BAGG have no bad intentions, but this really hurts the level of comfort and safety for a lot more people than will ever speak up about it. PLEASE just acknowledge that there has been an accident/incident, that perhaps the concept and wording of the event needs to be revisited and perhaps revised, and apologize.”

(Source: magazine.goodvibes.com (http://s.tt/14XxN))

Seems fine, right? Except for the fact that she assumed intelligence on the part of the readers! What does a calm and reasoned approach get you among idiots? Comment after endless snarky comment on Fetlife about how she needs to get over herself, get over it, stop ruining the good times, stop whining… PC this and PC that, with a few beautiful, rare and dazzling intelligent exceptions, as usual. NOT the norm. Then of course after the conversation will not die, apologies. Disingenuous, well-worded apologies that meant nothing begin to come out, only to be reversed by a slap in the face ‘reworking’ of the event, that was stunningly more offensive than the first one! You decide:

Please join your Freak Family for a polite gathering of the gender neutral “People of the World!

Dress code is “Caucasian Casual” ** this one night only. T-shirts, flip-flops, sweats, white tennis shoes, Ambercrombie & Fitch, turquoise eye-shadow, – make it absolutely Hideous!

“Caucasian Casual” applies to all Persons of color

Take a picture with the Holiday Neutral Character “Satan Claws” from 10 – 11.

Feast on our hot dog/macaroni & cheese buffet from 11-12. Nice and bland!

Sexy Sweater contest. $100 for the most alluring Holiday sweater (no pants or skirt – contestants just wear shoes & a sweater). All genders are allowed to compete (though this is really an exhibition, not a contest because we are all winners!).

When you are done with the vanilla, strip down to the dungeon, dance til 2:30 and show your true colors!

I am Bondage A Go Go & I approved this message.

Wednesday Nights
21 and up, you little Slut! (ID required)”

(Source: magazine.goodvibes.com (http://s.tt/14XxN))

 Seems fine, right? NO! Fucking bullshit! Dripping with sarcasm and punched through with a middle finger at those who would demand they be accountable to the public whose money they are taking. How dare they even suggest that “Caucasian Casual” might apply to everyone?!!?!?! I mean come on, I know that privilege and racism is never an easy thing to talk about, deal with, and admit to, especially in a public venue. I think BaGG was/is in a very difficult situation. The options they had for handling this better are numerous and if they had consulted me I would have at least put the fire out. Now, boycotts are being called, people are taking sides in a sad little sub of a sub-culture. They can’t be making that much money, even though it’s been going on for some time. Seems like a labor of love, so to speak, for a few rich white dudes. Well, the ‘community’ has really shown it’s “true colors” this time. Some jewels from Fetlife:

“…wonder why white men keep getting told to just shut up and listen? Don’t ‘they’ realize I have answers for POC about what they should be thinking about and focusing on to combat racism?”

“Why can’t people understand the meaning of “tongue in cheek”.. better yet.. if you find it offensive.. tune it out.. like cable TV.. Geezus christ.. morality schmorality.. lets all hump!”

“…we in our community has started needing to find fault with things, and honestly it accomplishes nothing but deviding the community and degrading things that are fun or even beneficial to the community.”

Here’s my fave: “Every time someone uses “politically correct” as a pejorative, Rush Limbaugh gets a stiffy. It’s a right wing propaganda term. Cut it out.”

“I’ll bet if there was an event called “Ebony” offering a cash prize for the “Greatest example of Nubian beauty” none of the people who all all offended by the White Trash Luau would see anything racist about it.
We are all Americans and as such, are supposed to be able to enjoy certain things. One of them is the presumption of innocence and good intent, regardless of race, religion, etc.”

“Its a club People. Its Your club, but still a club. Lighten up and eat some hot dogs in a hokey get up tonight on Santa’s lap.”

“Some folks need to learn to lighten up and others need to let the club be what it’s going to be.”

 

Of all the rants and comments cloaked in anonymity and snuggled in the safety of snarkism, one shined out for me, a tiny light that lets me know even though this town is full of wily characters, there is a special person i want to know just around the corner. You decide:

“White privilege (google the work of Robert Jensen)–the original advertisement doesn’t read as being racist if the ruler being used is James Bird, Amadou Diallo, state sanctioned Jim Crow, KKK, racial inferiority discourse style racism. But, as you are aware, racism in 2012 is far more subtle and insidious. When we see instances of explicit racism attached to hate crimes (burning crosses, lynching, shooting) everyone knows it. What many of those endowed with white privilege don’t see is the effect of micro-racisms on the level of everyday words and actions. They refuse to understand why this particular BaGG advertisement could be perceived as racist to those who are not “melanin deprived,” and “pallid,”… how there is an entire history of white beauty standards and codes of inclusion that lurk beneath the phrases “this is tradition” and “if you don’t like it go somewhere else” (these are, incidentally, the same arguments used by proponents of flying the Confederate flag in public view or playing Dixie at publicly funded events). The grievances that people of color bring are shot down as being a “difference of opinion,” “taking things too seriously,” “being too sensitive,” or “playing the race card”–they’re meant to discredit grievances rather than listening to them. Privilege enters into the picture because, in this instance, people who identify as explicitly invited to a “white trash party” imagine themselves in a position where they can judge POC grievances and dismiss them, when in fact, they are not objective arbiters of racist language and actions. In the end, they can just blame POC for diminishing the value of their nightclub fun with their frivolous desires to realize social justice. In the end, it’s an exercise of power not to have to be concerned with how words and actions have an effect beyond the person who decides they’re not racist.”

 

Let yr freak flag fly. Time to start a new club! Like 10 years ago.

Hina @ January 4, 2012

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