This sounds like a Twilight Zone episode, but it is actually the name of a new reality show I watched as much as I could possibly stand yesterday. It is the continuation of a documentary from the seventies, as many of you already know called, Scared Straight, in which "at-risk" youth were exposed to prison environments in an attempt to frighten them toward a life of upright citizenship. The movie's creator claims that because only two of the kids ended up in jail, their methods were successful. Well, not so much, claim people who are actual authorities on such matters (even the Surgeon General) yet the show of the same name remains. And the programs in the jails themselves remain. Even though it is has been well established for years that treatments like these work against helping kids. It is, by the way, the most highly rated show A&E has had thus far.
After I recovered from my initial bout of righteous indignation over this unjust inconsistency (signed a petition, etc), the pervert in me (I use "pervert" in the most positive way) crept unabashedly to the front of my brain and made me wonder what I could take away from this in terms of play. I usually take inspiration for my prison scenes from a docu-drama with Ray Winstone called SCUM, in which he plays the "Daddy" of a juvenile detention center in Britain. It includes a scene where one of the young boys comes to his cell, and Winstone offers him the position of his "missus", and therefore, a kind of protection. I don't think I need to explain that to any of you...
Beyond Scared Straight has nothing on that calibre, but there are threats of ownership, ass-raping, and the taunting of fresh meat, which contains a palpable humiliation made more intense by the authenticity of the prisoners. There is one scene where a boy is made to stand near a prisoner who licks his lips and bellows toward him, "You better do your push-ups boy! I need a new cellmate!" This is also the episode where the kids are treated as if they were prisoners (most prisons simply give a tour and then an "interview" with "lifers" toward the end). Of course, any grown up watching the program can tell that the prisoners are having a bit of fun, but the teenagers don't seem to grasp that, which makes it all the more ethically questionable, yet guiltily divine. Most BDSM fantasies require a plunge into the realm of "wrongness", and although I am pretty sure that the program is exploitative, it seems very natural for anyone to be intrigued. Similarly when people stop to watch a fatal accident on the street. Or watch endless news programs interviewing Charlie Sheen.
However, most perverts are not satisfied with simply being voyeurs to this type of trauma. We want to inhabit it. We want to swim around in it and see what comes up. Perhaps, paradoxically, this serves to remove us from the situation, because we get to experience it without real-life consequences. But then, perhaps it is not the particular experience itself we seek out, but the psychological dynamic it can create, and also the logical progression of activities. For example, a prison dynamic has sharply delineated roles of power and almost inevitably will end in ass-fucking. Much of the time it can culminate in a "rape scene", which the mere mention of sends many people off into eeks-ville.
Perhaps we, as perverts (I dislike the term "kinky people") have no shame. Perhaps we simply accept human nature as it is (whatever it is) and do not question it. Perhaps we are braver than voyeurs in the sense that we immerse ourselves for the sake of (hopefully) our own creativity or curiosity. Creating our own docu-dramas, and yet having a clear sense that reality and fantasy are profoundly different, though they tend to mimic each other quite closely.
Perhaps it doesn't matter! Who's getting their ass thrashed? You!
The Beyond Straight Hulu page, so you can watch and share my indignation/voyeuristic compulsion:
And my favorite scene from SCUM...
"More personal den moie Missus?!"