Is there a bingo card we can pull out and play along with, when reading bad mainstream sex journalism? If not, somebody needs to make one. And my first suggested square would be “journalist marvels that people at sexual event look normal / don’t seem all skeevy and perverted”.

I was reminded (not for the first time!) of the need for such a bingo card while reading this article in Salon by an author who attended (with enormous disdain) an Ultimate Surrender naked girl-wrestling performance. (Thanks to Bondage Blog for including the link in today’s bondage links roundup.) The piece includes this magnificent exemplar of the “Gosh, I expected perverts!” genre:

“Not to sound like a prude but: These are clean, attractive, normal-looking people!”

Well, duh! What did you expect, stinky unwashed men in raincoats and clutching bottles of Boones Farm Watermelon Malt Liquor Product?

Sadly the rest of the article was not any better. It’s a limp word salad of discomfort, confusion, and utter lack of recognition that the event — not to the author’s taste — might be fetish gold for its intended audience. Shorter Salon author: “I went to this sex wresting thing, almost by accident, and it was totally weird and it made me uncomfortable.” Even one paragraph of contextual reporting might have helped rescue the article; some words from an enthusiastic fan, a sentence talking about how the Ultimate Surrender fights are marketed as softcore pay-per-view events on satellite TV, something! But no, it’s just “Ugh, what is this? I don’t even…”

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