Nobody Wants to Talk About Bestiality Until Somebody Fucks a Horse
On July 2, 2005, Kenneth Pinyan was dropped off by an unidentified man in the emergency room of the sleepy Enumclaw Community Hospital, about 25 miles outside of Tacoma, Washington. By the time doctors reached him, he had died of a perforated colon. When police began to investigate the death, following the trail of events that had led Pinyan to the hospital that summer day, they found themselves balls deep in a ring of bestiality the likes of which Washington State had never seen.
As it turned out, Pinyan had sustained his injury while letting a horse have sex with his ass on a farm outside of Enumclaw. After tracking down the man who dropped Pinyan at the hospital, authorities found and searched the farm where he’d sustained his injury and discovered a videotape of the act, along with over a hundred others depicting men having sex with or receiving sex from various farm animals (aside from horses, there were violations of goats, sheep, and chickens), taken by a man named James Michael Tait, who lived nearby. Confronted with the sheer scale and duration of the videos, police and reporters alike swallowed their discomfort and dove into the world of zoophile chatrooms and websites. After a little digging, it became clear that the Enumclaw farm was known in the community as a major bestiality brothel.
But when police tried to charge Tait with a crime, they realized that Washington did not have any laws on the books prohibiting the ungodly union between man and beast. The best they could tag him with was trespassing, resulting in one year of probation, a $300 fine, and one day of community service.
Humans Have a Long History of Eating Each Other
People who eat people are generally not considered “good people.” If you have any doubts, spend an afternoon searching the world wide web and peruse the “Cannibal Top Ten Lists,” which are occupied by the Milwaukee Monster Jeffrey Dahmer, Japanese exchange student Issei Sagawa, and child-killer Albert Fish. And news of the insane and psychopathic hits our home pages on the regular, such as the recent story of a hotel restaurant in Nigeria shut down by police for serving human flesh as an “expensive treat.”
The dispatches we have from a pre-internet era are no different. With the torch lit by Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century B.C., carried on by the likes of Captain Cook and his crewin the Pacific, and still not yet extinguished by those traveling through Africa in the early twentieth century, a significant portion of European history is dedicated to documenting encounters with the bloodthirsty man-eaters of the far corners of the globe.
Tinged with varying degrees of racism, many of these accounts are just xenophobic hearsay. A surprising number, however, have actually been verified as true.
In an era when fetish was still an anthropological term and men’s magazines relied on code words like specialty and mature, a pioneering Armenian pornographer with an unerring instinct for cultural taboos was busy inventing his own daring adult genre. Though his name is no longer mentioned alongside Hefner and Flynt, Milt Abdjourian’s bold, single-minded dedication to fabric, attire, and hyper-specialized contextual perversion lives on in dozens of colorful titles and still-provocative covers.
Assaad Awad’s Special-Order Bondage Gear
Assaad Awad makes fashion that scares the living shit out of people. This Lebanese-born, Madrid-based designer spent 14 years in advertising before quitting to open up his own workshop, and today he specializes in outfits and accessories that wouldn’t be out of place in a Flash Gordon villain’s filthy rape basement.
Assaad has made reflective gold and silver armor for a Thierry Mugler Paris Fashion Week show, a dress made out of wood for Lady Gaga, and ancient Egyptian-esque crowns for Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl halftime performance. He also crafts bondage gear for a less famous and much odder private clientele, which is mostly what I wanted to talk to him about when I met him (at his suggestion) in the cellar of a Madrid fetish shop.
VICE: How does someone raised in a very conservative country like Lebanon become a luxury fetish designer?
Assaad Awad: It doesn’t matter where you’re born—if the fetish is inside you it will come out at some point in your life. You simply cannot hide it. It will come out sooner or later. And sooner is better, because we only live once.
What’s sex like in Lebanon?
There’s a lot of respect. It’s like cooking in a microwave versus three hours on a low flame—the way it tastes is better, you get to where you want to be, and everything explodes.
I’m not sure I get what you mean.
In Europe, you go out for a drink, you get tipsy, flirt with someone, take them home, have sex, and don’t even ask for his or her name. That is microwave sex. On the other hand, because of the taboos in the Arab world, fetish sex [in Lebanon] has a totally different approach. It is cooked on coal, the old-fashioned way. As we all know, the longer you cook on a low flame, the more the taste is enhanced. This is the way it’s done where I come from. You heat up your partner, meet them more than once, and then invite him or her to taste your recipe. That’s what I call a hot dish.
In Defense of Hairy Women: Searching for a Fair Standard of Beauty
My friend Kevin, who majored in philosophy at Berkeley and is now a civil rights lawyer, and who supports all sorts of good causes (economic equality, gun control, gay marriage, Palestinian statehood, shade-grown coffee), yelled at me the other day for setting him up with a woman who has the hint of a mustache. OK, more than a hint. Have you ever seen a photo of Frida Kahlo and been drawn lustfully, as I have, to her fabulous, thick eyebrows, those two dark arches flapping above her eyes like the outstretched wings of a raven? If you look closely at that photo, you’ll see two thin bands of gorgeous dark fuzz that seem to have been penciled in at 45-degree angles above each side of her upper lip. The woman I set Kevin up with, a beautiful and ferociously smart poet and translator named Jill, who graduated summa cum laude in comparative literature at a university Kevin was rejected from, and whom I dated years ago, has those same eyebrows, and that same dark fuzz, but in both cases a little darker and a little thicker.
Introducing the 2014 Fashion Issue
Right in time for New York Fashion Week, we’re unleashing our annual Fashion Issue to the internet. In case the leather gimp on the cover doesn’t make it blatantly obvious, the 2014 Fashion Issue is sex-themed. This gentleman was shot by none other than Robert Mapplethorpe (*cue the angels*). In addition to the cover, we’ve got an entire portfolio of his Polaroids inside.
Before you grab the Jergens or your pink vibrating Rabbit, you should know that there are only two pairs of tigolbitties and absolutely no boners in this issue. Instead of giving everyone exactly what they’d expect from a sex-themed issue of VICE, we decided to take a more refined approach. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to fill 132 pages with soft-core porn, but we wanted to focus on fashion as a form of self-expression and sexual freedom, and to explore the role it plays in our lives. This is an issue dedicated to and featuring photographers, designers, icons, and every day people who’ve helped blur the lines between what is acceptable versus what we’re taught is taboo. It’s more social experiment than wack-rag.
So how on Earth did we fulfill our mission without coming off like a bunch of pretentious jerks? To give you the Sparks Notes:
- We photographed women wearing some of the more restricting and fetishized trends of the last few decades; shot sexy nuns decked out in latex and lace; photographed a rendezvous between two classy ladies as an homage to Duran Duran.
- Our own Wilbert L. Cooper examined the connection between masculinity and fashion among black men; we interviewed the legendary Kansai Yamamoto, the man responsible for helping David Bowie to create his gender bending Ziggy Stardust persona; Richard Kern shot boys as girls and girls as boys.
- We defended female body hair, because, yes, hairy women can be sexy; we explored the emotional baggage that is often attached to dainty, wonderful, old lingerie; and even got our new friend Glenn O’Brien to school everyone in the history of sex and fashion.
We’ll let you explore the rest of it yourselves. You’ll be enlightened and informed. Hey, you’ll probably even find something to rub one out to.
Thanks again to the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation for their contribution to this issue. Look for the print mag at a store or boutique near you, but we know it lasts about an entire day on the shelves before it’s gone. You’ll just want to go ahead and subscribe. If you’re fancy and you have an iPad, download our FREE app, because then you get a whole bunch of extra stuff like extended interviews, more pictures, and all that hot noise.