Op/Ed: Tortured Thoughts

by Jessica Holyoke on 31/07/08 at 11:04 pm

by Jessica Holyoke, Gorean kajira

Torture has been on my mind lately, not only due to my Gorean excursions, but also in real life as well.

Back in June, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was on the U.S. news magazine show "60 Minutes."  He was asked why is the U.S. government allowed to torture….I mean, use high end interrogation, in light of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment." Justice Scalia’s response was that torture was not punishment.  He did not go into it much more than that.

Justice Scalia’s views usually match a line of thought that says the Executive, in our case the President, can do no illegal act.  But when you look at torture, it is an illegal act.  Not just due to international convention, but rather due to the fact that it has been determined over centuries that a person has a right to bodily integrity and there is a prohibition against battery.  So in looking at torture as a government policy, you also have to look at what gives the government the right to do so.

This of course leads back to the question of the Chinese dissident and the corporate position.  My position on that is the Chinese dissident is one question, one part of the problem.  A policy of torture, or a policy of suppression of speech of any form, is wrong. What a corporation does about it is another question, a different problem.  Did anyone notice that international journalists are not getting unfettered internet access in Beijing and the IOC knows about that?

I hate watching torture in the media.  I did not enjoy the scene in Casino Royale (2006) where Daniel Craig was being tortured, even though he is a handsome nude man.  And I noticed other incidences where torture scenes really bother me.  This is one reason why I have never seen any of the Saw or Hostel movies.

But this brings me to Second Life.  I take part in Gor in SL as a kajira and a few months back, my pregnant in SL Mistress was attacked by a Gor-craft type player.

There are different factions in Gor, something that will be talked more about later.  For now, Gor-craft are the players who just like to shoot at people and are not into the role play.  But, as my Mistress was pregnant, everyone in the camp where we were at came out and helped capture this guy.  In Gorean terms, now came the role play, which in this case means punishment or torture, so the attacker was dragged to the dungeon.  Sometimes, when someone fights and gets captured, that means here comes the sex, usually between panther girls and warriors.

Because the attacker hurt someone that I cared about, and while she was pregnant, though not, I begged permission to mess this guy up.  And I did. I came up with some really bad things to do to him.  The worst being taking a hot poker to his perineum.  But the thing was, I wanted to find a way to punish this guy, even though as I looking back on it, my writing was not doing anything to him.  The same amount of nothing that killing, which is what ended up happening to him, or banning him would do.

So the basic thesis is this, are people who torture doing it out of a sense of desperation?  Not knowing where the next attack will come from, trying to maintain their current lives or just wanting to protect the ones you love?  And have we as a people in real life gotten to that point yet? 

10 Responses to “Op/Ed: Tortured Thoughts”

  1. LouLou Loring

    Aug 1st, 2008

    You Goreans are just plain sick – nuff said!

  2. D.B.

    Aug 1st, 2008

    “And have we as a people in real life gotten to that point yet?”

    You answered that already, talking about the American and Chinese government’s misdeeds.

  3. Sigmund Leominster

    Aug 1st, 2008

    I think the reason people torture others is that they enjoy it. It’s comforting to believe that our 21st century morals and mores keep us “above the fray” and that inflicting pain on another human being is barbaric and primitive. But a daily glance through the RL press will reveal the extent of human cruelty in all its glory. Only yesterday CNN reported how a bus passenger on a Greyhound in Canada stabbed the man next to him and then cut his head off. This is not some far-away country in the heat of war but a dude on a bus.

    The thin veneer of civilization doesn’t need an electric sander to be removed – just an opportunity. In “Thoughts for the Times,” Freud pointed out that “In reality our fellow-citizens have not sunk so low as we feared, because they had never risen so high as we believed.” For some, Second Life gives them the opportunity to act out graphically their cruel selves and much time can be wasted discussing motives and morals, when all you need to realize is they do it because they CAN and because they WANT to.

    Revenge is not only a dish best served cold but also dangerously delicious. We just pretend we don’t enjoy it.

  4. The Anti-Gorean

    Aug 2nd, 2008

    It is amusing to hear someone who plays in Gor talk about torture as if it is “bad”. Goreans by and large are the worst dregs of RL society anyway, acting out their sick misogynistic male power-trip fantasies in SL.

    Sigmund said “For some, Second Life gives them the opportunity to act out graphically their cruel selves and much time can be wasted discussing motives and morals, when all you need to realize is they do it because they CAN and because they WANT to.”

    That is Goreans described pretty well, imo!

  5. Sen

    Aug 2nd, 2008

    Most thought-provoking piece we’ve seen in the SLH for a while. More please!

  6. Sarah

    Aug 2nd, 2008


    Any points you were trying to make are lost in just plain bad writing.


  7. mootykips

    Aug 2nd, 2008

    i too make all my judgements about ethics, morality, justice, and cruelty by evaluating them in the context of a sex game

  8. Obscure Doodad

    Aug 4th, 2008

    The Scalia response was deeper than you apparently grasped. The cruel and unusual punishment prohibition of the US Constitution extends to people within the jurisdiction of the US civilian court system.

    A battlefield does not fall into that category.

    If it did the US would be prohibited from defending itself with bombs, guns, knives, ships, fighter aircraft, mortars, howitzers, submarines, missiles or anything else that does kills the enemy and is not lethal injection — or whatever other means of capital punishment deemed neither cruel or unusual.

    Thus, Scalia was accurate. It is not punishment. Punishment in the context of the US legal system is defined as a sentence imposed by the US civilian court system. Clearly torture is not punishment by that clear definition.

    Prohibitions of torture by the US military are defined in military regulations and not within the auspices of the civilian court system. The extent and constraints on actions that can be taken as part of interrogation and defined and authorized, or not, by those regulations, which are always subject to change.

  9. Rock Ramona

    Aug 4th, 2008

    ummmmmm,ya know,if you want people to think you are a big thinker and have your opinion taken seriously by intellectuals,,,dont tell them you live in the world of gor…just somethin to think about

  10. Eilithyia Illios

    Jan 22nd, 2009

    In SL I play a Gorean, and hence I’m rather disenchanted with all the comments that paint up Goreans as sick, perverted or worse: deficient in RL. In RL I hold a graduate degree in comparative religions and ethology. I teach part time, have a fabulous relationship, loving family, I am attractive, and enjoy my involvement with political advocacy in hope of creating a more progressive world.

    So what is someone like me doing in Gor? Frankly: I appreciate what it is Norman (the author of the Gorean series and philosopher) was attempting to convey: a fantasy immersed in biologicalism and traditional gender roles. In modern society women are pressured to do something which I consider really “sick” and “preverse”: be utter pack mules. If we are stay at home moms we are “lazy” and not intelligent enough to be considered part of the working world. If we show submissive traits to the alpha male in our life we are considered “weak” and “dumb”. Men of course have the same issues with gender roles. Prior to the sexual revolutions in the western world men took honor from being good providers and protectors. But with the advancement of feminism the work force has been flooded, driving down wages, fracturing the nuclear family with a single provider. The classical gender roles of strong men and nurturing women are all but over: kids shuffled into day cares and elderly to nursing homes. We have managed, in our contemporary “ethics” to eliminate the characteristics which nature implanted to create a synergetic relationship.

    So I enjoy for a few fleeting hours to give myself up to traditional roles in my SL time. I enjoy observing the characteristics of an alpha man. I enjoy not hearing a woman is “weak” if she chooses to dote on someone’s needs. I enjoy witnessing men trying on those old ideas of honor, strength, courage and ownership. I enjoy watching my fellow women indulge their desires to be the stealthy huntress, refined pompous woman of status or the nurturing, docile, submissive girl. I understand where the psychological need comes from, and consider it healthy to indulge such fantasies considering how little opportunity there is to exercise them in our modern world.

    This doesn’t make me some backwards fundamentalist nut case harboring the secret desire to enslave someone. On the contrary: I’m a Human rights advocate. I’m an atheist. I’m a free thinker, I am pro-choice and as a woman I know we our worth is equal to that of any man. But I’m also a creature of this earth, a primate who with millions of years of evolution has developed certain traits I need to exercise: I need to not be ashamed of my admiration for an alpha male. I need to not be ashamed of my feminine desire to sometimes hand over the reigns to the leader of my troupe. I sometimes need to exercise my primitive desire of anger, or sometimes I need to exercise my social instinct via the caring for others.

    Gor is so much more than shoot em up, torture crap. On the contrary, people who THINK its only that don’t know what Norman’s vision was. They don’t think on deeper philosophical levels concerning the nature of man and woman. And people who assume that those who DO see a deeper meaning in Gor as simple perverse nit wits, have failed to meet many Goreans. As a Gorean, I have met many well adjusted, accomplished people who in their RLs are progressive compassionate people. I AM such a SL Gorean. And that is because Gor is an OUTLET, a fantasy, a fictional world to indulge the primitive desires, that ARE a part of all humans, regardless of whether one has the courage to admitt it or not.

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