December 22, 2014

Media Monday: VICE - Culture Blog is Like Others

An open letter to the editors of VICE:

Thank you for publishing an article about Bike Smut, our plucky little, internationally touring, erotic bicycle film festival. Among the torrent of attention-starved independent working artists you chose us to talk about in mostly encouraging terms with your audience.

Credit goes to the author, Josiah Hesse, who took time to learn about Bike Smut and ask good questions, some of which we have never been asked before. He was especially focused on ideas regarding objective sexuals. The research done to explain the condition of being attracted to an object is fascinating and through (although he misused the term fetish*)

Some objects are pretty attractive as they are and certainly deserve some special attention. One of our favorite essays on the topic of bikes and sex came from a recent graduate of Arizona State University who joined the tour for 4 months. She described the love of a bicycle as more pure than any love between a man and woman because of the impossibility of reproduction, whereas when two able-bodied people hump they might have some lizard brain programming that is telling them to make babies, thus sullying the purity of the love. As long as we are are allowing others to guess at the intentions and awareness of reptile-like functions of people we might as well go whole-gay-hog and say that even between two same-sexed people it is possible that there might be some reproductive programming going on. "But," she would remark in a particularly assertive tone, "human-bicycle relations is only for pleasure."

We never bothered to tell her that for many, cycle-relations are more "business" but we also are also not the right people to make that call. After EIGHT YEARS of sharing DIY pornography across the hemisphere we have somewhat lost the distinction between business and pleasure.

No, for the most part the article was great. We do take umbrage with the title which currently reads as such:

There's a Film Festival for People 

Who Get Turned on by Bicycles

However if you were to look at the URL you can see when they originally posted the article the title was a little more "edgy": 



Neither title is accurate. "Bike Smut is for people..." yes that much is true. Aroused by bicycles? Sure,  maybe... why not. But really even that feels too limiting. It's not as if we expect everyone in the audience to regularly masturbate to Independent Fabrication catalogues (although they are quite nice).

We regularly hear from audience members who were dragged to the show by their friends. They wait around, eager to speak with our organizers to say "Thank you! I don't even like bikes!" And that is one of the biggest compliments we receive, right up there with, "Thank you! I don't even like porn!"

Modern living encourages us to carve out a special little niche where only the like-minded enter into your news-feed's timeline but this is so boring. The challenge of engaging ideas that are bold and run counter to what you believe - that's exciting! When we get put on our ass and learn that even after revolving around the sun dozens of times we still cannot escape the shining illumination of a new Truth.

Yes, bikes are sexy.**
Yes, porn should be better.***
Yes, your choices about porn and transport have an affect on the world and regardless of what naysaying scenesters might write to justify their own lack of gumption, you actually can make your personal space and thus the community you engage with better by riding a bike and/or adopting sex-positive practices.

In an ideal world the article would mention our upcoming call for submissions for our 9th year of "banging pedalphiles." Or our success presenting movies from so many different filmmakers. We have received nearly 100 films from various artists and shared them approximately 500 times and never had a single leak of our content. We don't put the films online and we don't take your body and try to sell DVDs making you into freak show. This is our promise to our filmmakers. This way anyone can contribute to our project without fear of being outted as a pervert or having to explain one's choices to judgmental relatives over holiday dinner.

But more importantly, the ideals of good sex and good transportation are so important to good living that we spend most of our lives in pursuit of one of the other (or both at the same time). Look at the amount of money spent on advertising cars; look at the way sex is used to sell everything! Once a person has claimed their own mobility and sexuality they have no concern of the opinions of bastards who work late trying to find new ways to convince others to buy shit they don't need by lowering vulnerable people's self-esteem.

Any of these would have been an exciting ideas for the article to focus on. But just getting keeping eyeballs on the screen for a few extra seconds seems like an impressive accomplishment and we can't blame them for wanting to sensationalize...  but after years of avoiding other similar media exposé we were hoping VICE might dig deeper into our politics than where some people choose to put their genitals.

So thanks to VICE editors for helping to share the words "Bike Smut" even if you didn't quite have the time, space or mental patience to actually get beyond the sophomoric part of putting a saddle up your butt.

There's an important distinction to make between the fetishization of an inanimate object (merely using it to get off), and seeing that object as an entity unto itself that inspires love and connection in a person. - Josiah H.
The meaning of the word "fetish" has been diluted over the years to basically being on par with "having an interest in" which is pretty milquetoast compared to its more historical definition where a person would only be described as suffering from a fetish if they absolutely needed said object/activity to achieve sexual satisfaction. A person who likes smelling bike saddles would not qualify as a fetish unless that saddle was always under nose during sex. Okay, we can stop being so annoying... for now.

** self mobilization is hot. dependency is not.
*** watching bad porn encourages pornographers to make bad porn. 


  1. Phil this is probably the best thing by you that I've ever read, or one of them. Well done!

  2. Thanks Steev! Its quite a compliment. Keep putting the riot in patriot!


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