If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably picked up on my views on Gor. If not, here’s the abridged version: I don’t like it.
But the most twisted, sadistic slaver in Gor looks like a kindergarten teacher in comparison to what Michael Berk of Brownfield, Maine, considers role-playing.
“I’m looking for role-playing. I’m looking for fantasy,” Berk testified about his online interaction with a man from Biddeford, who called police on Aug. 28 after Berk allegedly offered to rent his 12-year-old daughter for sex acts. –Portland (Maine) Press Herald, May 28
In a nutshell, this asshole (I’m not going to repeat his name because I don’t consider it worth remembering) met a man looking for work on Craigslist. They got to emailing one another (the middle part gets kind of hazy; some sources say it was to talk about partner-swapping, others say it was strictly business) and the fact that the man looking for work has four kids came up.
Asshole then mentions to the man the idea of paying him $350 a week for up to 3 “visits” with the man’s twelve-year-old daughter. The man, not surprisingly, calls police. The police set up a sting; an officer meets Asshole over coffee here in the town where I live, the offer is reiterated, the Asshole gets arrested.
The arrest happened in September; not long afterwards a woman who had also met Asshole on Craigslist came forward to say that he tried to make the same offer for her daughter. In her case, she’d posted an ad looking for housing. In a chilling testimony, Asshole says that his “standard operating procedure” was to look for ads on Craigslist that featured people who were down on their luck, and had underage daughters.
In other words, Asshole is a predator.
And as though it weren’t sick enough that he is, he honestly believes he does nothing wrong; that the whole offer of solicitation isn’t real and literal because he’s simply RPing with other adults.
There are lots of sites on the Internet for role-playing. Second Life, of course. World of Warcraft. Not fucking Craigslist, you depraved freak. Also, when only one of the parties involved (that being you) knows that it’s RPing? There’s a different word for that. It’s called lying. Not that I believe your cock-and-bull story anyway.
So, as twisted and messed-up as I find Gor, at very least it’s carried out in a strictly virtual medium in SL-land.
I guess I’m just oldschool. Role-playing used to mean, simply, play-acting. Pretending you were a character, you know, like back in the days of dice-and-paper gaming (I shouldn’t say “back in the days”; such media are very much alive and well now), keeping it very separate from the real you the rest of the time. But somehow it’s come to mean something different. Combat with meters, to some people. Acting out strictly sexual fantasies, to others. To some folks, RPing has become synonymous with debauchery and depravity, and it isn’t that (it can be, but surely it isn’t limited to that). I wish there were a way to take the phrase back, to use it as it was originally meant.
Meanwhile, Asshole will be playing the role of prison bride for at least 10 years. Tell Bubba you’re just RPing, jack.