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Closure. And a small review.

I am sitting here at my desk at home holding a copy of Grant Stoddard's Working Stiff. I can finally say that with this post, I am putting this whole "Leather Camp/Manflesh" debacle behind me.

This story proved to me one important thing - that it is possible to mobilize a whole lot of people against something we feel is wrong. I was amazed by the amount of letters that poured out of the community when Nerve.com first published Stoddard's pieces. At the time, I really felt like we were making a difference and doing something right.

When I read the piece about the book and that "Letters From Camp" would be included, it was akin to having a band-aid suddenly ripped off. The entire circumstance of the event had come back all fresh and new. And I posted a lot about it.

Probably too much.

Amazon.com has since taken down all of our book reviews. And they're probably right. Yes, it was unethical for Stoddard to use the piece a second time, but is was probably rash for us to flail out against him without even picking up the book first.

So I did just that. And it is hysterical. The chap does everything in his power to paint himself as a little geek who had absolutely no idea what he was doing or talking about. And succeeds wonderfully, I might add.

But his treatment of the LR piece - wow. First off, all those little details that he left out are now in the book. His scene participation, the cum-eating, the group grope cabin. All in there. Originally they were left out, and instead placed in the Nerve.com comments section by people who took part in his activities. Those comments were taken down, with the explanation that his girlfriend read them and he needed them to come down. Guess the girl is gone.

There are other parts added and deleted. He left in all the derogatory comments about us, which doesn't surprise me, and completely took away his second ending detailing the guilt that came over him before he left. Figures. Well, that doesn't make for a good sensationalistic story, after all.

But the beginning... my lord. That is where gold can be found, my friends. So I now present to you the first few bits of a story that begins on page 180 within the book under a chapter heading entitled... wait for it... "Hate Mail," written by our old friend, Grant Stoddard.

The 3,549 e-mails in my inbox said more or less the same thing: that I was a despicable person. I refreshed the screen every few seconds - 3,551, 3,558 - the number was growing ever faster. A few of the e-mailers were disappointed but pragmatic about what had happened in the woods of rural Maryland. Some wanted to take me to court. Others promised me physical harm. They said I betrayed them, deceived them. The word choices, the frantic grammatical errors, and the heavy use of uppercase type were frightening indicators of how acutely I had enraged an entire subculture, a group of people who were actually defined by their collective urge to inflict pain on others. Within a few hours they had mobilized against me and I was running scared. E-mails came in waves that corresponded to time zones. Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, from sea to shining sea. Then a second wave of venomous prose from Europe.

For a few weeks in July, I was the scourge of everyone who'd ever donned a gimp suit, brandished a bullwhip, or attached electrodes to a pair of testicles. The BDSM community wanted me dead.

He also included a bit about the story in a section best described as an appendix. In it, he once again explained how the SM community rallied against him, lead by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. In this little bit, he actually reprinted the entire sample letter to the editor that was posted on NCSFreedom.org, and included the NCSF mission statement.

Good show, that. The boy finally did something right.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
OMG, that's hysterical! I can just see the mail flooding in, in waves corresponding to time zones. That's precious.
Feb. 13th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
Ooh! I can't wait to read the stuff that he left out!
Feb. 13th, 2007 03:09 am (UTC)

The lesson here, I guess, is: it pays to kvetch.

And maybe that some idiots and slimeballs can be educated and reformed, at least in part.

I'm surprised, a bit, that Amazon took down the critical reviews. It lessens the concept that Amazon's review and discussion forums are open and fairly unimpeachable if the author or publisher complains. Perhaps 5+ negative reviews all making the same point (about lack of ethics) within a 24-hour period looked a little like a smear campaign, though -- even though at least four of the posters used their Real Names -- and some of them stated that they hadn't read the book. I would go back and repost any criticisms you might have in the reader review and discussion forums without inciting a holy war. Truly, the most damning things you say on Amazon are simple statements like "I didn't like it," "Not recommended," "boring," or "poorly written," etc.

Feb. 13th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
Those comments were taken down, with the explanation that his girlfriend read them and he needed them to come down.

I know who he was dating at the time. That explanation is bullshit. (She is gone though, for quite unrelated reasons.)
Feb. 13th, 2007 03:45 am (UTC)
Well, that doesn't surprise me at all. I mean, he hasn't exactly given us a reason to believe anything he's ever said.
Feb. 13th, 2007 04:45 am (UTC)
So well put. I've linked to this.
Feb. 13th, 2007 04:51 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Feb. 13th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
Didn't this happen like 5 years ago? Why is he republishing it now?

Where is he? You know I fetch. Well, I also sick....Let me at `em....
Feb. 13th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
I flipped through the book the other day when I was in a bookstore, and I found it very interesting that the LR chapter was now called "Hate Mail" and he chose to begin it with a section on the response from the bdsm community. But then... I think he included it because he's proud of it.

I'm glad to see that you're coming to peace with all of this and are able to start putting it behind you.
Feb. 13th, 2007 05:26 pm (UTC)
Put it behind you. He isn't worth it. He's a twit, a wannabe, a poser.... He's doing this for shock value, money or both.

You are real, genuine, and a hell of a nice guy.
Feb. 14th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
buy it used
I wondered how you'd feel about his book and I'm glad to see you processing it well. I read the book, too, but I didn't want to give Stoddard even a penny's worth of a royalty, so I bought it used. I always employ this method when I want to be informed but don't want to lend any form of financial support to a trespasser against us.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )