Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP Parnell Roberts

I was saddened earlier this week to learn of the death of Parnell Roberts. For those of you who are too young (or don't remember), he played Adam, the oldest Cartwright son on "Bonanza" from 1959 to 1965. He left the show to pursue movies and make a return to the stage (he won a Tony in 1955 according to the press release). He also starred as Trapper John McIntyre on "Trapper John, MD" from 1979 to 1986. The show was a spin-off of "MASH" and followed the Trapper John character after his return from Korea.

Now the reason I mourn Mr. Roberts isn't just because he was a fine actor and a gentleman. But he gave us one of the greatest spanking scenes ever filmed. In an episode called "Woman Of Fire", he gave a memorable spanking to Joan Hackett.

Adam was normally a pretty easy-going guy (unless, of course, there were rustlers or other bad guys to tangle with) but this woman got on his nerves. Essentially, the plot revolves around this woman not wanting to marry the man her father has chosen for her. Her younger sister, meanwhile, has two suitors vying for her affections. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because it closely resembles "The Taming Of The Shrew" in plot. Her father, a friend of Ben Cartwright's, is wanting to marry his daughter to a respectable gentleman but her temperament makes her impossible to live with. She's feisty and opinionated and likes things done her way. The scene that leads up to the spanking is a little sketchy but it involves her attempting to brain someone (either one of her sister's boyfriends or one of the other Cartwright brothers, not too sure as I haven't seen the episode for some time) with Adam's guitar. He takes it away from her and, without a word, proceeds to spank her bottom with gusto. I think I was about 12 the first time I saw this episode and it made an indelible impression on me. I thought the spanking was pretty hard but seeing it later as an adult, it wasn't all that severe. However, the placement of the spanks was wonderful. No mishits here for the professional stage actor. For me, one of the hallmarks of a great movie spanking is whether or not the man giving the spanking looks like he knows how to give one. He sure did. Of course, being a stage actor, he may have just been very good at taking direction. I'm not sure if he had any real life experience or not. The scene is sure good though, both from an entertainment standpoint (who doesn't like to see a brat get theirs?) and also from the perspective of someone like me, for whom spanking is endlessly fascinating.

Roberts was the last surviving original cast member of "Bonanza". He was 81 years old. Rest in peace, old friend.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"All right, Miss Vanessi!"

Many of us who are into being spanked can remember the days before we made the decision to act on the things that, before this, had been simple fantasy for us. For a lot of us, movies and TV were a good outlet for living out those fantasies.

In the days before "The Feminine Mystique" and Womens' Lib, women were often subjected to spankings in the movies. The not-too-subtle sexism of the era drove many of the situations in these films. If that silly little gal would just get it through her head that I'm a man and I run the show here, things would just be so much easier. It was usually women who insisted on doing things their own way that ended up OTK in these old movies. There always seemed to be something about the woman that needed to be changed and then she would be "acceptable" as a companion or girlfriend. Despite some misgivings about the situations that occur in these films, when I was a kid, these movies were what was available.
The picture at the top of this post is from what I consider the "Daddy" of all spanking films. This film is so famous that if you asked a hundred people who weren't spankos to name a movie with a spanking scene in it, most would probably name "Kiss Me Kate". The spanking scene is so famous, that it often appears on posters and playbills for productions ranging from motion pictures to off-Broadway plays to high school musicals. But let's be clear about one thing. I consider this the most famous spanking scene in a main stream film, but not the best. This blog entry isn't about what I think the best spanking scene is. I'm just talking about the most famous.
Let's face it. The scene is cute. The beautiful, sweet-voiced Kathryn Grayson poking, kicking and slapping the hapless Howard Keel until he threatens to give her "the paddling of her life" right onstage. The practically dares him to. What choice does he have but to avenge his wounded pride (not to mention ribs)? Most of the people who know me well know how much I hate seeing anyone humiliated, and make no mistake...she IS humiliated. The audience gets more than it bargained for and laugh it up until the curtain drops. The scene is cute, as I said. Miss Grayson fits adorably over Keel's knee and appropriately overreacts to the smacks (which I sincerely doubt she felt through the heavy dress she was wearing). Ordinarily, I'm not a big fan of MGM musicals, but "Kiss Me Kate" has enough nice moments apart from the spanking scene to make me actually sit and watch the whole thing. At the end of the film, the fiery Miss Vanessi is appropriately contrite and encourages her fellow females to "meekly put your hand beneath your lord and husband's foot (not my favorite part of the film)".
Something about this film stands the test of time. The bickering exes, the Cole Porter score, the costumes, all come together to create a film experience that has become, dare I say it?, iconic?
Well, it is to spankos anyway.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Cult Of Spanking

Having been in the scene for a number of years now, I was shocked to learn recently that I was a member of a cult. Yes, you heard that right; a cult. Like the Unification Church or the Branch Davidians...those kinds of cults with charismatic leaders and brainwashed followers. You may ask yourself "How did this happen and why didn't I know it?" Well, here's the story.

I have several vanilla friends who know what I'm into. One has even seen my rather extensive toy collection. Anyway, I was talking about the spanking party I attended in November and this one friend acted (or I should say REacted) like I had been drugged, wrapped in a bundle, thrown into the trunk of a car and then driven off to a secret location where men had their way with me repeatedly against my will. He said "When will you wake up and realize that you're just doing it because society expects it from you?" Now I have to tell you this friend of mine is so liberal he makes Nancy Pelosi look like Glen Beck. I would have thought that having control over the way I practice my kink would have his approval, but, no. In his estimation, any woman who subjects herself to "correction" from a man is throwing womens' rights back a hundred years. I had to correct him on that score. I told him I don't get spanked for discipline or so that a man can have control over me or influence my behavior. I do it because, to me, it's fun. I told him it was harmless amusement. He begged to differ and that's when he dropped the "C" bomb.
"The entire thing is a cult. Think about it. The men get everything their way. If a woman disagrees or disobeys, she can expect to be made an example of. "
I asked him how long he'd been in the scene that he knew so much. He said it was just observation based on mass media exposure that BDSM has had over the years. Oh yeah...the odd mention of BDSM on "CSI" or "Law And Order" is really an accurate representation of the scene. I assured him that no one forced me into the spanking scene. I got into it for the same reason many others do--I had a strong desire to be spanked and sought out a group where that could happen. He argued that that's the exact definition of a cult; a group of people who fulfill a need for other members. He went on the talk about the "secret activities" that go on behind closed doors; activities the public is largely unaware of. Most people know the sad story of the Branch Davidians or how the Reverend Jim Jones somehow got over 900 of his members to drink poisoned Kool-Aid. In fact, the mass suicide at Jonestown has become ingrained in our language. Anytime someone is accused of "drinking the Kool-Aid" the connotation is that that person has done something that's against their better judgment because everyone else is doing it and they don't want to seem to go against the tide. Was he serious? He's comparing the tragedy that happened in the jungle that horrible November day back in 1978 to what we do at spanking parties? He rather smugly told me that the women "don't really want to be there; that they're just trying to snag a man and they think being obedient is only way to do it." He was out of his mind and didn't have a clue. If he hadn't been a friend, I might have laughed at him. Instead, I made a grave error. I attempted to change his way of thinking by educating him about the realities of the spanking scene. I explained SSC and the "no means no" philosophy. He shook his head dismissively. Mere rhetoric, he assured me. He told me that, like Jim Jones, the people who run the various spanking groups and clubs have simply put the poison in something that anyone would swallow. He said they usually discourage individuality. You're expected to think the way the rest of the group thinks. I told him I had never gone with the flow. I had questioned and investigated and come to my own conclusions. He told me flatly that I had been brainwashed just like everyone else.
I guess he just can't get his mind around a woman who made a conscious decision and then acted on it totally independently. According to my friend, the people in the scene are all just a bunch of brain dead zombies doing what their puppeteers tell them to do. His comments almost made me question why I have him for a friend. I have known this guy for many, many years. Long before I got into the scene we and several others had spirited debates over long games of Trivial Pursuit. We had discussed every subject under the sun over endless plates of nachos at our favorite Mexican place (until, alas, they went out of business). He seems to forget all the things I taught him how to do. I taught him how to eat with chopsticks, how to load a 35mm camera, how to make homemade spaghetti sauce (from my own recipe) and many other things that I'm sure enriched his life beyond measure. OK, so I might be over dramatizing here. But my point is that he seems to trivialize the things I know. What does knowing how to use chopsticks amount to in this world anyway? Apparently, this guy knows the secrets of the universe. He knows what every person is thinking and what their intentions are. He really came across as arrogant. I had never seen him in this light before. It was eye opening to say the least.
I guess what shocked me the most was the fact that we had discussed my love of spanking many, many times over the years without him ever mentioning the "C" word before. Now, I guess, because I'm active in the scene, it just HAS to be a cult. To him, the scene is a place where chauvinistic men with a warped sense of entitlement hurt women with impunity. I asked him about the men who get spanked by women. He seemed a bit lost there. He stuttered and puffed his chest. Real men, he told me, don't get spanked. Personally, I have no opinion on men who get spanked. But I was shocked again by his reply. It was as if I was talking to him for the first time. This wasn't the guy who helped me change my first tire. This person was a stranger. A cult? This was what he thought? The more I talked, the more adamant he became that he was right. I was just too "indoctrinated" to know any better.
And so it goes. I thought I was pretty open minded when it came to most things spanking-related. But I guess I'm not open minded enough to deal with someone who calls a group of people I've had nothing but fun with a cult.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go have a tall glass of Kool-Aid.