July 18, 2009

The Land Of Trekkies

Star Trek is one of the most popular science-fiction series of all time. Captain Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew of the star ship Enterprise are now amassing their second generation of fans. It is rare to see a series cross generational lines but this one managed to do so. The power that Star Trek wields is massive even though 40 years has passed since it debuted.

Over the years, Star Trek fans created their own identity. Known as "Trekkies", these fans started to put together conventions that celebrate their esteemed television program. Every year people gather at these gatherings to interact with others who share a similar mindset.

Naturally, most people keep the idea of Star Trek in it's proper perspective. It is a television program. The attendees at the conventions range from those who are ardent fans to those who take it a little too far. Some go as far as to learn the Klingon language. Sadly, many displace their fantasy of this sci-fi world for reality.

Why do I bring this point up? Over the last few months, I spent considerable time trying to contrast online versus real time. This example shows how some can take something that is a fantasy and center their life around it. We consider it absurd when we are referring to Star Trek. Yet, few seem to argue the same absurdity when applied to BDSM.

In the 1970s a series of books were written by John Norman. He created a mythical planet that he called "Gor". This planet paralleled life on Earth. On Gor, slavery was an acceptable way of life. It involved a series of rigorous rituals at every aspect of one's day. In short, the life of a Gorean slave was difficult.

Over the years, this lifestyle became glamorized. Like Trekkies, most take it with a grain of salt. Sadly, many take it to an unacceptable extreme. They believe that this is how real life should be.

The Internet allowed for a massive explosion of all kinds of alternative lifestyle. With the anonymity of this medium, people are able to express views about things they wouldn't otherwise be able to. This allowed some of the sub-cultures to move more towards mainstream. The BDSM community certainly was one that benefited from this medium.

Of course, this allowed for the spread of a lot of misinformation. The M/s lifestyle is one of the more extreme aspects of BDSM. It has been around for decades so the life is nothing new. Yet the Internet allowed the establishment of online communities all sharing the same mindset. This is where Gorean got a major kick. Today, chatrooms are full of people professing to live life according to the precepts on Gor. Sadly, most are like the Trekkies learning Klingon; they are disconnected from reality.

Gorean is primarily an online methodology. Very little of the lifestyle has to do with real life. One could certainly argue the philosophy is applicable and can be implemented. I would buy that argument. However, living life according to the rules John Norman set down in his books is not. Gorean just doesn't translate into a free society. Anyone who lives according to those rituals in a normal society would end up having the law called. It is a simple fact that slavery is illegal in most Western cultures. Gorean would alarm more than a few family members.

M/s is a wonderful and acceptable way of life for those who are capable of handling it. This way of life is not for everyone. Many think they are up to the challenge of submission only to find that they fail miserably. The "romance" depicted online is quickly lost in real time. For every scene that is played out, there are countless chores such as cleaning toilets, sweeping floors, and mowing yards. This is overlooked by the online community.

My beef with what is occurring today online is that it is an inaccurate portrayal of reality. For the most part, the "people" (many will say their friends) are nothing more than characters on a screen. They are a username and an assumed persona. That is all. Until there is some human interaction, there is no relationship. I have seen more than one seduced by the allure of a "Master" only to find that he is not real. Invariably, he will pull a disappearing act when it is time to meet. Just another jerk getting his rocks off online while the wife is asleep upstairs.

Remember this idea the next time you enter one of the chatrooms. I bet if you Googled "Star Trek Chatrooms" you will find a variety of people who adopted the Klingon life as their own. These people are ready for the loony bin. I am becoming convinced that those who claim to be Gorean are not far behind.

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