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Taking kinky sex too far?
The most "extraordinary" thing about the video showing Max Mosley, the overseer of grand prix motor racing, engaging in Nazi sex play with prostitutes, said Alexander Chancellor in the London Guardian, is Mosley's insistence that he did nothing
W
hat happened
The governing body of grand prix motor racing has accepted a request from its president, Max Mosley, to hold a special meeting to discuss the scandal that erupted when a video surfaced showing him in a sadomasochistic orgy with five alleged prostitutes. (Autosport.com) The licentiousness of the episode surprised many racing fans, but it was the apparent Nazi undertones in the role-playing during the session in a basement in London’s fashionable Chelsea district that led to demands for Mosley to resign as president of the Paris-based Federation Internationale de l’Automobile. (The New York Times, free registration)

What the commentators said
The most “extraordinary” thing about this sordid affair is Mosley’s insistence that he did nothing wrong, said Alexander Chancellor in the London Guardian. He sued the Weekly World News for putting the video on its Web site, and insists the shenanigans “in the prostitutes' den was ‘harmless and completely legal.’” It’s harmless turning Nazi genocide into a sex game? “Whether there is ‘nothing wrong’ in beating, and being beaten by, prostitutes may be a matter of opinion, but it is almost by definition not harmless.”

Mosley’s escapades certainly made former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s “romp with a Jersey girl seem banal—and unimaginative,” said Laura Frost in the Los Angeles Times (free registration). But people exorcise all kinds of unresolved feelings through sex. “Whether we laugh or despair at Mosley's ‘Springtime for Hitler’ session, we should be mindful that erotic enactments do not necessarily reproduce the power relationships they portray, and we should beware of putting fantasy on trial.”

“Mosley's bedroom habits may be distasteful, but are they pathological?” said Juliet Lapidos in Slate. Set aside the disgust that comes at the thought of a man shouting orders in German while lashing prostitutes in pretend death-camp uniforms. Psychiatrists don’t classify consensual S&M as “a disease,” and “Nazi costumes and other paraphernalia are not unheard of in the sexual role-play subculture.” It appears that Mosley has “some demons to exorcise (his father, Oswald, was a known Nazi sympathizer), but his penchant for sinister playacting doesn't demonstrate any form of psychosis.”

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