Features Jul 27, 2011 at 4:00 am

Humiliation During Sex, Humiliated Musicians, and the Perverse Spectacle of Watching Others Humiliate Themselves

Judy Garland (drugged into performing), Michael Jackson (forced to talk about his penis on television), and Lisa Nowak (the former NASA astronaut who pleaded guilty to felony burglary of a car and misdemeanor battery after driving from Houston to Orlando to settle a lovers' dispute). Derek Erdman


If anything could cause me to get what's so fascinating about humiliation (one's own or other people's), this would. But I'm sorry, without wanting to put anybody down, humiliation still bores me. So do evil and a variety of bodily fluids as mentioned in this excerpt. I don't seek them or shy away from them, I just accept them as a boring fact of life. I'll be glad when the whole trend is over. People who haven't gotten over peepee, poopoo, or throwing up in first grade will always be with us, but I look forward to a time when we don't have to pretend to share their fascination.
What we *don't* want are political leaders who were humiliated routinely as children.
Never thought of it this way before:

"Humiliation is worthy not because it is good, or enjoyable, or desirable; humiliation may be execrable and unendurable, but it is also genuine. And in a world that seems increasingly filled with fakeness (is this an age-old complaint against the incursions of the New?), humiliation at least rings true."
ah, the search for authenticity in a universe with hemorrhoid surgery. After you lose all your dignity, what else have you got to lose? Can you lose it all more than once?
I think of the act of seeking of humiliation as just unchanneled humility. which makes 95% of this article very un-insightful. There are plenty of less traumatic ways to experience the loss of control. Anyone have an argument that trauma is a good thing?
It's hard work to maintain dignity, especially since so many social conventions conflicts with natural needs and behavior - hence it's a relief to confront the role and behavior forced upon us, if we want to maintain dignity. To be forced out of that role solves the dilemma of not behaving and at the same time not being expelled from society. No guilt if you were ordered to vomit in the teachers wastebasket.
clearly, Mr. Kostenbaum, you believe in nothing but the writing of sentences that are tame and empty, and often misleading. You obviously hate the human body--you are afraid of it--which makes you sound like an aging....what? Given the actual suffering in this world, anyone who goes to the performance on aug. 4 wills a kind of nihilism--but of what/which kind, who can say?
@8 -- Coincidentally, "Tame, Empty, and Misleading" is the name of my fourth novel. By the way, "Humiliation" the book is GREAT -- perhaps this excerpt does it no justice. And the cabaret on August 4 is going to be very funny. Last night I saw and heard some of what Jose Bold is coming up with and I've been cracking up ever since.
Mr. Frizzele: Kostenbaum hasn't managed to synthesize abject art, the art of the abject. He makes humiliation read nostalgic. Be that as it may, who cares for another "funny cabaret"--that is a question, which means "who cares," as in why should anyone not caught up in being a fan of tame humiliation? Maybe I am missing some important sub-code in K's text and yours?
Excellent excerpt, Christopher, and can't wait for the cabaret on August 4. (To answer the question of the previous post, I care for another funny cabaret -- it is not nihilistic to study usually restrained expressions of desire or loss of control, just the opposite of it.)

"Everyday Barf" was re-collected in Myles' superb "The Importance Of Being Iceland," by the way, which is highly recommended for it and other essays. Here's some more on the topic, addressing Dodie Bellamy's "The Barf Manifesto":



"And why do I spend time reading the Marquis de Sade and the postings of Craigslist humiliation-seekers?"

Better question, why do you write such claptrap?
Does anybody ELSE think this guy should've consulted with Mistress Matisse before writing this? I bet she would've been able to give some real insight.
Yawn. This was very boring. Perhaps the writer is trying to humiliate himself by purposefully publishing bad writing.

Or, perhaps OI am missing something because I really did not get much of this and ended up skimming more and more as I got to the bottom, still hoping there would be some sense made of it at the end, but i didn't see anything that did so.

Guys, and a very few women, seek humiliation because it gets them hard. Not much more to read into it than that.

A cabaret may be funny because it has a funny comic in it. And a comic often will talk about humiliating experiences. Comedy is the release of embarrassment etc.

But I doubt anything besides humor will be all that interesting. I will have to give this one a miss.
i got to point 5 had to stop. don't know why. just couldn't follow it anymore. it starting ringing dull like that batty aunt we all have who won't shut up about her life problems...is there such a think as a good jewish writer? besides comedy?
I haven't read the marquis de sade, but I wouldn't compare consensual humiliation with ideations of non-consensual humiliation. Consensual humiliation implies a playful game while nonconsensual humiliation would be a horrific crime. Both are based on humiliation, but it's like comparing using a knife to prepare dinner to using a knife to harm someone. Same tool, but not at all the same purposes.

I enjoy consensual humiliation b/c I feel like being submissive or even switching and topping are ways to release whatever has power over you. When I take the submissive role and lose control, it gives me power over the humiliation-it's like, yeah you can say that to me but if I can get off on it then it can't be used to hurt me. It lets me reclaim words that have been used to shame women. Submitting to verbal abuse and cumming from it makes it manageable so that it's not so scary.

Mastering the humiliation is a way of getting past fear. That's why it feels like such a release. If I can cum from being called a whore, then my checkered past isn't such a big deal. The word whore doesn't have the power to hurt me anymore, because I confronted it in a controlled and safe setting.
Thanks for printing this. It made me want to read the book.

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