Of course, someone posted about this issue to a national SM Activists list, and it took precicely two e-mails for an "edge player" to scream out defensively "so edge play isn't SSC?" Unfortunate, but annoyingly expected.
This is precicely what I wanted to happen when I hosted the discussion at LLC. No matter what the opinions, this is a discussion worth happening. We are living in a period of time in which there are more people into SM than EVER before. The public scene has national attention... groups and weekend events are everywhere. Even the smallest of towns have SM organizations now. We also have more people who have been "in the scene" for 10 years or more than ever. It is natural that edgier topics are being discussed, because a lot of people are beyond the 101 levels of play, and groups are looking for ways to continue being a resource and a destination. Of course edgier topics are going to be taught, as well they should.
I remember when lolitasir and I sat in on Sharrin Spector's Caning 301 class at Dungeon 801. We both leaned to each other and cackled evily, because we had both just absorbed so much that we would integrate into our own play. This was because we were ready for it and hungry. Because it made sense in our styles of play, and in the play relationships we have with others. NOT because we wanted to become a cool edge player as well. But because we were attracted to it... because it made us wet/hard.
Another point of discussion that is occurring is the validity of SM contests. Now, I am not saying competition is neccessarily a bad thing. It is impossible to do anything and not have people inject a competitive angle to it. It's just the way humans are. For years, we have seen singletail accuracy contests, ball/tit-clamp weight competitions, creative bondage contests. These are all fun. They tend to be jovial, and non-threatening. I have never seen a person who managed to lift the heaviest amount of weight from his balls suddenly become the king of the hill. Instead, they tend to get a few more playdates from CBT enthusiasts, and the shakes of the hand from other people. It's fun, it's silly, fine.
But this contest - the most extreme scene competition - this is something different. This has many more risks to it. The push and drive to go beyond your or your bottom's limits just to win the title. The enouragement of others to play beyond their expertise. The positioning of an "extreme" scene as the pinnacle to what one can be in the scene - a goal that people should be heading towards. And the disenfranchising of others. For me, edge play is holding onto me while swimming into the deep end of a pool. I can swim, but barely, and I am scared of deep water. But obviously, that scene would not be extreme enough for the judges, I would imagine. I image they would be looking for something a bit more... viceral.