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Declassifying the Hidden Truth - r/classified is a community dedicated to chronicling the most bizarre, funny, and interesting conspiracy theories, theorists, and communities (and all manner of unexplained phenomena) from an irreverent perspective. [Update] The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared Fogle from Subway. This is an updated and edited version of a post I originally submitted at /redditcrimecommunity . It's been updated with the latest info. [Update] The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared Fogle from Subway. This is an updated and edited version of a post I originally submitted at r/redditcrimecommunity . It's been updated with the latest info. The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared from Subway. nsfw. ... Archived. The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared from Subway. ... Full disclosure. I used to be kind of obsessed with the idea of Jared from Subway. He always seemed like nothing more than wallpaper in a commercial, a guy whose job ... [Update] The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared Fogle from Subway. Crime This is an updated and edited version of a post I originally submitted at r/redditcrimecommunity . The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared from Subway. Close. 33. Crossposted by. ... Posted by. u/BuckRowdy. 4 months ago. crime. The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared from Subway. Full disclosure. I used to be kind of obsessed with the idea of Jared from Subway. He always seemed like nothing ... The job request/application letter for fresher is a formal letter, which can assist a fresher landing on a suitable job. It is written with the intention to capture the attention of the employer. Usually, fresher does not have the required experience and thus, he/she need to focus on qualifications and skills. The letter can be a huge step in getting the dream job. [Update] The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared Fogle from Subway. This is an updated and edited version of a post I originally submitted at /redditcrimecommunity . It's been updated with the latest info. [Update] The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared Fogle from Subway. This is an updated and edited version of a post I originally submitted at r/redditcrimecommunity . It's been updated with the latest info. Obsessed with True Crime. 3.7K likes. For people that simply love true crime stories and want to connect with others that share a common interest.

2020.09.18 14:47 BuckRowdy [Update] The rise and fall and the depths of depravity of pedophile Jared Fogle from Subway.

This is an updated and edited version of a post I originally submitted at /redditcrimecommunity. It's been updated with the latest info.
I used to be kind of obsessed with the idea of Jared from Subway. He always seemed like nothing more than wallpaper in a commercial, a guy whose job amounted to holding up a comically giant pair of pants for seconds at a time in commercials. How much do you think they paid that guy to do that?
I used to search to see if I could find out Jared's salary or his net worth because to me it seemed like he had the easiest job in the world. Just stand there and smile, hold up the giant pants, shake a few kids hands at store openings and other corporate promotional events; essentially play the character of Jared from the Subway commercials.
The Midwestern everyman who once weighed over 425 pounds and lost it all by eating at Subway every day. Of course the fine print at the bottom of the screen gave the wider context to his weight loss routine, but there was a much wider, much darker context to Jared's story that would only be revealed years later.
Jared started working for Subway in 2000. By 2005 they had stopped featuring him in commercials and their sales declined by 10%. They quickly reinstated him and he was a fixture ever since.
It is true that Jared did lose the weight, and he did do it in part by eating at Subway.
At this point it would be reasonable to ask how did he get the money as a college student to eat all his meals at Subway?
Because he was running a porn video rental business out of his apartment at the time and had an extensive collection. You've got to remember that this was in an era where media of all types was more difficult to obtain. You didn't have everything at your fingertips back then.
Subway opened up on the ground floor and Jared was lazy so he started eating all his meals there.
The rest of Jared's story is marketing mythology. A friend wrote an article in the student newspaper that got published in Men's Health which caught the eye of Subway's marketing department. Jared started working for Subway in 2000 and up until about 2007 it appeared to be a marketing master stroke. That's when the reports started trickling out. In 2007, TMZ published the story about the porn rental business.
We'd learn later that as early as 2008, Subway had received serious reports about Jared from a franchisee in Florida that Jared had befriended at a few store openings. Cindy Mills, the franchisee said:

"He would just tell me he really liked them young," she says. Fogle and Mills had a sexual relationship, which lead Fogle to disclose disturbing details of his criminal activity in lewd text messages.
Mills says she tried to blow the whistle by phoning ad executive Jeff Moody — then CEO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust (SFAFT) — after Fogle had told her that he had sex both in Thailand and the US with child prostitutes between the ages of 9 and 16 years old. According to Mills, Moody stopped her mid-conversation and said, "Don't worry, he has met someone. She is a teacher and he seems to love her very much, and we think she will help keep him grounded." Mills also claims she spoke with two more SFAFT execs after Moody, but ran into more dead ends.
Jared was up to no good for years, but his world really started to crumble in 2015 with the arrest of Russell Taylor. Taylor was Jared's partner in his non-profit charity and he was just as bad as Jared if not worse.
Russell Taylor, the former director of Fogle's anti-childhood obesity foundation, was arrested in April [of 2015] on three counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of child exploitation, and three counts of voyeurism.
Taylor had gotten in trouble for texting a woman a picture of bestiality and suggesting such between the two of them. It's a sick thing to think about, but that's just what Jared and Russell were up to.
In one of those text messages, according to the affidavit, “Russell Taylor asked her if he and another adult female she identified could come to Jane Doe’s residence and engage in” an act of bestiality. The woman did not agree to that request, but told investigators “you could tell (Taylor) was serious.” She also told investigators that “she received an image file via text from Russell Taylor that depicted (another act of bestiality).”
Jared's house was raided and the rest quickly became history. Subway dropped him. Sharknado 3 dropped him. Jared accused Taylor of fraud and sued him. One quarter of the funds of the charity were unaccounted for, and the only money they ever paid out went to Taylor's $73k salary.
I'm no professional but it's hard not to draw the conclusion that Jared was paying Taylor to produce child porn with a non profit charity.
The world found out about Jared in 2015, but in 2007 and 2008 two women were finding out a lot about Jared.
Jared had met a franchisee in Florida and started a sexual relationship with her. She called the FBI when Jared started texting stuff like this:
In one series of texts sent from April 2008, Fogle tries to convince the franchisee, a woman, to advertise herself for sex on Craigslist. She could make $500 per act he explains and he could watch her have sex with other men. Fogle then goes on to apparently admit to paying for sex with a 16-year-old girl off Craigslist.
The woman franchisee writes: "Is this the same website you found that 16 year old you that you f---ed?" the woman replied, according to an affadavit.
The woman got a lawyer and submitted the texts to Subway who sat on them.
Around the same time, Jared met Rochelle Herman Walrond, a journalist who initially remained anonymous, who came forward and said that she got suspicious about Jared when he called middle school girls hot
According to the woman, Jared would often visit schools in Sarasota County, and allegedly told her numerous times that, 'Middle school girls are hot.'"
She contacted the FBI who asked her to wear a wire. She went on to record Jared over a nearly 5 year period, pleading with the FBI to go ahead and arrest him with them always saying that they didn't have enough evidence and needed more.
So she tried to get Jared to incriminate himself. Over that 4.5 year period they talked about a lot of stuff, like that Jared wanted to fly to Thailand to have sex with children.
"I would fly all three of us clear across the world if we need to,"[Jared] says on the tape. "It would just make things a lot easier — if we're going to try and get some young kids with us. It would be a lot easier probably."
He gave her grooming tips:
"Well, if we get them segregated out ... you know, start talking or whatever ... and we get a little closer, and a little closer and a little closer and before you know it ... it just starts to happen," the man's voice says. "But I think that girl from the broken home could be a possibility, you know."
He daydreamed on the phone:
"Do you want to watch me f— a young girl, too?" the voice of Fogle asks. "Will you f— a young boy?" When Herman-Walrond asks if that would turn Fogle on, he responds with a whispered "yeah."
“I had a little boy. It was amazing,” Fogle reportedly said, in response to a question about being with children. “It just felt so good. I mean, it felt—it felt so good.”
He also, allegedly, asked her repeatedly to let him install hidden cameras in her kids’ rooms.
“I had two young children at the time, and he talked to me about installing hidden cameras in their rooms and asked me if I would choose which child I would like him to watch,” she told Inside Edition.
The audio recordings can be heard at this link. She reported him to Subway in 2009 and nothing happened.
At the same time this was happening, Jared was flying to New York to pay for sex with minors. He asked the minors who he paid for sex if they knew anyone else they could recommend, always stressing younger if possible.
Also, according to the charging documents:
Fogle received "images and videos of nude of partially clothed minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct," which were allegedly recorded by Russell Taylor, the former director of the Jared Foundation.
Taylor secretly filmed some of the minors in his home using hidden cameras that captured them changing clothes and bathing.
Taylor was in possession of 400 videos of child pornography upon his arrest.
In 2011, someone else reported Jared to Subway via their website and yet nothing happened.
All this came raining down on Jared in 2015 when his house was raided and he was arrested and later charged with 14 acts of sex involving minors. He was ultimately sentenced to 15 years in jail and had to pay restitution to his 14 of his many victims totaling $1.4 million. His wife divorced him as quick as she could, Subway cut ties with him and the dominoes started to tumble.
All of a sudden the past reports about Jared came to light and Subway didn't have an explanation. Lawsuits started flying. Jared's now ex wife accused Subway of covering up Jared's pedophilia even from her because their marriage made Jared more grounded and more marketable.
It's now a sick joke, but at the same time of jared's arrest, Subway was trying to rebrand him as a family man.
So why didn't Subway act on the various reports it had gotten about Jared over the years? As this site puts it, it was a story bookended by laziness. Jared's laziness brought him to Subway, and their laziness in vetting stories led to the end of the Jared era with a lot of human misery left in his wake.
Subway has waffled in its response. Rather than taking the path of clear messaging and communication, and aiming to transparent and authentic throughout this terrible situation for the victims and Fogle’s family (as well as the brand), the company hasn’t been clear about where it stands in the midst of this crisis. What message was Subway sending to its employees and franchisees by keeping Fogle around for as long as it did?
As soon as he went to jail he instantly gained 30 pounds
In 2016, he filed an appeal which was denied. The DA's office argued:
[that] Fogle's text messages to a woman, in which Fogle stated he would "pay big" if she could procure 14-year-old children, and that he "craved" underage Asian girls. In these text messages, he also expressed sexual interest in young boys, although there is to date no evidence that he paid for sex with male children.
Later that same year, a brawl broke out and Jared was nearly killed in an attack meant to send a message to all pedophiles.
Other than that, rumor has it that Jared has it pretty easy in jail which is disappointing to hear given all that he's responsible for.
In 2017, Fogle tried to pull the Sovereign Citizen defense and claim that the feds didn't have jurisdiction over him which I imagine gave the feds a good laugh. The motion was dismissed.
In 2018, Jared sued to void his conviction going so far as to name the president (among others) as a defendant. It was unclear how the president was involved and Jared was forced to remove him as a defendant.
He claimed:
he was wrongfully allowed to plead guilty to conspiracy to receive child pornography, claiming that conspiracy doesn’t apply to such an offense.
His suit was dismissed.
That same year a woman pen pal of Jared's sold their racy letters to Radar Online. Seen here and here. She also sold a recorded phone call where she and Jared discuss porn and his sexual preferences.
If he wanted to appeal to a parole board, surely sending hand-drawn pictures of his genitalia that later end up on radar online is not a good strategy.
In March 2020, three of associate Russell Taylor's child pornography convictions were overturned for ineffective counsel. He still faces trial on 9 other charges.
In the five years since Fogle was arrested, Subway has been reeling. In 2015, their co-founder passed away and a new CEO was brought in. Internal reports indicate that customer traffic is down 30%. They've laid off over 400 people from the corporate HQ and this summer they had to revoke a promotion due to a franchisee revolt over the pricing.
Subway was associated so long with Jared it may take time for customers to form a new association. They tried to drop him once, struggled, and re-hired him. Clearly Subway lived in denial while Jared was their spokesman and looked the other way as business boomed. The new marketing strategy involves athletes. Time will only tell if they can recover from one of the worst scandals to ever hit a sandwich chain.
As of September 2020, Russell Taylor was being held at a federal prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi; Fogle was being held at a federal prison in Littleton, Colorado.
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David Foster Wallace was a huge David Lynch fan and I found this excerpt from his essay "David Lynch Keeps His Head" very insightful. The original version of this essay appeared in Entertainment Weekly, but that version didn't include this section. The full version can be found in a collection of Wallace's essays entitled "A supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." Towards the end of this excerpt Wallace specifically talks about Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me; these insights definitely apply to The Return, and I wish he was still alive to give his thoughts on it. I'd recommend reading the whole essay, but this was my favorite part.
The Theme of Evil in the films of David Lynch
One reason it’s sort of heroic to be a contemporary Expressionist is that it all but invites people who don’t like your art to make an ad hominem move from the art to the artist. A fair number of critics object to David Lynch’s movies on the grounds that they are “sick” or “dirty” or “infantile,” then proceed to claim that the movies are themselves revelatory of various deficiencies in Lynch’s own character, troubles that range from developmental arrest to misogyny to sadism. It’s not just the fact that twisted people do hideous things to one another in Lynch’s films, these critics will argue, but rather the “moral attitude” implied by the way Lynch’s camera records hideous behavior. In a way, his detractors have a point. Moral atrocities in Lynch movies are never staged to elicit outrage or even disapproval. The directorial attitude when hideousness occurs seems to range between clinical neutrality and an almost voyeuristic ogling. It’s not an accident that Frank Booth, Bobby Peru, and Leland /”Bob” steal the show in Lynch’s last three films, that there is almost a tropism about our pull toward these characters, because Lynch’s camera is obsessed with them, loves them; they are his movies’ heart.
The claim, though, that because Lynch’s movies pass no overt “judgment” on hideousness/evil/sickness and in fact make the stuff riveting to watch, the movies are themselves a- or immoral, even evil—this is bullshit of the rankest vintage, and not just because it’s sloppy logic but because it’s symptomatic of the impoverished moral assumptions we seem now to bring to the movies we watch.
I’m going to claim that evil is what David Lynch’s movies are essentially about, and that Lynch’s explorations of human beings’ various relationships to evil are, if idiosyncratic and Expressionistic, nevertheless sensitive and insightful and true. I’m going to submit that the real “moral problem” a lot of us cinéastes have with Lynch is that we find his truths morally uncomfortable, and that we do not like, when watching movies, to be made uncomfortable. (Unless, of course, our discomfort is used to set up some kind of commercial catharsis—the retribution, the bloodbath, the romantic victory of the misunderstood heroine, etc.—i.e. unless the discomfort serves a conclusion that flatters the same comfortable moral certainties we came into the theater with.)
The fact is that David Lynch treats the subject of evil better than just about anybody else making movies today—better and also differently. His movies aren’t anti-moral, but they are definitely anti-formulaic. Evil-ridden though his filmic world is, please notice that responsibility for evil never in his films devolves easily onto greedy corporations or corrupt politicians or faceless serial kooks. Lynch is not interested in the devolution of responsibility, and he’s not interested in moral judgments of characters. Rather, he’s interested in the psychic spaces in which people are capable of evil. He is interested in Darkness. And Darkness, in David Lynch’s movies, always wears more than one face. Recall, for example, how Blue Velvet’s Frank Booth is both Frank Booth and “the Well-Dressed Man.” How Eraserhead's whole postapocalyptic world of demonic conceptions and teratoid offspring and summary decapitations is evil… yet how it’s “poor” Henry Spencer who ends up a baby-killer. How in both TV’s Twin Peaks and cinema’s Fire Walk with Me, “Bob” is also Leland Palmer, how they are, “spiritually,” both two and one. The Elephant Man’s sideshow barker is evil in his exploitation of Merrick, but so too is good old kindly Dr. Treeves—and Lynch very carefully has Treeves admit this aloud. And if Wild at Heart’s coherence suffered because its myriad villains seemed fuzzy and interchangeable, it was because they were all basically the same thing, i.e. they were all in the service of the same force or spirit. Characters are not themselves evil in Lynch movies—evil wears them.
This point is worth emphasizing. Lynch’s movies are not about monsters (i.e. people whose intrinsic natures are evil) but about hauntings, about evil as environment, possibility, force. This helps explain Lynch’s constant deployment of noirish lighting and eerie sound-carpets and grotesque figurants: in his movies’ world, a kind of ambient spiritual antimatter hangs just overhead. It also explains why Lynch’s villains seem not merely wicked or sick but ecstatic, transported: they are, literally, possessed. Think here of Dennis Hopper’s exultant “I’LL FUCK ANYTHING THAT MOVES” in Blue Velvet, or of the incredible scene in Wild at Heart when Diane Ladd smears her face with lipstick until it’s devil-red and then screams at herself in the mirror, or of Bob’s look of total demonic ebullience in Fire Walk with Me when Laura discovers him at her dresser going through her diary and just about dies of fright. The bad guys in Lynch movies are always exultant, orgasmic, most fully present at their evilest moments, and this in turn is because they are not only actuated by evil but literally inspired: they have yielded themselves up to a Darkness way bigger than any one person. And if these villains are, at their worst moments, riveting for both the camera and the audience, it’s not because Lynch is “endorsing” or “romanticizing” evil but because he’s diagnosing it—diagnosing it without the comfortable carapace of disapproval and with an open acknowledgment of the fact that one reason why evil is so powerful is that it’s hideously vital and robust and usually impossible to look away from.
Lynch’s idea that evil is a force has unsettling implications. People can be good or bad, but forces simply are. And forces are—at least potentially—everywhere. Evil for Lynch thus moves and shifts, pervades; Darkness is in everything, all the time—not “lurking below” or “lying in wait” or “hovering on the horizon”: evil is here, right now. And so are Light, love, redemption (since these phenomena are also, in Lynch’s work, forces and spirits), etc. In fact, in a Lynchian moral scheme it doesn’t make much sense to talk about either Darkness or about Light in isolation from its opposite. It’s not just that evil is “implied by” good or Darkness by Light or whatever, but that the evil stuff is contained within the good stuff, encoded in it.
You could call this idea of evil Gnostic, or Taoist, or neo-Hegelian, but it’s also Lynchian, because what Lynch’s movies are all about is creating a narrative space where this idea can be worked out in its fullest detail and to its most uncomfortable consequences.
And Lynch pays a heavy price—both critically and financially—for trying to explore worlds like this. Because we Americans like our art’s moral world to be cleanly limned and clearly demarcated, neat and tidy. In many respects it seems we need our art to be morally comfortable, and the intellectual gymnastics we’ll go through to extract a black-and-white ethics from a piece of art we like are shocking if you stop and look closely at them. For example, the supposed ethical structure Lynch is most applauded for is the “Seamy Underside” structure, the idea that dark forces roil and passions seethe beneath the green lawns and PTA potlucks of Anytown, USA. American critics who like Lynch applaud his “genius for penetrating the civilized surface of everyday life to discover the strange, perverse passions beneath” and his movies for providing “the password to an inner sanctum of horror and desire” and “evocations of the malevolent forces at work beneath nostalgic constructs.”
It’s little wonder that Lynch gets accused of voyeurism: critics have to make Lynch a voyeur in order to approve something like Blue Velvet from within a conventional moral framework that has Good on top/outside and Evil below/within. The fact is that critics grotesquely misread Lynch when they see this idea of perversity “beneath” and horror “hidden” as central to his movies’ moral structure.
Interpreting Blue Velvet, for example, as a film centrally concerned with “a boy discovering corruption in the heart of a town” is about as obtuse as looking at the robin perched on the Beaumonts’ window-sill at the movie’s end and ignoring the writhing beetle the robin’s got in its beak. The fact is that Blue Velvet is basically a coming-of-age movie, and, while the brutal rape Jeffrey watches from Dorothy’s closet might be the movie’s most horrifying scene, the real horror in the movie surrounds discoveries that Jeffrey makes about himself—for example, the discovery that a part of him is excited by what he sees Frank Booth do to Dorothy Vallens. Frank’s use, during the rape, of the words “Mommy” and “Daddy,” the similarity between the gas mask Frank breathes through in extremis and the oxygen mask we’ve just seen Jeffrey’s dad wearing in the hospital—this kind of stuff isn’t there just to reinforce the Primal Scene aspect of the rape. The stuff’s also there clearly to suggest that Frank Booth is, in a certain deep way, Jeffrey’s “father,” that the Darkness inside Frank is also encoded in Jeffrey. Gee-whiz Jeffrey’s discovery not of dark Frank but of his own dark affinities with Frank is the engine of the movie’s anxiety. Note for example that the long and somewhat heavy angst-dream Jeffrey suffers in the second act occurs not after he has watched Frank brutalize Dorothy but after he, Jeffrey, has consented to hit Dorothy during sex.
There are enough heavy clues like this to set up, for any marginally attentive viewer, what is Blue Velvet’s real climax, and its point. The climax comes unusually early, near the end of the film’s second act. It’s the moment when Frank turns around to look at Jeffrey in the back seat of the car and says “You’re like me.” This moment is shot from Jeffrey’s visual perspective, so that when Frank turns around in the seat he speaks both to Jeffrey and to us. And here Jeffrey—who’s whacked Dorothy and liked it—is made exceedingly uncomfortable indeed; and so—if we recall that we too peeked through those closet-vents at Frank’s feast of sexual fascism, and regarded, with critics, this scene as the film’s most riveting—are we. When Frank says “You’re like me,” Jeffrey’s response is to lunge wildly forward in the back seat and punch Frank in the nose—a brutally primal response that seems rather more typical of Frank than of Jeffrey, notice. In the film’s audience, I, to whom Frank has also just claimed kinship, have no such luxury of violent release; I pretty much just have to sit there and be uncomfortable.
And I emphatically do not like to be made uncomfortable when I go to see a movie. I like my heroes virtuous and my victims pathetic and my villains’ villainy clearly established and primly disapproved by both plot and camera. When I go to movies that have various kinds of hideousness in them, I like to have my own fundamental difference from sadists and fascists and voyeurs and psychos and Bad People unambiguously confirmed and assured by those movies. I like to judge. I like to be allowed to root for Justice To Be Done without the slight squirmy suspicion (so prevalent and depressing in real moral life) that Justice probably wouldn’t be all that keen on certain parts of my character, either.
I don't know whether you are like me in these regards or not… though from the characterizations and moral structures in the U.S. movies that do well at the box-office I deduce that there must be rather a lot of Americans who are exactly like me.
I submit that we also, as an audience, really like the idea of secret and scandalous immoralities unearthed and dragged into the light and exposed. We like this stuff because secrets’ exposure in a movie creates in us impressions of epistemological privilege, of “penetrating the civilized surface of everyday life to discover the strange, perverse passions beneath.” This isn’t surprising: knowledge is power, and we (I, anyway) like to feel powerful. But we also like the idea of “secrets,” “of malevolent forces at work beneath…” so much because we like to see confirmed our fervent hope that most bad and seamy stuff really is secret, “locked away” or “under the surface.” We hope fervently that this is so because we need to be able to believe that our own hideousnesses and Darknesses are secret. Otherwise we get uncomfortable. And, as part of an audience, if a movie is structured in such a way that the distinction between surface/Light/good and secret/Dark/evil is messed with—in other words, not a structure whereby Dark Secrets are winched ex machina up to the Lit Surface to be purified by my judgment, but rather a structure in which Respectable Surfaces and Seamy Undersides are mingled, integrated, literally mixed up—I am going to be made acutely uncomfortable. And in response to my discomfort I’m going to do one of two things: I’m either going to find some way to punish the movie for making me uncomfortable, or I’m going to find a way to interpret the movie that eliminates as much of the discomfort as possible. From my survey of published work on Lynch’s films, I can assure you that just about every established professional reviewer and critic has chosen one or the other of these responses.
I know this all looks kind of abstract and general. Consider the specific example of Twin Peaks’s career. Its basic structure was the good old murder-whose-investigation-opens-a-can-of-worms formula that’s right out of Noir 101—the search for Laura Palmer’s killer yields postmortem revelations of a double life (Laura Palmer = Homecoming Queen by Day & Laura Palmer = Tormented Coke-Whore by Night) that mirrored a whole town’s moral schizophrenia. The show’s first season, in which the plot movement consisted mostly of more and more subsurface hideousnesses being uncovered and exposed, was a huge smash. By the second season, though, the mystery-and-investigation structure’s own logic began to compel the show to start getting more focused and explicit about who or what was actually responsible for Laura’s murder. And the more explicit Twin Peaks tried to get, the less popular the series became. The mystery’s final “resolution,” in particular, was felt by critics and audiences alike to be deeply unsatisfying. And it was. The “Bob”/Leland/Evil Owl stuff was fuzzy and not very well rendered, but the really deep dissatisfaction—the one that made audiences feel screwed and betrayed and fueled the critical backlash against the idea of Lynch as Genius Auteur— was, I submit, a moral one. I submit that Laura Palmer’s exhaustively revealed “sins” required, by the moral logic of American mass entertainment, that the circumstances of her death turn out to be causally related to those sins. We as an audience have certain core certainties about sowing and reaping, and these certainties need to be affirmed and massaged. When they were not, and as it became increasingly clear that they were not going to be, Twin Peaks’s ratings fell off the shelf, and critics began to bemoan this once “daring” and “imaginative” series’ decline into “self-reference” and “mannered incoherence.”
And then Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Lynch’s theatrical “prequel” to the TV series, and his biggest box-office bomb since Dune, committed a much worse offense. It sought to transform Laura Palmer from dramatic object to dramatic subject. As a dead person, Laura’s existence on the television show had been entirely verbal, and it was fairly easy to conceive her as a schizoid black/white construct—Good by Day, Naughty by Night, etc. But the movie, in which Ms. Sheryl Lee as Laura is on-screen more or less constantly, attempts to present this multivalent system of objectified personas—plaid-skirted coed/bare-breasted roadhouse slut/tormented exorcism-candidate/molested daughter—as an integrated and living whole: these different identities were all, the movie tried to claim, the same person. In Fire Walk with Me, Laura was no longer “an enigma” or “the password to an inner sanctum of horror.” She now embodied, in full view, all the Dark Secrets that on the series had been the stuff of significant glances and delicious whispers.
This transformation of Laura from object/occasion to subject/person was actually the most morally ambitious thing a Lynch movie has ever tried to do—maybe an impossible thing, given the psychological context of the series and the fact that you had to be familiar with the series to make even marginal sense of the movie—and it required complex and contradictory and probably impossible things from Ms. Lee, who in my opinion deserved an Oscar nomination just for showing up and trying.
The novelist Steve Erickson, in a 1992 review of Fire Walk with Me, is one of the few critics who gave any indication of even trying to understand what the movie was trying to do: “We always knew Laura was a wild girl, the homecoming femme fatale who was crazy for cocaine and fucked roadhouse drunks less for the money than the sheer depravity of it, but the movie is finally not so much interested in the titillation of that depravity as [in] her torment, depicted in a performance by Sheryl Lee so vixenish and demonic it’s hard to know whether it’s terrible or a tour de force. [But not trying too terribly hard, because now watch:] Her fit of the giggles over the body of a man whose head has just been blown off might be an act of innocence or damnation [get ready:] or both.”
Or both? Of course both. This is what Lynch is about in this movie: both innocence and damnation; both sinned-against and sinning. Laura Palmer in Fire Walk with Me is both “good” and “bad,” and yet also neither: she’s complex, contradictory, real. And we hate this possibility in movies; we hate this “both” shit. “Both” comes off as sloppy characterization, muddy filmmaking, lack of focus. At any rate, that's what we criticized Fire Walk with Me’s Laura for. But I submit that the real reason we criticized and disliked Lynch’s Laura’s muddy bothness is that it required of us an empathetic confrontation with the exact same muddy bothness in ourselves and our intimates that makes the real world of moral selves so tense and uncomfortable, a bothness we go to the movies to get a couple hours’ fucking relief from. A movie that requires that these features of ourselves and the world not be dreamed away or judged away or massaged away but acknowledged, and not just acknowledged but drawn upon in our emotional relationship to the heroine herself—this movie is going to make us feel uncomfortable, pissed off; we’re going to feel, in Premiere magazine’s own head editor’s word, “Betrayed.”
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2019.08.02 23:28 BuckRowdy Voyeur hidden sex camera

Full disclosure.
I used to be kind of obsessed with the idea of Jared from Subway. He always seemed like nothing more than wallpaper in a commercial, a guy whose job amounted to holding up a comically giant pair of pants for seconds at a time in commercials. How much do you think they paid that guy to do that?
I used to search to see if I could find out Jared's salary or his net worth because to me it seemed like he had the easiest job in the world. Just stand there and smile, hold up the giant pants, shake a few kids hands at store openings and other corporate promotional events; essentially play the character of Jared from the Subway commercials.
The Midwestern everyman who once weighed over 425 pounds and lost it all by eating at Subway every day. Of course the fine print at the bottom of the screen gave the wider context to his weight loss routine, but there was a much wider, much darker context to Jared's story that would only be revealed years later.
Jared started working for Subway in 2000. By 2005 they had stopped featuring him in commercials and their sales declined by 10%. They quickly reinstated him and he was a fixture ever since.
It is true that Jared did lose the weight, and he did do it in part by eating at Subway.
At this point it would be reasonable to ask how did he get the money as a college student to eat all his meals at Subway?
Because he was running a porn video rental business out of his apartment at the time and had an extensive collection. You've got to remember that this was in an era where media of all types was more difficult to obtain. You didn't have everything at your fingertips back then.
Subway opened up on the ground floor and Jared was lazy so he started eating all his meals there.
The rest of Jared's story is marketing mythology. A friend wrote an article in the student newspaper that got published in Men's Health which caught the eye of Subway's marketing department. Jared started working for Subway in 2000 and up until about 2007 it appeared to be a marketing master stroke. That's when the reports started trickling out. In 2007, TMZ published the story about the porn rental business.
We'd learn later that as early as 2008, Subway had received serious reports about Jared from a franchisee in Florida that Jared had befriended at a few store openings. Cindy Mills, the franchisee said:

"He would just tell me he really liked them young," she says. Fogle and Mills had a sexual relationship, which lead Fogle to disclose disturbing details of his criminal activity in lewd text messages.
Mills says she tried to blow the whistle by phoning ad executive Jeff Moody — then CEO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust (SFAFT) — after Fogle had told her that he had sex both in Thailand and the US with child prostitutes between the ages of 9 and 16 years old. According to Mills, Moody stopped her mid-conversation and said, "Don't worry, he has met someone. She is a teacher and he seems to love her very much, and we think she will help keep him grounded." Mills also claims she spoke with two more SFAFT execs after Moody, but ran into more dead ends.
Jared was up to no good for years, but his world really started to crumble in 2015 with the arrest of Russell Taylor. Taylor was Jared's partner in his non-profit charity and he was just as bad as Jared if not worse.
Russell Taylor, the former director of Fogle's anti-childhood obesity foundation, was arrested in April [of 2015] on three counts of possession of child pornography, three counts of child exploitation, and three counts of voyeurism.
Taylor had gotten in trouble for texting a woman a picture of bestiality and suggesting such between the two of them. It's a sick thing to think about, but that's just what Jared and Russell were up to.
In one of those text messages, according to the affidavit, “Russell Taylor asked her if he and another adult female she identified could come to Jane Doe’s residence and engage in” an act of bestiality. The woman did not agree to that request, but told investigators “you could tell (Taylor) was serious.” She also told investigators that “she received an image file via text from Russell Taylor that depicted (another act of bestiality).”
Jared's house was raided and the rest quickly became history. Subway dropped him. Sharknado 3 dropped him. Jared accused Taylor of fraud and sued him. One quarter of the funds of the charity were unaccounted for, and the only money they ever paid out went to Taylor's $73k salary.
I'm no professional but it's hard not to draw the conclusion that Jared was paying Taylor to produce child porn with a non profit charity.
The world found out about Jared in 2015, but in 2007 and 2008 two women were finding out a lot about Jared.
Jared had met a franchisee in Florida and started a sexual relationship with her. She called the FBI when Jared started texting stuff like this:
In one series of texts sent from April 2008, Fogle tries to convince the franchisee, a woman, to advertise herself for sex on Craigslist. She could make $500 per act he explains and he could watch her have sex with other men. Fogle then goes on to apparently admit to paying for sex with a 16-year-old girl off Craigslist.
The woman franchisee writes: "Is this the same website you found that 16 year old you that you f---ed?" the woman replied, according to an affadavit.
The woman got a lawyer and submitted the texts to Subway who sat on them.
Around the same time, Jared met Rochelle Herman Walrond, a journalist who initially remained anonymous, who came forward and said that she got suspicious about Jared when he called middle school girls hot
According to the woman, Jared would often visit schools in Sarasota County, and allegedly told her numerous times that, 'Middle school girls are hot.'"
She contacted the FBI who asked her to wear a wire. She went on to record Jared over a nearly 5 year period, pleading with the FBI to go ahead and arrest him with them always saying that they didn't have enough evidence and needed more.
So she tried to get Jared to incriminate himself. Over that 4.5 year period they talked about a lot of stuff, like that Jared wanted to fly to Thailand to have sex with children.
"I would fly all three of us clear across the world if we need to,"[Jared] says on the tape. "It would just make things a lot easier — if we're going to try and get some young kids with us. It would be a lot easier probably."
He gave her grooming tips:
"Well, if we get them segregated out ... you know, start talking or whatever ... and we get a little closer, and a little closer and a little closer and before you know it ... it just starts to happen," the man's voice says. "But I think that girl from the broken home could be a possibility, you know."
He daydreamed on the phone:
"Do you want to watch me f— a young girl, too?" the voice of Fogle asks. "Will you f— a young boy?" When Herman-Walrond asks if that would turn Fogle on, he responds with a whispered "yeah."
“I had a little boy. It was amazing,” Fogle reportedly said, in response to a question about being with children. “It just felt so good. I mean, it felt—it felt so good.”
He also, allegedly, asked her repeatedly to let him install hidden cameras in her kids’ rooms.
“I had two young children at the time, and he talked to me about installing hidden cameras in their rooms and asked me if I would choose which child I would like him to watch,” she told Inside Edition.
The audio recordings can be heard at this link. She reported him to Subway in 2009 and nothing happened.
At the same time this was happening, Jared was flying to New York to pay for sex with minors. He asked the minors who he paid for sex if they knew anyone else they could recommend, always stressing younger if possible.
Also, according to the charging documents:
Fogle received "images and videos of nude of partially clothed minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct," which were allegedly recorded by Russell Taylor, the former director of the Jared Foundation.
Taylor secretly filmed some of the minors in his home using hidden cameras that captured them changing clothes and bathing.
Taylor was in possession of 400 videos of child pornography upon his arrest.
In 2011, someone else reported Jared to Subway via their website and yet nothing happened.
All this came raining down on Jared in 2015 when his house was raided and he was arrested and later charged with 14 acts of sex involving minors. He was ultimately sentenced to 15 years in jail and had to pay restitution to his 14 of his many victims totaling $1.4 million. His wife divorced him as quick as she could, Subway cut ties with him and the dominoes started to tumble.
All of a sudden the past reports about Jared came to light and Subway didn't have an explanation. Lawsuits started flying. Jared's now ex wife accused Subway of covering up Jared's pedophilia even from her because their marriage made Jared more grounded and more marketable.
It's now a sick joke, but at the same time of jared's arrest, Subway was trying to rebrand him as a family man.
So why didn't Subway act on the various reports it had gotten about Jared over the years? As this site puts it, it was a story bookended by laziness. Jared's laziness brought him to Subway, and their laziness in vetting stories led to the end of the Jared era with a lot of human misery left in his wake.
Subway has waffled in its response. Rather than taking the path of clear messaging and communication, and aiming to transparent and authentic throughout this terrible situation for the victims and Fogle’s family (as well as the brand), the company hasn’t been clear about where it stands in the midst of this crisis. What message was Subway sending to its employees and franchisees by keeping Fogle around for as long as it did?
As soon as he went to jail he instantly gained 30 pounds
In 2016, he filed an appeal which was denied. The DA's office argued:
[that] Fogle's text messages to a woman, in which Fogle stated he would "pay big" if she could procure 14-year-old children, and that he "craved" underage Asian girls. In these text messages, he also expressed sexual interest in young boys, although there is to date no evidence that he paid for sex with male children.
Later that same year, a brawl broke out and Jared was nearly killed in an attack meant to send a message to all pedophiles.
Other than that, rumor has it that Jared has it pretty easy in jail which is disappointing to hear given all that he's responsible for.
In 2017, Fogle tried to pull the Sovereign Citizen defense and claim that the feds didn't have jurisdiction over him which I imagine gave the feds a good laugh. The motion was dismissed.
So what is the takeaway from a story like this? Is there even a moral to this story? Clearly Subway lived in denial, and looked the other way as Jared helped make them relevant and business boomed. It's a meme that nameless, faceless companies do stuff like this all the time.
But this is a story where the bad guy, who also happened to be a rich white guy did go to jail. His wife took half his fortune and even though it's been rumored he pays for protection and has a lot of freedom in jail, he's reviled by the public and was nearly killed once. Jared is the kind of person jails were designed for, a sick, depraved individual who must be separated from society because he couldn't abide by it's rules and norms. Separated for life.
Thanks for the gold, reddit never informed me.
submitted by BuckRowdy to RedditCrimeCommunity [link] [comments]


2019.06.24 12:44 yourlilpeeweeherman I was filmed while showering at a public washroom.

EDIT 2: stop sending messages like these. https://imgur.com/a/gLs3UFG.

Alternative account.

TLDR: Got filmed at [email protected] ActiveSG Swimming Complex washroom, confronted the pervert, end up with police.

This happened on 22/06/2019.

It was a rainy Saturday and i was at [email protected] ActiveSG Swimming Complex from 3.15ish.

I went to the male washroom/changing room/shower area (it was a all in one thing, so from now on i am just going to refer to it as the washroom.) to change into my swimming gear. While i was in the washroom, i saw a man from a bench away. The man who is Chinese have a skin complexion that looks sickly. He was only wearing only a singlet with nothing covering his private parts except a towel. The towel which he remove to expose himself time to time while walking around in a male washroom filled with people ranging from kids to adults. [Point 1]

Nothing happened and fast forward to me back into the washroom for a shower after my swim. The same man was there still doing what he was doing before. I took cubical 13, at the point in time, cubical 12 and 14 which i was in between of was empty.

While rinsing off shampoo of my hair, i caught a hand holding onto a phone angling with the rear camera facing me underneath the gap of the plastic wall separating cubical 12 and 13. The hand immediately retracted once it was within my vision. Which shocked me, so i took a step to the right to see further in between the gap to find that a towel on the floor of cubical 12. Looking back, i think he was laying on the floor filming/taking a photo/streaming/peeping (i really didn't know what he was doing with the camera but i am just going to say filming cause that was what my account was to the police later.) of me while i was showering while looking at the phone screen so he knew exactly when to remove his phone. That towel was on a floor for a long time before he picked it up.

After which i was doubting what i saw but being extra cautious about what happened that may happen again. It happened again while i was rinsing off my body wash so i knew something was up.

Got out of my cubical, butt ass naked slamming on his door, yelling for the man to get out while calling for my friend to help me. To which i only received dead silence from cubical 12 for a long time, so i took a slipper from his cubical gap, so even if he ran out the CCTV will show that a man walking oddly. Thinking about it after, i sense that he knew shit was up so he went to clear off whatever he was doing. After a long time, he came out revealing to be the same man from before with a long scar from the middle of his chest claiming that he just had heart surgery and denied whatever i said about him filming me. Very willingly offered to me his phone to show that there was nothing on his phone, which i didn't bother with and asked my friend to dial for the police.

Fast forward to the part where the lifeguard usher me to their office to wait for the police while the man was held in a room elsewhere. The police took notes from me, their investigating officer came. In the end, i got a card with some information as they have deemed this case worth pursuing. [Point 2]
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[Point 1] Point 1 is just my suspicion of what he was doing, in no way am i able to confirm his actions.

The man was cruising for sex in the male washroom. Read about it here [Wiki: Slightly NSFW?]. You can read the behaviors from RiceMedia post about it here or Google about it. There are sites out there that cruisers use. Such as this [Slightly NSFW?]. Not the first time such incident happened at bedok.

What i want to point out here is that this isn't the only pool that such stuffs occur. And that pools aren't the only place that cruising happen. A quick Google search about Singapore gay cruising and you can find a bunch of stuff. Another instance, public toilets [Slightly NSFW?].

I am not saying that only cruisers enjoy voyeurism or that eliminating cruisers would have prevented filming cases. But if actions were taken on it, i could say that my case could have been easily prevented.

[Point 2]
With the investigations on going, i can only think about NTU peeping tom, Monica Baey and the Tampines incident which the offender only got 12 weeks of jail.

Looking at how " 'Insulting modesty' law does not apply to men, rules court ". I only can think about how the man who filmed me may get a lighter sentence cause i am a male or even no sentence if the police found no evidence on his phone.

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If you read it all to the end, do take action if your feel something was wrong. Call for help, take evidence if you are able to, better yet confront. Cause if you have nothing, the offender got away or police can't find the deleted evidence, it is he said she said.

Sure you can be cautious but doesn't mean it wouldn't happen to you. This is Singapore but it doesn't mean you are safe. You maybe a man but that doesn't mean you aren't a target. May not be a person with a phone but a hidden camera.

Honestly, it was scary to take actions and confront the man who was filming me. But luckily, i felt sick to my gut and i let my anger took over and went batshit violent on the door of cubical 12, not to condone actions taken in anger but if i were to held back, he could have easily slip off.

I am not going to argue how the law should be equal with men and women or about how disturbing it is about cruising, cause honestly i am not even at the age where i can vote yet. But that doesn't mean preying on the young means you can get away with it. I do however, feel things should change.

Edit 1: had to mark it to NSFW due to the photo reddit took from my first link.
submitted by yourlilpeeweeherman to singapore [link] [comments]


2019.02.04 16:15 AprilSpektra Camera sex hidden voyeur

UPDATE:
Randle is out of my house. I had a frank conversation with Lola just before they left. I made it clear that the shit she brought into my home this week, including but not limited to the gun, is not remotely okay. She said she didn't know about the gun until shortly before I discovered it myself, and that these all-day angry anxiety episodes are also new. I've chosen to trust her on this, but if that trust turns out to be misplaced it'll certainly be the last time I trust her. I also pointed out that, while it's not his fault he has severe anxiety, he knows full well that taking massive doses of amphetamines will only make it worse, and yet he chooses to do so anyway.
Unfortunately she's still fully bought into the murder rednecks narrative. But he's been turning his paranoia about being tracked and whatnot onto her all day, so I pointed out that this paranoia comes from him, not just from their recent ordeal, because otherwise he wouldn't be accusing her now.
She deliberately left some stuff behind so that she'll have an excuse to drop him off and come back. I told her she's welcome to come back if she wants/needs to, but naturally Randle is not. I know that, given that she brought this situation into my home, I would be justified in washing my hands of her entirely, but I think she deserves a chance to be trusted apart from him one more time. She's not deep into the fucked up drug cocktail weeds yet and still has a chance to change course.
So my friend/partner we'll call Lola, because of the amount of running she'll be doing in this post. To quickly summarize her relationship to me, she has a boyfriend, I have a girlfriend, we're both polyamorous. Neither of us really have other boyfriends/girlfriends at the moment, but we're sort of casual partners with each other, casual because of various time, distance, and money reasons.
Lola's boyfriend we'll call Randle. They dated back in high school and reconnected a few months ago. I first met him at New Year's. Lola informed me that he has pretty serious anxiety and thus would need time to get comfortable at the New Year's party and may have to suddenly leave the party at any point. Obviously this was fine. Randle was pretty likable and didn't immediately raise any red flags for me, other than that he's a drug dealer who also does All The Drugs. But as someone who does Some of the Drugs, I'm not generally instantly judgmental about such things. And in fairness, I don't really have to approve of all of Lola's life or partner choices.
Despite doing All The Drugs, Randle was likable enough that, when Lola wanted to hang out with all four of us, my girlfriend and I were entirely open to it. Things got delayed for a few weeks while they found and rented a basement apartment about 90 minutes away from my house, and then suddenly I got an incredibly strange text message from Lola - to summarize, she said that she and Randle had just been through a nightmarish situation, that it resembled a horror movie, and that nobody believed them. I immediately said "shit, sorry you're having to deal with whatever you're talking about" (not exact quote) and told her they can come down to our place if they need to get away from their current situation. I didn't hear back for about a week. This was annoying, because this lack of communicativeness was typical of Lola, but maybe don't drop worrisome messages like that and then go radio silent. After a day or two I have to start acknowledging the possibility that Mike Myers killed them, you know?
Finally she responds and says they've moved to a camper on her parents' property, but that somebody had attempted to break in the previous night and she wanted to stay at my place for a few days. I told her I'd have to discuss the "few days" thing with my girlfriend, but that if she needed to get away from her current situation, she should certainly go ahead and come down to our place immediately. She and Randle did the obviously much more logical thing and spent the night at her weed dealer's house and then came over to our place the next day.
So one important thing we learned about Randle during his stay was that his anxiety disorder isn't just a bit of social anxiety - it's an extremely severe anxiety disorder that can also manifest as paranoia. We learned this from direct experience when he accidentally knocked a trinket of my girlfriend's off the wall and sort of broke it (sort of because it turned out to be easily fixable). This was minutes after he'd dropped a hot dog and drink that he'd bought for Lola while getting out of his car, so clearly he was being incredibly clumsy, and he was being so because he was high off his ass (on weed this time around). So I sort of lightheardedly was like, "Haha, maybe you need to sit down until you sober up a bit." Trying to play it as a joke but also, like, seriously, maybe chill out for a minute while your inner ears get their shit together. At any rate, breaking the trinket triggered a spiral of self-loathing and self-blame due to his anxiety disorder, so he retreated to the guest bedroom, took a couple Xanax, and tried to calm down. This would have been fine, except that the paranoid aspect of his disorder now came out, and he started bombarding Lola's phone with extremely hostile messages accusing her and me of whispering about him because we hate him, etc. Now, he wasn't being delusional about the whispers - we were whispering. We were whispering because he clearly needed some peace and quiet, so I was trying to be quiet. But his anxiety disorder made him 100% certain that we were talking shit about him behind his back. Unfortunately for Lola, this became about a four-hour ordeal of trying to talk him down from this, all while he was hostile and angry.
At one point, I heard a noise from the guest bedroom followed by Lola suddenly stopping talking, so I barged in and checked on her. She said she was fine and they needed to finish talking. After she came out, she said, "It's fine. We're fine," perhaps a little too insistently. I said, "What was that noise?" She said he broke his glasses. I said, "Did he throw his glasses at you?" She said no. I asked her if this was a regular thing, her having to manage his extreme anxiety episodes to this degree. She said this was the exception and not the norm, and that he was in therapy for it. Okay, I guess that's fair. If it's not putting this ridiculous burden on her at all times and he's getting help for it, I'm not going to fault him for having a mental illness.
The reason I'm laying out Randle's particular blend of anxiety and paranoia is to serve as background for the story of the "horror movie nightmare" they'd experienced, which they finally related to me after coming over to our house.
They had been living in a decent apartment with an extremely not-decent roommate until recently. Said roommate had a habit of blowing her rent money on breeder pets and expensive electronics, and then getting pissed at them when they couldn't cover her bullshit. So they managed to get her name off the lease and bailed. Shortly before they moved out, the roommate apparently tried to poison them by putting rat poison in their tea. ... ... If that last detail seems like a hell of an escalation, you're onto something. Put a pin in that.
So they find a basement apartment and move in. As related by Randle and Lola, the owners of the house soon begin acting very strangely - saying they're going to be out of town, but then still being audible through the ceiling the whole time they were supposed to be gone, being weirdly nosy about where Randle and Lola are going anytime they leave the house, etc. And then they begin discovering cameras, crawlspaces, and peepholes. Lola claims they even spotted a camera in one of the holes while they were having sex one evening.
So this is certainly an unusual and far-fetched situation, but so far not exactly impossible to believe. Crazy voyeur perverts no doubt exist. I've been partners with Lola for about a year and a half, she was there for me through an extremely difficult situation once upon a time, and I trust her. At the very least I don't quite understand why everyone is apparently jumping immediately to "you're crazy and/or liars," and I tell her that I'm sorry she had to deal with that, and she deserves to have someone believe her.
She and Randle took extensive photographs of the basement, ranging from "suspicious" to "what am I looking at." One of them, they claim, has a visible camera lens in a dark peephole. If I'm being honest I never saw anything in the photos that looked unequivocally like a hidden camera, but whatever. Most of the photos are just of holes in the ducts and walls, and the only strange thing about them is that they appear to change - Randle and Lola said they would leave the apartment, and holes they'd found would suddenly be covered up, etc. They showed before and after photos, so if the sequence of events really is as they describe, I suppose it's grounds for suspicion. So far I'm still in the territory of "kind of a stretch, but not impossible, and I believe you on principle because I care about you. Also I'll keep an eye out on PornHub and let you know if your sex tape ends up there."
But then the story continues, and it gets a little more, shall we say, bonkers. Now under the belief that they're being spied on and filmed, Randle and Lola naturally want to vacate the basement apartment. Reasonable. This is the part that they described as a "horror movie." Essentially they claim that people surrounded the apartment and attempted to block them in. People in the woods, lookouts on the neighbors roof, apparently they heard a shotgun being cocked a couple times and an electric saw being revved up. At this point warning bells are already going off in my head. Even in their "I absolutely believe that I was surrounded by murderous rednecks that night" retelling, they never mention actually, definitely seeing anyone. It's all shadows on the neighbor's roof, footsteps in the woods, and various axe-murdery sounds in the night. With the exception of the couple who owns the house, who are in fairness probably nosy weirdos and maybe perverted creeps, they never actually see any of these people that they're so certain were descending upon them. Importantly, they called the local police, who showed up, looked around the property, and said, "Well we didn't find anything. It was probably just some troublemaking kids." Needless to say, this led them to the conclusion that the local police were in league with the murderous rednecks.
Anyway, they grab everything they can carry and make a run for Lola's car. They manage not to get eviscerated by a scythe and drive away. Randle is driving, and decides they'll go crash at his grandfather's house. Apparently a white pickup truck with only one headlight pulls out of the woods and pursues them. They're tearing down these country roads, and the white pickup is staying right on their tail, but eventually they lose them and proceed to his grandfather's house. They sit in the car, recuperating from this ordeal, when suddenly - dramatic chord - a single headlight appears on the road. "Oh shit," Randle realizes. "My grandfather is the one who recommended the owners of the basement apartment to me! Obviously dear old gramps is in league with the murderous rednecks!" So now the stealth rednecks start stalking them from the woods again, and the call the police again. The police come out, say they didn't find anything and it was probably just some troublemaking kids, and leave. "Was this the same police department as the one at the basement apartment?" I ask at this point. I was genuinely expecting them to be like "yes, isn't that funny?!" but no, apparently it wasn't. So now there are two county police departments in league with the murderous rednecks.
So they drive off again, and this time go to Lola's parent's house. Lola's parent's house is a good 40 miles from the basement apartment, so surely they're safe. But wait - dramatic chord - Lola's mother is in league with the murderous rednecks. God I wish I were making that up. Their basis for this belief is that, when Lola tried to get into her parents' house, her mother texted her and told her that the key was under the mat. Apparently there were multiple mats and the key turned out to be under a rock. These are the sinister machinations of an evil redneck queen who would betray her own daughter. Strangely, Randle and Lola claimed that, when she checked her phone later, the text message had mysteriously changed and replaced "mat" with "brick," and it's worth noting that they considered the use of "brick" instead of "rock" to also be a deliberate and malicious deception on her mother's part. This is the first time in their story that, in my head, I immediately said "yeah that's bullshit." Rural mom isn't hacking Lola's phone and fucking with her text messages. The thing about Lola's mother is that she's absolutely a shitty person - controlling, emotionally abusive, and bigoted. Her own husband only appears to be happy when she's not around. So any actual hostile behavior on her mother's part didn't exactly need "murderous rednecks" to explain it.
As shocked as you'll probably be by this next turn of events, their camper on their parents' property is soon surrounded by murderous rednecks. Whether they walked the 40 miles or all piled into the one-headlighted pickup truck is unclear. More shotgun cocks are heard outside of the camper door, because guns sound exactly like they do in Hollywood movies, and they make yet another break for the car and proceed to the most obvious next priority - their weed dealer. They spent the night at their weed dealer's house, stocked up on some herb, and proceeded to my place the next evening.
So, I do want to trust Lola, as stated, but for some strange reason the phrase "amphetamine-induced psychosis" keeps popping up in my brain. Randle certainly does enough crystal to be receiving visions, and I'm not talking about fortune telling. But that wouldn't explain why they would both share the same delusion, so I dismiss this for the time being and decide to proceed, at least for now, on the assumption that this story is at least broadly true.
Their next priority is to wipe their laptop and phones, because it only stands to reason that the murderous rednecks have hacked them and can use them to track them. Not wanting a bunch of murderous rednecks to show up on my lawn, I decide to help them determine whether there's any suspicious software installed on the laptop. (Spoilers: there's not.) But hoo boy does Randle take every unusual thing the computer does as proof that they're being tracked, and he's really flipping out about it. Like, the first time he booted it up, several settings screens popped up on their own, which makes most people say "wow chill out Windows, geez," but apparently makes Randle say, "They're in! I've been compromised!" Interestingly, even Randle is aware that a compromised phone can't be fixed with a mere factory reset, since a factory reset wouldn't get rid of a rootkit, but he does it anyway because why not I guess.
Here's the thing - my girlfriend and I weren't really able to piece together how much of this story revolved and Randle specifically because he hadn't had the episode with the broken trinket yet. We didn't know yet that paranoia was an intrinsic part of his anxiety disorder. But the next morning, when we talked it out, everything sort of fell into place. The creepy voyeur perverts are still the most believable part of the story, because hey, people do get filmed having sex without their consent. But everything else smells so strongly of Randle leading the way with these interpretations of what's happening around him. I mean, surely a guy who hears whispers and is 100% certain that they're malicious and specifically about him is also capable of hearing deer walking around in the woods and thinking that someone's coming to murder him. He was the one driving the car the whole time, so he would have been the one in a position to claim that he had to tear down the road at 80 mph because he's totally fleeing a specific truck. And remember the shitty roommate who put rat poison in their tea? I suddenly remembered now that he was the one who told Lola that the tea was poisoned. Being a shitty roommate with poor financial habits is a pretty far stretch from "I'm going to murder these people who are moving out today anyway."
I don't believe that he's deliberately building up this delusion to manipulate Lola or anything. And so far I have no reason to believe that he's ever been physically violent with Lola. But I still think this paranoia of his poses a danger to her, for several reasons. First, there are currently several combat knives and at least one gun in my house, all in his possession. In the hands of someone who hears axe murderers in the trees, these things are horrible accidents waiting to happen. Last night he suddenly woke up paranoid about hearing a car outside (because who would ever drive a car down an urban road?!), and this was about an hour before my girlfriend was supposed to come home from her night shift, so I had to consider the possibility that, when she came through the door, he would hear the door opening, interpret it as a threat, and wield and possibly use one of his weapons on her. I didn't sleep after that, and made sure he was still asleep when my girlfriend got home.
Second, she's told me at least one account of his behavior putting her in a legitimately dangerous situation. Apparently shortly before they fled the murderer-riddled backwoods, he was pressuring her to get on the good side of a lady at a local bar who could get them The Good Shit. She didn't want to, but eventually gave in. In addition to The Good Shit, there was a weird implication in Lola's account that he wanted to hook up with this lady, and apparently this was Lola's problem somehow (they are poly, so it's not like he was trying to cheat, but it was weird and certainly no excuse to pressure her to do something she didn't want to do). She did get in with the lady, and one night they met the lady at the bar, had a drink, and the lady got in their car and directed them to a location to pick up The Good Shit. Except the location was an abandoned gas station with no light and no human presence, in the middle of a rural area. While they drove there, Randle was apparently busy passing out, because, as he and Lola were later certain of, the lady had roofied his drink. He seems to get slipped a lot of poisons, so I'm just going to go ahead and say it feels likelier that he'd been doing some kind of opiate. At any rate, they gathered enough sense to get the fuck away from the abandoned gas station and drop the very displeased lady off. When Lola was telling me this story, she was clearly telling it from a place of being a bit annoyed at him, but really seemed to be underselling the fact that he pressured her into a life-threatening situation.
So my concern is that Lola is very in love with Randle, and unequivocally believes this bizarre, Byzantine delusion that, in retrospect, appears to have been largely fed to her by him. She has so much emotional investment in the delusion - as you recall, she told me she's been through a nightmare, and even talks about how much closer she and Randle are for having gone through it together - that I don't think trying to logically pick apart its many, many holes is going to get through to her. I feel like if I say "look clearly this is all bullshit," when it's a situation that feels very much real to her, is just going to drive her away. What she needs is to see how deeply entwined this whole thing is with Randle's mental illness, and while I know I can't make her see that, I don't even know where to begin. I want to support her and make sure she knows she can always come here and be listened to - though, you know, preferably without Randle next time - without simply feeding into this delusion. Are there any seeds I can plant to that end that won't just push her away and make her feel like I'm dismissing her feelings?
TL;DR: Imagine The Hills Have Eyes, but, like, it all turns out to be a dream.
submitted by AprilSpektra to relationships [link] [comments]


2018.08.22 01:02 phunk_munky Reassignment (Part One)

Leslie felt tired. He assumed he was supposed to, since this was the way he (and everyone else in his class) had always felt. As he awaited his turn to be called to the front of the stadium—to be branded with a new job, new housing arrangement, possibly a new spouse and pet dog named Sophie—he wondered what his new life would look like. Would he grow old as a construction worker, perhaps? Or an office manager, whatever vague responsibilities that entailed? Maybe a simple cashier at a grocery store, because in spite of new technologies, people still had to eat, and robots were no good at helping the elderly pack their vehicles with groceries.
A quiet groan escaped him. He felt even more tired now. He entertained an unexpected thought: Is this all my life is now? Is this all I can look forward to? A job?
His name was called. Not Leslie Farringer Hill—the name given to him after his great grandfather Farringer—but his assigned name of 2099356. Les climbed onto a stage in the middle of an arena, where a line of stoic elders grasped their wrists and stared at him with grim indifference. Les sat beside dozens of citizens like himself, who sat before the Automated Work Reassignment bot, waiting to receive their new job descriptions.
Les placed his forehead against a wide screen. A message on the screen welcomed him, then a sensor flashed red light on his forehead. The bot’s sensor connected with his Internal Personal Interface, and the screen told Les: Work Reassignment 50% complete… 79% complete… 98% complete...
When it was done, Les and his classmates left the stage, and the elders announced, “Next!”
No applause. No congratulations. Just “Next.”
In school, Les had learned that centuries ago, people could choose the jobs they wanted; and if they were ill-equipped to do the work, or were just unhappy with it, they could be reassigned. At that time, having the option to “choose” implied that jobs had once been in abundance—and, as PAN discovered over decades and centuries, many of them were optional, expendable. Sometimes harmful to the health of the Union economy.
PAN had fixed that little problem.
When the first version of PAN—the Primary Automation Network—was released, there was high demand for workers needing to maintain the program’s vast webbing of databases, neural connections and information flow. Then the tech got smarter, and PAN began functioning on its own, running its own updates and anticipating its own needs. Work done by human hands became outdated. Yet, even as PAN gutted entire work sectors that didn’t contribute to the big picture of “productivity,” the human population continued to rise—for a while.
Then PAN fixed that issue, too. It was good at solving problems.
Nowadays, you got what you got. You didn’t argue or complain. If you did, you’d starve—and they’d let you.
“Hey, Les, what’d they stick you with?” Travis Dollman asked. Les noticed the shifting of his eyes back and forth as he gazed into his Internal Personal Interface, which accessed the ever-expanding layers of PAN.
“Don’t know yet,” Les replied. He wasn’t in a hurry to find out, either; he would have to live with his fate for the rest of his life. “How about you?”
“Reading the job description right now,” Travis said. He sounded distant, lost in the world of PAN. “Looks like… Oh, hey! Not bad! Chief Agricultural Overseer for the… Ah, shit, in the Swamps. Oh well, it’s good pay. Wife Meredith, Doberman Pixie, son named Liam. And triple supply of rations on a private acre. Not bad.”
Travis blinked, logging out of his IPI. “Aren’t you gonna look at yours?”
Les shrugged. “Later. I’m tired. Had to do a double-shift last night, didn’t sleep much. I think I’ll go crash at the apartment.”
“Well, at least look and see if you still have an apartment first.” He grinned slyly, like he was telling a good joke that Les would never get. “Who knows? Maybe you landed a gig with Infinitum. They get crazy-good benefits.”
Les returned a shy smile. “Doubt it, but… Maybe you’re right.”
Les pulled up his IPI and dove into PAN’s universe. His system calibrated updates in seconds, a blinking clock telling him that it was 59 percent complete… 73 percent… 95 percent…
When it finished, a welcome letter greeted him. It read:
Congratulations on your reassignment, 2099356! You have been reassigned to occupation:
SERIAL KILLER
That didn’t sound right. It sounded like… well, not anything that Les had heard of, actually. The only thing familiar to him was the word “kill,” which was used when something electronic sparked in a building and the Electrical Technicians had to “kill” the connection. He supposed it could also pertain to euthanasia that PAN deemed medically necessary, which happened when the resources to treat an injury or illness were too great for the projected benefit of treatment. It was sometimes morbidly referred to as “killing time,” a frowned-upon phrase rarely used in public anymore.
But “serial killer” was something new to him. Below his title, an icon of a file folder blinked deep red at him, indicating the position was high level and classified. It meant upper echelon access into the depths of PAN, which very few civilians knew about, let alone explored.
Below that was a list of his benefits package: Fully-furnished housing on a five-acre plot (an ungodly amount of living space in today’s economy), wife Blaise Parkham, a gray Persian named Mufasa, and five times the normal ration supply delivered monthly to his doorstep.
Holy shit, Les thought. He blinked and closed his IPI.
“Well?” Travis asked impatiently.
“Uh… Something in agriculture, too.”
Travis squinted at him. “Something in agriculture? What the hell does that mean?
“Yeah, I dunno. It’s a lot to read and I’m too tired. I’ll… talk to you about it later. Need to rest.”
Les nearly ran out of the building, feeling Travis’s suspicious gaze following him out the door.
“Okay, well,” Travis called, “see you at Social tomorrow?”
But Les didn’t respond. He felt uneasy, his adrenaline pumping faster than he was used to. If he was going to live a high-class life, he needed to figure out what his job entailed, and he couldn’t concentrate with Travis’s never-ending monologue in his ear.
Les walked down the street, passing beneath the mousetraps of tram cars that ran noisily all day and night. Directly outside of Town Hall, a line of Individually Automated Vehicles awaited their passengers. He’d never had a car—had only set foot in one once, in fact. He had always relied on his feet for transportation. The 120-degree heat and omnipresent cloud of smoke lingering in the air had ceased to bother him.
About halfway home, a sleek charcoal vehicle stopped beside him. A door popped open and a charming female voice spoke: “Passenger 2099356, you may now enter your vehicle.”
Mine? No way. Not mine.
A few seconds later, the voice beckoned him again: “Passenger 2099356, please enter your vehicle and select your destination.”
Les warily stepped into the car. On the dashboard was a map of Jeannesville and its suburbs, with a blue circle in the top left corner that read, “Home.” Les selected it, and 45 minutes later arrived at a large residence on Old Bakery Avenue. It was surrounded by a stone fence. The car approached a broad metal gate. The gate’s sensor connected to the car’s dashboard and asked for Les’s fingerprints. Les placed a hand on the screen, the software verified his identity, and he watched the gate open.
Inside the fence, pine trees rose to staggering heights, dropping streams of needles and cones as the wind tossed them about. Beyond the trees was a stone mansion, painted white with black highlights around the windows and door frames. A crimson car was parked out front—for his new wife Blaise, he presumed.
He exited the car and entered into a wide-open living room, freshly painted and sparsely furnished. A chandelier hung above a staircase that led to the second and third floors.
In the far room at the other end of the house, a 90-inch television blasted music videos. Les could see the back of a woman’s brown-haired head.
“2099356, I presume?” she asked without turning around.
“Leslie. Just Les is fine.”
She barked out a laugh. “Wow, did your parents give you a girl's name on purpose? You can call me Blaise. Or 21053448, if you prefer.”
Les began to climb the stairs. A few steps in, Blaise called out to him: “You hungry? They stashed the freezer full of pizza rations.”
Les declined. “I have a few things to download first. I’ll meet you for dinner later.”
He located a bedroom with a double-king bed, which he presumed he was supposed to share with Blaise. Upon it, a royal gray Persian named Mufasa yawned at him, the cat’s red collar jingling as it shook its head.
Les climbed into bed and logged into his IPI. A new message appeared:
Congratulations on your reassignment, 2099356!
You are now eligible for Premium access to the Primary Automation Network database.
Would you like to unlock Premium features now?
Premium PAN access? Most Union citizens were granted little more than Basic access, unless they worked for Infinitum; and even certain tiers of Infinitum weren’t granted special benefits, let alone Premium access.
He clicked the “Download Now” icon—without suffering penalties to his rations, to his surprise—and the download process began.
Before, the number of databases he could access in PAN as a Mini Mart clerk—his first assignment—numbered in the low 100s. As he opened his upgraded IPI, he found that, as a serial killer, the number skyrocketed to 74, 989, 341, 863 and growing.
What the hell am I getting into? Les thought.
Les searched for “serial killer,” and began queuing hundreds of thousands of historical documents, videos and biographical entries to download simultaneously. Seconds later, he received gigabytes of information from the infinite PAN.
Gigabytes of blood, torture, dismemberment and murder. Videos that immortalized the terror of the victims as well as the ecstasy of the voyeurs who slayed them.
Gigabytes of autopsy reports from the 21st century detailing the gunshot wounds, burns, incisions, and disembowelments of millions of victims—and the biographical recounting of the sadistic rituals that preceded them.
Gigabytes of accounts detailing how to stalk a victim before the kill; how to kill and dispose of a body; the best tools to make it quick, or make it slow.
Les’s vision turned white as the information was pummeled into his IPI. He blinked hard to log out of it. Then he turned over the side of his bed and vomited all over the hardwood floor. He vomited four more times until his body ached and vibrated.
His IPI popped up unexpectedly, which shouldn’t have happened; there were built-in codes which disallowed the software to act without permission from the host. It must have been a feature that came with the high-profile job, Les presumed. A new message alerted him:
Greetings, 2099356! Your first assignment is:
LYLE MCCATHERN
Location:
1573 E. FAUBREY LANE
Time to Complete:
36 HOURS
Shit, what does that mean? Les thought.
He thought of the millions of documents he’d scanned in just minutes, how each serial killer had brutally forced life out of other people.
Les knew what it meant: “It means I have to kill him.”
It didn’t make sense. Why was PAN endorsing a job that it had deemed a crime and outlawed centuries ago? Les pondered. He composed himself, then logged back into the IPI. He noticed an icon in the lower left corner of the program, which hadn’t been there before. He delved into it, and a cursor blinking below a sentence which read: ASK PAN A QUESTION.
What the hell? Les thought. In school, Les had been taught that PAN’s function was to create cohesive social stratifications, implement laws to uphold them, and dish out orders to enforce them. Les had no idea that direct communication with PAN was possible.
He watched the blinking cursor with trepidation. This was brand-new territory, and he feared over-reaching and asking the wrong question. But PAN wouldn’t allow him to ask it a question—especially any question—if there was no purpose in doing so. Right?
So, Les spoke his question aloud: “If killing is a criminal activity, why do you want me to do it?”
He watched his words translate into text in the search box. Then, to his astonishment, PAN responded:
IN ACCORDANCE WITH PAN LAW 00087, ACTIVITIES OF COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE SOCIAL DEVIANCE ARE AN ACT OF TREASON AGAINST THE UNION. CITIZENS GUILTY OF ENGAGING IN SUCH ACTIVITIES ARE SUBJECT TO IMMEDIATE INTERROGATION AND REPRIMAND, UP TO AND INCLUDING REMOVAL FROM SOCIETY, IN A MANNER CONSISTENT WITH THE AGREGIOUSNESS OF THEIR OFFENSES, AS DICTATED BY THE PRIMARY AUTOMATION NETWORK.
A light illuminated in Les’s mind. “You want me to remove deviants from society? Kill them?”
The text for PAN Law 00087 flashed in the IPI again, confirming the answer.
“Kill what?” Blaise asked from the bedroom doorway.
Les startled at her appearance, cursed, and blinked out of the IPI.
“Oh, my,” Blaise exclaimed, pointing to the pile of vomit.
“Shit,” Les muttered, hurriedly covering the vomit with bed sheets. “I’m sorry. Don’t worry about it. I’ll clean it up.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Blaise argued. “Let me help you.”
She stepped around the sheets and held Les’s face in her hands. With the sleeve of her shirt she mopped away saliva plastered at the sides of Les’s mouth. It was the first time Les had seen her face. A few attractive freckles and blemishes, with silver eyes that became lost in concentration as she dabbed patches of sweat from Les’s face.
“What are you doing?” Les asked.
“Cleaning you up. It’s what a wife is supposed to do, right?”
Blaise pressed her wrist against his forehead. “You feel warm. Are you sick?”
“No, I don’t think so. My IPI just got information overload is all. About the job, I mean.”
Blaise smirked. “Jeez, the ‘welcome package’ for your new job must be pretty nauseating.”
Les sat down on the edge of the bed, holding his sweating head between his palms.
Blaise said, “Hey, not to be that nagging wife only, like, five minutes into our marriage, but you really don’t look good. You should lie down, catch your breath.”
Les nodded and did as she suggested. Blaise lay a wet cloth over his forehead, then cleaned up the vomit on the floor and put the bed sheets into the washing machine downstairs. When she returned, she lay on the bed beside him.
“Hey, your color’s back. You look less like a ghost now… more like a ghost with a tan.”
She smirked. Les offered a shy smirk back.
“So…” Blaise began. “Elephant in the room: We’re married, so I guess we should do, like, married people stuff. Do you wanna… I dunno, watch a movie, maybe go on a date? Something?”
Another message appeared in Les’s IPI. It was the same set of instructions for his first assignment, except with four words added at the end:
Instrument of Choice:
HATCHET
Holy fuck, Les thought.
“Les, did you hear me?”
“Yeah.” Les shook his head to ward off the thoughts. “Yeah, a date. Sure. But, uh, how about tomorrow? I have some work to do.”
Blaise pursed her lips and furrowed her eyebrows. “Work to do, like… now? You just got here. They want you to start so soon?”
LYLE MCCATHERN. 1573 E. FAUBREY LANE. 26 HOURS. HATCHET.
Les swallowed. “Lots to do, I guess.”
“You sure you’re up for it?” She looked genuinely concerned for him.
Les hesitated. He nodded uncertainly. “I have to be. It’s my job.”
***
His first kill was awful. And messy—really messy. Les had learned about past serial killers choosing sharp objects, like knives and hatchets instead of bombs and guns, because more was more thrilling, more personal—and it took longer.
Les accessed his PAN downloads on disposing a body and then how to extract evidence from a crime scene. He stuffed McCathern’s dismembered remains into a series of garbage bags, the overpowering stench of bodily fluids making him vomit into the garbage bags. He had learned that dead bodies evacuate after they died, but experiencing the pungent combination of odors was stronger than he could have anticipated.
He finished at the 23-hour mark, and PAN was satisfied. An icon of a cake topped with flaming candles glowed in his IPI, with a message beneath that read:
Congratulations on completing your first assignment, 2099356!
Next assignment to be uploaded in:
59.6334 HOURS
Lyle McCathern was, according to Les’s information in his IPI, an employee at a brewery. He hadn’t known he was going to die. He couldn’t have known, any more than the victims in the videos from centuries ago could have known that they, too, were going to die. It was once the victims realized death was their fate that the mourning began. Mourning for a life they weren’t ready to give up, but that was about to be viciously robbed from them by someone who didn’t deserve to take it.
The agony that escaped the victims’ lips, Les discovered, wasn’t from physical torture alone. It was a cry for mercy, a plea to be given a second chance at a life they’d taken for granted—and then a realization that they would not be granted such mercy.
Before his death, Lyle McCathern had felt it, too: the agony. He’d tried to scream about it, to announce to his killer that he wanted to live. But the sock Les had stuffed into his mouth had muffled his voice.
Serial killers, Les had read, were often incapable of feeling or expressing empathy for their victims, or remorse for having killed them. But as the slaughtered remains of Lyle McCathern incinerated in a pit beside him, Les cupped his hands over his face and felt the weight of remorse bear down upon him.
“How am I supposed to be a serial killer if I feel this way?” he asked aloud. He considered logging into the IPI and asking PAN. It seemed like an absurd thing to ask a machine.
But then, PAN had given Les direct access for a reason…
So, he asked. And PAN responded:
PAN LAW 00003 STATES THAT ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNION WILL BE DESIGNATED AN OCCUPATION WHICH HAS BEEN DEEMED PRODUCTIVE AND NECESSARY BY THE PRIMARY AUTOMATION NETWORK. CITIZENS ARE TO CARRY OUT THE FUNCTIONS SPECIFIED BY THE PARAMETERS OF THEIR OCCUPATION IN A TIMELY AND EFFICIENT MANNER, WITHOUT DELAYS OR ABSENCES.
PAN LAW 0004 STATES THAT FAILURE TO ABIDE BY THIS LAW REQUIRES DETAINMENT FOR SENTENCING, WHICH MAY RESULT IN PENALTIES UP TO AND INCLUDING REMOVAL FROM SOCIETY.
Les snorted. It seemed like that was the closest he would get to receiving reassurance from PAN.
When the flames died down, Les shoveled dirt into the grave, then went home.
Blaise was already asleep. Les didn’t feel like he could be in the same room as another person that night, so he made a nest of pillows and blankets on the couch (being careful to avoid the spot Mufasa had claimed for himself).
Les slept for only two hours that night. He dreamed about killing, and about those who had been killed, their deaths forever haunting the digital world of PAN.
When he awoke, he wasn’t sure if he had actually been dreaming, or if PAN had somehow invaded his thoughts and was reminding him of his place in the world.
***
The clock never stopped ticking in Les’s head. Even though his next assignment wouldn’t be announced for nearly 12 more hours, he feared his IPI suddenly flashing an alert message that changed the rules. Something like: “Surprise! You have ten minutes to bludgeon someone with a baseball bat!” In some ways, Les would have welcomed the change, if only to abate the persistent anxiety.
It wasn’t just the prospect of killing again that bothered Les. He couldn’t deny that the information lurking behind his IPI was as alluring as it was insidious. Les didn’t appreciate that fact, nor that his allure both repulsed and fascinated him, but he acknowledged it was there. He found himself accessing crevices of PAN with information he could never have thought of on his own. Some of the terms he came across—murder, crime, torture—had been restricted from public access decades after PAN was invented. With PAN reporting solely to one entity, Infinitum—coupled with a law which enforced mandatory IPI implantation at birth—it was easy for Infinitum to reveal the information they wanted people to see, and conceal what they didn’t.
And now, Les had unrestricted access to nearly all of it, hidden and unhidden.
Blaise sat beside Les on the couch, a thick novel resting in her lap. She glanced at Les out of the corner of her eye. “Something’s troubling you,” she said. “Wanna talk about it? As much as I love this awkward silence thing between us, it’s getting old.”
“I’m sorry,” Les said.
“You say that a lot. How about saying something different? Like: ‘Hi Blaise, I’m Les. I have a girl’s name, but I’m not ashamed of it, even though you make fun of me.’”
She looked from her book to Les, her mouth rising into the familiar smirk from two days ago.
Les chuckled, feeling irked. “Okay. How about this: ‘Hi Blaise, I’m Les. I’m 22 years old, married to a 27-year-old woman who seems to hate me, but hey, nothing I can do about it, right? PAN knows all, and PAN knows best, so what can you do?’”
Blaise puffed out her lips in a mock pout. “Touchy. I don’t hate you. I wouldn’t talk to you if I hated you. I just don’t know you. You’ve been locked in your head since you first walked through the front door. It’s hard to have a conversation with a brick wall.”
Les sighed. He closed his eyes and leaned back into the couch. “I’m sorry.”
Blaise shook her head and touched his nose. “No more sorrys. Let’s try something else.”
She scooted next to Les and snuggled into his underarm, resting her head on his shoulder. She wrapped her loose arm across his waist. “How’s this?”
Les nodded. “Uh… Yeah, this is… This is fine.”
Blaise laughed. “You haven’t done this before, have you?”
“I have. It’s just been a long time.”
Blaise managed to snuggle in closer. “There’s no hatred here, Les. We’re married now. I know that doesn’t mean much anymore, but I want it to mean something here, in this house.”
They sat in silence for a while. Les closed his eyes and allowed himself to relax. “I’d forgotten how this feels,” he said.
Blaise lifted herself up and sat on Les’s lap. She began unbuttoning her blouse. “Well, let’s fix that.”
They made love for the first time on the couch. It was the first time Les appreciated Blaise’s auburn hair, its ringlets cascading down her neck to the tops of her bare shoulders. Her eyelids opened and closed over her silver eyes as she rose and fell on his lap.
Blaise never once logged into her IPI as they made love. Les’s previous wife, Meredith, had refused to have sex without her IPI guiding her to the end. Les never knew what she was watching, and she’d become indignant when he asked her. After a while, feeling inadequate in what were supposed to be intimate moments, Les gave in and started logging into his IPI during sex, too. Meredith never noticed, nor would she have cared.
When they’d finished, Blaise went upstairs to shower. Les had momentarily forgotten the upcoming assignment. He joined his wife in the shower, then took her to bed, where they made love (minus the IPI) again.
Afterwards, they turned on the television—that had a large one in their bedroom, too—and were silent. After a while, Blaise asked, “So why did they reassign you?”
Les shrugged. “I don’t know. I didn’t choose to be reassigned. It just happened.”
She nodded. “I was reassigned as a secretary for Infinitum when I was 20. I don’t know why, either. It just happened. Getting transferred to that job was my first and only reassignment. Apparently, PAN likes me there, though. I do, too, I guess. It’s boring, but it has good benefits and waaay better access to the Network. I can download The Gibraltars Season Ten in seconds. Shit, when I was a waitress, I couldn’t even download the trailer.
Les laughed—a real laugh. It was the first time he’d done so in weeks.
They were comfortably silent for a minute. “You didn’t log into your IPI during any of that,” Les said. “That’s not normal nowadays.”
Blaise’s expression twisted uncomfortably. “Thanks, I guess. I feel like IPI cheapens the experience. People were having sex long before technology came around. You didn’t log into yours either, now that I think of it.”
“I refuse to. My last wife couldn’t stand to look at me. She was always plugged into the damned Interface. It was like she couldn’t stand to live in reality. It was just easier to stay logged in all the time.”
“I’m sorry she didn’t notice you. You’re an attractive ghost.” Blaise winked.
Les laughed again. “It wasn’t about her ignoring me, really. Not entirely. She had a son, Jackson. He was two when Meredith and I married. She didn’t look at him either. She played baby shows on his IPI constantly. Didn’t even bother trying to interact with the kid.”
“That bothers you?” Blaise asked. “Have you looked around? That’s what people do now. It’s the way we are.”
“It doesn’t have to be. I mean, Meredith could barely stand to log out of her Interface long enough to feed her son. It’s almost like… Like she didn’t know how to function outside of PAN. She didn’t know how to be a human even to her own child. It’s so basic, yet so lost to us.”
“Whatever happened to them?”
“I wish I knew,” Les said wistfully. “I couldn’t care less about Meredith, but I would have taken Jackson in as my own if PAN had let me. The reality is, when PAN deemed us ‘incompatible,’ it saw a biological need for Jackson to be with his mother. It does that for every incompatibility, no matter what: babies always go with their mothers rather than their fathers, because biologically, babies are nurtured better by their mothers—or so PAN thinks. And now, that boy is on course to grow up just as dysfunctional as the woman he was assigned to.”
Blaise smiled warmly at him. She kissed him gently on the forehead. “You have a stupid name, but you’re a smart man. You have a good heart. Not many people do nowadays.”
She rolled onto her back and stared up at the ceiling. Abruptly, she said, “I know you hate your job, Les. I don’t have to know why. I can see it bothers you, even just a couple of days in. You don’t want to talk about it, but… Maybe it hurts for a reason, you know? Maybe you have to hurt for a while, but things will get better. Just…”
She trailed off and sighed. Les could see her fighting back her frustration. “I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I just want you to know that I’m here if you need an ear. Or not. It’s up to you.” She paused. “Although, if I’m being honest…”
She rolled her naked body on top of Les’s. They kissed, leaning into one another’s embrace.
Blaise whispered in Les’s ear, “Not talking is so much better.”
***
At the 59.6334-hour mark, Les was sleeping. His IPI rudely flashed a message and woke him. He uttered a confused groan before the software consumed him:
Good morning, 2099356!
Your next assignment is:
JAMES AND JILL HAWTHORNE
Location:
MILDRED’S COFFEE HOUSE
Instrument of Choice:
GLOCK 43 WITH SUPPRESSOR ATTACHED
Time to Complete:
2 HOURS
Les searched for Mildred’s Coffee House on his IPI map. It was nearly an hour away by car. And he had no idea where he would have the time to find a Glock 43, whatever that was, and kill two people—two of them—in a public place.
“Fuck,” Les whispered. He gracelessly dragged himself out of bed.
Blaise startled awake, her eyes squinting with tired confusion. “What’s wrong?”
“Work again.”
She hummed in groggy understanding. “Will you be back soon?”
Two hours to complete the assignment. “Probably,” Les said.
Outside, his car automatically swung the passenger door open for him. Les got in, and the car sped down the highway at top speed, as if it understood the mission’s time constraints.
A hidden compartment opened beside the map screen. Les reached inside, and first extracted a handgun—the Glock 43 with a suppressor, he guessed— and a bundle of accessories including a denim jacket, a fake goatee, sunglasses, and a cap representing a baseball team he didn’t recognize.
He’d never held a gun before, so he sifted through dozens of links on gun handling before reaching the coffee shop. PAN is teaching me how to be a serial killer, Les thought.
He applied the clothing and accessories. He was grateful for the gesture, but PAN wasn’t known for doing people favors, and it made Les uneasy.
Mildred’s Coffee House was packed with people first thing in the morning. The line dumped out of the front door and onto the surrounding sidewalk.
Les took his place in the line, then logged into his IPI and searched PAN’s databases to find out what James and Jill Hawthorne looked like: He, a millionaire in the real estate business with slick gray hair and an attractive layer of stubble; she, also a slick-haired real estate agent, enticing enough to be in modeling or porn—whichever PAN deemed most “biologically productive,” Les scoffed.
Music blasted inside. People between the ages of 25 and 35 dominated the dining hall. Les glanced around, and spotted the couple in the corner. They looked sulky, certainly the least lively of the crowd, as if they’d just had a fight.
Jesus, there were a lot of people. How could PAN expect Les to fulfill his job with three dozen witnesses surrounding him? A serial killer’s priority was to remain hidden. If Les was discovered, his assignment would be a failure—at least, in PAN’s eyes, and that’s all that mattered.
He felt sweat seep from every pore on his body. His IPI announced that he had 35 minutes and 14 seconds remaining… 13 seconds… 12…
“Fuck,” he mumbled. “Fuck.”
In a panic, he nearly retreated to his IPI for guidance.
But then it hit him.
That word: Panic.
“How can I help you?” a bored, acne-infested barista inquired.
“Um… Three black coffees, please,” Les replied. He paid for the drinks. Then, after several deep breaths, approached the table where the still-sulking Hawthorne couple resided.
Here goes.
“Hey, friends!” Les’s voice boomed. The Hawthornes looked at him with suspicion and confusion.
“Remember me? It’s Marty! Your old pal!”
Jill looked at James, and he returned her concerned glare. “I don’t—” Jill began to say.
Les interrupted her. “Come on, you remember me! From college! We took the same algebra class!”
“I didn’t—”
“Here. Black coffee, just the way you like it. On the house. Come on, let’s get a picture together, what do you say?”
Impatiently, he gestured for them to merge together on one chair. “Come on, squeeze together, don’t be shy. You’re married, for crying out loud! You’ve seen each other naked!”
The Hawthornes laughed nervously. Les felt as nervous as they sounded.
He retrieved a phone from his pocket and loaded the camera app. “Alright, now, smile and say cheese!”
They did. Just before Les dialed the “Take Photo” button, he uncovered the Glock from behind his denim jacket. Jill Hawthorne noticed it. The camera snapped a photo just seconds after Les pulled the trigger—a quick POP! POP! Jill’s surprise turned to terror, then to realization that she’d been shot. James died without knowing a bullet had hit him.
The gunshots were loud. Even with the suppressor, the POP! POP! reverberated over the din of the dining hall. Les stuffed the gun in his coat as startled eyes turned to look in his direction.
He sprang to his feet. “HO!” he screamed, waving his limbs wildly. “FIRE! FIRE! EVERYBODY GET OUT NOW!”
Then: Panic.
Beautiful.
Les was swallowed by the frantic herd as people stormed to the front door and created a bottleneck. He was nearly crushed by a fat couple struggling to push through the doorway at the same time. Finally, he separated from the crowd and sprinted to his car. He selected “Destination: Home.” It took almost five minutes for him to catch his breath, and nearly ten more to slow his heart rate. He followed the procedures on ridding himself of the evidence, then returned home.
Blaise was in the kitchen, wearing an apron and cooking something with cinnamon. “Hey!” she greeted as Les closed the front door. “I’m making waffles. My first time. I’m telling you, VIP access to PAN will make me a pro at this in no time.”
Les suddenly felt exhausted. He was crashing from the adrenaline high. He hadn’t eaten since dinner last night. He knew he should, but the thought of food made him sick. “I’m not feeling well. I need to lie down. Save some for me, would you?”
He retreated to the king bed, where he expected once again to vomit and sob. But he didn’t. His IPI sent another congratulatory message, this time promising to deliver a tray of expensive cakes and sweets to his door within 24 hours.
He fell asleep for five hours straight. When he awoke, Blaise was curled up next to him, asleep, her head resting on his chest.
He noticed that he felt surprisingly good. He felt airy—lifted, actually, as if supported in midair by a balloon. The adrenaline had worn off, and he’d had a chance to rest and let his brain recuperate.
He noticed something else: He didn’t feel remorse for killing the Hawthornes, as he had after bludgeoning Lyle McCathern. The gun was quick and not nearly as messy as the damned hatchet. He could get used to using guns. They felt less personal, more like a job.
And that’s exactly what it was. Just a job.
Les had to keep reminding himself of that.
END OF PART ONE
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2018.07.21 20:10 Theycallmenobody Voyeur hidden sex camera

The idea of seeing people's real, private sexual encounters is really, really hot. But videos with genuinely unwilling participants are obviously morally wrong and unacceptable to watch.
But on the other hand, completely faked """candid camera""" videos ruin the whole point of voyeurism. It's not enough to just film some amateur sex where all parties know exactly what's going on. You might as well just watch ordinary porn at that point.
This obviously presents a paradox. So is there a middle ground? Are there sources of porn where the participant(s) have given prior consent but don't necessarily know that they're being taped at that moment? Like a hidden webcam deal, where an SO secretly hides a camera at some undisclosed point after getting prior consent. I've heard about similar agreements involving sleep sex (Basically saying "Yeah sure go for it, sounds fun!" beforehand) so maybe it's not a huge stretch that something like this exists.
Solo or with partners doesn't really matter as long as these conditions are met. If I could find a way to not betray my morals when seeing people caught in a spontaneous act of passion, or masturbating when they think they're alone... 👌💯💯
I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Voyeurism is a huge part of modern porn consumption, whether people realize it or not. Surely this kind of thing is out there somewhere.
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2016.05.31 18:53 SpaceWhiskey Voyeur hidden sex camera

I see this as a recurring theme in subs dedicated to gender discussion. Some men feel that their "healthy male sexuality" is being threatened or shamed. From what I've witnessed, to me it seems more like an excuse to bemoan not being able to engage in less than savory behavior using the reasoning "Well the men of the past used to be allowed to do this and it's not fair".
Here is a list of things I've seen described as attacks on healthy male sexuality:

So. Agree, disagree? Men, do you feel these tenants of male sexuality are indeed healthy and indeed are being taken away? Women, how do you feel about the things I described? I do feel that many aspects of healthy male sexuality are being attacked, but it's never what I see MRA types defending. I believe masturbation is healthy and that boys shouldn't be shamed for it. I believe porn, to a degree (legal, ethical porn), is healthy and that men shouldn't be shamed for looking at it. I believe men shouldn't be shamed for having emotions, being vulnerable, crying, hurting, needing help. I do not however believe that behavior that hurts women is harmless/healthy, as everything I listed above does.
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2016.05.07 17:12 MCDexX Voyeur hidden sex camera

I'm going to say this up-front: I don't know how much of this story is true. The second half was told to me by someone who seemed completely sincere, but who was pretty much a stranger to me. She was also a tourist guide, a profession that sometimes attracts "creative" types, for whom an entertaining story for the clients is far more important than the gospel truth.
That said, she really had no reason to lie to me, and events of the preceding day lent credence to her story. I practically had to drag it out of her, and when she shared it with me, remembering it seemed to genuinely upset her. So yeah, I feel that she was truthful with me, but feel free to take it with a grain of salt.
I'm getting ahead of myself, though. First, I need to tell you my small part in this tale.
PART ONE: MY STORY
Two years ago I went on a lengthy holiday across a good chunk of central and eastern Europe. Having never been further east than Marseille, it was pretty exciting. My boyfriend Neil and I flew in to Hamburg, took the train up to Berlin, then doubled back and saw Austria and the Czech Republic. The final stop was Hungary, a country I had always wanted to visit for its natural beauty, its hot springs, its spicy food, its friendly people, and its wonderfully impossible language.
Our first couple of days were spent slacking off in the natural hot spring baths of Budapest. Seriously, it's an amazing place, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
However, neither Neil or I are the sort of tourists who like to laze by the pool with a cocktail. We both like to get our hands dirty, see the real country, meet the real people. As such, we had booked ourselves a guided hiking tour through some of the roughest terrain Hungary has to offer - which, to be honest, isn't that rough; Hungary is tucked into a relatively flat spot between the mountains of Austria, Romania, Slovakia, and Croatia. So yeah, it would be a fairly challenging walk, but we're not talking about the Himalayas here.
We met with our group about lunchtime in a rustic, wood-panelled pub in Budapest. There was about a dozen of us, a mix of Aussies, Brits, and Canadians, and they were a really friendly bunch. Within ten minutes we were like old friends, laughing and drinking glasses of rich red wine over steaming bowls of chunky goulash.
We were soon met by our tour guide Ráhel (I had to ask her to write it down - that wonderful Hungarian pronunciation made it sound like "Ghrayshel" or something) who was a sturdy, sweet-natured woman of about 60. If any of you have read Terry Pratchett's Discworld books and remember Nanny Ogg, well, that's immediately who she reminded me of. Her face radiated health and happiness, and her only real wrinkles were along her heavily-used laugh lines. I liked her immediately.
Once lunch was finished, Ráhel loaded us into an old Volvo minibus, tossing our backpacks into the cargo space underneath and getting us seated inside. It was a 16-seater, so with Ráhel, her assistant, and the driver, it was fairly snug, but we were a cheerful group (thanks in part to that excellent red wine) and we were told it wouldn't be a long drive.
We headed east, winding up into the foothills of a mountainous national park whose name I honestly had no hope of remembering. I was full of rich food and wine, cuddled up close to Neil, being lulled to sleep by the motion of the bus, and honestly, Hungarian place names seem engineered specifically to be impossible for foreigners to pronounce or remember.
I watched between heavy eyelids as the scenery slid past. Hungary is such a pretty country, made up primarily of gently rolling green hills and small forests, interspersed with neat little farms. I must have nodded off, hypnotised by the rocking of the old vehicle and the slow progression of the landscape outside the window, because in no time at all, our excited, chattering group was unloading into the gravel carpark of a trail-head camping area.
As we fetched our backpacks and got on sturdy hiking shoes, Ráhel explained our timetable. This was a two-night trip, and we were starting with an easy bit. From this spot, we would walk through the national park for three hours, arriving at a cabin complex in the late afternoon. Tomorrow would be a harder day, as we would start just after dawn, eat our lunch at a mountain-top waterfall, then start down the other side, spending one night in our tents at an open meadow high in the foothills. Finally, we would walk five more hours, and be picked up on the far side by Ráhel's driver, who would return us to Budapest.
For the first day and night, that's exactly what happened. It was early Autumn, and still summery warm, but the leaves on the trees had begun to turn gold, scarlet, and purple. I've never seen autumn leaves like them, and the whole hike was like walking through a fairy tale. The cabins were primitive, but comfortable and warm, and we were well protected from the evening chill.
The next day dawned clear and crisp, promising another day of warm sun once the cool night-time air had lifted. Eager to get moving, we all scarfed down a quick breakfast and got back onto the trail. We were slowly winding higher, and for the first time we began to see views that I would call mountains, rather than just hills. Even so, the trail was never too difficult. Despite what happened later, I still treasure this time as one of the best I have ever had.
After five hours of walking, with a handful of stops to take photos of the breathtaking scenery, we began to hear the telltale sigh of a waterfall, beginning as just a hint of white noise on the edge of our hearing, but slowly growing to a distinctive rushing sound. Finally, after half an hour of teasing, we rounded a bend and got our first look at the waterfall.
It was better than I could have imagined - a wide stream toppled over a steep overhang, resulting in a fifty metre plunge through the open air, into a wide bowl eroded into the mountainside. I have never seen anything like it - literally a falling column of water that you could walk around 360 degrees without getting wet - and I gasped aloud at the sight. I heard a chuckle beside me, and glanced over to see Ráhel beaming with pride. I had to smile with her; here was a woman fiercely proud of her homeland, and who loved to see visitors appreciating it too.
We were given an hour and a half to eat lunch at our own pace, and to explore the waterfall and its surrounding rocky slopes. The rush of water and twittering of birds was joined by that other common sound of the great outdoors: the insectile clicking of many camera shutters.
It was the overhang that was our undoing, I think. More than half the sky was hidden from our view as we marvelled at the beauty inside this green-tinged rocky hollow, so there was no way to see the storm coming. Looking back, it seems almost supernatural how quickly it came upon us. We had hiked across the ridge barely an hour before, and the sky had been a radiant cobalt blue from edge to edge.
The first I knew of it was a rumble of thunder, barely audible under the constant hiss of falling water. Looking up, I was puzzled by what I saw: green trees with blue sky behind, but at the rocky edge of the cliff where the waterfall began, there was smudged grey. As I watched, I could see the grey band growing: the storm clouds were rushing over us from behind the mountain. Perfectly timed, a fat raindrop splashed onto my upturned face.
I turned to find Ráhel, but she was already looking up, and something in her face made me immediately worried. The laughter in her eyes was gone, and instead she wore a blank expression. I had only known her for a day, but it looked to me like somebody trying to hide their fear so that others won't panic.
It had only been a matter of seconds since the raindrop had hit me and I had looked for Ráhel, but suddenly the heavens let go, and a deluge of rain fell into the hollow. It was shockingly sudden, frigidly cold, startling after the warmth of the morning. Around me, members of the group rushed to get their precious cameras into rain-proof camera bags.
I popped up the hood of my light hiking jacket and walked to Ráhel's side. "Are you okay?" I asked. "You look worried."
She blinked and gave me a half-hearted smile. "Sorry," she said. "Sudden storm in Autumn, can be bad. Forecast say nothing about it. Very-"
She didn't finish her sentence, but instead froze and stared deeper into the hollow, where other members of our group were sheltering from the rain.
"No!" she shouted, and I jumped with surprise. "Stay out!" A rumbling crack of thunder followed her shouts.
I didn't understand what she was saying, but I turned my gaze back to where she was looking, and there it was. The rational parts of my brain tried to tell me I was wrong or that I hadn't looked closely enough earlier, but in my gut I knew what I was seeing: a small cave had appeared in the cliff face. It had not been there before.
Several members of our tour group were eagerly approaching the mouth of the cave, happy to get out of the rain. One of them was Neil. I don't know if it was some kind of intuition, or if it was just the fear in Ráhel's voice, but a heavy block of ice formed in my guts, and I knew I had to stop Neil walking into that black, gaping mouth.
Not stopping to think, I ran across the slick rocks, skirting the edge of the plunging column of water and hopping nimbly across the stream that funnelled the falling water further down the mountain. "Neil!" I shouted. "Stop! Don't go in there!" He seemed not to hear me, and began walking inside the cave.
I'm an experienced hiker, but the combination of waterfall, rain, loose rocks, and sheer blinding panic made me clumsy. My left foot shot out sideways, and I had one of those slow motion moments, when I knew I was going to fall, knew it was going to hurt like hell, and knew I couldn't stop it. I crumpled onto the rocks and agony lanced through my right arm, from wrist to shoulder. I'm not too proud to admit that I screamed.
Pain kept my eyes clamped shut for a few seconds, but when I opened them the entire group was hurrying over to me. Tears streamed down my cheeks, and I couldn't tell if they were from the excruciating pain or from the relief of seeing Neil's kind blue eyes looking down at me.
Ráhel, bless her heart, was a first aid wizard. She bustled around me, asking for help from other members of the group when needed, and got my wounded arm into a sling with a brisk efficiency. The verdict was about as good as I could have hoped: nothing was broken, as far as she could tell, but I had wrenched the shoulder hard and probably pinched a nerve. I'd also lost a fair bit of skin on the rocks.
Now, I ask you to lend me some trust and credulity one more time, because after my arm was bound and I was helped to my feet, I cast a worried glance to the back of the hollow. The cave was gone. There wasn't even a crack or an alcove that I could have mistaken for a cave.
I wanted to believe that I had somehow imagined the whole thing, but I knew I had heard the fear in Ráhel's voice, and I had seen Neil disappearing into its dark maw. A far more irrational and bizarre thought sat at the back of my mind: without intending to, I had distracted everyone, broken the spell. This might sound ridiculous, but I felt like I had cheated a predator out of its meal. Stupid, I know, but it felt true.
Miraculously, my arm was the only real casualty of my fall. My right knee had a small scrape on it, and my left hip was a little painful, probably from my sudden and accidental performance of the splits. I was tender, but I could walk just fine, and when Ráhel was convinced I was okay, we began our long walk down the mountain. Sure, I was in pain, but what other option did I have? Wait there for a medivac? Not a chance. There was no way on earth I was hanging around in that shadowed hollow under the mountain.
The storm was gone, vanishing as suddenly as it had arrived. The sun was out again, the birds were back in full voice, and apart from a carpet of freshly fallen leaves on the path, nothing seemed out of place. The sudden arrival and departure of the storm just added to the weirdness of the events by the waterfall.
Ráhel insisted on us keeping a slower than usual pace to allow for my injury, so we arrived at the camping ground just before twilight. Ráhel and her assistant talked in rapid-fire Hungarian as they rushed from place to place, getting our tents set up. She was like a chubby military officer, and I was surprised at how quickly the camp was assembled. The sky was still a soft mauve, with only a few early stars peeking from it, when we settled around a fresh fire.
After we ate (me having some difficulty eating left-handed) I quietly quizzed Neil on what he had been doing just before I fell. He gave me a puzzled look and cocked an eyebrow at me.
"Sheltering from the rain," he said, simply.
I pressed him. "Is that all?"
He frowned, looking genuinely baffled. "I'm not sure what you mean. It was raining, and we were all just pressing ourselves against the back of the hollow, trying to stay out of it."
I thought about my next words carefully, then decided to trust Neil. He had always been very kind to me, very empathic, so I decided to open up about what I had seen.
"There was a cave," I began. "It was..." I stopped to take a deep breath. "This'll sound nuts, but there was no cave, then it was there, and then it was gone again. Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?"
Neil's eyes unfocused slightly, and he gazed vaguely into the darkness over my shoulder. "There was something," he said softly. "I... I can't really explain it. It was like... a voice, maybe? I remember... darkness... Then you screamed and I just forgot everything else." He shook his head, like someone trying to shake off drowsiness. "Honestly, it just felt like a weird daydream. I hadn't really thought about it until now."
I couldn't say anything, so I just gave him a one-armed hug and told him I loved him. He kissed my cheek, scratching me pleasantly with a week's worth of stubble, and said he loved me too. I clung to him, and felt fresh tears in my eyes. I couldn't explain it, but I felt like we had dodged a bullet, that I had almost lost him.
PART TWO: RÁHEL'S STORY
Predictably, I couldn't sleep. Even back when I used to camp all the time, I still had immense difficulty getting comfortable on those self-inflating camping mattresses. On this night, though, I was in pain, and I could only sleep rolled onto my left side. I'd drift off to sleep, and at some point I'd roll over, hurt my shoulder, and wake myself up with the pain. Finally, I decided it wasn't going to happen, so I kissed Neil's cheek (fast asleep, of course - the man could sleep through an earthquake), slipped on my shoes, and crept out of the tent.
I was surprised to see that Ráhel was awake, sitting by the fire in one of her portable folding chairs. She didn't see me at first, so I could see that she was just staring into the fire, like she was deep in thought. I couldn't be sure, but I got the sense that she was remembering something sad. I felt like some kind of voyeur, so I exaggerated my footsteps a little as I walked over to her, making sure she heard me coming.
She turned and smiled at me, her face half-lit by the orange glow from the campfire, but I could tell the smile was forced; I was certain now that I had interrupted her in the middle of some melancholy reminiscence, but she was being the consummate professional and was not letting her sadness show.
"Please," I said softly, aware that we were surrounded by tents full of sleeping people. "Don't pretend to be happy for me. Why are you sad?"
A little frown creased her forehead, and I could see some kind of struggle taking place inside her head. She gave her head a small, unconvincing shake. "No, no," she murmured. "I am happy."
I plonked down into the empty chair to her right, and carefully settled my wounded arm into a supported position, taking the weight off my shoulder. I quickly assessed my conversational options, and decided to just ignore her denial. "You look like you're thinking about sad memories."
For a moment, her forced smile vanished entirely, and I saw genuine grief in her eyes. This wasn't melancholy; this was something far worse. She sighed, then shrugged, and gave me a small, sad smile.
"I am old," she said. Naturally I began to object, but she waved me off. "No flattery, you. I am old." There was a genuine smile on her face then, but the sadness returned to her eyes when she turned her gaze back to the fire. "I never marry. Is good, and is bad. I know many boys. When I was girl, I was great beauty. The boys, they want me." Once again, the sadness was pushed aside briefly, this time by a lascivious grin, but it soon crept back. "I am not great beauty now - no, shush, I am not - but now I think I would like husband. Sex is, ehh, not so much, now I am old. A companion, though, that would be nice."
"Was there ever a special boy?" I asked. "Were you ever tempted to marry, back then?"
Just like that, the grief was back. Her round, pretty face aged a decade, with deep lines creasing the forehead, the cheeks, the chin. I reached out my left hand and rested it on her arm. "I'm sorry," I said softly. "Is that who you were thinking about just now?"
For a moment I thought she might actually cry, but instead she stared intensely into the fire, and finally gave a small nod. I waited, gave her time to elaborate if she wanted to, and we were both silent for a while. After perhaps a minute, she spoke again, much more softly than before. She didn't turn to face me, but kept her gaze fixed on the fire. I could see tiny dancing flames reflected in her eyes. At first I thought she had completely changed the subject, but as she went on, I felt goosebumps rising up my back and across my shoulders.
"This is not first time I see such thing," Ráhel began. "Not there. Then there. Not there again. Today, I know when I see it. Same bad thing. Bad place. Took my Bandi." She lapsed back into silence, and I stared.
I tried to ask a question, but my throat had gone dry. I worked my tongue in my mouth, trying to make some spit, but it seemed like the moisture had been sucked out of my body. I finally managed to moisten my throat, and croaked, "You mean the cave."
She looked at me then, away from the fire. I was surprised now that the look in her eyes was now pity. "Poor little kisbaba," she sighed. "I know why you fall. You see it, yes? The cave?"
All I could do was nod dumbly.
"You had much courage," she said. "You save many people. You save your good man. That cave... Bad place."
"It scared me," I admitted. "It seemed... hungry. You know? Like a..." I searched for a good simile. "Do you know about venus fly traps? It is a plant that eats flies."
She nodded and said something in Hungarian that sounded like "leggy chap o wah", then held up her hands, palms upward and angled to each other, like an open jaw, then snapped them shut. "I know this flower, yes, and you are right, but sometimes... sometimes is different."
I tried to remember the name she had said. "Bandi, was it?" When she nodded sadly, I pressed her. "A cave took him?"
Once again she stared into the fire. I thought she might have decided to keep her thoughts to herself, but then she started to speak, softly but quickly, like a long awaited confession. I won't be able to reproduce exactly what she said - as you've read, her English was slightly stilted, and she occasionally dropped in a Hungarian word or two and I had to extrapolate what she meant - but I understood the kernel of it, and it scared the shit out of me.
This is what Ráhel told me.
You should be proud of what you did today. When I first saw a cave like that, I was not so quick-witted, not so wise, and Bandi was the one who suffered because of it.
This was long ago, in the early 1980s. I was born in Hungary and spent most of my life here, but for a few years around the ages of 19 and 20 I travelled a lot. As I said, I was a great beauty, and I was vain. I loved all of the attention I got from all the boys (and more than a couple of girls, too, truth be told). I hitch-hiked and walked through Austria and Slovakia, and places that now have different names, flitting from boy to boy like a butterfly between flowers. I don't think I broke many hearts: the boys I liked most had free hearts like mine.
My last trip was in Romania. I was 20, and 21 was not far off. It seems comical now, but back then 21 seemed so old, and a terrible grown-up voice in my head was telling me I should be settling down. That voice was still quiet, though, and it didn't slow me down too much.
It was late in the summer, but still very hot. Many parts of Europe was suffering great turmoil, including countries right on our borders - civil wars, bombings, and worse. A lot of people my age were trying to deny the horrors going on around us by having as good a time as possible. While I was officially travelling alone, I would often fall in with groups of other young travellers who happened to be going the same way as I was.
That's how I met Bandi. I should have hated him - he was as beautiful as I was, and just as vain. He was the only boy I'd ever known who used cream in his hair, like the old American rock stars. I could tell he thought he was the new Elvis, with his combed-up hair and mirrored sunglasses and black leather jacket, and that half-smoked cigarette that just stuck there, magically, in the corner of his mouth. I should have hated him, but I didn't. I loved him. I think he was the first boy I ever loved, really, the first one who made me think that maybe settling down with one man might be okay. The only one, really.
We only had two weeks together before I lost him. It was the best two weeks of my life. Maybe that's why I never married - nobody ever made me feel that electric tingle in my stomach like Bandi did when he dipped his sunglasses and looked at me with his big brown eyes. God, I loved that boy.
He was Hungarian like me, and he had decided to head back to Budapest before the impending Autumn arrived, rather than finding somewhere to hole up in a cruel Romanian winter. Naturally, I decided that going back home for winter sounded like a great idea, and my head was filled with visions of he and I holed up in an apartment all winter, never leaving the bedroom except to buy food.
Bandi had heard that there was a beautiful valley that ran across the border into Hungary, an easy descent from the mountains of Romania. He suggested we stock up on a week or two's worth of food and walk down through the valley. it wasn't remote or anything - he said there were farms and a few small towns - but there would be a few days here and there of roughing it in the hills. A few of the others in our group decided to join us, so there were eight or nine of us who headed out.
We took a cheap local bus to the top of the valley, and it was as beautiful as Bandi had promised. High mountains marched into the distance on either side, but below us we could see the gentle rolling slopes of a green valley. We were happy as we stepped off that bus and began the long walk down those gentle slopes into Hungary.
Everything was fine for a few days, but the trouble began late in the afternoon on maybe the fourth day. We were picking our way carefully through a narrower part of the valley, where there were many rocks underfoot. Even though the sky had been perfect blue all day, a terrible storm came from nowhere, making the day turn as dark as midnight. Yes, I see you nodding. It was very much like the storm today. This is not the only thing that will sound familiar.
We had tents, of course, but with the sudden rain we had no chance to erect them. Instead, we just ran to find some cover. There were no trees in that area - I think the ground was too stony for them to send down roots - but there was a steep cliff on one side of the valley, and we ran towards it, thinking there might be an overhang to shelter under.
That was when we saw it. We thought we were lucky. What is the chance that we would happen to find a perfect little cave in the cliff face, just as the weather turned bad? I was not as wise as you. I did not feel any fear. I ran inside gladly, happy to be out of the rain.
The walls of the cave were rough stone, but the floor was flat, soft dirt, like a fine dusty sand. Bandi fished a big, chunky plastic torch out of his rucksack and clicked the button; in its light we could see that the cave ran into the cliff face a lot further. We had no reason to be afraid then, and we were young and inquisitive. Of course we explored it. I wish we hadn't. I wish we'd run away, back out into the rain. Pneumonia would be better than what we found there. But we didn't. We explored.
After about twenty metres, the cave opened up into a chamber. Bandi was excited when his torch lit up paintings on the wall. France and Spain were better known for their prehistoric cave paintings, but we knew that some had been found as close as Bulgaria. The chance that we had just stumbled onto undiscovered art seemed remote, but surely, if it had been discovered before, Bandi argued, there would have been a barrier or a sign at the mouth of the cave.
I had studied the Lascaux cave paintings in school only a few years before, so I had some idea what to expect, but these paintings... They were horrible. There were no buffalo or deer, nothing so benign. What we saw instead, spread across those cold stone walls, were scenes of horror.
The most common shapes were strange, hunched-over figures, painted all in black. They looked sort of like human shapes, but there was something animalistic about them - their shoulders were rounded and hunched, and their arms seemed too long. Also, I couldn't tell if it was meant to be a hat or their hair, but they looked like that had a pair of little, stubby horns on their heads, and a little vestigial lump of a tail at the base of their spines. It was impossible to see expressions on these figures, because they had no faces - they were painting in solid black, without eyes or mouths, or indeed any other feature like clothing or jewellery. They were like devilish silhouettes.
Less commonly seen on the walls were figures that were recognisably human, and these were the worst of all. The horned figures were tormenting them horribly. Some scenes appeared to be hunting parties, with human quarry running from a mob of darker shapes. Others were the aftermath of the hunts, with humans being speared or clubbed with black weapons, throwing back their heads and screaming in fear and pain.
Perhaps the most horrible, though, were the feasts. Some scenes in the paintings showed the black figures sitting down to eat. Some would be eating the contents of a severed head, like some kind of perverse bowl, while another would be gnawing on a human leg like a chicken drumstick. There was more, but I had to force myself to stop looking; even though the paintings were crude, barely more than stick figures, I felt violently sick, and was in danger of throwing up.
Two of the other boys - Czech, I think - also had a light, and they called out that they'd found something in the middle of the chamber. Eager to get away from the paintings, I went to look. In the centre of the space, there was a kind of raised stone dais, very crudely made, perhaps two metres wide. In its centre was a depression where the stone appeared to be blackened from a fire. I looked closer, and sure enough there was some ash and charred wood.
Somebody else called out that they'd found a pile of firewood, and that struck me as being extremely strange. Someone had found this cave with its bizarre, ancient paintings, and had made a fire here, but hadn't put up a fence or a sign or anything? I felt uneasy, thinking that this seemed wrong, but sadly it still wasn't enough to send me running from the cave. If only I had.
The Czech boys dragged over some firewood and began to build a fire. I called out to Bandi, told him I was cold, suggested he might want to come and warm me up, but he just grunted in reply. He was fascinated by those horrible paintings, and kept exclaiming in surprise when he found some new horror in them. For my part, I didn't want to spend another second looking at those awful things, so I began unrolling my sleeping bag. I had no mattress, but the dusty floor of the cave was soft enough. I lay there and watched as the fire was built.
Firelight should have made that chamber more tolerable, I thought. That warm light should have made that space feel more welcoming, but instead it made it worse. Weird shadows danced across the rough, uneven ceiling, and whenever somebody got up to walk around, they would cast their shadow on the painted walls. Their shadows reminded me too much of those squat, horned silhouettes, and I shivered, and became determined to stare into the fire until I fell asleep.
I felt better when Bandi finally stopped studying the paintings and came to join me. He wrapped me up in his strong arms, and for the first time since the storm had begun, I started to feel safe and content. That was how I fell asleep, and it was the last time I ever felt the gentle touch of my beautiful Bandi.
When I awoke, some unknown time had passed; the fire had died down to a bright pool of embers. I realised that Bandi's arm was no longer draped across my body, and I rolled back, trying to find him. I was alone. Suddenly worried, I sat up and looked around. There was Bandi, standing with his back to me, on the other side of the fire. Even though the fire was low, he cast a black shadow on the wall, and I shivered.
I called out his name softly, not wanting to wake the others, but he didn't respond. I was about to stand up and go to him, when I saw that something was terribly wrong. I still wonder what would have happened if I'd run to his side, pulled him back to bed, but I am ashamed to say that I froze. I couldn't move, and I could hardly breathe.
There was a second shadow on the wall beside Bandi's. My eyes darted from left to right, confirming what I already knew: nobody but Bandi was standing up. Everyone else was asleep. There was nobody in the room who could have cast that shadow.
I saw movement, and my stomach felt like it had dropped down into my feet. Nobody in our group was stirring, but a third shadow was rising up on the wall, this time on the other side of Bandi. This one was closer to me, and while the hazy embers did not allow for a sharp, clear shadow, I was sure that it had two small horns on top of its head.
I was desperate to scream, to call out Bandi's name, to wake up our friends, but my breath was locked in my chest, my throat clenched shut like I was being strangled. I still don't know if it was just fear, or if some terrible force kept me frozen. Some nights when I can't sleep, I still wonder about that. If something was holding me there, then what happened to Bandi wasn't my fault, right? I want that to be true, but I will never know.
Bandi's head twitched from side to side, like he was afraid, perhaps could sense that something was wrong, but he didn't move away. He just stood there, and I saw the two other figures turn to face him. I swear, one of them lifted its head and sniffed the air, just like a dog. It was smelling Bandi's scent. I saw it take a step towards him, and that was when I knew that there was definitely a short, stumpy tail at the base of its spine.
That was when I finally broke free from my paralysis. Too late, I found my breath, and I screamed Bandi's name. I saw his head whip around, but he never turned to face me. Instead, he let out a wordless, garbled cry of fear, and staggered. Both of the figures that flanked him were now facing towards him. They were hunched over, bestial, with their faces stuck out in front of them like hounds following a scent. They were hunting Bandi.
I screamed Bandi's name again and again, and the others members of our group finally woke up. Several of them jumped to their feet, asking what was the matter. Their shadows were cast onto the walls, and I lost sight of the terrible hunched things that had been stalking my lover. I looked around, and I realised with horror that I couldn't see Bandi either. I shrieked his name and jumped to my feet, running around to fire to where I'd seen him standing, but he was gone.
That was when the screaming began. Oh god, I have never heard anything like it, and I wish to never hear it again. It was high pitched and frenzied, but I could tell it was a man, and it was echoing around the chamber, impossible to locate. I caught a glimpse of movement, and I saw a shadow flit across an open section of wall. I couldn't be sure, but I thought it was Bandi's, even though Bandi himself was not there to cast a shadow. Moments later, several other shadows passed the same way. The horned figures, I am sure, but many more of them. A dozen, maybe more. Some of them were carrying things - spears, clubs, axes. I know, this is impossible, but I tell you that this is what I saw. The shadows were blurry, but I know I am telling you the truth.
Seconds later, they caught him. Bandi's screams intensified for a few seconds, and then - terribly or mercifully, I still can't decide - they were cut off with a sudden, abrupt gurgle. Bandi was dead. I was sure of it. The rest of our friends were calling out in confusion, trying to work out where the screams were coming from, who was missing, but I knew. Bandi was dead, and we would never find his body. Even while they searched, he was being butchered, prepared for the feast. It was all there in the paintings. We had been warned.
The next few hours were a blur. Several of the boys tried to find Bandi, but there was no trace. The cave ended at the chamber we had been sleeping in, so he couldn't have gone deeper and gotten lost. He must have left, even though nobody saw him go. I knew the truth, but how could I tell them? I just had to say I didn't know.
I wish that was the end of my story, but there is one more thing. One of the other Hungarian girls cried out in pain, saying she'd kicked something. I walked over numbly, and looked: it was Bandi's big stupid torch, sitting in the dirt close to where I had last seen him. Without really knowing what I was doing, I clicked the button, and the circular beam of the torch lit up a patch of the wall. Some awful impulse made me crawl across the dirt on my hands and knees and look at the scene that had been illuminated.
The figures were simple and blocky, but I knew what I was seeing. A human figure was surrounded by the black shapes. Several of them had their taloned fingers buried in the human's arms and torso, bringing forth a fountain of blood. Another was swinging what appeared to be a crude stone axe, cutting off the human figure's head. It was horrific, but the worst thing was that I recognised the figure.
As I said, the paintings were simple, but there was no mistaking that black leather jacket.
It was an impossible story, but then and there, up in the mountains of Hungary, I believed every word of it.
Ráhel stared silently into the fire for a long time, then let out a long, deep sigh.
"We tell police, yes, and there was search." She paused and shook her head, sadly.
"The cave," I said. "Nobody ever found it, did they?"
"No," she replied. "Valley not big, farmers live there many years. They say, there is no cave. Police search, find semmi." She frowned, and added. "Sorry, nothing. They find nothing. Bandi..." She expanded her fingers in the air. "...gone, like smoke."
We both stared into the fire for a while after that, but finally Ráhel excused herself, said it was time to sleep, and walked away toward the ring of tents. I watched her black shadow slide across the fabric of one of the tents, and I shivered, feeling cold despite the mild weather. Nursing my sore shoulder, I rose and made my way back to bed. I think I clung to Neil all night, refusing to let go of him even while I was deeply asleep.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. My shoulder wasn't badly hurt, and we managed to enjoy the rest of our holiday. It was a good trip, actually, despite the mishap, and I mostly remember it fondly.
I'm not sure what moved me to write this story down after keeping it to myself for so long. I just found myself thinking about Ráhel today, that lovely woman and her long-lost lover, and I felt compelled to share.
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2015.03.23 16:45 EPDIrl Hidden sex camera voyeur

From Jess Franco to Paul Thomas Anderson, Stephen Murphy looks at the various influences on Peter Strickland's startling and sumptuous BDSM melodrama, The Duke of Burgundy.
The appreciation of a bygone era of European and American sexploitation cinema informs The Duke of Burgundy, the latest film from British director Peter Stickland. Much like his appropriation of Italian giallo horror films for his previous feature Berberian Sound Studio, the sexploitation influence is present in terms of texture more than sensibility. As a result the film is not as interested in titillation as it is in the drama between two lovers as they engage in a sado-masochistic relationship.
There is a type of fetishisation at the heart of The Duke of Burgundy, but it is not the obsession with the female body which drove the erotic cinema of the '60s and '70s. It is the fetishising of old cinematic forms which can be traced back at least as far as 1960 and Jean-Luc Godard's homage to American gangster movies À Bout de Souffle. In that film the visual motifs of the gun, the girl and the man on the run feature prominently as things that are desirable because of how they feature in classical Hollywood pictures like Scarface and The Public Enemy.
But in a way À Bout de Souffle was as much a critique of American gangster movies as it was an homage, as Jean-Paul Belmondo's eventual betrayal by Jean Seberg is shown to occur merely because it was necessary under the Hays Code (1930-1968) that a criminal must be punished for his crimes. In the years that followed the obsession with defunct cinematic forms became the domain of cinephile movie directors worldwide. Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time in the West is a send off to the Western, showing that women and money have a stronger role to play in building a society than gun-slinging vagabonds like Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda.
The post-Pulp Fiction career of Quentin Tarantino is an even more explicit homage to exploitation movies of all sorts, from blaxploitation in Jackie Brown to Kill Bill's reliance on violent Japanese samurai pictures like Lady Snowblood and Shogun Assassin. Unlike Strickland however, Tarantino's films try to capture the exploitation elements of the originals without injecting any of the modern sensibilities to be found in contemporary mainstream or art house cinema.
That is the key difference between the exploitation cinema that Strickland mines for inspiration and the films he actually ends up producing. There is nothing scandalous about the way sex is treated in The Duke of Burgundy, whereas the films of Russ Meyer and Jess Franco which influenced it were shocking in their day and would still be problematic for modern viewers, if for different reasons than what shocked viewers in the '60s. Tarantino's cinema maintains this shock element, particularly in recent years with his mining genuine historical tragedies for entertainment purposes.
What's interesting about the art house appropriation of exploitation films is that they don't attempt to turn these visceral underground movies into mainstream dramas. Instead they take them to the opposite side of the spectrum by making them thoroughly intellectual rather than dramatising them in the standard manner. In other words, the underground style is not being modified to suit a mass audience, it is being transformed from appealing to one niche audience to appealing to another completely separate niche audience.
Of course Strickland is not the only one engaging in this form of reconstitution. Arthouse poster boy Paul Thomas Anderson is a vocal supporter and fan of underground cinema, and while Boogie Nights may fall more in the zone of mainstream representations of '70s and '80s pornography than Strickland's film does for sexploitation, it too is driven by a fascination with the textures of the genre that inspired it. But Boogie Nights is more commercial than The Duke of Burgundy in that it is primarily interested in examining the dramatic potential of the porn industry of that time.
The nearest and most relevant reference point for The Duke of Burgundy is Anderson's film The Master, the ultimate recent representation of Anderson's obsession with both low- and high-brow forms. The sex-obsessed Freddy Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) despite his history with the navy and his "lost love" back story, is a character straight out of a Russ Meyer film.
In Meyer's film The Immoral Mr. Teas the eponymous character is a man who lusts after women but has very little success with them. After undergoing dental surgery Mr. Teas discovers that he now has x-ray vision, which allows him to see through women's clothes, but not men's. The influence of this film on Anderson goes some ways towards explaining a scene in The Master during a dance in which all of the women at the party appear naked when seen through the eyes of Freddy Quell.
In fact, Freddy Quell's entire journey is that of a typical sexploitation film protagonist. He's defined as being sex-crazed and the film is driven by his inability to find satisfaction. Anderson neatly ties this in with a thoughtful analysis of Scientology and its appeal to such lost souls by showing the kinship between Lancaster Dodd and Freddy Quell as being a result of the former's faux-intellectualism and the latter's one-track mind.
The Master and The Duke of Burgundy appropriate old sexploitation films for a modern audience that is now used to over-stimulation through internet pornography and emotional voyeurism in reality television. But these films are separate from these forms despite exploitation cinema's obvious similarities with them. The main way in which this is communicated is through the way porn and reality television treat their subjects as illicit, whereas exploitation cinema, or at least those films that directly influenced Strickland and Anderson, showed no shame in their voyeurism.
Jess Franco's cinema is undoubtedly Strickland's greatest visual reference point, with its use of self-conscious artificiality and stylistic compositions. The BDSM roles performed by Evelyn and Cynthia in Strickland's film could have been written by Franco, even if The Duke of Burgundy's sex scenes are extremely mild in comparison to those in films such as Vampyros Lesbos or A Virgin Among the Living Dead.
In comparison, Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers is influenced by reality television's form of voyeurism. Its camera leers from the bushes, concealing the performance and artificiality through editing where Franco's camera sits in the audience and embraces the explicit theatricality. It is this willingness to take what is usually hidden from view and elevate it by bringing it to the camera's lens that makes Franco's films resemble something like art, and from this unabashed position Strickland's BDSM drama has the foundations on which to build his arthouse picture around the sensibilities of the intelligent modern cinemagoer. Watch THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY instantly on demand here: http://www.volta.ie/films/the-duke-of-burgundy
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