Friday, 16 March 2012

Now, That is What I Call Domination! Or is it? Discuss! (Part 2)

I am currently sitting, working through my email pile in an Enfield (North London) coffee bar (Neros – it has free WiFi but too many screaming babies). In writing terms I am 'high and at the moment having self-forbidden alcohol for medical reasons (? alcoholic peripheral neuropathy) and if not for that selfsame email burden would have been otherwise left completely devoid of inspiration. As it is the though has suddenly struck me that it might be instructive and inspirational to all concerned if I were to more widely disseminate a dialog that seems to have developed between regular contributor, 'imreadonly2' and yours truly.

Partly this is a reiteration of some part of the comments section of an earlier post, partly it is taken from an email correspondence occasioned by the aforementioned contributor having found himself falling foul of some sort of quota limitation or other technical problem relating to the comments section.

All this I shall shortly post in two parts – this being part 2 - taking the most recent last so that it reads in a linear fashion and thus the flow of ideas is a more natural, intuitive one. The idea is that it should become an ongoing interaction, with all and sundry joining, thus stimulating imagination, ideas and creativity all round. I also hope to add some suitable pics as we go along – perhaps retrospectively.

Continued: See post immediately above.

'imreadonl2' wrote: “Whether "chatter" (and friendships) are allowed between the inmates is an interesting point, worthy of some discussion.

Total social isolation for long periods leads inexorably to insanity, so although isolation can be used for punishment, some form of social interaction is required. This was discovered at Eastern State Penitentiary when the Quakers introduced a reform system based on prayer and solitary confinement in the 18th century, and the inmates went mad.

I prefer a mixed model. When the girls are working in the mill, or in the plantation fields harvesting the crops, chatter is considered a distraction from work, and is punished.

However, the reformatory itself is run like a strict boarding school, and the girls (all over 18, or in their 20's or 30's) are allowed to "chatter" between classes, and during sports and such. But such communication is not pleasure, but rather a means to an end.

All communications are closely monitored, both thru a series of well compensated stoolies and prefects, and thru surveillance devices the girls are entirely unaware of. Friendships are allowed to form, but can easily be broken down when the surveillance is used to convince one of the girls that her ersatz "friend" has betrayed her to the Headmaster. Feeling betrayed, the girl becomes even more socially isolated and alone, and dependent on the direction of her masters.

Teasing and bullying is encouraged, both to break down the spirit of the girls, and as part of the social order to keep the girls inline, as it allows the girls to largely police themselves. A "good" girl can become the lesbian bitch of a tougher inmate, and then be punished by her fellow inmates gang for the misdeeds she refuses to, and by the authorities in charge for the crimes she does reluctantly commit (including the forced lesbianism itself). Placing the "good" girl in such an impossible situation quickly erodes her sense of righteousness, and gradually convinces her that the court's sentence of delinquency was in fact entirely justified.

Your point is you prefer incompetence to delinquency, but that can be accomplished as well. A girl who is particularly pretty may be fitted with dental braces, with head gear that must be worn 24/7, giving her a lisp. Another girl may be given special exercises for her "chicken legs" or an especially distasteful diet to help her "manage her weight." A young woman good at math can be placed in a Latin class; a former doctor may be made to scrub bedpans in the ward, where her medical advice is pointedly ignored. Or perhaps she is given a diuretic that makes her wet the bed, and is then made to wear a sailor's cap, and a sign that says "Sailor Sandy" for the next week, so she can be teased by the other girls.

The young woman may or may not be aware of the psychological underpinnings of what is being done to her, but understanding it will make it all the more painful. Slowly, inexorably, she will feel herself slipping away… ”


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting discussion.

"Erosion" is a good word for it. Erosion is gradual, and you can't see it happening, while it's going on, but then you notice one day that there's a gully, or even a canyon. Maybe it could also be called "fading", or "ego reduction".

I don't think that Dr Ecclestone is really about destruction, she's about ever increasing control. Lavinia is still Lavinia, but she can only function within the limits that the doctor sets, and those limits keep getting more and more limiting. The ratchet keeps tightening.

Lavinia remains Lavinia. She still has a will of her own, she just can't exercise it, or maybe she can't access it. If she were destroyed totally, she woud have escaped from the Institution's control. As it is, one day she notices that she can't speak normally, then at some point she notices the beginnings of agoraphobia, he begins to notice addiction to the drugs, she notices that she can't come if she tries to jill off.

And it's actually blowing up a thunderstorm, so I have to shut this computer down...

The Non Victorian Chick

Anonymous said...

OK< so, to pick up where I got cut off...

Yes, it is domination, and really the most powerful kind. One thing that you really didn't dwell on in your post is that the girl has zero physical or emotional privacy. She's constantly monitored, and sometimes in ways she isn't even aware of. She isn't isolated in a way that's going to drive her mad to the point of being nonfunctional, but there isn't anyone in there who's on her side. She's not isolated totally, but she is alone, just with no privacy, because they totally control her environment. ANd since they control her environment, they control her.

The Non Victorian Chick

Toyntanen said...

Hi 'Non Victorian Chick'!

Some interesting points there.

The part about the subject having zero physical or emotional privacy is particularly important I think. The fact that she's constantly monitored, and sometimes in ways she isn't even aware of fits in nicely with that question of whether or not ‘chatter’ should be permitted.

In one scenario I imagine quiet conversation is allowed, but only under the strictest supervision and at set times – and the word ‘quiet’ should mean just that; little more than a whisper! And the acceptable topics too would be subject to limitation – no mention of their past, outside lives for example, or of events outside of the four walls of the institution. And it goes without saying that there should be no contact in any form with the outside world.

Of course one would expect all sorts of inventive tactics to develop to circumvent these rules, especially initiated by any new arrivals. But the divide and conquer approach will have been in place for a substantial time, with all sorts of incentives and privileges available for those willing to whistle blow – and all sorts of correctional consequences for any failing to do so. And this is where I see your point about the subjects being sometimes monitored in “ways [they aren’t] even aware” of fits in.

The best approach here is for the those in authority, on uncovering any infraction or plot, to make it appear as if the intelligence were gathered through the treachery of one or more of the group, thus fostering an overall culture of extreme distrust and paranoia.

Incidentally: We could do with a thunderstorm here, or anything that comes with rain. The little pond that was dug a couple of summers ago over at the local park is little more than a large green muddy puddle. It has toad (I would imagine) spawn and perhaps some from newts (yes, we do have wildlife here in North London beyond rats) but is turning into a race against time for them to complete the cycle and go hopping off. I have been over there keeping an eye on it (just a street away) and ready to bucket ‘em out if necessary and transplant them to a bigger stretch of water (except that strictly speaking I think that would be illegal, making me some sort of eco-terrorist!).

Before I forget: 'imreadonly2' has written a nice piece around this idea of gradual erosion of freedom, if not quite as covert and insidious as the type of mechanism that might be rought into play in a more domesticated environment.

He has reporetd a problem posting comments which I have heard mention of a couple of times recently regarding blogger) and has sent it by email, so I’ll post it up later, once I’m back from the gym. Bye, bye for now.

Orage said...

This is just to check the problem posting. I think one just shouldn't click on preview, just publish rightaway.

Orage said...

Yessssssssss, that's it!

Toyntanen said...

"imreadonly2" Just tried to post a response but still couldn't do it for some reason - which is strange, as blogger forwards all comments to me (including my own) and reported this one by email as having been left, even though it clearly hadn't appeared. Go figure! Anyway, here it is, thanks to the intervention of yours truly!

"imreadonly2" said:

"I think whether the girl feels that she she is confined to the reformatory because of some misdemeanor, or whether she feels she is there because she is in someway incompetent to manage her own affairs is a minor distinction. The point is she must believe that she is being confined there thru some fault of her own, and "for her own good" as she is constantly reminded.

Constant negative reinforcement can convince the girl that she is either "delinquent" OR "incompetent"; it is really the Headmaster's choice. The process is the same, it's simply a slightly different route to same delightful destination."

That thing he says it being "simply a slightly different route
to same delightful destination" is particularly interesting by the
way; it really gets the juices going for some reason I can't quite put
my finger on! (but it's sometimes better not to try)... Garth

Anonymous said...

A few other points.

She has no control over her own body. The incontinence, the weight gain (or loss), the very invasive things they do to her, will take a toll. The suppositories, for example. Or the hardware they install, like that clit cap thingie, or the grommets. The point is that her body, and how she experiences her own physicality, is no longer hers. Her sexuality is no longer hers. It's not just the humiliation, it's how she's being cnstantly being constantly invaded.

And here comes another evening thunderstorm...

The Non Victorian Chick

Orage said...

Another thunderstorm? At this time of the year? Where do you live (sorry if I'm nosy)?

Toyntanen said...

I was thinking that, 'Orage'.

Are you in a rain forrest or something 'Non Victorian Chick'?

Anonymous said...

I'm in the Southeastern US, which is having an early Spring, so it's really warm in the daytime, and everything has bloommed out early. And it's great, because I can be outdoors after work, at least until the storm blows up. In the Summer, it will feel like a rainforest, very humid, and very hot.

The Non Victorian Chick