Our America with Lisa Ling: “Shades of Kink”

So, Gray, what’d you think?

That’s the question I’m getting a lot this morning, somewhat to the detriment of the work I’m trying to get done now. I’ll say more later, but for now, I can say that I am very, very impressed with what the producers from Part2Pictures and Lisa Ling herself put together. It really seemed to me to fairly explore several varieties of kink. I watched it in the company of a very discerning crowd – including the organizers of Dark Odyssey and the hosts of the Master’s Den (not to mention veterans of The Upper Floor). These were not people who would take kindly to bullshit – as was manifest by their reaction to the E! special that aired before Lisa Ling, which featured some really great sources portrayed in a very sensationalist way. There was a lot of snark, a lot of incredulous “WHAT?!?” when E! tried to tie in BDSM with murders and chose the phrase “nonconsent” to feature fire play.

They had some MST3Kish comments during Our America, too, but more often than not they were simply saying “That’s a much better way to show this.” There were groans almost every time there was a reference to 50 Shades of anything, and “working the kinks out of kink” was also groan worthy. But at the end, there was a round of applause from about as tough an audience as you can get, and I don’t think they were applauding me. They were applauding the show, which – maybe for the first time on American TV – treated us not as “strange other” but only as “different us”.

Lisa Ling’s calm, measured, reporting voice was a great bridge between what it is we do and the “vanilla” world that is so fascinated and frightened by it. I thought the cinematography was amazing (never has my cigar looked so good, and that’s not a euphemism) and the quotes they used for me were accurate and edited in a way that made me sound smarter than I actually am.

Most of all, though, I was proud of the way Poetic Desires became the star of the show. She was eloquent, expressive, honest, and a great representation of an unapologetically feminist switch (and vice versa).

I also wish that they’d had more than an hour. There are several deleted scenes you can get on the website, but this clip especially, featuring an old friend and lover of mine from the Bondage Capital of the World, shows that Lisa Ling and Our America were really out to capture the essence of kink and did so very, very well:

Deleted Scenes: Liberation in Restraints

After recovering from a traumatic BDSM encounter gone wrong, Emily, a young woman drawn to the skill and artistry of rope bondage, cautiously re-enters the world of rope play with an erotic outdoor photo shoot.

Note: you can see what the general public thought of the show by looking at the hashtag #OurAmerica.

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