Dec 16, 2009, 05:30AM

From the Peer Review Files

Of Oxfords, balmorals and crotches.

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Dear Dr. Bonerton-Smythe:

We received your submission to Afflatus Quarterly on October 12, 2009. We regret to inform you that your paper titled “The Poetics and Perils of Leather Oil and Preservative Use in a North American Shoe Fetishist Community” did not meet our editorial standards and that we will not be able to publish it. This does not reflect on the validity or interest of your research subject or on your personal quality as a researcher. The decision was based on the rigor and quality of this article and the amount of revision that it would require in order to reach publishable quality. We wish you all the best and hope that you will submit additional articles of higher quality in the future. I have enclosed the anonymous peer review comments below.

Arturo Reyes-Northingham
University of the Transvaal
December 1, 2009

Reviewer One:

This article presents a qualitative review of leather maintenance in a community of shoe fetishists. It considers the ramifications of leather type and maintenance rituals among people who enjoy stepping on genitals and faces with high-quality leather shoes.

While engagingly written, the article fails to employ sufficiently rigorous methods. The author accepts his subjects’ definition of leather quality, but does not attempt to make an empirical measurement of leather quality. The author states on page 16: “Ted ground his Bruno Magli bit loafer into Steven’s crotch, and a drop of sweat fell from his brow onto the black, porous calfskin.” How porous, exactly? (Without a measure of pores-per-inch it is not possible for the author to support his statements about quality.) This reviewer would have appreciated a more precise measurement of the force of grinding (“hard” and “soft” are the only words that the author uses), and a table of grinding force measured against prestige in the “Crotchmaster” community would have been more persuasive than the author’s vivid, though unscientific, section entitled “In the Lair of the Crotch King.” The author does not discuss subject selection.

I cannot recommend this article for publication. It would perhaps be more appropriate for a general interest magazine like Parade or People.

Reviewer Two:

This article fails on every level. The author claims to provide an unbiased portrait of life in the “Crotchmaster” community of leather fetishists, but his bias towards traditional footwear like wing tips and Oxfords becomes increasingly clear as the article goes on. The author presents a few scenes among the shoe fetishist community as if they accurately represent the activities of the whole community; what this article requires is a rigorous, statistically supported longitudinal data set of what days are dedicated to “stompings,” “tap-dance Tuesdays,” “Old Grindey” and “Step on My Crotch Wednesdays,” the attendance at each of these days, duration of crotch-stomping activity, and a systematic review of the crotch-stomping literature from religious studies, which the author ignores.

P. 11—The author writes, “Alexander slipped on his rubber-soled Alden cap-toe balmorals, then carefully replaced the shoehorn on its shelf.” I don’t know where to begin with this. “Slipped on” reveals the author’s venomous, perverse hatred for modern shoemakers. Morals slip. People slip on ice and injure themselves. Ships are placed in slips. But shoes? The author must contain his insane biases if he wishes to be taken seriously. “Replaced” implies that “Alexander” must have stolen the shoehorn or that he is using it insincerely or incorrectly. “Rubber-soled” is incorrect—Alden’s commando-soled shoes employ Dainite, not rubber. If the author were not so consumed with a desire to misinform and distort he would know this. “Balmoral” is of course an American term for what the British call Oxfords, and it is therefore insulting to the reader and to the author’s research subjects. If he had taken even a moment to talk with Shoe Fetish Studies academics or activists in the SF rights world he would know that this term is offensive and antiquated.

P. 12—Period instead of a comma in the third line.

P. 13—Writer reveals that he is a racist (“Anthony expressed a fondness for black shoes”) and implies that he has committed a sexual assault and possibly a murder (“I admired the fine gloss on Yvette’s pumps”).

P. 21—Misspells “Blucher.” The author writes, “Respondents agreed that most Crotchmasters do not distinguish sharply between rubber- and leather-soled shoes. As long as the sole is thin, and trimmed relatively close to the upper, respondents felt that the shoe qualified as dressy and could therefore be employed for business casual and even business dressy crotch-stompings.” The author misses the point entirely here. Everyone knows that there is a major difference between rubber- and leather-soled shoes: one kind has rubber soles, the other leather. It is deceptive and borderline idiotic to claim that there is no difference.

Throughout the essay the author shows that he is a poor empirical researcher, does not have a command of the literature, and allows his racist agenda to overwhelm his argument, reducing it to the kind of trashy opinionated rubbish that one would find in “weblogs” or popular magazines, which I never read, nor would I even recognize them if I saw them, which I would never do anyway because I now carry around a vial of acid with which I would blind myself if I were ever again exposed to egregious garbage like this article. The author is an abomination and he should be executed and his seed should be wiped from the earth.

Reviewer Three:

Too many semicolons. Revise and resubmit.


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