Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gawking at pedophilia


In this highly divided political atmosphere, it turns out there is at least one topic that will bring liberals and conservatives together: a very real and visceral disgust for pedophilia.

Across the interwebs, bloggers are revolting over a highly disturbing Gawker piece on pedophiles by Cord Jefferson. In it, he attempts to make the case that pedophilia should be viewed and treated as a sexual orientation like heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Rod Dreher of The American Conservative wrote:

"Jefferson’s essay begins with an account by “Terry,” a pederast who talks about how he lured his seven year old niece into a situation in which he nearly raped her. Jefferson ends his essay this way:

The old adage is that the true mark of a society is how it treats the weakest in its ranks. Blacks, women, Latinos, gays and lesbians, and others are still in no way on wholly equal footing in America. But they’re also not nearly as lowly and cursed as men attracted to children. One imagines that if Jesus ever came to Earth, he’d embrace the poor, the blind, the lepers, and, yes, the pedophiles. As a self-professed “progressive,” when I think of the world I’d like to live in, I like to imagine that one day I’d be OK with a man like Terry moving next door to me and my children. I like to think that I could welcome him in for dinner, break bread with him, and offer him the same blessings he’s offered me time and again. And what hurts to admit, even knowing all I know now, is that I’m not positive I could do that.

This “hurts” to admit? Really? I’d say Jefferson’s compassion and cultural politics are swamping his common sense."
On the other end of the poltical spectrum, Christian and feminist blogger Dianne Anderson goes much farther, ripping Jefferson a new one. Referring to that same disgusting opening, she wrote:

"The opening sequence of the article is even worse. It describes a man who groomed and then assaulted his seven year old niece. In excruciating, awful, detail.

I don’t know how it doesn’t violate child pornography laws. At best, the description – purposefully written to be a “hook” into the article – is unnecessary. At worst, it legitimizes and blurs the line between mere descriptive journalism and actual pornography. There is enough there that a child rapist could probably, well…let’s not go there.

Not only that, but I cannot emphasize it enough: the story of the victimization of a child is not the rapist’s story to tell. He doesn’t get to delight in the gory details of his crime again. Giving him such an audience is sick and twisted. Despite his victim not being named, the rapist is, and it gives enough details to know the current age of the person in question. It is not his story to tell, but hers. Telling someone’s story like that – especially the story of an assault as a child– without consent or comment from the victim is WRONG.

Cord Jefferson, I don’t give a rat’s ass if you think it’s “catchy journalism.” Your lede is fundamentally wrong.

I understand the desire to write such an article. What happens to pedophiles in the prison system can often be horrific (the prevalence of rape within the prison system itself is highly, highly disturbing). Yes, the prison system is broken. We can and should talk about the ways in which the prison system fails to rehabilitate and protect the lives of its prisoners. I get that. I understand that this is probably what Jefferson was going for.

But that is not the article he produced.

Instead, he wrote an article that minimizes the crimes of child rapists, erases their victims almost entirely, and produces utterly fallacious analogies ( a pedophile is not like an alcoholic – if an alcoholic relapses, he doesn’t RAPE CHILDREN). It proposes that child rapists face an intolerance for their “sexual orientation,” and that having a “taboo” on their thoughts is part of the problem.

There’s a reason some things are taboo and should remain so – the urge to rape children is not one that needs to be legitimized."
In full disclosure, I haven't read the whole thing. What I did read was so stomach churning, I had to quit. Even for Gawker, which thrives off page clicks to earn money guaranteeing a steady flow of smut, this is low. I'll probably pass on finishing it.


Jesus-in-the-city said...

I can't even read this article in full because it strikes a particularly raw nerve with me given my history as a sexual abuse survivor, but I can say that your lead-in doesn't surprise me.

My husband is adamant that since gay marriage is now gaining acceptability and polygamy will probably be next (did you read the recent article about it in Time Magazine?), eventually the next thing to be up for debate will be intermarriage between adults and children. It sounded crazy to me when he said it, and still does somewhat, but when mankind sets out to create its own idea of morality the slippery slope soon becomes a gushing waterfall of perversion. We are fallen beings who are not capable of any righteousness apart from God. So when some intellectual comes up with the argument that it's perfectly acceptable for an adult to inflict their sexual will upon a child, don't be surprised. I bet you more people agree with this warped thinking than either of us would want to imagine...

Case in point: my neighborhood blog just had an article asking if it should be legal for libraries to censor pornographic material from it's computers... Most commenters thought it should be illegal and it was against people's rights to not be able to look at whatever they want in a public place. Some people even suggested an enclosure to go around the computers so people could look at sexual material in private.... My suggestion? Save the porn for home or the XXX theaters and let our kids and neighbors enjoy a safe, sanitary, porn free library... But, like I said, most commenters (and there were A LOT) didn't agree.


Alisha De Freitas said...

Do you believe legalizing gay marriage will eventually lead to state sanctioned adult/child unions? Why or why not?

I've heard this many times, and have read a number of essays promoting this "slippery-slope" logic, but I still can't fathom it. I can definitely see how it would lead to state sanctioned/recognized polygamy. I think more and more people are feeling like if some adults want to enter into such unions, there's no reason they shouldn't have the legal protections couples enjoy.

Oh Lord, how is it okay to watch porn in a library?!? It's a public place! GO HOME! Everyone's taxes pay for that!

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